Project Vintage Thunder

The latest on Project Vintage Thunder, by Airstream Life magazine. Sponsored by George M Sutton RV, Reese hitch, Dometic USA, PPG Paint, Axis Products, GSM Vehicles, and Zip-Dee. Vintage Thunder is an "honest" RV refurbishment and travelogue. We tell you what really happens ...

Friday, March 11, 2005

90% done, 90% to go!

There's no question that the big jobs are behind us now. Vintage Thunder is on the road, and usable. So why does the list of "to-do" items look so long?

On the 25-27th we are planning another marathon weekend of work. Here's what is on the list so far:

Install the new oven
Install upholstery on foam (probably won't be ready in time, so we'll do this later)
Cabinet latch adjustments (some of them aren't closing right)
Mini blind cut & install (bathroom)
Reinstall trim and caulk in shower (didn't get to this before the rally)
Re-wire 7-way plug correctly (it only charges when we are in reverse!)
Install catalytic heater
Install replacement door lock (current one doesn't lock)
Replace broken door hinge
Door weatherstrip
Window weatherstrip
Refrigerator access door weatherstrip (leaking)
Shower plumbing leak (just a slow drip, but we've got to take everything apart to get this one)
Install rubber isolators on water pump
Wire loom on water pump (to protect them)
Fridge wall and top finalize (storage)
Install other handy pouches and shelves in bedroom
Fabricate and install pantry shelves
Replace city water fill (it backfeeds & leaks)
Weld in new outriggers & paint (another thing we didn't get to initially)
Replace plumbing vents
Install stereo speakers & stereo
Install TV antenna
Install propane tank cover
Install mounting plate for LCD TV arm
Install new silverware drawer
Design a better bed set-up system
Finish hull liner in bedroom
Reinstall toilet paper holder (broke off the first week!)
Install towel bar in bath
Install paper towel holder in kitchen
Shellac on bathroom closet floor
Aluminum flashing for bathroom closet hole (a pipe exit)
Install bathroom floor & transition strip
Install screen door plastic slider
R&R rusty screws in bathroom (I missed a few)
Install kitchen blinds
Hang parrot (he's a mascot)

All this in three days: March 25-26-27. I guess we're asking for another set of 17-hour work days! Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Finally! I called back Foremost/USAA and scored an insurance policy. It was a two-week battle of phone calls ("We'll have to check with Underwriting on that. Can you hold?"), emailed photos, and explanations ("You say this was a refurbishment project. Who did the electric work?") but at last Vintage Thunder is insured for $10k. That's less than the actual value, but enough that if it is crunched badly on the road, we won't go home empty-pocketed.

For the number lovers, we got $10k collision & comprehensive with a $250 deductible, $2,000 personal effects coverage, towing and $50,000 vacation interruption -- for a total of $266 per year.

One little surprise here is the low cost of towing coverage. I had called Good Sam a week ago to renew our membership. They asked me if I wanted Roadside Assistance for an extra $79. I said, "I'll think about it." Then they offered to transfer me to their partner, GMAC, for an insurance quote. GMAC offered me towing coverage for $6 per year. Hmmmmm.... certainly a better deal than $79, even if they won't come out with a gallon of gas for me.

Unfortunately, they couldn't cover Vintage Thunder under their regular policy because of the "excess value." (They would never pay true value in the case of a claim.) So they offered to transfer me to another department for a "stated value policy." Then they disconnected me. I called Foremost back the next day (who hadn't exactly been great about returning calls either), and got the policy. All in all, not a great showing for the insurance companies ...