Saturday, July 20, 2013

No amount of rain, snow, sleet or heat is gonna keep me down!

Hello out there, and a special hello to YOU, the reader who will take me home one day to build lots of wonderful memories together. I promised all of you I would show you the process of my transformation, so lets get back on that journey, shall we?

 I was taken all the way to my frame. This was a little scary for me because I didn't look like a trailer anymore. Just a boney old piece of metal. I was even more nervous when my wheels were taken off. Kind of worried I would never see the road again, but I kept my faith and was assured this was just temporary. I started to feel a little better when 99 ground and sanded my frame down until it was smooth and then painted it with Rustoleum black. Can you say purdy? Sure does beat the way it looked when all that surface rust was on there. Oh, and that red bumper...that was in honor of 99's friend Toaster.

At this point my frame needed more grinding and sanding but 99 is a bit impatient and she had to at least paint a few spots to give her the inspiration to go on...

The floor was then cut with holes for the wheel wells. While it sat upside down it was sprayed with several coats of rubberized undercoating to protect it from moisture for when I hit the road. 99 never used that stuff before but a Florida friend, also named Gary, mentioned it to her. You can never have too many Gary's in your life. We were both amazed one morning after it rained and the water just puddled on top. It did not soak into the wood.

Here it is with the first coat on. The edges weren't done yet when this photo was taken but they sure are now!

I told you about my tires being taken off. My rims were ground down until smooth and painted in rustoleum red. 99 did one. She hates that grinder! But she talked her friend Blaine into doing the other one on one of his visits. He was a pro! He did it in all of a few minutes. 99 was amazed he didn't stop even once to have a panic attack like she does! 99 even found two baby moons to fit! She shined them all up nice and said this would make me really handsome! Nothing better than sporting some baby moons. I will need new tires but 99 wants to do so many other things to me this might not be in the budget. I am sure my new owner won't mind putting a set of new ones on me so it shouldn't be a big deal.

After the undercoating dried the floor was flipped over, set into place and attached to the steel frame.

My newly painted wheel wells were also attached. One of my wheel wells had a damaged spot and Gary repaired it for me! 99 almost lost a finger putting in the wheel wells. Lesson learned: If two people are trying to jam a wheel well into person should not put their finger where that sharp metal is being jammed! She's a tough cookie though. Didn't even stop the process! I guess it wasn't as bad as the time she fell off the ladder in the dead of winter smacking her frozen hands against the ice cold asphalt when she landed. She said she picked herself up, and marched back into the house where she patiently waited for the rage inside of her subside and for her best friend Murphy to go bug someone else.

Damaged area repaired with stainless.

What a difference!

Can't forget the butyl rubber putty tape!

 Then, it was time to lay the tile! black and white! Boy does it look sharp!

The frames for my walls were built. Gary developed a plan to do this. Here is a photo.

Blocks set into place following curve tracing.

The curved top parts are solid oak so they are nice and strong! The skin was traced onto the piece of plywood to mark the curve. The oak was attached following that tracing and bent into place attaching it between blocks of wood and then clamped in place. The wood was wet down from time to time on the outside to swell the outside of the piece and help it along with force bending. Then it was left over night and when taken out the next day it had a nice curve to it. After that, the framework was built. The old pattern was followed as much as possible to make sure each piece would be where it needed to be.
That's Gary! It's about 90 degrees out, but he never complains. He has been doing carpentry a lot longer than 99 and she probably owes him a fortune for the knowlege he shares not to mention the help. He's a gem, just like me!

The oak paneling was cut to fit the framework. It was glued and stapled in place and then painted with minwax clear polyeurathane. This took several coats and lots of sanding so that my wood would shine and be smooth. In the end I had a streetside wall and a curbside wall! Yippee!
After the walls were all attached to the frames, four foot eleven and three quarters of an inch tall 99 had a little trouble trying to get them back into the garage to protect them from mother nature. So, supports were attached to the back frame to keep it sturdy, she put on her extra heavy duty cape and was then able to lift them and carry them to safety. 

Cloth was put on the ground in order to protect the oak paneling.
Once it was all laid out under the frame 99 traced it and cut it to fit.

