All posts by pewterpalace73

From upstate NY and into vintage trailers.

Winter Wait Game

Probably the hardest thing about this winter is waiting to get back to projects needing to be done on the Pewter Palace.

I have found the fabric to make the dinette cushion slipcovers but also have decided to spend the money to have them professionally made.  This will give me time to  make the curtains and throw pillow covers.  Truth is I hate working with sewing in zippers and do not want to mess that up.

Meanwhile Kevin is scouring YouTube to find countless videos on reviews of duel fuel generators,  and bloggers on full timing.  Oh how I wish we could be one of them right now!

The Champion Duel Fuel 3400 or 3500 generator  seem to be leading the pack.

We did take advantage of our winter season  recently and purchased  an awesome Duraflame  electric heater. Model 9HM1000-C240.  It’s 1500 watts,  has remote control with thermostat  setting and timer if you want.  It is extremely quiet and kicks out a lot of heat.  We figured it will be perfect supplemental  heat  or if we are on shore power we will be able to save our LP.  The heater comes in a very nice wood stained enclosure which will match our kitchen cabinets and it will fit perfect in the open space between the dinette seat and sink cabinet. Will do a separate  post on this soon.

Back to my hot cocoa!!

 

 

2016- An Avion Christmas

Let it be known that Christmas 2016 was truly an Avion Christmas.  Thanks to Amazon, Ebay and of course http://www.VintageCamperTrailers.com among other places I was able to find some awesome things for Kevin  (and me).

The Personalized Tee: 20161225_113532  I made this custom T-shirt for Kevin.  This will be great to wear at rallies!it was easy to create on VistaPrint.com.  More about the license plate below.

Another great source for gifts for Vintage Camper lovers of all types and “flavors” is VintageCamperTrailers.com.          I have found some great things there in gift ware but they also have one of the better selections of things you need for repairs (both interior and exterior) hardware, exterior finishes, windows, electrical, etc. etc.    The folks there are super nice too and unknown to me Kevin had actually gotten me a fabulous $100 gift certificate to the site so i am really looking forward to shopping for me over the coming months.

For Christmas, Santa brought Kevin and I a selection of all the back issues of the Vintage Camper Trailers magazine, which is available on their site too.  These, along with great logo T-shirts was what i ordered.  No doubt, the magazines are going to provide tons of winter reading as we hunker down in our Southern Adirondack NY winter…

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These magazine are of a very good quality with full color pages and terrific photography of exterior and interiors of a great variety of vintage trailers.  My only wish is that someday someone does a bang up great story on an Avion.    The magazine is a great resource for calendar listings of upcoming rallies and vintage camp outings and shows.

A Christmas could not be complete without a few ornaments….trailers of course!  Kevin laughs that perhaps the toughest thing for me when we eventually downsize to the point we are moving onto our RV full-time is going to be what to do with all my Christmas decorations.  Well, I can tell you I WILL find a place for my vintage trailer ornaments for sure!

Even our NY Department of Transportation got into the vintage camper game this Christmas….delivered was our custom license plate we had ordered for the Pewter Palace.  We figured if we got this, that a lot of the initial questions folks might have about our rig will be clearly answered just by reading the license plate as we are tooling along US highways, byways and back roads enjoying ourselves.  So check it out !

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Rounding out our fun holiday gift giving was this wooden sign that I found locally.  It is a perfect saying for a camper trailer, and we had been looking for something to put in the little empty space just above the bathroom door in the Pewter Palace.  I am hoping it fits,I did forget to measure that space before we put her into hibernation, but my eye says it will be a perfect fit.  Time will tell!20161225_131301_001

Last but certainly not least, Kevin found these tin “A’s” which are awesome and will look great as non-breakable decor in the trailer.  I especially love the battery operated one with little lights.  Both were at Hobby Lobby.  Also I found on Ebay a fellow who has reproduced the Avion Travelcade large stickers that our rig has on it but they are very old and in not so great shape.  Actually, the one on the front is not in too bad a condition but the one on the rear of the rig basically disintegrate when we gave the rig a bath this fall.  So these are excellent quality and will really look bright, neat and great on her.  The Avion Travelcade was the membership organization that originally was associated with Avion Owners.  The “travelcaders” as the members were called planned rallies and gatherings all over the USA and had signature hats, vests and programs for members. It was a great network and the numbers on the front and back of our rig indicate the membership number of the trailer’s former owners then they belonged.  Sadly, the association fell apart after the Fleetwood Company bought the Avion company from the Cayo family back in the 80’s and they started allowing any Fleetwood RV owners as members too…I suspect it just homogenized the rally experience so much that the comaraderie fizzled out.  Hmmmm do I hear opportunty knocking??  VBG

So that is a bit about our wonderful Vintage Camper Christmas this year!  Looking forward to an amazing new year !!

