Monday, September 27, 2010

Airstream(ers) in Hawaii

For the last two weeks we've been on vacation in Hawaii.  I looked diligently in backyards all over the state (well, all over the two islands we visited) and didn't see a single Airstream.  On our last day I was ecstatic to see one!  Admittedly, the Airstream I spotted was in the airport on the front of a magazine.  
I was smitten nonetheless.

 Here's a few (read= probably too many) gratuitous vacation pictures:

 We camped at different places all over the Big Island for a week.  
(A green sea turtle came to visit.)

We camped here for 2 (chilly) nights... and still didn't have enough time to see everything we wanted to see.

We hiked across the Kilauea Ike cauldera.  
In 1959, the year our trailer was made and Hawaii became a state, this cauldera erupted
In the 1960s it was a lake of molten lava.

We had to watch our step on this 4 mile hike.

We visited the Thurston Lava Tube in Volcanoes National Park (even if it wasn't as adventurous as the "off the chart" one we explored later.)

...hiking to where the road was covered with lava

watching volcanic steam

Sunrise (not far from our tent) at Laupahoehoe Beach State Park

Sunset (near our A-frame) at Hapuna Beach State Park

All dressed up for a Hawaiian wedding.  
(Happy Marriage David & Karen!)

We did it!  We climbed Diamond Head!

 Visiting USS Arizona...I learned so much!

Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
(We got to see an octopus!!!)

We sure enjoyed getting to see America's beautiful 50th state!  There's nothing like traveling to make you want to travel more.... I think it might be time to get back to work on that Airstream.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Christmas in July

It feels like Christmas!  My friend Cynthia found this gorgeous aluminum Christmas tree for me.  Wikipedia says they were most popular from 1958 until the mid 60s.  
It's the perfect tree for our trailer!  
If only Santa would send us come cooler weather...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer Vacation

We are really enjoying our time with friends while they are out of school.  From February to May our weekend and evening time was spent working diligently on our Airstream.  For the last few weeks we've been enjoying a little time off.

When the trailer was at the warehouse we made a concerted effort to get out of the door at right after dinner and up to the warehouse to work on the trailer.  I was convinced it would be even easier to work on the trailer once it was home.

 I was wrong. 
We've had the trailer home for almost a month we haven't worked on it. 
Not once. 

Now, I have an even greater respect for all of you Airstream-restoring folks who work on your trailers from home in your spare moments.  We have found that since our trailer is home it's easier to be distracted by other tasks.  (Or maybe it's just that we're no longer able to "escape" the fact that we haven't worked on the house in 4 months.)  

We do have a few excuses.  The first week the trailer was home, Brian was in Denver for a programming conference.  The second week, we took a non-maiden-voyage trip to Missouri for a family reunion.  (Our first RV park experience... blog material, for sure.)  The last two weeks we've just been doing our best to enjoy the summer before it slips away. With all of the cook-outs, swimming,water park-ing, hiking, picnicking, doughnut eating, bowling, and slumber-partying who has time to work on the Airstream in this blistering heat

Samuel swimming at our neighborhood pool

Mark Twain Landings Water Park in Monroe City, Missouri.
(Thanks, Mom!)

Kabobs for the 4th of July

Krispy Kreme with the gang

Samuel and friends bowling in their swimsuits

I'm sure we'll get right back to it when our schedule slows down and the temperatures cool. Time to go pack for another (tent) camping trip...Summer Rocks!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Big Sigh of Relief...

I wasn't really sure how much we had accomplished this week until I went back and looked at the pictures of the trailer at the beginning of the week.
Nice and airy.
No windows.  No drip caps.  No bumper.  No taillights.  

Tasks we finished this week:
  • cleaned up the windows (8 windows)
  • repaired corner welds on a few window frames
  • installed new window glass and seals (three per window)
  • cleaned up & polished the drip caps
  • attached the windows and drip caps to the trailer (except the one over the door)
  • attached the bumper
  • restored two Airstream badges
  • made trailer lights ready for towing
  • finished installing the access panels on the belly pan
  • sealed the seams (to keep out water)
  • made the trailer water tight
As I look at this list I notice "cleaned up the windows" sitting innocently at the top of the list.  This task leered at us from the top of our "To Do" list for quite some time.  Cleaning up the windows was a huge job. We used an abrasive wheel attachment for the drill and worked on the windows in spare 1 to 2 hour periods of time over the last couple of months.  
We couldn't have been happier to be finish with this tedious task.

Annabelle wore the tool belt and handed rivets to Daddy when we installed the drip caps. 

Samuel has been waiting (at times not so) patiently for his first chance to use the soldering iron.  He finally had the opportunity this week.  He and Brian are looking forward to more wiring work soon.

We have really been spoiled with our rented warehouse space but now it's time for us to move out.

 Our last evening in the warehouse was an almost-all-night-er.  Brian and I finally crashed on the floor with the kids for a few hours.   Sunday morning we packed the trailer with tools and headed out.

We had lots of tools and supplies to move... 
(Not to mention: an old axle & wheels, the fridge, lots of scrap aluminum and two ornery endcaps)

 Home again home again jiggity jig.
Windows. Drip Caps. Bumper.  Taillights.  License Plate.

It was important for us to make the trailer water tight before we brought it home.  For a couple of the vents "water tight" involved putting a plastic bag over the vent temporarily.
Sunday evening brought a summer shower and we had the chance to check our work.