There is Mr. Jigsaw. He is one of 99's best friends!

Half coated. Very pretty I think!

My walls waiting to go up! I am bursting with excitement at this point!

Check me out! I have walls! Can't even describe what this moment felt like!

 A friend named Blaine stopped to see me shortly after this time and walked up the driveway, took a look, and said "WOW". 99 and I thought he was wowing the mess because everything was just everywhere. So 99 said, "wow, what?" To this he responded...."Wow, it's starting to look like a trailer again"! I was so happy when I heard that I almost wished I was a human with a set of legs and arms so I could run out into the street and start doing cartwheels! 99 was pleased too. I could tell by her smile.

And last but not least....we said goodbye to Walter this week. He has been a loyal helper and has been a part of taking apart and putting back together every trailer 99 has put some love into. Near the end his battery had to be held in place with tape and a small bungee. It's heart (battery) finally gave out. Walter put his heart and soul into these trailers just like 99 does. He will be sadly missed but always remembered oh so fondly!

I am sure you realize that a lot of things were done that weren't mentioned and there were a lot of obstacles to overcome to get me to this point. It hasn't been easy. It rained consistently for a while and 99 has to drag everything in and out of the garage over and over. This past week we had a heat wave. Holy guacamole is it hot! Does 99 give up....H.E. double hockey sticks NO! She's a big whiner, don't get me wrong, but she is not a quitter! Seems that when the quitting mood starts to set in, something happens or someone comes along (you know who you are) and things seem brighter again. It's hard to do things with only two hands, but help or a great idea always seems to surface and prove that nothing is impossible. 99 even has a good egg engineer friend named John who offers up solutions, helps to problem solve, sometimes feeds 99 and sometimes makes her want to sign herself into the looney bin. In the words of a very wise woman (his mama), arguing with this particular engineer is sort of like trying to argue with God! As a rule carpenters and engineers don't usually get along you know. Kind of like cats and dogs, but in my case, it's happening. We like to break rules over here. Things always have a way of working out in the end. You just have to hold on until you get there and keep on believing! In life, you can meet a lot of bad people. They are everywhere. That is why it is so important to love the people who are good to you. Even the simplest, smallest gestures make all the difference, so don't ever overlook them. Lots of times 99 can't figure out why she has so many wonderful people in her life or what she has done to deserve it. Someday she hopes to be able to give back properly to those who have helped her along. Lucky for me, I got some pretty cool friends now too! I would still be a heap of junk if not for 99 and all the people who in one way or another have played a role in my rebuild. For that, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my axle! I am really happy and if there is one thing you can't put a price tag on it's happiness. In fact, there isn't even a tape measure out there long enough to measure my particular degree of happiness!

That's about it for now my friends, and YOU, the reader who by the next blog entry will start to realize you just have to have me as your own. I will be back to tell you more about my rebuild. I'm starting to look pretty dang good and it's only going to get better from'll see! It's time to get to work though. Heat wave is gone, but the rain is back. That's okay, me and 99 figured out a way to beat mother nature at her own game. I kind of look like an ark now. Bet the neighbors are a little scared...

Thanks for stopping by. Tune in next time for some more amazing progress updates!

Edgar the Itty Bitty Baby June Bugg Gem Travel Trailer.

P.S. Please leave me a comment. I would really like that! I wrote all this for you, ya' know!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Edgar the Itty Bitty Baby June Bug Gem 1964 travel trailer

Edgar the Itty Bitty Baby June Bug Gem 1964 travel trailer

Whew! That's a mouthfull of a title, but hey that's me! This is my story. This blog is dedicated to you, the reader who might not know it yet, but the one who is about to give me a new home and build new memories with me. You are going to be king or queen of the road when we hook up and go! It's also dedicated to everyone else who takes the time to follow along on this wonderful journey I find myself on. It's a love story, so I hope you don't mind some sappy sweetness because you are about to get it!

