So the weather outside is frightful right now, but as you can see, I've got a beautiful view, regardless! (Yes, that's my actual view) Our school district has actually cancelled school twice so far for snow. This school district has not cancelled school very often, so you know this winter has been rough. We got 9 inches of snow this week, and this was my view the following morning!
Of course, I fondly look out at my little 1953 Clipper Airstream, and wish for the day when we'll be back on the road again. Of course, there is about a foot and a half of snow on the roofs of our Airstreams right now, but, that being said, we've started to make our plans for this spring and summer! (yes, we could take out the Airstream and do some winter camping, but it's just not up there on my bucket list - I don't like to be cold!)
What are your plans for 2017? Where will you be going on the road? For now, I'm deep cleaning my house, and putting all my dreams and plans together for the good weather!
You may have noticed that I've been AWOL on this blog. Well, somehow, I had ended up with two different Blogger accounts and I was having trouble getting into this one. It had an old email account that I don't have access to, etc. etc. etc. Anyway, I'm back and have even been able to connect all of my blogs onto one account! Woo hoo!
Here's a link to a post I just shared on one of my other blogs: Prairie Scraps. Because I created this blog specifically for our Airstream Memories, in the past, between seasons, I found it really hard to continue posting on this one topic regularly. I'm ready to revisit my original intent and at least update with some of our recent memories from our Airstreams.
Here's my how-to on how to make a great, recycled Fire Starter! Enjoy and stay tuned for more Airstream Memories to come!
Well it has been and long time since my last point a lot has happened since then. Things are settling down and it is time to get back to airstreaming. Here are a few pictures of our first airstreaming trip in Idaho. These were taken at a campsite in the Nez Perce National Forest along the south fork of the Clearwater River. Eight dollars a night for your own piece of heaven. The only thing I can say is the river is really loud and it is really DARK in the forest at night. Oh yeah no cell phone service. The top picture is a Osprey which stopped in a tree next to the river and let us know it was there.
We decided it was time to start camping this year. So we went to Castle Rock County park in Adams County. We had a great time saturday and sunday were cool becauseof the wind but monday we had great weather. Everything on the camper work well only the door handle gave us problems because it would not shut easy lots of slaming of the door. Boss told me it needed to be fixed soon. When we got back on monday I went to the hardware store and picked up a nice stainlees steel handle and installed it work great and now I have two locks on the door. While there we had a easter egg hunt and the kids decided to put some of thier candy on the smores. We had a great time.
I did it! I got my husband a pair of strippers for Father's Day - 2 gallons of Remove-All 220 Stripper! Mr. Airstream has wanted to strip the clear coat off from the start of our Ambassador project, but it just didn't rank up there for expenditures on the Airstream before this. I thought this might be a great time to get the stripper for him.
Here's the Airstream before picture, with just a little area started with the stripper right above the back bumper. The clear coat has been coming off in some places and is causing corrosion under the clear-coat.
Of course, once this project got started, Mr. Airstream decided that he needed a power sprayer, so had to go to the hardware store for a rental! I have to admit, it did go much faster and easier using the sprayer.
Here she is...shiny! Isn't she just beautiful? I think the entire project took no more than 2 hours, but really makes a difference. Not to bad for a couple of strippers, huh?
We spent a day of our vacation on teh Westport beach and port. There is really no explanation that can describe the sight of the ocean and its vastness. Those of you that are priveledged enough to live near or on the ocean, probably take it for granted, but to see the ocean for one of the first times is quite an experience! While there, my in-laws took us crabbing. For those that don't know, crabbing can be done right from the docks. You can rent pots from one of the stores there, put bait in them, and then throw them out into the ocean to see what you get. When you pull them in, they have crabs! With four kids, they could barely leave them in long enought to catch any of the, but we did get one that was a keeper!While at the beach, we bought all different kinds of seafood from one of the docks. We also spent some time on one of the beaches, beach-combing. Fortunately for us, this beach was just filled with sand dollars and pretty rocks for the taking. (We've been to California, where there was nothing to be found for miles.) We brought home two and a half gallon ice cream pails full of sand dollars!
One of the other things that I did while on the docks, was take a close up picture of each of my kids. I wish I could share these with you, because they turned out great, but I have stalker that doesn't need to see my kids. Sorry I can't share that with you. Anyway, when you are out in a new, beautiful place, consider taking some great photos of your kids, not only together, but alone. I often turn these into their yearly blown up picture on the wall. It saves money and you will always remember that family vacation together!
