Found In the Woods

December 23, 2017

HOWTO: Registering a Harbor Freight Trailer in Maryland

Filed under: Projects — bsullivan @ 11:04 am

NOTE: At this time, the trailer has been removed from the HF website due to out-of-spec tires. (more on that here

HF 40.5" x 48" HaulMaster trailer

HF 40.5″ x 48″ HaulMaster trailer

Back in 2016 I purchased a 40.5″ x 48″ HaulMaster trailer from Harbor Freight with the intent of using it to haul a large aluminum canoe, junk to the dump, wheels/tires/tools to HPDE’s and other hauling duties. I constructed the trailer, built the deck and sides and after a while prepared to have it titled and registered. Unfortunately the MD MVA site is a bit vague on how this is done and specifically what you need to accomplish this. After gathering my documents together and heading to the MVA with a hope and a prayer, I was successful but not without a bit of difficulty. For those who may be attempting the same thing as me, I’d like to give a brief run-down of what you’ll need to get your trailer registered.


First up, visit the official MD Titling & Registration website, here. Download the VR-005 form and fill it out ahead of time. They consider this type of trailer a new vehicle. When you fill out the form you will fill out the Applicant’s info (your personal info). Then in Vehicle Description section you’ll fill out the year, make, model no, body style, VIN, and check the box for TRAILER. Fill out the Trailer section. Under the section for whether or not there is a lien on the vehicle you will write “NONE” in the first box.  Under the APPLICATION FOR NEW REGISTRATION PLATES… section check “new tags”, you can write in your insurance carrier info and then leave the signatures at the bottom for when you are at the MVA itself. If filling out any of this form makes you uneasy, leave it and do it at the MVA. It’s up to you. If you mess up, they have the forms there as well.

What to Bring

  1. Your MD Driver’s License.
  2. Form VR-005 APPLICATION FOR CERTIFICATE OF TITLE – You can download it here. Fill out as much as you can.
  3. Your insurance informationTechnically this is not required. I went to one window at the MVA and the woman told me I did, so I had to go to the car, call my insurance provider who told me I didn’t need coverage; that the trailer was covered under my insurance policy for the car itself. So I went back in to the MVA with my insurance card in case I needed it. The next service agent I spoke to told me I did not need my insurance information. So, YMMV. Bring your insurance card in case you need it.
  4. The bill of sale – You’ll need the original receipt from Harbor Freight (or wherever you purchased your trailer from). This will indicate the purchase of the trailer and that you paid tax on it.
  5. The certificate of origin – this is the paper that came with the trailer when you purchased it. If HF did not give you one, you need to contact them immediately and obtain it. It looks like a title document but it’s not a title document. It states the origin of the trailer, the type, manufacturer, capacity and more details. It looks like this.
  6. Credit card/payment – Title and registration is not cheap, unfortunately, in MD. The total cost for me was $195.70. Ouch!

Some tips/thoughts

  • Make copies of everything, if you are interested in having copies. I was not aware of it, but when they process the paperwork they will take the original bill of sale (receipt from HF) AND the certificate of origin for the trailer. You won’t *need* them after the MD title is issued, but if you care, make copies before hand.
  • Bring a pen in case you need to go off and fill out any extra forms. It’s just handier than having to search for one at the various windows/shelves.
  • I went to the MVA on a Friday afternoon before Christmas. The visit, including the snafu where I had to leave the building and go back in, took me about an hour and a half. On a good day I would say about an hour is what you’ll need to get it all done. Having the paperwork ready makes it faster.

As usual, the disclaimer: this is not official information so take it for what it’s worth. I’m sharing it because it was a stumbling block for me and I hope it may help others who are considering the same process. The trailers are inexpensive and quite versatile. You can bust on me all you want for paying nearly the same amount for the trailer as it cost to register it, but I like being on the up-and-up with this sort of thing should an accident happen. The registration is good for two years at which time it will need renewal and that can be done at various places, including the kiosk located in the lobby of the MVA. One more note on the MVA – the folks I dealt with were very helpful and patient. I’m thankful for that. Good luck, everyone!

February 22, 2012

What would you buy?

Filed under: Blogging — bsullivan @ 2:29 pm

A friend recently asked “if you could buy any car, what would it be?” Well that’s like asking a parent which child is their favorite. (it depends) For me, there are so many cars that I adore for so many reasons. But if you pegged me to the wall and told me to spill the beans, I guess here’s a pretty good list of what I’d pick.

What would I buy? Well that’s a tough question all around. A few of my “tops”:

2012 Audi RS4 Avant

2004 BMW M3 CSL (E46)
One of the best platforms ever built. Just a magnificent vehicle.

Land Rover Defender
These are one of my all-time favorite vehicles. They stopped selling them in the USA in 1997 because they couldn’t be fitted with airbags and other safety features without serious modifications. They are amazing vehicles. Pure offroad delight.

1971 Saab 99
My parents had this car growing up. They picked it up in Sweeden, drove it all over Europe and had it shipped home. It was a really neat car and I still love ’em.

Porsche 911
Nothing fancy, not the turbocharged version, just the bone-stock legend.

GMC Sierra 1500
There is something great about climbing up into the cab of a big pick up truck, knowing you could go anywhere and carry anything and tow the house right off the foundation.

2012 Subaru Impreza WRX STI Limited
I had a 1995 Legacy Outback and loved the thing to death. I have always loved the WRX STI’s too. They are just solid, fun cars.

A modern classic. Rare and elegant. I would love to tour the country, or Europe, in one of these.

