A change in the breezes

When we purchased our Airstream it came with the 50 amp upgrade option. This means it has an extra Air Conditioner (making 2) for the bedroom. We have never had that before so it is kind of odd. If you are hooked up to a 30 amp connection you can only run one air conditioner. Previously that was not a problem in our old trailer as there was only one A/C. Hence the need for a 50 amp connection. You need 50 amps to run both A/C’s at the same time.

This has been kind of nice in the hotter locations where we really needed to run them. There are two drawbacks. The first is the power cord. To handle the potential higher amperage the wires need to be really thick so they don’t overheat. This was very evident the very first night. It was cold and that power cord was like a stiff Anaconda! Now I don’t hook up the 50 amp cord unless I think I will need both A/C’s.

The second drawback is what this post is about. When a second A/C was added, it was placed in the location where the second Fantastic Fan (FF) would be located. Two Fantastic Fans are great as they will create great airflow when used together. I really miss that. There is a FF in the front but now none in the rear. What to do? Put one in! Where?

I looked at the exhaust fan in the bathroom. Our old trailer had a round one that you would pop up and the turn on. It would sometimes squeal like a banshee! This version is a square one with a teeny little fan that doesn’t look like it could move any amount of air:

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The FF that Airstream put in the front only exhausted the air. The other, higher-end, FF’s will push air both directions. I purchased an extra FF to put in the front and had plans to replace the anemic bathroom fan with the original FF.

The first thing to do was to remove the old fan and its’ old caulking:

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One of the hardest things was getting off the old caulking. My fingernail worked really good but that would take forever. I turned to AirForums to see what there might be for a solution. I found one:

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Cow hooves. A treat for dogs. I tried the hoof part but the edge was not quite sharp enough. When I tried the edge where they cut it off it worked wonderfully. It took off about 98% of the old caulking in about 20 minutes. Perfect. I did a test fit on the new vent and it fit without any modifications! I was then ready to put in the new/old vent (while I was running out of light):

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I got it all functional but still needed to put in the trim piece inside and mount the vent cover.

The interior hole needed quite a bit of trimming of the aluminum around the hole but steady work got it to fit. I finally did get it all complete and here it is:

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We now have two fans to pull air through the trailer. This is great for cooling off the interior once we get to a site. An additional benefit is that we can exhaust any odors from the bathroom quickly!

Casini Ranch 2015 – Part 1

We weren’t initially planning on going to the Casini Ranch rally this year. It is a bit away for us, just over 300 miles, which is outside our daily driving limit. However we knew that Roxie was going in for back surgery in later April and we didn’t know when we could get out with the trailer again. I checked for space and there was a full hookup available. We were in.

We hadn’t been to Casini for 4 years so it was a nice change of pace. The last time we drove to Rio Vista the first night and met our Airstream friends, the Chen’s, for the next day’s trip. This year was somewhat similar. I am inherently a frugal person, some call me cheap, especially when on route to a destination. If I can stay overnight cost effectively (free) then I will do so. This is why I love WalMarts and truck stops.

I started looking for a place in Fairfield which would leave only about 80 miles for the next day. I remembered that there is an Airstream dealer there. Having had good luck staying at Toscano’s, albeit times where we had repairs, I thought I would contact Airstream Bay Area. I also mentioned that we DID purchase our trailer from a dealership in their group, Airstream Northwest in Portland. The service manager graciously agreed and told me where we could park.

We got there just around dark after having to stop and get supplies on the way, as we always forget something. It was a nice place to stay. The next morning I saw through the window someone picking up their Airstream from storage. I wondered if they were going to Casini also but did not get out to talk to them. We looked around at the new Airstreams they had before we left.

I had planned out a route to Casini on my own but I also let the truck’s NAV unit work it out. We were conflicted from time to time. We also fought some terrible traffic on CA12 around Napa. It turns out that day a UPS truck caught fire on the RIchmond bridge which closed it. Part of this traffic were people trying to avoid that mess but creating a whole other mess. Nothing like trying to change lanes with 50′ of rig in a bumper to bumper traffic jam!

We made it to Petaluma and once again took the NAV path but I thought I was taking my route. I normally come into the Russian River area (where Casini Ranch is) from the east (the Santa Rosa area) but the NAV was taking us west from Petaluma. In looking at the map it was taking us to CA1! OK. That might be fun to drive along the coast for a bit as Casini is only 7 miles from the coast.

We got to Casini around 3pm, just in time to get things going for the evening happy hour. It was great to see old friends and meet new ones. That Airstream that was leaving Fairfield that morning WAS at Casini and it was the trailer of John and Lori! We had met them at Three Rivers. I didn’t even recognize John that AM. Must have been before my diet Mt. Dew.

The next day was a visitation day with a loose ‘open house’ of sorts. Like an Airstreamer needs an excuse to talk to another. I worked on upgrading the remainder of my LED lights to newer and brighter strips. Another Saturday event was Vinnie of Vinnie’s Northbay Airstream Repair giving a demonstration on proper awning usage and how to polish out scratches. He also fielded a variety of questions. I know many of this group are customers of his already and the rest probably will be soon. Some of the products that Vinnie used:

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There was an opportunity to do some tye-dying on Saturday. Roxie took advantage of that one:

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As if all this was not enough the Bowlus arrived:

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This is a reincarnation of sorts for Bowlus’. Bowlus Road Chief is creating these trailers with modern technology. Designed to be pulled by a smaller vehicle than most trailers. Interestingly enough, we had seen the outside of this trailer before. We were heading to Fresno and passed West Coast Polishing and I spotted it. We stopped to talk to them and said that this is a new company starting to build these.

The interior is relatively small but makes great use of the space. The owners were there and mentioned it was a nautical feel but I felt it was more like an old train. One interesting feature they did was a removable table. Back in the mid-60’s my father was tired of having to use the tailgate of the car to eat when there was no picnic table:

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At that time the table in the trailer was attached to the wall by a bracket that released when you swung the table up. He mounted the same bracket on the side of the trailer above the wheel. That meant we just had to lift up the table, take it outside and we had our own picnic table! The Bowlus used this same concept. I bet they got it from my dad!!

That evening was the infamous potluck. However I told Roxie the wrong time for it but found out later that the time was changed but I didn’t find out, so I am sort of off the hook. That meant that ours was still cooking while the potluck raged! No worries as there was a LOT of food. I did a time lapse of this one also:

Sunday was the day for over half of the group to leave and head out. We opted for another night as we thought we would be able to have a whole extra week before we went home. As it turns out we had to cut that short also. Roxie needed to get some medical clearances for her surgery and we couldn’t do all that in the amount of time we initially allocated. It is OK. The more important part is to get her well.

Sunday was some time spent in Guerneville. It is a very cute town, not very big but it at least has a Safeway and a hardware store! It was a very nice, low key day. For dinner we had some of the potluck dish that never made it there! We visited with some fellow Airstreamers and called it an evening.

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The next day, Monday, would start the journey to our next destination.