The LONG road to Awesome

FYI, sorry for the overall lack of pictures, unfortunately, my camera is still acting up and I am in the process of converting my stuff to make it work.

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I am bruised everywhere at the moment from pinching myself (and working excessively tired) Can you believe this (maybe you should pinch yourselves) . The truck is up, it is running, giving rides, and being generally awesome. Not just awesome. THE COOLEST MONSTER TRUCK EVER BUILT. Maybe I am a bit biased, but if you saw this bad boy in person, it’s likely you wholeheartedly agree.
Mentally, I’m on even sure where we left off. I know I wrote a mini series, separating the functions into individual blogs, but when then third portion took a detour, I had no time to fill in, and no time to do anything except help make a truck work.
Before I get too far into the ramblings of the final stage of the build, I need to take a moment for some “thank you’s “and some” couldn’t have done it without yous. “ Of course, as usual, there are some other musings and thoughts mixed in. (in no particular order)
We recently had the pleasure of meeting someone we now consider a friend. She was patient, humorous, and incredibly helpful. Mona, m’dear, thanks for sticking it out with us, for having “Mini Mona Moments” and keeping general optimism during the roller coaster. We can’t thank you enough- You are fabutastic.
Tom, thank you for your support in this whole build. Without you, this build couldn’t have happened in the speed it did, and I would still probably be writing about axles and parts. You were always there in many different ways and as you know we have had some major ups and downs during the course of this build, so thank you for all of them. I’m not sure what today would have looked like without you.
Phil- Thanks again for the shop’s swamp cooler, the enthusiasm, and for the future pool days and BBQ’s. We were glad you made it out for the first day and as always the cold Mountain Dew.
Sam Sturges- While Brad might have his own ideas for the trucks, there are so many unknowns in the builds, that you have to ask someone, and that someone was Sam. He is an old bucket of knowledge and a master monster truck driver. Whenever Brad had a thought or question it was Sam he went to first, and he always made time to think about it, and provided whatever insight or direction he could.
Mark- I know you will NEVER EVER read this, buuuuuuuuuuut thanks for your help on the “final push” last night. Hope we never have to do seat mounts again 😀
Melissa- Aww, well where do I begin. Thanks for your help the last few days. I know its tough at the end of a long day to come help your friend scrub glue off bars. Not exactly a high point, but more than that, Thank you for helping me keep my sanity, eating chicken salads with me, and humoring my venting and rambling.
There are many more people I will thank when my brain isn’t attempting to shut down or ignore my basic commands. So those of you who deserve a thanks or a kudos bar, hang tight. It’s not that I forgot you, I just need to finish the blog first while I can remember any details of the past while. We also obviously have dealt with numerous companies for both product and service, which had its better moments, and some less than stellar (aka absolutely horrid) instances. Although we only have thus far accumulated one official sponsor of the truck (Optima) we would still like to give credit where credit is due, and we thoroughly encourage you to utilize these companies for your needs.
So back to the blog. Ok, so I left you off at vinyl. Beyond that was a melee of the upholstery getting completed, getting the remainder of the drivelines in, and 50 trips to Vegas for that bolt we forgot and the paint, and all those things you forget until you need it. So there was a lot of that.
As you can see in the final pictures of the truck there are actually 4 individual custom drivelines. We had a hiccup with them as the ends from the original builder were not suitable of usuable. Brad fought them for a few days (not straight) trying to get the ends on, but alas, they drivelines won, Brad wanted to beat people, and then ended up at the driveline shop in Vegas to be repaired. One thing we have dealt with throughout the build are companies who really are proud of the work, charge you for what they think is amazing quality, and utterly let you down. Nothing is worse than paying a lot of money for something that doesn’t come out right, and has to immediately be repaired, modified, or refabricated yet again. (Oil pans I’m looking at you) Right now, Brad just didn’t have the time or the patience to fix someone else’s “less than stellar” work, so what do you do?
While drivelines were in the shop, Brad focused on getting the electrical wrapped up. While as simple as possible, there still is a lot of electrical in the truck, and by adding the length you obviously had several hundred extra feet of cable that you wouldn’t have on a small car. The good news was, Brad was able to get the rear steer with the center steer working on the first shot. The monster truck gods have smiled upon us. That was a relief. For those of you not familiar with the workings of monster trucks, they have separate steering for the front and rear so that you have a better turning radius. (VERY important on this truck) The center steer feature, makes it so when you release the rear steer switch, the tires automatically go back to the neutral position of “center” therefore avoiding your tail end to crawl willy nilly to the side while you try to line back up. Very handy on regular sized monster trucks, absolutely essential on the Sin City Hustler.
We also recreated the schematics sticker on the back as well as customized the front of the switch panel to not only look cool, but match up with our monster truck functions (instead of what a regular boring race car might have). The wiring harness needed to be recreated to work with our needs, so Brad worked that one over for a bit. Like I think I said before, there is no “Painless Wiring” for a monster truck, and if I am wrong, please send me the part number so next time we can save a day or so.
A lot of what got done in the final leg was mostly clean up and odds and ends. Kinda like when you pack and you just have a drawer that has a battery, some rubber bands, 2 pens, a few sticks of gum, a razorblade, and 14 small boxes of matches. What do you do with it? Well, it was just one small project to the next. A little bit of touch up paint here and there. Mounting the ridiculously overpriced fancy billet fire extinguisher mounts and Halotron chome extinguishers. Removing the plastic off the Lexan. Tightening bolts, Torquing them, putting them in. Topping off fluids, Mounting the hood.
The biggest time sucker was cleaning. OY VEY! The amount of time required to vaccum, dust, scrub, wipe, blow off, and polish a monster truck is a feat, even when it has been sitting in the shop and not in the mud. To be honest, we didn’t do a perfect job, because there are still a few items that need addressed before we put the “show polish” on. But to be fair, this thing could be filthy and STILL be awesome.
We spent some of the day with friends that popped up before their show down in Laughlin. It was great to see Sam and while Peggy opted for the pool (can I say I was super jealous) I knew we would be seeing her Saturday. Monster truck friends are always great for a visit. Burgers for lunch (nom nom nom) some stories, some questions, just nice little BS session, and then back to work!
The night before last, Brad and I were up until 4am working on getting this truck out the door. I didn’t care what it was going to take, we were going to be working it the next day. If that meant I had to bribe people with snickerdoodles, so be it. (Note to those out there, have one recipe that is awesome and everyone really loves, so that you can use it as payoff…..VERY VERY important life skill) Melissa trucked it out way past her bed time, and Mark (from the gun range) first provided his assistance putting the rear tires on (we had done the front before dinner) then helped me with seats until probably around midnight thirty (yes, that is an accurate way to say it, and yes I say it like that all the time. If you got a problem with it, give me the year make and model on your car when you stop by…it might be a bit flatter when you get out of the restaurant) Seats put up a fight and a half for me. Between the extra layer the powder coating provided in making the holes smaller for the bolts, and only one seat actually cooperating with me, I had a good 6 hours into mounting those. Come 4 am I had one seat left and it would have done it before our nap had it not required extra modifications from Brad’s fabrication downstairs. While I used lots of choice adult words at seats Brad installed the seat belts, wrapped up stuff outside, and I think we probably talked a lot about why we decided a giant monster truck was a great option, and why the heck we did it. Fortunately, neither of us remember.

