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Old 08-05-2007, 01:07 PM   #155
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Weekend at the beach

This weekend we were invited to join some other Airstreamers at the Red Coconut RV resort on Fort Myers Beach. We were expecting it to be a bit crowded, but it would have had to have a lower occupancy level to be considered "crowded". My first clue was when they told me I had to drop Bertha at the entrance, so they could use a tractor to park our trailer. Say what? I don't think so, buddy. They insisted I do this, and assured me they would pay for any damaged they incurred while performing this operation.
Sooo, I dropped Bertha at the entrance, and they came tooling up on this little Ford 4wd tractor to move our trailer. You're kidding, right? THAT, move THIS? It looked like an overgrown lawn mower. First attempt, they succeeded in picking up the front of the tractor, while Bertha remained firmly planted on the ground. After a hurried consultation, one of the gophers ran across the street, and came back dragging another helper, and a couple hundred pounds of weights, which they attached to the front of the tractor. Second attempt, the tractor grudgingly lifted Bertha a few inches, and they trundled off around the corner. My confidence is building with every creak and groan of the obviously overloaded tractor. I went over to our campsite to await the arrival of our trailer, and a few minutes later, they came chugging around the corner with it. The next hurdle our brevet motor pool driver encountered was trying to stop his charge. Of course, he waited until nearly wiping out another Airstream and tow vehicle before trying, and managed to get the works stopped about an inch from the Escalade (TV). Another hurried consultation, and he backed up, and made another attempt. It was interesting watching the tractor perform a "wheelie" when he tried stopping suddenly while backing up. The knowledge it was our trailer on the back kept me from being actively amused, however.
They finally got Bertha shoehorned into her spot, and dropped her off. I then had to re-hook, and pull up onto leveling blocks so Marie wouldn't fall out of bed on top of me. After hooking up all the hoses, cables, etc, and deploying all the awnings, we had about a foot between our awnings, and the next RV's slide out. About two feet between the rear of Bertha and the chain link fence at the edge of the property, and about 2 inches at the front of the truck and the "street".
I attempted to use their advertised Wi-Fi, and found out it had been struck by lightning, and wasn't working. A water main ruptured about an hour after our arrival, and we were without water for our first night, and part of the next day. This lead me to realize that maybe we really do need to get that fresh water tank fixed, in case this happens again.
The beach itself was okay, a little crowded at times, but it's the beach, and to be expected.
I also personally had a problem with the rates, advertised as $75/ night with full hookups (but pets cost extra every night, and electricity was extra for every night, and if you had more than two people in your RV, it was extra per person). I realize they are in business to make money, but tell me how much it is, don't hit me with "extras" that shouldn't be. Like, $14 "extra" for electricity! And $4 "extra" for our 8 pound dog! Sheesh!
Okay, off the soapbox, the camping was fun, the beach was fun, and the company was good. I even won when we played mini golf. Here are some pictures of the campground, and a photo showing the Gulf of Mexico from the rear of our site:
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:11 PM   #156
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Poor Bertha big butt!! She gave Terry a run for his money. He did a beautiful job on the repairs to her rear end despite her fighting him all the way.

We took her to Red Coconut RV resort this weekend in Fort Myers beach and marbles placed in the floor did not race to the back of the coach. The downward slope is no more. I was impressed with her for not blowing any lines, a/c, or anything else, she held together very well. She was very much toured and envied by people who "always wanted an airstream, do they still make those" Yes. She strutted her stuff with the best of them, and made her parents proud.

We were 1 of 3 airstreams in attendance, including Brett's Argosy motor home. We were packed in like sardines, to the point I felt like swimming upstream to spawn. Our awning almost touched the slide out of the SOB next to us.

All in all we had a great weekend. Oh Yeah of the 4 who played mini golf I cam in 4th with a score of 64. Normaly mine runs 85 to 90, and I got a hole in one. Terry's score was less than 45

More to follow.

