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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!

Schedule:
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!

DIRECTIONS:
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:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=201434874966887000631.0004ef27243062cdbcc1a

Link for Google Docs share of Google Earth pointer file:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2VCcFq7iz3oYmtPYUlDOEpQXzQ/edit?usp=sharing

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.

SIGHTINGS

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.”

Remodeling an Airstream? Try Pinterest for Inspiration

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The Airstream Nation is composed of some interesting demographics, but to own an Airstream is to, almost by default, have a deeper understanding of design function and form.

In the interest of visual image gathering (I never read National Geographic. I obviously only looked at the pictures), and the rebuild of our Airstream, I dove into one of the newer communities on the internet – Pinterest.

Pinterest is a visual aggregation of images that, when done successfully, gathers the images into organizational boards for yourself and others who may be interested in the same categories of pinned images.

Pinterest is a very simple site at this time, and when I first started on it, could even get bogged down with activity as usage outgrew the site’s ability to handle it. Someday, another Google IPO? Who knows?

My Airstream Pinterest is pretty thin, as are all my boards, but I would rather not dive in the deep end of this – to avoid the obvious burnout I have with Facebook. Social networking is actually net – “WORK” – ing when you have as many business and recreational activities as I do. Of course, you and your business could benefit from adding this to your social networking ingredients, but that’s another topic for another business – of mine.

These are the early days of Pinterest, and a great time to get on board, open a free account, and start pinning your ideas for yourself and others to benefit from.

Lines Drawn in the Sand

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This is the year. Lines are drawn in the sand, and the Airstream will go this year. It will go well.

First, last week I contacted what is, to me, a new and refreshing resource. I tried to track down an expert I knew over in Weatherford, Texas, who was/is a complete guru on Airstreams. I didn’t have much to go on, so we all know where to go first – google.

From google search I deduced that the person I was looking for worked at a particular auto dealership in Weatherford (after all I purchased some obscure Airstream parts from him there years ago), and made the call. In typical Texas, small town fashion, I was helped through to someone who knew who I was looking for.

They were good enough to give me Paul’s number, and inform me that he was on his own and had a company that restores Airstream Trailers here in North Texas. I have been seeking knowledge on how to do the full monty on our Airstream for many, many months – and now I was getting excited to perhaps finally find someone who even knew what the “full monty” was.

Turns out Paul has a website – AP Vintage Trailer Works, Inc., and is based in Paradise, Texas. His phone number there is 817-919-3651, and in our conversation it sounded as if things are going quite well in Paradise.

He has a couple of trailers in line that will push his work to May before he can take in Tilley. As we talked, I made it pretty clear that the situation was more fluid than that, and that we would like him to come and take a look, and see if and how I could do the full monty right here on the spot.

As my wife’s work has begun to explode in popularity, see www.cimarrona.com, and I am about to begin my first full year of guiding this spring, see www.texasflycaster.com, we need a mobile “base station” that will allow us to be all things (we want to be) to all people – so to speak.

Once the full monty operation is complete – that is we have the successful separation of the top and bottom (floor/chassis) separated, the list of things to do before rejoining the two is, in my estimation, forgivingly short.

It includes:

- New decking for floor

- New axle with brakes (from Southwest Wheel)

- Removing rusted crossbeams in back (where tail rot has occurred) and replacing with steel.

- Retrofitting back bumper for more efficient use

And each of these has so many subplots before it’s done, that it becomes a bit daunting.

However, the bright shining shop light may just be the newly discovered (by me anyway) folks in Paradise. It does have a ring doesn’t it? Paradise.

It’s Sunday, and the weather is sufficiently icky to make me not want to work outside, but the pressure mounts. A bad day of weather is going to have to be a good day of work that includes getting my Toyota Land Cruiser ready to sell. We now have a bona fide tow vehicle for the Airstream – a 2005 Toyota 4 Runner – Sport Towing with V8, so a two person three car household just doesn’t add up.

I will take some photos today, just to show everyone what’s going (and not going on) outside of Paradise, Texas.

Hard Winter

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It has been a long drawn out winter in these parts. I wish I had the Airstream in a big warehouse somewhere, but then it would already be done now wouldn’t it?

I walk right by it in the driveway these freezing cold days, and pat her sides lovingly. My true escape pod is still waiting for the time … she goes on the road, and the party never ends.

For any of you who know my trailer and give me guff, I appreciate it because it stokes the fires that will  lead to us waving to you in the rearview mirror on our way to somewhere else, out of this town, out of this state, and just plain out.

I did photograph this bird above her, doubtless gaining warmth from her reflection today.

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