1966 Airstream

Restoring aluminum on an iron chassis

Archive for the 'AIrstream Interior Restoration' Category

July 23 Fed Dub to Coeur D’ Alene

All good trips must come to a beginning, so we left home around 11 AM for a 5 hour and 40 minute drive across I-90. Airstream. Check. Passports. Check. Two children. Check. We were taking the long/scenic way to Sicamous, British Columbia, Canada. It was raining hard when we left, and continued to rain until we were headed down Snoqualmie Pass. We stopped in Ellensberg, WA for fruit: doughnut peaches and apricots. I encountered my first can of Cougar Gold, a cheese made at Washington State University that is stored in a can. I really wanted to buy it. According to the sign, it could last 10 days at temperatures under 70 degrees, and then needed to be refrigerated. I wasn’t sure that the Cougar Gold tin can would survive our Airstream tin can, so I left without it. Next time. As we passed Moses Lake, the rain started again and also brought it’s fine friends: lightening, wind and more wind. We enjoyed watching giant tumbleweeds that looked like hedgehogs racing across the desert attempt to cross the road in front of us. They were fanatastic. I wanted to collect one, with visions of hanging lights on it at Christmas. But I didn’t have space for a large, wet tumbleweed and wasn’t sure about attempting to get it through US-Canada customs twice (My apricots wound up confiscated and in a freezer at the Port , Idaho border crossing. The freezer was large, but not large enough for the tumbleweed) And the winds were blowing like crazy, so it would have been hard to catch a tumbleweed. We continued to watch them blow by while we waited out the storm in Ritzville, Washington.


The next scheduled stop was a Wal Mart. Since this is a blog about restoring our 1966 Airstream, I must mention that the toilet/sewer/bathroom system is not restored. We normally use the campground restrooms/outhouses, so it is not a problem. Our destination in Sicamous is a ranch owned by my husband’s cousin, so the Canadian felt like we should equip ourselves. He made his first recreational, legal pot purchase. At Wal Mart, none the less.



We arrived at Blackwell Island RV Park near downtown Coeur D’ Alene. We were in site # 180. It was a very large rv park with all the hookups, laundry, and showers/restrooms. There was a play structure, the kind you would have been jealous of if it had been in your friend’s backyard. The RV park was near a highway, so not exactly peaceful, but the traffic continued at such a pace overnight that it was almost white noise.

posted by stacy traylor in AIrstream Interior Restoration,Campground Review,Camping Trips and have No Comments

Spring Thaw

We kicked off the camping season a bit early in March 2013. By a bit early, I mean that we did not fill the water tank with water for fear it might freeze.  We added to the list of places that I have visited in Washington State that I can’t pronounce: Dosewallips State Park. When we left the park on Sunday aftenoon, it was forty-something degrees. We have temporarily replaced the 1966 propane fridge with a small dorm-sized electric fridge bolted to the ground. By temporarily, I mean that we may get this fridge unbolted and replaced just in time for my 6 year old son to take it to college. With an electrical hookup, it works pretty well, especially compared to the propane fridge that didn’t work at all. A few weekends later, we visited Ike Kinswa State Park (#2 on the list of places in WA state I can’t pronounce), which was on a lake and considerably warmer. We even saw the sun! It was heret hat we broke the lock on the door. Something that should have been a square mechanism had gone round…This proved to be a difficult problem to solve. Parts are not longer available, but you can replace it with something that is expensive and doesn’t actually fit. This culminated in my husband spending a lot of time in the basement with a dremmel tool. ( Lists to start: Tools I can’t spell), and wa-la! The lock works. I was involved in a critical decision: what color to paint the doorknob. I should have said silver, but if you see an old Airstream with a robin’s egg blue doorknob cruising down the road, know that it is mine.

posted by admin in AIrstream Interior Restoration,Camping Trips and have No Comments

Robin’s Egg Blue

The agreed-upon Robin's egg blue upholstery fabrics in action!

The agreed-upon Robin's egg blue upholstery fabrics in action!