Marie
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:54 PM   #157
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Congrats on your repair job. It must have been a bear. I'm glad to hear you two had a good time at the beach. I was chuckling all the way through your "tractor pull" story, Terry, but I'm sure I would have acted like a mother hen that lost her bitties if I'd been in your shoes.
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:43 PM   #158
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...The kitchen counter repair...

Those of you paying close attention to these things have noticed the counter where the sink and stove are located have an unintended slope to them. I thought it was partly because the right side of Bertha is in the process of emulating the Andrea Doria in her final hours, aka, executing a severe list to the right. Since I didn't have anything better to do today, I toddled over and picked up Bertha for a work day.
I parked on a slope that was quite steep to the left, and when I checked the onboard level, Bertha was sitting flat. Then I pulled out my pocket level, and checked the counter. I can set a coffee pot on the counter, and pour a cup without lifting the pot, guess I'd better take care of this before a sinkful of dishes winds up on the floor.
I started by removing the lid from the stove, and the burner cover, and access cover for the stove. I then removed the LP line from the stove, and the 4 retaining screws that hold the stove into the counter. It was suprisingly easy to do, I was expecting more of a hassle. After removing the screws, all that is needed is to lift the cooktop out, and move on tot he next step.
I then unloaded the cabinets under the sink, and crawled underneath to disconnect the water and drain pipes from it. After doing this, I started unbolting the hold-down clamps for the sink. There were a lot of them. And they were hard to get to. Now I'm feeling better, it's been going too easy to this point, I was concerned something bad was going to happen. I pulled the sink out, and studied the situation for a moment. Here are photos up to this point (note the drunken lean of the counter):
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Old 08-12-2007, 07:54 PM   #159
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Stage two:

After getting the sink out of the counter without doing more than konking my noggin a dozen times, I was ready to make the repair. I looked around, and found that not only was the counter pulled off the wall, but the bracket for the cutting board was as well. Not only that, the little cabinet for the silverware drawer was just kind of hanging in space. It's not wonder the silverware we put in there have never again been seen, it all was piled in the back, at the low point of the cabinet. First thing I did was install some screws to hold the cabinet up, and move over to look at the cutting board's bracket. A few new, larger screws later, the cutting board is again fixed. Now we can use it without everything sliding off it onto the floor, a fact that will disappoint our dog immensely. I then lifted the counter to proper height using the same hydraulic bottle jack I use to lift Bertha when changing tires, and applied several longer, bigger screws to hold everything where it is supposed to go. It's interesting that there were no screws at all holding the sink area of the counter up. Here are more photos up to this point:
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:01 PM   #160
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Stage three:

After increasing the stock value of a sheet metal screw company by using a prodigious amount of screws to hold this rig together, I reinstalled the sink, and bathed the stove in Oven Cleaner. I found out that one corner of the stove is severely rusted, so we will be shopping for a new one in the future. As I was getting ready to drop the stove back in, I noticed something odd in the wall. I will be fixing what I found. The 120 volt feed wire goes through the skin with nothing to keep the wires from abraiding. Nothing like electrocuting yourself while doing the dishes.
Here's photos of the rest of the story:
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:05 PM   #161
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1993 21' Sovereign
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Also, while I had everything ripped out of the counter, I found a tiny aluminum saucepan hiding behind the furnace. I was kind of hoping for a shoebox full of money, but that always happens to somebody else... It looks like a soggy waffle, so I wound up just tossing it in the recycle bin. Here is the saucepan sitting on the counter:
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:15 PM   #162
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1993 21' Sovereign
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And the grand finale for today:

Naturally, no project would be complete without a disaster, major or minor. We happened to be in Dollar General getting oven cleaner to dunk the stove in, when I found a set of saucepans to replace the heavy Corning saucepans we currently have in Bertha. I loaded them back in the storage area, rather than the Corning ware, and put the (glass) saucepans into the box the (aluminum) replacements came in. In case no one has ever told you, glass is significantly heavier than aluminum, as well as having the distressing tendency to break if you drop it. When I picked up the box to carry the glass saucepans out of Bertha, the bottom fell out of the box, with the predictable result of the (glass) saucepans hitting the floor, and the equally predictable result of the (glass) saucepans loudly smashing into a hundred pieces. Also predictable was my uttering several epiphets that blistered the paint off the walls.
Another 30 minutes of sweeping up broken glass, and running the vacuum cleaner throughout the area to make sure, the project was finally completed. We also now don't have to worry about what to do with those (glass) saucepans...I'll gladly sell the set as a kit, bring your own super glue...
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Old 08-12-2007, 08:39 PM   #163
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The fulltiming adventure begins

Terry,

We are cracking up, reading your story. Sure do admire your tenacity!!! When you get through, you will have a new trailer. Kudos to you & your wife!!

