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Rallies and Raindrops

Rallies and Raindrops

Once again, I’m overdue for a post.  I think I got a little burned out after taking Junebug to her first vintage camper rally.  As much as I love my beautiful camper, I needed to take a break and focus on other things for a few weeks.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to have full days on the weekend with nothing to do.  Even though working on Junebug was fun for me, it was also very tiring (as any obsession can be I guess), so I hardly relaxed at all for a whole nine months.  I have been sitting around all morning in my pajamas, drinking coffee, talking to my mom on the phone, and browsing the internet.  Sometimes you just need to have a lazy day. smile

The weekend of October 11-12, Junebug, Baxter, and I went to our first vintage camper rally at the Leisure RV Resort near Fentress, Texas.  It was being held by the Texas Vintage Trailer Club.  I like the Texas Vintage Trailer Club because there are no dues or rules, you just “like” their page on Facebook and you’re in.   I wasn’t sure what to expect out of a vintage camper rally.  I didn’t know if there would be people my age there or if it would be mostly older couples and retirees who enjoy camping in vintage trailers.

I took Friday, October 10th off work so that I could finish packing that morning and get on the road early, in order to avoid the horrendous Friday Houston traffic.  I’m so glad I did that because we made it out of town without any trouble.  The drive should have been about 2 1/2 hours driving west down I-10, however it took me a little over 3 hours because I didn’t want to drive over 65 mph.  I decided that it was really not safe to go any faster than that with the trailer.   It’s interesting to be on the interstate and have every single car and 18 wheeler pass you, going much faster.  It’s a very different experience than what I’m used to driving down the highway (I may or may not have a lead foot wink).

Once we arrived at the Leisure Resort, I was immediately annoyed because someone was blocking the entrance with their oversized, newer RV.  I just don’t like the newer RVs, they are excessively large and ugly (in my opinion).  They have no character at all.  I had to park behind this monstrosity for about 10 minutes until he moved so that little Junebug could make her way to her spot for the weekend.  After checking in, a nice gentleman on a golf cart escorted us to our spot and then he helped guide me so I could back her up properly.  It took a little while, but it was much easier with someone standing behind me and telling me which way to turn.  I think maybe with a little more practice, I could get the hang of backing the trailer in and won’t need to use my castor wheel every time.

I realized very quickly after parking that my neighbors were Marc and Paige, a couple who I recognized from Vintage Trailer Talk, the forum that I frequented when looking for advice.  I was excited to at least recognize some names even though we’d never met, it made me feel a little less alone there.  They were very nice and excited to see Junebug.  Their trailer, Sparky, was also super cute and it was fun to see it in person after seeing the pictures online.

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This is Sparky, a 1957 Siesta, owned by Marc and Paige who are also from the Houston area.  You can see Junebug in the background. 

After getting everything all set up and plugged in, I went for a walk around the grounds to check out the other trailers that were there.  It was so exciting to see so many trailers in one place!  I had died and gone to vintage trailer heaven.biggrin

I noticed that most of the other attendees were indeed a bit older than me and mostly couples.  That was ok though, the age difference wasn’t really an issue, especially when we have the love of vintage trailers in common!

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Pretty neat to see all the vintage campers lined up! (one of these is not like the others unfortunately)

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Junebug is in her element. You don’t even notice the little blemish on her from when I messed up the skin on this side.

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Baxter loves camping. Junebug was looking so shiny next to all of the other campers. Everyone just assumed I spent hours polishing her. haha

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I took Baxter down to the river right next to our campsite. It was such a beautiful location! I will definitely camp here again in the future.

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I found a cute solution for the lighting in the closet/bathroom.

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Junebug was positively glowing at night.

Friday night, the hosts of the event cooked a big pot of taco soup (yummy) and we all ate together under the pavilion.  It was a little awkward at first because I didn’t know anyone and wasn’t sure who to sit with.  I ended up sitting with a really nice, elderly couple who were retired English teachers.  After dinner, I ended up joining a big group sitting in a circle around a campfire and just visited for a while before retiring to my camper for the night.

I slept really well that first night, but I woke up super early the next morning from excitement I guess.  Shortly after taking Baxter for a walk around the campground, it started raining.  And it rained and rained and rained.  It didn’t stop for about three hours.  I just sat inside Junebug and listened to the pitter patter of the raindrops on the aluminum roof.  I couldn’t really relax the whole time because I kept thinking she was going to leak somewhere.  This was the first time she really got soaked for a long duration.  A little after noon, the rain stopped and the temperature had dropped about 15 degrees.  Good thing I brought some pants and a jacket!  Everything was soaked, and the ground was muddy.  That night, we were having an open house for the public and other rally attendees to tour the trailers.  We were also have a potluck dinner, and I hadn’t planned ahead and didn’t have anything to bring.  I had to make a trip into San Marcos to the local Wal-Mart “cringe”.  I picked up an additional rug and towel as well as some random foods that didn’t need to be cooked so I wouldn’t show up empty handed.

