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Thread: Casey Cabin

  1. #1

    Casey Cabin

    Since we spend so much time working on the cabin instead of the car, I figured it wouldn't hurt (with a little urging from some friends) to chronicle our adventures in the off topic section.

    We didn't work on the cabin last weekend since we were in HB so I'll just give you some highlights of what we've been up to.

    When we first purchased the cabin, it had been vacant for about 4 years. The woman that owned it lost her husband. It was too difficult emotionally for her to visit the cabin - too many memories. Understandably, she let it fall into disrepair. Varmints made a home in the kitchen cabinets, in the beds, and pretty much everywhere else. The last update/remodel was apparently late 60's or early 70's as evidenced by the groovy orange shag carpeting. Even in a normal house this would be an eyesore, but in a cabin overrun by messy little furry creatures, you can imagine the dirt and smell and overall mustiness. Wall after wall of wood paneling wasn't terribly appealing either, but the icing on the cake was the ceiling. I don't know the official name for it and "thingies" just won't suffice here. I want to call it acoustic tile, but that may not be correct. Let's just say it was not attractive and definitely give you a woodsy mountain cabin feel.

    Step 1: GET RID OF THE CARPET!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, that was actually step 3. Step one was to go through and get rid of all the things on the walls and odd furnishings that we didn't intend to keep. That was my job and it was pretty easy. Essentially everything was going. Step 2 was getting the beds out. This was not fun because there were dead mice, poo, pee and odd nesting materials under, over and throughout. Mike's strong, but even he couldn't move an entire queen size mattress by himself. I was forced to don some gloves and squeal while hefting my portion all the way out into the sun. Don't worry. We wore masks too. The mice in this part of the state can carry the Hantavirus. No thanks.

    The carpet was nasty. I may have alluded to that. At first we tried vacuuming. Turns out her vacuum was malfunctioning and it actually blew years of pent up dirt out ONTO the carpet with quite an unusual extra odor. We brought up the carpet cleaner and thought we'd "wash" the carpet. That created mud and the realization that the thickness of the carpeting did not allow for actual cleaning. The carpet itself was not terribly difficult to remove (said the person watching rather than helping). The jute (I think that's what it's called) underneath was the big issue. Bleck. I cringe even now thinking back.

    It took several weeks and several full trailer loads to the dump before we were able to actually spend the night inside. Prior to that we were either sleeping in the motorhome or staying with Dan (super awesome fellow FF owner that happens to have a cabin right across the street). Even with all that work, we couldn't use the kitchen. There wasn't enough bleach in the universe to make the piles of mouse poo in the cabinet disappear from my memory. We ended up pulling out the entire kitchen and redoing half of it. Half? Yes, half. The other half needs some attention to the foundation. If you put a marble in the kitchen, it would speed rapidly in a downward direction towards the back closet. I'm not sure if it would make it or if it would veer off in another direction. None of the cabin is level. It's a cabin, so I guess it isn't supposed to be. Anyway, we replaced the cabinets with hickory and the countertop is one of those cheap laminate ones from Lowe's, but it looks a little like granite (if you are nearly blind or squint enough). We replaced the refrigerator and put in an adorable little stove (20" wide). It's hard to cook without cabinets or countertops surrounding the stove and I managed to knock a hot pain of ground beef onto the kitchen floor once, but at least I'm not grossed out by mounds of mouse excrement.

    We pulled up the carpeting in the drop down living room (where the excellent view is) and put in laminate flooring. Mike swore he would never do it after he put down our kitchen floor at our real home. That meant I had to do this room. He was forced to help with cutting, measuring and some brute strength here and there, but I mostly did it myself. Yay me! It was hard and painful and I'd never do it again, but it's rewarding to see it.

    A couple weeks ago we decided it was time to open beam the ceiling so we pulled down all those nasty tiles which were apparently supporting 90 years of mouse nest/poo/urine. I didn't think the floor would ever recover, but it was surprisingly easy to get it all out. I mean, it was a ton of work and I was sore for days, but it wasn't permanently damaged. In the process, Mike discovered the wall dividing the living room and the bedroom wasn't really all that supportive and not terribly well built so he ripped it down with the intention of rebuilding a stronger wall. Turns out we really like not having the wall so our bed is now in the living room and I don't think we are going to change that. Some of the "studs" in the original wall didn't even touch...well anything. A plank of wood would come down until about an inch above the floor and just stop. It was hanging. It's something you'd have to see to believe, but none of the wood is consistent. There's an odd shaped plank of redwood here and some pine there and something that looks like it fell out of a tree nailed in over there. Nothing makes sense.

    That's about where we stand now. The ceiling is open and it's so much nicer. We are going to insulate it and put redwood over. The center beam things will be strengthened and metal plates attached to hold everything together. See how technical that sounded? I should be a contractor. Last time we were up, we worked on creating a loft above the kitchen. It's hot up there. I hate climbing up and climbing down, but being up there working is fun. Mike actually trusted me to measure and install planks of redwood that he was cutting. Steve was transporting and communicating between us. It was really neat. I'm not as good at it as him, but not too shabby. Things were going really well at first, but then the diagonal cuts weren't quite right. I realized the pieces of wood weren't consistently 12" wide and that's what was making the gaps. I forced Steve to con Mike into measuring the width of each so I could measure more accurately. That helped.

    I'm not sure what the plan is this weekend, but I think it involves electrical (and a trip to the library since they are having a book sale and I truly can't resist). The original electrical was knob and tube. We left some of it up for decoration, but Mike rewired the kitchen with "real" wire. Currently we only have power in the kitchen. Everything from there back is dead. We actually use a lantern in the bathroom at night and oil lamps and candles everywhere else. Ambiance. It gives the cabin a romantic feel. Yeah, that's it.

