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2nd Attempt RPG Research Wheelchair Friendly RPG Trailer Prototype Purchase

by Hawke Robinson published Sep 14, 2016 11:20 PM, last modified Sep 26, 2016 06:47 PM
UPDATE 20160926 Second Attempt: Well, I did it, I went ahead and bought the Forest River Vengeance 19V using my own funds. I didn't dip into the donation funds. Still saving donations money for the more optimal custom-build down the road, while I use the prototype to work out logistics, legal, and other hoops...

UPDATE 20160926 (5:08 PM): Well, I did it, I went ahead and took a second stab at buying a prototype trailer. I bought the Forest River Vengeance 19V using my own funds today. This is less expensive than the offices, so I am making up the cost of the trailer by reducing my office expenses. I didn't dip into the donation funds. Still saving donations money for the more optimal custom-build version down the road, while I use the prototype to work out logistics, legal, and other hoops. For example, Washington state (severe "nanny state") Labor & Industries finally called me back, and it was clearly going to be a very complicated & expensive mess for the custom-build company from Arizona, one of the only to specialize in wheelchair-friendly RVs, Washington state L&I requires all RV manufacturers to submit every new floorplan for approval if brought into Washington state, unless they have a special certification/reciprocal relationship. The L&I manager did state there is a workaround as a "commercial mobile office", that is slightly less onerous, but the manufacturer has to handle that, and it is a year-long or so process. If I have the dealership make modifications, L&I has to get involved as well (average minimum of $1,000+ for each change process submission, inspection, acceptance, etc.). So I have gone ahead with the prototype approach for now, and have learned from the L&I manager which modifications I can make myself without permit hassles (much like on your own home). I will pick up the _new_ trailer this Thursday 1:00 pm (assuming nothing else unforeseen happens). I have definitely been learning lots! Another step to making this vision a reality! I will hold off on a big announcement until I have actually hooked up and hauled it away. :) 

UPDATE 20160925a: I picked up an inexpensive wheelchair from Goodwill, and test it on the ClickItRV offered 18' Vengeance trailer. I was able to fit 3 people in wheelchairs no problem, without the ramp modifications. I was easily able to bring up (backwards on the wheelchair) one of the salemen in the wheelchair without the ramp flaps it was reasonably smooth. It wouldn't work for an electric wheelchair, but fine for regular types. I was planning to pick up proper wheelchair ramps if I end up going this route. I am waiting to hear back from DuneSport in Arizona about a critical question. If I buy the custom-built RV through them, how do I get it fixed clear up here in Washington if something is wrong with the build? If I have to take it all the way back to Arizona for repairs, that is a problem. If that is the case, I may need to go ahead with the ClickItRv trailer after all. Though the bathroom isn't ADA, it would be usable, and would be ready in just a few days. I should be able tot decide this Monday. It doesn't include a generator, so I will need to had that. If the state requires the permit process to add the wedge for a 4th wheelchair, then I will opt out, but if the permit process is not needed, then I will go ahead with ClickItRv's offer to build the custom wedge to add a 4th wheelchair.

I will post additional updates in the next day or so.

UPDATE 20160925b: Seriously considering ClickItRV's offer on the 2016 Forest River Vengeance 19V. Would need to add generator. Decision now hinges on response from DuneSport (the only company that really specializes in building custom wheelchair accessible RVs) - https://dunesport.com/toy-hauler/gallery/videos/accessible . If DS can't provide support in Washington State (they are based in Arizona), then ClickIt's probably the best I am going to get, and I can modify over time. I should know by this Monday, September 26th. And as for the custom wedge build, I should hear back from Washington State Labor & Industries Olympia office about whether permits are necessary for the modifications or not, Monday as well. I bought a $10 used wheelchair from Goodwill today, and tested it out on the ClickItRv trailer ramp and interior with one of the salesmen in the chair. Ramp was much easier than I expected (though too steep for electric chairs, I'll pick up some portable ramps for that in the future). I can easily seat 3 in wheelchairs comfortably and safely without the ramp modifications. With mod, possibly 4 or 5. Here is a link to their ad for this trailer: http://www.clickitrv.com/default.asp?page=xNewInventoryDetail&id=1710169&p=1&vc=toy%20hauler&s=Year&d=D&t=new&fr=xnewInventory 

I will keep folks posted.