The open house went really well, and I think around 50 -100 people came by and toured Junebug.  It was so fun to show her off and get compliments on my handiwork from total strangers.  A few guys literally couldn’t believe I did all the work myself and kept asking if I had some help from a boyfriend or husband.  I could have been offended, but I just laughed.  I’m surprised that in this day and age, some people are still so sexist!  A woman can do just as much as a man, gender really has nothing to do with the ability to fix things!  I decided that for my next rally, I’m going to get some little business cards printed with my blog address so that I can hand them out.  I think some of the people who came to look would have liked to check out my blog but didn’t have any way to write down the address.

There were some interesting characters at the rally. There was an uncomfortable moment when I got grilled by a guy about the oil and gas business since I worked for a large oil company.  I told him that he couldn’t criticize my industry while he was driving around a suburban and towing a big Airstream, and I think he realized he was being a little bit of a hypocrite and changed the subject to football.  haha

My neighbor on the other side was a really nice girl named Heather.  Heather came to the rally with her three year old son, Max.  I was happy to see another girl there kind of by herself (at least not with another adult).  And she also has a blog!  http://www.adventuresinglamping.com  We agreed to let each other know if and when we were going to another rally since she just lives in San Antonio, so not far from me.

One other notable event was that I plugged my hair dryer into the camper outlet, and it worked like a charm with no electrical issues whatsoever!  (The guys at RV Masters had told me not to do this.)  I think having the camper plugged into the 30 amp power source made a difference.  I plugged the hair dryer into the exterior outlet on Junebug since it was on its own 15 amp breaker, just to be safe.

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All dressed up and ready for the open house on Saturday night.

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I loved this woman’s Native American metal light hanging on the side, I thought it was a quirky touch and went well with her theme.

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Baxter loves to sit on the bed inside Junebug because the height is just right for him to look out the window and see passers by.

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Cool tow vehicle!

I didn’t want to post all of the photos I took at the rally on this blog post since there were so many, so if you’d like to see photos of all of the cute campers at the rally, please click on the link below to the official Facebook photo album.  The album is public, so you should be able to view them.

Fentress 2014 Fall Rally – Facebook Photo Album

When I was packing up to leave, it started raining again, of course.  Everything got all muddy, which was annoying.  When I got home, Junebug was covered in dirt, so I quickly gave her a shower and dried her off before putting the cover on her again.  At that point, she didn’t appear to have any leaks inside.

Fast forward three weeks….

I got inside Junebug last weekend to check things out and get her ready in case I decided to take her to the Texas Renaissance Festival for a night.  Much to my dismay, I saw a bit of water damage along the edge of the back wall on one side.  cry

This was my worst nightmare come true!  I don’t know if it was from the rain or from the shower I gave her when we got home, but clearly some water had seeped in and caused some black discoloration along the corner.  ugh

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I can see where the water came in on the outside, so I think I’m going to go around the outer edges with some additional Sikaflex since I only sealed underneath the j-rail previously because some of my seams were exposed after folding the roof over a little too far.  I think what happened was that the water seeped in through the top of the seam and because I had sealed the underside of the seam with the Sikaflex, it just sat there and slowly seeped in through the cracks in the metal.  I also think I may have drilled a hole in the skin through the j-rail for one of the screws that was going to hold the wing, then drilled another in a different spot to straighten it out and forgot to seal the first hole.  oops  I need to pick up some more Sikaflex before I tackle this repair, and I just haven’t felt like doing it yet. I will have to fix this before I take Junebug to my grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.   Overall the damage wasn’t that bad and could have been much worse.  It was still really disappointing to find that Junebug had a chink in her armor after I had worked so hard.  Hopefully when I seal her up this time, she won’t leak again.  I wish I lived in a drier climate!

I think it’s time to close and get outside to enjoy the beautiful, cool weather!  It’s starting to feel like fall, my favorite time of year.  I will write another update after I complete the resealing of Junebug’s seams.  Until next time!

Party Time!

Party Time!

I’m a little overdue for this post, sorry!  I had my unveiling party last Friday, and I think it was a huge success!  The next day, I ran a 5K (Wicked Wine Run, 5K and then wine tasting at the end haha) and then on Sunday, I rested.  I had a pretty busy week at work, so I am just now getting around to writing an update on here about the festivities.  I will start by sharing some photos of Junebug after I got her all ready for the party.  I was very pleased with how she turned out, even though I still have a few more things to complete (screen door, baggage door, trim around bottom edge of exterior).  The day of the party, I hopped out of bed at 6am, eager to finish making all of the preparations.  I think that’s the first time in my adult life that I’ve ever gotten up that early on my own for something non-work related.  haha

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View of the tongue with my custom painted tank. I still need to take it to a propane place to see if they’ll actually service this tank. If not, I guess I’ll have to resort to getting a new one. Fingers crossed they’ll accept this one since I put so much work into it!

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I think she looks quite pretty with my roses in the foreground. 🙂

 

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Another view.

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She had to have these little twinkle lights.

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Street side. The new 30 amp stainless inlet looks pretty good here I think.

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The wind chime hanging on the door was a gift from a coworker that she picked up in Alaska. My coworkers have been so supportive throughout this project!

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Little measuring spoon set that a coworker gave me. They have owls on them!

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A little more decor for the kitchen.

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I added some magnets to the fridge and a larger magnet on the stove. Of course, it has an owl on it. 🙂

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I think the starburst patterns on the benches turned out pretty cool.

