Archive for June, 2013

Airstreams are for Mother-in-Laws; The Desert in Summer is Not.

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Desert AS

Last week marked the official beginning of summer. It is unofficially the second full month that we’ve seen triple digits here in Phoenix this year. (We first hit 100 degrees on April 28, 2013). Today, we are expected to reach a record high of 118. Why on earth did I move my mother here now? In retrospect, I should have waited until October. The people that bought her house could have waited, maybe.

There are many neighborhoods throughout Arizona that have manmade lakes, palm trees, green grass, beautiful flower beds– illusions of coolness.  Mine isn’t one of them. We are in the raw desert. When I look out at the aluminum trailer in the yard under the blazing sun, I can’t stop thinking about my childhood Easy Bake Oven. My mother must think I’m trying to kill her.

To add to the guilt, they’ve been joking on the local radio about the extreme temperatures.  In response to the question, “How hot is it?”,  people are calling in answers like:

I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking.

Hot water comes out of both taps. You burn your hand opening the car door.

The asphalt has a liquid state. You can fry an egg on the side walk.

The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

The potatoes cook underground- just pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper.

The trees are whistling for dogs.

My own true story goes like this: I checked the mail on the way into my office and left it all day on the dashboard. That night when I opened the envelop from the bank, my new ATM card had melted into a wavy piece of plastic with completely flat numbers.  Note: NEVER leave anything in the car. The glue holding the rubber soles onto your shoes melts. Cosmetics don’t stand a chance.  I’ve left my 83 year old mother in a tin can.

On top of the extreme temperature, the desert is full of all sorts of scary wildlife. We’ve had many visitors in my back yard. Packs of javelina, mule deer, bobcats that want to eat your dog, lots of coyotes that want to eat your dog, even big birds that want to eat your dog.

Photo Jun 13, 12 42 14 PM

This “little” guy in the picture above (whom my bird loving neighbor informed me is a young red tailed hawk) was outside my back door the other day trying to come in. My mother also said she heard something on the roof of her trailer. When the skylight darkened, she looked up, and this “little” guy was peering down in at her. Apparently he is a very social little guy, but he would definitely eat my dog.

The other things that give me the heebie jeebies (and I hope with all my might that my mother doesn’t encounter them) are the rattlesnakes, scorpions and tarantulas that we often get in the summertime. I can tell you all sorts of stories, but I’m trying to forget them. Note: If you ever visit the desert in the summertime, remember to pack a small black light. Scorpions phosphoresce under the black light, and you can scan your bedroom (and bed) at night. You don’t want to hear my story- believe me.  Just buy a light.  Here’s what they look like when you find one.

Photo Aug 09, 8 25 16 PM

I hope the trailer is scorpion proof.  Mother will not be pleased.


Airstreams are for Mother-in-Laws? (Part three)

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

No Place Like Home

We settled on a trailer for my mother and I have to tell you straight away that it is not an Airstream. It is a 35’ Silver Streak.  Brian did a lot of research on a model that was for sale near by that had a lot of upgrades and had been well taken care of.  It had a built-in office in the master bedroom, solar system, satellite, surround sound, among many other nice amenities. Since this trailer will be boon-docked in my yard and will be a permanent home, the general floor plan and the amount of storage made it fit the bill. Home Sweet Home, Grandma!

Needing a few modifications and a minor cosmetic make-over, it made a great practice trailer for us to work on while we are still in the very early stages of the Safari total renovation. (FYI- Elvis has a brand new axle, beefed up chassis, new tanks, new sub-floor and is looking forward to getting his shell back on soon.) It will be a long time before I get to use my decorating talents on him.

For my mother to live full time in 35 feet, the Silver Streak needed to feel like a multi-room house where she could have a change of scenery throughout the day. In her home now, she spends most of her time in the bedroom, kitchen, and living room. This trailer could accommodate that; plus when the weather is good,  she will have a very nice outdoor space under the main awning. Once we are certain that she is happy in her new aluminum house, we can build a permanent deck and shade structure to protect her from the extreme desert sun.

First we needed to create more livable space in the bedroom.  The area underneath the bed was hard to reach through hinged doors (unless you lifted the mattress and bed board up). So Brian installed full length dovetailed drawers on extended drawer guides, giving the space very easy access. With all the extra useable storage, we could sacrifice the long bank of drawers against the wall (along with the metal file cabinets) and claim the space for a small swivel rocker/recliner chair and second flat screen TV.

We reconfigured the pantry with several pull-out drawers and moved the microwave in order to open up the space above the stove. We fabricated new solid surface counter and table tops, and installed a new under mount sink and faucet, which helped the appeal of the kitchen tremendously. The bathroom also got a makeover; the window treatments were updated, and the floors went from blue carpet to oak. I think my mother will be pleased.

After a visit from the electrician, a guy with a tractor, the septic guy, the Dish guy, and the A/C guy, we were ready to tow the trailer from the shop to our yard.

My permanent lawn art has arrived. My life will never be the same.

Silverstreak Master

Silverstreak Cabin



About the Author

After searching for the perfect travel trailer to make camping experiences more enjoyable, I discovered the world of Airstreams. I’m not only learning a lot about Airstreams, but I’m learning a lot about myself, my relationships, and how an aluminum trailer added into the mix can change your life.