As we fired up the truck to leave that night, we realized that our flatbed trailer lights weren’t working. On the way down, they had been working in reverse – when the truck signaled left, the trailer signaled right, and vice versa – but at least they were working. We couldn’t wrestle them into submission and it was really getting late, so we just decided to leave and drive carefully. Fortunately, we’d planned to stay a night at a nearby hotel and drive back up to Alabama the following day, so we could take some time the next morning to get things working again, as well as adjust the chains and straps for a tighter hold.
We went just a couple of miles to find a nearby hotel and as luck would have it, we passed a police car right as we turned into the parking lot. He pulled up alongside us and Ben hopped out, apologizing for the problem with the lights. The officer dismissed it with a wave of his hand, grinning like a kid at Christmas. “Where’d you get that thing?!” When we told him it had been just around the corner all this time, he said, “Dang, I sure wish I’d known about that!” He walked around the trailer and peeked inside, just fascinated with the whole thing. He kept muttering things like, “You’ve got yourselves a cherry!” and “That thing’ll shine like a new dime!” He was so enthralled that he left his coke sitting on the wheel well of the flatbed and came running back over to retrieve it before we could take off and send it flying.
The next morning at the hotel, I woke up early, excited about our new ‘baby.’ I ran to the window and peeked out. Yup, there she was in the early morning twilight. She didn’t gleam like the restored, highly-polished ones, but the mossy patina gave her an endearing quality all her own.
Driving back on the 4th of July in the patriotic deep South, it was fun to see people’s reactions to this piece of Americana floating down the highway, being given a new lease on life.
A family passed us up towing another Airstream, one of the big, newer models. They had their cameras out, snapping pictures of our cute little vintage trailer, and we caught eyes and grinned and waved. It was like a big happy family.