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Frankentrailer revisited…Utah State Fair 2011

We’re loading up getting ready to head out for the Utah State Fair. It’s a 13 hour drive from Tucson in the Landcruiser with the very heavy donut trailer.

We spent about a week working on our 1995 Toyota Landcruiser getting her ready for the big trip. The specifications state the Landcruiser should be able to tow 5,000 lbs with the inline 6 cylinder engine, but being a 16 year old vehicle with over 211,000 miles- I would prefer to perform a little preventative maintenance to hedge our chance against dropping the transmission enroute (been there; done that).

After some new O-rings, fluid changes, filters, a new vacuum modulator, and a good cleaning (underneath), she’s running great and we are getting better gas mileage than ever with no CHECK ENGINE light staring at me for hundreds of miles.

Since I had a little time here in Tucson, I bought some used running boards, brush guard, and rear tail light guards (no, not from Craigslist) from a sight called www.IH8MUD.com which has a large Landcruiser forum. Our 16 year old Mexico commuter car is looking pretty good!

I’ve been counting off the list of things to do on the donut trailer and we are ready to start packing things up. We plan to leave on Monday- early if we can. I revamped the drink setup for mass production. We bought four 15 gallon food safe containers and outfitted them with pickups and vents to fill with Lemonade and Sweet Tea. I installed two 12v water pumps (like the kind you find in RV’s or boats) and two plumbing spigots to pressurize the tanks to dispense the drinks. This should save us time mixing the drinks during peak hours and hopefully speed up delivery.

It might be a bit confusing, but here’s some pictures.
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Last year at the Utah State Fair we did OK keeping up with the donut sales but the frozen lemonades were backed up and we couldn’t keep up with production. I’ve researched and tried slushee machines but it won’t keep up with peak demand. At least with the 15 gallon supply and pressurized feed we should be able to run longer and faster in making the drinks by hand.

Last year, Dad and I worked the first weekend by ourselves and we were slammed all weekend. The second weekend I added a cashier in the booth as we did much better all around. This year, I’m adding two people on peak days including moving the cashier outside the booth to the side so we can have a “ORDER HERE” and a “PICK UP HERE” line to keep traffic flow in check.

The Utah State Fair Corp. takes a pretty penny for the space at the fair. We end up paying 32.85% of our total gross sales to the fair and the state for sales tax (at the same time every night) but if we can gross some big numbers the profit number makes it all worthwhile.

What? You’re saying percentages are percentage? After the fees, 67.15% is our adjusted gross. No matter how much we make, the percentage is the same. True. But when you gross $20,000 and get to keep $13,400 it’s far different than grossing $10,000 and keeping $6,700. Percentage is the same but the ability to make over $10,000 in 11 days is huge!

Plan for the best but prepare for the worst, A wise man once told me.

Here we go! Another 11 day all out bust ass, kick butt, do or die event. Maybe our last for the Frankentrailer if the entertainment business picks up. I wouldn’t lose tears over that seeing how I have to spend 12+ hours working the booth.

Next- update from Salt Lake City; The 2011 Utah State Fair!

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