Inspirational folks…..

My friends look at me a bit strangely and with a bit of that….well ok, we will see….. type of look….when I explain our rationale for wanting to divest ourselves of a full time big house, of paying high property & school taxes (yes, they are separate here in NYS), working full time and spending our precious off work time and money just to maintain and keep up the property.  There is never enough time and it greatly takes away from our time of doing what we love to do which is camping and travel.  Don’t get me wrong, some folks get sheer pleasure and enjoyment out of gardening, cooking in a full tricked out kitchen, fixing this and that and doing home improvements. I am happy for them, if they are happy.   Been there, done that—about 25 years ago–and yes, it was fun and rewarding, but not any longer.

It might help readers to understand that from about 1983 to 1999 my first husband and I were totally into “fix and flipping” houses–long before the HGTV phenomenon hit.  I moved, with small children way too many times and well, that took the wind out of my sails. I also owned and operated a B & B for  time in a huge 5000 sq foot 210 yr old farmhouse.  I had to get it out of my system too, and after four years of up at 4 AM to bake muffins and to bed at 11 PM after the final laundry was done (and working part time and full time during those years)…I was done.

At this point in my life (late 50’s) I am totally done with all that.   Once my father, who had been living with us, passed away about 18 months ago, we took stock and realized that Kevin and I are literally using three rooms (about 600 sq ft) in a 2500 square foot house. And best part is..we are good with that small living space.  Very comfortable, not crowded. It is crazy to pay for and maintain a space you no longer need just to house your “stuff” that you have amassed over the years.    We both have good jobs, but work lots of hours and have minimal times during the year when our work allows us to both take time together.  Our children and grandchildren are out of state (VT and AZ) which means planned trips away. We covet our time for travel, visiting family, and being together exploring historic places and the open road.   We also enjoy researching full timing RV life from others who are doing it currently.  YouTube has a plethora of great bloggers giving good, real life tips and tribulations. Its the life we want to lead…..

These are REAL folks doing amazing things that Kevin and I love to learn about, study and digest for how it will work for us.  There is no doubt in our minds…this is where we will be in less than 10 years.

Here is one of the several Vlogs we subscribe to and watch religiously.  This is Steve and Courtney and they live currently in Tucson AZ and in their mid-30s have decided to forgo the traditional homeownership life for an “Airstream Life”.  I was quite honored when Courtney answered some questions for me and liked our FB page and this website.

Several years ago, we owned an entry level Class A motorhome for about five years.  We traveled in it quite a bit and loved it, but it was aging and becoming a money pit so we sold it.  We did not realize until it was not in the driveway ready at our beck and call for a getaway just how much we missed that lifestyle.  So, about two years ago we started looking again.  After going to the Hershey PA, huge RV show we realized how we loved the Airstream look and how much more bang for your buck you can get with a trailer versus a Class A.  We love the Tiffin Class A’s but lets be honest, when i retire, I do not want a big monthly payment over my head, so we ruled those out.  Along the way of discussing and researching trailers, we literally stumbled upon the Avion brand of aluminum, curved style camp trailers. They are no longer being made and the best years of production were 1972-1977.  Airstream actually sued the company for design infringement, but lost.   We loved the quality build, the stylish aerodynamic look and function, and well…we started doing all sorts of research, combing Craigs lists nationally and getting on to some blogs and chat lists about them. We found our ’73 in VT.   But I digress….this entry was really supposed to focus on why we want to full time in our RV.   Whether it will be in this 1973, 28 foot Avion, our Pewter Palace, or not, the fact remains we simply are really engaged in pursuing the living simple, small and somewhat mobile when we retire (or before!).  Trust me, if we lived in a climate that allowed full time trailer living we would be living in her right now and commuting to work for sure.

