The Airstream Diary

Airstream Trailer Answers and Questions

Getting Things Done – Many Things

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All my spare moments right now are going to continue the build of Ann & Paul’s new A&P Vintage Trailer Works website, and it is finally starting to look like a real website!

Meanwhile, there’s a lot going on in the fly fishing world. An article I was interviewed for last year finally ran in England. Amazing that we are so easily part of a story thousands of miles away, because of this right here. Anyway, it’s a story on the ramping up of fracking in England and the interview is an environmental piece in a fly fishing magazine.

You may recall that we picked up the pace on our Safari when we got busy working on the Barnett Shale, and chances are the Airstream would have been rolling (to well sites) long ago … if natural gas supplies hadn’t outrun demand in a serious way. And that’s where the Barnett sits – pretty much idled down.

If you get the chance, you can read more about fracking in England by visiting – “Water Wednesday – All Over the Map” at Texas Fly Caster.

Photography at A&P Vintage
Grabbed a reflection that caught my eye while I was working on photography at A&P for their website.

Read more..

Another Fantastic Airstreamer LBJ Grasslands Outing

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A&P's Airstream at LBJ Grasslands
The burn ban lifted, and a clear sky full of stars, made for a harmonious convergence of like-minded individuals over the weekend at the LBJ National Grasslands outside Decatur, Texas.

I am always blown away at how so many different people can gather, cold turkey, for the same event with the same driving passion – Airstream Trailers – and get along so darn well!

Maybe the fights broke out after we left? Leslie was a bit cold around the buns, so we did depart before the 9-pm hour, but I can’t imagine it getting any better than it was the short time we were there. As many different interests as I have, this (Airstream) is the only one that seems to be devoid of hefty egos.

Whatever the case, the consistent feeling of being welcome is one that keeps us coming back for more. This time next year, it’ll be our turn to have our Airstream there with all the others and welcome the interested trailer-less.

For those of you interested in photography, and how these images were captured, feel free to ask. I think it would be cool to put on some photography clinics at these gatherings next year, maybe have evening slideshows of the day’s photography – from everyone – and just totally dive right back into photography education.

The Big Thaw

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As the song says, “How long has this been going on?”

The chickens here at the house are telling us we may finally be coming out of the cold dark winter. So far it has been a winter for the record books here in North Texas, and that means Leslie’s business Cimarrona has kept her busy as well. It has been slow no going all winter long – to A&P’s place, and most of the work is a two person deal. Volunteers?

We are still resolute in the knowledge that the Airstream is more like a rescue pod than a trailer – rescuing us from “civilization” the “humdrum” of ongoing daily survival. There’s never been a better time to “tune in, turn on and drop out” has there?

This coming weekend there’s an Airstream gathering at the LBJ Grasslands, and the stars are aligning to get out there and visit.

Join us for some boondocking under a full moon on the mesa at LBJ Grasslands 17-19 January 2014!

The full moon peaks just 2 days before, so we should have some great moonlight to go with our campfires. There is currently no restriction on campfires from the Grasslands or Wise County, so bring your firewood! The Grasslands is an “unimproved” campsite so if you have a pop-up canopy or camp table to share bring it with you. There’s no fee for camping at the Grasslands, and they’re expecting us. I’ll post detailed directions at the end.

As usual for boondocking, plan to arrive with full freshwater, plenty of propane and empty waste tanks. Greywater release is allowed. Generator use is allowed for battery charging for those of us who aren’t solar-equipped. We try to group generator users together, but it should only take a little while in the daytime to charge batteries anyway.

Documentary filmmaker Eric Bricker will be camping with us as a guest of Paul and Ann, doing some filming and interviews for an Airstream project he’s working on. He may feel he needs an Airstream after a weekend with us!

Friday 17 January
Arrive and get set up. Remember it gets DARK out there so it’s easiest to arrive when there’s still daylight.
5-ish HOTC Happy Hour
7-ish Potluck, campfires and camaraderie.

Saturday 18 January
8-ish Grill/Griddle will be available for those who want to cook breakfast together
Lunch on your own
5-ish HOTC Happy Hour
7-ish Dinner cooked for us by Shirley and Mike Richey!

Sunday 19 January
8-ish Grill/Griddle will be available for those who want to cook breakfast together

Since this is a 3-day weekend, some of us may stay over until Monday!

