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Finders Keepers

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Second move for the Airstream Safari in 6 years

Sunday’s transport of the Safari to A&P Vintage Trailer Restoration went off without a hitch … almost. Is it okay to say “without a hitch” when talking trailer lingo?

I had lowered the trailer onto the hitch of the Toyota fully expecting the 500-pound tongue weight to take the rear of the Toyota to the ground. I was mostly shocked when that didn’t happen, and instead the weight leveled out the car’s rear and made for almost a straight line body mass parallel to the ground. Amazing. It must be the suspension on the Sport version of the 4 Runner that provides the backbone.

The timing was precisely right as far as when to be in transit during a low tide of law enforcement on the road. Nary a peacekeeper was stirring until we hit Decatur, and what must have been a shift change. Still, we made it through town. There was some kind of auto flea market on the outskirts that featured just about every domestic classic car, mostly in rusted pieces, on trailers, and in piles. The wind blew dust clouds through that event, and that was enough to keep us from thinking about stopping on the way back through.

At the end of the line at A&P Vintage Trailer

WE breezed to Cottondale, actual town where A&P Vintage is located, with only a couple of navigational miscues. The Toyota ran more smoothly with the load than it does without, and although there was high wind, 18-wheelers and rough roads, no anti-sway – none took away from the ride, or took us near a point of danger in this short jaunt.Up the driveway, the last great challenge of the day’s road, and to the end of the distinguished line of Airstreams waiting their turn.

Leslie got out of the car, with no need to kiss the ground, and said, “Hey Shannon, there’s something missing.” Immediate adrenalin for me. “The air conditioner is gone.” Sure enough, daylight was all that was left of where the a.c. on top of the trailer once sat. Gone, as in without a trace. Talk about a sick feeling. Not about losing a great a.c., more about possible damage to others, and probable littering of the Texas roadside – something I hate to see.

Nothing but blue sky through the hole, the third opening in the roof, besides the two vents that came standard. That was another piece of knowledge imparted to us by Paul; our Airstream came stock without an a.c., and a third hole was cut to place the unit near the middle of the trailer. The a.c. was going to “go away” as it were, but I had hoped to dictate the time and place of its final departure.

I knew for a fact that the a.c. was just sitting there sealing the hole from the elements, and had asked Leslie an unnamed helper to re bolt the unit securely using wood to cross over the opening. The key words there are, “cross over.” I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that the unnamed helper had cut a perfect shape piece of plywood to fit precisely in the opening, therefore securing the a.c. to nothing but the board. It was a clean separation, like when the different stages of an Apollo moon shot separate. There was only a telltale scratch extending down the side of the trailer where it fell away once we had separation (down the curbside and probably right out of traffic).

Paul whipped out a quick rain patch, crawled atop the Airstream, and taped it over the hole. Another thing learned; Airstreams would support a person crawling around on the top of them – just try to hit the supports and stay off the hollow spots. I just figured the whole thing would taco, but chalk it up.

We quickly took our leave, and headed back retracing our route in expectation of having to pick up shards of an old brittle plastic trailer a.c.. What we found was nothing. There was not a trace of plastic, compressor, injury or maiming to be found. Relief was unanimous.

Perhaps our future junk was someone’s treasure that day? We’ll probably never know. What I do know is, that this Airstream is turning into our “box of chocolates” a la Forrest Gump.

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