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4 am- quick nap, then back up at 6 to get the rest done. Although, when 6 came I really almost didn’t care if the truck ran, and I am pretty sure Brad was in the same boat. We still had so many what ifs that could happen it was a little tense in the morning. Sure, the motor had been ran and tuned many times. The steering components all worked as they should. Electric functions had operated, and in theory it was all good to go. HOWEVER, anyone in motorsports knows that if it can go wrong, it will. We didn’t know until the tires were on if the shocks would hold the weight of the truck (without a coil add on) and even once they were on and the shocks filled with nitrogen, if it would support a full load of tourists!
Scrambling through the morning, I vacuumed the interior (again) to get rid of the metal shavings, installed the last seat (which still fought me tooth and nail….needless to say I had a drill so I won), blew out the inside (because OH MY GOSH Lexan is about the most static-y thing on this freaking planet. Side story- I am a very conductive person for whatever reason. Like I hate pushing the cart at the store because it shocks the daylights out of me every 4 feet. So when I pulled of the inner lining on the Lexan the night before Melissa almost peed her pants because It shocked the living daylights out of me. I’m pretty sure it was the equivalent of being struck by lightning 12 or more times. Not to mention my really fuzzy arm hair stood up the rest of the night. Hilarious, but not so much with no sleep) Anyway. I pulled the temp carpet used to protect the polished diamond plated floor, trimmed up a few pieces for temporary purposing where the speakers will be located shortly, and then grabbed the phone for some pictures and quick mobile updates for our fan base. 😀 While my attention was directed at my tasks, Mikey blew off the outside of the truck, Brad check everything to make sure it was all ready to rock and then checked it again just in case his no sleep delirium had made him forget something.

