Wednesday, November 23, 2011

#44 Poignant Historical Perspective

A little Wisconsin history and it's relevance to those of us living here today.

MOMENT OF CLARITY: Downward Wisconsin

Saturday, June 13, 2009

#43 Bunks for the boys

Last years trip to the Cherry Blossom rally demonstrated to us that we six could fit comfortably in a small Airstream. At one point we managed even to sleep seven... but this year, the boys seem to have grown beyond that comfort level. To solve this problem... taking a cue from an optional feature available in our '67, I devised a way to suspend lightweight bunks above the two gauchos.

I constructed them from 3/4" dia Schedule #40 Aluminum pipe (1.05" O.D.) and Slip-On fittings available from R.B. Wagner . They are covered with brown duck and hung with nylon webbing from Stainless Steel Rope Guides (available from McMaster-Carr ) riveted to the ceiling ribs.

Other than the Velcro webbing hangers, the frames are only supported at two points on the walls. This makes them easy to remove during the day... although, as you can see... Kelly is sitting comfortably on the front gaucho while Amery is lounging above. This will be useful when Kelly and I get up early to enjoy a quiet cup of coffee while the kids sleep in.

Monday, May 18, 2009

#42 "Thing 1" & "Thing 2"

Lot's of things yet to do, but I have gotten a few things done. The front gaucho is installed (pending completing the armrests) and the two panels for the front curtains are done... actually, all the curtains are "done" except for the pleating. 

Pictured, is my daughter Andrea and a couple of her creations as Scenic Artist for her school's production of Seussical the Musical.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

#41 "Watching Paint Dry"

It's getting time to start wrapping up all the partially done projects currently underway on our Globetrotter. This week I am focusing on finishing the front Gaucho. Since we were not able to make it to CBR this year, most projects have been expanded to go further than originally planned. In the case of the Gauchos, rather than just make repairs, I decided to re-veneer the drawers and replace the back shelves. All the work is complete and I am currently just waiting for the "paint" (actually Danish oil over stain) to dry.

We decided to replace the hardware since the old stuff was kind of dingy and was not particularly period correct. Kelly picked these out.

Some of the pieces incorporate a vinyl welt where the piece abuts another piece or the skin. This stuff is available from Vintage Trailer Supply.

One of the front bed slides was broken. Here is a photo of the replacement fitted into the original assembly. These are also available from Vintage Trailer Supply, but will need to be modified depending on your application.

... and here is a view of the re-covered fascia.

Finally, for Frank, a peek at the newly upholstered cushions.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

#40 - Poor Anna

This is a story about a trailer that has been wined and dined and loved more than any other trailer could be loved, but then, alas, the story takes a turn that leaves this beloved trailer to wait in line for the attentions of her admiring owner.

You see, my friend Frank Yensan has recently plunged himself deeper into the Vintage Trailer Lifestyle by becoming a professional restorer. I've written about this here before, so I am not going to tell you about his new business (I'm sure you will hear about his latest project, since it is a famous trailer). What I am here to tell you is that, in the Airstream Spirit, and as a good friend, I am stepping in to show Anna a little love by making a much needed custom part for her.

Last year, in his hurry to get to the '08 CBR, Frank clipped the corner of his fence and irreparably damaged his black tank dump valve. Parts for these valves are no longer available and the modern valves do not bolt up to the existing tank flange. Colin Hyde of GSM generously put together an article on how to make a conversion plate and R.J. Dial has included it in his restoration resources (IMO, the first and best place to go if you are restoring a vintage trailer). Frank and I worked to design a plate based on Colin's method that would work for a '62 Overlander. This is the result...

Truth be told, I promised to make this for Frank a long time ago... he has patiently reminded me on occasion, but I bet he thought he would never see it.

Well, Frank... here it is!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

#39 - Is this blog about Airstreams or Chickens?

Today... again, it is about Chickens. This evening I put the finishing touches on the permanent coop. It is a type called a chicken tractor (or ark) and is designed to be moved around the yard in order to provide fresh forage for the hens. I can't take credit for this inventive design... if you are interested in building one for yourself, plans can be purchased from HERE ... though I have to say, I did it without.

Here it is with one upper side removed. It features a roosting bar the full length of the mid-section and nesting boxes at each end. The end panels are removable to retrieve the eggs.

