jacked up!

Last weekend was productive! Arnavick arrived home the prior Wednesday from a week-long visit with his folks in Colorado to celebrate his neice’s birthday. I couldn’t go because I’m in school and had a test with no make up opportunity – such a bummer! BUT since he’s back home and we did NOT have a torrential downpour for the first time in weeks, we got thangs done on this trailer!

We have Rosy the Argosy on four jacks right now, but husband dearest wanted to add two more for more stability (she’s a big girl, after all) while we work on welding the bad spots on the frame. It’s important to have the trailer sitting level on jack stands. If it’s even just a liiitle uneven at any point, the welds we’re doing will render the frame permanently distorted, which could cause stress and safety issues later on. So your girl made some jack stand platforms, since we have her in a yard where the soil is a little soft. The wood platform helps with support and stability, and because of the height of our platforms, we get a little extra space for when we’re working on the underside of the trailer. You want your jacks on a flat, hard surface, not pliable dirt/grass.

There are many options out there for platforms that you can buy. Some people also use cinderblocks or bricks depending on the size or weight of their trailer and the stability of the ground underneath. We had ours on bricks at one point and they broke, so we switched to wood. This DIY version is budget friendly, and pretty easy to complete. Even someone who is power-tool-shy can do the job with a little confidence and the right safety gear. I thought to post it in case any power tool newbie comes across this – it’s a great little beginner project!

We use these jack stands, which drove us to our choice of board width – their bases are 8″ wide. If your jack stand bases are wider, make sure you get a wider board. You want at least 1″ overhang of platform around the entire base of the jack stand, ours has 2″.

So let’s dive in – here’s how I made two jack stand platforms in a matter of 10ish minutes.

Tools:
*Drill
*Spade drill bits (size will be relative to your screws, I used 3/4″)
*Saw
*Safety glasses
*Work gloves

Materials:
*One 8′ x 1′ x 2″ unfinished pine board
*Ten 1 5/8″ wood screws

Step 1: cut your board into four square pieces.

If you don’t own a saw (table, compound miter, jig, hand, whatever), you can have your board cut at whichever store you bought it from. Most places don’t charge for the first cut, and then charge 25c or so for each subsequent cut. The pieces need to be exactly square, so make sure you measure the width of the board first, and then mark out the length based on that measurement. If you didn’t already know, the measurements on the tags at your hardware/lumber supply are never exact. Our board was marketed at 1′ wide but was actually 11 3/4″, so that’s how I measured my length. I measured one length at a time between cuts, since you lose a little wood with each cut. If you were to measure all at once and then do all the cuts in a row, each square would be slightly smaller than the original.

Step 2: drill holes for screws in each top board.

To drill the holes for the screws you’ll need a spade drill bit. This will allow you to recess the screws into the wood, which stops your jack stands or the ground from scratching, or damaging the screws (depending on whether you lay your platform screw side up or down when it’s done).

You should use a spade bit that is relative to the size of your screws. I used a 3/4″ bit which made my holes about twice the width of my screw heads. Drill five holes in the board – one in the center and one a couple of inches in from each corner. Just like on dice. My holes are about halfway through my top board, so about an inch deep.

Step 3: screw boards together.

When you put your two boards together, you should cross the wood grain (this is where being exactly square comes into play). So if your bottom board is laying with the grain horizontal, lay the top board down with the grain vertical. This adds to the tensile strength of the platform.

Holding your boards steady with a gloved hand, insert the first screw in the middle hole of the board. Screw the corners in an X pattern. For example, screw the top left, then the bottom right, then top right, then bottom left.

Step 4: get jacked up!

Your platforms are ready to use! We laid ours on the ground screw side down, in a spot where the trailer really needed extra support. Bonus points when you find the chihuahua in the below pic.

Now we can weld our frame damage away with the peace of mind that our trailer is evenly supported with six three-ton jack stands. It’s a great feeling!

If you’re a beginner and looking to jump into DIY, or if you don’t feel like shelling out scratch for a fancy jack stand platform, I hope this post proves useful! Happy lifting!

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back2blogging

Oh hai!

I haven’t been on here since F E B R U A R Y. 😭

When you’re typing February, do you say FEB-RU-AR-Y in your head? Yeah, me either. Why would anyone do that?