I am a little gem travel trailer. The last time I was on the road was in 2004. A man rescued me from his brothers house and drove me home in June. Then he called this chick named 99. He left her a message telling her about me and if she wanted me that she should call him back because he was about to put me on craigslist and maybe ebay. Well, 99 called, asked all the pertinent questions like if my floor was solid, did I leak, was my frame okay.... I had a roof vent leak but everything else seemed to be okay, he said. I'll take it 99 said! Sight unseen. The girls got guts. So, 99 called her driver Doug, rode out to his house with a friend who was kind enough to put aside his important business for an hour or so and delivered to Doug money and my address. In turn, he would deliver me. The next day he came and picked me up and brought me to her driveway. Been here ever since.

Before I go on let me tell you a little bit about 99. I could say she is just a girl who is a glutten for punishment with her love of travel trailers, but that's not true. There is a lot more to her. She is a little different. People say she is cute and has a great smile and a big heart. She does. They also say she needs to learn to open her heart, stop being so fiercly independent, accept some help when it is there, but never change that which makes her, her. Some even think she is just a bit on the weird side! With that I agree. Just a tad eccentric is all. She lives in a house in a small town and works on old trailers. Brings them back from certain demise and mends their broken hearts. Makes them beautiful and desirable again. She has her faults, but she is a good egg. And that is what she thinks of me! I mean look at me....not quite the picture of perfection....but a good egg nonetheless.

Wasn't quite sure we were going to get along when she first saw me though. I thought she was going to rip me apart and send me to the boneyard for old cars and trailers. Everyone else had abandoned me. Like I said, I hadn't been down the road since 2004. Not good enough, I guess. But this time is different. I can feel it. This is going to be my big break. This time I will rise from the ashes and once again be the little gem that I was meant to be the day I was born back in 1964. I found someone who could see through all my faults, and believe me there are a ton of them! This girl, 99, was going to make up for the years I spent alone and miserable. She would never give up on me no matter what and she would never abandon me. She made it clear from the beginning that our time together would be short. She would repair me and then send me on to find a new person, the one who could give me all the love I truly deserved. She told me she would love me to pieces while we were together, and boy she wasn't kidding!

The initial inspection was quite revealing. 99 thought I didn't look too bad. Hard to believe with my layers of paint, saggy ceiling, ugly paneling and hole in the roof. It seems that when people look closer is when they find things that either makes them love someone more or decide it's just not meant to be. That's when it happened. 99 had taken out my murphy bed and found my floor was rotted in the back curbside corner. She looked at the other corner. Same thing. Then she looked at the front corners. I held my breath. This could go either way. It was a make or break moment. Turned out to be both....but in a good way!

Have no fear, there is going to be a happy ending here. But let me not get ahead of myself!
Back to my transformation!

99 put on her wonder woman cape and started to take me down. She removed my innards. They all had to be rebuilt. She took down my walls. She was lucky to have a couple of loyal friends show up and lend her a hand to take off my roof and the next thing I knew, I was just a frame and a floor with all the parts of me scattered across her driveway and itty bitty yard like a bomb went off. Yeah, a bomb did go off. Cause 99's the bomb. I love her!!!

On one of the days of my destruction, 99's loyal friend Gary showed up to see what she had in her driveway this time. It's a little gem she said with more than a hint of sarcasm and they both chuckled. I can do it she said, referring to my rebuild. I know you can, he said. I have confidence in you. I guess he wasn't the only to say that. Apparently, even though 99 is a bit of a loner in life and doesn't give her heart away easily, she has a lot of good friends who believe in her. We are kind of the same in that respect, only right now I only have one true friend. Hoping for lots more fans and that one special person to love me! 99's other nickname is Lucy because she is always finding herself in an "I Love Lucy" kind of situation. Her best friend seems to be Murphy, because his law seems to rule. Thank the lord for me, this girl doesn't give up or I'd be toast! (Which isn't a bad thing, check out Toaster's blog! 99's in love with him too!). She has friends she has never met who give her the umphf to go on. Friends from near and far like Florida, Texas, Ohio and Michigan. Friends who donate to the cause because they believe it's a worthy one. Friends who send her encouraging letters and surprise packages like much needed tools because she is a bit hard on her old ones,  friends who stop in, even if just for a few minutes to check out my progress, friends who take her out to eat because sometimes she forgets and sometimes a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich or butter noodles just doesn't cut it.  There's one who shows up with dinner and a few beers here and there. One who helps fix things and lends some tools from time to time. A friend who makes her laugh when she calls up crying in one of those I can't take it anymore moments. One who shares crabby sessions over the phone because life is so dang hard. One who really has no idea what this is all about but believed in her anyway....sort of in a sight unseen kind of way. And now she has me. We spend a lot of time alone, the two of us. That's okay. Because for now....she is my bestest friend.

