Posts Tagged ‘Airstream’

DAY 1:

We hit the road on our maiden voyage on Tuesday November, 20th, 2012. We wanted to hit the road at 7:30am, but due to the need for a stop at Camping World in Avondale, about 30 minutes away, we decided to leave at 8:30am instead. We didn’t really know how much time it would take to get to Malibu, but we were guessing 7-8 hours.

We pulled out of the driveway and I felt a sense of accomplishment; we got the airstream ready in time!

Matt drove the whole time, while Christie and I napped (I didn’t sleep the night prior, as I wanted to get everything I could done before we left).
We stopped for gas 3 times on the way and arrived to Malibu Beach RV Park right before sunset. We checked in, were shown to our spot (#19, overlooking the beach!) and proceeded to get the systems connected. One thing we forgot was a cable wire. We ended up buying one at the RV store onsite, so we could watch TV on thanksgiving….watching the parade and dog show are family tradition.

Malibu Beach RV Park is located above the Pacific Coast Highway, about 3.5 miles from the Malibu Pier, overlooking the ocean. Rates at this time (Oct 1st-May 23rd are $47/ night weekday and $52/night weekend. There is a 3 day minimum and a $20/day extra fee for the thanksgiving holiday stay).

As the sun was setting, I wanted to take progress photos of the interior, after we unpacked.

Check out the dreamy view out the bathroom window!

Once I got done snapping some interior shots, the sun was setting. It was magical….this is reason enough to stay at Malibu Beach RV Park. We didn’t have any neighbors on our first night stay either. We paid for a full hook-up including 30 amp service, water, sewer and cable.

Day 2 is our Disneyland adventure!

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We had to kick our projects into high gear, in order to have the airstream ready for our maiden voyage.
The laundry list of items that got done quickly by having ASAP Mobile RV Service over the last couple weeks were:

Project 20- Smart Charger

We realized that our charger was constantly charging the battery and was inefficient. We had a new smart charger added, which will shut off once the battery is charged.


Project 21- Replace the heater blower motor

The Suburban heater blower motor was not working, so we had to get a new blower motor installed. It was chilly at night on our maiden voyage…thank goodness for heat!!!


Project 22: Install smoke detector, LP detector and carbon monoxide detector

We were concerned about gas leaks and being able to get out in the event of a gas or fire emergency. We had all 3 detectors installed and hard-wired in.


Project 23: Replace kitchen faucet

The old kitchen faucet was leaking, once we were finally able to test the water. ASAP had a replacement on their truck, so they hooked it up and there were no leaks.


Project 24: Install LED running lights

Matt ordered LED running lights to replace the old regular lights. Matt had to crimp the new wires in, but we got them all hooked up perfectly.


Project 25: Install the custom black and gray water tanks

We have had the tanks for months and months, but it was quite an undertaking to get them installed. I bought Matt a welder and he made brakets and supports for the front and back of the tanks. We didn’t get the tank plumbing done until we hit a Camping World on the way to California.

Project 26: Get a new fridge

We had to ditch the white fridge that came with the airstream, as it broke a couple months ago. I researched LP refrigerators and thought they all looked super expensive…like $1400 and up! I just wanted something to get us through our first few trips, as I knew we would be looking for full hook-up locations. I scoured amazon and craigslist and found a $100 mini fridge with good-sized freezer. It worked great on our maiden voyage.

Project 27: Install new shower mixer valve

I went to home depot, lowes and ace hardware to try to find a replacement shower valve, but came up empty-handed. After Matt tried Camping World, he stumbled across Central AZ Supply and they had what we needed. It turned out that we needed Moen mixing valve, which installed perfectly. AZ Central Supply even cleaned up our trim piece and it looks like new!


Project 28: Install max air vent

We had bought a fantastic fan to replace a leaking vent in the front of the airstream. When we went to have ASAP install the fantastic fan, we realized we would have to look our great lighting up front-NO WAY! So, Matt ran to Camping World and bought a max air vent to replace the vent cover that was leaking. We are planning to install the fantastic fan between the bedroom and bathroom, which is an area that would benefit from ventilation.