A lot of life has happened in the last six and a half months, my friends.

Our beloved trailer wasn’t ready for us to move into as we planned, but our lease was up in March, so we moved. Luckily, we live where Rosy lives, now. Having immediate access to her has been great! As time and budget allows, we are building her to our specs, and we are SO eager to get her done ASAP and move in! I’ll do a full update post on Rosy soon, I promise. Here are some semi-recent pics that I’ll explain in later posts.

We got married! Once we hit the point with the trailer where we didn’t yet have the right equipment to keep going, we put renovations on pause and shifted our focus to finalizing all the wedding things. We got married on the beach at Tunnel Park on Lake Michigan. It was everything I’ve ever dreamed of! Hope the same goes for him too 🤣. Yes, we did our secret handshake just before our first kiss as a married couple. That’s just how we do.

This is what stopped us in our tracks about a month before the wedding. A chewed up, salt-corroded, cancerous rusty frame.

 

That’s all from the front end of the trailer. Because the back end was in great condition for its age, having only minor surface rust, we thought the front end would be good to go. Nope. So now, we’re in the business of welding. And when I say we, I mean Arnavick, because I’ve done nothing but supervise so far, though I realllly want to try welding at least once! 👩🏼‍🏭

Anyway, back to where we started… I haven’t been on here since Feb! That makes me so sad! I really love blogging. Before I was here, I spent a couple of years writing Jamie’s Home blog where I chronicled my decor and diy adventures. Blogging is a fun outlet for me, and I like being able to stretch my writing legs in a casual setting!

I work full time and then some, go to school four nights a week, and we’re renovating Rosy, so I find myself thinking that I don’t have time to blog. But really, I could spend a heck of a lot less time on Facebook and Insta and take those efforts over here at the teamjamavick.com hq, so that’s what I think I’ll do. Or try to do. Homework comes first. Actually I’m supposed to be doing homework right now! Oops. Baby steps.

So here’s to more blogging! My next posts will likely be a recap of what we’ve done on the trailer, a nice lil’ wedding post, and a recap of some of the fun stuff we did while we were up in West Michigan for our wedding and honeymoon. Talk soon!

XO

rosy progress report – february

I’m a few days late, but here I am with the February progress report! It’ll be short and sweet, because LORT we are busy. Feb is awful in Texas because WEATHER, and it’s also busy busy because it’s my birth month, and my amazing nephew’s birth month, and it’s short. So between family time and work and school schedules, and working on the Rosy, I dunno how we had time to breathe… But breathe and work and study and party and renovate, we did… and here’s where we’re at on the whole reno process…

Basically, the current status is that we’ve got frame exposed, interior skins out, insulation gone, and a mess EVERYWHERE. We only have March to get this gal ready to sleep in without danger (more on that later), but thanks to some touching generosity of our friends we have a place to crash if sleeping in Rosy is still a health hazard come April 1. Here she is in her icky glory.

It feels like we’ve worked on her a ton with no visual difference. Okay, slight visual difference. I’ll be so glad to put all of this rust brushing and muck cleaning behind us! Today we’re going to make a first attempt at using POR15 to cover the rust on the frame and protect it from damage. Neither of us have used this product before but I’ve done a lot of research over the last week or so and have gotten some good advice from some of our little renovation village. Fingers crossed it goes well!

This is our last month in the apartment. I’ve paid the final rent payment, which felt really, REALLY good. We have just a few weeks to get Rosy what I call “minimally livable”. We define minimally livable as subfloor in, new insulation in, new interior skins in, and said skins painted. If we can get that far along, we’ll toss our mattress in the subfloor and “rough it” (if you can call it that) while we continue on with construction. If we can’t get that far along, we have a back up plan consisting of our very kind and generous friends’ guest room on the same property where we keep the camper. The hardest part in all of this has been packing.

We procrastinated too much, and have now put ourselves in a really tight spot. I work around 52 hours a week between my full time job and freelance work, and I go to school two nights each week for a total of about five hours. Vick pulls long hours in a warehouse all week. We are TIRED in our free time. At this point we are donating or trashing everything we are sure we don’t want, and we’re boxing up everything we do want or are unsure of. It’s hard to say what we’ll need until we’re in the thick of living the lifestyle, so we’ll just pull stuff from storage as the need comes up, which will help us determine what else we can get rid of. Well, we’re off to go do all the things! Happy camping, everyone!

rosy progress report – january

January has been a tough month for measurable progress. It’s been cold (like, for Texas, anyway). So cold, that we iced up one day!