We've done some of the same repairs as yours. The batwing we let rest on the shroud. It's been a year and so far, no problems. Good reception!

Good luck in finishing your latest repair.

G & D Pace
72 Sovereign
WBCCI 7287
Greenville, Tx
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Old 08-19-2007, 07:04 PM   #164
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1993 21' Sovereign
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And now for this weekend's festivities.

There is one advantage to having a category 4-5 hurricane in the neighborhood, it generates a breeze, and keeps the humidity slightly lower. Okay, 92% isn't low, but after 99%+ humidity, I'll take it.
I decided to perform more repairs to Bertha today, with it breezy (cuts down on the mosquitoes, too). I went into the tool room here, and picked up some aluminum colored spray paint to paint the stove control panel. After last week's oven cleaner treatment, we can now see where the stainless-looking finish has disappeared, and rust has formed. While I was rummaging around, I found a small can of dark red Rustoleum, and a small can of white Rustoleum.
Hmmm... I grabbed some small paint brushes, and the two cans, as well as the spray can, and headed for the storage lot. After painting the emblems on the sides, I noticed that the blue part of the emblems, as well as the letters that spell out "AIRSTREAM" pretty much had no blue left in them. Naturally there was no blue paint of a suitable color in the tool room, so off to Home Despot I went.
Wandering through the aisles, I finally found a gallon can of Royal Blue Rustoleum. Not wanting to be able to paint the emblems of a hundred of my best friends' Airstreams, I went looking for a store employee. I had heard rumors there had been one at that store some time ago, but, like Bigfoot, no one had really seen one. I caught a glimpse of an orange apron, and headed that way. Now, anybody that has been to Home Depot knows that the store employees are shy, and like to congregate where it is dark, quiet, and away from people (like customers). So, after getting in range, I quietly crept up to where I had seen the employee. There was a flurry of activity, and the sound of rapidly receding footsteps. Drat! Missed him! Undeterred by my early failure (when hunting store employees, one must be determined, and not give up easily), I quietly moved in behind another one.
"Excuse me!"
"Aack!!! I mean, how can I help you, sir?"
"Can you help me find a smaller can of this paint?"
(deer in the headlights look) "Umm, that's not my department, but if you'll wait here, I'll get someone to help you." I've been deceived by this before so my response is predictable:
"I'll go with you." The deer in the lights look, which had started to diminish, comes back.
So, he and I went on a tour of Home Depot (maybe he was trying to lose me), eventually winding up one aisle over from where we started.
"George, this guy wants a smaller can of paint," pointing to me.
George gets that same Bambi-about-to-be-roadkill look. "Uhh, I'll check and see." So, I now follow George around the store, and we wind up in front of a rack of Rustoleum. I have no idea why it's here, in the electrical section, but when he pulls out a quart can of Royal Blue Rustoleum, I'm impressed. I thank George, and head to the automated register to pay for my purchase. Not bad, only took an hour to get a can of paint. I'm glad I didn't need any lumber cut. I swipe the can on the scanner, and an alarm goes off. "Red Alert!" Now it's my turn to exhibit the panic-stricken deer look. A cashier comes over, and checks my driver's license to make sure I'm old enough to buy a can of paint. "Say what? I'm old enough to be your grandfather, kid."
She looks embarrased, and mumbles something about huffing paint, and departs the area nearly as quickly as her paint department counterpart earlier. I bag my trophy, er, purchase, and head back to Bertha.
When I get back, I paint the blue part of the emblems, and the letters front and back, and the blue trim around the taillights. Only 31 ounces of the quart left. What can I paint now? So, I notice the areas where the blue rubrails are would look pretty good painted blue, at least until I can get some of the vinyl insert for them. I spent the next hour or so painting the two that go around the trailer, from midway back, where the "International" emblems are. I painted those, they don't look bad. Maybe next weekend I'll paint the rest of the rubrails.
As I'm cleaning up the paint, Marie shows up, and says how good the blue stripes and painted amblems and stove control panel look. She suggests painting the tongue, and the rear frame where it comes out of the belly pan. As I'm doing this, she asked if I had remembered to get a piece of plywood to replace the damaged piece under her mattress. Oh, great. Back to Home depot I go.
I found the 1/4" plywood with no problem, now where are all the employees to cut this thing? Just shoot me now, I'm doomed. Suddenly, without warning, the store manager walks by, I immediately tackle him, and place him in a headlock. I only release him after he swears he will call someone to cut my plywood. True to his word, a few minutes later an employee nervously shuffles around the corner, and asks how I would like my plywood cut. I give him the measuerments, and he slices up the wood as directed. I noticed there were a few pieces left over, and asked him to cut two of them into pieces 35"x9", which he did. I then got two latches, and two pairs of hinges, and headed for the front again. This time, the sheckout proceeded without incident, and I was on my merry way after only another hour there.
When I got back to Bertha, I noticed the H-D employee had cut the plywood an inch too long, so I had to cut it to fit. After installing the new base for the mattress, I took the two pieces of scrap I had had cut, stained them with the stuff we had left over from our convection oven install, mounted the hinges and latches on them, and hung them up in place of the missing pair of overhead locker tambours in the bedroom. Naturally, one of the pieces was cut too long, and I had to trim it to fit. Not having anything to reference, the edge looks like a profile map of the rocky mountains, but at least it closes, and won't allow our stuff to dump out while traveling.
If anybody has a couple extra 35" long tambours they want to get rid of, let me know.
After all this stuff, I forgot the camera, and will have to take photos next weekend of all these things...
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Old 08-19-2007, 07:42 PM   #165
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The Home Depot Experience

