We then attached the bottom hooks to the rock shield. Now based on the photos I was able to find on the Internet about how to attach the rock shield, they all seemed to have the hook on the body of the trailer and the over-center catch on the shield. We didn't like the way that worked -- it would've required a shim of some sort, and the catch would have to go up into the graphic... So, I suppose you can say we installed the catch/hooks upside down, but they seemed to work just fine and hold the rock shield in place nicely!
And with that, Phineas, Ezra and Gus have taken up residence in the Mansion! Hence the title of this post. I understand that there is room for 1,000 happy haunts...well, maybe not. It's not that big of a trailer...
While we had a few extra hands on deck, we decided it was time to go after the belly band and reinstall it. We wanted more hands on it so as to NOT scratch the paint during the re-installation. One of the things I wanted to do with it was make the attachment of it more secure - the original way the band was attached was with blind rivets -- they entered on the top side, went into the fiberglass and did NOT come out on the bottom. Several didn't even make it through the fiberglass -- they completely missed that part all together. So, we drilled all the rivet holes completely through the belly band. We installed it on the trailer and CAREFULLY drilled the holes through the fiberglass. We then inserted stainless steel bolts and fastened them on the bottom side with friction nuts. It's amazing how sharp the trailer looks with the band back in place!
Next up was to install the hinges for the door. We wanted to get the hinges attached to the body first -- that way we wouldn't be fighting the door when it came time to reaching into the cupboard beside the air conditioning unit. Of course, we put butyl tape behind each hinge and reinforced them on the other side with fender washers and lock washers on the inside. Once they were in place, it was time to add on the final piece -- the door.
Again, thankfully we had many hands available to do this. I remember fighting it by myself -- and this would not have been a fun job had we not had Bryce's and Braden's help. They held the door while Dan and I attached it.
Now you'll notice that we used LONG screws. We did that intentionally. The original bolts were just too small to use...and besides, we wanted to use stainless bolts....it also made it easier to attach everything when we didn't have to worry if the bolt wasn't in all the way or was in danger of falling out while we put the washers and nuts on. Eventually, we cut the excess bolt off using a Dremel metal cutting disc.
And with the first test...the door closed and latched with a solid and resounding click! No adjustments necessary! It was like we planned it that way!
At one time we were worried about how the door would look without a piece of the belly band going across it where the paint line was. But the guys at Pickens did such a great job, we're not going to do anything...we're gonna leave it just like it is!
Once the door was on, I used my expired AAA card (I got a new one, BTW) to trim the excess butyl tape from around the hinges -- both on the door and the body of the trailer.
With the door now on, we could install the curtain rod and curtains on the door. Here are a couple of pics. (Including one of Dan peeking in the window!)
Shifting our attention back inside, we installed the fridge for the last time, We had some issues getting to the tie downs... Remember -- we had the hooks on the floor (as shown in the photos from days past)? Well, we taped the tie down hooks to them to keep them from falling out during the install. We then ran the strap straight up to the top of the cabinet, taped it to the underside of the cabinet, then across, and then connected the other side (which was racheted) to the other hook on the floor. We had to use a couple of large caribiners to allow the ratchet to be up high enough to work...which is right next to the drawer (when removed). Once we started tightening the straps, the tape on the underside of the cabinet popped loose and the strap fell perfectly into place. We cinched it up pretty tightly -- and like the microwave, we don't think it's gonna go anywhere. To keep the stuff inside the fridge from going anywhere, we added a child-proof safety strap for just such an application....
We then moved back outside and put the edge trim around the bottom of the Scamp. Again, a few gentle nudges with the rubber mallet and things were all good....
Dan made the comment when he was taking pics for us that to really get the color of the purple, you needed to be at an angle to it...in the first pic below, you see a top/down view. The second pic is taken from a much lower angle (before we put on the trim...) You can also see it a bit in the pics he took of the front of the trailer.
Before we called it a night, we installed the smoke detector (eventually we'll get the LP detector), gathered up all the tools, fasteners, trash and other debris off the counters and gave them a quick wipe down. Tomorrow will be the big cleaning day...because for all intents and purposes, we are done with construction. The plan is to take it to the car wash tomorrow and give it a good bath (and check for leaks!). I'm sure we'll find something we need to fix/replace/redo once we take it for the shakedown cruise...but that's expected. For now, though, we're just glad the Hitchhiking Ghosts have finally moved in!
Today it was time to start cleaning up the Mansion and get it ready for our trip....First was extracting the Mansion from the garage. After easing it out of the garage (and with relative ease, I might add), we swapped out the "storage wheels" for the sporty aluminum rims.
