Building a home is no easy task. In fact it’s an assembly of numerous not so easy tasks all performed by people who’ve spent years learning and honing their skills. In part I’m sure that’s why it looks easy. But as I said, it isn’t. And yet despite knowing full well that it wouldn’t be easy we decided to do it, telling ourselves “we’ve got this, it will be easy!” So with with the delusion meter set on full we jumped in and began the frustrating, tiring, maddening, infuriating, defeating and not the least of which; rewarding process of building our new home – on wheels.
It was sometime in June or July of 2017 when we decided it was time for an adventure. We left the beautiful province of British Columbia in 2011, I think. I really can’t remember. I think that’s part of getting older? So, let’s say in 2011 we moved to Saskatchewan. At the time it was the land of opportunity in western Canada. A booming province with good paying jobs was exactly what we needed to kick start life. Make money, buy house, save for retirement and general adulting. Fast forward to June 2017, or was it July? The point is it’s been 6 years and we’ve made money, not bought a house, not saved for retirement, and the idea of adulting in some respects is less appealing than ever. It’s time for a change. We want to move back to B.C. We are outdoorsy, mountain loving folk and we miss it. B.C. will be home again. Before it becomes that though we knew we needed a break. We need to “find ourselves” again and put some perspective on life. We need an adventure. We need to spend time with each other and with our much-loved furry friends experiencing new things. So, with that in mind we set out to travel and explore a bit of the U.S.A. prior to our move to B.C.
Planning for the Adventure
If it was just the two of us we’d throw a tent and the usual camping gear in the back of the truck and hit the road. But it isn’t. We have 4 dogs. Yes, 4. And none of them fit in Angela’s purse. Erika, a 12-year-old black lab that thinks she’s 2. Jake is a 9-year-old Australian Shepherd – he’s awesome but he’s also an asshole. Rubix is another Aussie, she is 5 and has the energy of 5 other dogs in her at all times. And then there’s Gus. Gus is a 2 or 3 year old Great Pyranese mix (border collie maybe?) that sort of landed in our lap and has stayed, and he’s scared of the world. Jake is a jerk to Gus. So we needed an adventure home for the next 5-6 months that would comfortably accommodate 2 adults and 4 dogs (1 asshole). We began looking at travel trailers that would work with some minor modification such as removing the dining table and putting some kennels in place. We found a few that would have worked but upon closer inspection each had issues such as soggy floor, leaky roof, rotten walls and so on. Then we came across a 1973 Streamline.
“Hey Dylan check out this Airstream!” Angela has a thing for Airstreams and VW camper vans. I thought they were cool but I was skeptical. The ad said things like “great shape” and “all original”. I didn’t really want or have time to get into a big project. In July we discussed leaving at the end of October. So that was only 2-3 months to get our shit together. We had to deal with our possessions, be it selling or storage or whatever, wrap up work, find a trailer, modify trailer, get the rest of our shit together and get on the road. Multiple times a day for weeks on end we were scouring the classifieds across 3 provinces looking for “the one”. Finally in mid August I called the guy about his Airstream. “Well it’s not actually an Airstream, it’s a Streamline”. What the hell is a Streamline? Well it’s what you think an Airstream is but a different brand. “But it’s in excellent condition, all original, just has a couple bullit holes in it”. Excuse me? “Ya well it’s been in storage in a yard and some kids decided to use it for target practice. But the holes are just in glass that can be replaced.” So after many questions and a couple days of back and forth with assurances from the seller that it is exactly as he says it is, we agreed on a price and I sent him a deposit to hold it until we could make the 700km trip to pick it up.
2 weeks later we roll into High River, AB to pay the balance on the trailer and take our new future adventure home home. We met the seller at his place and followed him a few blocks to the storage compound to see the trailer. First impressions were good. It appeared straight, the bullit holes weren’t as bad as I’d pictured in my head, the tires looked new, and it appeared to be in original condition. Then we went inside. The inside is where the “great shape” stopped. At first glance it wasn’t too bad. A few soft spots on the floor, mostly in the corners, appliances were rough looking (I still have no idea if they worked), the bathroom needed a serious cleaning, and it seemed the front 7 feet was missing whatever was supposed to be there (chairs? booth? couch?). After a fairly thorough inspection Angela and I got back in our truck to discuss. There was no way we were paying what we’d previously agreed to. But it was cool. It was really cool. Thoughts of what it could be overwhelmed the reality of how much work it would be. But we just drove 700km and the seller has a sizable deposit that I have a feeling he’d already spent. So, we negotiated further until reaching a number I was comfortable with considering the extra repairs needed. 700km later we had the beast back home. We were excited! What did we get ourselves into?
The real work begins.
to be continued…