All I can say is that it's amazing how much water can come in through a rivet hole.  The front window has a rock guard.  It still needs a few repairs before we can attach it to the trailer.  It's not critical that the rock guard be in place for us to use the trailer so we forgot to consider that not attaching it would leave a seam of open holes on the side of the trailer.
(Golly.  What were we thinking?  I think we were sleep deprived.)
Now it's waterproofed with duct tape.

After putting forth our best effort we finally decided "Someday" will not be making the maiden voyage in June.  Instead of being disappointed we're hugely relieved.   We're still making the trip but we'll be bringing out tent.  I have had my heart set on an Airstream for 7-10 years...waiting a few more weeks before we take our first trip really isn't a big deal.

Friday, June 4, 2010

We're Tired.

Pun intended.
We've been putting in some long hours this week.  Sometimes when we're so close to finishing something it's just hard to go home.  Here's a couple of projects we finished this week:

We installed the axle and wheels.
Ready to roll?  Not quite... but getting closer.

 One of the hardest thing about installing the axle (besides having the proper hardware) was making the U-bolts squeeze tight enough to fit into the tie plate.  Tools required:  Lots of patience and a C-clamp (preferably one without a pivoting clamp face.)

Speaking of the tie plate, we're so grateful that SAM was willing to weld our shock mounts to the tie plate.
Thanks again, SAM.

Axle is installed!

Thursday night we finished riveting in the belly pan.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Belly Dance!

 We're so excited to be wrapping up the belly pan! The corners are finished!  The edges are finished!  The middle section is finished!  Our seams and pop rivets are silicone sealed!  Hooray!  (We only lack the screws for the removable cover/access panel for the gray and black water tanks.)

During the past week Brian worked diligently on the belly pan corners while I moved on to the less frustrating but equally tedious job of polishing.  

Before installing the belly edge pieces we used this ABS pipe to curve the aluminum.  The 3'' pipe seemed to be the perfect size for the curve we needed.

The pneumatic pop riveter (Swoosh!) was our favorite belly tool.  Well, maybe the creeper.  They're both really fun toys...errr... I mean TOOLS.

Annabelle was excited about having a turn to polish but did have a few reservations about how dirty her face might be when she was finished.  (I wonder why?!?)

At least she could tell if her face was getting too dirty!

Ewww! I knew polishing was going to be dirty but I really think there's no way to prepare for making a bathtub this dirty EVERY night.  It's necessary to scrub with heavy duty soap with pumice on every square inch of exposed skin.  (Think: eyelids)  Did I mention shampoo?  It takes 4 washes before the suds turn white.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Twinkle in his eye...

...of course by "twinkle" I mean a steel sliver.  

This evening we got an early start at the warehouse with (high) hopes to finish the belly pan.   We were there for about an hour and had been drilling holes and using pop rivets to fasten the belly.  Brian crawled out from under the trailer and when he did a small piece of steel fell from his hair into his EYE.  I tried to remove the bit but was unsuccessful.  It was stuck.

The ER doctor said his eye will be good as new.  He does have to rest his eye for a couple of days.  The nurse said "no computer, no TV, no video games."   What's a computer programmer to do?  
(I wasn't in the room but I bet she didn't say "no riveting.") 

In the mean time, Brian digs the pirate look:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

No Braggin'... We're Draggin'...

I haven't posted for over a week.  There's a reason for that.  We haven't made much progress.  Instead, we enjoyed our last weekend get-away before our maiden voyage.

We got together with some friends at a cabin in Lake Lure, NC.
(Not too far from Asheville.)

Friday we hiked to High Falls at Dupont State Forest.

On the way home we saw an Airstream just off of the road.  We stopped to take a picture.  It's shiny!  I wonder if they want to come finish my polishing for me?!

Speaking of polish, I did do a little polishing this week. 

Brian's been working hard on the belly pan corners.  Don't let the smile fool you.  I'm pretty sure he's cursing through his teeth.

The front streetside corner of the belly pan is finally installed.  One down.  Three more curves to go.  The kids are enjoying the belly-pan work because they like taking turns with the pneumatic pop riveter.

 We have about three weeks to get our trailer ready to tow out of the warehouse.
From here on out it's "noses to the (aluminum) grindstone."  

Monday, May 10, 2010

Belly Aching, Beauty Marks and a Little Rouge...

We finished up a few things this week to make belly-pan installation possible. Samuel helped Brian with the ABS pipe for the plumbing under the trailer.

Brian's truck loaded up with the new belly pan aluminum (5052-H32.)  We were supposed to get the belly pan aluminum in last week but our supplier fell through.  We were glad to find another local supplier and have already put in a second order with them.

We drug out the old belly pan to use it for a pattern.  
Brian doesn't remember the belly pan looking or smelling this clean.  
(I guess it had a chance to air out after sitting on our patio for a couple months.)

Trace and cut....just follow the pattern, right?

Time to install the first belly pan panel.
Drill. (Pop) Rivet. Repeat.

...cutting the belly pan to make it fit the curve.
Something isn't right.
This isn't exactly going according to plan.
This is harder than it looks.
Plan B?
Cut another section and try again later.

 Mother's Day Decorations.  It's a Peony from our yard.

Brian fabricating the cover for the gray water tank.

"Please!  Please!  Please can I polish?!"
(Too bad the enthusiasm didn't last very long!)

Here's the beauty marks (scrapes).... 
Lower rear curbside panel "before" with a small amount of polishing.
(Definition of polishing= Moving the aluminum oxidation from the trailer to your skin.)

jewelers rouge we're using for polishing

Rear curbside panel "after." 
It's my reflection.
(Shiny enough to see that my face is covered in polish.)

Do you think I have too much rouge?

A Mother's Day to remember!