Friday, October 4, 2019

Pilgrimage to Pilot Mountain: A New Roof for My Tiny Trailer, Part 2

Field repair of the five-inch crack.
Towing the Green Goddess into the Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers facility, I felt like ET returning to the mothership. I felt like clicking my heels and saying, "There's no place like home." Feeling a faint sense of deja vu because I've seen photos of the RTTC headquarters storefront so many times, I introduced myself to Levi Sechrist, and the Goddess was wheeled into the shop.

I pointed out the roof-bash patch ("Tree Limb"), we talked a bit about my trip out ("Pilgrimage 1") and how the Nissan Pathfinder towed the trailer, and then I pointed out where the trailer had leaked and then been caulked by my son-in-law. I had been told a year ago that if there were leaks in the trailer, if were to travel the 850 miles from Iowa to Pilot Mountain, the company would take care of the problem if it were a construction issue. Levi said it would all be fixed, and the company would do it for no charge. I moved to the showroom sofa to write for a couple of hours, asking to be told when the roof was off.

Replacement and insulation.
This is, of course, the time to give a positive shout-out to RTTC and their appreciation of their camper owners and their customer support. For a small company, they are ready and willing to walk the talk regarding standing by their trailers. And remember--I'm the second owner of the trailer, even if the original owners only used it once on the purchase trip from Pilot Mountain to Des Moines. I did find out, though, that only a few campers had been built with fiberglass roofs instead of aluminum during a time of materials shortage. Even though the fiberglass was assured worthy by the manufacturer, RTTC returned to the aluminum roofs when it again became possible.

It was with a bit of trepidation that I watched the crew start stripping down the trailer . . . and it was also heartening to see them work with such authority. Anyone who reads articles and social media comments regularly about the various types of campers and RVs knows that leakage for any type of recreational accommodation is an issue, and constant diligence and maintenance is part of the RV life--and that includes tiny trailers, especially those with kitchen hatchbacks. Hearing Levi explain the solutions and how they were going to do a "4-time seal" of the seams made me feel glad that I'd done my part for the Green Goddess by bringing her in.

The trailer back prepared for the aluminum roof and new diamond plate bottom panel.

Some leakage in the front prompted a replacement of some foundational structure, and in the back the same applied but was more comprehensive, due to both some water damage and also the break in the underlayment from the limb damage. I only took a few quick photographs in order not to intrude with the work.

My work completed, I drove three miles to an EconoLodge for a room and to the Food Lion grocery store to check out what was available for when I was road-ready again. Ah, yes, and a nice little old lady sold me some ice at the local Pinnacle, NC, gas station, necessary with the mid-90s heat. For lunch and dinner I stepped outside my usual food routine and ate at Subway and McDonalds--veggie cheese sub and french fries. That certainly dulled out any nervousness I was feeling. Some reading, some writing, and a little mindless TV, and my 2-star motel was an air conditioned sanctuary away from the heat.

New aluminum roof and caulked seams.

White aluminum roof, silver diamond plating on the bottom for strength, and a new logo.

Levi texted me the next morning, asking if I could come to pick up the trailer around noon to allow time for the caulk to harden. I showed up a little early so I could take a tour and meet everyone. Levi and the crew had fixed all the water damage, added the new white aluminum top, and replaced the back lower white with silver diamond plating (to improve strength). With new caulking and a new roof, the Green Goddess looked brand-spanking new. It was wonderful, and I thank the kindness of RTTC for, as Levi put it, not wanting to run a business where you avoided customers who had questions and issues. No one will ever accuse them of being fair weather friends.

My tour was brief but illuminating. RTTC generates computer designs, which are then coordinated with a CBC machine which utilizes the computer instructions to precision-cut the sidewalls for the trailers to precise shapes and depths. The building has its cabinet shop, and large rolls of aluminum are handy for all RTTC roofs.

Once the computer-generated designs are complete, the CBC machine precisely cuts the sidewalls.

Sidewalls ready for a build.

The cabinet shop.

Aluminum for roofing.

RTTC showroom

I had a great time talking to everyone at RTTC, the whole family and crew. This trip provided me not only a refurbished camper trailer; it also, as the title of this two-part series indicates, was a journey to a special place that has made a difference in my life. Grandpa and Grandma, son and daughter, granddaughter--I ate lunch in the showroom, chatting with everyone, shared camping stories, played "fetch the ball" with the kid, and talked motorcycles with Zack. I felt at home.

Me, Levi--and the Green Goddess, still looking sharp after her 850-mile return to the mothership.

And then Levi gave me the okay, so I hitched up and pulled out--leaving but looking forward to the RTTC get-together only a week away. Happy trails to me, knowing I meet these good people again.

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  1. Many of us owners love the RTT crew for the same reasons.

  2. That supportive environment is even more powerful in person. Over the phone and via email, it's there but the medium dampens the effect.