Do You Ever Wonder?

| May 28, 2011

Note – I thought the Memorial Day weekend, a weekend when no self respecting fly fisher should be on overcrowded waters, would be a perfect time for some lightweight reading on personal project. So, stay in from the forecast 40 mile-per-hour winds today, and read about a behind the scenes project of epic proportions.

Airstream Safari '23

It’s just a wild guess, but I bet a few readers show up here and wonder, what the heck is this guy up to? He never fishes, doesn’t fish as much as he used to … whatever. The truth is, we’ve had one wild spring when it comes to weather, with constant winds, crazy heat, and strange cool days.

Then, there’s this – a 1970 Airstream Safari ’23. It is one of my projects that has been hung around my neck since the demise of the economy a few years ago, and the brunt of all family jokes that include me as the “go getter” I am. Heck, what can I say, fish got in the way. The Airstream sits alone as the preeminent trailer in an American landscape covered … with trailers. As I traveled the western states as a child with my Grandparents, Grandpa always marveled at the quality and technology that was all wrapped inside the aluminum burrito of an Airstream travel trailer. “Did you know they are perfectly balanced,” he said every time we saw one. “They’re aluminum, they don’t rust, and you don’t have to paint ’em,” I could almost repeat at the same time. Heck, it was the mid 1960’s, there wasn’t a lot else to do or talk about going across the western deserts of the U.S. back then.

Airstream Safari inside aluminum skins

Push comes to shove now, and the Airstream is on the final journey toward what, in Airstream parlance, is called the “Full Monty.” The “Full Monty” is a process by which the top of the trailer – floor up, is separated from the deck / chassis of the trailer, rolled out from underneath and work continues with (in this Airstream’s case) a complete re-decking with modern marine grade plywood, a new steel cross beam replacing the tailrotted aluminum rear beam and effectively boxing the back of the frame for modern rigidity and perpetuity. Then, it’s back on with the shell, back on with the skins, and then a total modern rebuild and redesign of the interior – just another weekend project. Now, doing a “Full Monty” is a groundbreaking repair every time it’s done. Go ahead and google the terms “full monty and airstream” in any combination and see what you get. Not much. So, if you know anything, or find anything on the “Airstream Full Monty,” or if you want to help when I get to the “Full Monty” it’s worth some time to yourself in the Airstream, say around the Guadalupe (or who knows where) this coming winter or early spring.

If you are interested in the progress, or Airstreams in general, be sure to visit www.airstreamdiary.com to find a whole different tangent on the fly fishing life. As you look at all the photographs of the Airstream, try and imagine a fly etched on the outside skin. It can happen – the great mobile “Texas Fly Caster Base of Operations” in North America. What better defines “Fly Fishing Culture on the Skids” than a trailer anyway?

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Life Observed, OFF TOPIC

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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