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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!

 

 

 

 

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

Light at the End of the Tunnel

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I’m finally able to see the finish line!  I still have quite a few things to do before I’m totally done, but I can finally look at the list of things left and not feel overwhelmed.

I took last weekend off because I went to my grandma’s near Austin and spent time with my family.  My brother and sister in law drove down from Kansas with their two kids and my parents were there as well. I don’t get to see all of my immediate family together very often, so I really enjoyed spending time with them.  The picture below is the morning sun rising over the lake from my grandma’s boat dock.  Pretty nice scenery to wake up to!

 

IMG_2006I came back from my grandma’s feeling refreshed and rested.  I had a busy Monday and Tuesday at work, but toward Tuesday afternoon I starting feeling a little sick.  By Wednesday lunchtime, I had to go home and was stuck there for the rest of the week thanks to whatever illness I had contracted.  I don’t know how I managed to get sick right after a nice relaxing weekend.  confused emoticon

By this weekend, I was finally feeling better, so I slowly got back to work on Junebug.  Even though I got off to a slow start, I did finally end up making quite a lot of progress.

First, I went by a metal fabricator in town to see if they could make some new pieces for the door frame out of my pre-polished aluminum skin I had leftover.  They said that they could, but unfortunately it would cost me around $400.   Yikes!  I decided I would pass.  I then spent several hours trying to fabricate my own pieces.  They looked pretty good, but today I made up my mind that I’m just going to strip the paint off the old pieces and polish them.  It was too hard for me to get the new pieces to look exactly how I wanted.  Oh well..

I finished the wood part of the new door this weekend.  First, I needed to glue a few more support pieces to the frame.

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I then shellacked the interior part of the door.  It’s going to look so pretty!

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Natural without shellac

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After one coat of amber shellac

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After 3 coats of amber shellac and 3 coats of clear shellac

I then stripped the paint off of the hinges to the door and screen door.  I still need to polish them so they shine like the new skin.

While I was stripping paint, I also started stripping the paint off of the drip rails and the baggage door.  I had to pull all of the old skin out of the garage so that I could actually find the stupid drip rails.  They were buried under all of the crap in my garage.  I can’t wait until I can clear it all out and actually park my car in it again!

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Pile of old skin. I think I’ll take this to the metal salvage place when I’m done to see how much money I can get for it. Some of the pieces are still good but others, not so much. There’s no way I could sell it to someone for their camper.

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I chopped up some of the old pieces of wood I won’t be reusing and am putting them in the garbage. I had to get rid of some of the clutter in the garage.

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Here are the drip rails – paint stripping in progress

I will have to coat the drip rails again with more paint stripper next weekend and scrub them.  I’m hoping one more coat will do the trick.

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Still a little paint left but I got most of it.

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It was hard to get the paint out of the awning rail so I might end up just leaving a little there. I don’t think it will be that noticeable.

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There were already some scratches on the baggage door, so I went ahead and scratched it some more with my wire brush while I was getting the paint off. It will just have a nice brushed aluminum look!

 

Next, I cleaned the jalousie windows, polished them, and then installed.  They turned out really nice!

It was so hot outside, I decided to do the window cleaning inside.  I turned my bathtub into the cleaning area.  It made quite a mess, but I cleaned it all up later.  I got most of the grime off but the window screens are still rusty.  I figured I can replace those at some point if it bothers me.

 

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I was really pleased with how shiny I was able to get the jalousie windows!

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Before installing the window, you have to apply putty tape around the back edge of the window to seal it water tight.  After screwing it down, I came back and cut the excess with a razor blade.  Fingers crossed it sealed properly!  I don’t want any leaks in my “new” camper!

 

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I also started peeling back a little more of the protective film.  I needed to remove it from the window before installing and then I guess I got carried away.  smile emoticon  I also finished installing the taillights.  I haven’t checked them again to make sure they work.  I hope one of the wires didn’t come loose when I was securing the covers or something horrible like that.

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After installing the windows, I moved inside and finished making the bed and benches (mainly the benches).

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Finished making the frames for the benches.

