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Well, it has been a while since we took Airstreamy out of the driveway. We have been so busy with the holidays and new year that we haven’t had time to take her out on adventures, like we so badly want to. On Instagram, we noticed a lot of fun stuff happening in/around Tucson this weekend. We saw that Mali Mish and Watsons Wander were both going to have their Airstreams down in Tucson. My Instagram handle is @fifilynn and my husband’s is @hibbardcustom. I begged, begged, begged Matt to go down with me for Friday night and we would come home Sunday morning. He agreed and I jumped up and down in excitement. Besides getting to meet fellow Airstreamers, we’d be able to go to the 59th annual Tucson Gem and Mineral show, which is something that I had been wanting to go to for years. We have 3 dogs and knew we couldn’t bring all of them, so we decided it was Hank’s turn for a roadtrip. Meet Hank, our Boston Terrier from the AZ Boston Terrier Rescue. We’ll have had him for a year, come May.

Meet Hank, one of our 3 dogs

The campground of choice for Mali Mish and Watsons Wander was Gilbert Ray Campground located on the West side of the Tucson mountains. We were excited to know that 2 sets of full-timers recommended this campground. Reviews of campgrounds online can be a mixed bag. I’ve come to realize that other airstreamers’ blogs are probably the best place to go for recommendations on the best places to adventure. I haven’t been let down yet!

We made the decision to go down to Tucson around 8pm on Friday and by 9:30pm, we were on the road. Matt went to fill up the gas tank on the Expedition and I went to gather weekend necessities. We packed our suitcase, grabbed some food and pulled out of the driveway.

Airstreamy leaving for our Tucson day trip

Coffee....hmmmmm

We arrived to Gilbert Ray campground just before midnight. Dan and Marlenne (Mali Mish) let us know that they were in loop A and that there were several vacant sites in their loop. The campground reservation office was closed, so we did a self-check in, found ourselves to loop A and proceeded to back into our spot, 44A.

Here is a map of the campground:

Gilbert Ray Campground map

I cleaned the inside of the airstream, while Matt got us all hooked up. Gilbert Ray doesn’t have a sewer or water connection on each site, but for $20/night, we weren’t expecting to have all the amenities. Our water pump wouldn’t work when we got hooked up, so we ended up dry-camping…thank god for dry shampoo and cleansing clothes! And, our heat was being finicky. We woke up freezing in the middle of the night and Matt had to relight the pilot.

Here’s some photos of the interior on our first night.

Matt and Hank Airstreamy bathroom Airstreamy bedroom IMG_7734 2 Airstreamy living room

I had asked my facebook friends to give me some recommendations for vegan places in Tucson, and I received a lot of responses. We knew we would be out all day, so we decided on places for breakfast, lunch and dinner, in advance. Before heading out for the day, we went on a walk around loop A with Hank.

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Our camp site

Gilbert Ray campground 44A

walk around loop a at gilbert ray

Occasionally, we saw wild animals (kidding). Check out this pomeranian that was flirting with Hank

wild pomeranian at gilbert ray

You can tent camp at Gilbert Ray, too.

you can tent camp at gilbert ray

A panorama of Gilbert Ray campground from loop A

Pano of gilbert ray

I wish I took a better photo of this retro Boler….it was soooo cute! For more info on Bolers, check out Bolerama.org.

A vintage Boler

There were several Airstreams in our loop A

fellow airstreamer at gilbert ray

Pardon my thumb….another Airstream

fellow airstreamer at gilert ray

Hibbards + Airstreamy

Airstreamy at Gilbert Ray campground

How’s this for a sweet photo of an Airstream in the Tucson desert?!

Airstream at gilbert ray

We decided to pack up and head to town for the day. Our first destination, LaCave’s Bakery, a vegan-friendly donut shop. We parked and noticed a car show across the street.

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LaCaves Bakery has been around since 1935. The donuts=epic!

We grabbed a dozen donuts (oink, oink) and decided to find the gem show. There were multiple gem shows open this weekend, which made it a bit confusing for us. We showed up at one site, to find out it was the site of a gem show last weekend. Then, we decided to hit the 22nd Street gem show. I thought this gem show was a let-down. I really wanted to see some unique modern pieces.

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We then went searching for the main gem show, the 59th annual Tucson Gem and Mineral show. Upon pulling up, there was a line for tickets out to the street. I didn’t want to wait in a long line, so we decided to grab some lunch at a recommended vegan joint called Loving Spoonfuls. Matt had the Route 66 cheeseburger and I had the adzuki burger. We really enjoyed our meals, which came with potato salad and chips. They even gave us a water dish for Hank.

