New Parking Pad with Full Hookups

Mt. Airstream


Normally, my Airstream sits in the shop’s driveway, ready to go, for impromptu three-day camping adventures.  During the off-camping season, it gets moved to the back yard, as seen here, for better access to my shop.  The arrangement worked well since grass doesn’t grow in wintertime.

But this past summer found me moving the Airstream for shop access several times, and I decided it was time for the Airstream to have designated, all-season parking.  And not just any ole parking, but a formed concrete slab with FULL hookups including water, power, sewer, and cable TV.

The first step was deciding optimum pad dimensions.  A width of 12 feet was chosen for two reasons: One, since I may one day build a carport-style structure to protect the Airstream, that dimension is standard in the building industry.  Two, since my vintage trailer is only eight feet wide, a width of 12 feet would leave plenty of room to get in & out of the door without walking through the grass.  A depth of 28 feet seemed a reasonable accommodation for the Airstream’s length of 26’ 11”.

The parking pad would have been easy to frame & pour at this point.  But since the decision had been made to hire a crew to do the concrete work, I decided that the wheels’ resting area would be level in spite of the compound slopes common to our backyard.  Leveling the axles would allow full use of the Airstream at anytime.

After marking the proposed layout, the Airstream was maneuvered into position the fit-check the new digs.  The man from GQ gave the plan a thumbs-up.

Grant, the concrete man, came out on a Wednesday to estimate the job.  Having not built his business on pouring parking pads for travel trailers, he appeared to appreciate my explanation of why it’s a good thing for an RV’s wheels to sit on a level surface.  I imagine his next Yellow Page ad might include “Specializing in RV Parking Pads”.  :biggrin:

After we agreed on a price, Grant said he was hoping to bring a Bobcat over by next Wednesday to grade the area.  If everything went well weather-wise, he inclined that he might be able to pour concrete by the following Saturday.

Thursday afternoon found me at the home improvement store buying 110 feet each of 3” sewer line, ¾” water line, and ¾” electrical conduit in preparation of trenching pipe paths over the weekend.  But by that evening, I had convinced myself that everyone else in the city would probably want to trench a path for something over the weekend, and there might not be trencher available to rent.  :unhappy:

Deciding that Friday was going to be a slow day at the office :innocent:, it was obvious that my time would be better spent at the house trenching utility lines to the Overlander’s new designated parking place.  Armed with both a box of 45 & 22-½ degree fittings, and a can of florescent spray paint, all utility paths were mapped out to keep DitchWitch rental time to a minimum.

After verifying my favorite rental yard had a DitchWitch available to rent, I left Cookie, our 15 week old Lab mix, in charge of guarding some of the PVC while I drove down to the rental yard.

Returning home, it was about 9:00 a.m. and I was about to back the DitchWitch’s trailer into the driveway when my cell rang.  It was Grant the concrete man, “Hey – I’d like to bring the Bobcat over today.  Any problem with that?”

While I was explaining that late in the day should not be a problem, my retired neighbor Carl saw me parked on the road and decided to walk his dog to find out why a practically new, 11 hp DitchWitch had followed me home.  When it rains it pours…A casual day of running utilities had turned into a race to both get the job done, and brief the neighbors on my latest project.

Since people have mentioned my image does not appear too often at my web site, here’s me coming down the utilities’ back stretch to the tie-in point.  You thought it was Fabio, didn’t you?  :lol:


Incredibly, I managed to get all the trenching done in a half-day’s rental time, bury the ten feet or so of PVC that had to run underneath the parking pad, and remove one sprinkler head from the work zone while a healthy amount of daylight was still available.

After getting an “all clear” message, Grant showed up an hour or so later to scratch out the pad’s initial dimensions.  Take a look at the Bobcat’s bucket – it parts into two sections when the situation warrants (and a skilled operator is at the controls).

Skilled operators seem to be getting younger all the time.

As demonstrated by slowly spinning an index pointer finger radially about the ear, these two inspectors came out to give me a “looks great!” confirmation.  :rolleyes:

Grant and crew showed up bright and early the next morning to frame the pad. 

By late Saturday afternoon, they were done, paid & gone.  :shock:

This was fine with my apprentice pipe fitter.  We still had a combined 300 feet of pipe/conduit to connect and bury.

Each of the utilities came online over the course of the following week.  Noteworthy is the water hookup.  The Code, as pointed out by Mark Doane’s SIL, wants the spigot two feet above grade.  For ease of winterization, I wanted the freshwater hookup, when not in use, below grade.  The compromise is a 2-1/2 foot, hard extension pipe (not shown here).  The pipe, coupled with an atmospheric vacuum breaker, covers the Code’s intent, which is to keep outside water from being siphoned into the water supply.   Oddly, the code had nothing to say about the distance between the power & water hookups.

Construction of the front support tripod came next.  Due to all the compound slopes, it was easier to prototype the legs with wood.  After the lengths and angles of cut were established, the dimensions were shadowed onto the 1-inch square, steel stock used for the finished legs.

Up to this point, raising the tongue high enough to level the Airstream in the backyard had been accomplished by lugging my service jack and concrete block collection over to the site.  Then I would block and jack, block and jack…

Lamenting to coworker Mike about how a bumper jack off of a mid-seventies GM sedan would make my job easier, Mike mentioned that serious 4-wheelers wouldn’t be caught in the woods without a HiLift jack.  After one look at the website, I instantly decided the jack was what I needed.  To make things even better, my parents thought the jack would make a great birthday gift.  :smile:

The addition of a sloped base plate & no-slip attachment adapter made the jack ready to go.  For safety’s sake, a stabilizer chain, anchored to the concrete, was added to ensure the works did not get squirrelly during a lift.

Just before deciding to build the parking pad, a tree had been removed from the yard, and I was waiting for a man to get back to me about bringing some topsoil in to smooth out where the stump was.  By the time I caught up with him, the pad was finished.  So he just brought more dirt than he originally planned and did a fine job spreading it out.

So far, so good.  It’s been nice being able to drive up to my shop again.  With the Airstream in the backyard now protected by Cookie, I can sleep easier at night.