How funny! Terry, your descriptive telling of your adventures is priceless. I'll bet the emblems and all look great.
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:20 PM   #166
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1993 21' Sovereign
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The New Axles Are Here! The New Axles are here!

Well, most of the axles, anyway. Actually they are here, they just have a couple of missing/damaged parts. Hopefully the old parts will fit the new axles.
Anyway, I was busily changing the brakes on a fire truck, when I heard the telltale noise of air brakes being engaged. I crawled out from under the truck, and found Yellow Freight had arrived with Bertha's new axles from Inland (Henschen).
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:27 PM   #167
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I grabbed the nextdoor neighbor and his forklift (ours wouldn't start--it's the only thing in the shop older than I am), and he offloaded the pallets containing the axles. A quick exam showed that it looked like somebody had used the axles for a pair of battering rams. One dust cap on one axle was missing, and the grease int he bearing had a bunch of dirt in it. The other axle still had the cap in place, but it was bent and dented pretty good. I noted this damage on the bill of lading, and had the driver sign the damage note.
When you get items like these, it is important to look at the item being delivered, and note any damage on the bill of lading, and have the driver countersign. If you don't do this, and wait until later to try to submit a claim for damage, it will be an uphill battle.
Here is a photo of the damage (also important for documentation).
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:34 PM   #168
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I imediately put in a call to Henschen, and am waiting for a call back. The damage in this case was minor, at least for me with the facilities available to me. I disassembled the brakes on the effected side, and found no concealed damage. I repacked the outer bearings, and reassembled everything. I have a small steel can placed over the missing cap so no more dirt gets stuck in it.
Worst case scenario at this point is I have to buy a new dust cap for that one hub. This is obviously not a manufacturing problem, and from what I am told, this is how they regularly ship axles all over the country.
Here is a picture of the "good" end of the axles. I'll post more with the blow-by-blow account of the install:
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