Prior to setting out for our journey to visit Colin Hyde Trailer Restorations in Plattsburgh, NY last month, we had to get our temporary running lights wired and hooked up to the bumper of the Twinkie. We also wired a bright blue LED light strip across the bottom of the back window that flashed whenever the turn signals were applied as an additional safety precaution. Mike was concerned about the magnetic light bases coming loose, so some red duct tape was applied to keep them in place. With bearings greased, tire pressure checked and door secured, we hit the road at 6:30 PM.
We soon discovered that towing our 26 footer, albeit empty inside, was truly effortless and we had to keep reminding ourselves that we we were indeed towing a substantial piece of aluminum behind us. About an hour into our trip north on I-71 a toothless guy wearing a rebel flag cap and driving an old Gremlin motioned for us to roll down the window. He kindly told us that he saw some metal parts falling off the back of the trailer. Praying that we’d not caused any problems for the folks behind, we pulled over at the next exit and discovered that some old plumbing fittings must have rattled loose and fell out of a hole in the belly pan. We had not gutted the bathroom ourselves so we weren’t aware of any loose things. After pulling additional parts free and tossing them into the trash we returned to the road.
Our first stop for the night was our nephew’s home in Summit County, OH. Jeff is a Summit County Deputy Sheriff and his next door neighbors are law enforcement officers as well. We pulled into their driveway around 10:30 with our “not so nice looking” Airstream which in fact looked more like a mobile meth lab with the interior gutted like it was. If we’d had hazmat suits and masks hanging from the interior ceiling it would have undoubtedly looked like a traveling crime scene. The neighbors immediately came out of their house and texted Jeff’s wife asking about the scary looking trailer parked in their driveway. Funny how our diamond in the rough was perceived as a sinister mobile meth lab look alike!
We hit the road bright and early the next morning knowing that we had a 10 hour drive ahead of us. We received several “thumbs up” along the way but as we got further into New York we started getting some rather strange looks from passers by. We guess that a ramshackle looking travel trailer with Kentucky plates and running lights duct taped to the bumper made for an interesting sight to New Yorkers. We arrived at Colin’s home at 6:30 that evening tired and hungry. We took Colin and family out for dinner and a cold beer sure tasted good after 10 hours on the road. We spent the night in Colin’s ’59 Ambassador and slept like babies.
The following morning we towed the Twinkie to Colin’s shop to drop her off and let him begin working his magic. Colin’s shop is a fascinating operation. Indoors he had 11 Airstreams in various stages of completion, an amazing array of parts and accessories, and an impressive assortment of machine tools, many of them custom made or adapted for Airstream restoration and repair. Outdoors is part of a staging area, part museum and part “boneyard”. As we toured his facility, Colin’s pride and enthusiasm for all things Airstream was readily apparent and equally infectious! We spent about an hour inside our trailer reviewing our floor plan and with Colin’s guidance, reworked some of our initial layout ideas. We had to make a few compromises but we walked away with a great livable floor plan based upon our needs and design functionality. We anticipate that the Chrome Twinkie will reside at Colin’s for about a year. Be sure to check back on this site as we plan on updating it during the entire restoration process.
Thanks for visiting our blog and we hope to see you down the road someday.
Mike & M.J.