Sunday, December 29, 2013

We've moved to!

We now have our own website,! All blog posts have been migrated over, along with new ones.

Follow our adventure on our new site, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Happy Trails!
Justin & Kelly Beard

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Parts recon and the Airstream Ranch

We recently made a trip to the Tampa area to obtain parts for our 1960 Airstream Overlander.

We met our new friends, Jean and Suzie, at the Florida State Rally in Sarasota in mid-February. Jean had offered us the Dometic refrigerator that he had removed from his 1966 Overlander. We left Stuart at 5:30 a.m. and met up with them in Largo, excited to learn they also had a ceiling vent frame with lifts and a screen they no longer needed. Thank you, Jean and Suzie – your Overlander has saved our Riveted Roost with this generous “organ donation.”
Vintage Dometic Refrigerator
We also had an appointment with Frank Bates, owner of Bates RV in Dover - Frank is another contact we made at the Florida State Rally. He’s planning an art installment made from totaled Airstreams and he offered us the opportunity to see if we could salvage any parts from a 1980’s model.

While we didn’t find much that would jive with our 60’s trailer, Justin was able to remove the breaker box and wiring from the closet in the rear bathroom. Ours was missing since the last owner hooked up directly to shore power. We were pleased to find a grounded, three wire set up, since ours was only two wire originally – and not very safe! We also purchased some Acryl-R sealant and an applicator to keep Riva’s seams sealed and her interior dry.
While at Bates RV, we had to get a closer look at the infamous Airstream Ranch that we passed on our way in. Inspired by the Cadillac Ranch in Texas, Frank Bates engineered the Airstream Ranch in 2007 to pay homage to Airstream’s 75th anniversary.
While some Airstream devotees see the buried trailers as a sacrilege, it is intended to be a work of art and tribute to the iconic aluminum trailer. Mostly salvaged from junkyards or beyond repair, the Airstreams are buried 6 to 8 feet deep at a 20-degree angle and the models range from 1957 to 1994 and 16 to 34 feet in length.

The eight precarious trailers are visible from I-4 between Plant City and Tampa, near exit 14 in Dover. Stop by Bates RV and they can give you instructions to safely view the Airstream Ranch. I actually thought the cows in front of the Airstreams were real at first glance, but they turned out to be wooden cutouts, ha ha!
Our trip was short and sweet, as we both had to get back to Stuart for 7 p.m. engagements. It felt good to find some of the key items we need to get Riva functioning and travel-worthy. Next on the list: tires, new windows and plumbing!

Follow our Airstream adventure on Twitter @RivetedRoost or find us on Facebook.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rally ‘round the Airstreams

Airstream owners are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

We found that out at our very first Airstream event, the Florida State Rally in Sarasota, Fla. Feb. 15-17.

We had our guard up because our initial encounter with Airstream folks wasn’t the most pleasant experience. Right after we bought our 1960 Overlander, we started calling various dealerships and folks selling parts on Craig’s List. They were very dismissive, and one even said that most people who buy vintage Airstreams end up giving up on the restoration and selling their trailers. They had their doubts about us and would barely give us the time of day. 

So needless to say, there was some trepidation about attending our first rally, a Wally Byam Caravan Club International (WBCCI) event. WBCCI is the official Airstream owner’s club, with a rich history that dates back to the early 1950s. Wally Byam, the founder of Airstream, Inc, formed the club and hosted rallies and caravans around the world. 

We woke up at 4 a.m. Friday morning and left from Stuart to get to the rally in time for an 8 a.m. seminar on polishing. We arrived right on time, got our registration packets and badges, and headed over to the continental breakfast. 

As we crossed the threshold, it was quite evident that we were the youngest people in the room by a good 20 years, give or take one or two people. All eyes were on us as we got our coffee and breakfast. There was plenty of staring, but equally as many smiles and kind greetings. 