We are at home and safe and sound after our 14 day trip. Mr. Airstream figured out the mileage for the trip and we drove 5323 miles and used 490 gallons of gas! Priceless!I did want to share some of the memories we had at Mt. St. Helens. As for most of our trip, it was raining for our visit to Mt. St. Helen's and had snow at the visitor center. We were determined, though to learn many facts about the volcano and check everything out. Fortunately, they had a wonderful movie that ended with a view of the volcano from behind the screen. Even though we couldn't see the very top, the view was fantastic. While there, the older kids completed the Jr. Ranger Program and got a wonderful folder, postcard, and badge. The Junior Ranger activities were a little difficult, as they had changed the exhibits, but not the questions, so some of the answers, the kids had to scramble to complete.We spent another rainy day at Mt. Rainier. We thought for sure that we had seen snow on Mt. St. Helen's but weren't able to get to the top of the mountain because of all the snow.The Junior Ranger program at Mt. Rainier was much more fun and doable for the kids this time. All of the kids were able to complete the program with some help from Mom & Dad. One of the activities that we had to do was a hike. Because of the rain, we only jumped out of the car and ran down to Christine Falls to take a photo and then jumped back in the car to warm up!At the Paradise Visitor Center, we were able to experience over 10 feet of snow and a beautiful facility. There were skiers and hikers who had been trying to get to the summit all week, but to no avail yet. They only made it to 10,000 feet of the 14,000 total feet. Not my idea of a great time, but hey, we were amazed with their ability to try and stay overnight at on the mountain in such lousy weather.Later in the week, we did get a glimpse of the top of the Mt. Rainier. We snapped a photo quick while it was clear. Stayed tuned for more updates of our trip.
For those of you following our travels, we are homeward bound, but still in one of the longest states ever - South Dakota! It seems to go on forever. Just wanted to give you a quick update - no time to give pictures, but many more to come very soon. We plan to be home around midnight tonight. Windy in SD, but everything is running great down the road! figured out that we need a full water tank to keep the Airstream from wavering down the road! A cheap and easy fix for sure!
We spent a day at the Pike Place Market downtown Seattle to watch the fish "fly." After getting through the traffic and finding a parking spot, we had a great time just checking out the people and the marketplace for the morning.The seafood look wonderful! Some of it was so huge that we had never seen anything so large in our lives! We would have loved to take it all home, but of course, even in the port, it was quite expensive, especially for a family of six. We did have a wonderful lunch overlooking the port. All of us chose some sort of fish or seafood (except the little ones!)Our other stop while at the fish market was to check out the Seattle Aquarium. We actually got a family membership with two guest passes for the year for $16 cheaper than it would have cost for individual passes to get in. I suggest if you visit anywhere with a family, to fully check out the difference in price, you may be able to save yourself a few bucks and often membership at one aquarium or zoo will give you a discount at another in the US.After a shopping trip at Cabela's, we went to the much anticipated Japanese Steakhouse, where we all had Habachi for dinner. The food was even better, as it came with an entertaining chef that kept calling us paparazzi for taking so many pictures. Here he is making a volcano out of onions. The kids were absolutely fascinated with the whole process and it gave us a wonderful experience with the Japanese culture once again. (We had a Japanese foreign exchange student last year.)
Here are my pictures as promised. It took a bit to get the pictures from one computer to another and then upload, all of which we don't seem to have time to do on vacation! This is the Jellystone Campground in Missoula that we stayed at. Very beautiful in the background and wonderful bathrooms!!!
To those that are concerned about our brakes - it was not a mechanical or driver error that overheated them, but an effort to have common courtesy to the driver of the Enterprise truck that was tailing us down the mountain. In an effort to move off the road down-hill, Mr. Airstream had to slam on the brakes to get everything to a stop, which in turn overheated them. We have brakes on the Airstream and a hand controller, but after some deep, technical discussions with Mr. Airstream's brake supplier, it was decided to keep the brakes on the Airstream set lightly. It is better to burn out the brakes on the truck, than the Airstream. Truck brakes can be changed easier and cheaper, whereas the Airstream ones aren't meant to stop the truck & tow, just the tow...hense the lighter brake setting. All is ok - the truck brakes recovered quickly, as did everyone's racing hearts. Hope the Enterprise driver appreciates the courtesy, but we have our doubts!
