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Old 02-09-2009, 02:02 PM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1957 22' Flying Cloud
Odessa , Washington
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 11
Howdy & Thank You from Odessa WA

First of all I want to thank the all the members and especially the moderators for maintaining this excellent forum. Over the last few weeks I've gained a wealth of information and entertainment. Without it I'm not sure I would have the nerve to tackle the daunting task my wife and I have taken on. We're new to Airstreams and RV's in general, but not to the internet and forums and this is the best I've ever seen.

We bought our trailer on a whim. The Mrs. and I were having our morning coffee one day when I said basically, "Wouldn't it be fun to fix up one of those old travel trailers?" I quickly added, "Not just any old trailer, but one of those cool ones that look like a giant toaster from the 50's." Much to my surprise, because my wife isn't usually very enthusiastic about old junky things and camping in general she agreed! The next thing I knew we were checking Craig's list "just to see what was out there" and lo and behold here was this guy over in Coeur d' Alene with a 22 footer for only $1350. I could tell he was full of it right off the bat. He said there was a queen size bed in the back and even I knew better than that, but he did say there was a clear title and that it was road worthy. So we drove over the next day to have a look. Of course it wasn't anywhere near as nice as he made it sound and he wouldn't budge from his price, but we bought it anyway. I don't think it's been titled for 30 years and it appears that at one time it may been used as a chicken coop. We had to go back over the state line to get a trip pass to bring it home and by the time we jerked it out of the snow bank in front of his house it was nearly dark. The right turn signal didn't work and there were no safety chains. I talked him out an old logging chain to wrap around the tongue and our truck frame and took off on a wing and a prayer. I've had a lot of experience, even drove semi's for awhile, but this was some of the scariest 120 miles ever. Shortly after we got thru Spokane freezing fog set in with about 50 yds visibility and it lasted all the way home. Now that I've had time to really look this baby over, I'm amazed it made it. I think the tires might be original and I know the old rusty split rims are and of course the brakes were disconnected long ago.

The PO had gotten about half-way through a sort of slap-dash fix-up - pergo type flooring atop a soft sub, flat grey painted interior skin, etc. I hope you traditionalists don't throw rocks at us, but we plan to do a fairly radical renovation rather than a restoration - a "full Monty" is the popular term I think. So far we've removed all the chicken poo and other debris and pulled out all the cabinets, bulkheads and fixtures. As soon as the weather warms up we'll be removing the interior skin and sub-floor. Then the real fun begins. For now I'm concentrating on the running gear. Being retirees awaiting social security we're on a fairly tight budget and plan to do all the work ourselves except for maybe some welding by my neighbor.

I chose the handle "Old Nuke" because for 11 years before I accepted an early retirement from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in '95 I was a Nuclear Inspector. I started my trade as marine electrician many years ago with a 6 year enlistment in the Navy, spending most of it on board the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Lewis and Clark. Two of our 4 grown children continue the tradition. The oldest is a chief out of Pearl Harbor and just about ready to retire; the youngest is on the teaching staff at Submarine School in New London. Since my early retirement I've tried several different trades including copier repairman and commercial truck driver. I wrapped it all up a couple years ago with a 15 month position as an electrical contractor at a shipyard near New Orleans.

My wife and I have spent most of our adult lives in Kitsap county, that finger of land you see jutting into Puget Sound when you look at a map of Washington. Born near Rock, Michigan, she spent her early years around the UP and Wisconsin before her Mom and Dad packed her and her 8 siblings out west. I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, but never looked back once I left for the Navy. For various reasons mostly economic we decided to settle here in central Washington after our temporary residence in post-Katrina Louisiana. When folks ask us how we ended up in Odessa we always say we didn't pick the town, we picked the house. Nearly everyone here has some sort of RV and after living here for 18 months we understand why. We are the only ones with a vintage Airstream though.

So that's about it. Besides renovating a vintage Airstream how do we fill our days? We love to fish, especially for trout. I built a boat last spring. And of course there's Nola our "golden doodle" (standard poodle/golden retriever cross breed). She'll be 2 this March. We're looking foreword to becoming members of the Airstream community.
John & Marlene Whyte
Odessa, WA
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John Whyte
Odessa, WA
(the geographic center of nowhere)

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Old 02-09-2009, 02:08 PM   #2
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1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,726
Images: 32
Rivet Welcome to the Forums

It looks like you are off to a great start. Keep us informed and remember to post plenty of photos of your progress.

Thanks to you and your family for your service to all of us.

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Old 02-09-2009, 02:14 PM   #3
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2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,382
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

You've found the right place for Airstream info. That's a very nice loking unit that you have there.
SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:32 PM   #4
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1967 22' Safari
1960 Caravel
Edmonds , Washington
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,499
Images: 8

Hi Old Nuke, There are a few Airstreamers over on the east side of the mountains. Here is a site that might be helpful to you. 57 Flying Cloud Do you have any inside photos? Good luck on your restoration.

