Packrats – the original hoarders…

My latest projectThis week we bought two used tires to replace the dry-rotted tires on the trailer, which was parked temporarily at Mike and Tami’s.

Mike has an impact wrench and a heavy-duty hydraulic jack, which made changing tires almost a cinch. I say almost – the original trailer tires had a slim profile, which allowed them to slide under the sides of the trailer easily.  The modern profile tires proved a bit of a challenge to squeeze into a space into which they di not really fit.  The first wheel evoked quite a bit of cursing on my part – but after we figured out the trick, the second side went much more smoothly.

Packrats love to collectSince the trailer has no tags – hell, we have to apply for the title, long-lost, and possessing only a bill of sale – Liz and Mike followed me as I towed it the five miles to our yard. It also doesn’t have any working lights, as the packrats – more on them in a moment – had chewed all of the wiring bare.

The chassis is solid, and the trailer tracked behind the truck nicely. It is now parked in our yard, and I began the tedious process of cleaning the debris collected by the packrats.

IMG_7794Packrats are hoarders – as evidenced by these photos. They love to collect anything – I even found a dried dog turd in one of the piles. They filled all of the drawers with old cactus fruits and cholla burrs. Packrats are even known to drop one prize in exchange for another, as they forage.

I began dismantling the kitchen counters today. The sink is classic yellow, porcelain, and in excellent condition – though it is difficult to see that through the years of accumulated dirt. The plumbing is copper, and this relic will definitely be salvaged for the renovation.

The oven/range is a single unit, and will be the next to be removed. It appears to be in perfect working condition – the only way to tell will be when I test it out. The fridge is actually an icebox – and I am debating on whether or not to re-use it. It will serve our needs.

All of the louvered windows are intact and operational – and that is a relief.  the less I have to replace, and the more original hardware I can salvage, the better. The screen door will require some TLC, but can be restored.

The first order of business is to gut the interior so that I can see what dirty work will be necessary to shore up the walls. I fear that some of the wood frame will require replacement, which will tax my modest capentry skills. All of the cabinetry is solid, with only cosmetic work being required.

After gutting, the wiring for the driving andmarker lights will have to be roughed in, and then a new floor installed. The inside is a mish-mash of copper lines for the propane lights – which will be ripped out.  I am not a fan of gas lights in a wooden tinderbox!

There is a spaghetti bowl of wiring for 120 volt lighting, also getting ripped out, and another complex mess of 12V wiring. I think I will replace all the lights with 12V LED lighting. The outlets will have to be 120V, and I am still studyng up on the best way to incorporate that into the trailer to meet current code. But I am getting way ahead of myself – I still have a ton of rat turds to clean out!

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