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The framed hipster owl. I also have a couple of fun books on glamping and trailer history.

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A better view of the bed and benches. So cozy!

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Little bathroom complete with vintage trailer reading material (not that I’ll be spending a lot of time in here). haha

I had about 40 people show up for the party, and it was a great time!  Everyone was very excited to see the finished product.  I asked everyone to dress up in 1950s/60s outfits to get in the mood.  I ordered my dress, shoes, and petticoat from www.pinupgirlclothing.com.  I love that site!  They have the cutest pin up clothes, and the quality is great.

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My best friend, Jennifer, and I all dressed up for the party!

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My coworker, Natalie, and her husband, Kevin.

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This is my friend and stylist, Josafatt. He did my hair! I wish I could do it this way every day, it was so fun!

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Jennifer and her boyfriend, Ayk.

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Everyone is gathered around for the big unveiling!

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I had the tarp over Junebug so that I wouldn’t spoil the surprise.

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And here she is!!

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I’m about to open the door to let everyone take a peek inside!

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My friend, Thomas, spared no expense and brought multiple bottles of Veuve Clicquot to celebrate the big event!

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Cheers!! I’m overjoyed to be done (almost) with this big project!!

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I tried to give a speech here but it wasn’t the best since I didn’t prepare ahead of time, oh well, hoepfully no one cared. haha

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Here I am about to christen Junebug. I didn’t want to waste any Veuve Clicquot, so I used a bottle of beer instead. 🙂 To be safe, I wore my cut resistant gloves donated to me by my neighbor, Jarred.

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Baxter loves a good party!

I was supposed to go to the TCT vintage camper rally in Lake Charles, Louisiana this weekend.  Unfortunately, I am having problems with my tail lights and I decided I couldn’t go.  I didn’t wire them myself, I had Oscar do that, and now they don’t work properly.  confused  The weird part is that they work fine when they’re plugged into Oscar’s Ford Explorer.  For some reason, they don’t work right when connected to my VW Tiguan.  I’m sure it’s some kind of compatibility issue, but I don’t know how to fix it.  I’m taking Junebug to the place that installed my wiring and hitch on the Tiguan either tomorrow or Saturday morning, depending on the weather.  I even ordered new tail lights from www.vintagetrailersupply.com and that didn’t fix the problem.

My plan for the weekend is to hopefully get the tail lights fixed, then finish building the new screen door.  I also borrowed a soldering iron from my friend Casey’s boyfriend, so that I could solder all of the wire connections together in the camper.  I am still a little nervous they might come loose while I’m towing the camper somewhere and then become hazardous when I’m camping due to exposed wires.  I thought if I really wanted to be on the safe side, I could solder the wires together and melt some shrink wrap over them to ensure they don’t come apart.

I am planning to go to Austin next weekend for a baby sprinkle, so I’m thinking I may take Junebug there for the first big trip since the restoration.  We’ll see, it all depends on the tail lights!  Either way, I’m definitely taking her to her first vintage camper rally the weekend of October 10-11 to join the Texas Vintage Trailer Club’s rally in Fentress, TX.  Can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

Kodachrome


When I was in high school, we used to listen to Simon and Garfunkel almost daily.  My friends and I loved their song Kodachrome the most and would sing along to it all the time.  I don’t know why, maybe because they sing about high school or maybe just because it’s a happy song.  Either way, the song brings back happy memories.  I’m listening to the song now as I write this, and it has a slightly different meaning to me.  He sings about how Kodachrome makes every day look like a sunny day.  I can only assume he means the film, which they discontinued in 2010.  It makes me think of Facebook and how people usually tend to post only the best and happiest photos.  I guess Facebook is my generation’s Kodachrome. haha

The reason I chose to title this post Kodachrome was because I discovered the beauty of chrome spray paint today..and I will be posting photos, so it seemed fitting.  biggrin

 

I wanted to paint the spare tire today as well as the hitch and bumper.  While I was at it, I also painted the propane tank.  I think it turned out pretty cool!

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First, I went to AutoZone and got the spray paint. I bought some primer as well as the chrome and purple paint for the wheel.

 

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Next, I cleaned the spare tire with degreaser. It’s an old tire, so hopefully I won’t need to use it. I will likely get new tires for the trailer at some point, and then I can put one of those on the spare tire mount.

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I taped off the tire so it wouldn’t get paint on it.

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After primer

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Purple!

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Mounted again and I also painted the bumper with the chrome paint.

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This is the piece that fits over the front of the spare tire to hold it onto the bumper.

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After two coats of purple. I also painted the nuts. 🙂

 

And now to the front of the camper.


 

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After painting the hitch with primer, I noticed some numbers on the side. This must be my VIN!

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Primed the propane tank too

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Hitch is primed

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After one coat of chrome paint

 

I wanted to do a similar design on the propane tank as my camper will have (once I get it painted).

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I taped off the stripe and coated the top half with chrome.

 

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Getting ready to paint on the purple.

 

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Both colors are on and waiting for them to dry so I can pull off the tape.

 

 

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Finished product! I think the stripe is a little too fat but that was the only size painter’s tape I had so oh well.

I also painted a few other details that needed to be installed.

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This is the door catch so the front door can be propped open.

 

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This is the Shasta emblem that I paid a lot for. I just had to have it!