Again, more curious looks as we entered the polishing seminar. The older gentleman who told Justin, “You’re too young to be here,” at the breakfast must’ve been joking because a few minutes later, he sat down next to us and pulled an iPad out of his backpack. Pretty fly for an old white guy. 

The turning point was when Justin asked a question during the seminar and the facilitator asked what year our trailer was. When he replied, “A 1960 Overlander,” everyone raised their eyebrows. They were impressed, or at least surprised. 

All of our questions were answered and after the seminar, a gentleman named John who was brimming with vintage Airstream knowledge greeted us. We exchanged stories about our trailers and got each other’s contact info. 

It’s so nice to meet others who have- or are going through the same restoration processes. There isn’t exactly a wealth of knowledge available on restoring Airstreams. It’s out there, but you have to hunt for it. It’s nice to relate to someone face-to-face about the intricacies of vintage trailering. 

Throughout the weekend, we met lots of incredibly nice people, some who owned vintage trailers and others with newer models. We strolled through the RV show and toured the newest Airstream models, which averaged between $75,000-80,000 (yikes!); checked out the trade show, and attended a few more seminars. We were like sponges soaking in all the information. 

We were also invited to a couple Happy Hour gatherings for the various WBCCI chapters in Florida. It felt like a reverse rush for a fraternity or sorority – we were being courted! Trailer courted, I guess you could say.

Our favorite part of the rally was the vintage Airstream open house. It was so neat to see all the different trailers and how each one reflected its owners' personality. 

We asked lots of questions and took pictures of interior layouts and holding tank configurations. Yeah... that's what we get excited about these days, lol. Everyone was eager to hear about our Overlander and share their vintage Airstream knowledge.

On the last day of the rally, we eagerly awaited the flea market. We were hoping to find some parts for Riva, but there wasn’t much of a selection for vintage items. As I was walking out the door, I discovered some vintage taillights and an indoor propane lamp that I snagged for $20 total. I couldn’t leave without something for my aluminum princess! 

Airstream taillights

I must add, no trip to Sarasota would be complete without a trip to the beach to see the sunset on the Gulf of Mexico. We also visited Sarasota Architectural Salvage - a very cool place with lots of great junk.

We drove home Sunday afternoon, thrilled with what we learned and the new friends we made, but eager to return to our pups and our own beds. We vowed that the Riveted Roost would certainly be attending next year’s Sarasota rally, appropriately deemed “AlumaFlamingo.” We can’t wait to bring our dogs and aluminum abode with us next time.

View more photos from our trip to Sarasota on our Flickr page. Follow our Airstream adventure on Twitter @RivetedRoost or find us on Facebook.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Logo reveal

It's official! The Riveted Roost has a logo. Drumroll please...

What do you think? Leave your comments below. 

Follow our Airstream adventure on Twitter @RivetedRoost or find us on Facebook.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


{By Justin}

Kelly gives me a hard time about planning things out. I tend to do projects at my own pace, but there’s usually a method to my madness. 

Sometimes I breeze down our checklist, but there are times when I move at a snail’s pace and spend hours on something that appears simple from an outside perspective. 

It was clear when we bought our 26-foot aluminum can that the subfloor would be an issue and some areas needed replacing. I tried to remain positive, but the visible water damage on the tongue-and-groove wood flooring was a glaring imperfection that suggested otherwise. 

When we finally moved the Riveted Roost into the backyard, I knew I’d have to pick a day where I was free to curse, spit, drink beer and get to work without offending anyone. So one Saturday, Kelly left for a horse show at 6 a.m. and I was working on the trailer by 7. I started by removing the full-size pink porcelain toilet from rear of the trailer so that I could begin ripping out the wood flooring. 

The toilet came out with ease, as did the wood planks, so I proceeded to rip out about ¼ of the flooring to access the entire rear end cap subfloor. After about 20 minutes on my hands and knees I stepped away to open a beer. It was about 8 a.m., but sometimes that’s just the fuel the body and mind needs for something like this. 
It's gotta get ugly before it gets better. The full size pink comode must go!
The previous owner lived in the trailer full-time and removed the original camper toilet and holding tank. I’ll give him a little credit though, he replaced the entire end cap subfloor; however, he didn’t fix the leak in the roof and his plumbing joints leaked, which meant I needed to replace a 2-foot section of subfloor. No big deal, I thought. 

