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Adam S. 06-02-2009 09:26 PM

9 Attachment(s)
Pictures are at the bottom of this post

These have been some crazy days. As some of you know, I've been searching furiously for a trailer for a few weeks now. Yesterday morning an ad pops up on the phoenix craigslist -- 2002 Casita 13' standard, $5900. I call immediately. They say they have several interested buyers. How can I get this trailer?

It's monday at 9:30am, Phoenix is a nine hour drive. (I'm an hour north of durango, co.) I have to be back to work the next day. So what do I do? I say I'm leaving within the hour, I'll be there by 6:30 phoenix time.

So I get the cash and I'm off. Leery about the 18 hours of driving required, I do my best to shut off my brain and just enjoy the scenery. I drive a little faster than I should -- most of navajo nation was a blur. Through Tuba City, now there is a name! To flagstaff and finally into the valley. 98 degrees! Too hot!!! Here at 9500 feet, we develop little tolerance for anything above 80!

I find the house, the trailer is there. There is someone else to look at a different trailer. The seller was a small time dealer, buying at auctions and reselling. I wonder what they paid for the casita?

The trailer looks good. Could use some sprucing up, the carpet needs shampooed, some oddities, but overall a solid trailer. I wonder about the rust on the frame but note that some of their other similar year trailers have the same type of rust. But wait, it isn't a 2002 like the ad said, it's a 2001! Whoops said the seller. This annoyed me. They agreed to give me $500 off, so the price is down to $5400. This made me happy. They also threw in a ball for my hitch (I didn't have one) and a wiring adapter so I can make it home.

We go over the paperwork, the title. I'm pretty scared about handing over all that cash. Do you know how long it takes a 27 year old to save $5400 on top of paying health insurance, school loans, 401(k)s? Handing over the cash was the hardest part! I think, maybe instead of this one I'll settle for an '82 that could use some work. Then I rationalize the purchase -- if we don't use it, I can resell it for what I paid, easily.

So we come to an accord and hook up the trailer. The lights don't work. So we go to uhaul and they were closed but hooked us up anyways. I guess the adapter wasn't grounded right. I'm pulling with a 2004 forester, standard engine, 4 prong adapter. The casita has a seven prong. So I'm not getting breaks or power, no biggie, I'll deal with that later.

Then comes the endless drive home. I'm learning how to pull a trailer (new for me!). On the drive up to flagstaff (mostly a 6% grade) i try to go 75 mph, the speed limit. I'm hitting 5k rpms, 1k away from redlining. I fill up and see I was getting 10mpg! Oh my. After this, I cool off and drive based on RPMs, trying to keep them below 3k. MPG goes up to 20. Much better (the forester usually gives me 26-27 with no trailer).

I'm in the middle of navajo nation and the gas situation isn't looking so good, I have about 80 miles left on the tank (if you've been through here, you know 80 miles won't necessarily make it to a station!). The two gas stations I pass are closed. The anxiety keeps me awake better than when I would roll the window up and down, trying to wake myself with the fresh air. Am I going to get stuck in the middle of the desert at 3am with no cell phone service? I bring the RPMs down to 2k, my speed is around 40 or 45mph. I go further than I think I can. I remember the episode of Seinfeld with Kramer and the car salesman driving on 'E.'

The low fuel light goes on. This means I have about 12 miles left. And then, over the horizon, I see the 24-hour Indian reservation casino and truck stop. After having been in the desert for 5 hours and running so close to empty, the indian casino looked like Paris. I was saved.

Somehow I made it home. It's 5:45 am. I left at 10:15am the day before. 19 hours. 1000 miles. Two hours sleep and back to work.

So here are the pictures.

I have two questions, maybe I'll make separate threads. First, the trailer didn't come with a battery. It is stored under the seat where there are three leads that I assume are for the battery (see picture). But I don't know what kind of battery to buy and don't see any specifics in the manual. Also, won't the battery move around?

Well, if you've made it this far in my post, I'm impressed. This forum has been incredibly valuable as I searched for the right trailer. I made it to work today after two hours of sleep and I'm about five minutes from crashing hard. Night!

Oh, and my wife approves. But that's another story!