So, are you getting the picture on where this is all going? Yep, we are in love! A match made in heaven, that's us. Well, at least for now.

So, 99 got to work tearing me down. Boy did she bring me down! All the way to here and then some...

This brings us to the present time. Been a long stretch of long days into the night. 99 gets up, gives me some loving care and then does it again the next day, and the next and the next. I think we are coming down the home stretch now! I have two walls ready to be erected. The frames were built over this past weekend. Gary helped to force warp the wood for my curves using blocks of wood screwed to a piece of plywood and clamps. These were left overnight. The next day, Gary came back for more punishment. Sure, he could have been out riding, off on a weekend trip or any number of things. Guess he knows how bad 99 wants this to work and so he gave up a weekend to lend a hand and some expertise. If you ever get lucky enough to have awesome friends, hold on tightly. They are getting as hard to find as vintage travel trailers! People give up too easily when the going gets tough it seems. Like they did on me. Not 99's peeps. She finally learned how to pick them! Let me warn you, though....if you get lucky enough to be 99's ain't easy. She's a piece of work! Maybe someone should restore her. Nah, she's perfect just the way she is. Scatterbrained, goofy, high expectations, passionate and demanding. Works out of her driveway rain or shine. Sometimes she is a dirty girl and I mean that literally, but for now....she's all mine!  She says I am the one that will change everything. She has restored, rebuilt, repaired a slew of trailers, but I am special. Jeepers, all anyone wants is to feel special, right? Well, I am feeling it baby!! That's why I love her!!

So, today is another day. At the end of it I will be one step closer to being a trailer again. 99 and I aren't exactly sure how that will happen, but we are keeping the faith and we always believe something wonderful is about to happen. When she quits for the night before she leaves me alone, she always tells me not to worry too much about what's going to happen in my future, that I have a bunch of wonderful tomorrows to look forward to. She reminds me there is a person out there for me who will love me to pieces....only different than taking me down to pieces. Never give up on yourself, she says. No matter how broken down you are. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel and it doesn't mean it is a train coming straight at you. She tells me to hold on, keep on believing, and NEVER, EVER, give up on your dreams. ( I am thinking a few people have given her this speech before.) Then she looks around, points out the bright spots of the day, turns off the garage light and says...Goodnight, Edgar my little itty bitty baby june bug gem. It's hard sometimes, but I love you. Always will. No matter what.....

I am going to close here. Don't worry. I will be back to tell you more with tons of pictures and details about the work being done. I just wanted to introduce me and my new friend to all of you. 99 and I need to get to work now. Today she is going to grind my tongue down to a smooth finish and then paint it. Don't tell anyone, but the grinder is one power tool she is afraid of. Especially that wire brush attachment. Sometimes, the wires shoot off and stick you like you just crossed paths with the porcupine from H.E. double hockey sticks. Then there's the metal to metal sparks that go flying like it's the fourth of July. So, she might find an excuse to do something else and hope some unsuspecting victim will drop out of the sky into her driveway and offer to do the grinding for her. Probably not going to happen, but one can always hope. Either way, I am looking forward to the grinding. Gonna feel like a massage to me!

See you soon, especially you, reader. The one who is going to give me a home someday very soon. I know you are out there and I can't wait to meet you! Get ready to fall in love at first sight cause I am going to sweep you right off your feet! Ahhhhh.....the power of love. 99 still believes in it...and now, so do I!

Tune in next time for lots of progress pictures and details on each phase!

Edgar the Itty Bitty Baby June Bug Gem

P.S. Please leave me a comment! I would really like that!