Loving Spoonfuls adzuki burger

We did a little sight-seeing around town. There are some great mid-century neighborhoods and the cutest historic houses. I found that I took photos of mostly fixer-uppers….I think that is probably the most charming thing about Tucson. A house could be ready to fall down or covered in graffiti, but it sits there; it doesn’t get knocked down like it would here in the phoenix metro area.

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We decided that we would try to go back to the large gem show and the line was gone! I wasn’t expecting there to be sooooooo much to see. The gem show was beyond worth the $10 admission. The dealers here had some of the nicest jewelry I have seen! I honestly could have bought like 20 pieces, but I practiced restraint. I really was on the lookout for modern pieces, and there were at least 10+ dealers with the raddest pieces I’ve ever seen! I told Matt he didn’t have to go in with me, so he took Hank for some sight-seeing. If you decide to go to this large gem show, plan to give yourself at least 2-3 hours there. I felt like I could have easily spent 4+ hours there.

I walked away with an amazing sterling silver and assorted gem bracelet. I really liked the modern style and colors.

Bracelet I bought at the 59th annual Tucson gem and mineral show Bracelet I bought at the 59th annual Tucson gem and mineral show Bracelet I bought at the 59th annual Tucson gem and mineral show

I bought a special ring for my sister, which is very similar in style to the settings in my bracelet

Ring I bought at the 59th annual tucson gem and mineral show

Here are some photos I snapped at the show. I didn’t feel comfortable taking photos of the higher-end designer pieces.

59th annual Tucson gem and mineral show 59th annual Tucson gem and mineral show 59th annual Tucson gem and mineral show 59th annual Tucson gem and mineral show 59th annual Tucson gem and mineral show 59th annual Tucson gem and mineral show 59th annual Tucson gem and mineral show 59th annual Tucson gem and mineral show

Matt picked me up from the show and we went to find dinner. We had a recommendation of Guilin Chinese, which is vegan-friendly. I got some vegan ‘veg chicken’ fried rice and ‘veg chicken’ kung pao. Matt got regular chicken fried rice and vegetarian egg rolls. This is some of the best vegan Chinese food I have ever had! Yum! We got our food to go, so that we could try to catch the sunset at our camp site. We got back a little too late to get good photos, but we caught the tail-end of the colorful sky.

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We ate our dinner and decided to see if we could meet up with Dan and Marlene of Mali Mish. They came over to see our Airstream and then we got a tour of their fabulous airstream. Their airstream is was the 2nd airstream I have ever been inside of. They have a 2007 Airstream International 25FB Ocean Breeze. I loved the color theme and layout, which included a bamboo-look vinyl flooring (this may be an option for our future flooring, when we remodel the kitchen) white cabinetry with bamboo plexiglass doors and a very beachy decor.

Here is a photo from Mali Mish’s instagram feed, from the Gilbert Ray campground

malimish airstream at Gilbert Ray campground

Dan and Marlene allowed us to take a couple photos inside, as we are going to use their interior as inspiration for our future remodeling.

Mali Mish airstream bathroom Matt and Hank inside Mali Mish airstream Kitchen detail in Mali Mish airstream Dan, Marlene, Ava, Mila and Luka: Mali Mish airstream

We hope to run into Mali Mish on future adventures. Check out their blog about their full-time adventures Mali Mish.

We knew another set of airstreamers had just arrived on Saturday, so we messaged with them to arrange to meet up. Amanda and Tim of Watsons Wander have a 1999 25 ft. Airstream Safari. They snagged a great space in loop H of the Gilbert Ray campground. Here is a photo of their Airstream from their blog:

watsons wander 1999 airstream safari

Amanda and Tim are full-timers and have redone the interior of their airstream. It gives us a lot of ideas for cabinetry hardware, flooring, and window coverings.

Love this window covering in Watsons Wander airstream kitchen in Watsons Wander airstream kitchen in Watsons Wander airstream living/dining in Watsons Wander airstream draperies in Watsons Wander airstream Phineas of Watsons Wander airstream

Tim and Amanda, it was so nice to meet you! Hope to see you guys soon!