  2. #2
    I'm exhausted just reading that Jules. Now that you are 'like a contractor and all" you can come to work for us.
    Frank
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  3. #3
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    Mike and Jules-

    Wow y'all, this is awesome! I know it is a serious pile of work, but the location of that cabin, the view, and the relaxing environment is a slice of heaven!

    It is an amazing amount of work you have done in such a short amount of time, especially with two kids, jobs, and life's "stuff" going on. I remain truly impressed and inspired with all you do. Thank you very much for sharing the latest adventure with us.

    Keep us the amazing work!

    Regards,

    Steve

  4. #4
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
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    I wanted to add some unique information about this property...

    These cabins were built from 1922-1924 the best we can tell. The Area is called Big Pines and it was a recreation area developed by the city of Los Angeles (LA county board of supervisors) in the forest, not the USFS in 1922. It was advertised as a playground for Los Angeles residents. Its reported that more then 10,000 people would visit the area on any given weekend. Big Pines consisted of a Dance Hall, Lodge, Pool, rental cabins, Playground, Skiing/Sledding area, Zoo, and a hotdog shack.

    The cabin we own is very special. It is ONE of 13 Cabins on the Flats. These cabins were privately held cabins and not rented out. Our cabin was owned by the superintendent of Big Pines. Most of the other 12 Cabins were owned by Los Angeles board of supervisors. This property was set aside for them and the cabins were built using building materials from LA county projects. The labor was prison labor. Of course the building and acquisition of these cabins was the source of a major controversy in the 1930's when charges were filed against some of the board members as well as the superintendent.

    Some of the original cabin owners had a colorful background. One of the board of supervisors was very corrupt. Took bribes for a Dam that was built that ultimately killed 140 people was sentenced to san Quentin and when he was released, he visited terminal island prison for tax evasion. Of course his cabin is the biggest and fanciest. LOL

    In 1942 Big Pines was handed over to the USFS.

    Today, there is not much left of Big Pines. The famous arch was removed for a highway widening project that never happened. 2 of the main structures burned down in the 80's. However one was rebuilt to its original glory. Other then that, the rest is gone... Except for our cabins! The cabins have changed slightly over the years, but they are very similar today as they were over 90years ago. One thing that has maintained the area is the fact its considered "Historical". The outsides of the cabins are locked in time and you are not allowed to modify them in any way without approval first and whatever is done needs to be period correct.

    Unfortunately, some previous owners of OUR cabin did not respect the spirit of keeping the cabins original. Sometime in the 70's someone changed out the windows to aluminum sliders (which we are in the process of getting approval to change to period correct wood) as well as remodeling the whole inside 70's style. Covering up REDWOOD using cheap thin fake wood paneling!!!!! We have been working hard to bring her back to her glory. By far we have the cabin in the worst shape due to neglect. But it won't be for much longer.
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  5. #5
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
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    Picture of the Arch and Big Pines. Yea, thats about all of it. There were a lot of camping areas, but this was "town"
    Attached Images Attached Images
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  6. #6
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
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    Here is a picture of our cabin in 1924. There are a lot more trees now!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  7. #7
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
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    Here is a picture of 2 other cabins in the trac in 1924
    Attached Images Attached Images
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  8. #8
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
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    Here is a picture of our cabin this past winter. There is also a picture of the road that curves around our cabin.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  9. #9
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
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    Julie asked I post some before and and after shots of the cabin.

    Here are some before of the living room / drop down living room
    Attached Images Attached Images
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  10. #10
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
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    As of yesterday...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  11. #11
    I like the snowshoes on the ceiling. This is quite the project, the before photo's do not include the smells Julie was describing.
    Doug
    Built FFR5196 MKII in 2003, 427w
    Building FFR0058HR, Edlebrock 347-AOD

  12. #12
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
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    Its a big project, but small cabin. So its very doable in small steps. Besides, you are not held to the same standard as you would be with your home. At the cabin... "its better then it was before" is good enough
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  13. #13
    Wow, the before pictures look better to me than the after. Yikes! In person, it's the total opposite. If I knew how to add in smells, I wouldn't. That's just mean.

  14. #14
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
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    Yea, well those before pictures look way better then it did in person!!! Those pictures LIE!
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  15. #15
    As the neighbor across the street, I must say the Casey's have brought a new spark of energy to the McClellan Flats gang. These places beg for owners that "take part" in the repairs/renovation and the Mike an Julie duo are just that. So far they have been thru our latest NON winter but did see the effect of crazy flat land idiot snow players that think our front yard is their trash can. The Casey's dog "Taco" does a great job of keeping the intruders at bay. (and me to, seems to have a very short memory)
    Since we are now a two Cobra town, we will be needing some of you locals (so cal) to come up for our local car show and help us make our mark. (August, don't have the date yet) I can put up at least one couple at my place. If you want to stay at the Casey's you will need to fight off Taco.

    Dan Ziol
    Plum Loco

  16. #16
    Car show is August 15.

    This is Taco

    P1010823.jpg

    What Dan is very nicely trying to say is that we moved in across the street and won't leave. He's trying to make the best of the situation by befriending Taco who only knows who Dan is as long as Dan is sitting down. As soon as he stands up, it's a whole new intruder in Taco's eyes.

    I doubt anyone will want to sleep in the living room with us, but we have tons of flat parking so we can easily fit oodles of Cobras in our driveway.
    Last edited by MRSQSL; 05-05-2015 at 10:20 AM.

  17. #17
    Administrator David Hodgkins's Avatar
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    Road Trip!!