We took the Mansion down to the local car wash to give it a bath! It wasn't that long ago when we gave it its first bath! Below are photos of the way the Mansion looks today and the way it looked when we brought it home.
I posted previously that I'd post some "beauty shots...." Here's the Mansion all clean, ready to be packed for the trip!
Despite how nice it looked, there still were a couple more accessories that needed to be installed...first up was a paper towel holder....Found this really nifty one-piece unit that fit perfectly in the corner.
Of prime importance was the installation of the fire extinguisher. Just a couple of screws and the extinguisher was mounted and ready to go -- let's hope we never have to use it!
We needed a place to put up the nifty Haunted Mansion towels for display. Seeing as how the big cupboard door was really wide open space, we opted to put a towel rod on it.
Next came mounting the spare tire. One of the things that bothered me was the way it was mounted to the body of the trailer. When we got it, you could see where the tire had rubbed up against the body of the trailer and left marks...much like what you see in the pic below. Fortunately, the circle you see is only a dust ring which we eventually cleaned off. The dust ring was actually quite helpful in helping to place the bumpers. I had thought about using rubber door bumpers to keep the tire off the paint and yet still in contact with the trailer.... so that's what we did.
Since we were installing "accessories," it seemed like a good idea to put on the decals and things now that the trailer was clean. You may be curious about that big sticker in the lower right corner of the back window.... For those of you into geocaching, you'll recognize the symbol. It's a travel bug! And if you see the Mansion in person, you can read the code to log in and document your find.
For those of you who aren't geocachers, the travel bug normally is an aluminum dog tag with a number on it that is attached to a small trinket or item. This item is then placed in a geocache - a container hidden somewhere by another geocacher for you to find using your handheld GPS unit -- it's a modern day game of tresure hunting... (If your intrigued, check out geocaching.com). Anyway, the idea behind the "bugs" is that when you find one, you take it home, look up its ID number, read about its "mission" and then see what you can do to further it on. For example, some bugs may want to travel the world or have photos taken by famous places or people - the missions are only as limitless as the imagination of the owners! We have one that's a Hard Rock Cafe key chain fob that has as its goal to be photographed in front of every Hard Rock Cafe in the world... Anyway, once you are done helping the bug along its journey, you place it back in another geocache for another geocacher to find. In this case, you can't "take" the bug, but you can log that you have discovered it. So, if you happen to see the Mansion, you can log into geocaching.com and log that you have seen the Mansion. I won't post a pic of the number here...the idea is to see it in person! But I can tell you the mission of our "bug" (the Mansion): To be spotted in the 49 states and Canada that can be gotten to by roads. So...if you see the Mansion, look in the right back window and write down or photograph the number...then go to Geocaching.com and note where and when you saw us!
The next adornment is one we had on our old Pilot - a window sticker from Walt Disney World that has been modified a bit. Originally, the sticker said "My OTHER car is a DOOMBUGGY." Well, since ours IS the Doombuggy...(the license plate is DOOMBGY), we cut out the word OTHER and affixed the decal.
The third accessory was the "chrome plated" Mickey head by the right rear tail light. In the photo, you can see we got the tire mounted and covered with the old, but now freshly laundered tire cover.
We moved to the front of the trailer to deal with some "security" issues. Many moons ago, we got a security kit (like the one shown) and it's been waiting to be installed. The kit came with three major pieces: One was a specialized padlock to prevent the coupler from being opened. It replaces the lock pin that was in there.
The next piece was the locking pin that went in the hitch receiver to prevent that from being removed from the vehicle. And the third piece was the coupler lock-out mechanism... It's a handcuff for your trailer. The ball goes up in the coupler and then the U-shape tightens down. The coupler is now occupied and useless. A friend of ours used one on his utility trailer and swore by it...so we decided it's a good idea.
And while we did all that, the sun was behind some clouds...but then, the clouds broke and we were able to get some photos of the trailer in the sunlight!
That purple is really something else - how much purple you see depends on the angle at which you see it...sometimes it looks black...other times a dark chocolate brown...and in the sunlight, you get the brilliant purple highlights....
So in short...below are photos giving you a brief comparison of what we started with and what it looks like today.
Whew. It's been a long haul over the last 10 months. I want to thank all of you for your advice and encouragement in this project! I honestly couldn't have done it without all your help, comments and photos! I hope that the entries I've made here will inspire someone else to tackle this. It's tough, to be sure, but well worth it!
I'm sure we'll be posting updates on the things we'd like to change/fix/repair...After all, the shakedown cruise is yet to happen!