Trailer parks worth hitching on to

BY: BRIGID MCGUIRE

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The ideal is that one day, we will all graduate college, maybe get married and then obtain the "American Dream": home ownership. Let's get real now. Unless we all marry or become doctors, houses will be way out of our price range. However, there is one place a savy 20-something could call home: a trailer park. Seriously, they aren't as bad as our four-teeth-missing cousin Cletus says they are. There are many cool trailer parks right here in Southern California, and one of the coolest is just right down Pacific Coast Highway in Seal Beach. Just make a quick right on First Street and then turn on to Welcome Lane (seriously, that's the street name), and you'll be amazed. According to an article in the Orange County Register, there are about 125 mobile homes in the park, which is only on a seven-acre plot of land. There's probably more space in the quad on the southern part of campus. The park is only two blocks from the beach, and I mean an actual beach! Sorry to break it to you, but Long Beach has no real beach, thanks to the break wall.

A few of the mobile homes are just your average unhitched sort, but there are a few that would put any high-class architecture to shame. Some of these bad boys are two stories, with the original mobile home underneath.

But not all trailer parks are as well-maintained as the one in Seal Beach. The Los Angeles Times wrote a large series of articles this past spring and summer about the Third World-type conditions of some trailer parks in the Coachella Valley. Being from the Coachella Valley myself, I had many friends who lived in parks not as extreme as the ones listed in the articles, but they weren't far off.

One of these dilapidated parks is located in Desert Hot Springs, where land is cheap and people dump their trash in the middle of the desert to avoid the dumping fees at the Riverside County dump. This place resembled an apocalyptic-type film, with abandoned refrigerators and stoves as far as the eye could see.

Overall, with most trailer parks in Long Beach charging between $359 and $400 in rent a month, and with the average apartment costing anywhere from $1000 to $1400 a month, living in a trailer park is starting to look more appealing everyday. Personally, after I graduate, I would rather live in a cardboard box than move back in with my parents, and if moving into affordable housing is the way to do it, then I am all for it.

We've all probably driven down PCH and passed the trailer parks in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, and said to ourselves, "If that's where I have to live to be a block from the beach, so be it." So why not unhitch the trailer, lay out the Astroturf and watch the waves roll by?