Video of that trailer example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwez34_1YHU

 

 

UPDATE 20160923: CANCELLED. I arrived as scheduled today (Friday) at 1:00 pm to pick up the trailer. I could tell right away though, something was wrong. I was then informed that someone had stolen the entire fusebox/circuit-panel and other wires out of trailer while the trailer was sitting on one of the lots, and try as we might for hours, we could not find a suitable replacement trailer. They had also found some problems with the roof (I had asked them to double check since I had concerns). The roof they had planned to address (no added cost), but the entire fuse panel and wiring being ripped out from multiple locations, the combination was too much to resolve. We tried very hard to find an alternative option (I've been searching for 18 months). They offered incredibly generous pricing for a brand new trailer, but the layout just wasn't functional or safe enough for having intubated clients and such. No hard feelings to them at all, I am very grateful for all their efforts and generosity. The half dozen folks I worked with at ClickIt RV really, really, went out of their way to try and make this vision a reality. They gave me back my money without any hassle, but I am sad to report having to start the search all over again.... ONWAAAARRD!
Unfortunately this means I am not able to resume the free services in October as I was hoping.
There is a company that specializes in building wheelchair friendly RV trailers in Arizona. That is what the http://gofundme.com/rpgtrailer campaign (more details at http://rpgtrailer.com ) is for, which doesn't have enough money yet for the down payment (I can handle the monthly fine, it will be comparable to, or less than my current facilities/office costs).
When I stumbled across this used trailer for 1/3rd the price, though not as "perfect" as the custom-build, for the price it was worth getting as a prototype while still saving up for the ideal trailer. I didn't use any of the donation money for the prototype, I scraped some more of my own funds, in the hopes that if people saw a prototype of what I'm trying to do, there would be more support for building the more optimal trailer. I am adding those funds to the campaign's bank account (I can't add it to the gofundme, there are ethic/legal reasons I can't post it there).
I haven't given up at all, it is just an unfortunate setback. As for old trailers in general, the ones that are light enough for my SUV to haul are, prior to going aluminum, are unfortunately notoriously prone to rot, so it is very difficult to find one (that I can still haul), that is usable. The biggest problem is having a large enough "garage" (the rear space by the ramp) that is level, to fit 4+ people in wheelchairs. But I am still working toward making this a reality one way or another! :)

Here are pictures of what was stolen:

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Status UPDATE 20160919: The RPG Trailer prototype is another step closer - http://rpgresearch.com/blog/just-purchased-rpg-trailer-prototype - The RV dealership (http://www.clickitrv.com/) just called. The detailer has started working on the trailer. I am scheduled to pick it up this Friday 1:00 pm after orientation and training.

This hopefully means I will be able to resume the free services in October, and will now be able to provide them to a much larger geographic area!

Original Posting: After 18 months of searching, I found an affordable prototype for the Wheelchair Friendly RPG Trailer concept. It's not the ideal-designed-from-the-ground-up version, but it is very close, and more affordable now. I should receive it within a week...

 

I purchased this trailer (Tuesday, September 12th, 2016) with personal funds, and have not used the RPG Trailer Fundraiser funds for it. (http://www.gofundme.com/rpgtrailer) My hope is to still earn or raise the funds for the full-blown custom-built version eventually, but do the best I can with this for now.

RPG Trailer Prototype

RPG Trailer floorplan with 4 wheelchairs

 

RPG Trailer Prototype Mockup with SUV

While the prototype is wheelchair accessible for 2-3 players in wheelchairs, it isn't quite as ideal as the still planned wheelchair friendly custom-built design (which will accommodate up to 6 players in wheelchairs), but it will be a useful proof-of-concept and allows for 2-3 (maybe 4) players in wheelchairs. All of the donated funds are still going toward the custom-built version, I only used personal funds to purchase the prototype.
I hope to resume providing the free therapeutic & educational services using RPG-based activities (based on recreation therapy), by some time in October 2016.

This trailer will allow me to expand the reach of The RPG Research Project's outreach, advocacy, research projects, and free services delivery. This trailer will comfortably accommodate 2-3 participants in wheelchairs, and about 4-6 participants not in wheelchairs.

See the bottom of this posting for more details on the trailer if you are interested.