I already did one cutout a while back, so I just needed to finish the cutout for the other bench.  I used my oscillating tool to cut out the shape after tracing it onto the wood.

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And after applying 3 coats of amber and 3 coats of clear shellac, they’re all done!  Now, I just need to finish making the cushions for the tops and secure the benches to the floor.   I laid down on the bed today to see what it felt like and it was pretty comfortable!  I can’t wait to spend the night in Junebug again!

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I still need to add the mirror behind the starburst cut out.

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Next weekend, I will be connecting all the new wiring and hopefully hooking it up to some electricity!  I really hope I don’t burn down my camper in the process.  I will be doing quite a bit of studying online before connecting anything to a power source, that’s for sure!

I’ll leave you with a cute picture of my cousin Anderson and Baxter.  He loves Baxter so much and tells everyone that Baxter is his dog that I just keep for him.  He’s such a sweet kid. smile  I’ve promised him that we will camp out together in Junebug as soon as she’s finished.  He’s excited and so am I!


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Slow and Steady

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Slow and steady wins the race, right??  I’m starting to get impatient because I was hoping I would be further along by now.  Not that I haven’t gotten a lot done though.  I guess I just keep thinking each task will go quickly and that’s not what happens.  You think I’d have learned by now that this project is just going to continue to be like that!  haha

I didn’t get to work on Junebug at all yesterday because I had a brunch scheduled with two of my girlfriends and then we did some shopping.  By the time I got home, it was evening, and I decided that it was too late to start on anything.  This morning, I spent too much time messing around with the photos on my computer and then taking Baxter to the park, so I didn’t get started until around 2pm.  Oh well, sometimes I just have to do something else for a little while to regain the energy to get back to my project.

I’m getting closer to finishing the exterior of Junebug, so that’s exciting!

The first thing I did today was roll Junebug out of the driveway and hook her up to my car to make sure my tail lights were still working.  I connected them to the wires last weekend but didn’t try them out.  I was having trouble getting the batt connectors to close over the wires tight enough, so I was nervous that maybe they wouldn’t work today.  Thank goodness they did!

After finishing that task, I rolled Junebug back into the driveway and set about finishing the street side.

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My neighbor gave me these cut resistant gloves. They work great and I sort of look like a transformer! haha

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I trimmed the street side bottom edge and folded it under.

I think the bottom edge looks ok folded under, so I may wait until later to add the trim.

Next, I finished the rear panel.

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Rear is folded under and secured!

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Can’t wait to get the bumper on so the look will be complete.

 

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Still has the stupid creases in the metal on this side. I tried to get it to smooth out but it wasn’t happening. I’m hoping the bumper will cover it up a little.

 

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Screwed this little trim piece down and peeled back a little more of the protective film. This piece isn’t perfect since I made it, but it works! I will make a few more to go around the whole door frame.

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Next, I drilled little holes in the four corners of the remaining windows so I had a guide for cutting the hole.  Then I used my sharpie to trace the outline.

 

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All cut out and ready for a window!

Then I got to work cleaning the windows.  They had paint and who knows what else from years of exposure to the elements.  I also had to remove the bits of putty tape from the inside edges.  I used this wire wheel attachment for my drill that I picked up at Harbor Freight.  It worked really well but it also scratched up the aluminum pretty bad.  I don’t really think it will matter in the end though.

 

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My neighbor gave me this tube of metal polish. It works great!

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All clean and polished!

I thought my window was so shiny until I put it up against the pre-polished aluminum skin.  I don’t see how I would ever get it that shiny so I will just live with it.  It doesn’t look bad though.

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I had to peel back some more of the protective film to get it out of the cracks between the skin and the window. It looks so beautiful!!

 

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Another angle. 🙂

So my work is done for today.  I need to finish cleaning and polishing the other three windows and then they’ll be ready to install.  I am also planning to take some of the leftover skin to a sheet metal shop to get them to fabricate some frame pieces for the door.  They are folded too tightly for me to do it myself without it looking bad.  Hopefully I will be able to easily find a place to do it for me.

Next week, I’m going to visit my family at my grandma’s house near Austin.  I won’t be able to work on Junebug for a little while, but that’s ok.  I’m very excited to see my family since I usually only get to see them a couple of times a year.  I will post an update as soon as I am back at it the following week.