I’ve been taking care of some wedding stuff, and some work stuff, and some school stuff, and I had some friends in town this weekend… And hanging with them was much more fun than donning a respirator mask and safety goggles to sweat and play in the rust. I’m feeling a little down right now because we haven’t made the progress that I thought we would have by now. The last two times we’ve been out to the trailer, we arrived several hours behind schedule, and hit what felt like a hundred roadblocks that prevented us from reaching our end goal for the day. Trailer reno is hard, dudes. But… I’m gonna throw down a little progress report, in the hopes that it will lift my spirits, and bring into my focus all of the accomplishments we’ve achieved since my last update. Let’s get started, shall we?

So, the last time I shared our progress, it was really short blurb with a lot of pics. And reviewing that post just now as I prep to write out today’s post, I can see that we have in fact gotten a TON done. We are still far off from being able to even hang out in the trailer for too long without respirators on, but we’re getting there.

A month ago, we still had interior skins. We had just started taking them down. Boy, that feels like a lifetime ago.

Since then we’ve popped out at least a couple hundred or so rivets, and away went the interior skins.

We started by taking the cover of the AC unit down and removing all of the light fixtures so we could take down the ceiling. It was all one long skinny strip of metal skin, which was pretty satisfying to pull down. It was also a little nerve-wracking because, well, that’s it. Once you start pulling those puppies down, you’re full on committed to redoing your insulation and skins. Say bye bye to painting that 70s era vinyl wallpapered (??) metal and let ‘er rip, potato chip!

After that, we then worked our way down the sides, leaving the end caps for last.

Then we started to pull out the ol pink stuff…

We had several sessions of pulling this stuff down, and going home incredibly itchy – ugh – despite taking precautions to keep it off of our skin. Super annoying!

The end caps were a little scary to take off. Not because it was difficult, it wasn’t. It was just the same as taking off all the other skins… But taking the end caps off and trashing them meant that we for certain were going to have to make new ones at some point, on our own, and have to account for that beautiful, dreaded, iconic, amazing, terrifying Airstream curve. If I haven’t already mentioned it, Vick and I met in remedial math class. We-no-likey-the-maths. But we did what we do, sucked it up and pulled them off, and vowed to figure that out when we got there. Thankfully, we’re not “there” just yet.

The back side of our front interior endcap had 3267 Argosy written on it in permanent marker. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s cool to think that the last time anyone laid eyes on that was probably in the 70s at the factory. I’ll have to google it one of these days to see what I can find… unless anyone reading this knows what it means? Help a sister out!

Once all of the interior skins were done, we were left with a big pile of scraps, tons of bags of the pink stuff, and a lot of little particles to shop vac up.

At that point we were ready to get going on the floor. We had already cut up a small section of it over the gray tank several weeks ago and realized that it’d be better to remove all of the skins first, since the subfloor is bolted in behind them in several places.

We’ve since gotten up most of the floor, with a circular saw, vise grips, a lot of muscle, and a lot of determination. Let me use this opportunity to say – I had several moments while removing the skins where I stopped to say to myself: “Why are we doing this? The insulation isn’t so bad and the electrical works. Is this really necessary?”. Seeing what we had under our floor had me vehemently answering YES YES YES.

Definite evidence of rodents, moisture, and other general nastiness. GROSSGROSSGROSSGROSS.

Had we just said “eh, it’s probably okay” and painted over it with no investigation, we would never truly know what we were living on top of, which would have been a nasty cesspool of icky.

Right now, we have a makeshift plywood “floor” so we’re not walking around on the frame, which needs a few minor welds and a LOT of rust removal and POR-15 (not necessarily in that order).

We still have about a third of the floor to take off, but we’re handling all the stuff in the c-channel and the bolts on the frame first. We’ve been twisting the bolts out with vise grips, which seems to work well enough and not take too terribly long.

Folks keep suggesting an angle grinder, which I know will also do the trick, but I wonder how careful you have to be to protect the frame, opposed to just using a little muscle to pull them out with the vise grips? Anyone have an opinion? Put it in the comments!

