Tuesday, November 3, 2009

vintage hat!

My buddy Jim Bier called me up and said "I've got something for you that you're gonna like" and I said "Is is an Airstream?" So I was close and he was right, I dig it!
This is my 8th grade girl Lucy. She played on the Rochester Lourdes high school varsity tennis team this year. They took 4th place at state as a team. We're pretty proud of this one.

It's leaf raking time and my 4th grader is in charge (takes after her mom). Josie loves the leaf piles and she's a huge fan of the family Airstreams. She can tell you the year, model, and length of both of our trailers.
It's time to get the fireplace going, tune in a hockey game and enjoy a cold one! Game on...

Monday, October 26, 2009

back to the 50's

With the onset of cold weather, restoration of the Safari has ground to a halt. I am in desperate need of a 60 degree day to apply Por-15 to the frame and Mother Nature is quite content to keep it cool around these parts. So in lieu of anything on the trailer rehab front, I thought I would pass along a photo that one of my radio announcer friends posted on his Facebook page. It is a shot of his dad's tow vehicle and trailer from the 50's. He says the trailer was a Mallard (manufactured by the recently defunct Fleetwood trailer company). My buddy Jim Brunnette is the little guy in the photo which includes his brothers and father. You gotta dig the color of the TV/trailer combo! In his Facebook post he said there was no doubt, you could see us coming down the road.
In other news, any plans of getting work done on my '64 Tradewind have been shot to heck by the need to rebuild the family cabin which was lost in a recent fire. The insurance doesn't really cover the price of a new structure, so money that I had earmarked for Airstreams is being dumped into a lakeside gathering place. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. If it means using a portapotty and looking like a hillbilly for a couple summers, I don't care. All I know is that I can't miss any future camping seasons so I'll use what I got and hope for sunny days and moonlit nights.
Enjoy the photo, peace to you and yours!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

winner, winner, chicken dinner!

I hit the Airstream lottery! Rob Baker called to tell me that I won the '64 Tradewind raffle. Cannot express how excited we are here at the Hansen household. Thought I was being punked.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

goodbye clearcoat

I had time today to apply a gallon of RemovALL 220 to the trailer. It took just about 3 hours to coat the Safari, putting in on with a big 'ol brush. I could tell it was going to go well because areas that I had gone over earlier and overlapped a bit were already starting to come off in sheets.Here we are with the stripper applied.
You can see where the clearcoat had already come off (shiny spots).

Turn on the powerwasher and watch the fun!
I've got the pressure set very low here but increased it quite a bit as I progressed.
The end result is a pretty nice looking old girl...I'll have to go back and touch up some of the stubborn patches, but I'm done for the day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Osceola, Wisconsin rally open house

Well I made it to my first rally and found out that Airstreamers are indeed a great group of people. I got up to Osceola, Wisconsin this past Saturday with my daughter Josie in tow. We spent the first few hours in town at the fair watching a tractor pull, walking through the art fair, going to the exotic animal petting zoo, and eating corn dogs, cheese curds, and apple pie with ice cream. I asked Josie if she noticed anything different about the people and then I pointed out that no one (not even the kids) was on a cell phone. It was just good folk having a good time. We walked through the parking lot that had all of the old tractors waiting in line for their turn at the pull. Lots of John Deere(s?), and then you had your Farmalls, Olivers, etc. What I didn't see was any Minneapolis Molines. They are a personal favorite of mine ever since I played in a roots band by the same name. I wish I would have thought to bring my camera to the fair, but left it in the truck.Josie took most of the pictures for today's blog. She assured me that she had pictures of every dog at the rally. Not exactly what I was looking for, but I had to give her artistic freedom, I guess. Here is a shot of most of the trailers. If you look in the center of the photo, you can see a frisbee dog in action.
Here's Ed Emerick with his dog. I have to add that the dogs at the rally were just as friendly as their Airstream owners were. Just a great group of people and pets. Ed is the past president of the VAC (Vintage Airstream Club).

This is a '64 Globetrotter that belongs to Bob and Bonny Herman from Florida. The crazy thing is that I saw this trailer in a small county park about 5 miles from my home on August 26th but couldn't track down the owners. Josie was camping with her girl scout troop right across the path from the Hermans. I left them a card with my name and a photo of my trailer on it, but didn't expect to see them again. Small world!
Here's Paul and Marcia Hahn out of Denver, Iowa. I met them as I saw they had a '66, same as me. Being from NE Iowa, they've seen some of the same music groups as I have and been to some of the same music venues such as the Inwood Ballroom where my blues band opened up for Canned Heat. Oh, yeah, their dog's name is "Dude."