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  18. #18
    Yay! Everyone should come up. Even if you don't want to spend the night, come on out. It's an hour from Corona if there isn't any traffic. I think it's just over an hour from Pasadena if you come the other way. Anyway, it's close to everyone so let's do this!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. #19
    The work this weekend wasn't as much fun as usual. I strongly dislike electrical work. It's not for the reasons you probably think. Mike loves electrical and dove right in. I was reading when I heard "Julie". Sigh. He needed me to hand him a tool. Okay. I put the book down and passed up whatever he had requested. I stood for a bit. Yawn. Back to my chair and book. A minute later. "Julie". This is how the entire weekend went. Don't get me wrong. He's working hard and I greatly appreciate everything he does. It's just that I get frustrated easily with this system because I can't really help and I can't NOT help.

    On a happier note, Mike was able to get electricity to the living room. It isn't in the entire thing, but one corner. Also the loft is now wired up which made it easier for Steve to vacuum up there. My only real job (besides playing fetch) was to screw down the plywood up in the loft. It would be a lot easier if the stupid screws would stand up by themselves. I'd hold one and then let go as I pushed down with the drill, but apparently my pressure was uneven and the wood was as hard as a diamond. The screw would shoot off to the side and the drill would scream down towards the boards. ARGH! Plus, the roof is slanted and you can't stand in the loft so when I got towards the edges, I had to duck and reach out. I don't have the brute strength to hold a drill that far out and still apply pressure in an even, downward manner. It was mighty frustrating (not as bad as having to get up after opening my book every few minutes). It was also very hot up there.

    I felt a little bad about not being more helpful so I decided to clean the garage/shed for Mike. He'll probably never find anything again because my system of organization can't possibly be the same as his. Tools that turn go here and tools that hit go over there. Tools that have blue handles up there. Green things over this way and so on.

    A few months ago, Mike announced we were going to run power to the garage. Yeah, okay. I didn't realize what he was trying to impart to me is that running electrical means digging a trench and he fully expected me to be a part of that. I wasn't fully clear on why we couldn't drop wire on the ground and kick dirt over it. Done stamp. Mike took the shovel and dug down a little so we could all see what direction the ditch should take. Digging in a cool, moist forest seems like an easy thing, right? WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The roots were a minor problem which we solved by going under or over. The real issue was the rocks. Did you know a mountain has lots of rocks in the dirt? No, really! Every few inches, a new rock would suddenly form. Steve (with all his youthful enthusiasm) spent a good chunk of time bending over and picking up the larger rocks for us. Imagine our surprise when one of the smaller rocks moved. Upon closer inspection, we realized it was a white scorpion. Oh no. I have a fear of "S's". Snakes. Spiders. Scorpions. I was out of that hole and hiding behind Mike in no time flat. A second scorpion turned up later that afternoon. Yeah, no thanks. I refused to touch anything without at least one pair of gloves firmly attached to my delicate fingers. What was supposed to take a couple hours ended up taking a day and a half and it also rained for the first time in a long time while we were working. Wet and dirty with sore muscles. Ugh. There is power to the garage and I appreciate it much more than if I hadn't been one of the diggers.

    Another highlight of cabin life happened a few months ago as well. We had originally only been bringing one dog with us because the larger gets car sick and she loves to be outside so we left her in the backyard and would have people check on her. She's about 15 years old and suddenly decided she didn't like to be outside so now we always take her as well. She has gotten better about not vomiting in the car, so that's a huge perk. Anyway, when we decided to bring her we had to bring a larger bag of dog food. It seemed easiest just to get a really big one and leave it there. We packed up as usual that Sunday and off we went. The next weekend Mike grabbed his snow shoes to head out to the garage. As soon as his foot hit the bottom of the shoe, he jerked it back out. Further inspection revealed a large pile of dog food nestled in each crevice. Mike dumped out at least a half a meal for the dog. I grabbed my snow boots. Same deal, but not as much. I walked over to the dog food bag and found a large hole in the bottom where something, which I assume had four small legs, chewed through. It was friendly of the critter to redistribute the food and share so generously with our shoes, but clearly we had an issue. We feel like it may have been a chipmunk, but most likely it was a mouse. It just seems like the food was too large for a mouse to carry. We ended up naming the chipmunk Chip and would adopt it if it would let us catch it. They are so darn cute.

  20. #20
    It hardly snowed at all this winter, but oddly decided to snow last week. We arrived to a smattering of whiteness over and around the cabin. This also meant it was cold. 33 outside and 41 inside. Brrrrrrrr. It took forever to heat the place up now that we have so much more space up above. Good thing we brought lots of insulation for installation. Mike had hinted earlier in the week that putting this thin blingy insulation on the ceiling in the loft would be a simple and fun job for me. There wasn't any "mocking up" involved and it WAS blingy. I stupidly agreed.

    Dan was supposed to come up earlier in the week, but he had injured his back lifting something he never should've attempted to lift on his own. I planned to give him a really hard time until I saw the poor man. Ouch. He looked miserable. I immediately put away my pointy laughing finger and put on my sympathy face. It was really nice having him around though. He is always good for a consult AND he informed us there were lots of firemen and fire engines down in the center of town for some show and tell sort thing. Mike jumped at the free hot dog part. I was already drooling over the fireMAN part. Oh yeah.