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Then, it happened. Brad started the truck and just like that put it in drive and it crawled out of the shop. I capture part of the first little jaunt. Testing the turn radius (which I think is better than our Superduty) shocks, motor, temps, etc. I actually almost cried. Wow, sleep does weird things to you. I couldn’t believe that we were ACTUALLY here. That over a year has gone by working nearly every day on this thing in one way or another. We took it for a ride, through the temporary course to see how it was. Brad driving it first, and me riding up front, Mikey trailing behind to make sure if something happened we didn’t get stuck out there. Then I rode in the back while Mikey gave it a spin. The ride in the back is definitely better, but it’s a blast either way. The clear side panels on the floor give it an awesome feel because you can see the edge of the canyon and it adds to the adrenalin factor when it looks like you might just drive right off.

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Yesterday was a slow traffic day at Arizona Last Stop, but we did some rides, met some people, and I just couldn’t quit skipping and smiling. While the wind and the sun bet us pretty bad, I didn’t care. I was just glad to be past the majority of this. Of course there are still novelties to button up, marketing to do, and plenty of stuff I need to do, but for now, it will be much easier without emergency part interruptions. So while the build might be 99 percent complete, the blog will continue with the shenanigans we have, the novelty and merch updates, special events, sponsors, and whatever else comes our way.
Thank you to our readers, whether today is your first look, or you have been with us from the beginning. Thanks for reading my ramblings and sticking it out. Hopefully it was entertaining, helpful, or just tolerable. Ok maybe I juts hope you didn’t hate it. Until later…..

WOW. I guess I need to blog more frequently

Somewhere in the dark hole of my laptop is a post, eloquent, witty, and so well written you would have laughed, cried, and been moved. Instead, you are stuck with this….two weeks of run down, and the desperation of needing to post and having about a trillion things to do before heading into Vegas again for the World Finals.
Here ya go. Enoch, (Enok if you look in Brad’s phone book) came down to visit, and has been helping out around here. He’s like 4/4 on the projects around here. Now if only I could somehow sneak getting the Versa Climber installed into the To-Do list…that would be kinda awesome. He’s fixed up the water damage on the novelties trailer, built a fry griller for the BBQ, and done a variety of other things. I would like to say overall production has improved, but there might be some less productive hours because of general socializing, but really it’s all good, because he’s pretty hilarious,

Last weekend the upholstery guy made it up for a bit with the upholstery. I managed to get a quick shot of the headliner. It still needs cleaned up and finished off, but the design is looking good, and I can’t wait tot see the whole truck done.

Template for install

Template for install

Pieces before assembly

Pieces before assembly

Headliner. Still needs cleaned up but looking good!

Headliner. Still needs cleaned up but looking good!

As you can see in the picture, Metal has gotten more of the Lexan along the floor installed and that the back windows are coming in. It’s a very time consuming process , but it’s coming.

