OK, so I've read some of my past posts and my typing is absolute garbage. You wouldn't even believe how often I have to correct just to get it to the barely readable point it's at. So sad- I should have taken typing at Lamar instead of "Data Processing"- where we learned how to do computer spreadsheets (like Excel) and I got my "Advanced diploma" because I made that choice. Bogus. Not that an "Advanced diploma" from lamar would've helped anything except maybe getting a scholarship (if I was a minority) to a community college loosely affiliated with HISD.
Anyway, considering that my home and a huge part of my life right now is the 1965 Airstream Trade Wind that, until yesterday, resided in teh backyard of the funeral home, and now is situated along the tall grass and weed line on the East side of the El Cosmico property just out of town. Just to let you know how small Marfa is, my building is considered to be right on the edge of downtown and I can see the Airstream from here if I look due South down Abbott street.
The Airstream has a long hitory, the good parts we'll never know, but we can deduce the worse end of things by taking what we know in conjuction with the condition of the trailer for the first 2 /12 years it was in Texas.
The official owner of this Airstream is the Houston Continental Club, Pete Gray had always been looking out for a cheap Airstream (good luck folks) that he could convert into a band green room for the club's backyard. One day about 3 years ago a basket case Airstream showed up in the parking lot of the club and I asked what it was there for. Apparently, some regular customer had foolishly bought a totally rotted out Airstream from some cat in the Everglades in FL. After spending about $1000 to get wheels, tires and axles on the thing (not even trailer brakes or lights, which were OEM and would be required for regular usage), plus gas, the H-town dude had no place to store it while he got the money and time together to fix it up. From the get go, I saw it as potentially beyond regular repair- not ruined entirely, but rotted, stinky and always wet inside. Plus, somebody had left a bunch of nasty stuff in it and most of the original fixtures were totally gone, and what was left was moldy and rusty-holes in the floor, ruined wood veneer, the whole deal.
Within about two weeks, some nice drunk idiots had smashed out the taillights and cracked some of the yellowed plexiglas windows, plsu ripped off the doorknob.
After about 3 months, finally some gang showed up and tagged the heel out of the thing all across the the back and the driver's side. At that point Pete Gray told the guy he had to get it off the property. A sob story about how he had spent nearly 3 grand on it, including cost ($1500- very cheap for any Airstream), repairs and the trip to get it from the deep swampland of Florida. Pete, not being one for subsidizing slacker idiots other than a few folks who have lived upstairs from the Continental, called his bluff and said to get rid of it, at which point the guy wanted to sell it to Pete Gray. Pete Gray offered $1000 and the guy didn't bite a all. Two weeks later, $1000 bought it for the club and it was moved into the Continental Club backyard for safekeeping and a planned eventual re-do.
Fast forward more than two years to find myself and Trey Armstrong, manager of the Continental Club, joking about me living in that nasty thing out in the desert.
24 hours later, after I had slept on that joke and taken into account how slowly the Marfa project was going, how much money I could save, plus my aversion to renting apartments anyway, I talked to Pete Gray and worked out a deal- I would fix it up as needed, keep it as long as I wanted, and will eventually return it (in however many years) to the Continental for use as a band green room. In Trey;s words, it actually will probably wind up being the band room sooner than it would have if it had stayed at the club.
Anyway, major renovations to every piece of the trailer were in order. I will go through all that in my next post, but first here are some pictures of the fabulous Airstream about 3 weeks after daily work began in earnest. I have some more detailed pictures in analog, but these'll have to do since I have not yet processed film this year.
The vast majority of the serious damage was caused by leaking from the roof vents. These were vents for the kitchen stove, the gas refigerator (still in place). the bathroom and kitchen plumbing vents, the rotted out roof air vents, and the miscellaneous doors on the sides of the trailer that serve the plumbing, gray and fresh water tanks and appliances. Basically, ny forst decision was to eliminate every single unnecessary appliance, sink and the whole bathroom in order to create a larger area with no chance for long term leakage. This is all since it was immediately evident that the entire fllor and portion of the steel understructure would have to be replaced. This would include welding the frame in the rear where rust had nearly caused the dreaded Airstream "rear-end seperation"- often the end of a trailer's usable life. More pics. Keep in mind, I had already cleaned out the trailer, the rotted furnishings (including the 6 ft bed- way too short for me).
Anyway, tomorrow I'll try to go through most of the steps I took in the 8 week and $2500 process of building this basket case trailer into my home- a happy one, thus far. Here's a few more pics, including a couple on a day that my good Lamar High School buddy Corbett "Clitbit" Bishop visited Houston from his home in Tanzania. He actually compared my Airstream/Marfa adventure to his moving out to Africa years back. I guess compared to JP Morgan we're on the same wavelength entirely.
More tomorrow. you wouldn't believe how much more rockin' this trailer is now. By the way, I got some really good help on the national Airstream Forums. Google it and become a member if you're even remotely interested in joining the Airstream ownership cult- a better cult than Apple or Whole Food,s by the way, and I'm an Apple and WFMI stockholder.- David