San Miguel de Allende - Will I Ever Be Back?


Vintage trailer makes its way across the USA border!

Who knew life would take such a drastic spin when I left my little solar trailer in SMA a few years ago.  I was simply jamming back to LA to do a quickie job on the TV show Last Comic Standing....just to make a bit of cash...and then...

Somehow, 2 1/2 years later I am still working and haven't had a real break to get back to get my trailer (which was stored safely in the middle of town at the San Miguel Tennis Courts Trailer lot -- who by the way I love).  My gal was just waiting on me to get back God kows when, and, then came along super-sonic Caty.  She was a Toothie reader and had emailed me inquiring about where I'd found my trailer.  She was doing loads of her own research on vintage trailers and couldn't find one like mine, bud wanted one badly (I had the same prob til I found mine).  The minute I got her email, and purely on a MST whim,  I said - "Why not buy mine?"  She was elated, the cashola was transfered and now she owned my trailer.   She's so much like me, jsut trusting whatever way the wind blows.

Thing is, we had to get it from Mexico to the USA since she was nervous to travel all thru Mexico with a trailer titled in my name on her own.  Cut to - months of dead chaos and drama trying to get it to the border or somewhere in TX for her to grab it from.  First I enlisted the help of Carlos, my surfing bud in Baja but something came up and he couldn't do it.  Next up, my pal Deb down in SMA (who was in the middle of an international move herself) stepped in to help out and after weeks and weeks of insanity, she finally managed to get it delivered to Caty in San Antonio!  Now the only thing left is for Caty to unpack my world from her new trailer, ship me my goods and to head out on her own wily adventures.  Freaking nuts. 

This is why I love this blog, travelling, adventure and all the mishaps that come along with living a funky ass life.  You just never know what the heck is coming down the way.  You don't know what path people are out there desperately hunting for.  You just really don't even know your own road and where it will take you.   If you remember, 2.5 years ago, I was in San Miguel de Allende, studying Spanish in dark bars, eating my way thru the town and slowly making my way to the Darien Gap in Panama, volunteering the whole way down Central America. 

Now I'm working on two TV shows in Jersey and wondering if I will ever return to SMA.  But, at the same time, I'm conspiring on how to flip my beast of a floating home in LA, revamping my sailboat for what I know will be an upcoming Southern Pacific crossing, wondering if I should just ditch my condo in Chicago, regrouping about buying an Airstream (with a toilet on this one!), and eating my way through a ton of good food in NYC.   Among other things of course...but it's good to know that adventures keep getting lived and sojurns keep getting traipsed.

This is to Caty - I hope you love that little trailer as much as I did and it takes you as far RTW as you want to go...enjoy el camino, and I bet I see you some day out there, just when we both least expect it!  (PS - That's Caty with the trailer...sure, she's dusty, but give her one good cleaning...and she's OUT!).


Boat Update and a Possible Trailer Move*


The to do list for the boat has reached epic proportions.  It really has.  I don't even think I can go into it, just know that the list is miles and miles long. 

#1 being figure out my boom situation.  Went to go pick it up from the yard the other day, and the rascal wont fit on my now will have to jet the boat over there to grab it, which might happen in a recon mission later today.  Can't seem to get a hold of my rigging chick, however, I am going to have my mechanic come over this weekend and do some small tasks like hook up the holding tank + figure out what is going on with the AC.  Oh God, I can't even talk about the list. 

Let me talk about other things, like how fantastico the interior is coming along.  It really is shaping up, and every time I step on board, I light up inside.  Last night,  I went down and turned on all the INT and EXT lights and she blazed up like a firefly.  Mind-bending how happy it all makes me.

That said, I am THIS close to taking a Baja trip.  Trying real, real hard to power through and make my 30-days-in-one-spot challenge, but the call is something fierce.  Debilidating, really.  I'm thinking of moving my little vinatge travel trailer, Yachtita, down to Baja.  That might just be the trip I need.  Haul to San Miguel de Allende, spend a week or two there, sling on the trailer and meander back to Southeast Baja, which my gal parked right on the Sea of Cortez.  It will take an act of God for me to NOT do that very thing in the coming days...

I feel like an addict must.  'Cept my trouble is the road.  Funky fresh El Camino.





How To Get Off Grid in a Vintage Travel Trailer


In case any of you were wondering how the heck to buy your own little vintage travel trailer, pimp it out and hit the is a simple little How-To Guide I just wrote for The Traveler's Notebook, one of the best travel websites out there.  Check out the full story here.

Here's a quick sample bite from the story...
It’s so simple to buy a cheap vintage travel trailer and experience a whole new way of living that I’m stunned more folks haven’t figured it out. Is it a big secret? Too intimidating? It is considered kooky? Well, if you’ve ever dreamed of ditching it all and heading south of the border, here’s a handy guide to get you started on the road to freedom.

