Monday, March 26, 2007

5:30AM - MsTioga's big painting day!
This morning at 8am, Gaspar will bicycle up to Jose's Fiberglass Shop and begin the preparations to paint MsTioga's final color. It has been exactly six weeks since we first arrived at Jose's Fiberglass Shop on February 12th! So much has happened since then.

Jose is a man of courage and character. He tackled the BIG job of converting all of MsTioga's aluminum and plastic joints to fiberglass. Strong flexible fiberglass that will never break, never crack and will NOT permit rain water to enter MsTioga's walls anymore!!

Jose replaced MsTioga's 16 year old rubber roof with a new fiberglass roof that will never leak!

While all of this fiberglass work was going on, Jorge built two tilt assemblies that allow our six solar panels to tilt-up in order to optimize electricity production. These six panels are all in one very neat row now.

8AM - Masking begins.
Jose and Gaspar are working at placing 1/4" masking tape exactly along the top of the brown stripe. Paper will be attached to this 1/4" tape to protect the new paint below.

There is more prep work that must be done before painting begins. The front of MsTioga has some places that need to be tweeked. Especially the hood and fenders and the rounded fiberglassed corners just behind the cab.
Gaspar masking the right side.

Jose masking the left side.

9:30AM - Masking the top stripes.
In the pic below, Jose is putting on 1/4" masking tape on the top stripe while Gaspar attaches protective paper below.
More masking.

12:30PM - Spraying the primer.
The time for spraying the final primer for the third color has arrived. Wow! This is soooooooo exciting!
Gaspar spraying the final primer.

2PM - Primer completed!
Now the primer coat is on. We thought that we were ready for the final coat. However, an inspection of the primed surface showed several areas that needed further work. This work was putting on Bondo to fill tiny holes in the fiberglass.
MsTioga's primer coat.

3:30PM - Ready for the final coat of paint.
Jose and Gaspar worked together for well over an hour to correct the imperfections in the fiberglass. I inspected their work, and it looked great. Very high quality surface. Ready for painting.
Gaspar opens the paint for the final coat.

4PM - The wind kicked up!
Just as Gaspar began to spray the final coat, the wind kicked up. There was no problem with dust, because the ground around MsTioga was kept very wet. However, the wind was causing the paint to be blown away. Not good!!

It was very clear that we had to stop painting now, and begin again tomorrow morning. The wind is not present in the morning. If it going to be windy, it seems to always begin in the afternoon.

4:30PM - Mr. Datastorm cannot get online!
I tried to tell you the story about the paint job and found that I could not get on the Internet! Mr. Datastorm has been having a little problem lately. Moisture has formed in what is called the feedhorn of the antenna. I have taken the feedhorn apart, and dried it out but the moisture formed again and prevented a clear transmit signal from being generated.

In order to get rid of this moisture, I punched a hole in the top of the feedhorn lens to allow the moisture to evaporate, which it did. However, we have an additional Datastorm problem. Our new modem that we picked up recently in San Diego, may not be working correctly. This modem problem kept us from going online this afternoon.

12 Midnite - Back online.
I have been working with the Datastorm for about eight hours! Wow! There is something wrong, and I suspect that it is the new modem, but it is difficult to know what exactly is causing the problem.

Finally Mr. Datastorm is back online. I am really being tested with Mr. Datastorm. I had to go all the way up to San Diego on a bus to get the new modem, and now the system is having problems going online.

Well, on the bright side, Mr. Datastorm eventually is back online, and we got to tell you the story of what is going on with the paint job. That's a good thing!!


Nite Camp at Jose's Fiberglass Shop