Sunday, July 17, 2016

First time out!

The whole time we were working on Lucy, we had a date in mind.  Early on, we had found out about a Scotty Rally in western PA and we decided that it would be our first big camping trip.  My original plan was to have her complete by May 1st but that date came and went before she had her aluminum skins on.  Since we had a deadline, there was a flurry of activity at the end to get Lucy ready for camping. We finished her on July 4th and headed out on July 6th.

Headed out

Our destination was Harecreek Campground in Corry, PA.  It ended up taking 7 hours to get there but we had fun along the way.  Harecreek is a nice little campground.  About half of the sites are full time campers.  Sheriff Shirley checked us in and took us on a tour of available sites on her golf cart. We ended up with site 42. It is a deep site with one little shade tree.  All the sites at Harecreek are full hookup.  It took us about an hour to unhook and set up. Once we were done, we took a dip in the really nice pool.

Like I said, this was a Scotty Rally.  We spent 4 nights with some really great people.  There was a campfire every night at Dave and Beth's. We were initiated into the group with Oreo's.  On the first night there were at least 10 types of Oreo's passed around.  The kids loved this. 


We went to Erie, PA on our first full day of camping.  We ended up at Dobbins Landing.  This is a pier that stretches into the bay.  The views are wonderful.  Many boat tours depart from here.  We had lunch bay side at the Bayfront Grill. After, we drove out to Presque Isle to play on the beach and swim in the lake.  It was really nice with lots of nice sand and clean bath houses. 

Sleeping in
Lake Erie at Presque Isle

Our Scotty group had an Elegant Wine and Cheese dinner one evening.  Everyone dressed up to some extent and we had some excellent food and company.  Thanks to our organizer Gail, I had a tie. The next day we drove to Jamestown, NY and went to the Lucile Ball Museum.  We had a lot of fun learning about Lucy and Desi. We even had lunch at Babilu's.  We ended our stay at Harecreek with a camper open house and Yankee Swap with the group.  The Serro Scotty Camping Enthusiasts are a great group of people and we look forward to camping with them again soon.

We had a few mishaps.  It rained all four nights in Corry and we sprung a leak on the second morning.  I am not sure where the leak originated from exactly but I apparently fixed it because we never saw another drop of water inside. The rain also wrecked our canopy the third morning.  Too much rain collected on the canopy and it collapsed the frame overnight.  Oh well, we will be searching for a different canopy design that won't hold water for next time. 

Elegant Wine & Cheese with the Serro Scotty Enthusiasts
Emily playing Lucy

We pulled out Sunday morning after saying good byes to all of the other Scotty fans.  We drove to Niagara Falls, NY and to Four Mile Creek State Park.  We knew that we had a water front site but were amazed by it's size and view. We were able to see sunsets on Lake Ontario and Toronto in the distance.

Moving on down the road
Site 224.  What a view!
Site decorations

Over the next 2 days, ate well, enjoyed the view and went to the Falls.  It was the first time the kids has seen the Niagara Falls.  Jill and I were there once before 17 years earlier.  We went to the Power Plant on the American side.  It has a really nice visitors center that is free.  Mississippi Mud, in Tonawanda, is a great place for lunch.  They have a variety of sandwiches and an ice cream shop.  Plus the view of the river from the roof is pretty good. The Maid of the Mist was a lot of fun.  It was less wet, but much louder than I expected.  Fort Niagara State Park has a great pool with slides for a minimal cost and is a very nice place to relax in the late afternoon. The Falls at night are very pretty and the parking is free after 8 or so.  

Testing our new hammock
Lake Ontario @ Wilson Tuscarora State Park
Cooking dinner
Sunset on Lake Ontario

We had a great time in the Niagara Falls region.  We wish that we could have stayed another day or two to explore the area, but we had to get back home.  On our way out of town, we stopped at one of the more than 25 winery's in the region. We picked Niagara Landing Wine Cellars because it was the only one with Niagara in the name.  Jill and I did a quick but thorough wine tasting for 10:30 in the morning and departed with 4 nice bottles of wine. 

To break up the drive home, Jill's college roommate, Diane let us camp in her driveway for a night.  Of course this was the hottest day of our trip, but with 2 fans we all still slept comfortably. You may not know this but the movie Shawshank Redemption was shot at a prison in Mansfield, OH.  It is was on our way home so we stopped to have lunch and get a few pictures.  We did not do the tour but I am told it is worth every penny.