My lease is up in 61 days. The tentative plan is to get her as far along as we can so we can move in April 1st. Bare minimum, we need the insulation done and the interior skins up, and the sub down and sealed, and the interior fully painted, and only then we are willing to move in and sleep on our mattress on the floor while we finish up the rest. By April, Texas is warm enough that we won’t have the cold to worry about, and hey, with all that rent and utility money freed up, we just might get a lot done in a relatively short amount of time to get her road ready faster! A girl can Airstream Dream, right? Right now, here’s how she looks (with the mess cleaned up for the pic, of course):

Anyone else out there feeling the reno blues? That feeling that everything takes forever plus a day, and that you’re running way behind? We can do this, right?! Camper People Power! ✊🏽

rosy progress report / december 23

Wow. It’s been seven weeks since my last progress report in blogland! Two words: Holidays and Finals.

I want to squeeze in one more progress report before Christmas, so let’s roll!

Since my last update, we have:

  • Removed the toilet
  • Removed the duct work
  • Cut a hole in the floor
  • Took out the light fixtures
  • Took the screens off of the skylights
  • Removed some interior skins

It’s a lot, y’all. And it’s a hot mess in there right now. But progress is progress I always say!

I’m drafting up some more detailed step by step posts on the toilet, floor, and interior skin removal, but for now, here are a time-lapse video and some pics, because pics or it didn’t happen!

We’re taking this weekend off to spend Christmas with my side of the family, but we’re back at it next weekend. Catch ya on the flip side! Happy holidays, everyone!

 

 

tiny house jamboree – 2017

Okay, let’s get a couple of quickie things out of the way:

  1. This is not a sponsored or partner post (not that I’m not into that, wink). This is just a recap of an experience.
  2. Sorry in advance for the photo quality. These are mostly snaps that I saved in the moment. I was way too jazzed to get perfectly framed shots. #shrugemoji

Now that we’ve done that… OH. EM. GEE. you guys. The Tiny House & Simple Living Jamboree was so much fun! I really loved being around so many like-minded people, and everyone we talked to was really helpful and encouraging.

We went for most of the day Sunday, and in hindsight, we should have done a full three day pass. We didn’t really get the opportunity to sit in on any of the programs, which I know would have been really insightful and inspiring for us. But, we still got to tour all kinds of Skoolies, Tiny Houses, and Vans, and got some great advice from some truly amazing people.

I think what I love most about this Tiny Living community is the enthusiasm and willingness to give advice. Not only are people happy to talk about their journey, they’re eager to hear about ours, and ready to uplift us and cheer us on. For every time I’ve uttered “we’re not totally sure what we’re doing”, I’ve been met with “you’ll get there”, or “you can do it”. I am immeasurably grateful for this positive and helpful wanderer tribe to which we now belong!

Here are some shots I took of the event, and links where you can follow the fine folks behind these incredible dwellings! I wish I had taken more, but I’m still not so used to the idea of folks being eager for you to share pics of their homes on social media.

Okay, first off, they gave me a badge, which made me feel so official (even though everyone got one)!

Also, if you follow us on insta, you’ll know we made shirts. Arnavick did a Stranger Things theme and I did a more linear, color-blocked design.

We got to see this little cutie by Happier Camper – super cute and great for small toy hauling. I, of course, loved all the color selections they offered.

Our first tour was of The Creative Animal Tour Tiny House, which was awesome! You may recognize them from HGTV’s Tiny House Big Living. We chatted with Steph a bit (who did the blueprints for the house) and she showed us some super cool features, like trap door storage in the “ceiling” under their loft bed.

This tiny house looked like it could maybe be a super nice deer lease, if you’re into that kind of thing. Love that galvanized corrugated metal throughout!

Check out the windows on this guy:

I was super impressed with this tiny house that had its very own spiral staircase and observation deck! The interior was pretty cute too.

This tiny house by Red Deer Classics has insane hand carving and delicate woodwork, and the copper had a sick patina! I didn’t get an exterior pic – but you can check it out on their insta!

We got to see this sweet little Airstream, and Airstreams always make us happy!

We bought a 2×4 from 2x4s for Hope and wrote a special message for veterans on it. This organization is amazing – they build tiny homes for homeless veterans. This was just their exhibit, obviously, not an actual tiny house! Check out their website (linked above) for more info or to donate!

