Ok, so the case of metal illness continues. The airplane is complete
and I need another project...what could make more sense than putting all the skill I gained with aluminum to good use?
Debbie and I have always been avid campers. We got our first trailer in 1985 when Jesse was 4 years old. It was
a 15' Shasta. Over the years we upgraded in size to a 22', then a 26' and then a 33' Coachman with slide outs.
Jesse got older, paying for college intervened and we went many years without camping but always talked about getting back
into it. Shortly after I started the airplane we bought a 2006 Airstream Bambi (19'). Jesse was going
to grad school in North Carolina and my wife Debbie would load up the camper with herself and the dogs and trek back and forth,
all by herself, on a regular basis...talk about independent!!
the Airstream has been great and it brought back many fond memories so we decided to hunt for a vintage camper, rehab it with
modern wiring and plumbing while maintaining as much of the vintage look and interior as possible. It took several
months but right around Christmas 2010 I came across Dan Piper's webiste, http://www.vintagecampers.com. He had a 1954 Airstream Cruiser listed for sale. Dan has been a terrific
guy to deal with, very straightforward and we quickly put a deal together...the best part is I was able to leave the trailer
stored at his shop for up to one year.
Debbie drove out to Peru,
Indiana in October of 2011 and hauled the Cruiser back home...all by herself. I was actually quite surprised at how
good this Airstream looked for being 56 years old. Our only real criteria upon beginning the hunt was
that the exterior needed to be in relatively good shape, so we got a real bonus on this one...the interior looks terrific
and we will be able to reuse almost all of it.
We finally got started
on this project in Novermber, 2011. The plan in place right now is as follows: Remove the interior, lift the exterior
shell and remove the floor and replace it, replace the axle and electric brakes, replace the belly pan, upgrade all the plumbing
to pex tubing with a new water heater, upgrade the elctrical system with upgraded 110 volt wiring, a new 12 volt system and
strategic LED lighting. When we redo the interior some of the interior aluminum panels may get replaced with wood...not
really sure on all these details yet. The way this webpage will work is the most recent work will appear at the top
so if you want to look chronolgically go to the bottom and work your way up.