Rear window mounted

Rear window mounted

Installed side Lexan. The carpet is just protecting the diamond plating

Installed side Lexan. The carpet is just protecting the diamond plating

Brad spent a couple days on just fabricating the battery cables. Apparently, cables for a 12 battery setup just don’t come stock…what’s that all about? However, it’s very labor intensive to build. Cut the wire, solder it into place, let it cool, and do it again. I could tell Brad was getting a little burned out, but that’s the tedious stuff that is left. Sure, you get those few “WOW” moments, but most of the stuff is limited to “wow” . No CAPS. All lower case, and possibly in a whisper.

Heating for the ends to solder into place

Heating for the ends to solder into place

String of cables

String of cables

Installing onto the batteries

Installing onto the batteries

Cable breakdown

Cable breakdown

Pretty batteries all in a row

Pretty batteries all in a row

The artistic view of batteries

The artistic view of batteries

I would like to take a quick time-out to officially introduce one of our sponsors- Optima batteries. It is the only battery we used in our race trucks and the only batteries on this truck. These blue tops not only look pretty, but definitely do their job! We have a lot of power needed in this truck and the only battery up to the task is Optima. Make sure you check them out on their website at www.optimabatteries.com There will be more on these guys as we move forward into the electronic portion of the build.

One thing that this week has afforded is fabulous weather. The sun has been shining and the wind has been hit and miss. The delightful rays have brought some excellent temperatures, which of course meant the first seasonal trip to the river with Hulkster. Let’s just say I have never seen a fat dog move so fast. He skipped all the steps out of the camper and dang near jumped into the van. What that also meant was he sulked the whole way back and gave me the stink eye for the next 2 days while he pouted about not going back immediately.

RIVER
While we are on the topic of side tangents and off adventures, the four of us took a morning to test out the fishing at Temple Bar. It kiiiiiiiinda flopped entirely, but it was a beautiful morning, and it gave me the rare option to eat junk food for breakfast. Who doesn’t love that? In the distance all we could see were fish jumping, and I’m pretty sure there were a few specifically throwing a middle fin in our general direction.
Back to work. I think when I posted last the shocks were on…but in case they weren’t they are now. I snapped a quick picture of the Schrader valve for the shocks to show a little info tidbit. You will note in the picture there is a slot that runs perpendicular to the threading. What this does if you have overfilled the shocks, it breaks the seal when you go to unscrew it, bypassing the o-ring to release the pressure. Kinda a genius idea, especially if you knew people in the industry. 😀

Schrader Valve

Schrader Valve

rear shocks
We also bought this exhaust wrap that is a fantabulous color, and look, and granted I have to buy another roll, the exhaust tube that was done, looks spectacular. Unfortunately, the special coating we had put on it, really didn’t work out in the end, so you do what ya gotta do.

exhaust wrap
Also installed is a glass windshield. We debated over using Lexan, but glass seemed the better choice.
The biggest “wha-hoo” moment, was the axles being installed under the truck. After looking pretty for so long on the stand, it was time to put em on the truck. It was a 3.5 person process (mostly three with the occasional fourth) and really, went pretty well. Nobody dinged anything, grazed the powder coating, or broke a part (either on the truck or themselves) The guys got the four link bars in place before the axles were slid into place. To be honest, the effort really looked effortless, and within only a few minutes 2 axles, all the four link bars, and everything was where it should be. Of course a couple adjustments were made once on the truck, but that’s to be expected. It’s really starting to become a truck. YAY.

install axle install axle 2

 
Cutting the axle away from the mount
Axles with all components installed

Axles with all components installed

Hulkster photobomb

Hulkster photobomb

4link

Installing 4 links

Cutting the axle away from the mount

Cutting the axle away from the mount

And finally, yesterday we were back at the hardware store. Oh yeah. You know it’s my favorite. Of course it started out with buying my Mike and Ikes from the quarter machine on the way in. While Brad and Enoch were off meandering for boring stuff I found these nuts ironically called castle nuts….well you can imagine. I didn’t get too carried away due to lack of space, but you can see the fruits of my labor here. Then upon checkout I did note that they have live cameras pointing down the bolts and nuts aise…so I wonder how many of my antics they just wonder what kind of idiot I am. Oh well. Maybe next time there will be a bigger spot on the shelf and I can add a few more towers and a drawbridge.

bolts shopping

castle
Ok. Well sorry for the rough version of this, but I have WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much I have to get done today, on top of some laundry, a jog, and a shower. So for now, I will leave you with this, and update what comes up later, and possibly go back in time to update the stuff I forgot!

