Friends! Family! Internet strangers!
I’m going to bring our story up to date.
We went to Wisconsin as planned and explored my stomping grounds. We rafted down the rapids whose white noise was the soundtrack to my childhood. I introduced Larry to some of my first friends, both real and imaginary. We ate pasties, a traditional Cornish pastry seemingly unique to the northernmost regions of Wisconsin/Upper Peninsula of Michigan (if you’ve never had one, do). It was nice, reminiscent.
Revisiting places and people was an adventure of its own, but our trip did develop an alternative objective. Something drew our attention there, a thing full of potential and opportunity: a 1968 Avion camper. My dad had mentioned it to me previously. It was something he’d bought nearly a decade ago in hopes to repurpose it into an office space. When he moved away not too long after, though, the Avion remained and never got the love it needed.
As soon as we saw it, we wanted it. Sure, the frame was cradled by dirt and a tree had grown into the window from it sitting in one place for 10 years. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. After some digging and cutting, we were miraculously able to haul the thing out of it’s eroded spot. We took the measures needed for the long haul to Georgia. A change of tires, a copious amount of duct tape, some bungees and a nice stick to hold the door closed, and we were off.
It took some time, but we made it to the South. In one piece, sort of.
Here it is.
It was difficult to get interior shots, as the cabinets, floor and general lack of lighting made for lots of shadows.
But you get the idea…
Our first matter of business was to strip the interior. Despite the grueling Georgian humidity, pulling the appliances and cabinets was fairly painless. At least, it was compared to the situation we are in now. We’ve gotten to the part where we strip the paint off the original aluminum walls. We’ll have a shiny interior, space ship-esque. Cool, right?
First, we tried Citrastrip, a supposedly “green” version of paint stripper, still powerful but without too harsh of chemicals. That’s the orange gel you see on the left wall. It worked well on the parts that it worked at all. Around the beams, or rivets, the paint began to sag down as the Citrastrip did its magic. However, the paint on the innermost parts of the aluminum panels would just not budge.
So, Larry and his dad, also named Larry, donned their stylish respirators and got down to business with more serious chemicals. Using aircraft remover, the paint budged a bit more, but still required significant effort to scrape the layers down to the aluminum base. We’ve researched a few other methods including a glass bead gun, a dry ice paint bomb, a heat gun, vinegar, etc.
Needless to say, if you have an experience in this field, PLEASE share. We have a lot of surface area to go.
We can’t wait to be onto the next step of restoring this thing.