 

 

Battered and Bruised

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Warning:  The first part of this post is a bit depressing.  If you’re not in the mood to handle a depressing post, you can skip the first paragraph and come back to it later when you’re mentally prepared.

I feel like I took a beating this week.  Monday started out ok, nothing special happened.  Tuesday, however, was the day from hell.  First, I spent part of the night feeling sick and had to go into work a little late.  Maybe my body knew somehow that the day was cursed and was trying to avoid it.   On my way into work, I spilled coffee all over my white shirt.  Then, when I got to work, I accidentally stuck my smart card (my badge that I have to insert into the computer to log on) into the cd drive because someone had the clever idea to put the card reader directly above the cd drive just to mess with people like me who are having a bad day and not paying attention.  ugh Of course, I couldn’t get it out and I couldn’t go anywhere without my badge, so I had to recruit a coworker to go with me to the IT floor to get someone to help me.  The guy took my computer apart, but I finally had my badge again after about an hour of wasted time!  After that, I thought things could only get better.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  It was a nice day outside, so I decided to forego my usual spin class and head home to take Baxter for a run in the park by my house.  While we were out on our run, I saw a guy on a motorcycle hit a gravel patch, then the curb, then lose control and crash.  I wasn’t very far away, so I ran over immediately, thinking somehow I could help.  I don’t know what I was thinking since I didn’t have my cell phone, not to mention that I had a dog with me.  I guess it was just instinctual.  I was the first person to arrive on the scene, and as soon as I saw him, I wished I hadn’t.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet, and his head injuries were pretty severe.  I asked if he could hear me, and he didn’t respond even though his eyes were open.  He also wasn’t moving.  I noticed another car had stopped at this point, and the woman was calling 911.  I was relieved.  I thought the woman would get out of her car and come over, but she didn’t.  The furthest she got was to open her car door and step right outside of it.  She kept her distance and yelled over to me to answer the 911 operator’s questions.  A guy then runs up to me and frantically asks, “What do I do?  What do I do?”  I was trying to hold it together.  I guess everyone handles emergency situations differently.  A few seconds later, a nurse pulled up in her car and, with a somber expression on her face,  quickly walked over to the man, holding some type of first aid kit.  I stared at the man for another minute as people started showing up from all around.   I wondered if I needed to stay to talk to the police.  I didn’t know if anyone else had actually seen the accident.  Since it was only him and no other driver was involved, I thought maybe I didn’t need to stay.  At this point, I thought I might start bawling uncontrollably, so I decided I’d better go.  I knew he was getting help from the nurse until the ambulance arrived, and I was just in the way.  When I got home I cried really hard.  I don’t think I’ve cried that hard since my dad died.  I think I spent the rest of the week trying not to think about this man but failing miserably.  He was the first thing I thought of when I woke up and the last thing I thought of when I went to sleep.  I tried to look up information online about him, because I thought I could have some sense of closure if I knew what happened to him.  I’m pretty sure he didn’t survive, but I couldn’t find anything online about it.  Unfortunately, these types of motorcycle accidents are WAY too common.  If only he had been wearing his helmet, he would have been ok!   This whole incident got me thinking a lot about what is really important to me in life.  My family and my friendships are by far the most important things to me.  And Baxter too of course.  I want to tell my family and friends how much I love them every day, but that’s not always possible and would be a little over the top if I really did that I guess.  I hope that they know how important they are to me without me having to say it every day.   I kind of feel silly spending so much of my time alone, working on Junebug, when I don’t know how much longer I will have to spend with the people I care about.  Life can be over so quickly and unceremoniously.  I guess I keep working on Junebug because without a goal to work toward, I would feel lost.  And I felt lost this week and needed something to take my mind off of it.

So, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I will switch to the updates on my progress this weekend.  Junebug has a few bruises as well thanks to my mistakes.  It didn’t go perfectly (but when does it ever?), but I did finally finish getting the roof folded over and stapled down.  it was definitely the toughest job I’ve had to do yet, even harder than putting the side skins on last weekend.  Maybe because I was doing it alone, but I think it was just physically exhausting.

