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The Wind is our Nemesis

We have been blessed over the Summer here in Eastern Washington with beautiful sunny weather. There was a record number of days of no rain. Bad for the crops – perfect for rebuilding the rig. Except we had record fires this year as well which meant even though the weather was perfect, we couldn’t breathe. At one point Spokane’s air-quality was worse than Shang Hai. The winds blew smoke from Oregon, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia and even here in WA into the area. My heart goes out to those who lost their lives, and their homes to these fires. I can’t imagine. Another effect was that we couldn’t work outside and lost a month. A month of hot sunny weather.

Today there is a high wind advisory. Gusts up to 55mph. Daniel and I were outside tying down a tarp over Winnie when the winds started. To our horror, the carport tarp structure we have been storing Winnie under literally lifted into the air. I grabbed a corner post and held on for dear life while Daniel rushed around cutting the ties to the tarp. Poles were becoming disconnected and the tarp was acting like a big sail. If we didn’t want 10′ poles flying through the air, we needed the tarp off quickly. Daniel risked life and limb climbing on ladders to cut away the tarp from the roof of the pole carport. As I watched, visions of the structure flying away, poles going everywhere played in my head, followed closely by visions of Daniel flying off the ladder which was on the rig – plummeting 15′ to his doom (bouncing off sharp metal and wood on his way down.). We got the tarp off and wrapped up. When we had a moment to look around, we found Winnie’s aluminum frame we had on hanging precariously on/off on one side. If we had the walls up with that wind, they would have been ripped off.

We got a wake-up call today.  Now I don’t know what we are going to do. The weather might be coming in faster than we can build the box.

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It’s all about the floor…

Hi All –

We have been busy. Friday was spent getting materials. As much as we could with the time and money we had. It meant a morning confirming our reservation at the storage unit place and paying for it. It meant picking up the roofing kit that we purchased from a local RV shop. NOTE TO SELF – NEVER go back there. They blithely overcharged Daniel by $163.00. I rushed to the parts counter and demanded the refund. I am sure steam was coming out of my ears I was so mad. After a small amount of, “Oh, that’s right.” the refund was issued. How many other customers do they do that to who just write it off as tax or something?

Back to the rebuild. What did we get?

  • Aluminum rec tube for the RV frame. Remember, the extension was never added by the welders so we need to extend the aluminum frame.
  • Angle tubing for the exterior
  • 1″ dense Styrofoam for the floor x 6
  • 23/32″ plywood tongue-n-groove x 6
  • foam glue x 12
  • contact cement x 2
  • 3/4″ Styrofoam that goes inside the frame – no idea how much we got
  • 1/2″ Styrofoam that goes outside the frame x 14
  • 31 sheets of luan
  • Rubber roofing kit with all the glue and tools needed. I can’t remember what it is called.

Our goal this weekend is to get the floor down and both side walls. We have to build out the aluminum frame before we can do the walls so we hope to take care of that early tomorrow am. We laid the floor today. We now have a lovely solid floor and I learned how to use a caulk gun. Daniel was a hoot. He was rolling around on the floor – presumably to make sure everything was firmly pressed and level but I think mostly to just have a bit of fun. During the construction, it was like a crazy trust experiment at times as I was holding plywood steady while Greg cut with the electric saw coming towards me. Daniel was smart, he took the side Greg was cutting away from.

We have been panicking a bit this past two weeks. Okay, this past month. We have anxiously been watching the temperatures go down. There has been frost every morning for the past week and Mt. Spokane officially got snow a day ago. This is a very, very bad thing. If it gets too cold, the contact cement won’t bond the luan to the filon and we’re screwed. Working outside is no longer an option. I have called RV shops, warehouses, commercial rental agencies, storage facilities and garages in the area. No-one had any space for us to work on the rig indoors. We had to adjust our building plan. A wonderful woman I recently met has a large pole building. I called her and pretty much begged. LOL! She and her family are letting us use part of their building to construct the walls where we can keep the temps above freezing while they cure. They are literally saving us. This whole project almost came to a screeching halt. While our friends have teased us about being welcome here for Christmas, they (understandably) really don’t want us here. We have already been here about two months longer than originally planned. We are obviously keeping the glue inside where it is warm. We will have space heaters running when we are building to keep the walls warm so they can properly cure. Then we will mount the walls in there entirety onto the rig. Filon, Luan, Styrofoam, Frame, Styrofoam, and final Luan will all get bonded together. Once properly cured, we will lift it up onto the chassis and screw it in. So exciting!

We dropped off the filon and Styrofoam at the build site and came back to work on the floor.

Enough talk! Here are some pictures of our recent work.

Because we are no longer going to be able to build out the way we were expecting, those folded aluminum sides are going away. We picked up extra blades for the saw so we can cut those off.

That’s all our news for now. I should have more pictures tomorrow after we get the walls going.

Aluminum is Down! (This means we have a floor)

The generator has been serviced, all the spot welding has been done. It was time to finally lay down the first level of the floor structure. We found some great aluminum at a trailer truck shop. It’s thicker than what was there before and more affordable. We got enough to do the entire floor and the cab-over. It is wider than the chassis so we are folding up the excess to give the base layers more stability and offer some additional protection from water. 1/4″ plywood is the first layer of wood. Next comes the insulation, 3/4″ plywood and our floor. At this point, I am fairly sure that we are just going to put in a wood floor and poly it. We will see as time progresses though.

