For the last few weeks, Gus and I have been on the look out for a small, vintage trailer light enough for his car to tow. We’ve been scouring Craigslist and eBay. At first it was just for fun, but then we started taking the search a little more seriously. We plan on eloping to Washington in August, and we thought it could be really beneficial and cost efficient for us to have a small home on wheels for the two weeks we’ll be on the road together. Not to mention there are plenty of other locations we want to explore one day, so we knew it would be a good, long-term investment.
It was difficult for us to find a small trailer under 1,500 pounds, let alone one that fit within our budget. We toyed with the idea of renting one, but the estimated cost ended up being more than half of what we’d expect to spend on owning one. We figure, if we’re going to stretch that far into the budget, why not put it towards something that we won’t have to turn back in when we’re done? After hours and hours of diligent craigslist surfing one night, we finally found a potential contender tucked away in the lowest southwest corner of Arizona – an odd little town called Yuma.
We contacted the owner, and after receiving more detailed shots of the interior, we were ecstatic. We had yet to come across a camper in this great of condition at such a low price. After reviewing the photos and finding out more information about it, we gave each other this look like, “Alright, I guess we’re going to Arizona this week.” We moved our schedules around and planned to leave early Thursday morning and make a day trip out of it.
Of course, Scotty joined us:
I always like to see if there will be anything cool along the way when I’m going somewhere new. I scrolled and zoomed around on the map between us and our potential new Little Home On Wheels, and spotted a large body of water. I zoom in to see it’s named “Salton Sea”.
“What a coincidence!” I thought. My co-worker had JUST told me about this place just the day before, stating that it would be a great place for me and Gus to check out. She told me she learned about it through a documentary. Apparently it’s a man-made lake, the largest one in all of California, and it used to be a resort back in the 50’s. Unfortunately, the environment is inhabitable for the fish, so they wash up on shore. There are many abandoned buildings and rusted, dilapidated cars around the shore. As she told me the history of this place, I was instantly intrigued. I knew we had to put it on our bucket list.
As it turns out, our journey would guide us right along side the lake, so naturally we decided to pull over and check it out.
As soon as we got out of our car, we smelled something foul. I can’t really even describe it other than really, really, really unpleasant. We had heard about the fish washing up on shore, but we didn’t see any from a distance, so we chalked it up to the lake just being a gross lake. As we got closer to the shore, we noticed an abundance of rocks sitting in the sand. I looked down and found a single fish skeleton and said, “Gus, look! I found one!” but he was already pointing at the hundreds, maybe thousands of fish carcasses circling the entire perimeter of the lake. What we thought were rocks were actually fish. (You can kind of see a few of them in the bottom left corner in the image above.)
We walked along the edge of the lake, carefully placing our steps in any gaps we could find between them all. We ran across a few dead seagulls, and even a crane.
We couldn’t stay for long since we were racing against the sun, so we got back in the car and planned to come back again in the future to thoroughly explore Bombay Beach, the town that was once a vacation spot.
We probably spent about 5 hours on the road including pit stops. The sky was pretty incredible along the entire way.
And we saw a controlled fire.
We finally made it to the town and pulled up to the seller’s house and took a peek at the little mobile abode and immediately fell in love with it. At one point we looked at each other and simultaneously nodded in agreement which said, “Yes, yes, absolutely yes.” It was in better condition than we had even thought, and she threw in a window AC unit + generator. We hooked him up to Gus’s car and headed back on the road home.
The entire way home we talked about how excited we are. We even pulled over in a parking lot in a small town and ate the lunches we had brought for ourselves in it. It was a great test run to get a feel for what it will be like when this thing is in action.
We’ve been brainstorming some different things we can do to customize it and make it our own. The theme the previous owner had it was brown, yellow, and turquoise, and it has a bit of a Southwestern desert feel to it. It’s very cute, and we don’t actually have a lot of changes to make structure wise, but we definitely want to give it our own touch. We are thinking of painting the interior white and turquoise to open it up more, and giving the exterior a two-toned job with turquoise on the bottom to give it a pop of color.
Needless to say, we are stoked. Absolutely thrilled. We opted to name him Pierre, after Gus’s french roots.
We can’t wait to see what this little dude has in store for us!