The Toy Box

Well, now I’ve gone and done it. After talking about a whole bunch of different trailer ideas for months, I just bought this 6 X 10 enclosed ramp trailer, which I’ve named “The Toy Box” because it contains toys like my motorcycle. Rather than building it out as habitable space, I’m going to actually use it as a cargo trailer — mainly for my motorcycle and motorcycle accessories, but also for tools, fluids, camping stuff, pretty much anything I don’t actually need in my living space. So while hauling my bike inside an enclosed trailer is pretty cool, this will also do a lot to declutter my living space inside the van as well. And, when it comes time to replace my van, I don’t have to worry about how to haul my bike around as long as the replacement has a trailer hitch and the necessary towing capacity.

I left Lake Mead yesterday, and since I was running errands in Henderson and Las Vegas anyway, I made an appointment to check out the trailer at TrailersPlus. They made it easier than I could’ve imagined. I didn’t expect to drive off their lot with my new trailer a couple of hours after I arrived, but that’s exactly what happened. I even had time to drive to my next destination, Pahrump, Nevada, and find a place to camp before dark.

I opened the trailer to find that my bike had fallen over along the way. I was always terrified of this happening with the Black Widow carrier because if the bike falls, it goes tumbling down the highway and is probably totaled. Here, it’s still not a good situation, but at least it was contained, and I had to do nothing more than pick it up and readjust a mirror. It’s a KLR — it can take it, and it’s seen far, far worse.

It fell over because although it was tied down, there was nothing holding the front wheel in place, despite my efforts with a ratchet strap. I’d bought a wheel chock to install on the floor, but I hadn’t had a chance to install it. It was hard enough to remove the Black Widow carrier, figure out how to store it until I can get rid of it, and get the bike in there well enough to make one trip before setting up the trailer properly. Now that I’m camping on BLM land near Pahrump, I can stop and build it out before moving on. Pahrump has everything I need, including a Home Depot just a mile away from camp.

The first modification, though, was labeling the trailer properly. I may get larger decals made at some point. I may not. I don’t know.

The first thing I did was buy and install a set of beefy hooks on the wall to hang up my riding gear. Because it all has built-in armor, it’s very bulky and takes up a ton of space inside the van. Not anymore. Even my helmet can hang out in here. (And yes, I splurged for the optional spare tire for the trailer. You never know when you’re going to get a flat.)

Then I installed the wheel chock I picked up at Harbor Freight before leaving Las Vegas. It just bolts to the floor, which is 3/4″ plywood over a metal frame. I’ve pretty much centered the bike over the rear axle, leaving room in the front of the trailer for all the tools and stuff I planned to move there, which will also ensure adequate tongue weight for safety. I had two strips of E-track installed on the floor, which means I can put my tie-down points anywhere along the length of the trailer that I want them. The four that came in each corner of the trailer are available, too.

In addition to loading up other random stuff, like the camp chairs and table in the front corner, I bought some sturdy metal shelves. It quickly became obvious that not everything I wanted to put there was going to fit on the floor, but it’ll fit on these shelves. I need to get some more bungee cords to make sure the boxes don’t fall off, but that’s easy.

Instead of the flimsy wall anchors that came with the shelves, I used some brackets intended for 1-inch EMT electrical conduit to secure the shelves. I credit my past life working for an electrical supply company for knowing about this hack. The trailer salesman showed me exactly where on the wall it’s safe and structural to attach shelves, hooks, and so on, so that’s where I attached them.

Here’s the end result, at least for now. (The bike isn’t strapped down right now, just parked on its kickstand.) I’m happy with it. I still need to do some organizing, figure out what to put in the trailer, and shuffle what’s left under the bed so it doesn’t shift around. But I’ve been plenty productive for today, and all that’s left for now is little stuff like that.

I’ll probably also investigate some kind of floor protection, whether it’s sealant, paint, or something else. One could argue that I should’ve done that first, but I needed to get my living situation mobile first, even if it means removing the shelves and wheel chock later to have access to the floor. It’s fine. Everything I’ve installed is very easy to remove, once I figure out what I want to do to the floor.

For now, though, it’s time to relax, make some dinner, and feel accomplished. Now that the majority of the trailer work is done, I can think about exploring Pahrump a bit before moving on eventually.

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