    After hot dogs and hot men (sorry, I'll try to restrain myself in the future), it was time to finally get to work. I was getting very little guidance on this project so I figured I'd just use my best judgment and hope it all worked out in the end. The ginormous roll of insulation was 48" wide (or close to it) and the beams (don't laugh) were built at about the same width (or so I'd been told). It seemed all I'd need to do is measure the length from the highest point of the roof down to the floor of the loft in a diagonal pattern, following the ceiling. Mike suggested I add a couple inches extra just to make it easier to attach. Okie dokie. 109.5" so 111.5". I had Steve do the measuring because I can't get from the ladder to the loft floor without help. It's a tad too high for me (hate heights already) so I can't heft myself off the ladder and onto the floor without pulling on someone or something. I generally make Steve climb up first and then I latch onto him and drag my body onto the plywood. Steve is horrified that I'm so weak and pitiful. I'd threaten him by saying he'll be in the same situation one day, but he won't. Mike is tall enough that he can simply plop effortlessly from the top step to the floor. Jerk. My mom won't even try. I'm sure Alyssa will be able to do it easily because she's young and somewhat fit. Anyway, I managed to cut a long strip of the insulation and Steve hoisted me up into the loft.

    I attempted to apply the thing to the ceiling, but it was really wide. I pulled out the measuring tape and discovered it's all a bunch of lies. The beams are not 48" apart. The measurement varies from 40" to 42" depending on where you measure (nothing is straight in a cabin). I tried to explain to Mike the issue I was having, but he wanted me to tell him how many extra inches were hanging over (this was before I measured). Ummmm...3? He said that was fine and just smash it in and fold it down onto the side beam things. He watched me struggle and declared it was more like an extra foot and I would have to put all the insulation on sideways instead. These seemed like an extraordinary amount of extra work. His stupid man logic is that it would save material. Fine. Whatever.

    So now I'm sitting in the hot loft, in the dark, trying to figure out how to measure properly. My left brain fought with my right brain and I got distracted by a squirrel outside and by my finger and something on my foot. Focus. I finally figured it out and cut away. I held it up (technically mocking up - growl) and discovered it was a mess, but would probably work. Kinda brought back all the fat mat memories but without the icky black stuff. I should mention that during my escapades, Mike was removing old wood paneling and insulating the walls before recreating the sheathing using some shiny plywood stuff. His job looked much easier than mine even though he was using that bulky fiberglass insulation. He wasn't being forced to hold things over his head or lay down to reach back to the furthest regions of the loft. Jerk. We were sharing a tape measurer and the stapler. Not okay. We need to buy more tools. Of course the stapler ran out of staples on my watch, but my inability to climb up and down forced Mike out to the shed for reinforcements. I had a heck of a time loading the thing, but finally succeeded. I dislike stapling above my head. It takes a lot more strength than I should have to muster. The entire time I was talking to Mike "this is a bad idea. I shouldn't be doing this on my own. You are going to be sorry." The last wasn't a threat (maybe). He looked up and claimed it was fine. "Better than it was". I'm not really sure about that, but clearly he didn't want to partake in my adventure so whatever. I'll just freaking do it all myself. Sigh. I climbed back down and cut 5 strips at 43" each. 43" x 48". This is not the perfect fit, but it was necessary for my sanity. Steve was hanging out with his buddy outside, so I had nothing to pull myself up with. My mom suggested moving the ladder to the side so I could grab one of the rafters. I realized there was a block screwed down to the floor and maybe I could pull on that. I forgot to calculate in the fact that I have zero upper arm strength. My mom held the ladder so I wouldn't fling off, but was laughing so hard I thought she was going to fall down. She yelled for Mike who came over to shove my leg. It almost wasn't enough. There I was floundering on the loft floor like a fish out of water - on the brink of plummeting to the hard, unforgiving surface miles below. Mike may or may not have accused me of being pitiful. My life was flashing before my eyes, so I'm not entirely positive.

    I got the whole loft ceiling coated in aluminum-esque stuff and was quite proud of my accomplishments despite how decrepit I felt and how unprofessional it looked. Mike was probably just relieved he didn't have to do it himself. Anyway, the next morning I was feeling rather stiff and sore and my head wouldn't turn as far as a normal human head should be able to. Dan was hunched over and sort of limping around and I was beginning to look about as agile. He was in much better spirits (probably the pain meds) than I. Dan headed back down to the flat lands and Mike decided to do some other stuff. He had managed to get electricity to another couple outlets and even mounted a TV on the wall. Yay!

    It was getting to be time to head back down the mountain. I had packed and cleaned and done whatever I needed so all that was left was to load the truck. I grabbed a couple of bags and turned to walk out. Something happened. I don't know what, but it wasn't pleasant. Pain shot from the center of my upper back to my left shoulder and up to my neck. I managed to get the stuff out to the truck, but that was it. I couldn't move my arms without pain or my head. It hurt to walk, stand, sit. Mike and Steve finished the loading and I looked pitiful trying to ride home without moving any muscles. Happy Mother's Day. Ugh. Mike made dinner and Steve made some amazing cheese bread. Alyssa arrived home with some chocolate covered strawberries she made. Yum. Everyone was very nice and I felt better the next morning, but still had lots of pain. I took some Advil and that helped. I've been improving daily. I'm pretty sure my back was exhausted from all that overhead work and the lifting was just too much. I won't be doing any ceiling insulation. The rest will be done by one of Alyssa's friends that agreed to help out (we are paying). Thank goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. #21
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
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    Some pics!!!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  22. #22
    Great. No pictures of my back breaking insulation work. Whatever. Oh and that's not Taco. That's the big dog. I'm going to see if I can find before and after pics of the kitchen. At least that part looks better. I don't understand how the recent pictures look so much worse than the before ones. Sigh.

