...and crafting a purposeful recovery

The House that .Tom built

Say what you will about the Internet – e-commerce has destroyed bricks and mortar retail, the oxymoron “social media” has lured people away from actual human interaction, our privacy is now forever compromised. Perhaps all true, but I will say this – without it I don’t think I would have successfully (thus far) restored Sparta.

Let’s talk about the ways that the Internet has enabled my trailer adventure and please forgive Captain Obvious his description of things many folks now take for granted.

Research – I didn’t even know about Spartan Trailercoaches until I began my online investigation four years ago. Sure, I knew about Airstreams (my daughter was restoring one) but until I started nosing around online in the iterative process where one thing leads to another, I had no clue. The Internet opened up a fascinating new world to me and led me to visit Lawson’s Landing, a boneyard of Spartan dinosaurs by the dozens rotting in the salty air and begging for restoration. I was hooked. My next move was to get back online and find a suitable candidate upon which to bestow my nascent love. Finding a trailer would prove to be one tiny part of the battle. Once acquired, I was facing a knowledge gap so deep I dared not leap. Internet to the rescue and my steady ascent up the learning curve thanks to the University of Tube. Everything you could want to know about anything is online. Unfortunately, that includes instructions on how to make a gun with 3-D printing. But in my case youtube helped with everything from researching asbestos risks in my make and model, seeking alternative solutions to spongy floor spots, to learning all about Formica installation. I simply could not have gotten this far without the vast information sources online.

Seek and restore – Sparta was patiently waiting for me in Fresno and in March 2016 Craigslist.com brought us together. Although only 40,000 Spartans were made, thousands of which are now landfill, many can be found online in various degrees of decrepitude – from the “haul-away-for-free” flowerpot to the shiny and expensive jewel.

Taking root and still $2,000 on CL.
Where to begin???
Probably around $60,000. Nothing left to restore.

Mine was somewhere in between – sitting in a vacant lot with near-perfect body and trashed interior. Once purchased, this 45 foot beast required transport and a place to rest while in chrysalis. Again, credit goes to the Internet where I found an affordable transportation option to get Sparta to Santa Rosa (uship.com) and a plot of leasable land (the ever ready Craigslist). Rather than bore you with more narrative, allow me to list just a sample of helpful online merchants that enabled this project:

  • https://www.cabinetmakerwarehouse.com/ (Formica)
  • westernanalytical.com (asbestos testing of floor sample)
  • woodworkerssource.com (fine Baltic Birch and specialized trim)
  • amazon.com (Rotfix floor epoxy, Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure). ad infinitum.
  • Homedepot.com (Galanz retro ‘fridge)
  • Nextdoor.com (retro chairs and full bed slats)
  • Landwatch.com and Zillow (as yet unsuccessful search for land)
  • https://www.coppersinksonline.com/ (self explanatory)
  • and of course the very useful https://www.vintagecampers.com/ (Bargman L-66 door lock)

Anyway, you get the idea. The world is your oyster.

Fellow Fanatics – When in need of inspiration, fellowship or moral support of trailer junkies, you just can’t beat the Internet. There are several Facebook groups out there solely devoted to the love of Spartans. I belong to two – Spartan Travel Trailers and Spartan Trailercoaches- A Vintage Travel Trailer Group. Both groups are very welcoming and helpful.

So there you have it.


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