Drinks for sale in the gas station!

Drinks for sale in the gas station!

The bells and whistles

I think I need to leave more often. Instead of seeing the truck every day and thinking “UUUUUGHHHHH will it ever be finished?”, I get to come back and be like “hey, look at all the pretty stuff on it”. As y’all know I have been out of town, and mostly in the dark about the truck, but it’s time to dust off the laptop and get blogging. (among a pile of other things) I will do the best I can to extract some details about what has been happening in my absence.

So this might be more of my list. I don’t have the details on any difficulties or general issues, so I will just cruise through and tell you what’s been done.

The fuel tanks and braided steel lines were installed complete with perrrrrrty anodized AN fittings. Underneath them, the stainless diamond plate floor was installed adding to the over SHINY aspect of things. Moving over towards the front, the battery tray/mounts were installed and completed with their nice fancy pants floor. And continuing on, the trap door style entry for the driver was also completed. Anyone who knows monster trucks knows that the driver actually climbs up underneath the body of the truck in order to enter into the cab. We stuck with that idea, one because it actually is much easier than trying to climb through a door, and two, because it’s a monster truck…why not keep it that way throughout.

Battery Tray and fuel tanks

Battery Tray and fuel tanks

You will note in the pictures there are some white sheets visible along the truck sides where the floor drops down, and along the front drivers cab. This is the Lexan sheeting that has been fitted and cut for the truck and will make the working tires and shocks visible from the interior. In addition to the ground, passengers will be able to view the motor through the front wall of Lexan. The diamond plate flooring was also installed (half is covered by carpet at the moment).

Floor with Lexan down sides

Floor with Lexan down sides

In the frontal portion of the truck, the battery shut offs were installed, the steering and hose lines were also put into place. The large white box along the side is the inverter, which will be used to run the AC units on the truck, as well as the heater, audio, and any other electronics needed.

Inverter top left and battery disconnect mid right

Inverter top left and battery disconnect mid right

Other odds and ends…Limiter straps were installed. Normally, on monster trucks these prevent the shocks from extending out too far, which on this truck really are not necessary, since the truck will probably not be jumping school busses, but why not stick them on?

The last thing I would like to report on is the headliner panels I saw sitting in the corner, but I will wait to shoot a picture until the upholstery guy comes back and I can get the overall updates from him.

That’s it for now. No snarky negativity today, or such things. Just the facts. More to come since Brad was taping off the bottom portion of the truck to get some painting done.

inside front hood front

What a week….or so!

OK let me preface my stating I am not at home currently, and am in Washington working on some stuff, so I am kinda doing a blog post from verbal info…which if you know Brad is pretty much assuming I am telepathic and will just be able to either read his mind, or see it if I close my eyes and concentrate deeply. So I will apologize in advance because I don’t have much to work with.

Axles Brad has been working on (thanks againg for the shots Melissa)

Axles Brad has been working on (thanks againg for the shots Melissa)

axle 3 axle 2

When I left the upholstery guy was heading up to get some more upholstering done. Fortunately he got lots of pictures of the event and sent me a handful to share with y’all. I know there is still more to do, and hopefully his wife can make the trip up next time and come check out the truck (and help offset the testosterone just a smidge).

DAVE1 DAVE2 Dave3 Dave4 dave5

The boys have been working on truck assembly and getting all those pieces together. It is definitely a process, and as to specifics, well when I asked Brad what he has been working on I got “everything” with zero elaboration. So I guess if you want to know what is going on, you will just have to call and ask him.

