Since 2011, Louise has been in service as the Cheese Louise truck, rolling around the Boulder and Denver area with a crew that served up tasty grilled cheese sandwiches, in more varieties than you can shake a stick at. The guys had a good run with her and it helped build their Verde truck and restaurant business to what it is today.
We are naming her “Louise,” in homage. Since we are serving French food, it seems only fitting.
We knew she was ours the moment we laid eyes on her, though she needs a little bit of work on her exterior. She is a AA catering truck, which is a big deal among food trucks, because that is the top catering truck company builder in the States. She has everything we need in the kitchen, at least to start out with. We hope to add an oven at some time so we can serve up a tasty dish of fish, vegetables, herbs and fat steamed in paper. But we digress.
The guys from Verde had her wrapped in vinyl four years ago and, as you can tell, vinyl really doesn’t last. So it has to come off before we can do a new, total wrap.
Taking off vinyl is a big task, that’s for sure, but Michael gamely went down today with his tools, a newly-purchased heat gun, and some newly purchased putty knives. (He clearly likes anything with the word “knife” in it.)
A couple of hours later, I went to go pick him up and he’d done a few large patches. The heat gun, which he’d been told was “his friend” by the vinyl specialist, didn’t seem to be doing much.
I walked around the truck and did an estimate. At this rate, it going to take 30-plus hours to to get the vinyl off.
Worse yet, the paint is peeling off with the vinyl. We had originally hoped to just do a wrap, and forego a paint job. The research we’d done showed us that full wraps cost between $4,000 and $6,000. But you can’t do a wrap over bare metal and, since the paint wasn’t peeling off everywhere, it has to be sanded down, removed, or what-have-you so we aren’t wrapping an uneven surface.
It also means we have to get Louise painted, so she doesn’t rust.
The most interesting thing about taking the vinyl off is the layers underneath her. You can see that she’s been in service as an Asian food truck of some sort; you can see a fellow peeking out from under her blue vinyl as well as a rather largish shrimp. These are hand painted.
As for the peeling paint, Louise was white before she was wrapped, and was painted yellow before that (not our shade of yellow, however, but more of a school bus hue.) In places, we have even found brown paint. Maybe she was a UPS truck?
Taking the vinyl off is going to be a pain in the ass. . . or expensive. Likely, both. However, it’s all good, because we know she is going to be really, really fetching we we get her finished.