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"Kabloona" at the Four Corners

Last week I went to Utah to pick up my new cargo trailer. It was a long drive, so I decided to spend the night in my tow vehicle (a full-sized van), and pick up the trailer the next morning. How odd that I had never done this before! It was pretty uncomfortable sleeping in the back of a van with four bicycles inside. Nobody wants to roll over in bed and plant their face into a greasy bicycle chain.

But after a bit of obsessing over 'space' I started to grow suspicious that this reaction was too conventional and easy. Perhaps I was mislabeling the problem. The real problem wasn't space per se, tight as it was. The problem was 'transitioning.' 

People (like me) who aren't any good at transitioning can easily dislike conventional travel. It never occurred to me that the problem wasn't travel per se, but rather, packing and unpacking, looking for everything, zipping and unzipping, forgetting stuff, learning and unlearning daily habits, etc.

The real breakthrough in RVing comes when you are done transitioning, once and for all. Do you think that the general public of wannabees appreciates that? They probably think that 'practical' issues are the big thing. But I'm here to tell you that a human being can get used to just about anything, as long as there is some routine to daily life. If you live in a certain box, night after night, your habits conform to the opportunities and limitations. You make daily improvements.

And with that, I picked up my new little white box in the morning. It might be my home for the rest of my life. A little white box. It was cold that night in the van, so it was easy for the mind to wander off to igloos and Eskimaux. I thought about the book, "Kabloona, The White Man." It was written by a French anthropologist about his time with the Eskimaux, just after World War II.

Did they obsess over space "problems" in their igloos, or did they have more important things to worry about? As I spent all last week converting my new little white box, I couldn't get Kabloona out of my mind. I was Kabloona, living and working in the storage area of an RV park in Farmington, NM. It's not exactly a "rez" town, but it is surrounded by Indian reservations.

Some of the Navajos have strange habits. They are camping, sleeping in their cars, and loitering in "my" storage area. They haven't caused any problems for me, but I wonder what their arrangement is, with the RV park owner. I am the only Kabloona hanging out back here.

A couple days ago, an old cycling friend and her significant other came to visit me at this RV park. She was the one who recommended the Kabloona book to me, years ago.

Shot from the stern, looking towards the bow. Plywood comes off so that insulating foamboard can be put in the walls and under floor. Recall that readers who are interested in more details can read a discussion forum on this topic at


John V said…
Be sure to insulate the roof as well. That .03 aluminum is hot in the summer and cold in the winter!
It's probably too late but you can almost double your R values by using Polyisocyanurate board (over "Blue board). It's also known as polyiso and is typically used with a foil facing and it has an R value of 7.0 to 8.0 per inch of thickness. The reflective foil facing makes it an excellent insulation board when radiant heat is involved.
Wayne (Wirs) said…
I hope you go into some detail on your build as a cargo trailer is on my list of possible upgrades to my van if I either take on a significant other or start holding retreats.

For example, one of the things I would have done differently on the van would have been to lay in wood studs and placed the insulation between them, rather than laying insulation directly over the metal studs. I can't tell you how difficult it is to find and get a screw into a metal stud buried beneath an inch of R-Max.
Bon vivant said…
Ditto on the polyiso. I thought that immediately when I saw the blue foam boards. I did my entire Sprinter, almost, in it and just discovered, after coming to TX, that it's so well insulated I'm better off keeping the glass up and vent shut than open/running! Wayne may be able to find the studs with a rented IR gun. I've never seen a cargo trailer > RV conversion in real time. Got a youtube channel??? ;-)
Wayne and Bon Vivant, more details are available on a discussion forum dedicated to cargo trailer conversions,

As always, forums are not fun to read and the information is fractured.

My conversion is similar to what many others have done on that forum.

I'm surprised that someone with your brain horsepower can actually read tnttt
Taken as a whole, has been very helpful. But I admit that it is mentally painful to read, as are most discussion forums.