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! ✊🏽