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Not quite the same as getting it rechromed, but it looks pretty good and a lot cheaper too!

Next, I set out to install my new Fantastic Vent.  It proved to be a difficult task (what a surprise), because I had inserted some additional framing pieces underneath the skin to make it sit a little higher (to help the water run off) and they were making the hole too small for the vent.  I couldn’t just take them out because they were all attached to make a square.  So…I had to get out my oscillating tool and saw away at the sides until I got it to be big enough for the fan to fit inside.  It took a while, but at least I finally got it installed!

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Hole from the interior.

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After trimming away at the edges and cutting out the hole in the skin.

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And it’s finally in!

I still need to seal it again with Dicor lap-leveling sealant. http://www.amazon.com/Pack-Dicor-Self-leveling-Lap-Sealant/dp/B00H554R98/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1409626405&sr=8-2&keywords=dicor+lap+sealant   I don’t have any, so I need to pick some up at the RV shop.  I’m keeping the cover on Junebug now anyway so I’m not in a rush to finish sealing it just yet.

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Here it is from the inside. I still need to add the frame piece to cover up the edges and tuck the wires in.

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The interior frame piece that fits around the hole for the fan sticks up too high, so I needed to trim it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good tool for this and ended up using my tin snips. It made the edges all jagged. I haven’t installed it yet because I want to see if I can smooth the edges first.

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I had to order a 12v to 115v converter so that I could power my Fantastic Vent since I don’t have 12v set up in my camper at the moment. Luckily, this part went better than my overall electrical wiring experience, and it worked the first time!

The fan works great, and I can’t wait to use it when I’m camping and don’t need the AC.

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My newly painted hitch and propane tank look pretty snazzy. 🙂

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Here’s a pic with the vent hood open. It’s translucent, so it adds a little light in the camper even when closed.

 

I installed the Shasta emblem and I think it looks really cool!  I was worried maybe you couldn’t see it very well since it’s silver and the skin is silver.  I think it still shows up just fine though.  I think I’m on the right track to finish on time now!   The electrician is coming tomorrow to make sure my wiring is done well, and then I’m on the home stretch!  smile  Have a good week and I’ll be back next weekend!

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Sigh of Relief

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Today went much better than yesterday, all I had to do was stay AWAY from the electrical wiring.  haha  I went back to doing some other things in Junebug that I’m much better at.  I feel like I got a lot done and am feeling pretty good about how things are looking!

It was raining this morning, so I decided to run some errands before getting started.  I needed to return some things to Lowe’s and pick up some new items, plus go grocery shopping.  I finally found the other matching mirror at Target that I had been searching for so that I could install it behind the star cutout in my bench.  I already had one and needed another one.

When I got home, I started working on finishing the benches.  I also bought some spray foam gap filler so I could fill in the holes in the closet where the drains used to be.   I thought about closing the holes some other way, but this seemed like the easiest.   It worked great!  Later I will sand it down and paint over it.

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Here’s the hole where the power inlet used to be.

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These holes were for the sink drain and vent. There were galvanized pipes here, and I promptly did away with those. They were taking up way too much space!

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The hole after spraying some foam into it. It expanded into a bubble, it was kind of funny.

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After it dried, I cut the excess off with a kitchen knife. This stuff works great!

After installing the mirrors behind the star cutouts in my benches, I noticed the mirror was reflecting the backside of the wood, and it wasn’t pretty.  I decided to remove the mirrors and paint the backside purple so it would look better.  Then I reinstalled the mirrors and secured the benches to the floor.

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While the purple paint was drying, I decided to hang the curtains.  You can see them in the above photo, but I’ll post another one here at a different angle.  I think they look so nice against the shellacked wood!

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I also finished adding some wood trim around the window in the kitchen.

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My friend, Tracy, gave me this doormat with a J on it.  I’ve been using it for the house, but now I can also use it for Junebug, how perfect!  biggrin

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Next, I needed to add some vinyl welt in the seams between the walls and the ceiling.  I was supposed to do this before I attached the ceiling panels, but I totally forgot.  oops  My cutouts for the wall panels weren’t exactly the right size, so I needed to add the welt (similar to the original design) to cover up the gap.  I nailed it in using tiny nails so they weren’t too noticeable.  It isn’t perfect, but I think it looks pretty good and it covers the gap.   I actually found this welt through a boat supplier.  It’s meant for marine upholstery, but it works great for this purpose too!   http://veada.com/marine-vinyl-boat-upholstery/vinyl-welt-cord-piping.html.

 

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Before

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After

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Street side – after

I also added some trim pieces to the door frame.

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Here’s a picture of the exterior street side.  Can you spot the mistake I made cutting the new skin and had to cover up?  I don’t think it looks too bad.  You can see it, but it’s not a glaring mistake at least.

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While I was at Target, I picked up a couple of frames for my owl art that I plan to hang in Junebug.  Oh yeah, in case I didn’t mention it before, I’m obsessed with owls and plan to have an owl theme in Junebug. smile

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I was really hungry after doing all of the things I just mentioned, so I took a break and made myself a filet mignon with grilled okra and portabella mushroom.  I burned my filet a little because the grill’s fire was too hot.  Luckily, the flavor was still awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  After eating, I got back to work.  I wanted to finish making the bench seats today.

