Thursday, September 27, 2007

more little bites, some took a lot of chewing.

The past two days have been filled with a few projects. The main project was to remove two heavy steel beams that were attached to the roof. The beams were used to support a roof when Anna was someones shore camp. The previous owner said that his previous owner had a corrigated plastic roof off of the beam. The steel was mounted to the awning rail by means of bolts that had been welded to a piece of #2 re-bar. The re-bar was pounded into the "c" of the awning rail. After a number of years the re-bar, bolts, and aluminum awning rail had fused into one solid mass.
The best solution I found was to drill out the rivets and remove the whole mess. I drove over to Charlies RV Center and bought a new 16' piece... the profile was exactly the same after 45 years. Some buthayl tape, olyimpic rivets, vulkemm, and pumping of the riveter... back to the way it used to be,... except the rusty spots left by the beam on the skin. Now the vintage awning I bought on ebay has a place to mount to the trailer

The next project was to replace the steel propain tanks with new Worthington #30 lbs. bottles. While I was at it, I also replaced the regulator and pigtails. Sure looks a lot better than it was before I started. Just some more aluminum to polish.

The last thing done was to replace the dry rotted truck tires with new trailer tires. I sanded the rims, primed them, and painted them black. 10 ply Carlisle should hold up for a few years.Packed the bearings while I was at it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Off playing, when I should be working

The past weekend nothing really happened on Anna. My wife and I had a wonderful respite from work and parenting. We were fortunate to have an Aunt stay at our house and watch the girls so we could go to New Mexico. We did a great deal of cool stuff; we hunted for turquoise at a a friends mining claim in Cerrillos. We rode the Toltec & Cumbres Train from Chama. We visited with some friends in Taos. We soaked in the hot springs of Ojo Caliente. And we saw some of the sites of Santa Fe. New Mexico is one fine state that is for sure. Hopefully we will be able to attend a rally there someday... We will definitely be taking Anna there in the near future.
There were a lot of Airstreams and even some real nice vintage SOB's to be seen along the drive. Here on the east coast there are very few to be seen from the road, but in New Mexico they were everywhere. We saw a real nice vintage Airstream while visiting some off the beaten track hot springs outside Taos. The door was open, but we didn't stop in. I think the protocol is open door means come on in for a visit. We didn't stop. Sure wish we had.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oh, and another thing...

My vanity plates came today for the tow vehical, Roo, my 2001 Dodge Ram 1500. Still waiting on Anna's plates...

a few tiny little bites...

I hear it said over and over that the best way to eat an elephant is by taking lots of little tiny bites. Enough little tiny bites and you can eat the whole beast. So over the past few days I have begun taking small bites. My plan is to make certain that the shell is water tight before I do anything. If there is some rot somewhere, the last thing I want to do is feed it more water. Only one of the windows functioned correctly, so I decided to replace all of the openers and friction pads on all the windows. The first window was a little tough because I did not really know what I was doing. The second window went very smooth after climbing to the top of the learning curve. I went on to the third window... well let's say it slowed me down drastically. I removed the screws holding the lifters to the frame so that the window could move in and out freely. I went outside and lifted the window, and instantly the glass broke into 20 pieces. So I spent the next two hours removing the glass, cleaning the buthayl tape from the sash, and cleaning all the 45 years of crud that had built up. I cut new glass and put it back in using new buthayl and new window gaskets. Thank god I ordered all that stuff in advance. All the rest of the windows went smooth after that with exception of hunting down the proper screws to attach the closers where they were missing. Apparently, 10 x 3/8"x 20 aluminum screws are very hard to find unless you want to buy 100 for $25... I only needed 8. I ended up using a 10 x 1/2" x 24 stainless steel screw and grinding 1/8" off, then re threading the holes. worked fine... all the windows now open and close smoothly. I will have to go back and actually remove all the windows later when I replace all the seals inside the frame. I'll chew for a little while so I can take another bite of elephant. Another thing that happened was I fixed the rock guard stays or pins that hold the rock guard up. they had been broken off at some point and put in a drawer. I tapped the rusted old center nut and inserted a new stainless steel wing screw and riveted it back on to the track. Now the rock guard opens and closes and can be locked open. Getting good ventilation is important. Anna has a very unusual oder... she smells like a hospital. The surgery area to be exact. Don't know if one of the previous owners worked at a hospital and stole cleaning products or if they had a meth lab in there, but she has an oder. I should count myself luck, she could smell like rodents or chicken or pig farm I guess.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Anna comes home

Well today was a wonderful day. The day started at about 58 degrees with a high of 70. Just beautiful blue sky... a great day for a homecoming. Over the weekend I managed to finish the addition to our house, it took me a mere 1 1/2 years... originally I though it would only take 4 months. But now it is done, checked off the list. Time to move on to a new all time consuming project. I finally brought her home from Monty's.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

