Thursday, April 7, 2016

Trailer? I barely even KNOW her...pt. 1



Hello all! I am excited to report that I have procured my trailer and my first batch of supplies for my subfloor installation. 

There was a bit of an end zone scramble there that resulted in a few mistakes on my part. It wasn't a very big deal because I had time on my hands but if I had been on a tighter schedule, I would've been in trouble.


When I initially ordered my trailer back in February, I decided to do a little homework to see if I could get it delivered for cheaper than the $1,300 I was being quoted by Tumbleweed. I found out about uShip and decided to give them a shot. For those of you that don't know, uShip is a website that allows someone who needs something shipped (anything from boxes to vehicles) to post the information online and then shippers will bid on your job. I think the shippers are people who might be returning from a job with an empty load and looking for a way to maximize their time. I'd heard you can get some really good rates from them. 

I set up two bids. One from Colorado to Texas and the other from Florida to Texas as these were the two closest trailer pick up locations. Surprisingly, I received the lowest bids on the Florida bid even though it was slightly further away. I quickly got bids back in the $450-$550 range. That certainly beat $1,300. It seemed this would be the way to go. 

The trailer makers gave me an estimate of early April for my trailer which worked out fine because I had to head out of the country for 2 weeks for work in mid-March. Well, a week before my trip, I received a call saying my trailer would be ready early. Wonderful, right? So I setup another bid through the uShip app, this time for real. To my horror, the bids came in slowly and they were almost TRIPLE the initial bids!!! 



I don't know what happened in the 90 days between my initial search and final bid but there was no way I would pay that much!

So the scramble was on to find alternatives. I thought about renting a pick up truck from Enterprise but they informed me that, although many of their trucks do indeed have tow hitches attached, towing anything was strictly forbidden. Huh?! I then called U-Haul who told me they only allow towing of U-Haul trailers. Information that I have since found is untrue. At any rate, I found that most moving companies also charged a fee for each mile traveled which made a 2,000 mile trip to Florida quite expensive. 

Just as I was about to hit the floor and curl up in the fetal position, in comes my buddy Freddy riding his white horse proclaiming, "Mine own l'rd! I wouldst beest m're than joyous to loan thee mine own SUV f'r thy journey. Verily and such." (Seriously, that's how it happened.) 


See? Told ja!

So, with time running out and my options at about nil, Freddy's 2001 Nissan Pathfinder was going to have to work. It already had a tow hitch receiver on it and we confirmed that it could handle the weight. 

I would be returning from my work trip on Friday and we would have to hit the road to Florida on Saturday to arrive on Monday to pick up my trailer spending one night in Mobile, AL. It was about a 15 hr. drive each way. 



I figured we could take our time driving down, pick up as soon as they open Monday morning and drive all the way back in one day. Oh how mistaken I was. 

Well, Saturday morning arrived and we hit the road. We left a little early so we could stop by AutoZone and purchase the correct size tow hitch ball and the right connectors for the electrical hook up. 



Imagine our surprise when the extremely helpful AutoZone manager, who himself owned a 2000 Pathfinder, told us that even though the SUV had a stock Nissan hitch receiver installed, there was no wiring for the trailer lights. 



No wiring. 

Nothing. 

Ok. No problem...How much can it cost us to install said wiring? (Can you already see the shadow of the shoe that's about to drop?)

Trailer wiring for a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder is a special order item for AutoZone. Our trip is clearly not starting out well. 



We couldn't call the trailer company for advice as they were already closed and wouldn't reopen until Monday morning. So I made the decision to push on to Florida. I was concerned but figured the trailer company would SURELY have what we need or at the very least know how to rig something up. 

The rest of the day and the next went without incident. I got to add Mississippi and Alabama to my list of sates I've been to, bringing my total to 28. 




Monday morning we were up bright and early and at the trailer company when they opened at 8 am. We explained our situation to the first guy who said, "yea no problem. I'm sure we can work this out." He went to consult with his manager who then came out and started with several condescending "How-long-ago-did-you-order-your-trailer?" and "You-drove-2000-miles-without-realizing-your-vehicle-wasn't-wired?" type questions. To which I responded "This-is-not-my-vehicle-I-planned-to-use-uShip-but-that-fell-through-and-uhaul-said-no-and-enterprise-too-can-we-just-work-together-to-solve-the-issue-thanks." 

After that, he lightened up a bit and called around for us. He found a local U-Haul that had what we needed but they couldn't do the install until 10:30 am. 



It was only 8:30 am and we had already checked out of our motel so we headed out to find a coffee shop. 

We headed over to U-Haul at 10:15 am, only to find out they already had a vehicle in the bay and we would have to wait. And wait. And wait. 

Freddy took a nap

Finally, at about 12:30 pm, they finished with our install. We trucked on back to the trailer place, got my trailer hooked up and was on the road in no time. However, in doing the math on our late start, we wouldn't be arriving home until 4 or 5 am. While I was in a hurry to get home, I didn't think it safe to drive that long at those hours of the morning. I decided it was best to stop in Mobile, AL again. 



This seems like a good place to pause for station identification. Stay tuned for "Trailer? I barely KNOW her...pt. 2."

Thanks for stoppin' by!

- Big Jerm

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