Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Burning Man Festival 2010

August 30 - September 6, 2010

The gate line at dawn
We arrived at the gate at dawn with the Tin Pickle in tow, heading for a rendezvous. We were joining up with a group of friends we had not yet met: other posters from Airforums, people who love both Airstreams and Burning Man enough to put them together in the same place.

An unusual flower garden

 Burning Man combines amazing creativity, challenging self sufficiency, strong community involvement and a festive spirit. Oh, and there's fire there too...lots of fire.

Every year is different - a different over all theme, different art, different weather (variations on heat and dust), different amazing mobile creations.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Temporary Bunk Bed

The lower bunk is a standard twin

This was a quick two day project that made it possible for the four of us to sleep out of the dust at Burning Man. We knew we would eventually need eating space inside as well as sleeping space for two extras. But for the time being, a quick and dirty plywood bunk bed would fit the bill.

The materials are mainly 1/2" plywood and cheap 2x2's. The 2x2's served as corner connectors any time two pieces of plywood intersected at right angles.

A slant on the end walls allowed maximum height at the hall edge of the bed, while still cutting both ends out of a single piece of plywood. The pieces of plywood that became the sleeping platforms were strengthened by a 2x2 running under each long edge, with a side piece at least 6 inches high on each side for stiffness.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lopez Island

August 2 - 14, 2010
Secluded camping

  "Why did you buy an Airstream?" we are often asked. The Tin Pickle has given us far more pleasure than we ever planned or hoped for, but the underlying reason why we have it at all starts with Lopez Island.

This visit marks the first time we have slept on the land we've owned and walked on for over 25 years. The change of location feels different, but our home among the trees is cozy and restful.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Front dinette/Double bed

When we designed this dinette, we had delusions of converting it from bed to dinette and back again each day. Every inch of space under and behind it can be reached somehow. Drawers provide accessible storage space even when it is set up as a bed. That has been a lifesaver.

This is our overflow social space at home.
After we tried sleeping on the 5" high density foam cushion, we added 2 inches of memory foam for comfort. With the extra foam and the quilt bedspread, the bedding is too cumbersome to remove and too bulky to store. We only set it up as seating when we're home and we need the space for extra social space or for working on further Pickle projects.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Fire Mountain

Our first target outing for the Tin Pickle was a friend's gathering in the Mendocino County hills of Northern California. For that, we only needed to have the trailer road worthy. The interior was basically gutted of sleeping furniture, but we had new axles and functional running lights.
Set up for the weekend

With an airbed on the floor and curtains on some of the windows, we had a cozy haven as a retreat from the exuberance that was available outside. Bart and I cooked outside on a portable barbecue and had a cooler for a fridge. We had a 5 gallon Igloo for water storage, plus a table and chairs and a rug outside. The Tin Pickle worked just fine as an aluminum tent.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Axles

One of the common tasks with older Airstream trailers is replacing the rubber torsion axles. Evidently, if the trailer is not used for long periods of time the rubber rods inside the suspension units harden and the trailer loses much of its suspension.  This is hard on the trailer and contents, and will lead to popped rivets, leaks, etc. if not addressed. Here's a drawing of the axle on these Airstreams:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Floor repairs

One of the characteristic problems that can beset older Airstream trailers is dry rot in the floor plywood. These trailers used 3/4" fir plywood over steel frames; the plywood was typically covered with carpeting. If a leak developed somewhere, the carpeting would both hold the moisture against the wood and conceal the leak from the owner. There were several small areas of dry rot in the Tin Pickle, which were evident once we removed the brown shag carpet.

Monday, April 12, 2010


The naugahyde covered gaucho hide-a-beds were removed in February when we pulled out the old carpet and started floor repairs. Selecting a muted green and blue color scheme set the stage for future color and design decisions. Discount drapery fabric came from newtoto.com.

Pulling out one thread across the fabric leaves a clear cutting guide.

Flat felled seam detail

Sunday, April 4, 2010


The front of the trailer (A frame in trailer parlance) was pretty cluttered, with bits of an old weight distributing hitch, temporary lighting wiring, and a broken electrically operated jack without motor that could only be used with a knuckle busting 6" short emergency handle.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

As We Found It

The Tin Pickle was mostly original when we bought her. This was a result more of neglect than of any interest in authenticity. She became obvious that the previous owners had done quick repairs when they had to and that fixit projects were not their strongest suit.

Still, the skin was intact and the size and price were right. We knew we had something that we could camp in while we worked on her.