This is the Hahn's '66 Globetrotter looking great on a perfect late summer afternoon.

Three pictures of a Liner hooked up behind a Lincoln Zephyr. What a great combo platter! The inside skin was painted with a super cool treatment that made it look like wood or leather depending on how many cocktails you've had. Bed in back, kitchen in front. That's Josie sitting at the dinette looking casual. The only thing that surprised me about it was the lack of headroom. Not a trailer for a tall guy/gal. I didn't find out who owned it, but it did have Minnesota plates.
This Streamline is west of Rochester, Mn and I drive past it whenever I'm heading down I-90. Finally stopped and got a picture of it. Looks like it's in fine shape.
This mystery trailer is my latest obsession. Don't know what it is, I only now that it's little and cute and I want it.

Josie and I had a great time in Osceola. Met some friends from the Airforums up there (Tim and Doug and Jan) and had a beer or two and got to talk Airstreams for a couple hours. Next year I've got to have my Safari ready to tow so we can stay longer and make more friends.

Still waiting for my Por 15 to show up...


Monday, August 17, 2009

classic shot and a great gig

I've been looking forward to posting the "classic" Airstream renovation picture and finally...here it is! Man standing on the ground in the back of his trailer. It doesn't get any better than this. Of course I will say the same thing when the Safari is roadworthy. Time to order some Por-15 from VTS and an axle from Colin Hyde's Trailer Restorations.
Sunday night, me and my great friend Charlie Lacy got to open up from blues singer Shemekia Copeland. She is the daughter of the late, great Johnny "Clyde" Copeland, a blues guitar legend. What made the gig great was that Charlie's daughter Molly and my son Louie both played the gig with us. The kids are 16 and they got to play in front of a couple thousand people on a big stage. We played a 45 minute set and had a stone-cold gas!

Here's a shot of our band "wiggleFoot" before the gig. Front row is Molly and Louie. Back row left to right is me, Rick Miller (harmonica), Charlie, and Geoff Mattson (sax). Rick's dad died early Sunday morning in his sleep, but Rick told me that his dad would've wanted him to play the gig. A very emotional day for all, but music has a healing power and we know that Rick's dad, Bob, was watching from the best seat in the house as his kid poured his heart and soul into his amplified blues harp.

My manchild hanging out backstage with Shemekia Copeland. Her guitar player joked that she better "watch her hands, he's not old enough for you" and she didn't miss a beat and said "he will be someday!"
Shemekia took us all to Church with her singing. Please visit her website, buy her music, see her in concert. In fact, go see as much live music as you possibly can no matter what style you like. It's all good....peace! http://www.shemekiacopeland.com/

Monday, August 10, 2009

one black tank and two black eyes

The original Thetford valve mounted on the previously "repaired" black tank which is on its way out!
Another shot of the fun...you can see the black tank's old insulation honeycomb.

Looking aft from the curbside.

One used '66 blacktank. The valve is actually in good shape if anybody needs one, let me know.

The tank and its former support box after what must have been a few years of leaking (yuck).
If a picture is worth a thousand words, I'd like to officially enter this picture as my VAP black tank story in hopes of winning the $25 booty toward a Vintage Trailer Supply purchase.

And finally the two black eyes. This is what can happen when a hockey puck hits you in the nose and your nose is big enough and strong enough to pass the shock on to your face. Yeah, the chicks really dig a guy that looks like a raccoon. This happened to me last Wednesday night at my regular skate. I gigged the next three nights (Ames, Iowa...Mankato, Mn...and LaCrosse Wisconsin) and got a lot of sideways looks and had to spend more time than usual explaining my face.
I was thinking of calling this post "SHIT HAPPENS," but I didn't want any links to my blog spouting profanity.

Monday, August 3, 2009

level headed thinking

She's level and off the ground. I'm using two tall jack stands behind the axle on the frame rail (one on each side), two shorter jack stands to help out on the A-frame in front, and a couple Airstream issued stabilizers on the frame rail just in front of the bumper to help out.
Here's a look underneath at the frame rail, crossmember, outrigger, axle plate, axle, shock, etc. From all that I've read and heard, this is a great place to put the jack stand. Stable as a mofo.

Here's my genuine one-of-a-kind story stick made from leftover hardwood. It is amazing how fast a colored pencil dulls when drawing on an old subfloor. I used a couple different colors to help sort out the confusion of lines. After I remove the section of subfloor, whatever parts of the curve don't survive can be recreated by putting the story stick back in its tracing and adding the wall thickness.