In order to make the seats, I had to take apart the seat backs that I had made back in December.  I wanted to reuse the foam and material since it was so expensive.   I also removed the material from the long seat cushions since I didn’t need those to be purple anyway because they’ll be covered up with bedding.  The foam wasn’t the right size, so I had to cut it and piece together a couple of different sizes to get it to work.   Once wrapped with the batting and material, I don’t think the seam in the foam will be noticeable.

 

 

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Foam cut and ready for the batting.

I discovered that my good serrated kitchen knife worked great to cut through the foam!  I wish I would have discovered that the first time I was making these seat cushions.   Live and learn I guess.

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Batting is stapled down and the cushion is ready for the material.

 

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Adding the material.

 

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Seat cushion is complete!

 

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All the seat cushions and seat backs are now complete! The black cushions in back are the original ones from the camper and will be used for the bed. They are actually pretty comfortable!

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Seat on curb side. I added my Shasta pillow for the full effect. It looks pretty cute!

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Here’s the street side seat. I sat on it to try it out and it’s quite comfy!

Tomorrow, I’m planning to finish the bed and closet, then install the Fantastic Vent if it’s not raining.  If it’s raining, I may only be able to do interior work.  I also need to finish moving the hole in the floor leading to the exterior plug underneath the camper.  This wasn’t an urgent item, but it needs to be done, especially with the electrician coming on Tuesday.

I’m feeling pretty excited now that everything is coming together!  I can’t wait to get more done tomorrow.  smile


 

Let There Be Light!

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I think there have been a few days where I was really frustrated and wanted to quit, but today takes the cake.  I knew I wasn’t talented at electrical work and today proved me right.  After spending quite a while hooking up all of the new fixtures and outlets last weekend and during the past week, I was ready to finish hooking up the breaker box, power inlet, and ground wire so I could plug the camper in.  I managed to finish the breaker box and shore power inlet pretty quickly, as well as drilling a hole in the floor for the ground wire and attaching it to the frame below the camper.

In order to figure out how to wire the new breaker box in the first place, I consulted my favorite forum, http://vintagetrailertalk.freeforums.net/thread/2368/71-shasta-loflyte-amp-upgrade.  The thread I just linked is one that includes step by step instructions on how to upgrade your standard 15 amp system to a 30 amp.

 

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I followed the instructions from the forum on my iPad while I worked.

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I removed the 60 amp breaker that this box came with and replaced it with two breakers, one 20 amp (left) and one 15 amp (right).  In this pic, I have already connected the 20 amp circuit to the breaker.  It will feed the lights and outlets inside the camper.

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In this picture, I have connected the 20 amp circuit (seen on bottom of pic) and the shore power inlet. I used 10 gauge wire for the shore power inlet and 12 gauge for the other wiring.

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And here’s the box with the last circuit installed that will go to the external outlet for the AC (and twinkle lights :)). Since the AC draws 7 amps of power, I thought it would be best for it to run on its own circuit.   You can see that I used a jumper wire to complete the circuit from the 20 amp to the 15 amp breaker. I used 10 gauge wire for the jumper wire.

After connecting all of the circuits, I went outside to hook up my shore power inlet.  I had to buy another hole saw for the job.  Not sure what I’ll do with these hole saws when I’m done!  I ordered my stainless steel 30 amp power inlet from http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/.  I looked around online and they actually had the best price on these.  I also ordered a 30′ cord to connect to the shore power plug at the campground.  Both of these items are made by the same manufacturer, Furrion.  The cord even has an LED light on the end near the plug to indicate if polarity is reversed.  If it’s lit blue, that means the trailer is wired correctly and if it’s red, that tells you that the electrical current is not running as it should be, which is probably due to incorrect wiring.    I thought this was handy seeing as how there was a good chance I did something wrong on the trailer wiring!

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Here’s my stainless steel power inlet and the 2 3/4″ hole saw I needed to make room for it.

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Hole is cut and ready to install power inlet.

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All installed! It’s nice a shiny, just like Junebug’s skin!

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Here’s the interior pic of the power inlet. I accidentally removed a little too much of the sheath over the wires, so I added a bit and taped it down, just for added protection. I’m pretty sure it will be fine but I wanted to be safe. I used screws that were a little too long and they poke through the wall, oops. Luckily this will be hidden by the bed anyway.

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I used some insulated staples to secure the wires.

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The final task was to connect the ground wire (seen in green). I drilled a hole through the floor and ran it down below the camper and wrapped it around a bolt attached to the frame.

After hooking everything up, I was ready to plug it in!  I was so nervous that my knees were literally shaking.  I don’t like to mess around with electricity.  I went in the garage and plugged in the end of the cord.  I went back over to the camper and didn’t see that the light had come on.  I stupidly went to the fixture and pulled the chain.  It shocked me! eek  And.. it didn’t turn on.  ugh  I went back and unplugged the cord.   So disappointed…  I got online and posted some pictures on Vintage Trailer Talk to see if anyone could help me.  I also chatted briefly with a guy who works at RV Masters here in Houston to see if he could help me troubleshoot.  We both agreed it was either a problem with the ground or there was a piece of hot wire touching something.  I went back outside to check all my connections.  I disconnected the light fixture above the bed and then noticed that my ground wires had come loose inside the j-box near that fixture.  I reconnected those and everything worked!  I unplugged the cord again and reconnected the light fixture above the bed.  When I plugged it back in, everything wasn’t working.  ugh  Back to square one!  After at least an hour of messing with it, I realized that one of the hot wires inside the fixture was exposed and was touching the ground wire.  This was causing the whole fixture to be live.  Once I fixed that, everything was working again, yay!