Like so many bloggers, I have ignored Restorable Iron for over a year. And in that year a lot has happened. I am sad to report that the “Silver Sandman” was not ready for a summer 2011 trip. We went to Crater Lake and the Redwoods in Neo, the Trusty Toyota Matrix, and had a fine time. And I should win wife of the year for sleeping in a tent for a week while four months pregnant. And not complaining about it. I won’t even mention the frequent midnight bathroom runs in the darkness in what must have been Sasquatch country. A few more weekends of work after that trip, and Wa-la! We were at what my husband refers to as the “Aluminum tent” stage. Where none of the major systems are working, but you can sleep in the airstream. I am sure that he did not coin the term himself, but instead must have gotten it from his new friends, the VAP boys (Vintage Airstream Podcast). These guys have become an integral part of his life. In fact, he often listens to them in the morning when getting ready for work. This is very tricky, because he occasionally participates in a morning conference call for work as well, so I am trained to not interrupt/talk to him/make eye contact during this time, because, technically, even though he is in his jammies eating a bowl of cereal, he is WORKING So one morning I thought of something semi-important to tell him, and then thought, well I guess it will have to wait. And then it dawned on me for the past year, he hasn’t been on work conference calls, just listening to the VAP. And I thought, these people aren’t even real! I am more important! I can interrupt! I can discuss semi-important matters with my husband in the precious time that we have before we all leave for work and day care.

Making it to the aluminum tent stage means: we agreed on fabrics for interior curtains and cushions. Funny, any time we have to have a meeting of the minds on color we wind up with things in the “robins egg blue” family. Our bedroom walls are painted a similar color. And my maid of honor wore that color in our wedding. I will post a picture as soon as we are brave enough to remove the sheets covering every cushioned surface…Perhaps when we retire we will sit on the cushions in earnest.

posted by admin in AIrstream Interior Restoration,Marital Harmony,Upholstery and have No Comments

What Would Work for Woodwork

The February sun was shining this weekend, reminding us that if we want to take a maiden voyage in the Airstream this summer, there is work to be done. Like, lots of it. This weekend,  D did something with the windows. It involved spraying some paint removal spray while my car was parked about 24 inches away. Rest assured, he covered the car with an old plastic shower curtain he wouldn’t let me throw out. My Mom asked what/why he was doing this, and I really can’t answer, but the window seals have hardened and are disintegrating, and he has ordered replacement seals. The glass portions of the windows are now in the garage and the window “holes” left in the airstream are rather classically covered with black garbage bag and duct tape. The areas around the windows have been polished with a dremmel tool, but please don’t ask me to spell dremmel.

Oh, we have made progress on choosing a fabric. It seems the price of marital harmony is $79 per yard. But the fabric does transport you back to the Seattle World’s Fair of 1962, which is totally the look we want for our 1966 Airstream. Recovering cushions at this price would cost more than all of the furniture in my living room plus bedrooms (We shop at IKEA and bought some classic furniture used). Anyway, another fabric came in a close (and better priced) second, and we may just settle on it…I realized we still have some time on the cushions as the other messy interior work is in progress.

I had two jobs this weekend, my Saturday job entailed cleaning out the area under the bench seat including the wheel well. I made this task much easier by spilling a full bucket of water when the handle broke. Presto! Job done. My Sunday job was painting stripper on the cabinet doors that Derek removed, waiting 20 minutes, and then using a special tool to remove the stripper and the old varnish. I learned than when working with hazardous chemicals, you really can not be expected to do anything else, such as removing your 3 year old from the top step of a ladder in the garage or trying to take a photo with the iphone. I tried pressing iphone buttons and using the touch screen with my hazmat coated gloves on: 1. The iphone touch screen does not work with gloves on, so I had to use my nose 2.  I fully expect the iphone to dissolve in any minute.  As for my 3 year old, he triumphantly smiled from the top step of the ladder when he realized I wasn’t about to reach up, grab him, and pull him down with, thus covering him with hazmat and maybe literally scarring him for life.

Before the work got seriously underway, I did snap a photo. The aforementioned, hazardous, i-phone dissolving product masquerades as a friendly orange substance smelling mildly of, you guessed it, oranges!  Paint this on the wood, sit for 30 minutes to 24 hours, and scrape. Removes varnish and water spotting!airstream

posted by admin in Actual How-tos,Airstream Exterior Restoration,Marital Harmony,Woodwork and have Comment (1)