Easy to operate hinged ramp for entry and exit of the secure loft

One of the Barred Rocks enjoying her new digs

Complete and ready for a trip to the back yard.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

#38 Long awaited update

I have not posted for a while since I have been doing only limited work on my trailer and nothing that really rates a post. I have been very busy with other stuff... including keeping up with our growing chickens. This is our first go around with raising chickens from day-old chicks, so I have no expectations to work from. I had already moved them to a bigger bin in the basement, but they were quickly growing to large for the new accommodations. They will be 8 weeks next Wednesday and it is time for them to be moved to there permanent quarters outside, but we are having and early and harsh winter so I decided to use some lumber that I had laying around to build an interim coop and keep them in the garage till spring.


...and the original Airstream Camping Chicks

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

#37 - 12 volts of Airstream Spirit

My buddy frank often gives me pointers on what to buy and where to get it when it comes to stuff for my Airstream. I am in the market for a Absorbed Glass Mat battery for the GT and Frank told me a few weeks back about the ones they have at West Marine. Being the thoughtful guy he is, today he emailed me a coupon for 20% off on any purchase. Considering the battery I'm purchasing is nearly $300... this little coupon will save me quite a bit.

Thank you Frankie!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

#36 Hail to the Chief!

We've missed a lot of rallies this season without a functioning trailer. We knew that this would be the case and planned to make up for it next year but... there is a rally in North Norwich, NY this weekend the we are missing that will not be repeated next year. Our buddy Rob Baker is being installed as the President of the WDCU . Many of our East Coast friends are there including a few that we have not met in person. Frank has be calling me with updates and of course with Rob and Zoe in charge along with with Frank's help as co-host, I sure this rally is one not to have missed.
Hail to the Chief - Congrats Rob!
You are a Gentleman befitting the task at hand.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

#35 Boys at Work

One of my NY Airstream buddies, John, always posts picts of his boys helping him out with his renovation. My boys have helped me out many times and love to see the posts of John's helpers. We are currently in the process of installing the new subfloor in the '67. Here are a couple picts of me and the boys.

My son Amery helping his Dad slide in the rear floor piece

Amery and Stefan working hard at tightening dozens of elevator bolts

Saturday, August 23, 2008

#34 Water decals

Some of you who are well past 40 may remember these. As kids in the 60s and 70s we'd see these at all the gas stations and goody shops while trekking our way across the county on vacation. A few of my "younger" Airstream buddies pay big money for these on eBay so that they can pictorially document the travels of their Airstreams on the inside of their door-in-a-door. A few weeks ago I was going through (meaning throwing out) a bunch of old stuff that I've kept much longer than necessary and I found my own stash of water decals. These were purchased in the late 60's through the mid 70s and represent the states and places we traveled to. It was cool to remember those days.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

#33 A Momentary Trip back to Fifth Avenue

It's been a long wait but I decided that it was about time to get the Ambassador frame painted. The stripped frame had sufficiently "seasoned" and took a two coat application of POR15 wonderfully. This paint is amazing... it is tough as nails and cures very quickly. Two coats is recommended and I suggest that you buy two colors since the cured paint is as shiny as the wet paint. I did the first coat in gray and the second in black... next project is to get the floor back in - stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

#32 Frank's Trailer Works

For those of you on the East Coast or anywhere for that matter, there is a new Vintage Trailer Restoration Company... Frank's Trailer Works. Frank Yensan is combining his years of experience as a Finish Carpenter, his Graduate Degree in Fine Art and his love for Vintage Trailers into a Baltimore based restoration company. Frank is quickly becoming well known in the Airstream circles... if you've been to an East Coast rally or listened to the VAP, you've likely seen or heard him. If you are in the market for top quality services with a unique perspective, drop Frank a note. You can contact him at

Sunday, August 3, 2008

#31 Lodi, Wisconsin Rally

We spent this week on a mini vacation... first spending a few days with our good friends in Eden Prairie, MN. We try to get up there once a year and have done so since our eight year old twins were small. Friday we drove home for a one night pit stop and then headed to the Lodi Fair grounds for the WBCCI unit #116 Airstream Kids rally.

Downtown Lodi

Lodi is a town located north west of Madison, WI. We had a great time with our Wisconsin buddies. After a half hour of kids games, the dozen or kids in attendance were off enjoying each others company. There is nothing like seeing a "pack" of Airstream kids enjoying themselves. It's the kind of play that kids don't normally get now days.

