14 Jul Scott: An Atypical Home On Wheels
Scott Clark shares about American Quality’s trailer manufacturing, and his family’s homemade RV trailer.
I’ve been waiting for a rainy day to tell you all about how American Quality passes the time during the winter but the fact is—we had to get out of Texas, Oklahoma, and most of Kansas before we ever ran into that wet stuff that falls from the sky.
This post follows up with Jada’s recent posts about Spartan RV trailers quite nicely as she mentioned that those durable, roomy Spartan trailers seen around the harvest trail are just about non-existent and many crews are beginning to build their own crew campers from semi trailers. She also mentioned that many crews are purchasing the Luxury by Design brand of RV trailers. My father worked with that camper manufacturer for over a decade and produced floor plan designs for the company that would accommodate harvest crews. Luxury by Design produced some of the largest, modern bumper pull and fifth wheel RV trailers largely because of our vision and demand for a larger trailer. We designed, produced frames, or delivered over 110 camper trailers over the years.
Although we’ve bought Luxury by Design trailers for years, we eventually had to produce our own unit to accommodate our needs and gain the quality and durability not seen in the trailer industry these days. We also found that our previous trailers were so large that it was a stressful job for a one-ton pickup to tow them across the country. A poor used semi-truck market and increasing pickup prices helped us make a decision to build our own trailer—and build one we did. During the harvest run of 2008, we developed a sketch on a napkin and then purchased the steel needed to build the 12,000 pound frame that winter. In 2009, we refined our napkin blueprint and invested in the wood, siding, and interior components to build the box of the trailer.
We built it in our spare time. You’ll see from the pictures that we were building combine trailers, header trailers, spraying crops, farming, cutting wheat, putting equipment together, and running trucks over the road throughout the process. Our trailer is 10 foot wide and spans nearly 60 feet long. It has four slideouts on hydraulic cylinders and they open the living room up to 18 feet on the inside providing 960sq.ft of livable space. The floor is 1¼ inch thick plywood while the slideouts are constructed of square tubing with ¾ inch plywood floors. Two-by-fours form the wall studs and 52-2×8 rafters tie it all together in the ceiling. The enormous size and feat of producing such a ship had people all over the Midwest talking about the project, and stopping by the shop to check out the progress during its production. Now complete, the unit turns heads in every town we pass through. It would cost well over $150,000 to have a manufacturer build this unit, but good luck finding someone to attempt such a project for that price. Our trailer makes living on the road eight months of the year just a little easier.
Jada mentioned many harvesters are building living quarters in semi trailers. We too have an older reefer trailer sitting at our shop and will outfit it to sleep 8 crew members this next winter. The reefer trailer is well insulated and will provide a good foundation for us to begin working with. I’d have to say I’m glad we’ve got a starting point on this project and don’t have to start from scratch.
Take a look at the pictures of the production process of our shop built RV.
To feed a small army, we must keep lots of food on hand. We reinforced the slideout to withstand the weight of the refrigerator and freezer.
Trailer houses always seem to be short on cabinet space, but we shouldn’t have an issue with our new trailer.
The ice maker might just be the best feature of our trailer.
The living room and office area is 16 foot long and 18 foot wide.
See the trailer built from the ground up on our Facebook page in Scott’s photo album “Home Away From Home.”
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All Aboard 2011 is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.
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