I screwed a light bulb into the fixture above the sink and it worked!

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Then I went back to the troublesome fixture above the bed.  I put it back together and screwed a light bulb into it.  I went back out to plug in the cord, and when I returned it was on!!

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Unfortunately, even though it was working, the stupid fixture and the j-box next to it were electrified when I touched them with my voltage sensor.  ugh.  At this point, I was fed up.  I called the guy from RV Masters, and he said he could come by next week with his electrician to take a look at it.  I can probably fix it, but I’m wasting a lot of precious time on this when I need to be finishing up other items!

I’m so disappointed that I couldn’t get this all working perfectly on my own.  I’m so close I can taste it!  That being said, I really don’t want to hurt myself or my camper.  I’d better leave it to the professionals.

After giving up on the electrical, I finished a few trim pieces around the kitchen window and secured some smaller pieces of countertop that go around the stove.  I also hung some curtains in one of the windows.  I didn’t get pictures of these two things.  I guess I was too annoyed about the electrical work not to mention I was running out of daylight.   I think the curtains are going to look really cute in there!

Here’s the list of everything I still have left to do before the party (in no particular order).  The list looks relatively short, but I know how long it takes me to do things so I’m sure it will take me right up until the party to get these things completed.   I hope I can do it!  I’m starting to feel the pressure..

  • Install mirrors in benches (behind starburst cutout)
  • Secure bed and benches to floor
  • Make cushions for benches
  • Finish painting closet and patch holes
  • Get electrical system working properly (electrician will take care of this!)
  • Install Fantastic Vent
  • Paint tongue and bumper (maybe wheels too if time), also paint propane tank
  • Install Shasta emblem and other little emblems as well as door catch
  • Finish installing vent for AC to go on cabinet face
  • Install baggage door
  • Polish wings and reinstall
  • Seal cracks and staples on exterior with gutter seal
  • Finish hanging curtains and add other decorative items

Tomorrow is a new day and I’m not going to let my electrical system woes get me down.  I will ignore that for now and get busy on the other items.

 

 

Determination

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Determination

I can’t remember what life was like before Junebug.  What did I do with all of my time??  Sure, I had other hobbies, but I didn’t do anything nearly as obsessively as I work on this project.  It’s kind of like trying to imagine my life before the internet or my iPhone. haha  Maybe I was just relaxing more or perhaps watching more movies.  

Both of my neighbors admitted yesterday that they doubted me in the beginning and didn’t think I could do this project on my own.  Little did they know, I am a very determined person, and when I put my mind to something, I will do it no matter what!   One of my neighbors also said that I had done a good job for a girl.  rolleyes  That offended me, and I told him so.  He then backtracked and said he meant that he didn’t think there were many girls who would take on this sort of project.  He might be right, but I’m hoping maybe some other women who aren’t sure about doing something like this will come across my blog and see that they can do it!  All you need is time, money, and a lot of determination. 

This weekend, I got a lot done, but I still didn’t completely finish my electrical system like I had planned.  I had no idea how difficult 12 gauge wiring was going to be to deal with.  I still feel pretty good about where I’m at, although I’ve only got two weekends left until the unveiling party, so I am a little worried about time.  I will probably have to work on a few things during the week just to be sure I finish in time!  Luckily, my next two weekends are three day weekends, so that really helps.

I think I mentioned in my last post that I had lost my keys.  Wouldn’t you know, they were hanging on a nail in the garage the whole time!  I have become so disorganized with this project, this is unlike me!  I now have a little camper key cover on my keys.  Maybe this will help.  If nothing else, it’s cute. smile

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I was off on Friday, so I got up early and started working on finishing the exterior of Junebug to get her ready to take to Oscar’s shop to finish the bumper and spare tire mount.  I had to finish stripping the paint off of the drip rail, and of course, it took forever!  I don’t know how that paint was so stuck on there.

After doing that, I polished the eyebrows and installed them over all of the windows.  

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Before

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After

 Oh, by the way, I’m not going to post any more full exterior or interior pictures until after my unveiling party on September 12th.  I don’t want to ruin the surprise for my friends who will be coming to the party and also read this blog.  For anyone who can’t make it to the party, sorry, but I promise to post lots of pictures after that!  

It took me most of the day on Friday to finish up the exterior, and around 6pm, I started getting Junebug ready to go to Oscar’s shop.  I noticed that my jack had become really hard to turn.  I got the camper out of the driveway and hooked up to my car, but I couldn’t get the jack to go back up so I could get on the road.  Apparently, it had decided to break on me. grr  My nice neighbor came to the rescue, and he helped me remove the jack and put it in my car.  I went on my way to Oscar’s place to see if he could help me with it.  Once I arrived at Oscar’s shop, he immediately got ot work on my bumper with his son and his friend as his assistants.   I got really nervous with the welding so close to my beautiful pre-polished aluminum skin.  That stuff scratches so easily!!  They put a few new scratches in it, but in the end, it turned out fine.  I snapped a couple of photos while they weren’t looking. hehe

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I’ll wait to post a pic of the finished bumper with the spare tire mount.  It still needs to be painted, and I want to wait until after the unveiling to show it off anyway.  