Every time we (well, actually Kevin) has to haul out the snowblower for the 15th time, or climb onto the porch roofs to hook in the storm windows (yes, circa 1950 and they work like a charm as long as you don’t mind heights getting them into place) or mow the lawn after a long day at work we realize there are many other things we would rather be doing. The upkeep of a large house and yard is just overwhelming at times and we do not make enough money to hire out someone to do this like some of our friends do.  Its all us…or nothing.   So we even are starting to look around the house, make piles here and there of what we want to keep and what is going to be going to auction in the spring.  I have enough to tempt some auctioneer to want to take our stuff.  Figure that is more expeditious and less tedious than trying to do all of this by tag sale.  I do not want to spend my summer weekends doing that for sure.  I want to be on my Avion, enjoying life.  We have even started looking at townhouse apartments in our area for the purpose of downsizing our living space and saving money and upkeep time in the process. We figure if we start the process now, then bit by bit things will become so easy to live tiny, simply and enjoy life rather than amass possessions.  Kevin cannot WAIT till he can sell the lawnmowers, snow blowers, lawn tools, etc. etc.  that alone has him salivating for the day!

I am going to be posting some more links to full time bloggers, etc. in this “Full Time Life” section as time goes by…thanks for reading! Hope we provided some inspiration too!

First Snow…October 2016.

As we were preparing for putting our trailer in storage we experiences the first snow of winter in Early October!

Sure wish we lived in a climate that would allow for full time use of our Pewter Palace.  I so would like to simplify living and start spending more time living a more minimal and simple life and less time trying to maintain our very large house which is daunting at times.  We love watching the many full timer blogs we subscribe to that have couples living the RV life. Some work full time, other part time and still others have managed to make ends meet enough to keep happily on the road. I envy them.

Snow pictures….here is a video kevin took during the first snow…with our beautiful Pewter Palace….

First snow 2016

2016 Winter Hibernation

Sadly our first tow of the Pewter Palace had to be to bring her to our winter hibernation garage.

At least she will be high and dry and that is good. Kev said she towed like a dream. Suburban had no problems with weight or anything. You can see from the video she really tracks the car well, no sway or swagger. 

We winterized her, opened all cabinets as others on blogs have suggested just to let mice know there is no safe haven. Put mouse blocks and large box trap down just in case too. But the big garage is well fitted out and we never had any probs with our motorhome stored there in past years either.

I did take all cushions off because I am going to recover in a red theme over the winter. We decided to take mattresses off too just so they are safe here at home in case a rodent does get in.

Snug as a bug in a rug…

So here is her maiden Sherman voyage!!

https://youtu.be/jomB1oF1YdI 

Bedroom Carpet Facelift and Upgrade

Oct 22, 2016.  Our coach originally came with an off white sheet vinyl with gold veining.(guess they wanted to match the jazzy mirrors with gold veining which we actually adore!) However the vinyl is a bit tired and having a cozy carpet to step on in the early morning wake up is really welcomed. So we decided to do a carpet facelift.  The previous owner can cut and fitted an off-white Berber rug remnant in place. It was in decent shape and clean. What you see are just shadows. But the transition from kitchen to rug was never completed with any threshold etc. And you also had to be careful not to catch or chip the raw vinyl edge.

So we used the remnant for our pattern. Luck would have it, Home Depot ( yes about our 8th HD trip in two weeks… uuugh) had a 26″ w oriental runner sold by the foot. That was the exact width we needed! And the color will go fine with my Spring 2017 decor refit.  That is secret for now.  Our length needed was 74 1/2″ and this provided enough to once again notch out the moulding door jam at the bathroom transition.  The door in the bathroom was plenty high so this was deemed not a problem for a carpet install right into and even with the door threshold. In fact the BR door is very high clearance off the ground. I know the ’72 brochure I have seen said Avions came with “deep pile quality shag carpet” .  I suspect just cause our owners chose vinyl the production line was not bout to change their jig for one coach.  Hey we ARE talking the 70’s folks and I remember shag all over our house!  But really? In a camper? Yikes! The dirt build up had to be disgusting.  I believe our first owners voted for vinyl from the start. Reason we think so is because the white with gold veins is sheet vinyl and runs clearly under all bathroom cabinets, under beds, under kitchen cabinets. Suggesting that it was put down first during the coaches construction and all else was installed on top.

Anyway, I digress. Sorry. Back to our project. Here we are measuring and cutting out the notches to fit BR door moulding. Remember to lay your pattern piece same facedown direction as your new carpet!

Remember if you ARE using an existing carpet that you have both of them facing in the same direction on the table…not pile to pile (like I almost did) because notches may not be identical from side to side when you flip your new carpet right side up. Ours notched areas were not  identical and so your cuts will not be correct if you screw this up.  Our carpet cost us 26.00, the two oak thresholds were $11 each, plus stain which we had.  1/4 inch carpet pad was $8.50 again a remnant cast-off from a local carpet store.