  23. #23

  24. #24
    Julie, It is so much fun to read your adventures, you should put them together in two books. How to re-model a cabin and How to build a coupe! I thought that Mike would show a photo of your work on the ceiling.
    Doug
    Built FFR5196 MKII in 2003, 427w
    Building FFR0058HR, Edlebrock 347-AOD

  25. #25
    I think you mean How NOT to Remodel a Cabin and How NOT to Build a Coupe. Hee, hee. Mike doesn't take pictures of me or my work much anymore. I'm not sure if it's because he's busy doing his own things or if I'm such a mess he doesn't want to document the massacre of the cabin/coupe. I'll try to gently encourage photographic evidence, but it won't be pretty. Thanks for the kind words. I was a little worried there wasn't any interest in this topic.

  26. #26
    It snowed again - not while we were there because mother nature hates me and doesn't want me to see actual falling snow like I really, really want to see. I was born and raised in Southern California, so I don't really know what snow is or what it looks like falling from the sky. I got to see it a couple times this winter, but only brief glimpses and I'd get so excited I think I scared everyone around me. I may not be allowed back this winter with the predicted "strong el nino". Perhaps if I hand out earplugs so the others can block out my shrieks of delight...

    I accomplished absolutely nothing Saturday (other than cooking dinner). Mike did all sorts of stuff including some trim pieces around our redwood planks and a whole lot of foam. Whatever that insulating/sealing foam is, buy stock. We have easily used at least a crate full. Dan was doing the same thing in a neighboring cabin (not his) because of a mouse attack. I guess when you have prisoners build stuff using materials stolen from other job sites, you can't exactly expect the best quality work. As Alyssa says "If it's not slanted, it's not a cabin".

    Sunday was a tinge more eventful. Because we tore out the wall between the bedroom and the living room (where the thermostat had previously been mounted), the thermostat and subsequently long wire for thermostat had to be moved. Let me take a moment to walk down memory lane. The first several months of cabin ownership were warm because it was summer. We didn't use the heater so we didn't discover until the second time we filled the propane tank (which is not cheap), that the old thermostat didn't have an "off". It was "off" if it was set at 50. Being that the elevation is over 7000 feet, it's fairly obvious that it gets below 50 and therefore the heater was running essentially non stop. As soon as Mike realized, I drove down to the hardware store and fetched a very basic contraption with an "off" button. All better and we've only had to fill the tank once since then. Anyway, the wire for the thermostat was running from the heater (under the cabin) to the hole (through the cabin) and across the living room/bedroom. I was informed that I would need to crawl under the cabin and grab the wire and stuff it through another hole (that I'd need to drill). Ummmmm... (1) I'm claustrophobic (2) I'm arachnophobic (3) I'm not entirely coordinated and handy dandy. Mike assured me I'd be fine. I assured him I wouldn't because I was pretty sure I couldn't drill a hole over my head in a dark hole with a still slightly injured back. He gave in and said he'd attempt to drill the hole. Feeling like I'd won an epic battle, I pulled on some gloves and my hoodie, grabbed some old drapes to try to lay on and headed under the house. As soon as I unlocked the cubby hole, I knew I'd been duped. As it creaked open, a distinct web tearing sound could be heard. I HATE spider webs. I hate the webs almost more than I hate the beasts that hang on them. This was an extra special present because it was a dirty web with bug carcasses AND an icky black spider which started to run. SHRIEK!!!!!! I raced back to find Mike and told him I would not be going under there unless he removed that eight legged monster from the opening. Eye roll on his part. He half heartedly swung at the web, launching the spider onto the ground. SHRIEK!!!!! Now I don't know where it is and it could TOUCH me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eye roll.

    Mike shined the light and showed me where the wire was. Wait? Way over THERE?! That's like...far. The ground is all dirt and the beams get really low in places so I'll have to lay down and skish under them. He agreed, told me to get under there and he walked away. Jerk face (meant in a loving way).

    It was difficult to maneuver with the flash light and the curtains I could lay on to stay partially clean. I hit my head and my elbows several times. When I got under the super low beam, I had a moment of panic where my claustrophobia kicked in but I did my best to hold it together. After what felt like a 5 mile trek, I could reach the wire. Mike detached it from the thermostat and yelled that I could pull. Tug, tug. It moved freely at first but then got hung up somewhere. I didn't want to have to go exploring to see what awful creature was holding the other end so I decided to yank really hard. Success. Yay!

    I could hear Mike drilling a hole, but I couldn't see it. I tried asking questions like "how far from the heater", but he couldn't hear me well and kept yelling "what" which was starting to make me angry. I was inhaling a ton of dirt and I was pretty sure it was laced with Hanta. I didn't really want to spend any additional time down here. I asked how far he was from the point where the knob and tube came up through the floor since I was right below it. "15 feet" What? That's not possible. Which direction? "What?" ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eventually I realized he drilled sort of behind and below me so I couldn't see because I was about two rafters too far, but that's where the original wire had been. I skooshed down to where the hole was (completely grateful I didn't have to drill the hole myself) and found there was half buried piping where I needed to lay. Sigh. Ouch, crumple, stab, ouch. I shoved the wire up into the hole where Mike was able to grab it and spent the next 5 minutes trying to wriggle my way back out. Getting under the low beams was especially tough because now my feet were aiming out before my head and it's harder to go that way and especially while on my back. I didn't want to go stomach first because that just seemed creepy. I realize this makes zero sense now, but it seemed completely logical and rational at the time.

    My other success (maybe) for the day was installing some of the fat fiberglass kind of insulation into a wall. I wouldn't say I did well, but nothing broke and it was sort of fun. My nose was itchy and irritated the rest of the day so I think maybe I accidentally wiped my nose while I had my glove on (after tearing the insulation). I'm no stranger to fiberglass itchy/annoyance so I sucked it up (probably literally).

    Mike tore into another wall and now we are thinking about taking down a portion of the wall between the dining area and the living room. So I guess that would make the kitchen, dining room, living and bedroom all one area. At this rate, we won't have any walls left. The final decision will be made this weekend.

