You didn't think I was talking about Christmas? If I were King of the Universe it would be Autumn all the year 'round. Warm days, cool nights and achingly beautiful color everywhere you look. Here's our Cruisette just hanging out, digging the leaves:
This past weekend I was able to take our Cruisette out for a brief overnight trip. I conducted a workshop for the Brigade of the American Revolution Northwest Department on how to construct 18th-century wigwams at the "Fallfest" held at Brecksville Metropark outside of Cleveland.
In order to prep for the trip I got the tires "serviced"--dismounted, bands and new inner tubes added, remounted and balanced--to remedy the problems outlined in Cruisette Diary 10.
After the workshop was over I drove the trailer to the town of Boston Mills located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I was keen on checking out the M.D. Garage, a restored 1940's gas station. The Park Service uses it to host local art exhibitions. It is quite well restored, and while the gas pumps are locked the air pump is still functional. This is likely for the convenience of the bicyclists using the nearby Cuyahoga Valley Trail.
I started the rebuild of the damaged front vent. I chucked a 9/64" bit in the drill in order to remove the rivets holding the vent together. I worked from the peened side and carefully used the drill to cut away the rivet. I stopped drilling while the rivet was still intact in order to keep the bit from enlarging the holes in the cover pieces. Once the rivet shank was almost gone I used a drift punch and mallet to drive the rest of the rivet out of the cover. Once the rivets were all removed the vent pieces could be separated. This also freed up the ratty old gasket.
The Fed-Ex guy showed up today with a one-two punch: my box of Armstrong VCT tile samples (about 15 shades of red & cream!) and my "first-aid kit" from Coker Tire. Sitting in storage the streetside tire had gone flat. The cause seemed to be a leaky inner tube since there was no damage whatsoever to the tire, and each time I inflated it the air would leak out around the valvestem where it passes through the rim. I hypothesized that exposed rivets inside the wheel abraded or punctured the tube.
After some reading about tube-type bias plies, and chatting with my Dad (who's been around way longer than tubeless radials!) I realized that I should've had the tire-monkeys who mounted and balanced them in '02 install "rim strips" which are like big rubber bands that go over the rim to protect the tube from spokes or rivets. Even the Coker Tire catalog tells you this (NOW! ..Thanks guys) So while I was springing for a new tube I fugured the other 2 probably ought to be replaced too, hence the Fed-Ex guy and the aforementioned box of rubber.
The stuff looks really decent, though I'm not real thrilled with the origin of the tubes. I'm not having a warm-fuzzy about putting Chi-com parts on my boss American streamline icon. What are you gonna do?
My damaged vent cover is up for repair next. The inner and outer panels are joined together with aluminum semi-tubular rivets. I found a very good source for all types of rivets when I was restoring WWII U.S. helemt liners. A company called Jay Cee Sales has an extensive selection in a variety of materials. They even offer free samples so that you can verify the correct type of rivet for your project.
I took this with my Kodak Instamatic. Its hard to comprehend that my Dad's younger--by a lot--in this picture than I am now. The tow vehicle is our 1970 Chevy Impala sport sedan. Champagne Gold & Black vinyl. I balled-up that car in 1985. I still miss it. Dig the sweet B&L shades & the Dodge Coronet (Super Bee?) in the background towing the pop-up.
This was taken at Smokemont campground at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The curtains are turquoise daisys on a lime-green background, so old now that they're pitch-perfect retro cool. Too bad they're long gone.
Spring in the Midwest can be hard on stuff--trailers included. Rain, snow, hail, wind, tree limbs. Its all on the table. I recently visited the Cruisette out in the country where its parked. Rumor had it that it was sinking into the ground, Sure enough the tongue jack and one tire were in the ground almost up to the frame. Then I spied a pizza box over by our fence-row. I'm thinking "Damn hillbilly neighbors..can't they even clean up after themselves" Trudging closer.."Man that pizza box looks a lot like....a...CRAP....vent cover!!" Turns out the rear lifter was still in its mount in the vent (WHEW!). I knew the front lifter was at home waiting to be reinstalled now that its not frozen-up. Seems one of the several 50+ mph. thunderstroms snatched it off despite being wire-tied in place. On further scrutiny the tounge jack was sunk in the gravel hardpack because the whole trailer had been blown around enough to knock it off the 2x6 it sat on. Thankfully nothing inside was damaged by the rain that got inside and I was able to temporarily cover the vent with peel 'n stick floor tiles and duct tape. I guess rebuilding the vents will move up the list. Time to call the rivet man.
Here at Airstream Moderne we're ringing in the new decade with a resolution. Nothing like setting myself up for failure, but I hereby resolve to have our Cruisette refurbished and back on the road for its 60th birthday in 2012!