The Search Is OVER(lander)!

We found our trailer!!! We’ve been searching for a 60’s Overlander and finally found a 1967 that is perfect. When you start with a great shell, original baby moons, and those fantastic curved windows that only the ’66 and ’67 have, you can’t go wrong. There’s nothing like finding a vintage Airstream that speaks to you, and this trailer was softly whispering, “Take me home and make me fabulous…please!”  It’s been two weeks and we’ve made progress already. I think being without a trailer tends to light a fire under you!

After a good scrubbing, we took all the exterior lights, vents, etc. off and stripped the clear coat with PPG Aerospace PR-5044 Peroxide-Activated Stripper from Vintage Trailer Supply.  Apply it with a paint roller on a warm day, let it sit awhile, then pressure wash it off. Works great!

My grandmother had a saying, “I’ll go now and let you get on with your rat killing.” I always thought it was such an odd and funny thing to say, until now…I get it! Next step was to get on with our rat killing! We had a pack rat. A BIG pack rat that didn’t want to leave.  We pulled the belly pan down on one side to give him an escape route but, with a belly pan full of acorns, he wasn’t going anywhere.  It took a few tries but his luck ran out. No more rat. We won’t get a good look at his stash until we lift the shell and pull the floor up but, I’m sure it’s going to be epic!

The next step was to gut the nasty interior, pull the floor tile up, and remove the lower inner skins and insulation. We are now ready to support the shell and have a weekend lift off!

We are both so excited we can hardly stay focused on our real job! There is so much to think about. It’s a little like playing chess. You have to think ahead to your next 5 or 10 moves. We spent some time sitting in the trailer and getting a feel for the layout before we gutted it and have decided we love the layout and are keeping it. The only change will be a larger refrigerator. We will loose some counter top space, but it’s worth it.

We have set a rather lofty goal for a completion date. October 29, 2018. That’s our 30th Anniversary! If we make it, we will most likely be at the Annual Halloween Campout at the LBJ Grasslands with our friends in the HOTCU! Happy Trails and see you then!

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Curtain Upgrade!

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!

Happy 100th National Park Service!

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.

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 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

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Our 1966 Safari Restoration

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 camped!

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, contertops, curtains and upsholstery. 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!

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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!

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Paint, Waste Tanks and Flooring!

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!

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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 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.

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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…..

New Belly Pan!

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!