BUUUUUT one thing I do know is that the energy drinks were done and Brad went and picked them up for me! They are for sale online, and will have an updated picture asap. I was just way to stokked to get them going that I haven’t had time to coordinate a mini photo shoot from up here.

Right now it is only link to Paypal Purchase, which will be changing soon, as well as a few quirks on it that are annoying, but most just stuff on my end to try to deal with (like the dang white box that shows the number you ordered..in white) You can purchase them at :http://www.bigtoyzracing.com/apps/webstore/

Thanks Melissa for the snapshot!

Thanks Melissa for the snapshot!

back o canFINISHEd LABEL copy

On the home stretch!

Words cannot express the sheer magnitude of the delight and exhilaration I am feeling now! It also doesn’t do justice my sore arms, weird grayish boogers (don’t worry, no pictures), and obnoxious headache I woke up with this morning. After an arduous couple weeks of taping, prepping, priming, sanding, priming again, sanding more, the last 2 days we dug in. The cold weather this past week set paint back, which was frustrating, but Saturday morning early, we worked hard to get ready for the final stage. Brad touched up and re-sanded more primer spots, and I wriggled my way back into the truck to re-tape everything that had come loose, dipped down, or pulled away. (cold weather is such a pain) We also tag teamed prepping and painting some parts. Brad started heating them with the torch, and then I think he got bored and told me to continue. I always knew he was heating the metal for paint adhesion, however I never knew it was to remove water from the metal too. Insane! It is like a weird science project. As soon as you put the torch to it, water pulls out of the metal. I was mesmerized. Brad got to painting while I wrapped the heating up.

Taped and half primered

Taped and half primered

Water

Primer Down

Primer Down

Red Smog

Red Smog

On Saturday, our upholstery guy came up, ready to go! Unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for them. Originally paint should have been done, but we couldn’t paint below 60 without too much risk, so unfortunately, we held them up a bit. They did bring up all the stuff though to get going, and worked on the templates for the custom design on the interior wall panels. My brain wasn’t so helpful on coming up with designs, and we pretty much gave him free reign in a semi-neutral pattern. In case the truck name/design ever changes, then we don’t have to swap out interior. Genius, right? So anyway, they worked up some pretty spectaulificar patterns. They didn’t even yell at or karate chop me when I randomly walked by all stalkerish like and took pictures. It was nice to see all the stuff ready to go for install. I know they came with the idea to get it done, but obviously….that just wasn’t going to work. So we will be seeing them very shortly!

Prepping

Prepping

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. UGH. Mixed feelings hit me Sunday morning. One, I was really tired. No sleep for 3 or 4 days can get ya. Two, I really, really don’t want to go roll around in the dust. Three. OH MY FREAKING HIPPOPOTAMOUS THE TRUCK IS GETTING PAINTED! Obviously you can see which one was the most excited. So after a lame speedy breakfast, we hit the shop.

My job, I was told, was to just go around and quickly scuff everything. Here is a scotch pad, and get to it. Not but 3 minutes it, suddenly my “scuffing quickly and lightly” became, sand to smooth perfection all the door jams, window crevices, curves, underside panels, and pretty much anything that didn’t have a flat surface. Really? Somehow, I think he knows these things in advance, but doesn’t want to tell me until I’m already in. This was significantly different and more time consuming. I have 2 hours to get allllllll of that done? UGGGGH. Just keep picturing the truck painted.

We sanded and smoothed that truck, which honestly is a terrible job for me in a hurry. I’m very tactile (like the person who touches everything when I’m at the clothes store, and twirls my hair because it’s silky feeling) So any mild imperfection really is difficult to move on from and I end up taking more time that probably needed. In the back of my mind I just want to tell myself it was getting wrapped anyway. While I finished up the last of the sanding, Brad blew off the truck and we grabbed some tack rags (oh that almost killed me) and wiped down the truck. Have you ever touched those things???? I can’t do sticky anything. It kills me. Truck wiped. Time for primer sealer to get mixed.