1973 F-250 4X4 390
1965 Chevy Suburban 454
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:32 PM   #5
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1956 22' Safari
Vintage Kin Owner
Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 11,741
Images: 97
Welcome to the Forums!

Nice find! I think you did well with the price for a 50's model - even needing some work. I think we would all like to see some interior "before" pics - they are always fun to reflect upon, to mark your progress and see how far you have come along.

Vintage Airstream Club - Past President 2007/2008
WBCCI #1824 - DenCO Unit Past President (2005)
AIR #30 - Join Date: 2-25-2002

RMVAC | WBCCI DenCO Unit | Sisters on the Fly | Tin Can Tourists
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:54 PM   #6
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1963 22' Safari
Vintage Kin Owner
Yakima Valley , Washington
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Welcome to a fellow Washingtonian!! We've been watching that on Craigslist for months wondering when someone would check it out and end up with it. Congratulations!

Looks like it has a good shell!
Scott & Megan
WBCCI #8671 Oregon Unit


Tappan range oven (for spare parts)
baby moons for stock rims with clips
twist drawer knobs and their face frame screw in hook


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Old 02-09-2009, 11:25 PM   #7
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2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
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Hi, welcome to the forum; Looks like it will be a fun project. Keep us updated with lots of pictures.

2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
[ Small Silver Castle ]
2000 Navigator / 2014 F-150 Eco-Boost / Equal-i-zer / P-3
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:20 PM   #8
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1951 21' Flying Cloud
1960 24' Tradewind
West Coast , BC
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Welcome John,

Your trailer looks like many of ours did when we found them. I'm partial to '57s even though my own trailer is a '51 Flying Cloud - I looked long and hard for a '57 before mine rolled into the yard.

As for changing it - Wally changed his trailers every year. Every time he came up with a new idea that worked it was implemented in the new run. So why should we stop now? We took the approach that we love the look but it didn't mean we had to camp in 1950's style, just maintain the look we love so much. So the outside of ours, and most all that I've seen so far, are pretty close to factory while the insides are done to suit the owners needs and include all the latest goodies.

Have fun with it, keep us updated with pictures as you tackle your project, and since we do a lot of camping just south of where we live maybe we'll run into you one of these days. As a note there is a WBCCI vintage trailer rally in August you might be interested in joining. There are quite a few WA State attenders. You'll find the detail on the rally list.

Take care and welcome aboard.

Barry & Donna
Life is short - so is the door on a '51 Flying Cloud (ouch)
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Old 02-12-2009, 11:03 AM   #9
1 Rivet Member
1957 22' Flying Cloud
Odessa , Washington
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 11
Had To Evict a Litter of Puppies!

[quote=goransons;665214]Welcome to a fellow Washingtonian!! We've been watching that on Craigslist for months wondering when someone would check it out and end up with it. Congratulations!

Hi Folks!
Maybe nobody had the heart to turn those pups out of their cozy little kennel.
Seriously, I think the weather had a lot to do with it's slow sale. As you know that part of the country got record snow fall in Dec. And the PO was not much of a salesman. Even though he had a full day's notice it was full of trash and junk plus the pups and their mess.

Here's a few shots of the interior as found. If you look closely you can see a fleur de lis towel hanger mounted on a locker door. I think that was what cinched the sale and made us feel it was meant to be. We've - especially the Mrs. - sort of adopted that French symbol of love and honor as our theme or icon. It started when we visited New Orleans on our road trips and really got ingrained after living down there for awhile. The locals think we're Saints fans.

Thanks again to everyone for the gracious input.
John & Marlene Whyte
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John Whyte
Odessa, WA
(the geographic center of nowhere)

New to this forum, RV'ing & Airstreams
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:40 PM   #10
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1959 22' Flying Cloud
Currently Looking...
Seattle , Washington
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 171
Images: 3

I'm still laughing at this whole thread! Ryan and I are in Seattle; we thought long and hard about purchasing this trailer. We ended up buying a '59 Flying Cloud that was much closer to home. The distance to travel was one reason we decided against your new rig; the other was the PO.

We're so glad to see your beauty at home. We'll be hip-deep in our restoration for some time as well. Check out our thread in the 59 FC subforum!

I'm still laughing about the puppies and chickens!

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Old 02-13-2009, 07:15 AM   #11
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1978 29' Ambassador
Walnut Cove , North Carolina
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 519
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Great story, Old Nuke, you have a flair for writing and I look forward to following your progress. Question did you bring home one of those cute puppies to? I would have really been tempted. I'm not allowd to look at puppies!!!LOL

The Silver Queen
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