Photos of Wells Cargo motorcycle trailer

The trailer turned out to be more of a camping trailer than a motorcycle trailer, and you won't see many motorcycle trailers with a carpeted floor like this one has.  The trailer started out as an empty shell with a plywood floor, rear cargo door and side access door.  When I bought the trailer as a used model, I didn't have a motorcycle, nor did I have any plans to buy one.  The previous owner used it to haul his motorcycles.  He had the trailer for only 9 months before deciding to sell it.  My intention was to customize the trailer and use it to haul camp gear, mountain bike, etc. during camp trips and provide me with a place to sleep other than a tent.  I'd had far more than my share of tent camping in my earlier days and had enough of waking up in the middle of the night to find a river running through the tent as a result of a rainstorm.

Extensive modifications to the interior that include a self sustaining 120 volt AC power system, microwave oven, small AC powered refrigerator and DC electrical system.  The AC electrical system consists of a DC to AC power inverter, a device that converts DC power stored in 12 volt batteries to 120 AC.  Part of the power system consists of a solar system on the roof of the trailer that recharges the battery bank during daylight hours.  On a bright summer day, the solar system replenishes the power consumed by the refrigerator.


This is the day I brought the trailer home.  Notice that there is no "Nose Cone" on the trailer.  A "Nose Cone" is a fiberglass bubble that installs on the front to improve air flow over the front thereby lessening air drag at highway speeds.  I added the Nose Cone in April after finishing the renovations shown below.   

I removed the wood paneling from the interior walls, sandblasted and repainted the wall studs to remove the rust and prevent it from returning

The front wall had a leak at the roof line so I completely removed the aluminum skin from the front wall, sandblasted and repainted the studs here too.   Then I carefully resealed the wall when I reinstalled the aluminum skin.

Interior paneling and pegboard reinstalled, cabinet construction in progress.

I built the cabinets across the front of the trailer and installed a 1000 watt DC to AC power inverter and sealed deep cycle gel cell battery.  In the cabinets is where I store all eating and cooking utensils.  The power inverter provides AC power to run floodlights, portable TV (so we can watch our helmet cam videos after a day of riding)  and the bug zapper once I set up camp.  This inverter eliminates the need to fiddle with a gas powered camping lantern, which never provides enough light anyway.

Interior completed, May 1993.  3 months of work finally came to a close.  Yes, that is carpet on the floor, it adds a nice finishing touch.  This photo shows the completed cabinet.

The idea of refrigerator came about a year or so after I bought the trailer because I was tired of finding soggy food floating around in the cooler after the ice had melted.  I also wanted a place where I could store frozen food that would stay frozen for more than a day or two.  Soggy Cheese tastes really BAD!!  :-(

1994: In May of 1994 I bought a new 1994 DR 350SE.  Next came the process of adding motorcycle tie downs to the interior of the trailer.

Summer 1995: After the refrigerator was added, it became obvious that one battery wouldn't last more than about a day while running the refrigerator so I built a DC generator out of a Briggs & Stratton motor and a high output 12 volt alternator.  I needed to run the generator about 1-2 hours a day to keep the battery charged enough to run the refrigerator while camping.  Soon thereafter I installed a second gel cell battery, which is larger than the first.  I could run longer between recharging the batteries, but had to run the generator longer when I did run it since the larger battery took longer to recharge.

After about two years of the generator, I got really annoyed by the noise it made so I decided to install a solar system on the roof. 

From 1991-1999, I worked for a major power inverter manufacturer and had sources for obtaining anything RV electrical, so I purchased a few solar panels in 1996.  I ended up with four 55 watt solar modules on a rack I fabricated out of angle aluminum.

Front view, solar tilted towards front of trailer.   Notice the "Nose Cone" in this photo.

Back view of trailer with solar tilted up.

May 1998:  While towing the trailer behind a 40' diesel pusher motor home, the right tire blew out as a result of descending a steep hill and using the brakes on the motor home to keep my speed under control.  There were some wiring problems on the motor home. The lack of a brake controller to control trailer brakes resulted in the trailer brakes being applied at 100% power level anytime I applied the motor home brakes. 

Eventually the trailer brakes locked up causing the right tire to skid for a long enough time period that it blew out.  I estimate that I drove the motor home several more miles after the tire blew before a motorist came up along side of me and flagged me down to stop.

I immediately exited at the rest area I was approaching and found little rubber left on the rim when I stopped.  I could tell that the rim had skidded along the surface of the pavement for a good distance because it had a large flat spot on it and was discolored from the heat generated while skidding along the pavement.  A large chunk of rubber had hooked the fender and bent the fender around like a pretzel.  Once I got the old tire/wheel off the trailer I had to remove the fender so I had room to mount the spare tire.

The shredded tire completely removed a patch of paint from the fender, the tire bead was all that remained of the tire.
As a result of the destroyed tire/wheel and fender, I decided to upgrade to diamond plate aluminum fenders and white spoke wheels.  My insurance covered the damage to the trailer...the trailer has full coverage.  My spare tire was on a white spoke rim, so I bought a matching tire and wheel. The old original tire and wheel from the left side got demoted to duty as the spare once I had a new tire/wheel.

March 1999: I had always wanted a microwave too, but couldn't find one small enough to fit in the cabinet.  in 1999 I finally found a very compact microwave, but the microwave wouldn't fit in the cabinet I had, so I built an entirely new cabinet designed around the microwave.  I gave the old cabinet to a good friend, Jon, who also has a Wells Cargo trailer the same size as mine.

This is the new cabinet and the control center for the electrical system.   Across the top are three 12v DC outlets.  Next is the control/monitor panel for the inverter.  Below that are three digital battery monitoring gauges and switches for the DC lighting.