Arnavick really liked the look of this butcher block countertop. We’re considering this look for our little kitchen in the trailer.

I really, really, realllly loves all of the skoolies! I’ve been following Nomadic Millers for a little bit now, and I was so jazzed to see their bus in person! I only got one picture of the outside, and they were busy tending to kiddos while we toured, so I didn’t get the chance to tell them in person how cool their bus is, but it’s beautifully outfitted. Check out their Instagram – THAT KITCHEN! Love.

I hadn’t come across Trebventure on insta, but I’m really glad to be following them now. Not only was their home jaw-droppingly cool (excuse me they have a SKYLIGHT over their SHOWER), they were so sweet and encouraging! One of the questions I asked (which I’m sure they get a lot) is whether it was difficult to raise their kids on the road, since ‘Vick and I have hopes to start a family in the next few years. Ashley’s response was that having kids is just hard in general, but their simple lifestyle makes it easy, and that we can totally do it. It is so reassuring to see people living the way we’ve been dreaming of. Our crazy camper scheme isn’t so crazy after all.

We got a kick out of the #tinyfirehouse! It has a fireman’s pole in it. It looks like a short slide down the pole but probably fun all the same.

I’ve also been following tiny house expedition for a while now. Sadly, I didn’t get to see the inside, but I was glad to see the outside of this happy little house in person! Their website has some really helpful info on tiny house living – check it out if you’re interested!

Lil Red was a lil cutie! 66 square feet – can you imagine?! I was super impressed by the functionality of this lil house. I wish I took inside pics!

Last but certainly not least – method to nomadness. Much love to Sheena, who did not kick me out of their house during my excessive fangirling over the HAMMOCK that they have attached to their house! Genius. Seriously amazing.

Not pictured but worthy of mention:

Kevin and Christy from lifetwogo are a couple of van lifers and were really lovely to talk to! They were so encouraging, and they noticed my Rosy shirt and let us gush for a solid five minutes. We loved looking at their map and hearing about their travels!

Samantha from GoneVananas answered a couple of pretty personal questions re: showering, and talked to us about composting toilets and poo for a good while – a true saint! It’s not every day you talk commodes with a complete stranger, but we are grateful for her tips!

We toured This Little Home Of Mine at Earth Day last year, at which point it was only a shell on top of a gooseneck trailer with wood walls and sharpie outlines of Brittnie’s layout. We were so pumped to see the interior now that she’s almost completely done! She was a total sweetheart, and we are super impressed with what she’s done with her place!

We had such an awesome time, and can’t wait for the next time we attend the Jamboree! Should be all shacked up in Rosy the Argosy by then!

Who else attended? I’d love to hear your takeaways!

fun at the state fair

If you’re from Texas (or are Texas Transplants like Arnavick and me), you know that the state fair is kind of a big deal. I am a huge fair and festival junkie, and the State Fair of Texas is the mother of all fairs ‘round these parts. From food that shouldn’t be fried but is, to carnival rides, to auto shows, to the Midway carnival games, to Fletcher’s corn dogs, to one very massive ferris wheel and of course, Big Tex, the State Fair of Texas has something for everyone. 

Arnavick’s sisters were in town with their daughters and a friend this weekend, and we had so much fun roaming around Fair Park with them! And we even saw three Airstreams and a Shasta trailer! #camperfriends

We tried the fried frito pie bites and the fajita fries, and both were pretty good! We of course rode the ferris wheel (the Texas Star), and Arnavick rode a few rides with his niece and sister, for which I happily held purses and spectated. I’m not a carnival ride person – I’ve ridden enough roller coasters in my life, thankyouverymuch. We also went into the green house, which was surprisingly cool temperature wise and not surprisingly cool because of all the greenery. The weather was sunny and in the high eighties, which is pretty nice this time of year for Texas. 

We also got to see the Redwood Log House, which is right up our alley, and gave our family a chance to see what size of house we’re going to be living in once Rosy the Argosy is done!

I didn’t get pics of everything, but here a a few highlights from the day:


Anyone else make it out to the fair in your state this year? What are some traditions that your state holds?

PS – if you haven’t had pineapple soft serve – stop what you’re doing and go get some! So good!