  27. #27
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    CORONA, CA
    Posts
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    Pics!

    You will notice this does not look like a real wall, well it is. Unfortunately all the inside walls are constructed this way. Basically scrap wood all nailed together. This place is more like a fort you build in the woods when you are 13, instead of a cabin.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  28. #28
    I don't know why all the pictures are sideways. The cabin isn't THAT slanted.

  29. #29
    The insulation in the ceiling looks great! I do not think that the cabin is slanted, just the camera operator.
    Doug
    Built FFR5196 MKII in 2003, 427w
    Building FFR0058HR, Edlebrock 347-AOD

  30. #30
    Actually, I took the pictures and they were all right side up when I sent them to Mike and asked him to post. It's all his fault!!!!!!!!!!

    I think the insulation looks better in the pictures than it does in person. The next time you are in the area on a weekend, come by and you can inspect. We'll even let you sleep in the kitchen/dining room/living room/bedroom.

  31. #31
    Jules, your chapters are hilarious and your kitchen is gorgeous.

  32. #32
    Being that it was Memorial Day weekend, lots of cabin owners were around and we ended up spending a huge chunk of time socializing. We didn't get much work done, but it was nice to see so many people truly honoring those that have fallen rather than just celebrating a day off.

    Over the course of the weekend, Mike managed to knock down the rest of the wall between the kitchen and living room. The headers he installed look fabulous!!! I sent him a pic so I'm hoping he'll post. It's going to take some work in the kitchen to make it all look as nice as it does from the living room, but that's for later this summer when we take a week off to fix the foundation. He also pulled out the little 50's diner looking bench seat which we gave to someone in the neighborhood. That was quite an event. Mike had loaded it in the truck and when the woman came to take a look, she asked me if I'd drive it to her house to be unloaded (Mike was at work). Sure. I didn't know she didn't have an army of strong (shirtless) men lined up in her garage. It was her and her daughter and pitiful little me trying to get the tie down ratchet strap things loose. I got two of the three, but that last one was a stubborn little butt. All three of us tried and finally succeeded. Let me just say her house is on a very busy street. People drive by almost constantly and gawk, but not one person stopped and offered to help. Jerk faces. Even I try to do what I can. I was at a garage sale over the weekend and I saw a couple struggling with a bench and ran over to help. Anyway, it was difficult and painful and scary, but we got it in her garage. I'm thankful the booth has a good home. I was sad thinking it might go to the dump.

    Anyway, all I really did this weekend was follow Mike around. I handed him things, found the stuff he lost and carried the other end of large wood pieces. He managed to find the time to finish installing the redwood and bender board on one of the walls. Looks super nice. Thanks to Dan for giving us a strip of brad nails. The only ones we had left were very much the wrong size.

    This weekend should be interesting because Alyssa has a male friend coming up and he already agreed to help with whatever we need. Yay!!!!! I don't know if Mike is going to have him start on insulating the rest of the roof or if he has something else planned. I don't know what my assignment will be yet either. Probably just cooking, cleaning and fetching. You never know. Maybe they'll shove me under the house to play with spiders and snakes. Oh and we have bats in our shingles. That's not some kind of fancy sandwich. We really have bats in the shingles. They make squeaky and scratchy noises. I'm not scared of them, but the sounds do freak me out.

    Dan had surgery today. I'm not sure if he wanted that announced, but it was a tough day waiting to hear how it went. Please send love or prayers or whatever you believe in his way. Can't wait to get him back up on the mountain so we can harass him some more.

  33. #33
    Insulation time once again. Mike let me loose in the kitchen to insulate the wall completely on my own. He didn't help, offer suggestions or anything. I suspect the wall will fall down now. After removing the booth last weekend (and finding a new home for it), we needed a kitchen table. Mike and I had looked online and briefly while in stores, etc. No luck. Sad face. Saturday morning was a big sale at an antique store in Hesperia so off we went. Who would've figured our new kitchen table was sitting in the parking lot being used by people scarfing down their free hot dogs? The price was amazingly, shockingly, mind blowingly good and it looks amazing in the kitchen. Couldn't be happier. We also purchased a "canning cabinet" which Mike and I both drooled over despite that fact that we don't can things and we have no idea what we'll put in it. Had that super rustic cabiny feel which we couldn't resist. To reward ourselves for our stupendous finds, we went to Golden Corral and buffet feasted until we nearly popped.

    The insulation portion was going really well until I moved onto the section where one strip of insulation wouldn't fit between the studs and I had to tear more precisely. For some reason the staple gun kept refusing to staple (no, it wasn't out of staples although that did happen twice). I think it just takes more oomph than I sometimes have. I feel like I shouldn't insulate as a career, but all in all I'm pretty proud of my efforts. Mike said "it looks better than before" so I guess it got his stamp of approval. He applied T1-11 over the insulation and now it looks like a brand new kitchen section. The floor is nasty, but just don't look down. We'll get around to fixing that at some point.

    I didn't mention last weekend that we were invited to an open house at Camp Kare (I think it's also known as Mount Kare). It's a great little camp that hosts mostly Christian groups. We have known the caretakers for nearly a year now, but never got a chance to explore the camp. I highly recommend this place if you are ever in charge of finding a camp for your church group. Amazingly well cared for with super fun activities and some of the best food I've had. They gave us a special tour down at their "shooting gallery". It's a shed they converted into a shooting range so it's all decorated like an old west town with lots of fun targets, but the guns are modified paintball guns so you shoot little rubber balls. The floor is tilted so they roll back so you never have to stop shooting to clean up the range. It is so unbelievably fun. It was us and some of the other adults from our cabin tract and I swear we were all like giant kids. I want to sneak down there at night and play. They won't notice, right?

