Sunday, July 12, 2009

Holy Crap! Is That an Airstream?

So a couple weeks ago, I called and made a reservation at the Holiday Park Campground in Traverse City, MI. When I called, the operator asked what type of trailer we had and I stated a 23’ Airstream and he replied, “Is that one of those silver ones?” Of course I replied with pride…”Yep”. Nothing to exciting, but the reservation was made for the weekend.
So a couple weeks passed by and we did some research on the area and plotted our course to visit as many of the local wineries as we possibly could until we could not drink any more free samples…it was gonna be a fun weekend!
But then we arrived and as we pull into the driveway of the Holiday Park, the Safari heaved a contented sigh…ahh…She was finally home!

Nestled among the trees and gracefully lined up along the lake are more Airstreams than our 30 fingers could count.

We even saw several "Squarestreams" throughout the park.

It seems that the Holiday Park is “Michigan’s Airstreamers Park”. So close to us…only 200 miles from where we live…and we never heard their calls.

As we entered the park, Kim noticed drops of moisture pooling in my eyes…she was unsure if they were tears of joy or just beads of excited sweat. (In fact, it was both).
There was no stares or points as we found our campsite…we were so common and we blend right in. However, ours is still the prettiest…our love for her only grows.

Monday, June 8, 2009

That '70s Guy

Throughout the weekend at Oak Grove Resort, we met some wonderful individuals including a Tin Can Tourist that parked his ’68 Buick Wildcat in front of our ’68 Surfin’ Safari. We also camped next to a guy who is in the process of restoring a 70’s Ambassador.

As we were talking, he was marveling over the condition of the Safari and couldn’t believe how original it was. I too, am very happy that the only thing we have had to change are the cushions and covers for the gaucho and couch. However, I have always wanted to strip an Airstream down to the shell and do a complete restore and build it “my way”…but after looking into his eyes…

…I truly appreciate the condition of the Safari. I don’t have to replace the floor…I don’t have to worry about making sure the refrigerator works…and the furnace, don’t even get me started on that.

As he was camping in an SOB, I was able to sit in the Safari, show her off and enjoy the weekend with my family.

…However…it would be really cool to get another trailer and build her up…and of course, I would have the Safari to go camping with…hmm…

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oak Grove Resort, Holland, MI

Over Memorial Day weekend we stayed at the Oak Grove Resort in Holland, MI and boy did we have a great time. When I arrived Friday evening (dropped Kim off a day early) she had a wonderful surprise for me. A gentleman named Don walked up and and asked about the Airstream, Kim shared with him what she which point he got VERY excited and began to share with her that he was a Tin Can Tourist and owns a 1930's Bowlus (the exact year escapes me). To her, he was speaking a foreign language, however, she told him that he needed to come back when I arrived because I would be just as excited as he and we could probably talk all night about our beautiful Vintage kin (when I finally did arrive, we did talk for hours...and his Bowlus is beautiful!).

She then gave him a quick tour at which point he asked what year the Safari was and she told him it was a 1968...again he got REAL excited and dashed away. He pulled a 1968 Buick Wildcat up to the Surfin' Safari and they took this wonderful picture to surprise me...and boy did it!

After talking with Don for quite some time, I realized how cool it would be to attend a rally. So I am in the planning stages to attend my first rally (probably next summer). I'm not sure which one it will be...but I can't wait!

Up next...Camping next to another Airstream freak who is restoring a 70's to be him...

And then...The Hungry Horse Campground in Dorr, MI.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just for Frank...

While visiting some stores in Saugatuck, MI we came upon a couple of interesting signs...and of course, when I saw them, I thought of Frank... So here you go...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Camping over the weekend...