Most of the time I feel  I’m relatively important. Aside from these well written, thought out, and edited news updates that probably qualify for a literary Nobel prize, I do have a lot that I handle. But when assigned the task of watering the concrete, I began to question my value being handed a job like the kid you want to be engaged, but don’t have the time to babysit their work. I know my parents did it to me…. Turns out watering concrete is actually extremely needed, especially when painting without a booth.  So I watered, Brad prepped spray and did one more walk around. It’s GO TIME!

Primer sealing the window edges and door jams

Primer sealing the window edges and door jams

Primer Sealing Body

Primer Sealing Body

Round 1- Primer Sealer DONE

Round 1- Primer Sealer DONE

Respirators are sexy, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar. They look good, feel great, and are a treat to breathe through. Ok maybe I’m exaggerating a hair. Mine didn’t fit for crap and it felt like it was pull my lower eyelid down so that wasn’t real pleasant with chemicals flying willy nilly in my general direction. Brad rocks his like a champ though. Good for him and his big neck.

Primer sealer down. One light headache. Now we wait. Quick one hour break. WRONG. The Summit Brand Primer sealer would have taken 6 hours to cure on its own at our temp. I was all for it, but Brad didn’t seem to want to paint in the crappy light at 9 pm. What a baby. Instead, the light and blast heater became mobile. I pushed a tire lift around really, really slow to heat up the sides of the truck. For almost 3 hours this continued. I did manage to squeeze in a few Spanish lessons on my phone, get in a mini workout, and plan my grocery list for the next run in.

Once the sealer was dry enough, Brad got to it. At least with the paint, he could just do laps around the truck. So I would go walk a lap, come in and water the dry spots on the floor, go walk a lap, then check on the floor. Finally, just after dark, the truck was done. Whew. Brad works quick. I know it killed him to not be in a paint booth where he had better control of the elements, because Brad’s a perfectionist with his work. He doesn’t half ass things. I just repeated my new mantra….it’s gonna get wrapped. Just get the damn thing done.

She's allllll done! Paper comes off Tuesday!

She’s allllll done! Paper comes off Tuesday!

Laying down the paint.

Laying down the paint.

It was a long weekend, but we both fell asleep knowing that the truck was painted, the dust could finally be cleaned up for good (uuuuuugh laundry every day and cleaning daily is not my idea of awesomeness), and we could get moving on assembly. What a feeling.

It’s Primer Time!!!!!

Last weekend, the upholstery guy came out from Havasu to bring out the completed seat, seat covers, and build patterns, and took some more measurements. In person, the seat looks even better, we are excited for the rest of the interior.  I’m secretly hoping too, that when we are done with the truck, he can redo the interior in the camper. It’s not run down or bad looking, but the foam is insanely broken down from my bum working on the computer all the time.

Creating Patterns-

Creating Patterns

 

Looks good in the truck right?

Looks good in the truck right?

Apparently Brad confused me for the paparazzi that are banging down the door for scandal around here....

Apparently Brad confused me for the paparazzi that are banging down the door for scandal around here….

Now for this week. Oh my heck. I can’t believe we are actually in the painting stage….finally. It was starting to feel like the movie Groundhog’s Day, and not in a good way. I would love to say the week flew by, but it was just another week of painstaking and annoyingly tedious tasks. Fortunately for myself, it afforded me the rare opportunity to leave the piles of paperwork, emails, and orders behind, and delve into the truck. One thing I am a little sad about is my lack of involvement in the building process. Normally, everything is just Brad and me. Whether it was swapping motors, digging ditches, putting in the floor. The truck hasn’t been that way mostly because there is just too much crap to do in the office, as well as day to day maintenance. I swear tracking lost shipments is a full time gig around these parts! Fortunately, Metal has been a good replacement (and probably more useful in the shop than myself) so I can’t complain too much.