Project 29: New pex plumbing in the shower area

There was a major freeze at sometime before we purchased the airstream. Our uneducated selves would have never known this. Ah, the things you learn along the way! ASAP ended up replacing the burst copper with pex.

Project 30: Install shower curtain rod and curtain

I did this all by myself with a power drill. I ordered an ikea wire drapery wire, as it could be installed from the ceiilng to the wall. Once I installed it, I folded over a standard shower curtain liner (that looks like a finished curtain) and it fit perfectly!

Project 31: Test the oven

I decided to test the oven before our maiden voyage to ensure thanksgiving would be successful. I made cinnamon rolls in the oven; they cooked perfectly, but I burnt the bottoms. I asked some friends for advice on gas ovens and went out to buy a silicon mat for my cookie sheets and an oven thermometer to verify the tempurature.



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A week before we left for our maiden voyage, I decided to try my hand at tiling. We had leftover tile from a few years ago when we remodeled our hall bathroom. So, I asked Matt to pick up some thinset, grout and other tiling supplies. I spent a few hours a night working on the tile.

I started by cutting the tile to a dry fit, then applied the tile using a V-notch trowel and thinset.

I had to cut some corner tiles and didn’t need to get too close to the toilet.

Then, I applied grout and waited 24 hours to survey the final product. I found that the grout shrunk after 24 hours, so I proceeded to apply more grout. Luckily, the next night (the night before our maiden voyage), the grout was perfect and we were able to seal it.

Here is the finished product. We are still working on the sink and tub skirting, but that will come soon.

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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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We are still planning on having our maiden voyage to Malibu starting in under 2 weeks! I’ve been spending my evenings sewing curtains, cleaning and decorating Airstreamy. I’ll have a whole post on the curtains, once I get all the parts and have them installed. I am sewing in the black out fabric tonight, on all my panels. We still have some work needed to get the LP and water systems up and running. We had RSVP Mobile RV Service out yesterday and the owner, Joe, is awesome and very knowledgeable. He came out and hooked up our propane tanks (regulator and hoses) and installed our water heater. Joe is coming back out on Monday with another tech to get us fully connected to LP and water. We have a few issues in the lines that they will hopefully be addressing come Monday. Matt is on task to get the black and gray water tanks installed.

We ordered a stabilizer kit and a break connection for Matt’s Expedition, which are being installed on Monday.

Our propane tanks are in!

Matt helped rivet some of the bathroom trim back into place last night.

He also bought me some edgebanding to finish the trim in the bathroom.

Here is the epoxied counter and the metal trim that all needed edgebanding.

Here is an example of the finished edgebanding….I still have to caulk around all trim and find a way to get paint off of metal, without scraping it. I think I am going to try nail polish remover.

The old trim was yellowed and gross…along with everything else in the trailer. I just looked at a bathroom photo from when we bought Airstreamy….ew! One of the first things I did last year was rip out the old trim and epoxy all cabinet, sink and shower surfaces. The epoxy is holding up good. I had a few small nicks in the finish….one day I will get around to fixing them.

Check out this ‘before’ and a ‘current progress’  shot….still gotta caulk, clean and get the flooring down, but whoa!

I have been working on making our hotel on wheels feel more like a hotel than a trailer. I bought a rug and took some pillows, stackable chairs and a long tall table from my pool house to spruce things up. The table will be perfect for working on the computer, eating meals or setting stuff on.  It will have to move around, once the couch is extended to a bed, but it will wake a good night stand, too. Magically, all of the colors work with the curtain material I bought. I just set up 1 of the 2 front curtain panels to see how it would look….still waiting for our order from Inland RV, which has all our T and S hooks that we need to install them to the existing track. The other curtains are the ones that came with the trailer…can’t install the new ones until our parts come in. 😦

Lala likes to work in Airstreamy with me.

One of our pantry cabinet handles decided to stop holding the door in place last night….gotta find a replacement and figure out how to keep it shut on the road, in the meantime!