I noticed that my side running lights and license plate light didn’t work properly when plugged into my car.  I was really worried I had wired them wrong, but when Oscar hooked Junebug up to his two vehicles, everything worked great!  

Since it was late on Friday when I took Junebug to Oscar’s place and my jack had quit working, I decided to leave her overnight at his shop and pick her up in the morning.  On Saturday morning, I took my VW to Master Hitch since that’s where I got the wiring installed, and they said everything was working perfectly in it.  ugh  I guess I’m going to have to take my VW and Junebug to Master Hitch because it doesn’t seem like the problem is my camper.  Luckily the most important lights are working, the brakes and blinkers.   I went ahead and bought a new jack while I was at Master Hitch, and Oscar installed it for me.  It only cost $29, so that was a relief.  It works great too!

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I’m planning to paint it when I finish painting the hitch.  I can’t decide if I want to paint it silver or purple.  

On the drive home from Oscar’s shop, I noticed Junebug was swaying a little bit.  She didn’t sway at all before, so I’m wondering if it’s the new bumper and spare tire.  I had to install the spare tire to the side in the rear so it wouldn’t cover up the license plate.  I’m thinking this is messing up the weight distribution.  Hopefully by the time I install the propane tank and fill up Junebug with stuff, it will all even out.

After getting home on Saturday, the first thing I did was install the two holes for the AC.  I wanted to finish wiring the receptacles inside the camper, but I knew it would be way better to do that with the AC on!  

I got my AC from ClimateRight.  It’s an 8200 btu unit that is AC only, no heat.  A little space heater warms up Junebug just fine, so I didn’t need a heater.   This little AC sits outside the camper and connects via two hoses that are actually the hoses you would use for a dryer exhaust.  Their website said to install the two holes for the hoses on the side of the camper, but I thought that would be ugly.  I decided to drill two holes in the floor underneath the kitchen cabinets for my intake and output.  I haven’t finished making it look pretty yet, but it’s working great!  I got this kind because a window unit would look ugly (in my opinion) and Junebug’s frame isn’t strong enough to support a roof unit.  Other people have installed a window unit under the bed and vented it through the baggage door or through the floor, but I didn’t really want to go that route either.  This seemed like the best option for me, and so far, I’m happy with the decision.  It has a little infrared remote control that serves as the thermostat so it knows the temperature inside the camper at all times.  

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I had to buy a hole saw and the attachment to go with it. It cost around $40 for both so it wasn’t cheap!

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One of the holes I had to cut was going to go through the old asbestos tile. I was a little nervous about this, so I wore my mask and kept spraying the floor with water while I was cutting. I then carefully gathered up all of the shavings after I was done.

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The one on the right will be under the fridge when I put it back in its spot. It’s for the output. The one on the left will be the return air vent, which is under the sink.

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Here’s a pic of the one on the right after I drilled the hole and put the attachment in it.

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And both are installed! I added some ductwork to the output and a screen to the return to keep particles out. The ductwork is a little too long since I will be putting a piece of wood back in the space below the fridge. I am still trying to decide how to cover the space and have a vent. None of the vents at Lowe’s were exactly what I was looking for.

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Here’s the unit hooked up outside. I am going to find a base for it with little wheels. I also need a way to secure it to the hitch so someone doesn’t steal it from the campground. I will worry about those things a little later.

Once I got the AC hooked up, I got to work on the electrical.  Unfortunately, it was late in the day, so I didn’t really get anywhere.  I made more progress today. 

I ended up deciding to replace both the fixture and the fixture box above the dinette.  I didn’t like the idea of having the plug on the fixture itself like the original, it didn’t seem as safe.  The wires in the original fixture were old too.  The only thing I don’t like about the new fixture box is that it’s blue, and you can see the top of it when standing over by the kitchenette.  I may go back and replace it with a different one later, I don’t know. I also had to add a j-box between the outlet and the fixture above the dinette and pigtail the wires from the outlet.  It was too difficult to get two sets of 12 gauge wire into the little outlet box because it’s so thick.  I also had so much trouble accessing the boxes in this space because the ceiling is curved.  

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Before connecting the wires inside the j-box. The old fixture box is still here.

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With new j-box and wires all connected and stapled down. I really hope this works when I hook it up to power!

The 12 gauge wire was so difficult to work with!!  It took me forever to hook up each receptacle thanks to the 12 gauge wire.

After finishing the dinette, I installed the outlet under the sink for the fridge.  It was an easier one because I only had one set of wires connected to it since it was the end of the circuit.  

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I then moved over to the closet.  I wanted to add an outlet here for general use, but also because I ran the 12v wires from the Fantastic Vent over to this area.  I bought a voltage converter and a plug so that I can plug the Fantastic Vent into a normal outlet(it comes in 12v only).  Later down the road, I plan to upgrade my system to include a battery so that I can have electricity off grid.  That’s too much to take on right now though, so I’m just hooking up the fan this way for now.

