Three things we learned this past weekend while working on the Dawn Treader:
- When working on the exterior of the Airstream in full sun, choose wisely which side you work on. Almost blinded.
- Krylon spray paint smells like cherries. Use a mask anyway.
- The belly pan is not designed to be weight-bearing. Watch where you step when the subfloor is removed.
Having said that, here is the progress we made:
We’ve had a crazy amount of rain the past few weeks which has prevented us from doing much work on the exterior of the Airstream. Saturday we got a full day of sun, so we took advantage of it.
We enjoyed the almost-perfect weather to work on the Dawn Treader
We finally scraped the seams on the exterior skin and resealed it. There have been leaks in the past, one of which rotted out the subfloor in the rear and two small ones (which we couldn’t tell we had until we pulled up all the carpet) on either side of the door.
When Mark started sealing the door, he found there wasn’t much sealant left at the top of the door which may be the reason for the leaks. (Let’s hope.)
The sealant above the Airstream door is almost nonexistent
Earlier we had taken out all the drawers and cleaned them really well since we had seen evidence of some former rodent inhabitants. This weekend I painted the interior of those drawers with Krylon spray paint because I just wanted a “new” surface if I was going to store things in there. I will also add liner later. (And even later, we hope to replace the kitchen cabinets altogether, but not this year.)
Kitchen draw interiors after being painted
I also sanded and primed (with help from Judah) the drawer fronts and cabinet doors.
Kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts before primer and paint
Kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts after primer
Not exactly wild about the wicker look. We have talked about popping out the wicker and replacing it with either wood panels or stainless steel ones. But we’ll wait and see how they look once painted.
We are undecided how much we want to renovate the bathroom. If I had my preference, we would completely gut it and start over. Of all the spaces in the Dawn Treader that I want to know is truly clean, it is the bathroom. However, we only have so much time and so much money and so much know-how.
But on Friday I decided I was going to at least take down the molded plastic wall stuff. I’m sure in its day it was cool, buuuut … it had to go. For one, after studying the layout and trying to figure out what could be behind the corner cubby, I couldn’t see that it was efficient use of the space; two, we were going to have to replace the mirror on the medicine cabinet anyway; three, I just didn’t like it.
The molded plastic wall in the bathroom included medicine cabinet, cubby, and vanity light)
First, I removed the mirror over the window and the light fixture from the right side of the sink. Easy peasy. My confidence was soaring that this little bathroom renovation was going to be a snap.
Left: before removal of the mirror and vanity light Right: after removal
Then I attempted to take down the molded plastic wall/medicine cabinet/light thing.
Wow. I had no idea what battle was going to ensue. I started taking off the border strip that holds the molded plastic pieces together. I figured once I removed all the visible screws and rivets, I would be able to take out the offending plastic monstrosity.
Removing the rivets in the Airstream bathroom wall
Well, once I got that off, I realized the big molded plastic wall had probably been the first thing originally installed and then every other piece put over it. So I had to take out the curved corner piece and undo the counter top from the wall. Then I had to try to lift this thing and rotate it so that it would come out from behind the plastic counter.
The wall partially removed, but lifting it over the counter edge was a real challenge.
Even then, it was about a half hour battle to finagle that thing out of the bathroom. It was probably a two-person job, but once I get an idea in my head, it’s hard for me to not do it.
Bathroom wall removed
When I finally got it removed, I found further evidence that the mice had made this their home.
Bathroom mouse nest behind plastic wall
Now we are committed to some amount of remodeling in there. We probably could paint the counter/sink, but we would rather replace it all plus get a new faucet. We’ll see.
In addition to all that, I did scrape the old caulk/silicone out of the shower seams. I think there must have been three or four layers and each of them had black junk in between them. It was pretty gross.
Lots of scraping to remove the old silicone in the Airstream shower
I’ll be glad when this is all painted and resealed. Sadly, we’ll lose this lovely vinyl wallpaper. (Just kidding. I love retro, but not this.)
Original vinyl in the bathroom of the Airstream Limited
Mark worked on fixing the subfloor. He was able to cut out the rotted section in the back, where there had been water damage from a previous leak.
Mark removing the rotting wood subfloor in the rear of the Airstream
When he removed that, he found wet insulation and grossness. He was a good sport about cleaning all that out, using a mask for good measure.
Removing the wet insulation from the rear of the Airstream
Then came what will forever be referred to as The Great Belly Pan Incident. The boys and I were outside working on the cabinet doors when we heard a great crash. We looked over and saw Mark’s foot on the ground INSIDE the Airstream. After he had removed the subfloor, he accidentally stepped in the open area and hit the belly pan and knocked it to the ground. If I had just been a few seconds faster, I would have captured the sight with my phone camera, but I only got the after effects.
The Great Belly Pan Incident (just seconds after Mark put his foot through the floor)
The Great Belly Pan Incident (looking up through the floor from outside)
We (meaning me and the boys) had a good laugh, but Mark wasn’t quite ready to find the humor in it. That was delayed for a few hours. Later he did post this on Facebook:
Mark able to find humor in the Great Belly Pan Incident
We had to do a quick fix (Liquid Nails to the rescue) to keep animals out. We also need to tow it about an hour away it to an RV service center this week to get all the systems checked out. When we crawled underneath, we could see that there had been very little keeping it on since the pan around the rivets was disintegrating. So Mark has added “buy a riveting gun” to his To Do list this week so we can fix it properly. To keep his perspective positive, I keep reminding him how much more we are going to know how to do before this experiment is over!
So this coming week, Mark will finish repairing the subfloor, we will tape off everything that is not going to get painted, Mark will be prime and spray the interior with a spray rig, and I’ll try to finish painting the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. If all goes well, we will accomplish all of this before Thursday when we drop off the Dawn Treader for a complete inspection at the RV place.
We have not arrived. But we gladly journey.