Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Trailer Shopping

As I mentioned Friday, we've been trailer shopping.

Saturday morning we made a trip to a trailer dealer, to see what our options were in person. One of the things was the question about ramp steepness that I think I mentioned before.

The trailer the salesman showed us was a tall 5'x8' trailer - nominally 6' tall, which IIRC makes it a smidge shorter on the interior, Ron has to keep his head down a little, but can stand up almost straight. It's only an extra 6" or so in height, but a big difference in comfort for working in it. It also adds that much to the length of the ramp gate, which is not insignificant. The ramp gate also had a nice flip-out extension, which doesn't change the angle you have to push something up, but does make the bump to get up on the ramp much smaller.

The trailer we were looking at was not quite what we wanted, but close enough to see that we liked the brand, and the dealer.

We went through the options on the trailer line in question, and the salesman worked up a price for us: 5x8 trailer, 6' tall, square front (V-front would not be useful, and of questionable benefit in terms of wind resistance), ramp gate, setting the wall studs to 16" instead of 24", thicker interior walls, and adding jacks at the back. Nice stock features include a built-in tongue jack, interior light, roof vent, and stone guards.

Reasonable down payment, rest due on delivery in 3-4 weeks, and the salesman said he could hold it for a bit after it was delivered if necessary.

Then we went home, without ordering.

Well, we did go drool over a really fancy trailer that IIRC the salesman said was used as a Coast Guard recruiting trailer - big trailer, one long side opens out to form a porch floor, with a railing that folds up, and there's a big canopy on the side. The interior, porch, and ramp gate floor are tiled with nice looking linoleum, and there's cabinets built in along the front wall and partly down the other side.

After some other errands, I started work on the books and taxes. Ron figured out a couple bugs in my summary page of my spreadsheets, then I did the business taxes - which is mostly filling in zeroes on the partnership returns for all the things that do not apply. And ranting at changes to the forms after mumble years of only cosmetic changes.

I had originally planned to be done at that point, but I decided that since the day was shot anyway, I'd forge on ahead and do our taxes. TurboTax makes it easier, but I still end up ranting.

E-filed both Federal and State, somewhere around dinner time. Not getting as much back as we did last year, but IIRC last year's return included a stimulus payment, and in 2010 we'd donated a lot of books to the library, and replaced a furnace that was probably 40 years old with a modern model that's something like 95% efficient to the tune of multiple $K, and within a tax-incentive window.

The return will be enough, with what I already had set aside for a possible down payment, so yesterday I called the dealer and ordered a trailer. The color choices were black, white, red, silver, dark metallic grey, and "light pewter metallic", which is what we ordered. It looks a bit brownish on our computer monitors, but we'll see how it comes out. I also added a spare tire - we've been living dangerously in that regard for a number if years, it was a prudent addition.

The first thing we plan to do once we get the trailer home is to paint the interior white. Then we'll probably give it a second coat. It's amazing how much of a difference having white walls makes, as we saw at the dealership.

Then we're planning to add rails such as are found in semis and some rental trucks, which you can attach load bars and all sorts of other brackets to. I started to ask the salesman about getting them installed, and he said if we're reasonably handy that having it done is a waste of money. Well, points to him, and we'll DIY. The rail comes in 10' sections, and Ron's thinking that we'll use the cutoffs, which should end up 2' plus a bit long, to support a shelf across the front, for things like the tool bag and the Rubbermaid bins we're still using (and which aren't too heavy).

And just because that's the way the universe is, this morning the truck started acting up, just enough to tell Ron that it probably wants a trip to John & Scott's (our local good garage). Growf.

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