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I bought some fancy new wire cutters, specifically made for stripping 12 and 10 gauge wire. They really made my life a lot easier.

 

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Here’s the closet receptacle. I bought a double outlet box so I would have room for the wires to the side. I put a cover over this so you can only see the outlet now.  I will also be painting the box and area around it purple.

And the pictures below are the fixtures all hooked up again!  

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I also installed an outdoor plug underneath the camper to plug my AC into.  It has its own dedicated circuit (15 amps).  It only draws 7.2 amps, but I wanted to be on the safe side and let it have its own.  I accidentally picked a spot for the outdoor plug that was too tight initially, so I had to move it, and in doing so, I exposed some of the wire (rated for interior wiring only).  I may need to go back and redo it later.  I’m going to leave it for now because I have so many other things I need to finish first.

The pictures below are the underside of the camper.  On the left, you can see the outdoor plug I installed.  Above that is the air vent for the AC.  It didn’t come with a cap, and I really needed one, so I was excited to find this adjustable cap at Lowe’s.  It expands when you turn the wing nut so that it fits snug inside the opening.  I bought two of these to cover the holes where the AC hoses connect when it’s not in use.  They worked perfectly for this task!

 

 

 

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All that’s left of the electrical system is the power inlet and the breaker box with corresponding wiring.  I also need to run a new ground wire.  I ran the old one and bolted it to the frame, but it’s a really high gauge and won’t work for my new system.  I bought a piece of 8 gauge wire to use for the new ground wire, so I’m going to have to fish it down to the frame, hopefully using the old piece.  If that doesn’t work, I may just drill a hole through the floor and run it to the frame that way. I hate to drill more holes in the floor though, I think I may have reached my quota! 

Hopefully I’ll have some time during the week to finish installing the breaker box and inlet, otherwise I will start out next weekend a little behind schedule.  We’ll see how it goes!   Two weeks to go until I need to be finished…deep breaths…. 

 

 

Crunch Time!

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I just sent out the Evite for Junebug’s unveiling party this past week.  Evite even had a little Shasta camper template so it couldn’t have been more perfect for the event!  The date is September 12th and now the pressure is on to finish.

I thought since I now had September 12th as my new deadline, I would get extra done this weekend, but that’s not really how things went.  On Saturday, I applied a third coating of paint stripper to the drip rail.  I let it sit and went in the garage to finish rebuilding the door.  I thought the door wouldn’t take me that long to finish because I finished stripping the paint off the frame pieces during the week.  Unfortunately, it took me almost all day!  I initially thought it would be a good idea to add some putty tape around the edges of the door frame to seal it.  That didn’t work at all.

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What ended up happening was that the putty tape was too thick and I couldn’t get the frame piece around it because it’s supposed to fit tightly.  Then I tried some gutter seal, and that just made a big fat mess everywhere, so I gave up and didn’t add any sealant.  If some water gets in there, oh well.

Once I was done rebuilding the door, I got ready to install it.  I first put the screen door back in the door frame because it was still attached to the hinge.   It was at that time that I noticed the screen no longer fit in the doorway!  When I retiled the floor on top of the old tiles, it added just enough extra height to the floor that the screen was too long.  ugh  I was planning to make a new screen door one day, so I guess that day will come sooner than I imagined!

I removed the screen door and then installed the door.  After I found the handle for the exterior and interior, I went to look for the keys and then realized I had no idea where they were.  I searched high and low and still haven’t found the stupid keys!  I usually don’t lose things, but this project has made such a mess of my garage and house that I have been losing things right and left.  I went ahead and installed the handle, but now it won’t lock unless you’re inside the camper.  I may have to pay to have it rekeyed…again.

Later that day, I tried scraping off the remaining paint from the drip rails.  Unfortunately, some of the paint would not budge.  I ended up deciding to use the wire wheel on it to scrape the rest off.  It leaves scratches all over the aluminum, but I was too tired of messing with it.  Even using the wire wheel, it is taking me ages to get all the paint off!  I still have two more pieces of drip rail to go before they’re all cleaned and ready to install.

Today (Sunday), I installed the drip rails that were finished and ready.  I also spent an hour at Lowe’s looking for various pieces I needed to get my AC installed correctly.  I had to get a bit creative, but I’ll save that post for another day.  smile

After installing the drip rails, I also installed the license plate.  It is really starting to come together!  I’m still a little nervous that the tail lights won’t work when I hook them up again.  Fingers crossed that none of the wires come loose under all the skin!

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The lines don’t exactly match up on the left side of the door for some reason. It’s not that noticeable so I’m hoping no one will see it. I’m definitely not taking the door off and starting over!

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Awning rail installed! There’s one screw sticking out a little because I ran into a screw behind it that was holding the frame together. I think I may cut this screw short so that there’s still a screw in that hole.

It’s really starting to look like a complete camper again!

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I’m going to try to work on the electric wiring during the week this week just to get a bit of a head start on the weekend.  My new 30 amp plug and cord came in the mail today, but I’m still waiting for the 15 amp adapter that I will need to test it out at home.  I still need to finish installing the breaker box and all of the receptacles first anyway.  Next week’s post should be electric!  hehe