Originally, our Safari had a bi-fold door that tucked around and against the wall in the bathroom. It was a great design, and we intended on replicating it when we had time, but in the meantime, we made a quickie curtain and hung it on a wire. Not a great look, but it worked! Just before the Christmas camp out, we decided it was time for an upgrade. We abandoned the plan of rebuilding the original wood bi-fold door and decided to try something different. We purchased a white plastic accordion style door at Lowe’s for $27.00, cut the length to fit, and then covered it in Sunbrella fabric. The solid white looked great on the bathroom side but we felt it would look better on the outside of the bath covered in fabric. We are really happy with the results and think this is a great alternative to a curtain. Hope it works for someone else! Happy Trails!
When we purchased the Safari a few years ago, I googled “events of 1966” to see what was going on when our little trailer first hit the road. I quickly discovered that the National Parks Service celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary that year! I instantly became inspired to incorporate this into the decor. The first thing I purchased was a First Day of Issue postcard with the commemorative stamp attached and postmarked Yellowstone National Park, August 25, 1966.
My great design idea kinda fizzled out after that…until this year! Suddenly it was the 100th Anniversary and I was able to find inspiration everywhere. My favorite things are the two large pillows we lean on when we watch TV. We have started buying patches from everywhere we visit and sewing them on. I hope one day we run out of room on them and have to start two more!
Our National Parks truly are… America’s Best Idea. I’m so proud that our country has protected them for all of us to enjoy and look forward to visiting as many as possible in my lifetime. Who knows, 50 years from now someone may be blogging about their 100 year old Airstream and still have that framed stamp hanging on the wall! I hope so. Happy Trails!
“There is nothing so American as our national parks…. The fundamental idea behind the parks…is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us.” – President Franklin D. Roosevelt
I’m not sure if an Airstream restoration is ever really finished! It seems there is always some new fun gadget to add, new technology comes along, not to mention the decor. I’m so indecisive I’ve already made two sets of curtains! But, after almost two years, we are calling it done. I published a YouTube video of the restoration process we did on the Overlander and enjoyed the comments and feedback we received so much, I made one for the Safari as well. It’s a little long, so if you would like to skip the video and just see the after pictures, they are below the video link. Thanks for following our progress and Happy Trails!
We recently took a few days off and headed to Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo. It is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Texas” and is the second largest canyon in the country. During the summer months, performances of the musical “Texas” are held in the outdoor amphitheater, and there is an abundance of hiking and biking trails throughout the canyon. The campgrounds and facilities were extremely clean and well maintained and when we arrived, we were surprised to find only one other camper in our campground. We were even more surprised to see it was another vintage Airstream! Unfortunately, they left out early the next morning so we didn’t get to meet them.
“Christmas in The Canyon” was being held that weekend and the first nights’ event was hot air balloons in the canyon. It was beautiful!
The rest of our time was spent hiking. The first day we hiked 6.73 miles round trip to the iconic Lighthouse rock. It was a beautiful hike and the views did not disappoint! The next day we hiked another 7 miles through the canyon floor and decided next time we will take our bikes. We had a fantastic time and are looking forward to our next visit. It’s a beautiful park…go see it! Happy New Year!
Our goal for the last several months has been to have the trailer ready in time to attend The Texas Country Air Rally in Quanah, Texas last weekend and…we made it!
The last month or so has been “all trailer, all the time”. Every spare minute has been spent hoping to get it ready to roll. During that time we installed the new Suburban furnace and ducts, pex plumbing, Dometic Penguin low-profile A/C, solar panels, new Dometic refrigerator, Trimetric Battery Monitor, SeeLevel Tank Monitoring system, new cabinetry, countertops, curtains, and upholstery. There are a few things we weren’t able to finish up though. We still need to install the door jamb, header and bi-fold door at the bathroom. We hung a temporary curtain there for now. (I love the bug fabric from Ikea!) The front bed still needs the cabinet face, drawers and doors installed. The green skirt is just temporary as are the spiders and other Halloween decor. We plan to cover the mattress in the same Sunbrella fabric we used on the dinette cushions so when the sheets are off the bed it still looks nice. We still have much to do (polishing…yuck!) but couldn’t be happier to have it this far along! We slept great and are looking forward to leaving many Happy Trails!
The Texas Plains Unit were the hosts of the Texas Country Air Rally and the people of Quanah were amazing. They welcomed 95+ Airstream trailers and motorhomes into their downtown area for three days of non-stop activities, food and fun. When we arrived at the Hardeman County Safety Area we were met by the County’s Mayor and Judge. They presented us with a big bag of welcome goodies and escorted us to the town square. They parked us in front of the beautiful, newly restored, Hardeman County Courthouse. The highlight of our trip was a guided tour of the courthouse by Judge Ronald Ingram. He was full of information about the history of Hardeman county, Quanah, and the restoration of the courthouse. It was an excellent tour…all the way to the top! Thank you, Judge Ingram! Several outdoor areas were set up for meals and the Three Rivers Ballroom was the meeting place for just about everything else. There were seminars to attend on everything from astronomy to outdoor pizza oven construction, concerts in the ballroom every evening, walking tours of the town, Historical Museums, and an open house on Friday for everyone to show off their trailers. We met many new and interesting people we hope to camp with again someday, and of course, it was great to see all our friends in The Heart of Texas Camping Unit again!
