Toy-hauler flavor

One of the trade-offs we had to do with our solar install was to remove our front battery compartments from the trailer to give us more room under that couch for our 4 batteries and electronics. However, I could not remove the doors for the batteries (not enough time) and had to caulk them sealed. It was not pretty, in fact, it was so ugly I never took photos of it. Time to do something about it! I decided to cover up the holes but try to make it look nice.

I decided to take a page from the toy-haulers. I ordered some diamond plate. Now that the trailer is back (after 43 days) I can work on it. The first step is taking off the old doors. I guess you get to see the old ugly one in this sequence.

Above you can see the original door, the door opened, the door removed, caulking around the edge, a piece of aluminum to cover the hole, and the cover riveted.

The next step is preparing and installing the diamond plate. With guidance from Vinnie Lamica of Vinnie’s Northbay Airstream Repair. He concurred with my plan of using 3M VHB tape for securing the diamond plate. I know that many solar companies use the same VHB to mount the solar panel brackets to roofs. Vinnie also recommended that I apply a bead of Trempro 635 around the edge to protect the tape. I also put on some finished edges to make the diamond plate look nicer.

This is the diamond plate, reversed and cut. I have markings for my orientation.

This is after placing the VHB tape and finished edges but prior to the bead of Trempro:

The installation was easy to do alone. Once one part of the VHB grabbed on it was just a matter of pushing on the panel where the tape was and it was done.

Here are some shots:

I am very pleased with the results. My son said to me, “It looks surprisingly professional”. Not sure how I should take that…

A quick trailer repair update. We got our trailer back on 2/9 after 43 days in the shop. We are glad to have it back and ready to get moving again.

End of 2017 (Recap and plans)

2017 has been a very exciting and different year for us. It was the first time in over 45 years that I have not been gainfully employed. Thankfully, due to CalPERS, we have a consistent income. It took us 4 full months before both the house and trailer were ready. In May we hit the road for 4 straight months, returning back to California for Atlas’ birthday. We turned around and headed to Eureka for over one month. We have been back in Visalia staying next to our son’s rental until hitting the road again in 2018.

A few numbers. 240 nights in the trailer. $15.59 average nightly cost. Just over 10K miles on the trailer. Over 22K on the truck.

While back in Visalia I addressed my rib and tailbone issue. Just over a year ago, after Thanksgiving, I injured my ribs and tailbone from a ladder fall. It was still hurting and not getting better. The doctors tried a few procedures on both. The tailbone and ribs are a bit better but I will still have to wait a bit longer.

Throughout our travels this year we have been having a problem with odor in the trailer after traveling, black tank odor. I tried changing the vent tops in Washington DC. I found that by setting a Fantastic Fan to suck air INTO the trailer when traveling it would create a positive air pressure inside the trailer and we had less smell. This was a clue.

While at our son’s house I let the black tank get a bit more full than normal. I usually dump it, if I can, before it gets half full. By using the tank a longer period it reached a point where ‘material’ started to leak out of the pan that surrounds the black tank on the underside of the trailer. It was pretty gross and stopped after I emptied the tank. We now know where the smell was coming from. I made an appointment to have the trailer fixed and have since dropped it off for repair. Toscano’s (Airstream dealer in Los Banos, CA) came back and said the tank is broken and the pan was full of sewage. Now we get to wait for the repair.

The repair has taken a few interesting turns. We found out that Airstream does not have the tank and their tank vendor does not make the tank anymore. Nor does the vendor have the MOLD for the tank! We will have to pay for creating the mold as our extended warranty does not cover it. Our extended warranty will also only cover a specific number of hours for removal and replacement of the tank and pan. I am not quite sure how good this extended warranty is and it is the most expensive level they had. On the other side of the coin, anything they cover we don’t have to pay.

The latest update is the tank should be delivered to Airstream on 1/23 and then it needs to be shipped to California.

After we get the trailer back we will do a few things that I need to do then get back on the road. We have plans to go to Canada with some friends this summer and take our granddaughter but other than that who knows where we will go? But that is the whole idea about retirement.