After an exhausting day of oil leaks, nervous moments, long hours examining the underside of the Jeep and yet more driving, I poured myself into a bed in Pooler, Georgia. It felt great to know that one more potential problem had been solved though, and that I was only a 45 minute drive from the trailer. I’d hitch up at 10 the next morning.
7:30 a.m: Sun up. I headed straight for the South Carolina border, passing the exit to Hilton Head Island and crossing several bridges through Low Country, as it’s called. Soon I was at TrailerWorks, in Beaufort, South Carolina.
There it sat. I imagined it looked almost identical to the day it rolled off the assembly lines in Jackson Center, Ohio – the 102nd Globe Trotter built in 1962. The original owner, an apparently meticulous man from North Canton, OH, had kept everything tucked away in the drawers and closets throughout the trailer. The original warranty, manuals for the fridge and oven, even a catalog with black and white photos of every accessory that could be bought for an Airstream.
I wandered the lot for a few minutes, taking photos of the other trailers in varying states of completion and decay. While some were shiny and modernized, and others gutted and useful only for parts.. ours had a wonderful “untouched” quality about it.
The employees and I hitched it up to the Jeep and stood back; half gauging how everything was sitting, half just plain admiring the setup. “Back of the Jeep is a bit low – let’s try again with the weight bars cinched tighter. Better.”
I tightened the tow mirrors onto the fenders, made about dozen little hops in and out of the driver’s seat to minimize the blind spots, and slowly pulled out of the parking lot. It felt great, like these two belonged together all along. A minor problem with the wiring of the trailer’s brakes was soon fixed down the road, and then I rolled onto the highway – towards North Carolina, and home.
The remainder of the trip was pleasantly uneventful in any dramatic sense. The first night was my first ever in a trailer. I pulled into a Wal Mart parking lot in Asheville, NC and grabbed 7 hours of sleep. (Wal Mart parking lots are a rite of passage for modern RV’ers.) The next day I got to see what I’d driven through the night before: the Blue Ridge Mountains. After several tunnels carved through mountains, switchbacks and countless beautiful valleys with little streams and farms, I drove through Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and finally home: Chicago. It was almost 1 a.m., but it felt fantastic to be back – even after hitting every single pothole on Lake Shore Drive.
We’re looking forward to spending plenty of time in our little rolling vacation home this summer. Even Nell loves this thing, literally leaping inside to claim the front couch as her own. I guess when you’ve got your dog’s stamp of approval, you’re in good shape.