I started yesterday by finishing the insulation on the back panel.  I realized immediately that Oscar, my welder, had forgotten to leave some wire for the license plate light. ugh!  I had to call him because I wasn’t sure if I should wire it myself since that didn’t work too well the last time. haha  Luckily, Oscar is a really nice guy and was able to come by my house around 6pm yesterday to fix the problem.  He tested all of the wires and they worked, so let’s hope they stay that way once the lights are hooked up!

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Wires are all ready to go and insulation is in!

 

Next, I set out to patch up the mistake I made when cutting the side skin.  I cut a piece to fit over it and overlap slightly, then sealed the gap with gutter seal.  It doesn’t look perfect, but I’m hoping maybe it won’t be that noticeable once the drip rail is on since it’s up high.

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Mistake – before patching

 

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After patching – the protective film is still on the patch

On Saturday, I also finished trimming the bottom edge of the curb side and then folding it under.   I put a few staples in, but not many because I will be screwing in some trim along the bottom and sealing it with gutter seal.

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I made this little piece to go in the doorway from leftover skin. I will be doing the same for the top and sides of the door frame. I would also like to use some of the skin for the door itself, but the way it’s bent, I will likely need to take the skin to a metal shop where they have the right tools.

Today, I first removed a few of the stainless screws I had put into the curbing (the little strips of wood all along the outside of the frame that the roof staples into).  I decided that now that the curbing was in place and the curves were achieved, I didn’t need quite as many screws.  I was also worried about the screws being too close together and getting in the way of the screws that will hold the drip rail in place.

 

After that, I started securing the skin.  I started at the front, and worked my way toward the rear.  I did small sections on either side, going back and forth to hopefully avoid any buckling in the aluminum.

 

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I used a sharpie to draw a line after measuring so that I could cut the excess skin and only leave 1/2″ to fold over.

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Here’s what it looks like after cutting with my metal shears. I cuts a little slice right out of the middle. This allows the larger piece of metal you’re cutting off to stay put and not have to curl up. It’s pretty neat how it works!

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All ready to start folding over. I only cut sections at a time and then folded over.

 

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Here’s what it looks like after holding down a wood block close to the edge, then hammering over the edge with a rubber mallet. This was definitely a good arm workout!

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Front panel is getting close!

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As you can see here, I cut little triangular notches in the aluminum on the really curvy parts so that they would lay flat after folding over. It worked really well!

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Ugh! Buckling! I’m not sure what caused this, but I think it might have been the insulation on the opposite side that was sticking up a little too much.

 

I eventually corrected the buckling, but unfortunately the whole roof moved slightly toward the street side as a result.  Luckily I had enough skin left on the curb side to make up for it.  It was slight enough of a change the it didn’t make the pattern in the skin look uneven (thank goodness!).

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Here’s a close up of the patch I did now that the roof is stapled down. It’s not really that noticeable I don’t think. Hopefully it will be even less noticeable with the drip rail over it.

 

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Front is all secure! Just need to cut out the window now of course.

When I got to the rear of Junebug, I realized that I needed to go ahead and attach the tail lights so that I could make sure the excess wire was safely under the skin where I wouldn’t accidentally put a screw through it.  I thought that would be an easy job, but it actually took forever!  I couldn’t get the Batt connectors to hold the wire like Oscar could.  I didn’t have a crimping tool, so I had to make do with my wire cutters.  When I crimped the batt connector, I accidentally cut through it a couple of times.  confused I finally got the wires to stay, but I’m a little nervous that the lights won’t work when I hook them up.  I didn’t have the heart to try them tonight in case they didn’t work.  I will try them next weekend when I’m not so exhausted.  If something went wrong, I’ll have to undo the back panel and then restaple it after fixing the lights.  It’s doable, but I REALLY don’t want to do that!

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Unfortunately, I ran into another buckling problem, right at the end!  You can see where the buckling occurred, right next to the steel beam.  I also cut the holes in the skin in the wrong spot and had to make them much wider, thanks to my initial buckling problem.  So… Junebug is going to be far from perfect at the end of this.  But I’m not perfect either.  I mean, who wants to be perfect?  That’s so boring.  hahaha

I’m hoping that the bumper will help to hide these little blemishes.  I am also rethinking my plan to put the spare tire on the tongue, and may put it back here after all.

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And here’s a shot of the whole thing after two hard days of labor.  I still need to finish the very bottom of the rear, but it’s almost there!  I also need to finish cutting out the window holes and add the drip rail and trim.

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I’m glad this week is over.  I am hoping that next week will be better!

Working Vacation – Day Seven, A Day of Rest and Reflection

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Today is Sunday, and I am planning to rest (for the most part) and prepare myself mentally for my return to the daily grind tomorrow.  This week off (minus Wednesday) has been very productive for my project but also physically and mentally exhausting.  I have had a series of highs and lows, but overall I’m feeling pretty good about everything I got accomplished this week.  I’m not feeling good about two things though, 1. the electrical system in my camper and 2. the major screw up I caused on the upper edge of the street side siding due to getting carried away with my metal shears.

Yesterday, I had two major meltdowns.  The first one was when I cut the side edge on the street side of the camper too short because I didn’t have any staples along the edge in that spot to guide me and I couldn’t see the edge on the other side of the excess aluminum I was trimming.  cry  I ended up going at an angle too sharp, and cut it about 2 inches too short along a section of about 5 or 6 inches.  I panicked because once I did that, there was no going back.  That piece had to be installed in the exact spot it was in, so I couldn’t move it a little upward to cover my mistake.  I am still not fully recovered and don’t know exactly what I’m going to do to hide my horrible mistake and still keep the camper leak-proof.  I had two of my friends over yesterday to help me, Jennifer and her boyfriend, Ayk.  Ayk finally told me to just get over it because if this was the worst thing that ever happened to me, my life would be pretty good.  haha  I can understand that from his perspective it wasn’t a big deal, but I don’t think he understood just how devastating it was for me at that moment.  I’ve been working so hard on this project and the new skin cost me $1600, not to mention all of the other things I paid a lot for, so to screw it up like that, well, let’s just say I could not “just get over it”.  I’m sure I’ll figure something out, but it’s not going to be perfect like I had envisioned and that makes me angry since the mistake could have been easily avoided.

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This is what I’m talking about. It doesn’t look as bad from here, but even if I fold the roof skin over further to cover it,  it will still be difficult to cover up the seam because it’s too big of a gap for the drip rail to cover unless I move it down an inch and then it won’t be flush with the roof. I may end up doing that anyway, we’ll see.

I’ll get to the second major meltdown shortly, but first I will go through the day’s events in chronological order.  I was planning to get up really early yesterday to finish installing the insulation before my friends came over, but I was so tired and sore yesterday morning that I slept in until 8am.  That still wasn’t too bad, but by the time I went by the tool rental place to pick up the crown stapler and then went to Lowe’s to buy a few more supplies, it was already 10am.  I got to work quickly after that finishing the insulation.  It still took me forever to finish the street side.  My friends showed up around 11:30am, and we moved the camper so that I could hook up the tail lights to my car to see if they all worked.  If you recall, the welder had come over and replaced all of the wiring earlier in the week.  For some reason, he didn’t finish running new wires for the side running lights and the license plate light, but he told me I could use any of the leftover wire and hook it up myself to the hot wire, which was the brown one.  I did that the other day and wanted to test it out.  Well, sure enough, the blinkers and the brake lights worked when I hooked it up but not the running lights.  I was so annoyed because this was the part I hooked up and it wasn’t that difficult so I don’t know how I screwed it up.  I called Oscar (the welder) and he said he would try to stop by later to check it out.  So… I forgot about that for the time being and we got started installing the side skin.

My original plan was the line up the factory roll (bent edge) along the bottom edge of the camper on each side and then trim the top of that piece so that it would fit inside the s-lock seam along the bottom of the top half piece.  We realized after a bit of manoeuvring that it wasn’t going to fit.  The bottom edge of my camper frame was uneven.  The back piece of wood was slightly lower than the front piece on the other side of the wheel well.  This could be my fault but it could also be the way it was made since these campers were far from perfect.  So, I scrapped that plan and we installed the top piece first, then installed the bottom half and I will trim off the lovely factory edge later and add a trim piece.  I’m still trying to figure out what type of trim piece to use.  I could buy a piece of trim from a metal shop, or I was trying to figure out if maybe I could use the factory edge as a trim piece if I cut it just right since it’s already all nice and polished for me.

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All ready for the skin!

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Jennifer and Ayk were kind enough to hold still for a quick photo.

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We used some pieces of wood to hold the piece up after stapling the s-lock to the frame so I could more easily staple around the edges.

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All stapled and ready to trim the door and window! I probably used more staples than I should have because the stupid stapler kept misfiring.

The crown stapler I rented was a pneumatic tool, and I had to play around quite a bit with the air pressure to get it to fire more gently.  Initially the staples were going right through the aluminum!  I ended up having to set the psi on my air compressor at around 30-40 which caused it to misfire a lot, but I finally got it to work without the staples going through the skin every time.  I’m glad the skin was new at least because I would have had less room for error with the old skin.  I’m dreading using it again for the roof, especially since I already messed up the side skins with lots of misfires.  Hopefully it will work a little better now that I’ve had some practice….we’ll see.

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Door and window (upper halves) are cut out!

I am very pleased with the performance of my new electric metal shears from Northern Tool. http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200442137_200442137

They worked extremely well.  I was able to cut clean lines, and I was able to make the cut out for the door perfectly so that I can use it for the external skin on the door frame.  I can’t imagine cutting all of the excess skin with the manual shears!  I guess the one positive to that would be that I wouldn’t have made that mistake of overcutting on the street side.  But it would have taken me at least 3 times as long to do the job!  My neighbor came by a few times and when he saw me using the metal shears, he offered to buy them from me after I’m done with this project.  I don’t think I’ll need them anymore so I’ll probably sell them to him, but I’ll be a little sad to see them go because they are probably the most fun tool I have used yet!

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Bottom half is installed and ready to finish trimming the door.

After finishing the sides, my other neighbor, Rick, decided to come over to see if we needed any more help.  He’s always willing to lend a hand which is really nice for me!  This is Rick in the picture below, standing next to my one long front/roof/rear piece.  Rick and Ayk rolled it up and lifted it onto the roof of the camper, then unrolled it and we got it even on both sides.

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I think it’s kind of cute with the extra skin curling up at the back. It’s like Junebug curled her hair! haha I wish I could leave it but it just wouldn’t be practical.

Right after we set the roof on top of the camper, Oscar and his son showed up to take a look at the tail light wiring.  It wasn’t as convenient to get to now that I had the roof skin laying on top, but we made it work.  He hooked up his tester to see which lights were working and sure enough, the running lights weren’t working and everything else was.  It turned out that the brown wire wasn’t working at all initially. I didn’t think about it at the time, but when I put the side skin on, I covered up the two side running light wires and they were touching the aluminum.  This normally wouldn’t be a problem because I was planning to drill little holes in the skin and install the tail lights later before ever hooking it up to a power source.  Oscar didn’t realize I had done this at first, and he hooked up the tail lights to his tester.  While he was doing this, I went around to the front to put some self tapping screws along the base of the front so my roof would stay in place.  I’ll secure it all the way later.  While I was screwing in one of the screws, I got quite a shock!  This is about the time we realized that the side light wires were touching the aluminum underneath.  Luckily, it’s a low voltage current or I would have been in trouble!  I then had to figure out where exactly the stupid running lights were under the skin.  I should have marked it before stapling it down!  Luckily, I was able to dig out the old siding and put it up against the sides so I could drill a new hole.  After I did this, Oscar hooked the wires up to his tester again.  The wires started melting!  eek  We couldn’t figure out what had happened that time since it didn’t look like any of the wires were touching the aluminum.  Finally, Oscar decided he needed to run new wires to the side lights because the other ones had melted beyond repair.  At this point, I was super stressed and told him I didn’t care anymore if the side lights worked.  They weren’t working before!  He argued with me and said after all this work, I needed to have all of the lights working.  He wanted me to remove the side skin a bit so he could get to the light but I said no, I wasn’t about to undo the staples I put in.  It was quite an ordeal getting the stapler to work in the first place!  We finally reached a compromise and I pulled out a couple of staples so he could fish a new wire to the light. At this point, I figured he had fixed it, but NO!  He hooked up the wires again and all of a sudden I see smoke and the wires connected to his tester machine are melting!!  I screamed and he said to unplug it, so like an idiot, I grabbed the tail light plug and unplugged it.  I had to rip off my glove because it was so hot and had started melting into my glove.  My tail light plug and his were both ruined.  My neighbor got onto me and said I should have unplugged the machine, not the part that was melting.  I know it was dumb, but I didn’t even see the plug to the machine and just wanted the melting to stop!!  As you have probably figured out, this was meltdown number 2 (quite literally)!  Ultimately, Oscar got everything working again and said he would rewire a new plug onto my camper.  We then tested my vehicle plug and wouldn’t you know, the stupid brown wire (for the running lights) wasn’t working in it. ugh  So, the saga continues…