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So Christie and I decided to sleep in Airstreamy a few weeks ago. We got so excited about taking it out for trips that we wanted to know what it would be like! We turned the AC down to 60…..brrrrrr. We brought blankets, pillows, a TV, computer and popcorn out into the airstream for a movie night sleepover.  We watched Home Alone 2…..my favorite movie ever is Home Alone, but we misplaced the dvd. We even brought out some fall decorations. The funny thing is that there was no working water in the trailer, so we didn’t get the full experience of camping. I can’t wait until we have running water…faucets and toilet! I figure it will be pretty infrequent that we use the shower, but that will be fun, once it is hooked up.

We realized that we’ll need some good window coverings and lots of blankets, when we go camping for real in November. We have been planning our maiden voyage and booked our first RV location at Malibu RV Park. We have a whirlwind of stuff that we have to do before we take the trailer anywhere. We plan to visit family in Pasadena for Thanksgiving and spend a day at Disneyland (should be decorated for Christmas, as of November 12th!).

This is a photo of the Malibu RV Park….looks heavenly!

I am trying to find good tutorials for making the old school curtains that came in the airstream originally. We have the upper and bottom tracks, and we ordered the glides that attach to the curtains. I haven’t settled on a fabric yet…I think I need to get something thicker than I was originally planning. As long as I can figure out the pleats, we’ll be set.

My goal is to have them look something like this (Photos from Pinterest):

I have been trying t find cute vintage-esque vinyl tiles for the bathroom and could only find good ones with like $100 shipping, since I was only ordering a small quantity! So, I went out into our pool house today and grabbed some leftover blue mosaic tile we had from our hall bathroom remodel. I laid it out to see how it would look….very hard to get a good visual of it, but I am excited. It is lightweight, basically cost $0 and is ready to install as soon as Matt elevates the floor 3/4 inch. He thinks the floor needs support back there and I think the tile will lay easier on a nice new subfloor! I’ll be finishing up cosmetic stuff inside, while Matt handles all the big stuff.

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We finally had the time to take airstreamy to get new tires and new brakes. We got our new tires at Discount Tire. They were great to deal with, got Airstreamy in and out in a couple hours and did great work. The new tires are Carlisle 8-ply Sport Trail Trailer Tires ST 205/90D15.


Here are photos of our tires before the replacement…eek!:


Here are some after photos of the new tires:


We have had really poor service from our local RV shops, to the point where we have basically decided to save money and start doing everything ourselves. We really had high hopes for Camping World, but they had Airstreamy for 2 weeks with a specific set of items we wanted them to complete (hook up water heater, 45 point inspection, test gas system, install propane tanks, fix any damaged water lines, etc.). The only thing they got to in those 2 weeks was the breaks. They installed 12″ electric brakes, TT wheel bear 2 axle, R & R packing plates and drums….totaling about $1800 of work.

We feel like they probably looked at Airstreamy and then looked at the other RVs in for service and figured we probably didn’t have money. Well, they were wrong about us and they won’t be getting another dime of our money! I think from here on out, if we need service, we’ll get on airforums and ask for a recommendation….those folks seem to know everything!


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This past weekend, we got the new water heater in place and started working on odds and ends. We found out that our water pump works, so we will keep the new one we bought as a back-up, which our neighbor suggested. We had a plumber come by and fix a copper line in the back of the airstream. We got the speakers back up, but we will eventually replace them, when the bigger projects are complete.

It seems like our ‘to-do’ list keeps growing. We realized we need new tires. Looking up Airstream tires is overwhelming, as everyone has an opinion. Our neighbor who goes RVing for several months at a time says we need 10-ply tires. We might try to call Airstream to see what they recommend for our age and size. Once we get the tires ordered, we’ll likely take Airstreamy to Camper’s World to get the gas tested and have them put the tires on at the same time. Matt says we need to get 2 new propane tanks, as the old ones are not safe. He also thinks we need a stabilizer, so we are researching those. I’ve been looking at cute curtain fabric, too. Fun times!

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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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I love the holidays and now that I have something new to decorate, Airstreamy, you bet it is going to be decked out!

How cool is this airstream christmas village?! I almost had a heart attack!

I just bought a couple of these limited edition Eddie Bauer snowglobes…the airstream lights up!

More Christmas inspiration photos:

Here are a couple snapshots I took on my phone on Halloween…last minute decorations for trick or treaters:

Happy holidays!

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