So as you all know, it’s been all about body work. Well, the sanding finally stopped (thank goodness) and it was time for phase 2…..or possibly phase 97, either way, we moved forward. Time for masking off the door jams, and then pretty much the rest of the truck. PRIMER BABY! Ok so I was conned into helping tape the doors. Realistically, I should know by now that anytime Brad uses the phrase “we” it actually means “Jen” and that he will be involved elsewhere. And taping the doors, well that was just to get me in the door, because once I start, I don’t stop. So the doors turned into the doors, plus the windows, plus the rear, plus the roof, then the windshield, then a paper drop layer under the truck and THEN a plastic one below that. Hmm I feel scammed. It started off fun, like I was building a fort, but instead of limp blankets and couch cushions, I had a monster truck, 500 feet of paper, and a zillion rolls of tape. Oh yeah! After about two doors, and a few windows, I was completely over the childhood project. It became monster truck fort hell. Everything has to be exact, everything has to stick for awhile, and there is a plethora of different crevices, cracks, curves, corners, cutouts, and hmm what’s another c word I could use…crumpets….yeah, ok well, no crumpets, but you get the point.

Once the sides were all done up, we did the roof together (the 10 minutes of “we”) and then in the middle Brad left for awhile so I was kinda stuck up there with no good way down since climbing down a window or other step would punch a hole in the nicely papered areas. Sweet. It’s not even outside so I couldn’t get a tan, and my cell was sitting on the bench so I couldn’t even do one of my learn Spanish app lessons on it. Lame. Just lay on the cold uncomfortable roof trying to avoid the holes for the AC (that was almost disastrous a few times…) So then  it was on to the drop layers, and after three days of taping (I did office crap in the mornings) I was so ready for the straight lines around the bottom. Yeah. Wishful thinking. The tape was uncooperative and just wouldn’t stick to the dang plastic. Awesome.

About a third of the way through, I could hear Brad start spraying. He had already cleaned and wet the floor to avoid dust. OH and here is a great tidbit. So I learned that you do your first “drop layer” in paper and then below that you do your plastic. The paint when it falls on the plastic just jumps right off when dry. SOOOOOOO in turn if it is close to where you are actually painting, it will put flecks EVERYWHERE. Great, if you are going for the “I don’t know how to paint look” but not so much for champion, I took too long, showpiece.

Ok so I rounded out taping and Brad was working the passenger side of the truck. Does this thing actually have a passenger side? The driver sits in the middle and the passengers are on both sides. Hmm what a conundrum. Blows your mind right? Ok well, probably not so much.

I’m not going to lie. I was thrilled and then some to see primer getting laid down on the truck. Giddy even. I may or may not have done a little happy dance when no one was looking. Stepping back from the truck, I really, REALLY wished I had a roll of ribbon that was like a foot wide, because it resembled a present a three year old tried wrapping without adult supervision. THE OCD in me was screaming in agony that it couldn’t be perfectly coordinated and neatly wrapped, but I just had to walk away. The bow would have been a nice touch. I’ll Photoshop one in, real cheesy like.

There is still so much paint to do, and you just don’t realize how much extra work the length creates. Taping a car? Quick. Taping a monster truck limo? Way too freakin long. And super wasteful. I don’t even know the number of rolls of tape I went through, and I ended up wearing one around my arm after I was done for like three hours because I had grown accustomed to it. Making dinner with masking tape on your bicep really isn’t as cumbersome as one might think.

Happy....end of the month gift

Happy….end of the month gift

Inside my fort

Inside my fort

The shop looks like someone died...

The shop looks like someone died…

PRIMER!!!!!!!!!

PRIMER!!!!!!!!!

primer

Other shop tasks for the week, included dropping a new tranny in one of the Bullets and Burgers Vans, doing some brakes for Melissa, and both Shawnee’s (our fantastically random and hilarious niece) and Melissa’s birthdays. Hmm. Tomorrow looks like a Vegas trip for me, and hopefully I will return with some sandpaper, powder coated parts, and finished exhaust. (I will also likely get some doughnuts, Jimmy Johns, and Skittles.)  See ya after the truck is painted!!!!!!!

Celebrating Brad's B-day

Celebrating Brad’s B-day