2011 Wash, wax, and treat time

Upon return from our beachside camping last May, the trailer got a thorough rising off of salt deposits, and the awnings got their annual washing.  I opened the awnings and flushed off large amounts of dirt and debris that especially like to accumulate where the fabric attaches to the trailer.  I then followed the recommended method of washing the fabric as mentioned in my article, “Trailer awnings“.

This past summer I broke with tradition and waited two weeks before the start of our fall camping season to do our annual wash, wax and treat job.

I avoid getting onto the roof by using a step ladder and tools with an extended arm for both washing and waxing the trailer, including the roof.

This is also a time when I inspect for filiform corrosion and take appropriate protective and treatment measures.  Protective measures include using good quality wash and wax materials.  I particularly like Meguiar’s products, especially their Mirror Glaze Polymer Sealant #20, which I have applied every summer.  Since using this sealant, the filiform growth found on the edges of some of my aluminum panels and rivets has been stopped in its tracks.  The below photo of my “dragon” filiform corrosion was taken last month and shows no growth from its original photo taken in 2008.

Treatment measures that have worked well for me (with the exception of the taillight bezel housings) include Boeshield T-9 Rust and Corrosion Protection and CorrosionX.  I also apply 303 Aerospace Protectant to rubber seals such as those around windows and the FanTastic Fan Vents (protects and keeps them from sticking).  These products are currently available at the Airstream Store.

The taillight bezel housing fixtures presented a more difficult problem. Even with the treatments mentioned above, filiform growth continued unchecked until I stopped it last week, using more drastic measures.  My guess is that the clear coat on these fixtures is thinner and more fragile, so when filiform starts to grow here, it appears to lift and break the clear coat, allowing the filiform to be nurtured with more air, moisture and salts.  Filiform lesions on the taillight bezel that once looked like this in 2008, now looked like my mom having a bad hair day.

Up until now I have believed that it is best not to disturb clear coat finishes on the trailer, but these taillight housing filiform lesions needed to be excised.  I adapted a method of filiform removal devised by a member of AirForums.com.  Instead of a Dremel, I used a small screwdriver to gently scrape away the crumbly clear coat and filiform lesions.  I then used wet sandpaper in incrementally finer grits from 320 to 600, along with mineral spirits, to smooth the lesions.  (I eventually found even finer grit of 1000 to 1500 at a local auto parts store.)  After cleaning once more with mineral spirits, I applied two coats of a good quality clear nail polish.

The “bad hair day” lesion is gone, only its ghost is seen, along with a few diagonal scratches from a Dremel tool, which I quickly stopped using.  I cleaned up all of the other lesions on the taillight housings in the same manner.

Nothing is permanent in life, and as time passes, it is good to enjoy and savor every moment… Just ask Andy Rooney about time… and passages… but not while he’s eating!


Agua Caliente contemplations

Last Sunday we arrived at Agua Caliente as temperatures soared in the 90s, requiring air conditioning that first night, but by the next night I was wearing long johns as a rare early October storm from the Gulf of Alaska began moving into the area, bringing rain to the San Diego coast and high winds and unseasonably cool temperatures to the desert.

We came prepared to celebrate Oktoberfest.

Larry brought items prepared at home such as Jäger-Schnitzel (American version: Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup simmered with pork chops), Würzfleisch (East German chicken stew), and Kartoffelsalat (German potato salad).  We also brought leberwurst (liverwurst), bratwurst on skewers made of rosemary branches from our backyard, Beck’s Oktoberfest Lager, and German steins.  Additional items such as corn beef, corn on the cob, and pita bread provided meal flexibility depending on the weather and how we felt at the time.

By Tuesday, cool breezes made for a comfortable hike through Moonlight Canyon Trail, where I had a close encounter with Bighorn Sheep last January.  (The park rangers were impressed with my photo journal of this event made with iPhoto’s book-creation tool.)  I saw no sheep, but I was impressed with a large California Fuchsia, a.k.a. Firechalice, on the trail with a profuse display of scarlet flowers that we have not seen before because it blooms August to October, when we usually are not here.  A Rufous Hummingbird was seen nearby.  The flowers supply hummingbirds with food for the start of their southward migration.

I discovered a scorpion in the park restroom sink as I was about to take a shower.  I helped it out with some tissue paper and coaxed it out the door, but it quickly darted back under the door, so I chose another shower and now keep a closer eye out for creatures in restrooms (and those that like to take shelter in our trailer tire covers).

After the shower, I enjoyed Larry’s corn beef – Swiss cheese pita wrap served with chips, tomatoes, and Beck’s Beer.

This was usually followed by afternoon reading or napping.  At bedtime, I continued reading out loud Harry Potter.  We are currently reading Book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Before the gusty winds arrived, we enjoyed mellow evenings under the moon and stars.

On Thursday, we listened with sadness to a BBC tribute to Steve Jobs, which included his words of wisdom spoken during his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life… Have the courage to follow your own heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”