This trailer doesn't have all the custom wheelchair friendly features of the envisioned Wheelchair Friendly RPG Trailer, however it is a close prototype that can provide a starting point for working out any unforeseen challenges of an RV-based mobile therapeutic services facility, and allow me to start showing up at far more facilities and remote rural locations than I could ever have been able to afford without the trailer. I will be providing (free) services, including role-playing gaming, recreation therapy, & music services to people with various special needs throughout the Northwest, especially those in under-served or completely un-served areas. I am hoping to buffer some of my travel costs through offering paid training/certification programs in applying RPGs as intervention modalities to achieve educational and therapeutic goals for various populations.

The populations I frequently work with include:

 

The following modifications to the trailer must be implemented before being able to start providing services again:

  • I need to remove and change the mounting of the couches/beds on each side of the "garage" area so they flip flat against the wall rather than taking up floor space when not needed, allowing for more game table and drum circle space, and easier wheelchair ingress/egress.
  • Build a table that mounts to the two removable posts in the floor, this is just wide enough for up to 6 RPG players at a time (2 on each side, 1 on each end), but able to allow room for 2-3 players in wheelchairs.
  • Check on the ramp angle, and see if I need to purchase an additional ramp extension for ADA/OSHA compliance for wheelchair participants.
  • Improvise/build some kind of flaps over the edges of the ramp to make it smoother for wheelchairs to enter and exit.
  • Move portions of my therapeutic RPG, Recreation Therapy, & group/therapeutic music equipment from my home and offices into the trailer.

 

Low priority, but useful for RPG advocacy propagation:

  • Find someone to create a catchy logo for "The RPG Trailer"
  • Find someone to paint/stencil the "The RPG Trailer" logo on the sides and rear of the trailer (and paint RPG Research Project and RPG Therapeutics on there as well (smaller)).

 

Photos of the newly purchased trailer from today:

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The prototype RPG Trailer is a used (2007) "Toy Hauler" style RV travel trailer, and I will need to make some minor modifications before it is ready for use. However, this will provide an affordable proof-of-concept. I will keep people posted on the progress. The dealership will be detailing and cleaning it up over the next few days before I get to pick it up. The photos in this posting are of the actual trailer I have purchased, and are from the day of purchase (September 14th, 2016) before they clean it up.

For this used trailer, they were asking half the price of the custom-built trailer (and most of the pre-built trailers, which didn't have anywhere near the desired configurations). When they learned what I intended to do with it (provide therapeutic services to special needs and wheelchair-using participants), the salesman shaved off 10%. Then when his supervisor learned about what I'm doing, he shaved off another 10%. And then when the supervisor took it to the owner for permission for such a steep discount, the owner, who turns out to have a teenage daughter with special needs and is dependent on a wheelchair, he shaved another 10+% off, so altogether it is 1/3rd less than the original asking price, and about 1/3rd the price of the custom build. I purchased this at http://www.clickitrv.com here in Spokane, Washington. This is well below market price, and I am EXTREMELY GRATEFUL! That was very kind of them. I will be writing more about the purchasing experience soon! I did also add a full bumper-to-bumper (so to speak) like-new 4 year warranty, damage, and road hazard.

You may notice in these photos below that it is VERY close to the mock ups I made over the past 18 months on the RPG Trailer Website - http://www.rpgtrailer.com

With my current challenges going on, this is a bit of a gamble, and I am quite a bit nervous about taking this on right now, but also hopefully that it will pan out in the long run. I may still need to do Information Security side work to fund resuming the free services provisioning, but I will find a way to make it work. Once I generate the additional funds, and the trailer is ready for use, it may be possible to resume some of the RPG sessions beginning in October (fingers crossed). If money is still too tight, then I will save up during the winter, and plan to resume the free services in the Spring.

The trailer is a 2007 "Weekend Warrior" 25' FS2300 Toy Hauler with Travel Trailer type hitch that my SUV can handle.  

This prototype trailer does NOT achieve the following goals of the desired optimally built "Wheelchair FRIENDLY RPG Trailer". So the gofundme will still be in place for building the optimal trailer some day. I would be either trading in this one toward the purchase of the custom-build, or beginning to build a "fleet" of trailers (I have 2 SUVs currently). 

