A longish story. Those who know me, know that I'm not one to use 10 words if 1000 will do.
In the spring of '05, shortly after buying my first FGRV (and first RV, at that) I'm driving along I-84 through Ontario, Oregon at about 70 mph. Across 4 lanes of traffic, a fence, a frontage road, and what looks like a back yard, I see the unmistakable shape of a molded fiberglass trailer. I don't know what it is, because until then I've only seen Scamps, Casitas, and one Li'l Bigfoot
in the wild. (Pictures don't count.). The only thing I'm sure of is that it is bigger than mine, and it looks sort of sad and neglected. I think briefly about stopping and having a look, but I'm in a hurry with almost 400 miles to go. I'd have to pull off at the next exit and go exploring to find it. Time-consuming, that would be. "Next time." I think.
Seems like I make the round trip between Salt Lake and Portland 3-4 times a year. For the next 4 years, every trip I look to see if it's there, and it is ...still sad and neglected, and I still don't recognize it. And each trip I say to myself "No time. Next trip. This time I really mean it.". And of course, each trip I don't stop. So many miles, so little time. In 2006 it disappears at first glance, but no, it's hiding behind an Arctic Fox that wasn't there before, with just its nose poking out.
Last month, just before the Oregon Gathering, I'm coming back from Salt Lake. As I'm passing the trailer, I glance at the time. **GASP** I'm ahead of schedule! I look to the right -- my wife is asleep. I look at the sky -- no rain. Not too hot, either. It's never going to get better than this, opportunity-wise. I take the next exit, find the frontage road, backtrack a couple of miles, and there it is: a molded FGRV that I absolutely don't recognize. At all. And by now I've seen most of them live. Hmmm. I park in the shade so that the sleeping wife doesn't par-boil, and climb out to have a look.
I poke around the trailer a little. It's sitting in a carpark attached to a 5-home mobile home park. I'm not smart enough to always have a camera with me, but the Palm Pilot has a camera in it. Not great but better than nothing, so I take some snaps. Then I go into the junk .....sorry, collectibles........store next door and ask if they know the owner. "Yep, he lives in the blue mobile over there. You'll like him."
Emboldened by the many tales on the forum of people finding neglected trailers and knocking on doors, I knock on the door of the blue mobile home. An elderly gentleman answers and welcomes me in. This surprises me a little, it being 2008 and all, but I enter a neatly kept living room. Turns out the gentleman has very poor vision, and perhaps thought I was someone else. At any rate, I introduce myself and ask to look at his trailer. He digs out his keys (a lengthy process) and out we go. He shows me around the outside again, and then we go in and poke around some more. He doesn't know when it was built, only the name: Traveleze. Me: "Traveleze? Never heard of it. Hmm. An orphan?" He's not sure of the year, but I find an old diagram in a closet that leads me to believe it's a '73. I'm pretty impressed at the fittings. This was a high-end trailer for an FGRV of the era: Fridge
, shower and toilet, big gaucho bed, 4-person dinette, 4 burner stove with oven, double sink, tile backsplash in the galley. The interior is entirely stick built. Nice. No mold or mildew. Well-used, but not abused. Some minor damage on the outside, and the door frame is separating, and the rather bad amateur paint
job looks like the heartbreak of psoriasis, but not bad overall.
Would he be interested in selling the trailer, I wonder. Turns out the gentleman and his wife were Rv'ers before I was born, and always had a trailer or motorhome. In the past few years they had to downsize several times due to her difficulties getting around. Finally he purchased this little guy because it was close to the ground and was easier for her to get into. Unfortunately, she entered a nursing home, and the trailer hasn't moved in 2 years. He's definitely interested in selling, but he feels the need to consult with the wife, because it's really sort of hers in his mind. I agree completely and suggest that I'll call in a couple of weeks. Sounds good to him, we shake hands and off I go.
By the way, I did like him. Very pleasant fellow.
I wake up the wife. "I want that trailer!" We negotiate for 100 miles and come to equitable terms. So, I call in a couple of weeks, and he hasn't been able to get to the nursing home yet. Meanwhile, I do some research on the Internet, talk with Fred Simson and others at Bandon, and decide that I think I've found an orphan prototype from Traveleze's short-lived Boise factory that never got fielded because of the gas crisis in 1973. I call a week later, and he has talked to the wife, she wants to sell, and we come to a fair price. I'll admit to paying a little more than I should have (but not much), because I don't want anyone thinking I took advantage of "an 87-year-old blind guy", as he describes himself. Especially not me -- I have to shave once in a while, after all and it's hard without looking in the mirrior.. A 2-day road trip later, I've got the trailer home.
With the title
in hand, I learn it's not a '73, it's a '67. It is a Traveleze, but it's not fiberglass. It's "Royalex". It's one of about 100 molded trailers that Traveleze made in conjunction with U.S. Rubber (Uniroyal) in '65 & '66. When I got close enough to that diagram that misled me from deep in the electrical
cabinet, I see that the "73" referred to something else entirely.
So, instead of an old MFGRV, I've found an old MPPRV. (Petroleum Product.
) Still pretty cool. And nice lines, I think.
A few numbers:
Length: 18' (bumper to hitch)
Width: 7' (includes a structural bulge)
Height: 8' 1" (minus vents of various sorts)
Interior width: 81" (ignoring the bulge)
Interior Length: 178" (still ignoring that bulge)
Interior height: 74.5" (Depends where you measure, but max 74.5")
: 3440lb (at Port of Vancouver commercial scales) Not a lightweight -- a lot of iron on board.
My copilot for most of the trips mentioned: