Saturday, February 21, 2015

Where does the time go?

Has it really been that long? Wow.
New job with a lot of coursework, a certification program and long commute. High gas prices, drought causing more work at home, new interests and activities.  Want excuses?  Pick one...or more.

So, how to dust off and start again?

Step One: Find passwords, relearn how to open blog.  Correct failed link to: As found trailer.  Post an apology to no one in particular for taking up band width on a project blog that hasn't progressed. Check!

Step Two: Admit to self that buying a new(er) RV will solve some nagging issues but will create new issues not the least of which is a whopper payment with scads of interest tacked on.  Plus, where's the satisfaction in that?  Check!

Step Three:  Purchase Archive Set of VAP (Vintage Airstream Podcast) podcasts and listen to each on my ridiculous 2 hour round trip commute.

Step Four:  Develop a realistic plan with checklist to make trailer usable.  Check!

Step Five:  Stock up on parts and supplies so if and when spring arrives, I'll be ready. This has been ongoing - even though the blog hasn't.  Check!

Step Six:  Find and post photos of trailer progress to-date. On It!

Step Seven:  Thank Tim, Colin, Rob and Frank for getting me in to this in the first place.  Guys, if you're reading this, THANKS.  No really, THANKS!

Stay Tuned.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pilots N Paws Rescue Flight

First let me say that my sister married someone I can honestly describe as a really "good guy."  Someone she can share her interest in charities with and more.  His name is Mike.  He's an accomplished engineer and pilot with several cool hobbies including motorcycling and auto
restoration.  Needless to say, sharing similar interests, we get along well.  This is a good thing if you're going to be in a small plane together with 17 dogs for 12 hours.

Last week, I had an opportunity to tag along on a rescue mission with Mike.  We flew down to Lawrenceville, a WWII airfield in southern Illinois to pick up 17 dogs that had been flown there by an equally altruistic Woman by the name of Rhonda Miles. Click here to learn more about Rhonda: 

Rhonda flew from Chattanooga, TN to Savannah, GA to retrieve these dogs.  Then, when weather prevented the trip north, she found housing for them until the trip could be completed.  The Savannah shelter had told her that if these dogs were not picked up, they would be euthanized.  But not to worry, she was told, they would have a "new batch" within a week.

Break for a Public Announcement:  Please spay or neuter your pets.  Puppies are cute but there are too many and not enough homes as these photos will attest.

Our destination was Happily Ever After based in Green Bay, WI.             

This no kill shelter has a great story in itself. Amanda founded this organization after attending college and visiting Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab,  Utah.
She started working out of her grandparent's barn and continues to build a terrific legacy.

These 17 dogs bring Mikes shuttling total to 52 animals.  As a point of reference, Mike has only been doing this for a year.  And, Mike has shuttled almost exclusively between the Savannah shelter and Happily Ever After.  Doesn't that make you stop and think how many other shelters there are and the staggering number of animals that don't get a second chance?

If you know a pilot or even someone with a car that can transport a single animal or 17 in crates as we did please let them know the need exists.  And believe me, a small private plane has less room than most sedans would afford.  Even if it's for just a few miles as part of a relay or during a trip that you'd be taking anyway, PLEASE contact Pilots N Paws or your local shelter or any rescue group that interests you.  It doesn't take a lot of time, a fancy building or a pile of money to make a big difference to these animals.

Working with the Wisconsin Saint Bernard rescue we have driven to Chicago to pick up a dog from another transporter as part of a relay.  We fostered when we could and have adopted three fantastic Saint Bernards over 11 years.  However, we haven't come close to repaying the kindness shown by Jan, the tireless advocate of this organization . 

What I'm trying to say is that the effort you put in is small compared to what you receive in return.  Please take some time to visit these links and do what you can through volunteering, contributions of needed supplies or monetary donations.  

And, if you are able to share your life and your home with a companion, please consider adopting an animal from a shelter or rescue rather than from a breeder or breeding your own pet.  Almost every breed imaginable has a rescue group that picks up the pieces of those left behind.  And non-specific breeds (mutts) can be just as rewarding and often have better lifetime health than heavily concentrated breeds. 

Puppies and kittens to adults.  All have a story.  You can be their happy ending.

Aluminitus Runs Rampant In Wisconsin!

I can hear it now. "What did you do?!?"  or "What do you think you're going to do with that?!?"  or "You haven't even finished the first one yet!"

And, these comments would be justified...especially since the person - (name withheld for peaceful home life purposes) - has not read anyone else's blog.  If they had, they'd see this is an addiction.  Or at the very least, an affliction.  And the chances of relapse are great, indeed.  Plus, anyone who knows me knows I cannot let anything suffer. I'd rather drag it home and give it a better place to live.

So is the case with my newest "adoption."  A '70's something Safari. Unmolested but well used.  Worn but not worn out. In need of TLC but previously unmolested and in "original" condition. 

Gotta love fate. While riding a snowmobile trail I kept passing this old girl. I finally worked up the courage to stop in and speak to the property owner. He didn't own the trailer and directed me to the house down the street who did. No answer.

Home to the computer I went. I did a quick reverse look-up of the potential addresses and confirmed the resident names with the county tax record website.  After 3 calls I managed to get the owner...who had just returned home.

His answer:  "Why yes, I am looking to get rid of that piece of junk. We used to travel in it but now it's sat for several years. It was so heavy and unruly behind my Dodge Ram Pickup that I didn't like to tow it far. Now I don't have a big truck, so I can't use it.  Was going to tear it apart for scrap, but if you want it, take it."

Suffice to say I just have to wait for the snow to melt to tow it home...less than 3 miles. 

The history of this Safari is cloudy.  Supposedly, some guy driving through Wisconsin many years ago asked a farmer if he could leave this trailer on his property and pick it up on his way back through.  The guy never came back, believe it or not.  After some time, the farmer offered it to his neighbor, the current owner's uncle.  He applied for a replacement title and enjoyed camping in it for years.  About 10 years ago he sold it to his nephew, the current owner. 

And I didn't mention the best part.  After speaking with the owner he figured out that as teen-agers we worked together Lifeguarding in Milwaukee.  We've had some good talks reminiscing the last two days.  I find it funny that I've been driving past his house for the last 5 years, here in the middle of no-where Wisconsin, and never would have known it if I hadn't spotted an old airstream sitting in a field along a snowmobile trail, less than 3 miles from home. 

What a lucky find. 

Had I not been snowmobiling, for the first time since moving here, I would never have known it existed. And, if that snowmobile wasn't a Vintage (slow) '79 John Deere, I probably would have been moving too fast to notice!  In a few months this Safari may have been melted down in a 6-pack of Miller Lite.

Don't ask me where I'll go with it from here. Just know she's safe and will have a good home as long as I do.

Happy Spring! 

UPDATE: 3-25-2011:  Received 2" of ice, then 4"-6" of heavy wet snow on top on 23rd-24th. This has postponed my retrieval.  What you can't see in the photos is a huge snowbank at the end of the neighbors drive needed to access this property.  C'mon Sun!  Melt me a path.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Holy Cow, What a Winter!

I'll admit it. I LOVE WINTER.

1.  No bugs.
2.  No bugs.
3.  No bugs.
4.  Walking dogs is fun...because there are no bugs...especially ticks!
5.  Snowmobiling is awesome, especially if you ride vintage.

Now the disclaimers.
1.  Must have plenty of snow.
2.  Must have more sunny days than cloudy.
3.  Must have warm fire to keep out the cold.

That's it. And since these items were met with abundance, I've been a happy hibernator.

Here are some updates from the winter.

Some of  our Wild Turkey Visitors.
We have 10-20 birds per group.
Several Groups per Day.

Two of our Guinea Hens taking a sun bath.

Hank (Left) Molly (Right) & Me

Wendy and Molly

'79 John Deere resurected and out on the trail
"Anyone can ride a new machine...
riding an old machine takes tools, skills and
the ability to walk long distances...
if the tools and skills don't work out."

'78 Airens runs like a champ!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Shop Update

Managed to get some south facing windows installed. What a pain...literally. Hacking windows into corrugated metal siding and dealing with pole barn framing in an existing structure is not my idea of a good time. Give me stick built any day over pole buildings!

It turned out nice though. The windows are high, non-opening. Letting in plenty of low winter sunshine. Shielded by the eve's and leafy trees in the summer. Allowing full use of the wall beneath for peg-board and work benches. Perfect for my needs.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A nice little ride

It occurred to me, halfway through the week of August 8th, that once again I was missing my long awaited trip to Sturgis, SD for the annual motorcycle rally. So in typical fashion, I thought about it some more. I was busy on Thursday, then Friday it rained. Crud.

Saturday morning: 5:30am. I made up my mind to ride on out. Heck, it's only 800 miles. I can make it by nightfall. And I did. After 13 hours in the saddle I made downtown Sturgis with 15 minutes to spare before the HOG (Harley Owners Group) display closed down. I got my free pin...and in the process, offered up further proof to my wife that I'm nuts.

Needless to say I missed a great many of the 500,000 bikers that attended during the week. From the steady stream of bikes, both trailered and ridden that I passed heading out, I thought it would be empty out there. It wasn't. It was a lot more subdued than I'd heard about. And having not stepped into one bar I wouldn't know how that scene stacked up. I rode until sunset each day, then stopped to eat, arriving back at my flop spot each night after 11, ready for a hot shower and sleep. Some might call it boring. I call it maximizing my scenic-time.

Met some interesting and friendly people. Saw abundant wildlife: buffalo, prairie dogs, turkeys, white tail deer, antelope, burros, mustang horses, hawks, eagles and all manner of other critters. Rode some agonizingly straight highways and others that are amazing feats of engineering. And took in as much scenery as my mind could process. It's completely different than if I was looking out a windshield hemmed in by a roof and doors.

After five days I returned home with 2000 miles added to the odometer, 450 photos and a slew of memories no one can ever take from me. All good.

There were so many more stops like Deadwood, Boot Hill, Lead (pronounced Leed), Canyons, Mountains, Badlands. Here's a sample.

Downtown Sturgis. And this is the last night of the rally?!?

Some of the "carnival-like" roads out in Mount Rushmore area.

Every tunnel has a view of the presidents. Reading the signs I learned that the tunnels were carved out, then a road was built to connect them. What a feat of engineering. Try doing that today.

A "traffic jam" in Custer park wildlife area.
A photo op everywhere you look.

An equally great monument. Especially since you can fit the entire Mount Rushmore sculpture into Crazy Horse's hair. And this sculpture will be carved on all sides, not just into the flat face of the mountain. Very interesting ongoing story. I don't remember my folks taking my sisters, grandma and I to see this in 1970 during our four week western tour in the Ford Wagon Queen family truckster.

Stavkirk Chapel in the Hills-Rapid City: A replica of a Norwegian church. Had to take a quick tour since we have a similar church on Washington Island off the northern tip of Door County, or Wisconsin's "thumb".

This is typical of the interesting road-side scenery. I just had to stop to check it out. This place has a long and storied history as THE general store on the way to Devil's Tower.
Took a two-lane black top home through Pierre, SD. Hooked up with a scenic by-way, a portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail and traveled through 5 different reservations.
Ever wonder where your sunflower seeds come from? Probably North or South Dakota according to the packages I checked in the gas stations after seeing field after field like this.
Up early. Last morning on the on-ramp. Heading East towards home.

Followed this ride up a month later with a nice leisurely ride to Tomahawk, WI for the annual MDA Fall Color Ride. Short by comparison at 500 miles round trip. Nice weather and great to see old friends and relatives in Northern Wisconsin's fall color display.

Talk about reigniting the travel bug. So many places to see. So little time.

What I did last summer

For those who find this site and expect only Airstream related topics I apologize.

My Airstream has taken a back seat for months at a time and instead of giving the impression I've fallen off the map I've input some alternative activities. Hope that's OK.

After a recent bike trip I came home and tackled the floor with renewed vigor. Must have been the tour of Winnebago...along with the cooler weather.

Airstream Update:

A quick photo of the stuff that needs to be moved in order to get at the Airstream. This doesn't show the amount of rearranging within the barn to accommodate all the "stuff" stored within the Airstream since last year.

Rebuilt the water heater frame work-"While I was at it"

Difficult to see but removing the old flooring revealed somebody's tally. Assume it could have been from production line in 1965?

Finally got the beds out. Shown in rear 4' section is the fiberglass/epoxy flooring installed with plow bolts last year along with a small patch of regular plywood on lower left side. Rest of floor aft of Kitchen is solid. Varied color is due to old glue from original tile floor.

Installed new no-glue vinyl flooring. Neutral beige to match factory interior finishes still in place. It's been through a few heat-cool cycles now with beds and closets in place & screwed down on top of it with no sign of pucker or bumps. I only covered the areas that were covered from factory. Areas unseen aren't covered. This saves on material and weight while allowing me to cover complete trailer with single sheet of 12' x 14' sheet good.

Replaced bed's bulkhead walls and 2 closets. Closed up water heater hole. Rewired converter and got all electrics back up and running. No more blown fuses in the fantastic vent due to rusty ground wire bolt. Gotta love it when a plan comes together. Thank goodness for copious photos taken before disassembly. Printed a cheat sheet with 9 pertinent photos to make sure everything was hooked up the way it should be.
Not sure how I'm going to configure the bath and grey/black tanks yet so with no running water I'm back to my mobile aluminum tent.
Next project, checking the furnace. It's getting cold here in Wisconsin. Still would like to get a trip in to Door County this fall before the colors peter out. But, just in case I don't get it out again I took it for a spin around the farm country to excercise the tires. Pulled like a dream as usual.