The Merrimac Ferry

Saturday morning we all caravaned via the Merrimac Ferry to Devils Lake State Park for a few hours of swimming and shady relaxation. Saturday evening featured a potluck and entertainment from the Mayor of Lodi... a very enthusiastic and entertaining speaker. He'd make a good Airstreamer.

Devils Lake

Monday, July 28, 2008

#30 Welcome to a new Airstreamer

I've added a new blog link for a good Airstream Buddy who finally found his trailer. His name is Marcus and he and his family live in Austin, TX. He's kept us all on the edge of our seats waiting for him to find that "perfect for him" trailer. Please visit his blog and encourage him to meet his goal of camping with his family at the 2009 CBR.

Friday, July 4, 2008

#29 I pulled a "John"

...or so Rob and Frank told me... referring to Rob's buddy John who is lamenting the fact that he has dismantled his trailer for much need repairs and is unable to use it. Like John, rather than ignore the rot, I decided to replace the rear floor. Removing the bath parts will make it much easier to paint them and also make the PEX plumbing easier too. So in the long run, I think I will come out ahead. Either way, I've discovered the problem and fixed it all in less than a week. This does not put me anywhere near "pulling a John" unless we are talking about another john :-)

Here are the before, during and after picts.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

#28 Family Movie Night

I've promised an update on progress with our GT... for now it will have to wait as we've just concluded an impromptu family movie night. It's so infrequent that we all sit down to enjoy an evening together. Recently we received our first Net Flicks shipment and the choice of our daughter Calynn was "The Sound of Music." Calynn has a beautiful voice and a fascination with Nuns, so I guess this choice was a natural. I, myself enjoy a good musical and you can't beat an ending that features an escape from the Nazis.

For those of you expecting a post on the trailer... I have no photos to offer, but for those of you with a family, I can say I had a very enjoyable family evening that could have been rivaled only by the same evening camping in our Airstream.

Friday, June 20, 2008


The bathroom in our '63 Globetrotter is equipped with an "OMNI-CHEST designed by John Follis & Associates exclusively for Airstream Land Yachts" Anybody know if this was a '63 vintage aftermarket accessory?

#26 A Big Thank You... my wife and kids for a great father's day. I even got a very special card that contains Kelly and all five of my dear ones. I love you all!

#25 It's a good thing...

...that I have been making progress on the GT because I hear Frank needs one of these:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

#24 Frank seems to be bored...

Frank seems to be bored with my techy experimentations. I think if he saw me posting directly to my blog by talking into my cell phone on the drive home I think he might be a little more impressed. We'll see what we can do about that. listen

Powered by Jott

Sunday, June 8, 2008

#23, yet another...

This time around we'll try blogging directly to blogger via Jott. Let's see if it works.

Powered by Jott

#22. Another test.

Another test. This post is made via cellphone using a service called Jott. I'm exploring options to make blogging a little easier and allow for more options, possibly to post as I work on one of the trailers. Hopefully this works. We'll see in just a minute.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

#21 A Test...

I'm just exploring some options to make blog posting on the go a little easier. This post was made directly via an email without accessing blogger in any way. There are also options to post directly via voice over a cell phone. This I will try at a later date and post the details then. As far as posting to blogger via email, look here for the details.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

#20 Curtain Carriers like these?

In the midst of a quicky refurbishment of our new '63 GT, I've encountered a mystery that even has Tammy, the Airstream curtain lady puzzled. Our trailer has what looks to be the original curtains and tracks, but rather than the usual snap carriers, they appear to use tubular rivets.

The track opening seems to be too wide to utilize the snap carriers... Tammy is sending me a sample to test out. The heads of the rivets are slightly larger than 1/2" and the slot in the track is slightly wider than 5/16"

Look familiar to anybody??? if so, what have you done for a replacement? I am anxious to get Tammy started...our fabric choice should go a long way to brighten things up.

Monday, May 19, 2008

#19 Hey Uwe, a '63 for me... too

A momentary diversion from our focus on the Ambassador restoration to let you all meet our new purchase.

My Airstream buddies have put up for a while with my incessant pestering about "this and that" trailer and whether or not we should take the plunge buy one of those "too good to pass up" Airstreams. It's my nature to jump in with both feet, as a result I've got Aluminitus bad.

Having forged ahead with a "full on" restoration of the Ambassador, we were... for the foreseeable future, without a trailer to use. This has become a real problem as our first taste of streaming has left us wanting more.