    In case anyone is wondering, Dan is doing well and we'll get to see him in a couple days.

    I'm sure Mike did more work since he never sits still, but I honestly can't remember now what it was because I was so impressed by his kitchen remodel skills. He has pictures, so he just needs to post them.

  34. #34
    Sounds like a great adventure. Enjoying the read. You mentioned a car show up that way in August. Definitely post the dates when it gets closer. The wife and I are always looking for excuses to go on a good drive up in the mountains. I'm definitely interested in checking it out. Cheers.

    Mark

  35. #35
    Senior Member QSL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    CORONA, CA
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    Mark, that would be awesome if you can make it. We will for sure let you know the date. Its a cool show!

    Here are some pics of the cabin!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    MK4 delivery 12/17/11
    Build thread: HERE
    Epic First start video HERE

    Type 65 Coupe Ordered 01/17/13
    Build thread: HERE

  36. #36
    Mike and I had a work event Saturday so we weren't able to get up to the cabin until late afternoon/early evening. The kids and dogs stayed home so it was just us. We sat out on the porch for a little bit listening to thunder. Once the rain began, we moved inside with a nice fire. It was magical. I like storms. It passed fairly quickly and Mike went out to lay on the hammock (ended up falling asleep).

    We did a little work Sunday after a quick bike ride and breakfast at the Grizzly Cafe. In the past, cabin owners needed to clear 30' around their cabin. No pine needles, leaves, etc. This year (probably in our honor), the rules were modified. We now have to clear that same 30' and an additional 70'. Yeah, no. 100' would probably be out to the road or possibly to another cabin. Plus, they want it so that there is only one tree in a ten foot area. We have strict rules because of the type of cabin (historic and recreational use) so I'm pretty sure the archaeologist and biologist would have heart failure if they saw us clearing out that much plant life. The fire people say clear away, but the forest service people say don't touch a thing. Ummmmm...what do we do?

    Mike had me build the new electric weed whacker, but that didn't go well and he ended up doing the bulk of it himself. The screws wouldn't go in and I didn't know what direction stuff went and the weight was awkward so it kept flipping over while I tried to insert the screws. He told me it would be fun to use though. Liar. I hated it. The thing was heavy and it kept shooting fragments of pokey things at my shins and it vibrated so much my hands were almost numb. No. After about 10 minutes of misery I decided I would clear out the pine needles around the propane tank. Took me a super long time, but I got them all out and piled up. Now we just need to figure out how to get rid of them. I vote for throwing them in the fireplace, but I suspect that's a really bad idea.

    A neighbor who is also a contractor was able to score us some paint, so the plan is to scrape and reglaze and probably mock something up (all my favorite chores) so I can paint the window frames around the windows we aren't changing out. We don't technically have permission, but we've been asking for months and it turns out the forest service has a vacancy in the approval department so it'll be at least another month before they give us authorization. This is an approved color from another cabin, so...can't wait until the actual painting part.

    A neighbor also noticed this week that his BBQ was overturned, hummingbird feeder missing (later found on hill nearby) and screen mangled. He checked his video footage and found we have a bear visiting. Of course I want to pet it. I know. Bad idea. In fact, contractor neighbor bought us some bear spray. I think he probably had a moment of panic after he told me about a bear sighting he had the previous week and my response was "did you pet it?". I'm hoping the bear spray will make it fall down and roll over so I can pet its tummy. I think I'm mostly kidding. Mostly...

    We may or may not go out to El Mirage this weekend for some racing, but we'll try to get some actual work done as well. I'm not sure how many family members/dogs will be attending and how many will be home. Guess I should find out so I can do meal planning. Sigh.

  37. #37
    Isn't it fun to have two agencies with conflicting rules and regulations? I come across that all the time at work, it can be very frustrating to say the least. Only Mike could have you "mock up" painting, but scraping is a necessary evil. We had a bear that would come through every night looking for food etc., my dog did not like it eating his food so when the bear walked by he moved his dish into the dog house and stayed in the doorway not realizing the bear was several hundred pounds larger than his 80. Take a break from the cabin and go out to El Mirage, it will do you good.
    Doug

    PS I like the look of the new kitchen table.
    Built FFR5196 MKII in 2003, 427w
    Building FFR0058HR, Edlebrock 347-AOD

  38. #38
    So are you saying I should put honey on the areas that need scraping and maybe the bear will do the hard work for me?

    You have a brave dog. I suspect Taco would bark at the bear. Seeing as how he only weighs 5 lbs, that's a potential problem. I love that your dog moved his dish. That's awesome!!!!!!

    I'd like to go to El Mirage, but we'll see. Mike's kind of a slave driver.

  39. #39
    I could've spend the entire weekend at El Mirage. What a ginormous variety of cars. Everything from home built (what the heck is that?) to extremely expensive looking streamliners. We stood at the start line initially, but my favorite part was being way down the track so you could watch the cars go at speed. I was terrified for the motorcycles. They don't seem to go nearly as fast as most of the cars, but I really didn't want to witness an accident. I mean, I didn't want ANYONE to crash, but it seems so much scarier if you are on a bike and lose control. Anyway, we went to see two cars in particular. One is a competition coupe (not like my Coupey) and a roadster (not like my Scoopy). The coupe needed to go over 160 to beat the standing record and we were thrilled to witness its journey at 178.4 mph. Yay!! The best part was that the owner let me sit in it while he was waiting to get into impound for his inspection. A smite claustrophobic for me. The windows are too narrow and the seat is too far back. The width is fine (maybe a little wide even). I'll pass on making any land speed record runs. I was told there are some online videos from inside cars so I'll go look them up and live vicariously through those drivers.