We went over the border to Oregon on our first day for a tour of the Columbia River Gorge. It was raining off and on all day, but it didn't deter us from having a wonderful time.After visiting many of the falls along the Historic route, we ended up at the Multnomah Falls, the big Daddy of them all! What a beautiful sight! We would have loved to hike up to the bridge in front of it, if it wasn't for the pouring rain!Our final stop before navigating the traffic home, was the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. We got to feed the trout in the picture and also saw Herman the Stergeon (sp?). He is 10 feet long and quite a novelty with the kids. All agreed they could do a few more hatcheries along the way. We may have to start hitting them in WI soon!
After 3 long days of traveling on the road, we were all ready to take a rest and be done with the towing in Washington! We are staying at the beautiful Ike Kineswa State Park, where the sites are so over grown with the outdoors that we can't even tell that it is rainy, except to go to look out at the lake for rain drops. An added bonus is that the campground has water, electrical and sewer on each site! I love taking showers!
Our final day of driving brought us a few surprises - we overheated the brakes going over White Pass because of a rental truck tailing us coming down. After a sit for awhile on the side of the road to let them cool down, we were again on our way. Fortunately for the brakes, it was only 40 degrees there, so they cooled down quickly.
We have a forcast of 50's and rain for the week - wouldn't you know? Our garden at home is forcasted to not get any rain - sorry to our faithful friends who are caring for it. We aren't sure what we are up to today, but we will update you soon with some pictures...(when we figure out how to get them into my in-laws computer!)
We achieved our first Wal-mart boondocking in Gillette, Wyoming! I know, it's well overdue, but our 1953 Clipper doesn't have a bathroom or 12-volt hook-up, so it makes a difficult time of boondocking. Last year, we didn't have the 1963, quite up to par for it yet, so we never attempted a Wal-mart stay.We were very excited to stay in a Wal-mart parking lot (I know it sounds sort of sick, but hey, to a 3 and 5 year old, staying at Wal-mart is gold!)We were proud that we made our first leg of our trip to Gillette from WI in one day. You might be wondering how our night in Wal-mart went. It was alright, until the street sweeper started to clean the parking lot at 4am! It went around and around us until 7am! He must have just loved driving all the RV's crazy at that time of the morning! Well, in one way, it was great to come in late at night and stay for free, in another - it was very noisy! All systems were a go for water and 12-Volt for the Airstream!
Tonight - the adults in the car (our sister-in-law is traveling with us) need a shower, so we are in a Jellystone Park in Missoula, Montana. A very nice park for $35 - water, sewer, and electric, wireless internet (for $4 extra) and wonderful showers - what more could a girl ask for?! Tomorrow - our plan is to make it to Washington....
On a normal day in our family, everyone eats a simple breakfast and goes about their business. We don't snack, we don't eat until lunch and then the same routine for dinner. Well, for some reason, the moment we get into the truck for a trip, not 30 minutes down the road, we all are hungry! It never fails. (I personally think it is way better than everyone having to go to the bathroom!) So, before we go on a trip, I try to pack our Airstream heavily with snacks for the road. I figure that it is a little more trouble than usual, but it way cheaper than stopping for snack foods at the gas stations, or heaven forbid, the McFastfood! Here are the snacks I made the other day...Are you ready to dive in, yet? Starting from the top left are Ranch Pretzels, Energy bars (top Right), homemade granola bars (middle), Bear Party Mix (lower left), and Ranch Party Mix (bottom right). I also made a nut and M&M mix to go with these.
I'll tell you two of the recipes right now. I hope you enjoy.
given to me by my Mom - it's the best tasting snack ever!
Put the pretzels in tupperware. Pour out a little of oil over the bowl. Pour the dressing into the bottle and shake well. Pour the mixture over the pretzels and stir well. Mix the pretzels every 2 hours until the oil is all soaked up. Eat and Enjoy!
Bear Party Mix
taken from "Mom's Camper Cooking" by Rita Hewson
1 (10 oz.) box Bear Shaped Cinnamon Graham Crackers
1 (14 oz.) pkg. Dried Bananas, broken into pieces
1 (12 oz.) can Honey Roasted Peanuts (I used honey roasted almonds)
1 (16 oz.) bag Candy Coated Chocolate Candies
Stir all the ingredients together and store in a tightly covered container. Yeild 11 cups.
* I added in Reeses Pieces too! Yummy!
To keep us from eating the whole gallon in one morning or afternoon, I am letting each child pick the mix they would like for the morning drive to eat. If they eat it right away, it's gone until lunch! Then they will get to refill their cup in the afternoon with another mix of their choice. This will keep it to serving sizes for everyone, including Dad, and no one will say "I'm hungry!" Stay tuned for our updates on our trip starting tomorrow. We will update this blog as we are able to get service!