Like many others, we had an opportunity to camp over Memorial Day weekend. We tried to do it a little different in order to "beat the crowds". Instead of heading out Friday, Kim took that day off and we dropped her off Thursday night. Zach and I then came back home to go to work/school...and mom got a much needed day off (from work, not Zsch and me...hehe).
Zach and I came up Friday night, stayed both Friday and Saturday and then headed out Sunday morning. Again, to beat the worked out very well and gave us a nice day at home to "relax" from our mini vacation.
I will post in a little bit regarding some of our adventures over the weekend, including, meeting a "Tin Can Tourist", camping next to another Airstream freak who is in the process of restoring a 70's era Ambassador and I also got a special picture just for stay tuned!

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's Ready!!!

For the first time...a video post on the Surfin' Safari!

Airstream Opening 2009 from Chuck Tansey on Vimeo.

Almost Ready...

In the last post, I mentioned that I was going to unveil something "new" for the blog this year...and am I's almost ready...can you feel the's like Christmas morning all over again...what's inside that present...what is Santa bringing me this year...oh boy! I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Snow Has Melted...almost

Well here in Michigan, the snow has finally melted and it's time to start working on the Surfin' Safari again...and I can't wait. I have a special feature that will be added to this year's blog postings and I'm very excited to begin, however, I have a couple finishing touches that need to be added so stay tuned!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm back...and boy did I forget something!!!

So I have been a little busy with my "real life" and have not gotten around to posting about my wonderful Airstream in a long time. In fact, I have been so busy, that I totally forgot about winterizing the Surfin' Safari!
So I spent the entire day figuring our how to winterize a trailer that was already frozen...needless to say, I think I may only have one broken pipe...but I will have to figure that out after the Spring Thaw.
The good news...
I called the VAP and asked about my furnace in episode 77 because I couldn't get it to start...and because of Rob's recommendation, I totally bypassed everything, and just kinda created a short circuit and lo-and-behold my furnace worked! (This was a good thing, since it was about 20 degrees F this morning and the trailer was kinda cold.) My thermostat works...I must just have a bad connection between the furnace and where my thermostat is at, a project I can work on in the Spring.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I've Been "Cut-off"!!!

Do you all remember my accident a couple months know the one in which I smash my collar-bone into a gazillion pieces...what, you say!!! You don't remember!?! Well,F#@% that! You apperently aren't reading this blog too closely!!!

Well anyways...

I had a Doctor's appointment and apperently the Doc tells me that polishing the Airstream is not helping my bones mend too well...something about "too many vibrations...too much pressure" FRANK, STOP THINKING DIRTY!!! I'm talking about polishing the Airstream, not...well...

So as of this date there is a conspiracy going on...and both my Doctor and my Wife are involved...They don't want me to polish the Surfin' Safari until the collar-bone is fully healed. Possibly another 6 weeks, ergh!!!

I am currently on lock-down and all my tools have been hidden...even my brand spankin' new Cyclo Polisher that arrived the day after my Doctor's appointment...hmmm...maybe the UPS guy is in on this conspiracy also...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Little Known Secret...

Since it has been raining outside and I am unable to work and the Surfin' Safari I have decided to record a post for nostalgia's sake.  A post that will let everyone in on a little secret...The Surfin' Safari was not my first Airstream.  "What!!!" you say...well don't is the story of my Sovereign of the Road:

Excitement coursed through my veins as I attempted to convince my wife that we needed this 31 feet of marvelous, somewhat shiny, piece of aluminum history, a 1969 Airstream travel be more specific, a Sovereign of the Road.  Yeah, that's right...the shiny ones that look like a silver Twinkie on steroids!
The previous day I was driving through the countryside in southwest Michigan and there She sat, next to a garage with a weather worn "For Sale" sign leaning against her rusty propane tanks...the trailer of my Airstream.  Why was I driving down that back-country road that afternoon?  Well, I have no idea...but I slammed on my brakes, skidded to a stop and threw my car into reverse.  The old man sitting in his screened-in patio looked at me with an expression of bewilderment and curiosity as I drove up his drive-way.