Progress on the Safari is painfully slow at times but, we HAVE made progress!
We scrubbed the inner skins several times and patched the old ceiling light holes and other unused holes. With the inner skins back up we primed and painted using Sherwin Williams primer and paint. The color is “Stucco” and a close match to the original. We had an issue in the Overlander with the vinyl off-gassing and becoming a little tacky in the heat. We decided to not take the “wait and see if it happens again” approach and go for the “better safe than sorry” one instead! We used Minwax Polycrylic to seal the paint in the Overlander with excellent results so while everything was taped up, we sealed the paint on the Safari with it as well. The results are a super tough finish with a nice satin sheen. Done!
Next, we moved back down to the tanks and waste lines. The location for the toilet, vent pipes and tank heat ducts were marked on the floor. We raised the tanks up temporarily so we could drill a marker hole through both, then lowered the tanks, drilled the correct size holes and installed the correct fittings in the tanks. Next, we ran a wire from one tank to the other in pex for the SeeLevel Tank Monitoring System and installed the tank sensors on the tanks. The new dump valves were installed, plumbed together and out to the new bayonet fitting.
We chose to use Armstrong VCT tile again for the flooring. We loved it in the Overlander and had no problems with it whatsoever. It comes in a million colors but we chose…of course…GREEN. Kiwi to be exact. It’s bright, fresh, clean, happy, and we love it! I’m sure there will be haters but you gotta go with what makes you happy! We took the screen door to Wise Powder Coating in Chico, Texas and had it powder coated to match. It’s GREEN! 🙂
Up next….new laminate for the bath walls! Sneak peek…..
The old belly pan aluminum (along with the old wiring) has been taken to the scrap yard for recycling and the new one is up! We used the old pieces for a pattern, for the most part. The space behind the axle with no aluminum is where the grey tank and pan will go and the black tank and pan will be at the rear. After popping a million rivets by hand on the Overlander we splurged on a cheap air rivet gun from Harbor Freight. BEST TOOL EVER! We had aluminum left over so went ahead and replaced the side wrap pieces as well. She’s looking good!
Our Safari may be in a million pieces right now but…she looks good sitting there! We took the wheels to Wise Powdercoating in Chico and had them powder coated black. They did an excellent job, were very reasonable, and fast! The original babymoons were re-chromed, and for tires, we went with a Yokohoma P235/75R15 truck tire. WooHooo…Let’s go!
After several months of being derailed by work, we are back on track! We have made a little progress here and there over the last few months, but it doesn’t seem like much. Although, when I finally uploaded our pictures starting in January, yes…January :/, we have accomplished more than I thought!
Our trailer never had an A/C unit. From what we understand the proper placement of an A/C unit, if you wanted to add one, was to cut another hole between the two rear vent holes. To us this seemed crazy. Why wouldn’t you just put it in the center? Then we realized the ribs weren’t continuous at the center vent hole. They stopped half way up on either side. To fix the problem, Dan riveted aluminum channel to the existing ribs and buck riveted it to the outer skin. Now the vent hole will be strong enough to hold a new A/C unit and it will be centered on the roof. I’m happy!
We used Trempro to seal all the seams from the inside, installed all the new wiring, got the new 7-way plug wired up and installed new seals on the two front stationary windows. We insulated behind the end caps and got those big boys back up! It was a challenge for two people so we used some big wood closet rods we had to help support them.
That brings us up to date on our progress since the Holidays! Sure doesn’t seam like much but…we are BACK ON TRACK!
Over the Thanksgiving holiday we had a few days to work on the trailer and made some major progress….finally! Dan cut the wood for the new floor, using the old floor as a pattern. After some tweaking, we were satisfied with the fit and bolted it down. We positioned the trailer frame under the shell by hand, using a floor jack. With the frame level, we started lowering the shell back down using the same method we used to raise it. On this trailer, the front and rear banana wraps were installed first, and then the shell over them. When we were within a few inches of the floor we did a test fit of the front wraps. They were pretty beat up and Dan did a great job hammering the dents out of them using a sandbag and an auto body dolly. We cut new aluminum for the rear wraps from the old patterns, making sure to cut them exactly as they were. Fitting them was definitely a two man job and difficult. It took awhile, but we got them on. Once the shell was all the way down we noticed something just wasn’t quite right at the doorway. The shell seemed to be pushed out at the threshold and the fender wells weren’t lining up perfectly with the shell. Then Dan remembered reading a post on the forums that said something about the floor being notched out at the threshold. Our floor was rotted away in that spot so with no pattern to go by we had no way of knowing that. Once again, great information obtained from the Airforums! We raised the shell back up a little, notched out the floor a 1/2″ the entire width of the door jamb, lowered it back down, and…PERFECT FIT! The rivet holes lined up everywhere…amazing! Rivets are all bucked and our “honey” looks very happy to be back together again. The new axle gave the old girl some lift and she looks like she’s ready to hit the highway! Of course we have a few more things to do…just a few. 😉
The Christmas campout with the HOTCU is this weekend…see you there! Merry Christmas!