Nothing conveys satisfaction like a Vintage Trailer Supply t-shirt with rolled up sleeves! The deeper I get into my project, the more confidence I am gaining. I know I have miles to go, but I also am starting to see the distance behind me. Next step is to crawl under and remove the elevator bolts that hold down my old subfloor. My plan is to remove the back two sections first, wirebrush, Por 15, figure out a new black and gray tank, and replace the subfloor. Sounds like a hoot! Any advice is always welcome.

Monday, July 27, 2009

bellypan down and I'm out of beer...

After a couple days of drilling out many rivets, down came the bellypan. Even though I have read countless stories of finding dead or alive critters, my Fifth Avenue on Wheels had none. Just a lot of gravel and insulation that had let go.
Here you can see how the '66 era trailers' side panels wrapped down below to meet the bellypan. A previous owner or two must have done some work under the bathroom because a seperate sheet had been tacked on toward the back.

The black tank holder has seen better days. I'm thinking that the new black tank will go above the floor and the gray tank I am adding will go within the frame just behind the axle.

I got a good look at the condition of the frame and I think I got lucky with just how intact it is. Next step is to remove the subfloor insulation and the subfloor and then wire brush the frame making it ready for Por-15.

Yeah the axle has to be replaced, too. At least it had some travel left in it by the looks of it.
As a post script, I would like to express my appreciation to Tim, Colin, and Rob of VAP fame for all of the podcasts they have produced. It sure makes working on a trailer more fun listening to the three of them plus all their great guests telling stories about how to fix and how to enjoy a vintage Airstream. Now if I could just get Rob to draw my name as the winner of that '64 Tradewind, I could bring my family out to D.C. for a visit and add to my aluminum collection.
Now I'm off to the beer store.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

beer belly pan

I've moved the Airstream (which still needs a name) from the backyard to my front driveway so I have a nice semi-level place to put it up on jackstands and remove the subfloor and work on the frame. It seems to be happy in its new location next to my cargo trailer.
I started to drill out the belly pan rivets and then it started to rain. I was forced inside to drink beer and look for leaks. I found one leak coming through a window hinge (typical on a '66), but I still have to do the hinge silicone treatment that is suggested for my vintage window.

Now that I have the trailer level, I am messing with different ways to make a template for my subfloor. This is an idea that I came up with using aluminum foil. I am also going to use a "story stick." This is a method of copying curves that someone on the airforums mentioned. I am constantly amazed at how much information can be gleaned from the forums if you spend enough time searching it. One thing I have learned, though, is that if you find something useful you should bookmark it so you can find it again!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

so much to do, so little time

Since my last post back in March, all of the old window and door gaskets have come out and most of them have been replaced. Not as easy of a job as I thought it would be. It's not that it was hard, but it did take me awhile. The old gaskets came off with a plastic scraper. The old adhesive came off with adhesive remover (imagine that!). The gobs of silicone came off with silicone remover. Whatever was left came off with various abrasive, elbow grease and that ellusive thing called "time." My Airstream quality time has been shortened because of my oldest son, Leo, graduating high school and all that goes along with college planning. He's heading to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln to become a golf management professional. I'm hoping he finds a course to manage that has nice weather and a place to park my silver beauty. I have also been coaching soccer three days a week and teaching my other son, Louie, how to drive a stickshift. Being a Dad is great yet very time-consuming. Happy Father's Day in advance to all you Dads!

This is the old
double-flare door gasket....>>

...which I replaced with brand new Airstream gasket.

all of the old dried up window and door gaskets

This is the silicone remover in action.

Yup, that's the adhesive remover.

Next on my list is to finish the gasket on the three small windows (I didn't get enough linear feet to complete the job even after measuring twice and cutting once. Pretty sure my order was shorted.)
After that it's on to stripping the old clearcoat, dropping the bellypan and removing the old subfloor and then posting the classic "me standing in the middle of my trailer with no floor shot."
Enjoy your summer, your families, and your Airstreams!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

silicone is for Hollywood, not Airstreams

Silicone worms...

this is just one of the many handfuls of bleepin' silicone I removed from my Safari.

I used sharpened wooden sticks and my thumbnail (thanks, Frank) to do most of the removal. When it gets warmer out, I will try out the silicone removal gel that I have to get the remaining junk off. It's -25 with the windchill today, but should be above 40 degrees by Friday.

Today is my birthday (48), so I took the next three days off and am watching the Minnesota boys high school hockey tourney. It's as big in this state as football is in Texas and basketball is in Indiana.

I'll take some time Friday morning to listen to the VAP which is always a great listen. If the weatherman is right on with the mid-fortys projection, I can continue with the silicone removal while listening.

more shots of the skin after the initial scraping with sharpened wood sticks...

I also took off the homemade rock guard along with the old TV antennae mount. This leaves many holes to deal with, but progess is progress.