Donna D. 06-02-2009 09:31 PM

Let the memories begin!!!!! Congratulations... see... things happen for a reason. Everything fell into place, gas station right where you needed it... all of it. :woohoo:

Randya 06-02-2009 09:38 PM

The Mrs. approval is 3/4's the battle! :D Thanks for sharing your story and photos, looks like a nice trailer!

Alf S. 06-02-2009 09:48 PM

Hi: Adam S... My bet is the dealer wishes he had an even dozen "EGGS". Looks a great deal, with a little spit&polish. Welcome to the world o' "GLASS".
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie :wave

Roy in TO 06-02-2009 10:07 PM

Way to go!
Once you get some ZZZZ's you can change the trailer type in your profile. I had a hard time seeing those pictures of the invisible one.

Frederick L. Simson 06-02-2009 10:27 PM


Do you know how long [b]it takes a 27 year old to save $5400 on top of paying health insurance, school loans, 401(k)s? Handing over the cash was the hardest part!

Somehow I made it home. It's 5:45 am. I left at 10:15am the day before. [b]19 hours. 1000 miles.
:goodposting: I'll be [b]54 on Sunday. Handing over the cash is easy. Driving 1000 miles in 19 hours and still going to work afterward is the difficult part! :exactly:

David & Leslie 06-03-2009 12:30 AM

Hey, Adam & Mrs. - congrats on your perseverance in finding a nice Egg. And thanx for sharing your great trip report too. We wish you safe travels and many, many happy memories! Take care - L 'n D

And yes, Frederick, one's perspective DOES change as one approaches "Geezer-hood" :wink

CindyL 06-03-2009 04:58 AM

Nice trailer. Looks like the cat approves too.


james kent 06-03-2009 05:39 AM

Hi Adam
Both a great story and great pictures.
Let your adventure begin.

Gilles D 06-03-2009 05:41 AM

Life is so wonderfull! Isn't it? He got reward for 27 years of hard labor! Now every time you get back from work you will see your "reward" in your drive way waiting for your next adventure and she's so beautiful and so shiny and so....Well your not dreaming this time... :woohoo:

Congratulations Adam, I wish you 27 years of pleasure with your rig! :thumb

And for the battery question.. :wink For inside you need a sealed battery. (AGM)

Bonnie 06-03-2009 06:47 AM

Welcome Adam and Mrs. The deep-cycle battery you get at a marine or rv or auto store. They should also have tie downs or other options for keeping it in place. :okra

Steve Dunkel 06-03-2009 06:54 AM

Nice looking trailer Adam and congrats. on the purchase and surviving the trip home. I would be willing to bet that your experience will be one of the most memorable.

jeff isaacson 06-03-2009 08:06 AM

Nice story! and Good goin' Adam..I'm sure the TWO of you will share in the enjoyment your new purchase..
Happy Trails..Jeff I.

Pat C 06-03-2009 02:51 PM

:goodposting: I really enjoyed reading about your adventure.We went through much the same thing when we finally found our little egg.I know you will enjoy yours as much as we do ours.Many happy adventures and memories are in your future.Enjoy....Pat.

Greg A 06-03-2009 05:20 PM

Very nice find. Sure beats the drive to Alabama... :blink
Enjoy camping!

BOBSMITH 06-03-2009 06:57 PM

Wow! You really wanted that Casita!!!

Congratulations. The photos are got a very good trailer!

And, yes, you could resell it, no problem.

Ian-Vicki 06-03-2009 08:17 PM


:goodposting: I'll be [b]54 on Sunday. Handing over the cash is easy. Driving 1000 miles in 19 hours and still going to work afterward is the difficult part! :exactly:
:exactly: AMEN, Frederick. And hey Adam, male sure the cat gets to go along too. Our pair come with us and we really enjoy them. The cats too, I think.
p.s. at 54, yer still a pup, Frederick!

Robin G 06-03-2009 09:10 PM

1 Attachment(s)

:goodposting: I'll be [b]54 on Sunday. Handing over the cash is easy. Driving 1000 miles in 19 hours and still going to work afterward is the difficult part! :exactly:
LOL Frederick, I am with you! Happy Birthday!

Adam, You did great! Congrat's and Enjoy! Now get camping! Thanks for posting the pics! Robin

Bill McKeag 06-05-2009 03:09 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Congratulations on your find, and what a story on the adventure to get it!! I am sure you will have many years of fun with it. A special welcome to the world of little 13í FGRVís. Most folks go for the ďbigĒ trailers, not too many of us have the smallest.

