Sweet Clementine and Bitter Drama
We have quite an update. Well…just a long overdue one.
In our last installment, we just put the refinished wheels with the new tires back on her and she was looking mighty fine. We had also recently dug up some info about Comets and excitement was building.
In the time that passed from our last update to now, we found a guy that restores vintage camper trailers in Johnson City. We took Clementine to him on Valentine’s Day, 2014 with high hopes and expectations. After multiple missed deadlines (that he set for himself) and catching him in lots of lies about all sorts of different things, we held his feet to the fire to really try to get this done. Unfortunately, he doesn’t take kindly to people who hold him to his own promises, so he fired us. So on July 29th, we picked up Clementine and brought her home. I’m not in the habit of bad-mouthing peoples businesses, but if you are looking for someone to help you restore a camper, I DO NOT recommend Vintage Travelers. It’s a joke disguised as a business.
ANYWAY. Now that the ugliness is out of the way…
Let’s back up, even before V-Day 2014…Stripping paint and buffing 70 year old aluminum.
It was really labor intensive and really slow going. One really exciting thing that did happen, besides a great arm workout, was the Comet emblem. Before you could barely even make out what it said. It took us a while to even finally read ‘Comet’. Once we put the gook on that ate away the paint, we assumed it was a goner. But lo and behold… I believe our gasps could be heard above the power washer. Which was loud, if you’re unfamiliar.
The process was simple enough. We slathered on Cirtistrip and waited for it to get good and dry. Then used a pressure washer to remove the paint, dirt and citristrip. It was, in a word, mesmerizing. About a week after that, we headed back to the ranch to start buffing. I was on toddler-duty so I didn’t partake, but some family came to help. It was a long and grueling process. But we finally started to see some improvements.
We also used this time to start pulling away at the interior to see the extent of the water damage and rotten wood. Up until this point, we wanted to preserve as much as possible. But after seeing all the damage, we’re opting to rebuild. Close to the original but with some modern updates.
Finally, the day arrived to take Clementine to Johnson City (yay?). D and his Dad headed out to the ranch the night before to get everything hooked up to his dad’s truck (camper, tail lights, etc). They got there later than they expected and were doing a lot of work in the dark. It finally just got way too late and decided to just get up early to finish. Well…the morning light didn’t really help. His dad’s truck is wired all wrong so the temporary tail lights we got wouldn’t work because none of the wires were where they were supposed to be. Long story short, and thanks to D’s great uncle Henry, they were on the road around 1 (got up at 7 in the hopes of getting on the road soon after). It was a very frustrating day and I felt both sad for him, and relieved that I decided to stay at home with J.
We arrived in Johnson City at around 5 or 6. Did a once over with Sean and his wife about what we were wanting to do and left about an hour and a half later. I could tell that they weren’t totally on board with our wanting to update everything. They made that clear. I should have listened to my woman intuition then and there, but we’d come so far.
I’ll stop there. It seems logical since this is where our story goes dark for about 6 months. Wait until you see how far we’ve come…the next few posts will show LOTS more progress! Stay tuned!