2012 Volkswagen Golf R
I saw one of these at H20i (a VW festival) last Summer and, wow, it is amazing. Just a fun, racy car all around.

Mazda MX-5 (Miata)
Another fun 2-seater roadster. Simple, affordable – tons of fun.

2002 BMW Z3 M Coupe
This special edition of the Z3 was bonkers in its design and just completely bonkers. I love the wacky shooting brake style.

2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe
Just an amazing car. My friend has one. I am seriously jealous.

February 16, 2012

My Life in a Cube

Filed under: Blogging — bsullivan @ 11:28 am


February 3, 2012

A Long-Awaited Update

Filed under: Railroading — bsullivan @ 12:27 pm


I haven’t given a status update on the basement work in quite a while and I apologize for that. It’s how I am with this blog, it comes and goes. Anyway, to sum it up, after I completed the framing & insulation, the vapor barrier went up, drywall and trim. The room was primed & painted a couple coats and is ready for prime time. Since I completed the room I have begun benchwork construction on the layout. I decided on a dual-level (double deck), around the room layout with a helix (repurposed from my old layout) connecting the two levels and located outside the room. (the track passes through the wall via a hole) So far I have completed roughly 50% of the open grid benchwork and am very pleased with the progress. I need to get some more lumber and spend some more time on this but lately I’ve been busy with my new job. (yay!) Thanks for watching! See you soon.

Great Scale Model Train Show this weekend

Filed under: Blogging,Railroading — bsullivan @ 12:18 pm


This weekend I will be at the Great Scale Model Train Show, held quarterly in Timonium, MD at the State Fairgrounds. It’s a great show and a place you can find lots of model RR related stuff at great prices. My model RR club, the Rockville Model RR Society, will be there as well with about 3+ tables worth of items for sale (see photo above). The club is liquidating many items it has had in storage. Me, well I’m selling lots of items I myself have had for many years and have no use for anymore. Hope you can make it out and if you do, say HI!

April 24, 2011

Wiring, insulation and framing is nearly done

Filed under: Projects,Railroading — bsullivan @ 1:22 am

With the incredible help of my father in law and my buddy Kelly we’ve been able to make amazing progress on the workshop/layout room. Framing is nearly done as is electrical and insulation. Doing drywall and installing fixtures are the biggest jobs left. Very excited!

April 8, 2011

Some basement progress pics

Filed under: Projects,Railroading — bsullivan @ 1:39 pm

I know these aren’t that exciting, but for me they are. 🙂 Also, it’s hard to see here but all the old wall along the back and side walls of the house are gone. Also, the wiring in the room has been removed. Next step is to make some calculations, remove a few more wall pieces, clean up some stuff and get framing the new walls and roughing in the electrical. Stay tuned.

March 29, 2011

Workshop Update

Filed under: Projects,Railroading — bsullivan @ 9:30 pm

My father-in-law Bruce came over today and helped me knock out some serious work on the workshop room. My model RR will be in this room, along with the HVAC unit, the water heater and my work bench/storage. The room was originally part of one large basement room. At some point in the last 30 years the previous owner split the room in half and turned this side into a workshop. He was a serious woodworker and had some large tools (evident by the 220 40A circuit we removed today and bolt casings in the floor) so it’s plenty big. I decided to strip it down and turn it into a combo model RR room and workshop.

When we moved in I set to work removing some of the old storage units, shelves, walls, etc. Unfortunately, there were also some circuits that needed removing around the room and due to a lack of funds after being laid off, this sort of got put on the back burner. Thanks to the generosity of some friends and family I’ve been able to get some building materials and make a go of getting this taken care of. Back to today, Bruce & I traced out circuits, chased wires, rerouted one circuit to combine some lights and removed a lot of old wire. I was even able to remove all the remaining studs from the room (finally) and get things cleared out a bit. The next step is to continue removing wires, random nailed boards and some other shelves/cabinets still in the room. Things are moving along really well. More pics next time. Thanks!

March 27, 2011

LRDG redux

Filed under: Projects — bsullivan @ 3:47 pm

The original Tamiya LRDG 1/35 scale kit fetches a premium these days. I put one together back in high school and at the time it was one of my prized models. It was also one of the few that survived the great “younger brother knocking over the shelves that held all my models” tragedy.

I was recently inspired to take stock of some of the older projects I have and see if I can complete them. The LRDG stood out to me as a really neat kit that could use some work. Yeah, by high school standards I did an OK job, but the model deserves so much more. Much of it was unpainted, poorly weathered, half-done and a little rough around the edges. Finding a ton of really amazing builds online has inspired me to redo this build.

I first took the pieces that would come off and set them aside. I next started with some of the glued-on bits. Thankfully I didn’t do a very good job gluing things back then, so some of the details came off without a fuss. Others required a little bit more persuasion and will require some filling & sanding. Probably the biggest problem is the wheels – the rubber ones that Tamiya supplied were glued and then mounted to the hubs. This invariably caused them to crack as the rubber shrank over the years. None of my original wheels survived this fate and it makes the model look tacky no matter what you do. I found some replacement resin wheels on eBay and snatched them up. I also sourced some decals for the instrument panel. Here are a few photos of the teardown. Expect more soon!

March 4, 2011

Lt. Slug, welcome to the Tiger’s Claw

Filed under: Blogging — bsullivan @ 2:45 pm

Recently, digging through old files on my backup drive I came across this gem, ca. 1990:

Wing Commander 1   PASSWORDS

On a whim, I Googled Wing Commander and found the app & a DOS emulator. Both worked and within minutes I was back on the Tiger’s Claw fighting the Kilrathi. I just loved this game (and WCII) so much.

Next Page »