Friday, September 13, 2013


That's all it was - a simple plan for the exterior of the van to remove the ugly pin stripping. Things got a whole lot more complicated over the next three weeks until there wasn't even much of a plan anymore - just reactions to each step that didn't go according to plan.

But first - because of a little oops moment inside the van, Derek needed to fix the fiber glass on the exterior at the front. I probably shouldn't go into much more detail since I most likely shouldn't be mentioning it here at all. All I'll say is that one should always make sure that the screw is SHORTER than what is being screwed into - right?! Enough said.

Derek's patching of the fiber glass in progress - bondo and sanding is the next step. He also sprayed rock guard on the front and then paint of course. Allllllll because he screwed up - literally - his words. (Update - just want to let you know that there were in fact only 5 little pin holes in the fiber glass - but since Derek was filling those he decided to patch the whole front.)

While we were thinking of the pin stripping, and looking around at the rust that has developed here and there around the van.....

Look what we found lurking behind the bubbling paint!!! And not one.....

but TWO significant holes. All it took to get rid of these babies was metal mesh, bondo, sanding, fiber glass mesh, more bondo, more sanding, painting. Sadly, I didn't take a picture of the final result but it turned out pretty darn good if we do say so ourselves - bet you couldn't find them now. Not bad for VERY non auto body people - as you'll see below. (You may want to stop reading now Kevin - this may be a bit painful for you! Yes, yes, we know - this is best left to the professionals! But we are far to frugal for that!)

So anyway, NOW back to the pin stripping problem. Again, a lack of pictures - sorry about that. I guess I was trying NOT to document the whole sad experience.

We first chose an automobile spray paint to COVER the pin stripping. OK - not necessarily the best way to go but all we were committed to at the time. Hmmmm - that probably would have been ok if we had chosen the right colour. Unfortunately, we liked Arizona Beige more on the lid of the can than what came out. 

We could have just painted over that - right?! Yup - we could have - and should have - but then we got some of that advice from someone else that you always wish you had just ignored. Apparently, it is easy to sand the pin stripping off. Oh ya?!!! Well, ok. 

And how do you sand off automotive paint and pin stripping? Well, you just find a sanding disc that fits on your drill and away you go. No - that's not what you do - but it is what we did. Hey, did you know that this way the sand paper sticks to the spinning pad so that you can't get it off and therefore can't use more sand paper to feather the edges - yup - that's what it does. 

It doesn't look so bad does it? That's what we thought - plus the primer will fix the rest - right?! Nope - it doesn't and didn't. Oh great - now we have a swirly rough surface.

AND - now that we have such a large area sanded - why not paint the whole bottom of the van?! 


Cassia's about the only one smiling through this ordeal. Not really a commercial for frog tape although it did work really well by the way - she was much more happy with a new container for all her little bits.

The fact that the ponies were back next to the quonset where we were doing the work on the van helped us convince her to come with us each day.

We've been getting a lot of fog recently - here is the sun from a few days ago. Interestingly, we have had more nice days so far in September than we have all summer. Thank goodness for that!

Anyway, back to our project. FINALLY the side panels were painted - black rock guard on the bottom and a lovely Italian Olive on the side. I know, I know - one step away from a military vehicle as we have heard from one person - when was the last time the military used 'Italian Olive' that's all I have to say. And - what's wrong with military green anyway?!! Yes - those legs belong to yours truly.

I was busy on our new plan - call us C R A Z Y - but we decided to fix the swirly side of the van with birds - and one bird - we chose a Raven - turned into many birds. Here's me painting a Raven on the front. What did we do with the side of the van - well we painted a few hundred flying Raven's of course! And by the way - we used Tremclad Hammered black paint for the birds - pretty neat - it gives a dimpled shiny texture. It goes well with the 40 grit sandpaper scratches that now looks like wind turbulence from the flying Ravens. Yup - that's the story effect we were going for! It's ours and it's our artwork! 

So there she, he, it - is!!!! Good from far but far from good. We suppose that Caballito doesn't fit so well. A new name is in order - how about Raven. Yup - Raven it is!

Just rolled out from the quonset last night at supper time - just in time for our trip today into Lloydminister for more supplies and groceries.

Odd? Neat? Crazy? Hmmmmm. Well, it doesn't matter - we like it!

One of the workers staying at our park that has been watching our progress said "Well, you are making it your own." Compliment? Not sure but definitely the truth. We have made our van our own for sure - we won't get lost in a crowd now - if we ever did!

Our front Raven in the moon light. It didn't turn out exactly as I had planned - I look back at my sketches and realize that I made some changes - oh well - maybe I'll get back up there one day. Or not.

Derek also put on three coats of flex coat to the roof to protect the fiberglass. This is the stuff that is for RV roofs - we figured we might as well add it too.


Our BRAND new purchase?!!!!

Drum roll, please........

Our very own 2014 5'x8' cargo trailer!!!!

Definitely a bonus - and a luxury - in the world of the Wood Clan, but even we have to admit that living in a camper van with a kid, husky and cat in addition to the two of us is a tiny bit cramped. So this winter trip we are sporting this little number - a worthwhile investment we think. Plus, all things point to the fact that we got a good deal at $2,700. We were VERY well taken care of by the people that sold it too us over in Vegreville at the 4 C's Trailer Direct. We are happy to pass there website to you.

And, well, that's what we have been up to these last few weeks. All of the humming and hawing over the exterior totally took over our renovation project. We are glad that it is finally done since we still have lots of work to do inside!

If all goes ok with the weather we should be at the Park until the middle of October. The cabin water lines are only a foot deep so when they have to be shut off so does the rest of the park. We are estimating a October 15th leaving date. Update: nope - out of here Oct.8 - yahooooooo!!!!!!!

Guess we'll have to fill you in on this winter's destination soon!


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