I am going to stop talking and just post the pics.  Here ya go.

Finally – progress!

We have been busy these past few weeks. Late September, we finally got Winnie back from the welders. Between weather and illness, the welding project went longer than anyone expected. But – we have her back so all is good.

Here is a video I took as we were driving her to our construction location:  Bringing Winnie Home

Daniel has been working on our generator. Sometime while living in Colorado Springs a squirrel decided our generator was a great place to live. We couldn’t figure out in our travels over the Summer why the generator kept overheating. Now we know.

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Daniel has been giving the generator a nice cleaning out and servicing over the week. We picked-up some replacement parts from the manufacturer and he’s got it all back together and ready for use.

We wanted to move the grey water tank and the white water tanks so needed to build new supports for them under the rig. Fortunately, our friend has done some welding in the past and has an arc-welder. He doesn’t have enough experience to do the big job of extending the rig but for this stuff, no problem. A cool visit to a steel supply place in-town and we were in business! He and Daniel have been working all weekend on this project. Now we are almost ready to start laying the floor. I can’t wait!

Here are some of the recent photos.

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

Daniel and I find ourselves nesting with no nest. We are so anxious for our home to be done already! We were out and about yesterday looking at various painting styles we want to incorporate onto some of our furniture. We were talking about curtains, and checking out different sofas. We were picking up various nick-nacks we wanted to use to decorate. LOL – now all we need is our home.

MLW is doing a great job. They had some setbacks this past week that were pretty serious! One of the techs was in a car accident – he’s OK from what I understand though! And there was an emergency delivery – again, reports we got was that everyone is OK as that was our first question as well! So, stuff happens. You just have to roll with it.

Looks like other things in our personal situation are potentially changing as well. No worries – our little family is secure, but other things are in flux. We shall see is all I can say for now.

I am so stressed out about not having a home to call our own right now, I have stated to break out in hives on my hands and wrists. LOL – how to tell if you are stressed 101! To compensate, I am drinking tons of water, trying to meditate and adding more exercise in my day. The air quality up here in Eastern WA isn’t that great right now. The smoke from the Utah, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, BC, and Washington fires are apparently hanging out here in Spokane. Yay. The other day it was so bad, you could really smell the smoke.

We hope to start putting the floor on this weekend pending the pick-up of our rig newly welded and with a new rear axle.  Like I said above, we will see.

Thank you for checking in. Hopefully soon, I will have actual construction pictures to show you.

MLW Welding in Action!

Not much news, we are still just waiting on the welders. Here are some pictures they sent of Winnie!

We should have her back on Friday and can start construction!  Woo-Hoo!

Welding

Sorry for the silence. A lot has happened in the last weeks. We found a welder, and drove Winnie over to his shop. He and his guys went over the chassis with a fine tipped comb and discovered a lot more welds that had popped. In one instance an entire steel cross support bar was only attached at one weld point. So – … wow. If we hadn’t taken the floor off we never would have discovered the actual condition of the very core of the RV. Scary! They got started a bit later than we were expecting and we have a personal emergency. The friends we are staying with here in WA – she had a heart attack and was immediately scheduled for a quadruple bypass. A lot of last week was spent at the hospital. She came through like a champ and was happy knowing we were here so her husband didn’t have to worry about things like pets, garden, mail, etc. She has been my friend since 1995 – a long time and seems young to have had this occur so we are all feeling our mortality a bit. She came home yesterday and I was sitting up with her. She said, “You and I always believe that everything happens for a reason. This [welding] set you back but in the long run, it has probably saved your home.” My response was, “Ya. And your heart attack could have been so much worse! As it was, you were able to get to the hospital and get help before it became catastrophic. It could have been so much worse!” We agreed that our respective guardian angels have been working overboard these past few weeks and expressed our gratitude. I generally am one to appreciate the little moments but you have no idea how grateful I was to be sitting at the table talking to my friend; savoring that moment. She is still here. She is strong and recovering well. She has a second chance and in much better shape to live healthy. Ironically heart disease runs in her family so her doctor monitors her cholesterol closely. All her numbers were good.

OK – on to RV news now that I have gotten all maudlin and sentimental. This welding bill means we are WAY over budget. We will not be able to afford the filon skin for the entire rig. The average cost of the skin for arctic white at 35′ is about $700.00. Our friends are happy to have us here but don’t want us here forever!  LOL! We have to finish paying off the welders next paycheck and need construction money. The next paycheck after that will be mid Sept. Add in the 5 to 7 day lead time we would need and that has us here until October.  For now, we will construct the roof and outer walls. The roof we will cover and the rest of the RV we will paint with exterior home paint. We can add the filon later. This will at least get us going. We want to have the cabinetry in place so that we are not bolting things to the walls again and will hit the road with basically an empty shell again. The Tucson weather is gentle in the Fall and Winter and we will be able to finish her off down there. LOL – remember I wanted this all done in a month? BWA-HA-HA! I am so silly.

So, that’s where we are. We are going to go over to the shop today and visit Winnie and see if they have started the work. I will take pictures if I can and post later.