Sunday, October 28, 2007

Have Trailer, Will Travel

We’re officially the owners of a 2008 Tango Model 299 travel trailer, 30-feet, six-inches of train to tug around the country in search of excitement and adventure.

This afternoon, we went out to the dealer to sign the paperwork and make it official. Of course, we got there in plenty of time, but they were backed up so it took an hour for us to get into the finance office. During that time, we wandered around the lot and checked out a bunch of trailers, which was nice to look at a bunch of other trailers I’m glad we didn’t get, including the uber-expensive posh Airstreams (which I love, but don’t not enough for the price tag). We also came across our Tango, sitting by the repair bay, waiting for its turn to get upgraded to our specifications.

The first Tango trailer I saw when we rounded the corner of the sales office was huge, a giant monstrosity taking up nearly my entire field of vision. Of course, I’m exaggerating, but it was extremely long and endlessly tall. Seeing it, my heart fluttered a little, thinking that there was no way we were going to be able to navigate that thing down the street much less across the country. It was huge, but it turned out to be another model, the 35-foot 311. I felt relief to actually see my own trailer sitting there, a few feet shorter and not so… looming.

It still looked pretty big though, and I don’t know how the hell I’m going to be able to put my truck in reverse with that thing attached to the back. I’ve never been good at backing up with a trailer attached, but perhaps I haven’t had enough practice; it’s the whole left-right, opposite directions thing that gets me. In the back of my mind, I heard the words of Desi Arnez from “Long, Long Trailer” saying, “I wasn’t sure if I was pulling it, or it was pushing me…” I’ve been hearing a lot of Desi Arnez in my mind lately.

A few days ago, I marked out 30 feet in chalk in the street in front of our house just to get an idea of how much space it will take up when we bring it home for a couple of weeks before our first grand outing. If it sticks out in front of our driveway by a few feet, the tail end still reaches the mailboxes. Plus, the 20-feet eight-inches of the truck makes for one long rig, 51 feet, two inches. And it’s roughly six tons of vacation rolling down the highway. Lookout!

In the long run, I’m glad we had the extra hour to wait. Kara was bored silly and the kids were getting a little impatient, understandably, but it gave me a little time to go over the trailer. Since we take delivery on it next Saturday, I was glad to find a couple of flaws that needed to be fixed (there was a paint chip and some bubbling on the wallpaper where it meets the window and a piece of window rubber was loose). They were nothing big, but it would have bugged me endlessly if I had to live with them for any short amount of time. Plus, I don’t want to have to go back.

Once we were called upstairs, I got out my pen and was able to practice my signature about 40 times. It was like buying a house and a car at the same time.

With any new “big ticket” item, the finance guy, just like at a car dealership, urged me to buy the extended warranty. It would have added five extra years onto the regular warranty but only covered the appliances and the mechanics of the trailer, the things that will probably outlive the life of the whole thing. I said no, of course, because if there is nothing worse than taxes, fees, upgrades, fines or extra charges, it’s extended warranties. In my experiences, it’s a crock, a scam to eek more money out of you. If something going to break, it’s going to do it within the first year or after the sixth, never in between, and if it was for the good of the customer, it would be a 10-year extended warranty, during the timeframe when things actually fail. It was over two grand, plus interest. If the fridge breaks, then I’d rather pay to have it fixed, instead of paying for something to be fixed and have it never break. After I said no he tried to cater to my sensitivities by telling me that it is transferable to the next owner, but what do I care about the next owner, I asked myself. I’m selling him something I no longer want, and I no longer want it for a specific set of reasons; therefore, I obviously don’t much care about him. Why should he get a warranty for “free” that I so dearly paid for?

To celebrate, we went out to dinner—yes, Chili’s—and had to wait there too, over a half hour. Criminy! Doesn’t anyone eat at home anymore? We never wait at Chili’s. We have our own table there, with our names on it, and all the servers come by to say hello. Actually, for a while there, Natalie and I were after-dance-class regulars on Friday, so much so, that we hardly ever had to officially order. I got to actually say, “We’ll have the usual” and have it mean something.

Anyway, we are the official owners of our trailer today… now we need a place to go. We were going to go to Carpentaria with our friends Scott, Melanie and Grant, but it was booked solid for the three-day weekend coming up. We may just wait a week and go somewhere more local and not so crowded… after all, it is our first time and we want it to be gentle.

Any ideas?

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