Gray Tank Installation/Colin Hyde Trailer Restoration – Our Trip There

I mentioned in an earlier post that Airstreams prior to 1973 did not come with gray tanks installed. Modern trailers typically have two sets of tanks for waste water. Black tanks, that hold the waste from the toilet and grey tanks, that hold the waste water from the sinks and shower. Prior to 1973, you just let the grey water run on the ground or dug a hole and let it drain into that. I did quite a bit of research on Airstreams before we bought our trailer but somehow this information got by me.

Recently, Vintage Trailer Supply started making 4 inch high tanks that will fit within the frame of the trailer.  The location of the fittings has to be exact, and installation can include welding. I felt that this project was just alittle over my head, and since just about all the other improvements to the trailer were DIY, I figured it would be money well spent to have a professional do the install.

Vintage Gray Tank

This is the 4inch high vintage gray tank available from Vintage Trailer Supply.

When it comes to Airstream restorations, Colin Hyde in Plattsburgh, NY is the man. He is the tech guy on the twice monthly “VAP” Vintage Airstream Podcast and the “go to” guy for all things Airstream. There are a few other folks out there doing this work, but Colin is the closest to New Haven (300 miles away) and in the opinion of many Airstream enthusiasts – the best out there. Let me add one other observation, he is a heck of a nice guy.

When I spoke to Colin in December or early January about ordering axles (he is the distributor for Axis Axles) I asked about his availability for installing the gray tanks. I wasn’t certain he would take the job as he does alot of “shell off” full restorations. He said it was no problem but that I would have to wait until March or April when the snow had melted and he would have room on his lot. I ordered the axles and installed them myself (see earlier post) and patiently waited.

When I spoke to Colin a few weeks ago about the axle install I mentioned that he said to get back to him about the gray tank install. He said to call him back with a few days left in March, as he had a trailer leaving on April 1st. I realized that I was off from work on Friday, March 29 and asked Colin if I could bring it up that day. He obliged, and Jackson (my 9 year old son) and I hooked up the trailer and left for Plattsburgh, NY Thursday afternoon.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I LOVE boondocking! I love leaving the night before we might normally leave for a trip, knock 3 or 4 hours off the trip and just pull over and spend the night. Last year we boondocked at least 4 nights at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway in Saratoga Springs, NY. It is about 130 miles from New Haven, CT (about 3 hours – some backroads through Litchfield County, CT). The parking lot is level, well lit, there is harness racing right in front of us, and they don’t seem to have a problem with folks boondocking there. The other nice thing is that it is in Saratoga Springs, NY which is a great town with lots of shops and FANTASTIC restaurants.

Boondocking at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Springs, NY. Notice the Harness Track and grandstands in the background.

Boondocking at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway, Saratoga Springs, NY. Notice the Harness Track and grandstands in the background.

When we were last in Saratoga Springs in September 2012, Jackson saw a restaurant called “Circus” that he really wanted to go to. It was packed that night and we couldn’t get in. When he found out we were heading back to Saratoga Springs he asked if we could go to Circus. We had a great meal, the service was excellent and the decor was all circus themed.


Jackson is especially happy in this photo because he gave up popcorn for Lent and this was his first piece in 40 days!


When we finished dinner we headed to the Casino and Raceway parking lot. We went inside had ice cream and watched a few races. Then it was off to bed.

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