Monday, October 5, 2009

New trip and a few fixes, water lines, leveling blocks, etc

Well, I haven’t been working on the Shasta too much lately. I have been moonlighting for the local bar and grill on weekends, grilling burgers outdoors for the football tailgaters. Also, we would rather use a fair weather weekend to camp in the camper rather than work on it.

So, here we are at beautiful Bell Cow Lake just outside Chandler, OK on Route 66.

Don’t be fooled by the odd name, it is a nice little lake with a couple campgrounds where almost every site is shaded by oak trees. For 15 bucks a night, and only 45 minutes from the driveway, it is definitely our late Friday afternoon whim, “Hey, let’s go camping” destination. There were about 8 other campers there, almost all 10 years old or newer. We got quite a few looks and waves from passersby, but we were far enough apart that most everyone kept to themselves.

The only trouble we had from the kiddos was getting both to sleep at the same time in the same room, but it wasn’t too bad. The kids had fun. Addie got to sport her new hat to stay warm, and Will got to collect wood and build his first campfire, capture a caterpillar, chase a small tarantula, and sleep in the hammock.

Addie, middle finger approaching nostril

My two favorite girls

Will trying to con the caterpillar into crawling off the tree onto his chin

Will taking a nap in the hammock

Cheryl’s sister Jamie dropped by with her son Nate, and her friend Autumn and two pink flamingos for Cheryl’s birthday. They look great in front of the camper. I am talking about the flamingos, but the girls are cute too. Will and Nate had different ideas about the flamingos. Nate thought they should be petted, while Will thought they should be clobbered, the difference in perspective from 1½ and 2½ years old.



Nate, eyeballing the camera.

All in all it was a great weekend outdoors with good company, good food and a good fire.

As we camped in the Shasta, I have discovered a few new things that needed work. Luckily nothing that a few bucks and a little labor can’t cure.

One thing I have discovered, after taking her out on our second outing, leveling blocks are your friend. Second, leveling jacks are for stabilizing, so quit calling them leveling jacks. After jacking with the trailer (har d har) for longer than my loving wife would have liked, I learned that I don’t want to unhook the trailer until it is level from side to side. This is done using the scraps of wood that came with the trailer placed under the low side tire.

Here are the blocks that came with the trailer.

Once it is level, then I unhook the trailer and level it front to back using the jack in front, which is soon to be replaced since its travel is limited to only a few inches before becoming much harder to crank while making an awful screeching sound. I am thinking there is a mild bend in the leg. Once the trailer is level side to side and front to back, then I use the stabilizing jacks to keep the trailer from bouncing. Now be nice to me, don’t roll your eyes until it hurts. Before this I was a tent camper. When I was little my parents had a pop-up camper, but I was a kid. I just didn’t know. Now I do.

The nearest camper to us had a really great leveling system. After a Google search online when we got home, I decided to make one. You can buy a plastic version, but for 9 bucks at Lowe’s I got one treated 1x6 12-feet long to do the job.

The system is a stairstep setup that doubles as a wheel chock for the elevated wheel. You basically pull or back the trailer up onto the steps until you hit level. Mine has 4 levels, from 3/4” to ~3 1/4”.

I cut 4’, 3’, 2’, and 1’ boards, put a 45° bevel on one end, stacked them and screwed them together. I butted a 4” plank on the end to work as the final stop.

Four planks

My help doing the assembly; he works for room and board

The end stop
I had enough left for one last plank, so I cut one more 1’ board and I can throw it on top if I need to raise it another ¾”.

Extra plank added
~3 1/4"

The second thing I discovered is that our water hookups needed an overhaul. I hadn’t hooked up the water at the last campout, and I had never looked closely at the hookups. The city water hookup leaked at the fitting and the drain hose had enormous cracks.

Inlet fitting

Drain Line

So, I got a new fitting for 3 bucks that attached directly to the copper line, giving me a nice clean inlet.

For the drain line, I just yanked the old out and replaced it with a chunk of yellow garden hose; it was the same size as the old line. Problem solved.

Garden Hose

Old Line

New Line

For 2 bucks, I got two pvc plugs to keep dirt and bugs out of my lines.

I probably could have done these repairs in half the time but again, I had help.

I am sure that there will be more little odds and ends as we progress but she is camp ready, and I look forward to taking her out a few more times before it gets too chilly for the whole family.

Now, if I could just finish those wings and the table…

So, if you are following along, so far we have:

Trailer $900

Bearing Repack $100

Steel $10

Sealant $10

Fan-Tastic Fan $140

Three Sheets 1/8 Birch $50

3M Polish $18

Buffer Pad $12

Mothers Aluminum Polish$8

TSP Cleaner/Paint Prep $8

Rollers, brushes and trays $30

Frog Tape $10

Etching Primer $5

Goo Gone $3

Paint 3 Gallons $98

Foam $250

Upholstery Fabric $510

Curtain & Pillow Fabric $80

Glass $50

Glass Seal $72

Backframe Gasket $80

Pile Weatherstrip $6

Vinyl Weatherstrip $5

Silicone Discs $5

Butyl Tape $15

Screws $70

Chains $10

Harness $6

Teardrop Lights $20

Sway Bar $45

Metal Plates $2

Wire and Outlets $54

Power Supply $20

Water Fill Lid SOLD -$20

Watco Stain $20

Bullseye Shellac $8

Howard’s Wax $10

Trim $18

Upholstery Labor $460

Curtain Hardware $40

Globe $12

CO Detector $8

LED Strips $28

Switches $10

Sandblasting $100

Paint $5

Propane Tank $12

Fittings $20

Door Catch $6

Plank $9

Fittings $5

Bringing our tally to: $3,453

Until next time dear readers, shasta la vista...


  1. I found your blog by accident, but love what you are doing! Prserving the old-what a gift to your kids!

  2. Thanks, I plan on camping with my family for years to come. Glad you like my blog.

  3. I love your blog. We are new owners of a 58 shasta airflyte. Keep us updated with your progress and travels......thanks again. You have me inspired to get going on our new addition.

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  5. Great story and good details on how to apply formica to a new table. I'm planning a similar project. Where did you source the metal edging for your boomerang vintage formica table?

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  7. Hello, How do I polish the aluminum wings & trim on my '63 Shasta? Help!

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  9. How’s the project now? I’m wondering if you can share where you to the teardrop lights. I just purchased a 1959 Shasta. I’m so looking forward to building her back up.