Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Honey Do List

Before all you men panic (or my dh for that matter!), our list to the right is just a honey do list of everything that we eventually need or want to get done for the 1963 Ambassador.  I thought it would be nice to put up a list for all to see, and for us to remember.  We thought we were really almost done on this one, but now with the list, it looks like we are nowhere near done!  Some of the things are just our dreams, like making our bed bigger and a flat screen tv.  Others are a little more urgent like the controller and the wiring. 

About the fire - I guess that I never even put up on the blog that we had a fire this summer on our way to WBCCI, International Rally in Madison!  We went to the Vintage Rally at Jefferson.  We got both Airstreams set up and finally running.  There was a problem with the electrical on the grounds.  Slept our first night with not much ado.  The next morning, we got up at 6am to get ready and in line for the Vintage Parade to Madison.  I was in the bathroom dressing and getting ready, when my husband asked me what I was burning.  I have no electrical appliances to get ready, so quickly turned off the bathroom fan and said I didn't smell anything. 

Then I started to smell it!  My husband started getting after me about burning something, and while we were arguing, our oldest son, "what about the battery?"  Well that got my husband running!   He opened the battery box (we now know why it is enclosed in a fiberglass compartment outside!) and found the battery on fire.  We evacuated all the sleepy kids in their pjs and he ripped the burning battery out of the box!  Fortunately, nothing else caught fire except a small section of the wiring.

As it turned out, my dh has forgotten to cap off a set of wires for the water pump on the front wall, and when he sat on the front goucho, it pinched the wire in between the goucho and the metal wall bracket, causing all the wire to burn up and started the battery on fire.  He still doesn't know why the breaker never snapped, but I was thankful that no one was injured except the small burn on my dh's hand and that it wasn't my fault that it happened on our first big adventure out!

Needless to say, my dh has since fixed the wire, there are just no switches (to my knowlege) on that bare wire that caused the fire in the first place.  I'm sure he'll let you know if I need to stand corrected on that (it's behind the curtains, so you don't see it.)  Thought I'd share one of almost tragedies at International!

I'd love to hear any more ideas you might have for our honey do list - please just comment on this post.

Monday, November 16, 2009


We used the Pex plumbing to run water to everything in the Ambassador.  We didn't really take a long time to decide this for several reasons.  The first was that the only copper tubing had cracks everywhere and was even not attached in places.  Secondly, we both thought that the Pex looks better and cleaner.  Also, because the Pex is flexible, we were able to put it everywhere, without making extra joints.  We figured, the less joints, the less leaks we would have.

Initially, we fretted about the Pex tool that would cost $100 to clamp the Pex, but my husband found that one of his CV Boot Clamp Pliers worked for it.  (This was a tool he had in his posession for working on cars, but one could be found for around $30.)  We were very excited about this savings.  Although my husband did think he'd get more use out of the Pex tool, it was nice to not have to spend as much on the tool as we would on the tubing.  All tubing was purchased at Menards.  If you watch sales, you can get some good deals.Here is another vew of the plumbing.  This is in the closet.   To the left is the toilet - if you see that tan line of fiberglass, that is the black water tank.  It is enclosed in a step under the toilet and into the back sink cupboard.  To the right, you can see the original water heater.  It works and fires, but needs a replacement controller, but does work in the mean time.  That's our next project at some point.
Just to give you a picture of what the plumbing from the kitchen sink looks like (and also under the tub & bathroom sink.  We really didn't change anything as far as the original.  Where the pipes were bad, or disconnected, we just bought the same to replace it.  We tried to use as much of the old as possible, to save money and the environment!  You can see that under the sink, the white is the new and the black and grey is the old.    The only thing that we did change was the exhaust on the kitchen sink.  Instead of running the entire pipe through two beds and out the roof in the original spot, we used an inwall cap to vent it inside.  Because it is used for nothing other than the kitchen sink, there really is no smell and the hole that leaked buckets of water in the ceiling was able to be capped off permanantly.  The cap is just on the inside bed in a corner.  You can't find it unless you are looking.  I hope this answers any questions that people had about how to do the plumbing.  Please leave a comment if you have questions or comments.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We've Come a Long Way!