    The roadster didn't do as well as we'd hoped. I think the goal was around 260, but only made it to 216. This is actually probably a blessing because the primary chute failed to open. Thankfully the secondary was good to go. We left after that run. Mike and Dan were less than thrilled about the heat. I didn't mind as much because there was a lovely breeze. I'll admit it was nice to get back to the cabin with it's temps in the 70's.

    We spent a good chunk of time building a ladder for the loft. Mike had gotten a couple of beautiful pieces of redwood which we measured and cut before taking them up to Dan's cabin. Dan made the rungs out of some pretty round wood (pine?). Turned out amazing, but I don't think any of us took a picture. Mike sealed it Sunday. My job was to stand around and annoy people with questions and then sweep up at the end. I keep telling Mike he should feel lucky to have a wife interested in cars and racing, etc. He gives me a look which I finally think I figured out this weekend. Having me around is like having a young, inquisitive child following you everywhere. It was probably fun in the beginning, but 20 something years later, he probably wishes I'd stop asking questions. I directed the bulk of the inquiries at Dan this time around (giving Mike a break). Poor Dan is probably exhausted now. He explained lots of things and I learned oodles.

    Sunday morning was interesting. I don't know what started it, but Mike and I were sitting on the deck enjoying coffee and cereal (watching the wildlife) when he suddenly jumped up and grabbed a crowbar. A few minutes later, a portion of the deck was removed and we were looking down at the foundation by the kitchen. Just as Mike had been saying for months...the tree is pushing the cabin all wonky. A saw was fetched and more deck removed. About this time Dan wandered over and a very technical discussion ensued about the best way to go about fixing the foundation issues. I understood about a third of it, so out came a billion questions. We wandered over to the side of the cabin and all looked underneath. Yup, that's the bottom of a cabin. Mike and Dan gleaned valuable information. I simply noticed colors and shapes and mentally mapped out the spiderwebs and potential snake hiding places. The men folk decided it would be fun and educational (and safe) to take a sledgehammer to a portion of the foundation. I had some serious concerns about this, but was overruled. I had my fingers in my ears and my running shoes on while Mike slammed the tool into the poor little cinder block looking wall. Mike got down and looked in the new hole and made all sorts of clucking and groaning and exclamatory sounds/comments along with some laughing. He moved and Dan knelt down and laughed (insert more sounds/comments). It was my turn. I poked my eyeballs through the hole and just saw more shapes, colors, webs and potential snake hiding spots, but I laughed just so I'd feel like I fit in. I guess the tree has essentially completely picked up one wall of the cabin so that there is light on one side where there shouldn't be light. Lots of technical talk ensued, but what I was able to gather is that we need to detach the deck from the house and then remove the decking along that wall. Then we need to knock a couple more holes in the block wall below the cabin (not a fan of that idea) so we can insert "cribbing" (assume this isn't for an infant's sleeping needs) and then knock down all the block wall holding up the house, dig a 12" deep trench (been there, done that, no thanks), level the cabin, pour footings with rebar and J bolts and then wait 20 something days and gently lower the cabin back down (attaching bolts where applicable). I may have missed a step or two, but that's at least the general idea. Sounds like mountains of work, but Mike claims he's ready. You should've seen the gleam in his eyes and in Dan's when Mike got the sledgehammer. Never seen anything like it. Pure joy at the idea of smashing a hole in poor little cabin-y.

    We reassembled as much as we could and moved on to project ceiling beams. We are removing (one by one) the three pieces of wood that are vertically (and diagonally) attaching the long cross beams to the roof beams. That makes no sense, but just smile and nod like it does. I was worried Mike would knock one out and the entire roof would collapse. Yes, I got "the look" when I said that out loud. There are 6 sets of these things that all need to be replaced. We only got through one. Plates need to be fabricated before we can continue, but Mike and I purchased the wood from a reclaimed woodyard. Okay, that was a ton of fun. Old lumber is beautiful and smells neat and is less warped than new wood at Lowe's or Home Depot. It's not cheap (unfortunately), so we are not going to be able to coat the ceiling in reclaimed wood like we had hoped. Sigh. I don't know what we'll do when we get to that.

    Anyway, I'm excited because fixing the foundation means we can finish the kitchen. No more creepy old paneling or uneven cooking appliances and I'll have all my cabinets and countertops. So. Darn. Excited.

    Mike decided a few weeks ago he wanted to lose some weight so we've been exercising about 6 days a week. One of our exercise chores is bike riding in the mountains. Yeah, would be easier if mountains were flatter and if our bikes were mountain bikes rather than beach cruisers. We have fun though and this Sunday was no exception. I felt less like I was going to black out and I took fewer breaks and we went a little further. Can you tell I'm the weak (literally) link in this ordeal? Looking forward to continuing that activity and maybe eventually making it the entire 4 miles (or so) back to some big tower that so far we've only driven the Jeep to.

    Still no work on Coupey, but we need that plate thing before we can pull the engine and honestly we've been busy and exhausted and now I'm making all sorts of excuses. We will get to it before too much longer.

  40. #40
    That foundation job is pretty big, it may take Mike, Dan and several others to complete. Once done you will enjoy not having the pancakes roll to the side of the griddle as you pour them out! What can be done to the root that is causing the problem? That may put stress on the tree and your association will be mad.

    You guys need to get some nice mountain bikes if you plan to keep up the exercise program, I have a nice Gary Fisher full suspension that I really enjoy riding. A good bike makes a BIG difference in your enjoyment.
    Doug
    Built FFR5196 MKII in 2003, 427w
    Building FFR0058HR, Edlebrock 347-AOD

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