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Fast Forwarding Through a History-Movie of Domestic Comfort

These days I frequently fall asleep to "Star Trek, Original Series." One episode, from the first season, relates well to my current project of converting a cargo trailer into a travel trailer. The episode was called "City of Tomorrow," starring Joan Collins. Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy encounter a "Time Portal" on some planet. It played images of the past at high speeds. The "Guardian" explained that they could jump through the portal when they saw an appealing image from the past, and off they would go to that time and place. 

At one point during the playback of images of the past, Kirk said, "Strangely compelling, isn't it?" And indeed it was, and is.

This is one of the "profoundly satisfying" benefits of converting a cargo trailer. You get to experience something rather like the Star Trek episode, above. 

(Rather than give the readers a blow-by-blow account of my cargo-trailer-conversion, I refer them to the discussion forum on the topic. What the discussion forum fails to do is explain the nature of the satisfactions of this process.)

As an example of this "Time Portal" game, consider this week's project of a bug screen or screen door. As always, I try to avoid mindlessly imitating the RV industry, which only cares about the point-of-sale; they don't care about actually trying to live in one of their over-priced, maintenance-intensive, hard-to-camp pieces of crap. I try to back off, look at the historical context, and ask where the point of Diminishing Returns is. 

When did metal wire screens become the middle-class norm? 1900 or so? How awful it must have been in the summer in buggy areas to be constantly whacking at insects, or to live in a hot, stifling house with poor ventilation. It must have been one of those quiet revolutions, such as the graveling of dirt roads. Ahh, to have a large screened porch in that era!

Soon I'll be installing a window. Of all the undesirable things that the RV industry does, putting in too many (single pane) windows probably tops the list. (It helps them at the point-of-sale.)

It probably surprises most people when they first learn that ancient Rome had no glass windows. Stone huts all over the world just had small openings to let in light. I wonder when they started covering the windows with light cloth? When people finally started using glass windows, the glass wasn't the optically perfect "float" glass that we use today. It had bad distortions that you can still see in original buildings from the 1800s.

Perhaps Wikipedia gives a history of "The Window." All I know is that a single-pane window is a mixed blessing: yea it let's light in, but it's only one step better than a hole in the wall when it comes to insulation.

Looking through the curb-side door towards the driver's side of the cargo trailer. The kitchen and desk (to the right) are about done.

The propane cooktop was turned sideways to open up a "huge" chopping area between the cooktop and the (single basin) sink. I will take a navy shower in the "foyer" between the door (camera) and the kitchen, using the same flexible hose and garden spray-head that will function as the kitchen faucet. The water pump is underneath the kitchen counter.


edlfrey said…
So, will you have only one small window? It will be double paned? What is the counter top made of? Where will the propane bottle be sited?
So many questions so little time. I do think you are going to be finished with the conversion and gone before I come through Farmington however. It looks like you are making good progress.
I forgot your schedule. But I won't leave Farmington before 18 May.
edlfrey said…
Will not drive through there until 11 June. I'll then be staying in Chama, NM for a month.
Bob Giddings said…
If all you want are light and air, put in a number of vents. Even on the side. Hey, they leak air, but they are deep set, and in the winter you can shove a pillow in there.

It is handy to be able to see what is outside without opening a door and inviting it in, but for that all you need is a series of arrow slits. :o)
edlfrey said…
A change of topic but something that all boondockers may find interesting.

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Forest Service can no longer charge fees for visitors who simply park and explore in undeveloped areas of the Cleveland, Los Padres, Angeles and San Bernardino national forests.
The Orange County Register says the decision is a victory for four hikers who contended that Southern California forests were improperly requiring them to buy an Adventure Pass even when they didn't use any developed facilities.
The Forest Service is reviewing last week's ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Terry Hatter Jr. In the meantime, visitors can park for free unless they use amenities like toilets or picnic tables.
The regional pass costs $5 a day or $30 annually.
The Forest Service has been overhauling fees nationwide, spurred in part by similar lawsuits.