As I continued to remove more of the wood flooring I began to see additional signs of water damage behind the street side (port/left) wheel well. I tried to remain optimistic, but each wood plank I pulled revealed more and more water damage. 
Kelly came home to find me standing Fred Flintstone-style in the camper.
Once I removed all the flooring, I stepped away to grab another beer, not sure what time it was. The oat sodas were keeping my mind limber and going down the hatch nice and smooth. 

Some people are tidy when it comes to deconstruction and probably use proper foot and eye protection. Not me. I rip, yank and saw my way through the process while wearing Rainbow sandals, board shorts and a T-shirt. 

I accumulated a decent pile of wood outside the trailer door and after a quick sweep, I was finally able to get a good look at the subfloor. I didn’t like what I saw and proceeded to open another beer. 

Parts of the subfloor were OK, while other parts had been replaced and some had rotted as much as a foot from the sidewalls. The subfloor beneath the refrigerator was previously replaced, but the wall and roof vents leaked (probably the refrigerator, too) and that section needed to be replaced again. 
New plywood subfloor, treated with Kilz on the underside.
I also discovered an interesting solution to repair an outlet. Instead of replacing the damaged outlet behind the refrigerator, the previous owner decided to tie in a 2-ft section of extension cord that hung freely from the outlet opening in the wall. Black electrical smoke stains suggested the outlet failed a long time ago and we’re lucky it didn’t burn the Airstream to the ground. 
The rotten subfloor near the window-mounted A/C unit didn’t come as a surprise, but I wasn’t sure how far into the front end cap the rot had progressed, since the dinette was covering it up. It was time for another beer. To be continued...

Follow our Airstream adventure on Twitter @RivetedRoost or find us on Facebook.

Monday, January 28, 2013

On the rocks

{By Kelly}

In an attempt to reclaim the driveway and access to the carport, I started brainstorming alternative parking locations for our 26-foot behemoth. 

We don't have a big yard, so our options were limited. I measured the south end of our backyard and was elated to discover the Airstream would fit along the fence line on the side of the house, in front of the shed. It would be a tight squeeze between the fence and cabbage palms, but if my measurements were correct, the door would be perfectly aligned between two palm trees. 

Justin had to rework the sprinklers a bit, then we created a pad of pebbles and river rocks. FINALLY, a use for all the rocks I've collected over the years from North Carolina streams and the California coast! We had enough rocks for the border and we purchased two yards of Chattahoochee river rock pebbles to fill the interior area.
On the rocks
Ample shade and the proximity to the shed would make it a much better location for our renovation work, which is nicely concealed by the fence. When our work is finished, it will make for a perfect "guest house" and party pad.

The most impressive part of the move from the driveway to the backyard was Justin's keen "backing up" skills. He removed two fence panels and a 4x4 post so we could accomodate the 8-foot wide trailer. Backing that Land Yacht through a slalom of trees and bushes in the front yard and a 12-foot opening would be no small feat.

I took a deep breath and prepared for a barrage of cussing as I tried my best to direct Justin, our Ford F-150 Super Crew, and 26-foot Airstream through this narrow chute and onto the 10 by 30-foot pad. Bear in mind, there's still an A/C unit mounted on the front street-side window of the camper, blocking Justin's view. I winced as our neighbor, George, walked over to watch this spectacle, afraid he would witness what would surely end in foul language and yelling. 

Miraculously, I was able to shout loud enough for Justin to hear me and he carefully maneuvered the Airstream into her new home. I was thoroughly impressed and so was George. Justin was rather proud of himself, and rightfully so.