April 1999:  This photo and the one above show the new cabinet built in 1999. A wire rack style shelf is mounted up high along the front wall and provides storage. Next came the day when I decided the frozen food compartment wasn't big enough to suit my needs.  I needed a bigger refrigerator!  I found a really good buy on a under the counter sized refrigerator at a local closeout store, so I bought it and sold the smaller refrigerator to the employer I worked for.

The new refrigerator had a full width freezer compartment and more room in the main portion of the refrigerator.  I was able to store about twice as much food as before.  Another benefit was the new refrigerator seemed to be more efficient (used less power) than the old one.

This is the top view of the inverter.  A piece of plywood had to be removed to access the inverter.  The refrigerator sits on top of the the plywood cover.
Summit of Snoqualmie Pass, early May 1999.  I was heading to Eastern Washington for my first ride of the year, with my new truck towing the trailer for the first time.   It was snowing when I crossed the pass.   The winter of 1998-99 was the winter of record snowfall in the Cascade Mountains of Washington.   
Truck, trailer and '94 DR350SE at Canyonlands Campground
 in Moab, UT, June 1999 during the Moab Dual Sport Rally.

February 2001:  I removed a Sony car stereo from the S-10 Blazer when I sold the Blazer the previous fall.  I decided to get some use from the stereo rather than have it sit around in the garage collecting dust.  I installed it under the wire rack shelf.  For speakers, I used some 4-way 6x9 speakers I also removed from the Blazer and mounted them in speaker boxes I bought from a local car audio shop. 

Close up view of stereo, installed early 2001

Trailer parked in the garage for winter storage.  Notice that the trailer is parked on auto service ramps.  This allows more storage space under the trailer on the garage floor.  When I had the house built in 1996, I requested an 8' tall garage door instead of the standard 7' high version. The 8' version allows me to park the trailer in the garage. 

Part of the time the trailer was kept outside because I had too much junk in the garage, but during the Summer of 2002 one of my motorcycling buddies helped me engineer and build this storage shed in the back yard.  I moved all of the excess stuff from the garage into the shed and have kept the trailer inside the garage for the last two years. 

Bike still in the trailer.

March 2002:  I almost decided to sell the trailer and buy a 21' Desert Fox Toy Hauler until I found out how heavy they are.  My truck's tow capacity was only 600 lbs more than the "dry" weight of the trailer.  So I gave up on that idea and for a period of about two weeks I contemplated buying a larger Wells Cargo trailer.  This idea was also short lived because I didn't have the desire to remove all of my customizations from this trailer and reinstall them in a new trailer.

One of my co-workers, who also rides dual sport with me sold his smaller RV and bought the land yacht version of the Desert Fox - a 28' with front bedroom.  Later that year he built a hangar in the back yard to park it in.

April 2002:  Upgraded all clearance and tail lighting to high-tech LED lighting.  There is a conversion kit available that makes the process much easier.  There aren't any LED stop/tail/turn lamps that can be directly mounted in the holes left by the original stop/tail/turn lamps.  This conversion kit has an "adapter" plate that covers the existing hole and provides a hole to mount a common size lamp assembly that is available in LED style. 

The marker lights I used happened to be a style used as OEM equipment by Wells Cargo:

In 2007, Bargman came out with an LED conversion lens unit, so Iswitched back to the stock Bargman Model 84 tail lights and installed this lens module:

As you can see, the trailer has been an ever-evolving project.  I've probably got way too many hours of my time invested in the customizing I've done to it.  After adding up the retail price of  the add-ons I've installed, I discovered they far exceed what I paid for the empty trailer. Other than the LED lighting upgrade, and addition of the stereo, the trailer has remained the same since the new cabinet was installed in 1999.

February 2003:  I decided I'd finally had enough of primitive camping.

Even though using the Wells Cargo as my RV was a step above tent camping,  I'd had far more than my share of days waking up when it felt too cold to crawl out of the sleeping bag, or no place to stay warm during the cold evenings.

The Desert Fox toy haulers I had my eye on the previous year would make the perfect camp rig and still give me a place to haul my bike, and the bikes of friends, so I went RV shopping President's Day weekend.  I stopped at Sumner RV and spied a few 21SW DFs on the lot.  One had aluminum siding, the other had the hardwall option (smooth fiberglass side).

The hardwall option, although more expensive and also heavier, was a must for me because it looks "classier" than an aluminum sided rig.  This feature is what really turned me on to the rigs built by Northwood Manufacturing.  Their Arctic Fox line of travel trailers are all hardwall.  4-5 years ago, I recall seeing Arctic Fox rigs at an RV show and remember thinking it would be cool if they built a toy hauler, because it would be better than a lot of the other toy haulers I've seen out there.

It became obvious to me how nice the Arctic Fox units were after spending a few nights in one owned by a friend when I went on a few trips with him.

in 2001 I saw the first Desert Fox toy hauler, and decided THIS WAS IT!!!  My search for the perfect toy hauler was finally over, though I knew it would still be a few years before I thought I could finally afford one.

Anyway, back to the present... I looked at both DFs on the lot at Sumner RV and they both had the same equipment, other than one being the hardwall version.  To make a long story short, I towed it home the following weekend and it sits happily in my back yard.

Back in 1996 when I had the house built, I specifically request the house be set to the extreme right side of the lot, so I'd have enough room to drive around the house on the garage side, because I knew someday I'd have an RV of some sort, and would park it out back...although at the time I didn't think it would take 7 years to arrive.

See my Desert Fox and the customizations I've done to it here


Updated 1/10/11