I feel like we havenít really addressed your questions about the battery. As previously mentioned you need a deep cycle RV/Marine type battery. Casita provides as original equipment a group 27 battery, typically rated at 100-110 amp-hours. The type of battery is a trade off, an AGM battery is an excellent choice for inside the trailer, especially if it is in an awkward place for maintenance. The down side is expense, $300+ last time I looked, assuming you can find someone who stocks them and donít have to have it shipped (more $$$). For <$100 you can get a conventional flooded battery (still need a deep cycle). I got mine at Costco. Conventional batteries require maintenance (keep the water level up) and must be vented to the outside. The important part, regardless of type and size, is that it be deep cycle.

This brings me to the picture you posted of the missing battery. I am not entirely sure where that is, but, it looks like the back left corner of the trailer. That is where the battery is in my 2002 deluxe (you would think very similar to a 2001). Of course, I also have the water pump and water heater under that same bench making it much more crowded. What puzzles me is that I donít see any mounting for the battery despite what sure look like battery connections coming from the wiring harness. Casita would never build a trailer with the battery just floating around loose on the floor, very dangerous. This makes me wonder if the Patriot standard came with a battery that year (as I read Casita's web site, they currently do), or, was it added to the trailer later. In any case, the following two pictures show how the battery is mounted in my Patriot. The plastic battery box holds the battery. The box is secured to the floor and has vents in the top and bottom of the box. The bottom vent leads through a hole in the floor to a louvered port on the bottom of the trailer. The upper vent has a black plastic hose that leads to a second louvered port in the side of the trailer at the back corner. This arrangement keeps the battery from moving, vents it to the outside, and provides a drain path through the bottom vent in case of leakage. Even if someone had removed the box for some reason, the hole in the floor should still be there and I donít see it in your photo. Another missing item is the circuit breaker. Casita provides a circuit breaker in the positive (black) lead right next to the battery. It is mounted on the floor right in front of the box, you can see it in my first picture.

Attachment 20786

Connections for the battery are quite simple. Black attaches to the positive terminal, white and green to the negative terminal (house wiring color convention, not automotive). It is important that the connectors be sound and tight and that the wire be of heavy gauge (10ga or better). I only bring this up since I am suspicious that possibly your battery doesnít belong in that location and the wiring might be on the light side (can't tell one way of the other from a photo). This picture shows the battery box in my trailer with the top removed to access the battery and itsí connections. You can also see more clearly the vent hose leading to the side port.

Attachment 20785


Adam S. 06-10-2009 02:07 PM

Thanks for all the well-wishes, tips, and et cetera! We took the Casita on her maiden voyage this weekend. Camping and fishing at Ridgway State Park in SW Colorado (about an hour from our house). Camping is a totally different experience when I'm not waking up at 5am with a sore back!

It was a weekend of high winds and rain, which was great for testing out the trailer. No leaks, no real issues. I filled up the water tank on arrival and then drained 90% of it out upon departure. So I learned that I only need an itty bitty amount of water to last two days.

I also learned not to travel with a new block of ice in the ice box. One of our hundred and eighty degree switch backs caused the ice block to thrust open the ice box. No big deal, just resulted in an odd clunk.

The prodigy brake controller has been received and will get installed this weekend. That should make pulling a little easier.

Keeping the RPMs under 3k, I managed over 20mpg in the Subaru (forester).

We're still trying to figure out what to put where inside the Casita. Mostly the cabinets were empty and our clothes strewn all over!

Regarding the battery, I called Casita and the Standard 2001 13' did not include a battery. So that explains the lack of venting. I guess the next owner ran some wires but didn't take the extra step of using a battery box or venting.

Bill McKeag 06-27-2009 09:29 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Some follow up on how Casita installs the battery box in the Patriot. Two pictures of the top and bottom battery box vent louvers.

Top vent:

Attachment 21216

Bottom vent:

Attachment 21217

If you look carefully at this photo you can see two ground wires exiting the floor of the trailer and attaching to the frame. This provides grounding of the electrical systems to the trailer frame.


Phil Underwood 06-29-2009 04:43 PM

congrats and welcome to the family

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