Apparently, Justin perfected his skills as a youngster on a riding lawn mower hooked to a short-tongued utility trailer. He also gets lots of practice at the boat ramp. I've made it one of my goals this year to become proficient at backing up the boat, then I'll progress to the camper.

A new parking spot in the back yard, in front of the shed.
After we moved the Airstream to the backyard, Justin reinstalled the fence panels and we were set! Eventually, we'll install a large gate, but she's not going anywhere for a while. It makes me so happy to look out the kitchen window and see our shiny aluminum abode instead of a fence.

As I admired the Airstream from the kitchen, I knew she needed a name. I'd been kicking around several ideas with Justin and my Mom, but nothing seemed original or appropriate enough. I knew I wanted to incorporate kitschy flamingos into the decorating theme, so I tried to think of a name with the word "nest" in it, or something bird related. Once the word "roost" crossed my mind, I knew I had it: "The Riveted Roost" or "Riva" for short.

I searched through Airstream Forums about camper names, then Google and couldn't find where anyone else had used the name. I ran it by Justin and received his seal approval, and then it was official. I created this blog, started a Facebook page and claimed the Twitter handle, @RivetedRoost. I can't wait to work with Justin on a Riveted Roost logo... the wheels are already turning. Stay tuned!

It was a tight squeeze between the fence and the palm trees, but she fits!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Strip Tease

{By Kelly}

Our first order of business was to take inventory of what needed to be replaced on our 1960 Land Yacht. Here's what we came up with during our initial inspection of the Airstream:
  • Vents (1 would be replaced with a rooftop A/C unit, 2 with vents)
  • The window A/C unit needed to come out and be replaced with aluminum sheeting
  • Several windows were cracked
  • All screens would need to be replaced
  • The full-size pink porcelain toilet would need a lighter, road-worthy replacement
  • The existing flooring needed to be removed so we could examine the plywood sub-floor
  • Exterior and interior lights/fixtures needed to be replaced
  • Fix or replace entrance step
  • Refrigerator would need to be replaced (wasn't original anyway)
  • Holding tanks were non-existent, as the camper had been hooked up to a septic system of some sort - new fresh, gray and black water tanks will need to be installed
1960 Airstream cabinets, before
Drawers and doors: BEFORE, in shades of mint and light blue
It appeared that the front vent had leaked, so Justin fashioned a makeshift vent to keep water out until a new vent could be installed. 

Numerous repairs would need to be made, as well as an electrical, propane and plumbing assessment.

We started with a task we knew we could tackle. Justin removed all the drawers, cabinet doors and hardware so we could strip the paint. It was obvious that there were many thick layers and sanding simply wouldn't suffice.

The chemical stripping process revealed that the wooden cabinetry had been painted at least three shades in the past 52 years: first pink, then turquoise, and then a mint green or light blue most recently. It appears from my research that the original cabinets in the 1960 Airstreams were unpainted and just had a coat of varnish.

Justin applies the paint stripper
Justin, the [paint] stripper
Some cabinet doors were in poor shape due to insect invasion and others had been replaced for unknown reasons. We decided that we would need to paint all the cabinets and install new facings in a few areas to achieve a uniform appearance.

After stripping the doors and drawers, we sanded the remaining paint away. Justin filled in holes with wood putty, repaired any damaged veneer, and replaced the faces of a few drawers that were beyond repair. 

I taped off the edges to prepare them for a fresh coat of paint, but alas, it was all just a tease. Now they sit in our carport, as Justin discovered several other issues that needed to be addressed before we can even begin to think about painting and reinstalling the cabinet doors and drawers. [SIGH]

As you can see from some of the photos, above, we still needed to move the Airstream out of our driveway. AND she needed a name...

52 years of paint
The stripping process revealed several layers of paint, first pink, then turquoise, and finally a mint or light blue shade.
1960 Airstream cabinets, after
Drawers and doors: AFTER and ready for paint
Follow our Airstream adventure on Twitter @RivetedRoost or find us on Facebook.