This has nothing to do with Airstreams but it is about a trailer and its title, so here goes. About eighteen months ago my Haulmark racecar trailer was stolen from my home. I lost everything I had for racing but my racecar, which happened to be in my garage being repaired. My insurance quickly gave me a decent settlement, so that was pretty much the end of the saga.
Even after I bought a new trailer and got on with my racing life, though, I always did a double take when I'd see a trailer in the same pewter gray color as my old one. I'd examine the one I spotted until satisfied that it wasn't mine.
Last Saturday, my habit paid off - I found my old trailer sitting in a nice Nashville neighborhood! I had done a lot of mods to it, so it was pretty easy for me to identify from a distance. The police went to investigate, and then the story took yet another twist.
Turns out my original title had a one-character error in the VIN (vehicle identification number). The patrol officer compared the VIN I'd given her with the one on the trailer and concluded that it wasn't my trailer!
I contacted the Tennessee DMV, who determined that the VIN error was on the original Oregon title. The Oregon DMV researched it and sent me an "oops" letter. This was proof enough for the police, and they're now in the process of recovering the trailer.
Of course, I won't get the trailer back - it belongs to the insurance company. I may well have the pleasure of seeing the original thief brought to justice, though.
Moral #1 - If you live in a title state, never buy a trailer without the title. The fellow who has my old trailer is likely an innocent participant, but he's about to lose whatever he paid for it because he failed to follow this rule.
Moral #2 - Check your title now to make sure it's correct. The title clerk here in Tennessee had faithfully copied the VIN from the original Oregon title, which had been recorded wrong. I never looked at the trailer VIN plate but assumed that the title was correct.
Moral #3 - It's probably also a good idea to write your driver's license number or the VIN in a few obscure places in the trailer and record the locations. That will give you one more surefire ID method if something happens to the VIN plate.
I figure the odds of my finding that trailer must be in the billion-to-one range. If I don't go buy some lottery tickets now, I must be crazy!