As Arlen & Shirley Manning write in Polishing with the Manning's:
I think that anyone who buys an old classic trailer should pay their dues, and the story often goes like this:  fall in love with the first one you find, put hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into it, find out what a really good trailer is, sell the hopeless example you have invested everything in (usually at a considerable loss), and THEN go buy that exceptional example that you really want and rightfully deserve.  It is a lesson usually hard learned...
If only I had read that quote before I drove down that drive-way...Well as they say, you live and you learn...

As I walked up that drive-way and the Old Man stood to greet me, I knew that no matter what price was asked...I would pay.  I would just need to convince my wife.
I knew this would take some see my when it comes to  money, it would be easier to wrestle a banana from the hands of a wild mountain gorilla...but I am a resilient fellow.
I began my research...I googled "How to convince your wife to do almost anything" luck, unless of course I wanted to spend $49.95 for some self-help book.  But then lo and behold, my Spring 2008 issue of Airstream Life arrived at my door that dealt with this very idea!!!!  The article entitled, "Winning Over the Reluctant: Getting Your Spouse To Share The Excitement" seemed as if it had all the answers!  Heck, the article even referenced the work of the great Harvard psychologist Dr. Howard Gardner.  Still, I felt a little see,my wife...well, not only is she cheap, after over 13 years of marriage, I have learned she is immune to mind tricks.  I would need to do something drastic...I would need to take her into the Airstream and appeal to her emotional side and be honest...a scary place to be for any husband.  And you know worked!  I am not sure how, but it worked and I was able to purchase the trailer of my nightmares...err...I mean dreams.

I want to now refer you back to the quote from the Mannings...go ahead, re-read it...I'll wait...

After we got the trailer, the costs started to mount up and my wife was beginning to tire of hearing "a couple hundred bucks" and "Airstream" in the same sentence.  After a replaced floor, a new refrigerator, and multiple other items with no end in sight, I knew I had also reached my limit.  So I decided that we needed to sell the Sovereign of the Road only after my wife agreed that I could keep everything we sold it for and apply it to another in better condition.  I also had to take the trailer out at least we did that...and boy did people stare...not the normal."Wow! It's an Airstream" stare, but rather the, "I don't want to drive behind them in case the thing falls apart" stare.  
So a couple thousand dollars later, and a great weekend in the Sovereign, we sold it...surprisingly I even made a couple hundred dollars!  It was enough for us to purchase our new baby, the Surfin' Safari.
Here I am, walking away from my first Airstream...a dark day

It's Raining, It's Pouring, The Old Man is Snoring...

Well like much of the midwest it's raining here in southwest Michigan.  I have not been able to do any polish work on the trailer due to the fact I discovered some extra work I will now need to complete.
As Colin says in the Vintage Airstream Podcast, "They all leak!" I too have a leaky trailer.  There is some good news however...with all the rain, I know exactly where my leaks are and they will be easy fixes...well as easy as anything can be when working on a 40 year old trailer.  It seems as if all the leaks are around the windows.  All i will have to do is order some new gaskets from Inland RV, tear out the old ones, place a bead of the 3M Super Weather Strip Adhesive, and attach the news ones...easy breezy...right...

Well as a side note, i finally ordered a copy of Wanderlust from to add to my expanding Airstream library.  I couldn't pass up the deal, including shipping the cost was about $28.  Now if I can just get my hands on the DVD that came with the first edition.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Polish Begins...