I wanted to share with you my new spice rack that Mr. Airstream made. If you look to the far left of the picture, you can see the spice rack hanging on the wall. It was completely rotten, so it had to be replaced. We decided to make it the same size, but deeper for extra things to be put there.It looks a little different, because we didn't put up the paneling in the kitchen, the rack doesn't stand out as much. We decided to put the paper towels under the rack. To the left of the paper towel, we added an aluminum towel hanger for kitchen towels to hang on.
You may have seen our front goucho in the Ambassador already. I upholstered this last year when we gutted the entire thing. One of the things that I had done was measure every angle of the goucho and then took the measurements and drawings to the fabric store to figure out my material needed. I always buy an extra yard just in case, especially on big projects like this.
Well, after figuring my yardage, there were just a couple of yards left on the bolt and it was the only bolt with this material, so I bought it all. I think I only had about four extra yards, but it is the wider, upholstry fabric on the big rolls. I found my new fetish - the Mill End Outlet Store, which has the nearest store in Rochester, MN from us. We made a side trip on our way out to South Dakota last year to pick out upholstry. I was able to purchase all of the fabric for the curtains (including lining) and the goucho.
As it turned out, I had enough fabric left to upholster the wall behind the twin beds in the middle too. Needless to say, I still had a stash of the stuff in my closet, so when we started to talk about adding benches, I thought I MIGHT have enough to at least do the tops of the cushions with my fabric from the goucho.
Here's the finished bench. I love the piano hinge that was used to lift the lid to the storage. Mr. Airstream found that purchasing the hinge in the largest size and then cutting it in two to the size that we needed was less expensive than buying two different hinges.
Just a view of the open bench that we added. (Those are the pedistals for the new table that will go here.) Plenty of storage space for Mr. Airstream & I to put rubbermaids with our clothes in it for trips.
The first thing that I did after finding the foam on the internet was to get Mr. Airstream to cut it the correct size for the space. We purchase very firm 6 inch foam in two pieces (one was the exact size we needed and the other had to be split in two.) We bought it from Buyfoam.com at the lowest prices we could find.
I then laid it down on the material to get the main top pieces cut correctly. Some of the things that I try to do is to make sure that the fabric runs in the same direction as the rest of the couch. In this case, I just was happy to get the top and then the side also going in the same direction.
I actually don't measure this part out. I cut about an inch away from the foam. Then I turn it to the next side down and cut another piece for the same cushion. I was very excited to be able to get three side pieces and the top of the cushion cut out of my leftover fabric from last year! I literally only had a few scraps left over.
I then laid the top and one back side of the fabric down on top of a coordinating vinyl for the bottom and back side of the fabric. These sides won't show in the camper, but will come in handing for turning over for young kids to sit on!
Next, I took one side from each cushion to put a zipper on it so the cover can be removed for washing. I chose the shorter side, because zippers can be costly and hard to find in really long sizes. These two sides, I cut in half and then sewed back together using a basting stitch, leaving a half inch seam. Press the seams open.
When I did the original goucho, we found this zipper by the yard and zipper slides and stops at the Mill End Outlet store. I again had purchased just enough to put these two zippers into the cushions. You just put the zipper slide on the zipper and add the stop at the other end.
Next, pin the zipper down the center of the seam you just made. You have to be real careful, becuase where the seam is will be cut open to reveal the zipper on the other side. Be sure to put the right side of the zipper towards the back side of the the fabric. (I know seems backwards, but trust me, the zipper will be revealed on the other side in the end!)
Using the zipper foot on the machine, sew along the edge of the zipper on both sides. I like to leave about a quarter of an inch gap, just in case I am too close to that seam. Now the fun part! Turn the fabric over to the front side and use a seam ripper to take the basting stitches out. Voila! You have a zipper that works and is hidden!
To finish the cushion, I put the pieces I cut upside down and pin the sides on. I take each pinned section to the machine and sew where the pins are placed. There's no real science to this, you just want the fabric to be straight and tight on the cushion. When you do the last piece, be sure to leave the zipper partially open, so that you can turn it right side out. There is nothing more frustrating than having to rip out a seam because you can't open the zipper from the wrong side!
Here's the new benches with cushions! (Don't worry, that little hole by the drawers got a false front added later to make it look finished. Oh - and because I had all the materials for the cushions were purchased last year and left over, these two cushions cost me nothing. Stay tuned for the table!!!