So for the past few weeks Anna has been parked at my good friend Monty's house. He has enjoyed looking out at her sitting in the lawn. I'm working on him hard to buy an Airstream, he actually seems half convinced. His neighbors also say they enjoy looking across their lawns at her. The thing they all like about Anna is that she makes a great backdrop for coctail hour. They bring lawn chairs over and sit around her curb side, sipping coctails and enjoying the fellowship. I do not know quite how to break it to them but next week she is coming home to me. The reason I have had her over at Monty's is due to a promise I made to my wife. When I bought Anna without asking if it was okay, there were certain concessions that had to be made. I had to promise Beth that I would do nothing to Anna until we move into our addition.
For the past year and a half I have been putting an addition onto our house. The addition to the house was due to an addition to the family. When we found out Beth was with child, we decided we needed more space in our house. Like Airstreams, old houses take more time and more money than one can ever imagine. I thought we would just cut a hole in the side of the house and add on. I have replaced all the sill plates now in 60% of the house, insulated, vapor barriered, sheathed, and re- sided the same 60%, and added a 385 square foot addition. A simple project quadrupled in size. Good thing I am a carpenter and am able to do almost everything myself. This is what I deserve for buying a house built in 1790 and modernized in 1870. Well I am so close to being done it is scary. By the end of this weekend I will be done, and Anna can come home.
Anna's homecoming will be a welcomed event for me. Boxes have been arriving almost daily from Vintage trailer Supply. I have purchased every window seal, door seal and seam seal that could be needed. I have purchased all new closers for every window. When I re- build every window, I want it to be better than the day it left the factory in Jackson Center. I've purchased rivets for inside and out. I've purchased Alclad to fill the holes and bad areas and to give the new rivets some sort of purpose. I've purchased an Olympic Shaver to make those rivets look almost as good as the day she left Jackson Center. According to the tracking info, tomorrow the new Aluminum #30 bottles will be here. AND,... AND,... AND I CANNOT WAIT TO GET STARTED. In less than three weeks I will be attending my very first rally, and there is so much to do before then.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

From the begining

As a father with a young family, I have always looked for a good activity that could bond our family in a shared experience. For years our family has been avid car campers. We have looked at camping as a good way to see the country without breaking the bank. Many of the National and State parks have excellent services at very resonable rates and they usually are close to wonderful attractions. The down side of car camping is the loading, unloading, setting up, breaking down the site, and loading it all back in, to followed by more unloading , cleaning and putting away. I have in the past year become tired of the process. The work involved got me thinking of a more better way.
Then it dawned on me to get an RV of some kind. Nothing large, just something that we could go out, camp, be comfortable in. So I started looking at travel trailers. Man are there a lot to choose from! Man do most of them look alike! Being somewhat counter culture I din't want to have one of those big white boxes like everyone else, for I am not like everyone else. The only trailers that were different were the old ones. The more I looked at the old ones, the more I liked them. The more I looked at old trailers, the more I felt drawn to the Airstreams.
I began searching on all the Rv classified, forum sites, ebay... everything seemed not right, until one day I found an ad for a 1958 Flying Cloud. The trailer was being sold by Rob Baker. Rob is very well known in the Airstream community. He suffers from aluminitis very badly, and sometime he sells some of his stash to others that share his addiction or new comers that don't realize what they are about to do. Well, Rob emails some pictures, and I instantly fall in love. The problem is that I am about to go on a long vacation and I just do not have the time to drive 5 1/2 hours each way to go look at it. I take a gamble and hope that it will still be for sale when I return. Needless to say some other guy snapped it up before I could. I was heart broken to say the least... he who hestiates is lost... it is true. I sure hope whoever Rob sold that trailer to is showing her some sweet love... she deserved it.
As I stated earlier, I am somewhat of a counter culture type, and I firmly believe that things are ment to be. When the time was right, it would be. I started bidding on trailers and loosing. The same ones that interested me also interested other bidders with much deeper pockets. I got involved in some auction that had buy it now options, but before I could get an email out to ask the most basic questions: "like if I buy, will I be able to tow it home to Baltimore." Well, before I could do anything someone hit that buy it now button.
On August 21 2007 an auction was listed at around 9 pm for a 1962 Overlander. It had a buy it now button of $4000, and it was about 75 miles from my house. I had seen the trailer listed in the Airstream forums for $4000 and it had been there for a number of weeks. I figured that no one was too hot for it since it had been listed for so long and then put on ebay. I called the seller first thing on the 22nd and arainged to go take a look and see what kind of shape it really was in. About 15 minutes from home I realized I had forgotten the directions and returned home. As I walked up to the computer, the screen still said zero bidders... I hit refresh, and oh no!!! Three buyers were working eachother and the bid was up to $2850. I knew it was too close to the $4000 buy it now price and one of the three wanted it. It was all going down just like before... Except this time I hit the buy it now button and bought a trailer 5 years older than me, sight unseen. What was I thinking? What had come over me? what was my wife going to say?
The next day I went and picked her up. I was very nervous about what I would find when I got to the sellers house. what if the pictures were highly deceiving and this thing was a pile of junk... I was so nervous that I chain smoked 3/4 of a pack of cigarettes in an hour and a half. The only ace I was holding was that no moneys had changed hands. If the trailer was not as described on ebay, I could refuse the sale and walk away. I could always refute the negative feedback if I had to.
As I pulled up my first thought was that it was smaller than I envisioned. The second thing I thought was, Man that thing is so beautiful. What a beautiful patena that aluminum has... it shimmers so nicely in the early morning light. The seller, Rick, came out and began showing me around. I very quickly realized that he did not know to much about Airstreams and did not know too much about the trailer. This may have been an act, I really do not know. Well as soon as he opened the door and let me inside, I knew I was home, I knew it was ment to be.