As I hinted at in my last post, I began to polish the Surfin' Safari. So I went out and purchased a polisher from Harbor Freight...well I guess you get what you pay for. As you can see in the picture below, it lasted all of about two feet before it died.
So I promptly returned to Harbor Freight, and they gave me a brand new unit since I had purchased the extended service plan.
I decided that I didn't want to run back and forth to Harbor Freight...So I decided to fork out the big bucks and by a heavy duty polisher from Sears. So I got a Milwaukee and It cost me $200 and while it is a little heavy, it works very well...anyone wanna buy a brand new polisher from Harbor Freight?
After I got my new polisher, the process began to work much smoother. After my first weekend of polishing this is what I have gotten done so far. BTW, I also purchased one of those foldable ladders from Lowes and it helps tremendously when getting the higher stuff because it converts into scaffolding as you can see in the picture.
And of course, here is the "up-close" shot that you see in all polishing posts. You can see the above is the before and the below...well you guessed it, the after.
One thing that I am refusing to do is keep track of how many hours I will spend polishing...I know, I know...everybody else does it. But I don't want to know how many hours I spend baking in the sun grinding away...So I am not going to do matter what you say Frank...I am not gonna to do it...nope, nope hours here!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Over the weekend we went camping (probably just like a bunch of you!) and boy did we have a blast!  We ended up at the River Farm Campground in Pentwater, MI.  

It was a nice relaxing campground in which we didn't really have the big Labor Day crowds.

We found a great Mexican resturant (we love Mexican food), I found a bottle of my favorite wine  at a local food mart (2005 Tintara Shariz), and 

Zach caught a couple fish while I caught a rather annoying turtle!  

The funny thing about our big fishing expedition was that while Zach and I labored for hours to catch our "big" fish, Kim walked down to our super-secret fishing spot, cast in a line and within 10 seconds caught the biggest fish of the weekend...and boy was it HUGE!

One of the coolest things about our Airstream is the fact that we get hang out in an area and really get a chance to visit as opposed to just "driving through" (As well as just hangin' out in the Airstream).  

We really enjoy visiting a town and getting to know it, not just visit the local tourist attractions (however, we enjoy doing that also), but visiting the places off the beaten path.  For example, on this trip we knew about the historic village of White Pine.  And we enjoyed the Lumberjack breakfast and historic baseball game between the Ludington and Hartwick Pines...However, we didn't know about the great Mexican restaurant in Hart, Mi called La Fiesta...great food!  I guess you have to have great food if you are going to last over 20 years.

Well since Summer is almost over and Zach starts school on Tuesday I guess we won't be taking anymore trips...NOT!  In fact we have already scheduled a trip in a couple weeks...Oktoberfestin Frankenmuth, MI...great food, great beer and great fun!  (All with Wiener dog races!)...I can't wait!

In the meantime, I will begin to polish the Surfin' Safari...stay tuned...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Help me out!

Okay...I am always lookin' to the future...and the future in Michigan is Fall...then Winter, some rather cold months here.  Usually this wouldn't worry me, but when I attempted to start my furnace after lighting my pilot light in the good ol' Surfin' Safari and nothing happened, I got a little worried.  I had flashes of my family being found in the dark winter months of Northern Michigan frozen to our beds in the Airstream...not a pretty picture.
Any takers...How can I ensure the safety of my family this fall and winter?  I have even called the Panel Pros over at the Vintage Airstream Podcast to seek their assistance on the matter.  
Is it a bad thermostat?  
     A faulty wire?  
            A demon possessed blower motor?  
                      My GOD, what could it be?  

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm Baaaack!

Whew! What a wild last month or you may recall from my last post (which is over a month old!) I was injured in a mountain biking accident. It turned out to be a little more serious that was initially fact I couldn't even type...Well anyways...I'm back.

A little update on my condition...

I was injured on July 1
1th and I ended up breaking a couple ribs, shattered my collar bone into about a zillion pieces (the x-ray is after 4 weeks of recovery) and pulled a gazillion muscles in my hip...there was original fear of a broken hip or pelvis, but I got lucky.

This all happened about two weeks before our scheduled family vacation...a vacation in which we were going to travel about 1,200 miles in the good 'ol Surfin' Safari...Well as you guessed it...that didn't happen.  Instead we went on vacation...stayed in hotels, etc and enjoyed our family time.  However, I had to make one promise to my big mountain bike rides within four weeks of vacation.

