Happiness in a Can

When I was about eleven years old my family lived in a house that abutted the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson.   Every day after school when the fair was in town my brother and I would crawl through a hole in our backyard fence, go to the front gate to get our hand stamped and then roam around amongst the excitement.

You would think as a young’n I would head straight for the fairway with all of the rides and games.  But, nope.  I was too excited to go see the display of Winnebagos.  I dreamed of owning one and traveling the country from coast to coast.  There must be a little bit of gypsy in my lineage.

Unexpectedly, last Fall I came across an ad for a gutted 1985 Airstream Excella for cheap money.  Funny about that year, 1985, because that was the same year my dream of travel trailer ownership was born.  After a few days concentrating on convincing my husband, we bought it.  Yay!!!


She  wasn’t in the best shape, but I envisioned her being renewed once again into an absolute darling on wheels.   My husband just gave me that here-we-go-again look, imagining what he was in for in order to make my vision complete.  See, John is such a talented craftsman that I’m always throwing  challenging projects in his lap.  It’s only because he always brings them so beautifully to life!


After moving her to a little spot of raw land in Maine (which we are planning to develop into our camping oasis), we spent the winter doing research and planning for the restoration project.   John was focused mainly on tightening up and insulating the shell, and installing a whole new electrical system.  I was, of course, focused on the layout, fixtures and finishes.

Here is our current plan/guideline.  We’ll see how the finish product compares when all is said and done.

Paper.Denmark, ME.13

This past weekend was our first big work effort.  We pulled out the floor sheathing to find the insulation beneath was wet.  Luckily, though, the frame proved to still be solid.   We decided to do a water test to try to find the leak.  John climbed up on the roof and poured water down over the top and sides while I watched inside to locate the inlet.  It turned out to be at the horizontal trim running on the lower half of the exterior.  John went all the way around with some Henry’s Clear Seal caulking to button it up.


We then removed the wall panels and wiring in the front half of the interior; replaced the floor insulation with a rigid foam base and spray foam in the crevices; then reinstalled the floor sheathing.

On our next Airstream work weekend we plan to do the same to the rear half of the interior and begin running electrical wiring.

So, stay tuned and let the fun begin!





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