The weekend started out with the promise of Airstream adventure with Saturday afternoon plans to attend the "Down on the Farm" with my friend Lee at the Jefferson County Fair grounds. This was my first opportunity to meet many of the folks from my home unit #116 of the Wally Byam Caravan Club. Since the rally was located very close to home and Kelly was on-call, my plan was to take the kids for the afternoon open house and the evening pot-luck. All but Amery and Stefan opted to find other activities for the day, so off I went with the boys. Lee brought his trailer and his daughter Katie and with plans to spend the night. It was a beautiful but windy afternoon filled with good new friends and cool trailers. Two trailers in particular where Ed and Sandy Emerick's '59 Traveler and David and Dori Stowell's '53 Clipper. Amazingly the Stowell's trailer has been in the family since 1957... WOW!

Sunday morning, expert Airstream Scout Rob Baker skyped me with a link to an eBay listing for a '63 Globetrotter with a very attractive buy-it-now price and a location that would not break the bank to retrieve. Kelly and I had been lamenting the fact that we did not have a trailer to use and our short Wisconsin summer would too soon be behind us. I was very tempted but resisted hitting the "button" that would forever put us into a category of semi-insane people who choose to own a second (or third... or fourth) hulk of aluminum. As the minutes ticked by and Kelly and I discussed further we decided to hit that infamous "button" anyway.

...Now comes our new challenge... our new purchase is far from a pristine, road ready trailer. It's more like our new experiment. We will soon have our new baby home to be subjected to a test of my skills to quickly make a road ready traveler from a rather neglected, but very cool '63 GT.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

#18 ...One Hour a Day

After a dry spell of no actual work on the trailer, I've been making an effort to find the time to make some progress. My friend Frank tells me (frequently) to spend at least one hour a day working on "Fifth Avenue" (yes... she's got a name and Frank can take credit for that too). So now that we have relatively tolerable weather and the sun has not set by the time I get home, I've been spending some time making actual progress. Nothing exciting... but progress none the less and it feels good.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

#17 - The WDCU... Living Wally's Legacy

"To encourage clubs and rallies that provide an endless source of friendships, travel fun and personal expressions." - Wally Byam

Amery & Stefan enjoying the Atrium fountain at the Hirshhorn

As I look back on our first rally experience, I have to say the folks of the WDCU have certainly lived up to the dreams and aspirations of it's parent clubs namesake - Wally Byam

I can honestly say that the time we spent at the Cherry Blossom rally was the best recreational experience we have ever had. It was true and pure enjoyment... experiencing life as it was meant to be experienced... without pretensions, yet at the same time we felt as though we had all that we would ever need (except for the lack of shower facilities LOL!).

As far as friends and friendships... to start off, we were blessed with two great neighbors... Rob and Zoe Baker on the left and Mark Johnson on the right. Our two boys only needed to take a few steps out of the car to instantly join Stanton and Bryce Baker in there efforts to dig a gopher hole adjacent to the horse stall. Thanks to the Baker boys, and Griffin and Campbell Alaniz... our boys, Amery and Stefan, were entertained for the week. Their parents, Rob and Zoe Baker, and Danee & Kim Alaniz were also kind enough to make sure Kelly and I always felt at home away from home. We couldn't have hoped for better rally mates.

Kelly Klohn and Zoe Baker (Airstream Camping Chicks)

Everyone we met was friendly and welcoming... many of which I had "met" via the forums and now had the privilege to meet face to face. The days passed quickly... and time spent with many of the folks was much too short. It makes us long to be back next year and hope that all return for an opportunity to further connect. Too many folks to mention, but to all that we met, we can't wait to get back and spend more time with you.

Amery, Calynn, Kelly, Stefan and Andrea... as we approached the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Lastly, I can't recount our CBR experience without a mention of the family who encouraged the the six of us to set out on a 900 mile trek cross country with a trailer built for considerably less than six for the purpose of making endless friendships... travel fun and personal expressions. We did it all! ...and it has changed our lives. Thank you, Frank and Beth and Ava and Halle! From the moment we met, we fell deeply in love with your family and from the moment we left, we longed for the day we'll meet again.

Beth, Halle and Frank Yensan

Ava Yensan with Calynn and
Stefan (peering over the seat)

All packed up for the ride back to Wisconsin
(Thank you Lee, for generously sharing your trailer)