  • ADA accessible bathroom.
  • Prototype will at best only handle 2-3 wheelchairs, while goal of custom-built design is 4 to 6 wheelchairs.
  • Lower ride height reducing ramp angle.
  • Extended ramp to reduce ramp angle (may be able to address with prototype modifications).
  • Flaps on both ends of ramp to smooth ingress/egress transitions for wheelchairs (may be able to address with prototype modifications)
  • Slide-out side walls to widen sides to allow more wheelchair capacity. Prototype only 8' wide, the custom-build one would be 11'+ wide.
  • Shorter overall trailer length for more transportation, storage, and parking flexibility
  • Electric stabilizers to reduce rocking back and forth.

  

The prototype trailer does come with a wide range of features, it is a complete RV Toy Hauler, with more a great range of features some more useful than others, including:

  • Heating
  • Air conditioning
  • Dedicated bedroom.
  • Pulldown bed in the ceiling.
  • 2 couch-to-bed flip-downs.
  • Bathroom with shower.
  • kitchen with sink, stove, and convection oven.
  • Generously large refrigerator and freezer.
  • Built-in quiet generator (to be tested as far as noise levels). Onan 4000 watt.
  • 2 new large propane tanks
  • New batteries
  • CD/AM/FM stereo

 

Exterior features supporting LARP options:

  • Exterior awning.
  • Exterior lights.
  • Exterior speakers.
  • Exterior shower.
  • Exterior fueling station.

  

Some features I should probably add sooner rather than later:

  • Winterizing/cold weather water tanks insulation/protection
  • Move generator away from many compartment to reduce noise if too loud for gaming?

 

Additional Specifications:

Sleeps 6
Slides 0
Length 25 ft
Ext Width 8 ft 6 in
Hitch Weight 635 lbs
Gross Weight 7650 lbs
Dry Weight 4760 lbs
Fresh Water Capacity 100 gals
Grey Water Capacity 30 gals
Black Water Capacity 30 gals
Tire Size 15
Furnace BTU 20000 btu
Generator ONAN 4000

  

UPDATE: 20160918 - 4:16 PM (Pacific): They haven't started work on the trailer cleanup yet, :( but they said the detailers would begin tomorrow.

I was at the lot today with my son checking out more of the details of the RPG Trailer again (purchase Tuesday this past week).

I was scoping how to make it fit the most people in wheelchairs comfortably. Without wheelchairs I can comfortably fit 8 people around a gaming table without any problem, and even more if I turn the ramp into an "extend-a-room", but generally I prefer to keep group sizes around 4-6.

It does appear that if I create a study table that comes down from the ceiling, so it is easily lifted smoothly out of the way as needed, I can comfortably seat 3 people in wheelchairs with room to spare, plus 2 not in wheelchairs, OR a 4th person in a wheelchair in the kitchenette area between the counter and fridge (but might be a little too "cozy"?), with 1 other not in a wheelchair.

Many thanks to a great suggestion yesterday from someone in the #RPGNET IRC private message (username "Doctor"), the idea of having the gaming table come down from the ceiling, solves many logistic/space issues, so many thanks to you "Doctor" for the suggestion.

It will be inexpensive to mount 4 cables with pulley (I'll mount to side walls near ceiling, and then pulleys in ceiling overhead. Then have just two offset posts in the floor for the slots already in the floor to prevent swaying. This will allow a nice long table, and no table legs in the way of the wheelchair users, which will make it much more comfortable for everyone.

The sketches below assume a cable and post setup, but I am also considering a "shock absorber" piston assembly approach instead. That may be simpler, more stable, and more reliable. Assuming I can find such components, and they are affordable. Similar to how the ceiling bed in the trailer is already mounted, but from the ceiling posts, rather than the side walls (because need somewhere to sit of course).

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Ceiling table sketch left side

 

RPG Trailer Table Sketch

I am probably going to remove the pull-down bed in the ceiling near the ramp and store that in my home attic, and I may also remove the more flimsy bench on the passenger side. But keep the high quality leather bench on the driver side. I _might_ keep the passenger side bench since it folds up against the wall, but I want to have some folks with wheelchairs in there to help me determine if that takes up important space that would impact their comfort. I do not want them feeling like sardines in a can. :-) 

I am still hoping to pick up the trailer Tuesday, but it could be as late as Friday. I am very excited!

 

 

Filed under: , ,
Sharon
Sharon says:
Sep 15, 2016 07:48 AM
I heard about this before reading the post, and having now seen pics I am even more impressed. So happy for you to be moving ahead with such a big piece of your puzzle, as you make this change in your career life and prepare for great changes in the lives of others you will serve. Very happy the sales people were so supportive and on board with your ideas!
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