Fast-forward to now...
I am 80% healed and can begin my work on the Surfin'!  In fact we plan on going on a trip to Northern Michigan in her over Labor Day weekend.  So over the next week I have a couple small project that need to be complete and I have finally decide that YES, I am going to polish her...I know what your all thinkin'...your CRAZY...that's a lot of, what are you thinkin'!  However, it's gotta be done...kinda some sort of sick Airstream initiation...and I am now commited to fact I ordered some stripper and polish from Vintage Trailer Supply as well as some polishing pads from  I hope to begin the work in the middle of September once my collarbone in a little stronger so I can really git 'r down right!

As I mentioned before, I will be completing a couple of smaller projects over the next week, so stay tuned...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

First Trip! (and a little bad news)

So over the fourth of July holiday, we took the Surfin' Safari for her maiden voyage...and boy, did we have fun!  
When we pulled in to the KOA campground around 11:30 pm, we got several strange looks...initially I thought it was everyone admiring the silver bullet, however, as soon as I opened our windows on the truck I realized everyone was covering their ears hoping to block out the rather high pitched screeching noise coming from the wheels on the trailer.  I had planned on replacing the axles next Spring...I think I will put them on order a little sooner...for the time being, I will attempt to repack the bearings before our next trip so we don't wake everyone up when we pull in to a campground again.
On a side note...when we stopped at a gas station on the way home, a couple of ladies were eyeballing the trailer and I immediately (maybe a little eagerly) asked if they wanted to check out the inside...and they (to my wife's relief) didn't call the police, instead they were more than happy to take a tour.  Of course, the first thing out of their mouth's was, "It's to bad they don't make these anymore..."
Now for the bad news (I bet you thought the screechy axle was the bad news...heck no...I just get to buy something real expensive for my Airstream and maybe even a couple more
 tools...)  The bad news is that over the weekend I had a major wipeout on my mountain bike (the kind you peddle, not the kind you put gas in) and I broke my collarbone, three ribs and tore all the muscles in my groin hurts...but I am on some pretty cool pain medicine that makes me feel real happy.  So I am sorry if the posts slow down a little while I heal up and I appreciate all the encouragement (thanks Frank) I have received as I continue to blog my adventure with the Surfin' Safari.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I did it...

I finally finished every past episode of The Vintage Airstream Podcast and I feel like a true Panel Pro without all the fancy tools or actual experience.  I've always been told that having a little knowledge can be it's time to test that saying.  
I would like to encourage everyone to give the real Panel Pro's a listen and I think I will even give them a donation...I want one of those cool stickers!!!
Now that I've listened to every episode, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my iPod...I suppose I could listen to every episode again while I wait for the new ones to come out...naw, that would just be weird...right???

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I LOVE Vintage Trailer Supply!!!

So over the weekend I had an issue with my rivets not being delivered to the correct address...if you recall I was pretty frustrated.  On Monday I called Vintage Trailer Supply and talked with Kim and explained the situation.  She informed me that she would hunt down the package to ensure I receive my items.  I expressed my concern that it may take several days...and she agreed.  So I asked if I can just cancel my order and get a refund and she told me that wouldn't be a problem.  I asked if I would also be refunded my shipping costs, at this point she stopped and stated that she wasn't sure because this had never happened before, however she would check on it.
I hung up the phone and went out to a local hardware store and bought my rivets.  As soon as I returned home there was an email waiting from Kim at Vintage Trailer Supply that read:
  • Hi Chuck,
    We just talked on the phone a little while ago.  We were very sorry to hear that UPS lost your package.  We have canceled your order and refunded the price of your order, (including your shipping charge), as you requested. We applied a credit of $18.11 to your Mastercard ending in the numbers ****.  We will take care of the UPS claim for the lost package.  We are very sorry for the inconvenience.  Thank you for your business.
    Kim Greeno
    Vintage Trailer Supply
    800-644-4620 x1
This reply made me VERY happy because I didn't want to "fight" about a couple bucks, however, since I was frustrated, I had my fists up and was ready to rumble.
The above email and the customer service from establishments like Vintage Trailer Supply is what makes the Airstream community so wonderful...and the next day I ordered about $100 worth of stuff I didn't really need from VTS just to show my appreciation.
Thank you Kim and Vintage Trailer Supply for all that you do!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


