A Plumber and an Electrician walk into an Airstream…

…is either the beginning of a very promising joke, or a (brief) summary of the last couple of weeks in Airstream restoration. But seriously folks, it’s sooooo wonderful to be far enough along for systems work, and pleased to be able to hand most of it over to real experts. (Ben’s edit: Huh? What are you saying??) WARNING: This blog post will rank high with Airstream renovation enthusiasts, low with others. But to tide others over (eg my closest friends), here is something pretty – I machine appliqued the sailboat (a yawl like one we used to own) and Airstream onto the napping couch pillows. The reading light is newly installed and you get a good look at the bathroom sink cabinetry in the background.

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OK, back to the boring stuff. First the plumbing. You may recall in our prevous post that Ben had laid the groundwork for final connections by running all the PEX lines. My parents had scheduled their plumber Jaime to come over and do some maintenance (leaky faucets, a no-no in drought stricken California). They sung his praises, so we arranged to talk to him about doing the Airstream connections. The main requirement is that he be comfortable with PEX tubing, which is becoming more popular in home applications (it’s less labor intensive and thus cheaper to install), but still raises a few eyebrows among old fashioned Jaime-The-Plumber types because it’s, well, not copper.  Turns out Jaime and crew did know how to handle PEX, had all the right high-tech tools, and even signed off on PEX philosophically as perfect for a trailer.  All went great. A real feeling of progress when we hooked up the “city water” supply (i.e. attached the garden hose to the newly-installed inlet in the back of the trailer) and the system was pressurized!  Faucets all worked and everything drained properly!

Jaime the plumber at work

Jaime the plumber at work

Meanwhile, we’d been hunting around for an electrician and found Soren, the electrician who works with Brody Travel Supply in Ojai, CA. Brody is one of our favorite follows on Instagram. Collin, of CFDetailing knew we were looking for an electrician and suggested we call Geoff (“who knows everyone!”) at Brody, who then kindly hooked us up with Soren who works out of their shop about 90 minutes north of Glendale.

So, we prepared to take the trailer out of the driveway for the first time (since we arrived here on May 6th) to head up the road. Woot!

We battened down the hatches, confirmed we were paid up on our insurance, and put some notes on cars parked across the street – asking if they’d move their cars so we’d have all the room possible for leaving the driveway. The hitch scraped a bit when we had backed in and we have since installed our water heater; its exhaust pipe (see pic below) sits lower than the hitch, on the side. If that pipe scrapes, we are doomed. So, Ben built some hefty wood ramps to deploy under the tires if we needed some extra height to avoid scraping, and I positioned myself in the rose bushes to watch carefully as he moved out – alas no scraping, so the hefty wood ramps have been set aside to be used in the zombie apocalypse.


Water heater pipe in foreground, hitch in background. Zombie apocalypse ramp at left.

Airstream, after successful launch fro our driveway, in our

Airstream, after successful launch from our driveway, in our “staging area” a block away on a quiet street adjacent to ours.

We took the easterly route (the 210 to the 5 to the 126, y’all!) to Brody’s in Ojai (avoiding the 101) and had an uneventful drive through mountains and valleys and lush (thanks to irrigation) fruit and vegetable farmlands. It WAS great to be on the road, even for a short time. After arriving, we killed a little time before meeting with Geoff, taking pics of our shiny trailer and tangling with a junkyard dog (not really).

Geoff kindly gave us a tour of the other trailers in his lot – some works in progress, all interesting and made more so by his enthusiast’s perspective and details. He and Ben exchanged some sourcing ideas. We quizzed him about solar, etc. We made plans to return two days later to meet Soren once he began the work,

Though we didn’t have much time to explore Ojai, we did have a delicious outdoors lunch at Boccali’s with an oak grove behind us and farms and mountains in the distance – fresh lemonade, Italian subs, and their signature strawberry shortcake.

Then we headed, sans Airstream, west to Santa Barbara for a couple of days of R&R. We’d been looking for an excuse to get up north to visit my cousin Nancy there (my aunt and uncle also have a vacation place there). We stayed two nights, had two fabulous dinners with Nancy and Peck (that’s him manning their backyard pizza oven below while dog ‘Stache keeps an eye out for scraps), breakfast burritos both mornings (Jeannine’s had the edge on taste, Daily Grind on value) and a very restful and rejuvenating time looking at this view (far right) from Uncle Ron and Aunt Mary Jane’s place.

When we returned to Brody’s to go over everything, we were introduced to Soren, electrician and, naturally, vintage Airstream enthusiast.  Where do all these people come from? Everybody out here loves old trailers! Anyway, Soren knew immediately what we had in mind and he proceeded to do an awesome, super-neat job connecting all the wires Ben ran beneath the walls to the fuse box and new batteries.

So for now, while we await next week’s appointments for propane (Monday), solar (Wed) and floors (Friday), Ben has a ginormous punch list to go through – installing electrical boxes and light fixtures, finishing woodwork, and who knows what else. I get to go shopping – snagged tons of cool stuff for storage/shelving at Ikea yesterday – showcase to come. Later today I’ll be putting on ratty clothes so I can polish up the bad boys below before they begin their lives supplying life blood to our fridge, stove, water heater, and bbq.  Sigh. Only Ben (and polisher Collin, of course) would demand such aesthetic perfection.

Propane tanks about to get clean.

Propane tanks about to get really shiny.

2 thoughts on “A Plumber and an Electrician walk into an Airstream…

  1. Ha zombie apocalypse! I have always wanted to visit Ojai!
    So excited u r so close to going. Are wildfires messing up any plans? I skipped the middle section and am impressed by the pillows


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