Note that Google Maps and GPS navigation using the coordinates are likely to direct you on a somewhat longer route, staying on FM730 much farther. That route will get you there, but Ann recommends the detailed directions below. Note that the small Forest Service roads don’t have signage, I included the road numbers so you can locate the roads on a map.

from Wise County Courthouse square in Decatur:

Go NORTH on FM730. As you cross railroad tracks (just past US380), zero your trip odometer
odo 0.3 miles to Old Decatur Road, turn LEFT
odo 2.7 miles bear RIGHT at the fork
odo 7.2 miles turn RIGHT on CR2475
odo 7.7 miles turn RIGHT on CR2474. Road surface changes to gravel. Narrow with blind curves, be cautious.
odo 8.3 miles cross a cattle guard into LBJ National Grasslands, keep going
odo 8.6 miles bear RIGHT at fork. Forest Svc. Rd. 900, unmarked
odo 9.4 miles, turn LEFT on dirt road, FS 904, unmarked

GPS coordinates for the site: +33° 21′ 32.40″, -97° 35′ 28.11″

Link for Google map share of route from Wise County Courthouse:

Link for Google Docs share of Google Earth pointer file:

Stuck and Unstuck

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Looks like we are still stuck at GO as far as the Marmoleum issue goes. Just wish we had gotten it right to begin with. I am trying to avoid calling the Marmoleum a “worst case scenario,” but that’s where we’re headed – cost and appearance. Once I can bring myself to think about this entire episode, much later in life, I will go back through and tell you what all went wrong, and how you can avoid my mistakes.

However, I finally decided to bypass what I thought would be the normal order of things, and am fast at work – bolting down the trailer, and working my way to the back where I had to remove rivets to the back center outer skin – in order to get the uniquely angled steel piece to go in AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – be Sikaflex-ed and bolted down – through the U channel, through the flooring, through the plywood, through the skeleton piece of steel angle that was abandoned and through the new back crossmember. Also found that the bottom edge of that back inside skin had corrosion progressing quickly (remember the tail rot?). So that will have to be backed or fronted with a new sliver – the location is just below the back hatch if you are playing along.

The front end cap is out. That revealed another tiny skeleton – this one a lizard. Removing the Airstream end caps also lets you get a look for evidence of leaking, and test for water leaks before you put it all back together. That funky Airstream smell is just about gone, and I think these last vestiges of pink fiberglass insulation will be the final hint of “that smell.”

Starting at one end and working to the other is the way you want to check leaks and go back together. In previous weeks / months rains, I found a freight train of water running down outside the diagonal seam in the front end cap, and straight under the window frames of both curved front side windows (note photo of aluminum tape which diverted the flood). It was a non-stop torrent. The process for removing those windows is to first TAP the centers of the rivets, and second – drill out those rivets. The windows are still in, but according to Paul, they are jinked behind the frame of the front center window to some extent, and the final remove takes some real strong sensitivity (how’s that for an oxymoron!).

The end cap itself is in perfect condition, and will need some custom woodwork for the opening that had the gauges and speakers, as well as a new door on the wide compartment that is at the bottom of the end cap (below the gauges and all).

Leslie has done a quick and fantastic job of replacing the gaskets around the windows, and is down to her last window which just needs to have the new foam (D Pattern) stuck on (came pre-backed with sticky covered with peal off paper backing.

NOTE – I shot some video of work done to prepare windows for new D Gaskets. If you want to see it, let me know.

Back to Business

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I typically get teased when I arrive at A&P Vintage to work on the Safari 23′. “Waited until it got hot enough I see!” is a typical greeting. Truth is, the last few times I’ve been out it has been raining, steaming, leaking or burning hot.

There’s nothing quite like welding upside down outside in the heat, laying in the dirt, taking slag to the body and knowing the pain will stop before I put the fire out on my burning skin. Burn up, burn out.

Then, the leaks that are coming in from the rains are presenting themselves as another daunting task. It is less the opening windows, and more about the curved windows at the front of the trailer. They have dried out and the seam that runs from the top down the side and into the window is conducting water right under the dried out seals and inside the trailer. Another beat down.

Even if I feel beat and beat down, I know I have to push on. The list of body blows, and damage to the morale seems to be stable – give a little, get a little. None of the problems are magically disappearing.


I was watching a documentary on the Eagles, and they did a video after they reunited that had them sitting on the steps of Airstreams belting out the song, “How Long.”



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