Tim and Amanda from Watsons Wander airstream

We enjoyed a quiet night in our airstream Saturday night. And, we woke up early to get ready to head back to Scottsdale. Once we hit the road, I recalled that I had read about a truck polishing stop in Eloy, AZ called M & M Truck Polishing on Air Forums. I couldn’t find a phone number anywhere online, so Matt agreed to have us do a drive-by to see if they were open. We found them at 518 S. Penn (it actually ended up being on Sunshine).

On the way to Eloy, we saw this hotel sign, but it seems that the hotel didn’t exist anymore.

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We got a quote direct from them and at $1500 for our 31 footer, which I think it is a steal. They said that if we make an appointment in advance, they should be able to have it done in 2 days. I can’t wait to see reflections in our airstream very soon!

M & M Truck Polishing in Eloy, AZ M & M Truck Polishing in Eloy, AZ M & M Truck Polishing in Eloy, AZ

We saw an airstream on our way back to Phoenix

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I have the travel bug! I envision a future trip to Oak Creek Canyon in AZ as our next day trippin’ adventure.

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I decided to embark on making all of my own airstream window coverings. I thought this would be a quick project, but having never made draperies before, it ended up consuming a few days making just 8 panels. We ended up buying roll-down vinyl shades for the kitchen and bathroom. So, I needed to make panels for all the other windows.

I decided to make pleated panels with black-out lining. Boy, am I glad I added the black-out lining. We just spent a few days at an RV park and it really helped make our airstream feel private and secure.

I started by cutting panels about 2 times the size of the window I was creating a panel for. I knew that by adding pleats, that would take some of the length away. I also wanted the curtains to be larger than the windows for coverage purposes.

After cutting the panels to the size I wanted, I sewed the edges over to contain the edges that could fray. I then cut the blackout liner to a size slightly smaller than my drapery panel, since I would need to fold over the edges to finish the look. The key to my pleated curtains was pleater tape and pleater hooks. I was hoping to find a simple way to make pleats, as I am far from a professional seamstress!

The pleater tape has little pockets that are used to hold the pleater hooks, which create the actual pleats.

Here is a photo of the G hooks sewn in that are used to attach the panels to the airstream track.

Here are the pleated bedroom curtains, which I actually sewed the pleats into place, after inserting the pleater hooks. I kinda wish I just left the pleater hooks in, but these curtains are lighter without the hooks.

Here is a view of the finished from window panels. The panel on the right window still needs to be pleated….

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Christie and I have been dreaming of going camping, so we decided to get serious about getting the airstream camp-ready. We basically took a long hiatus because the Airstream needs SO much work. We decided to focus on the plumbing, as this is the system that needs the most work. We already have the toilet. Today we went to Camping World to pick up supplies for installing the toilet. We bought black and gray water tanks last year. We need to mount them, which requires a lot of work. It’s amazing how much goes into making all the systems work. A 70s airstream like a classic car and a old house combined; repairs aren’t always as simple as they seem.

After a lot of research, we decided against getting a tankless water heater for the airstream. The reviews online are surprisingly bad. I was looking forward to reducing the trailer weight and contributing to a green renovation, but all research pointed to an LP 6 gallon water heater. We bought our new Suburban water heater through PPLmotorhomes.com. We’ll be spray-painting the new exterior door silver, so it matches the airstream.

I took some photos of Airstreamy today, as motivation to get it on the road! Can’t wait to go glamping! It’s sooooo dusty inside…time to clean!

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Do you know how hard it is to find mattresses that fit in a 1974 Airstream Sovereign? Let me tell you….it’s REALLY hard. I bookmarked probably 20 different mattresses I found online, but they were either an inch to long, 3 inches too short or I couldn’t find matching depth. I needed 2 mattresses: 76″ x 29″ and 76″ x 34″.

After taking a trip to Ikea to buy laminate flooring, I decided to take their little tape measure thingy to all their mattresses and sofa beds. I struck out with like 9 out of 10 mattresses, then I came across the Beddinge Lovas sofa-bed. I didn’t need the frame, so I measured out the mattress, which is W 55 1/8″ x  L 78 3/4″ x D 4 3/4″. There were 3 different mattresses available for the sofa bed. I bought the $90 foam one that comes with a gray cover. Additional covers are available for $79 each. Even though I wanted white beds, it’s not worth the extra money to get white covers. So, now gray is in our color scheme. I thought I would have to cut some of the foam out to shorten the length to 76″, but somehow the mattresses fit perfectly. They are like 2 little couches that can be laid flat to turn into a bigger sleeping space or used just as they are set up.

Check out the before and photos (I kinda staged them with pillows I already had, but the color scheme will be a bit different than this):

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