So a little over one week ago I ordered some rivets from Vintage Trailer Supply to reattach my belly pan...I was ready.  I took the advice of Tim from the Vintage Airstream Podcast and purchased an Air-Hydraulic Rivet Gun from Harbor Freight.  He mentioned on one of the earlier episodes that he got one and it made installing his belly pan a lot easier...and if Tim suggests it...I'm gonna do it!  (No, there are no subliminal messages in that podcast whatsoever).
I drilled out all the old rivets and I was ready to go.  It was going to work out real nice because the rivets were scheduled to arrive on Friday, this would give me the weekend to get 'er done!
I sat at my house Friday afternoon anxiously awaiting the delivery guy...waiting...waiting...waiting.  At about 6pm I decided to check the tracking info.  I checked the info and the website stated that my package had been delivered...strange...  Maybe the delivery guy put on his or her super-stealthy outfit and delivered them un-noticed.  I opened the door with eager anticipation...nothing!  I thought, "no big deal...I'll just call the delivery company and they can track it down."  Have ya every tried to contact a business on a Friday night!!!  In this day and age of 24-hour internet service I would have thought it would have been easier.  Needless to say, when I finally did get to talk with a real person (2 hours later) all they told me was I needed to contact the shipper...and do you think Vintage Trailer Supply is open at 10pm on a Friday night...of course not...they are not even open on the weekend.
So I sit here, frustrated and unable to complete my weekend project for my beautiful Airstream...looking in every possible hiding spot that a package of rivets could hide...calling all my neighbors, hoping that they had accidentally received my sought after rivets...depressed over a tiny bag of rivets.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I Got Him...or Her...or IT!!!

So after setting about 50 mouse traps in my beautiful, non-stinking Airstream, I walk out this morning and what do I see at my, not a million dollars...a dead mouse!!!  I kid you not...a dead mouse laying on the ground right next to the Surfin' Safari.
I guess that mouse won't mess with me anymore!!!  I'm a bad arse, mouse killin' can call me the Mousinator!
So my next question is this...what do I do with 50, barely used, mouse traps...maybe I'll post them on ebay...

Central Control - The Close-up...

I have had multiple inquiries regarding Central Control (if your a Star Trek Fan, the 1968 version of "The Captain's Chair") and since it has been requested by Aage in the Air Forums to post a close-up of it is...enjoy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Victory!!! (i hope...)

I spent the weekend under the trailer and I finished removing all the insulation, removed the air ducts under the trailer and I placed the first coat of my super-dooper enzyme stuff (to remove the urine smell).

First some good news, as you can see from the picture to the left, I don't have any "dung dunes" as described by Wabbiteer in the Air Forums.

Secondly some better news, the smell is gone!!! Even my wife (who has a nose like a hound dog) can't smell it...yipee!!! So if the smell stays away, I don't think I am going to place a coat of Kiltz Stainblocker under the floor (nor will I have to remove the interior!!!).

Now, for the not so good news...I found a mouse nest (see the picture to the left) and ironically, it is under the furnace and I have had a mouse trap right next to it for about a week and do you think I have caught the mouse...heck no!!!

So the search for my adversary (the mouse) continues...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Yikes! Attack of the Killer Mouse!

So I was underneath the trailer this afternoon getting ready to spray on the enzyme "stuff" and lo-and-behold I had a little visitor...nobody ever told me nor have I read anywhere that I needed to watch out for killer mice as I fix up my Airstream...what's next???
Rascally rats???
Sneaky snakes???
Urgh, I'm creeped out!
Editor's Note: If there are no future posts...send help immediately...the mice have gotten me...