Lucy @ Shawshank

Till next time.  Cheers!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

She's done!!!! (almost)

Lucy is ready for camping.  It has been a lot of work over the past 10 months.  I still need to make the counter tops because i ordered the laminate too late to be delivered before our first trip. However, we are really happy with how she turned out.  A week ago, we pulled her out of the garage so we could finish up some outside items, like installing the door.

We ended up having someone else make the cushion covers and they really did a nice job. Jill made all of the curtains and did all of the decorating.  She made this little trailer feel a lot bigger on the inside. The last thing I did was to build the sling cot that my daughter will sleep in.

To give Lucy a proper send off we decided to christen her.  We had our good friends come over for a snack and the breaking of the champagne.  Unfortunately, the bottle would not break.  I tried it twice!.  Just took a little paint off of the coupler. Pro-Tip: Use a thin walled bottle if you try this. :)

We had a wonderful time bringing this little camper back to her former glory.  We can't wait to start camping in her and sharing Lucy's adventures.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Been a long time/All together now!

Time has a way of getting away from you.  I didn't realize that I had not put a blog post together for almost 5 months. A lot has happened during that time and this will be a long post.

After getting Lucy boxed in, I spent some time finishing all the roof supports and insulating her roof.  I used 1" silver faced polystyrene foam insulation.  This ended up causing a little problem later since I only had 3/4" recesses to put it in.  To keep water off of her roof, I created a domed roof.  I don't have any pictures of this, but what I did was take 3/4" plywood strips and created a 1-1/2" tall arc that went from side to side on the roof supports.  The center of the dome is at the roof vent.  I ended up adding these extra dome strips to 4 of my roof supports.  I tried to make the outer two a little shorter to let the aluminum flatten out evenly.

I stained and poly'd the ceiling, but first I had to sand it.  I used a flexible plywood for easy installation, but this material had a horrible surface finish.  I sanded it for at least 8 hours and there are still some machine marks.  Staining over your head is difficult and tiring, thankfully she is only 10' long.  It took 2 coats of stain and 2 of poly before I was happy with it.  Pro Tip: make sure to sand between coats of poly.  I didn't because I was tired of sanding and I have a slightly rough finish when it could have been smooth.

Next up was paint.  Since I was building Lucy in my garage, I didn't have a lot of extra room.  Luckily I have a small workroom in my basement.  I bought a lot of plastic sheeting and created a paint booth.  I hung a box fan at the one window in the room and used a respirator as I painted.

I started out trying to strip the paint off of the aluminum but I found that it really didn't want to come off. Instead of stripping, I ended up using a wire brush to scrape the paint off.  It worked well on most of the panels. Where holes appeared, I used JB Weld to fill the small holes.  I painted for weeks.  Bringing one panel into my basement paint shop at a time.  Each panel was cleaned, primed and painted.  It took about 3 days per panel.  I used spray paint for all of the aluminum and it came out pretty nice.  One thing I didn't account for was how little a can of paint actually covered. I went through probably 30+ cans of primer and paint in the end.

As I completed panels, I installed them on Lucy.  Here is her road side. This side has all of my services.  I added a new 30 amp input, cable input and water inlet.  The old water inlet was too low for my new 15 gallon tank.  The old inlet is still there to cover a hole in the skin.

Work continued on the interior.  I built the back gaucho bed and also the dinette seats.  Since the camper is small, I tried to create as much storage as possible.  Under the gaucho bed, I have 2 large drawers.  The dinette had a big drawer and also under seat storage. 

 For my kitchen drawers I wanted to do something special. I have a CNC milling machine so I cut out some Scotty shapes for a nice detail on the drawers.

As I got closer to completion, we finished little jobs like wiring up the outlets, painting the furniture and touching up some damage I did to the paint.  I also completed a really big job. Lucy's original roof was a 3 piece one that caused many of her water problems.  I decided to put on a one piece roof.  This was a big job, but not too difficult.  I bought the metal from an RV outlet online.  The shipping was almost as much as the metal.  I bent the channel on each end of the roof myself using some wood strips and a hammer.  The hardest part was cutting the metal to size.

Painting the roof was interesting.  I masked off the entire camper and hung plastic.  Painting took 2 weekends and was difficult because I have poor lighting in my garage. It did come out nice in the end.

After paint, I installed the windows and the edge trim.  I used butyl tape on everything and the installation went smooth.  I did miss a bit on one aluminum panel install.  When I put the front side window in, it did not cover all of the holes.  I ended up adding a few eyebrows to fix that issue. I painted and repaired the rock guard on the front window.  The last project was repairing the door.  I was able to repair the original Bargman lock.  The door was a mess when I took it apart.  Thankfully there was enough left that I could get some good measurements from it.