Demolition Continues

lot of work to do Down to the bones…
Every day I rip out more of the paneling, pealing off layers of skin to reveal the ugly skeletal underbelly.

I knew there would be some issues towards the rear of the trailer, but I was not really expecting what I found.

Bothrotting wood?  NO wood! corners were rotted for about a third of the length – the left rear bottom frame is totally gone. There is basically nothing holding the back together except for caulk and a few sheet metal screws. It was a tad bit worse than I was expecting, although certainly not an insurmountable obstacle.

rotting frameI now have a good reason to acquire a band saw – time to check out Craig’s List!

Happy New Year!
Well, it is finally New Years Eve. I completed another three-day marathon at work, extra long shifts at night so that we could have a four-day vacation.

We are celebrating at home; Mike, and Tami and Kim are coming over. Liz is cooking the turkey, the Twilight Zone marathon is on TV, and it is unseasonably rainy and cold outside. They are even predicting snow in the area – I moved out of NJ to get away from the cold!


Under my skin

tearing out the wallsThe first step in restoration of our Field and Stream trailer is triage. Ascertain the extent of damage, first aid to prevent further damage.

The pack rat was rather rudely evicted. About three cubic yards of hoarded debris has been removed.

I had to remove the “kitchen” – the cabinets and counter hosting the sink, ice cooler and oven. I didn’t think that the oven and cooler looked vintage – well, not 1953 vintage. The exterior paint job is definitely not period color or pattern.

As I began carefully dismantling the counter, I saw that there were quite a few non-original modifications to the inside structure. I found newspaper used as padding or insulation dating to 1975, which pretty much dates the previous restoration attempt.

I had this laughable plan to dismantle the inside walls intact, so that they could be used as templates for the lauan that will be used to replace all of the interior walls and ceiling. Hah! At least I will have a lot of kindling for the fire pit!

I ripped out most of the left interior wall, and the ceiling around the skylight, hoping to see the extent of the water damage that was apparent from the warped and moldy paneling. I am pleased to see that the damage to the skeleton is not extensive, and that repairs and replacement of the “bones” should be fairly straightforward.  Of course, I have not ripped out the floor and had a good view of the bottom of the frame.

Anyway, the more I research, the less formidable this project seems; I am not aiming for a historic restoration but rather to have a sturdy and serviceable trailer on a budget.  While the outside will look retro, the inside will be comfortable.


A Year In Review – or, “I made the mistake of looking back.”

Target shooting in the desert

The year started meek and mild – the temperatures were warm enough in January that I was wearing a tank top when I took Liz shooting in the desert.

I started a new job in January with a major home improvement operation, on the merchandising Team. On the plus side: 40-hours a week and generous benefits. On the minus side: I work nights, and the pay-scale is retail grade.

Continue reading »


desert pack ratI suspected we had a stowaway in the Field and Stream trailer we recently acquired when I noticed new debris scattered on the freshly swept floor every day.

Jade had been frantically sniffing and inspecting the trailer, and we were going to get a Havahart trap to capture the beast.

Pack rats are cute, but a real nuisance. Beside carryng disease such as plague, they wreak havoc on wiring and love to steal shiny objects.

Jade cornered this little fellow, about five inches long – not including his tail – and I was able to capture him. I have him safely contained, I hope, until tomorrow when I can relocate him back to the desert where he will be able to live a hopefully long and happy life away from humans.

Packrats – the original hoarders…

My latest projectThis week we bought two used tires to replace the dry-rotted tires on the trailer, which was parked temporarily at Mike and Tami’s.

Mike has an impact wrench and a heavy-duty hydraulic jack, which made changing tires almost a cinch. I say almost – the original trailer tires had a slim profile, which allowed them to slide under the sides of the trailer easily.  The modern profile tires proved a bit of a challenge to squeeze into a space into which they di not really fit.  The first wheel evoked quite a bit of cursing on my part – but after we figured out the trick, the second side went much more smoothly. Continue reading »

Winter is just a week away…

clouds 2Winter in the Sonoran Desert… this will be my third.

The first winter offered up lots of precipitation – it even snowed once. That was the first snow in thirty years.

Last year we barely had to turn the heat on, it was so mild. We have had the heat on a couple of times this year – and I owe most of that to our blood being thinner and unable to take the cold. I used to work outside in short sleeves in this weather!  I now consider 65° chilly.

The cloud formations this week have been nothing short of exceptional, bordering on apocalyptic. Last night Liz and I hopped in the car to get some photographs, as the mountain was changing color minute by minute. As we turned the corner onto the Apache Trail – the sky turned gray and the mountain black – that quickly!

I did all of my chores yesterday – so today I just relax before going into work at 9PM. Tomorrow we tow the new (really old) trailer home – I am sure that I will have news to post on that escapade, once we get the trailer secured in the back yard.


cloud capped Superstitions
Cloud-capped Superstitions

It’s the weekend! Well, it is the middle of my weekend – working hoot-owl has its drawbacks such as having to be on the job at 9PM on a Sunday evening.

It is December, and we are entering the rainy season in the desert. Yes, we do get rain other than Monsoon. The winter rains are generally more gentle, and more drenching.

This front ushered in from California, which is now getting much-needed rain.

As the clouds push eastward, they are halted by the mountains. As I sit on the patio writing, there is blue sky overhead with sporadic cumulus balls of cotton overhead, with intermittent sprinkles.

Liz is working this weekend; the museum has a big event on Sunday. I did some repair work on her car this morning. I checked out the trailer to see how it fared under the rain. There are a couple damp spots, which I expected, but no severe leaks. Monday we are buying two tires, and will tow it to our yard. Then the fun stuff will begin.


catsThe two mortal enemies are finally accepting that they have to share space.

Natasha is still not too happy that she has to share her house with Samantha. Sam just wants to be friends, but being a kitten she likes to play. Tasha simply likes to sleep in peace.

They hang out together outdoors, and Tasha has taught Sam bad tricks, such as jumping onto the roof of the house, thus gaining access outside the walled-in back yard.

And now, more and more often, the two will sleep together. Natasha, however, always makes sure her back is to the kitten.


I must be out of my head

1960's Vintage Field and Stream Trailer
1960’s Vintage Field and Stream Trailer

I must be crazy! We picked up this vintage Field and Stream trailer this morning. It is in fairly rough condition.

Liz told me about it, and she was told it was a 10-foot camper. And she was told it had good tires on it.

The owner was using it as a potting shed. The pack rats had a heyday with the inside. Both tires were flat. But the skin is good, and the chassis is solid.

We spent the morning cleaning it out, and inflated the tires. It took some maneurvering to get it out of her driveway – we made it down her street and onto McKellips when I noticed the one side seems to be riding a bit low. The driver’s side tire blew out from dry rot. Luckily it had a new spare. Continue reading »

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Due to our busy schedules, we had to put the tree up a week early this year. We like live trees, and usually wait until two weeks before Christmas to buy one, since we want it to still be green on New Year’s Eve.

So yesterday we picked out a fresh tree and decorated.

It has been a busy week already – I am in the middle of two big projects, and last night was the AJ Christmas parade. It was warmer than last year, and it seemed there twice as many people to watch, and the parade was much shorter. Continue reading »

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