I just wanted to show some of the pictures from our original adventure of getting our 1963 Ambassador out of the junkyard.  To get the full story of how we got it here.

Here's what it looked like from the street.  Those weeds you see are nettles!

More nettles and junk - some of those nettles were up to my shoulder!

How does one collect so much junk?

I held my breath while the junkyard owner backed out the Airstream with the bobcat.  I wasn't sure that he was really going to be able to get it out without scratching it!  He did fine, but I could barely breathe!

There is the empty whole from where our new adventure was born!

Hope you enjoyed my before pictures!  Stay tuned for more soon!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Aluminum Counter Top Edging

Since the Airstream is in the back yard, I mean winter home, I thought I'd get back into make regular posts about what we have done to get it back into shape and on the road.  I had to take a detour for awhile, since it was Airstream season.

Here is a picture of what the countertops looked like without any trim.  My dh did a wonderful job with doing the laminate on his own for his first try.  It looks fabulous.  We were both afraid of this daunting task, but once we tried, we are now pros at countertops - so watch out world, you just don't know what we'll do next!

Well, this is how they stayed for our few first trips, because we just didn't know how to finish out the edges without breaking the bank.  Many suggested the traditional plastic T-channel edging, but I had a dream of something much better!  I really love the look of the old fermica tables with the aluminum trim.  Did you know they don't manufacture that anymore?

I know, you Airstreamers out there will say that Airstream puts it in the new rigs, but it's not as easy to get as you might think!  I called Airstream, who referred me to Ewald's in Milwaukee - who really wasn't too excited about helping me get some trim!  I don't remember how much it was going to cost (not cheap!) but I couldn't get anything more from Ewald's or the company than a catelog description - no pictures.

I then went into a massive internet search for what I was looking for (Vintage Trailer Supply - could you come up with this stuff to sell at a better price, please?), only to come up with only one place in West Virginia called Bars & Booths that makes vintage-like firmica copies.  After a discussion with the very nice lady at the other end, the price we came up with was around $100 for 12 feet of it!  I would have to buy two 12 foot sections though at $100 each minimum and then the shipping would cost $80 - gulp!!!
That was a very sad day for us, because we felt that we had gone to the ends of the earth to find this (and after a discussion with the lady, she said they had to have a manufacturer create a fabrication of this, so they own the mold and can't get it anywhere else!) and now there was no hope of getting this.  If we had a spare $300 we have a lot more urgent things to fix - like a water pump and heater, that would be much more useful than decorations.

Have I told you about my dreaming before?  (You might have noticed, if you've watched us pull this out of a junk yard!)  I just don't give up very easily!  I wanted this look  and I was going to find a way to do it cheap inexpensively!  So, I told my dh to take me to the hardware store down the street for one last ditch effort and I was going to find something.  I walked up and down the aisles looking at everything to get an inspiration and wouldn't you know - I did.  I had my dh buy me two 8 foot sections of flat aluminum stripping (I'm sure there's a name for it - but it's not in my head).  It cost only $7 each and had no shipping!  I could've walked if I wanted to not pay the gas!

Right away we came home and within 45 minutes I made my dh attach it for me!  All I did was take those Scotch brand round sanding discs on a drill and buffed circles side-by-side down the strips.  My husband cut them to fit, and used round headed nails down the middle to attach it! 
I actually love the results better than my dream because we did this whole project for $14 ourselves!!  In fact, I would consider hiring out to do the same for someone else - just ask!  I hope that you can see the results - you can click on the pictures for a better view up close.  Please let me know what you think!

Wally Wednesday never left the Driveway!

OK - so the Wally Wednesday didn't get a really good response.  I've learned a lot since then, and still plan on doing it, but just need to regear this blog.  I've been spending a lot of time on my other blog lately and developing that (and crafting, because I've been in the mood.)  So, I'll be doing another soon, but am first going to put some time into doing more posts for everyone to read!

Stay tuned for the Redo of  Wally Wednesday, because I am very excited to get something going on it and think it would be great to tour everyone else's projects too!  In the meantime - check out my other blog here.