1. Acknowledge the Beast Within

Oh, you know what I’m talking about. That little sing-song voice inside calling out when you least expect it. It’s saying, “Are you kidding me, this is my life? Is this all there is? And, I pay how much rent for this dumpy apartment?” If you can just answer with “It’s time to change things” the next time the monster kicks in, you might find yourself calling a tin can box home. And, trust me, you will be the envy of everyone you come into contact with.

2. Research Galore

There are a bundle of websites out there with vintage trailers for sale. You can buy one already restored or you can buy a way old-school one and put your own flair into it. I opted for my own flair. Going this do-it-yourself route allowed me the opportunity to explore options I might not have run across. Things to think about: Do you really need a bathroom? How important is a fridge vs. icebox? Is a shower imperative? For me, none of these things mattered and by not giving a hoot about luxuries, I managed to save loads of money.

**You can read the rest of the story on via the above link and seriously, I cannot wait to get back to CAmer to resume my journey. Just a few more months now....mst

On the way to Mexico via The Natchez Trace~

Img_4545I'm not real sure if you've heard of the Natchez Trace.  I say this because everyone I tell that I just spent the night there is like, "Where!?"  Even in all its winter gloom, I'm here to say that this ribbon of road is just plain lovely.  It's like heading back in time a century or so.  I camped the night in Jeff Busby Park, a free spot along the Trace where tenter's and RV'ers can set up.  I pulled in 'round about 8p and it was PITCH BLACK--not a single light around (kinda terrifying), but when I woke up the next morning I was delighted to see a big deer hangin' out just behind my trailer.  I also was privy to some bald eagle cawwwwing (at least that is what I'm thinking it was) as I did some sun salutations and drank hot tea.  Cruising down the rest of the Trace, I maybe passed 10 cars and one old man weaving about on a rickety old bicycle.  It was a shock to get back on 20 West headed toward Texas and Mexico.  So many much confusion...blasts of intense rain in a tornado little trailer flip-flopping behind me...and of course, a funky meal (for real) at the Waffle House.  Welcome to America!  Cannot wait to scram across the massive amounts of sunshine and tropical environ's.


Almost Ready to Hit the Road...

Img_4467I have been busy working on my trailer Yatz all week long.  Just small stuff, you know?  Like--how do I fashion cheap curtains that I can rip down if needed and that still provide a bit of privacy (hello burlap); what all can I run off this solar panel (not a mini heater, that's for sure); should I put in bookshelves or just toss my books in one of the cabinets (cabinet for sure--close it and your ready to roll); do I really need 400 threadcount pillowcases (you better believe it); where exactly are all the studs located (still don't know but will find out today)...all the good stuff.  I am just about done with all the little things I wanted to do to her and I shall be hitting the road this weekend.  First stop, Mexico.  I'm gonna take some Spanish classes for a few weeks and drink margaritas and eat massive quantities of tacos y tamales y pescado.  Cannot wait to get outta the cold and back in the sunshine!  And, I am continually amazed with how little I truly need to get by in this big wide world (just a backpack, I guess).




What a Gal Needs..It's Not What You Think...


Ahhhh, the electronics needed for a trip like the one I'm about to embark on are just astounding.  In short, there's the little HD camera, the mini-dv tape stock, the RODE microphone, the Mac, the extra mac battery, the 80 gig IPOD, the tiny ipod, the itrip, the italk, the 6 megapixel camera (that also shoots video), the blackberry, the flex solar panel, the 400 w inverter, the extra fly light hard drive, the tripod, the baby table tripod, the lenses for the HV20, the CD's to burn onto, the IPOD compatible speakers, the regular batteries, the travel case, the cords, the cables, the car chargers, and all the other jazz that a gal needs to try to get some shit done on the road.

Hell, then there's the solar equipped 14' trailer, the propane, the outfitting of that, the filling of the water tank, the creation of the burlap curtains, the recovering of the seat cushions, the awning set up, the air in the tires, the provisions, the paperwork needed to cross multiple borders (Mexico to Panama), the insurance for multiple countries, the loading up of all the clothes I'm taking to the flood victims in Tobasco, the hand-cranked blender to test out stat, the pilates mats I'm hauling down for the PURE retreat in Mexico, the books to situate, the maps to procure and outline, the bills to pay whilst on the road, the exercise to somehow fit in, the RV parks to source (that just sounds so funny), the banking to streamline, the Spanish classes to confirm, the volunteer stints to finalize, the clothes to pack, the heater to buy, the swamp cooler to test out, etc...

Thank God everything comes in small packages these days.

Blast the Rain...It's Time for Solar Power...