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Here’s Oscar and his son, along with my neighbor Rick, trying to figure out how to fish some new wire behind the skin to go to the side running light.

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Here’s a picture of the melted wire. There used to be a black plastic protective sheath around the wire and here you can see it’s been completely melted away, along with part of the wires as well! The burning smell is still noticeable.

This whole wiring debacle has me second guessing whether I should be running all of the new electrical wires in the camper myself.  I already installed the wires and was worried that somewhere in the holes I drilled, there could be a tip of a staple or twist nail sticking out.  I closely inspected all of the holes in each beam before fishing the wires through, but I’m still uncomfortable.  I may wait to secure the roof until I can put something else inside the holes to further protect the wires.  There’s not much room for anything else, but I am thinking maybe I can slide something thin inside there, maybe a really thin plastic sheath or some sort of material that can protect the wires.  I am not planning to put anymore staples/screws/nails into the ceiling, so that should protect the wires.  I will also likely get a professional to come inspect my wiring set up before I plug it into a power source, just to be absolutely sure it’s correct.  A 30 amp power system is capable of melting more than just a few wires!

After Oscar left, I finished the cut out for the door and finished screwing in the screws at the base of the front of the camper so my roof would stay aligned.  That was about all I had the energy left to do.  Ayk had to leave, so Jennifer stayed and helped me clean up the huge mess we had made.  There were metal pieces everywhere!

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Here’s a picture of Jen helping clean up and all of the old skins laying outside since I had to dig a few of them out through the day to use as templates.

So, overall my week has been fairly good, and yesterday was quite eventful as you can see.   I am planning to watch Larry’s videos again at www.cannedhamtrailers.com  on how to secure the roof so that hopefully I won’t screw anything else up.  I’m also going to have to ask him for advice on how to cover up the spot where I messed up.  I hope someone can help me come up with a creative solution!

 

I’ll leave you with the same photo I posted last night since this is the current state of Junebug.  There is still a protective film on the aluminum to protect it from scratches.  I peeled it back a little so that you can see how shiny it’s going to be.  I’m going to wait until it’s all installed though before I remove it completely since it helps to protect it from the elements.  It’s going to look so good when I’m finished, but at the rate I’m going, it sometimes feels like I’m never going to get there!

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I’m about to go outside to trim the excess from the rear so that it’s not sticking out from under the tarp all week.  I’m not sure if I have the energy to do anything more than that on Junebug today.  I don’t think I’m going to reach my goal of finishing by the end of this month but oh well.  I don’t want to rush anything again and make another big mistake.  I hope everyone had a nice weekend, and I’ll see you next week!

 

 

 

Working Vacation – Day Six

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I’m too tired to write a post tonight.  It was a REALLY long day.  I didn’t finish putting the skin on in one day.  I think maybe I was a little delusional thinking I could finish in one day.  I did get pretty close though!  I just thought I’d write a quick note to say I’m still alive (although I did get a pretty good shock from the tail light wires today).  I will write the full update tomorrow once I’ve had some rest.

 

Here’s a sneak peek at today’s progress smile emoticon

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