Because of the flooding inside the Ambassador before we purchased it, the heater had been rusted out. The entire bottom of the heater that was located under the oven was gone to rust when we took it out. There really was no help, for it, so it went directly to the trash. This was not top on our priority list for fixing last year, as we really didn't know what we would do to replace it. At the WBBCI flea market in Madison, WI last summer, Mr. Airstream was determined to find a heater. After a few discussions with others in the Wisconsin unit, he had his heart set on a catalytic heater. He found one while I was setting up my booth at the flea market and tried to get his hands on it, but was beat by another eager Airstreamer to get one.
Mourning his loss, he continued on his search for another one, with no luck. Meanwhile, another Wisconsin unit member, who knew Mr. Airstream's plight, found one for $30 and snatched it up for us! We were astounded and elated that he took the chance that Mr. Airstream hadn't found one! Of course, Mr. Airstream, has been carrying this thing around with us since then, trying to find the perfect spot for the most covetted Catalytic Heater in Wisconsin (or possibly the world!).I wanted to give you a glimpse of the installation underneath the refrigerator. He used gas grade flexible gas line. The extra is for a reason, to be seen in a minute.
Now you know the structure that we used to hold up the refrigerator. It was similar to what Airstream originally used, but much sturdier now.
Ta! Da! The perfect little spot - except one little thing! With the heater attatched and running in this location, it was pointed directly at our bed! Not a problem for me, but Mr. Airstream likes it cool at night. There is also the entire rest of the 28' of the Airstream to heat, too.If you hadn't already guessed, we attatched the heater to hinges so that we could swing it around and face it towards the back of the Airstream as needed (most of the time!). A reason for this location, besides the oven space was that the gas was run in this location for the refrigerator, so it made sense.
Let us know what you think. We are expecting to use this on our trip to the mountains in May, so we'll update you then too! We do expect to use a small ceramic heater back in the bathroom for extra heat. I'm trying to convince Mr. Airstream that we need another one of these in the bathroom....We'll see!
Let us know what you think of our hot topic today!
The original bed plan in the Ambassador was two twin beds in the middle and a somewhat small double pull out goucho (couch) in the front. We had several issues with this set-up, the main one being that we have too many people in our family for four beds. (I'll be showing you soon what we did to the goucho to make it comfortable for the two of us to be in the same bed at the same time.) I think most people who order these Airstreams with the twins in the middle don't actually sleep together. After 15 years of marriage, I find that I enjoy sleeping with my husband, and after spending a few years in our Clipper, where we couldn't stand sharing a tiny bed in hot weather, our goal for this "new" Airstream was that everyone would have a bed of our own.
We tend to be purists with the Airstreams. We talk about all the changes we might make, but find that we are very loyal to the way it was originally - to a fault! So with that being said, if I sound like I am trying to justify these changes, I am trying to just convince myself that it's not sin to change it!All that being said, we went first with what we knew, and that was our 1953 Clipper bunk bed. Mr. Right copied the base of the bunk in the Clipper in structure and built two of them. We planned to use the space above the twins, where the cupboards were beyond repair from water damage (yes that was a justification). We wanted them to fold up, since it would take up extra room at the ceiling level to have the beds in the down position.
Here was our next plan, a way to make the beds stable when kids are in them without putting too many holes in the camper. After much discussion about the ability of the ceiling structure being able to hold up the bunk (I know, many of the bunks that were originally in the Airstreams were hung from Elephant Hooks from the ceiling.). Another trip to the hardware produced and great find of Angle Aluminum. This we bolted to the walls and closets that are on each side of the beds.
The passenger's side did not have a big enough wall to hold the bed in place when someone was in the bed like the driver's side did, so when a child would climb into the bed, it would tip out of place. We didn't want to attach the other side to the aluminum wall or put in hinges so we could flip the bed up. (Mr. Right cringes at putting holes in the aluminum, something about all the holes he's had to fill with rivets already.)
To fix this unstability, we used aluminum pipe on each side to act as legs between the upper and lower bed. A plumbing filange was used to hold them in place. When the beds are up, we just put the pipe in the upper bunk to store them.
Now to the storage of the bunk while moving down the road and during the day. We figured that a hook and eye would hold it in place, but found after our first trip that the motion and weight of the bunk was too great for this simple fix. Instead of this, we drilled a hole in the wall under the bed and inserted a thicker bolt with a cotter pin to hold it in place. (Yes, another trip to the hardware store.) This pin is taken out and put in a drawer (where little mechanics can't find it) when the bunk is in use.Here's another picture of the bed in the up position. The bunk hangs about 2 inches into the window, but we felt that it was worth the extra sleeping space!