Img_4437The morning began in a shroud of dense fog and a cants-n-dogs downpour.  Too bad for me, because I was on my way to get my solar panel installed and the place that was doing it was all the way on the other side of town.  I hadn't moved my little Yatz since returning from Colorado with her a few months ago, so the morning was pretty hectic--you know, no sleep last night, crapola weather, pitch black outside.  After making it down the mountain (my parents live way deep in the woods on one of the most beautiful mountains in TN), I trudged in the dark...through the pouring Northgate RV...and about 2 hours later, I had a 64 watt solar panel on my roof!  These fella's were awesome:  they did everything from toss on the panel, create a vent in the tiny closet where I tucked the Group 27 batteries (straight off my boat), wire the whole kit-n-kaboodle and attach the inverter. 

As I was on my way out, we noticed that Yatz' running lights were not working so they literally attacked.  After a baffling take-apart of anything that moved, they discovered that my entire trailer was one GIANT GROUND.  Could you imagine?  No prob, they just ran a wire and the issue was no mas.  I promised them a giant bottle of tequila from Mexico when I get back in the spring and tore outta there.  Thank God the fog was starting to abate (see pic below)...because I feel like a couple of unassuming mailboxes coulda been swiped--and for sure, there were a few solid bottom outs on the way up the mountain.  Good Christ, those are a real eye opener;  but at least the solar panel is in.  Just one more biggie off the CAmer to do list.


Vintage Trailer Supply & A Kick-Ass Trailer Awning


Today was a banner day!  The weather finally cleared for a second and my dad and I finished installing the awesome awning to my little trailer.  It just makes all the difference in the world.  After we finished installing it into the side of my trailer, I could literally see myself checking out--and just chilling on the beach in a massively humid environment for a good long spell.  It was SUPER easy to install, thanks to the genius creators at Vintage Trailer Supply.  Just toss up an 1/8" awning rail (purchased at the RV store) and slide the pre-measured awning in.   Sling on some thick rope (that comes with the awning), drive in some stakes, and done and done!  Now come the solar panels.  That one should be a doozie.  Stand by for details and photos in a few days, k?  Seriously, how many times can I use the word "install" in one paragraph?

Mr. Solar Comes to the Rescue!

Logocircle_4In a tiny moment of sheer genius and all-encompassing understanding, I grapsed my solar needs, took the plunge and ordered my solar panel kit from Mr. Solar. After much tedious research these past few days, I think I'm finally understanding the whole amp/watt/solar debacle (I'm certain it will all be forgotten manana).  The kit I ordered for Yatz (should have known her name would be shortened pronto) includes a 64w solar panel, a tilt mount, mounting hardware and a controller.  I have the Group 27 batteries from my boat so I'm all good there, and also my little flex solar panel (from the boat as well) to add to the amp kitty.  I should be in really good shape once I figure out how to set the dang thing up.  In other breaking MST news, today my mom made the best pot of pinto beans and southern style cornbread I have ever had and I helped myself to three servings in about ten minutes flat.  I love being home!  Oh, and me and my dad did a little paint job inside Yatz--no biggie, just matching up some color scheme that was already in place (once it's all said and done, I will post before and afters).  Also managed to snatch up a legal registration/title for her at the courthouse today---had the whole dang place in a frenzy trying to figure out how to email a document.  The courthouse practically had to shut down for that one!

Off-Grid Living is a Funny, Funny Thing...

Img_2999Really, what I want to say is that remote, off-grid, alternative living is complicated and confusing as hell.  The easy part is picking out where to travel to.  Anywhere that is reachable by vehicle is fair game...warmer climates especially (re: the whole of Central America).  The hard part is setting your little rig up right.  There are so many elements to contend with:  solar panels (how many watts do you need), how many amp hours do you need (huh?), battery banks (which type are best), inverters (don't even get me going), propane (how the hell do you refill the tank), leveling the mama out on hilly terrain, what color to paint the walls, storage/storage/storage, should I do bamboo  shades or cute little curtains, DC and 110 power (one more time, which is which?), and on and on.  The reason to undertake the rigging of a supremely vintage travel trailer or a classic good old boat (which I'm about to figure out next week in the BVI's) has to be for the MAD, MAD challenge of it all.  When I can walk away from either of those little beasts, knowing that I can RUN power off the sun and can literally set up shop anywhere I feel safe with a lovely vista, well then consider it a job well done.  If I can make it work on the boat, I know I can make it work on Yachtita.  It's just gonna take a little time.  But first, tomorrow I paint the inside.  Then, much like the boat, there are cushions to cover, shelves to install, water tanks to clean (though I got a head start on that today), etc....I'll be like mountain man before you know it--catching fish and skinning wild animals for the warmth of their fur.  Good Christ~~