So, here’s what didn’t work.
My effort to prevent devaluing my fabulous collectible Chris Deam DWR Airstream with the WBCCI Big Red Numbers resulted in a frightful defacement.
“Take THAT,” snickered the ghost of Wally Byam.
My own displaced vanity and lack of ability to think a process through is really to blame, of course. Three years ago I went to great pains to devise removable numbers that I could slap on before a rally and peel off afterwards. Why? To avoid number ghosting, and preserve our anonymity, somehow. I guess. The reason is vague, and, in retrospect, clearly stupid.
I ordered an expensive, fancy clear vinyl product (the kind used to prevent sponsor logos on stock cars from flying off at high speeds), affixed the red numbers, and carefully pressed the finished panel onto the Airstream. Then I never peeled it off. After several years, (two of them spent outdoors in the penetrating sun of Central Oregon), the temporary vinyl fused permanently to the Airstream’s clear coat, and left not only the ghosted numbers I was attempting to avoid, but a crusty brown rectangle of residue on the edge of the vinyl as well.
I tried soaking it out, I tried scrubbing it out…nothing could be done short of replacing the whole aluminum panel, which is what will happen next, when I win the Powerball.
In the meantime, I had to cover up the damage. A local sign maker said he could fabricate a strip of flexible aluminum to permanently tape over the damaged area which would nicely cover the crud and bear a new set of numbers (and, now, our five-year star).
More bother ensued: the cretin cut the aluminum to the wrong size, and the piece wasn’t as flexible as advertised either, as you can see.
What’s the moral of this cautionary tale? Peel and stick those Big Red Numbers directly to your Airstream as soon as that package arrives in the mail, and wear them with pride for the life of your trailer. Fly your freak flag. Be proud of your affiliation with the historic—and changing, you’ll see—Wally Byam Caravan Club International.