The new Carpet was cut first with a box cutter. (Could not find our carpet cutter). Then little final trims retire able to be done in coach with sturdy household scissors which gave us more control for tiny slices to ensure perfect fit at doorway. I also recommend leaving any of the edge building threads long. Wrap them to the back of your new carpet and tape them down with gorilla tape. This prevents any short traveled threads from. Showing or eventually popping loose and showing on the top side.

Below is carpet pad being trimmed and pieced to fit. Note orig gold veined Vinyl flooring. Not bad for 44 yrs old!

You could butt together and tape any pieces of padding. we did not bother on such a small seam. Larger seams should be taped to hold in place well.

Below are final adjustments and oak transition thresholds screwed in place. Be careful not to screw any deeper than you have to. Be especially careful in BR to bedroom areas. There have been more than one Avioner who ended up using too long a screw and drilled into a holding tank by mistake! Total bummer!

Below the thresholds are being screwed down You want to be sure you grab enough of the carpet to keep it secured. Our entire dining and kitchen area subfloor and vinyl had been replaced in last six yrs with 3/4″ marine plywood so our carpet and kitchen vinyl is now even. It was not before. Here is bathroom transition.

Here is kitchen transition. Sure does feel nice under foot! Fits perfect under the under bed cabinets and drawers no problem. We did have to take the heat vent cover on curbside under my twin bed and screw back in place after carpet was down.

The finished project! Looks and feels grand. Lucky for us HD also had an already found piece that matched at 31″x48″ so that is in kitchen area. That small area rug did coat another $20 but worth it to ensure the match.  We are really happy with this. Total project time, not including obtaining materials, 1 hr. Total project cost, under $80.

Replacing Refrig Panels

Oct. 22, 2016.  We were not thrilled with the black plexiglass, sticker laden refrig panels that the previous owner had. Granted we were impressed with how much and far they had traveled ND, FL, CA, ME but it just seemed so “in your face” and not us.

Do we had one 2’x2′ repro vinyl “tin” ceiling tile in the “Cracked Copper” finish that we wanted to try in place of the black plexiglass panels. We had this one panel already because we had bought a few different ones to try in our old Class A RV as a protective backsplash in our kitchen/stove area

It had always worked well, was super easy to clean and yes easy to cut to size with household scissors!  So we cut one to size to see how it would look on the top panel. And LOVED it!

After running to HD and Lowes however we found that the company does not sell their ceiling tile size at these stores any more. They only sell what is sized to actually fit as kitchen backsplash, which is too small for our 8 cubic foot Domestic refrig which is about 6 yrs old. So on to trusty Amazon.com to search. Found them easily and at the same price we paid per panel 6 yrs ago. Amazon prime free shipping and we had them in three days.
Another  project check box completed and we love the look.  And because these are actually vinyl they don’t dent, scratch or rust. they wash with soapy rag and are easy to switch out. If you like the silver tin look they have those too! The Cracked Copper finish compliments our wood cabinetry and the refrig really melds in much better than standing out as a black box.  Happy us!

BATH DAY!

Oct. 15, 2015.  We decided before prepping her for winter storage the Pewter Palace would get her first bath by us. Scouring the various online forums and FB Avion lovers sites (I now belong to two private FB groups and one yahoo group)  we decided to proceed with the recommendation to use Simple Green Pro HD cleaner. It’s the PURPLE stuff. Then you dilute it per instructions. It did a very good job!

Check out this before….and after

Getting up high enough to wash and check the roof is not easy. It is suggested when you work on the roof of an Avion (or similarly an Airstream) that you use a sheet to plywood to kneel on so you can diffuse your weight and leave no footprints. I am actually going to purchase a very nice scaffold set up from HD for a Xmas gift for Kevin…ha, ha.  It will enable him to be high enough that with his nice ladder with platform he will be able to reach and get to nearly everything on the roof.  But…that is not till next spring now.

Here Kev is washing and when she is wet she is gorgeous! We plan to get her polished and waxed in spring. Avion’s are not a mirror finish like Airstreams (which is nice) but the anodized aluminum is much stronger, durable and when given that “wet look”coating she is fabulous!

Meet The PEWTER PALACE

Welcome to my blog about our journey of purchasing a vintage 1973 Avion all aluminum coach travel trailer in September 2016.

I am not quite sure I love the fact that something that was made at the same time I was a sophomore in High School is now considered “vintage”. But we can chalk it up to birds of a feather folk together. In any case I love the quality of the woodwork (no vinyl contact paper wood grain cabinets and 1/4″ chip board or worse) with real wood, dovetailed drawers, full piano hinges on doors and a frame that is built like a Sherman tank. (Pun)

WHY “THE PEWTER PALACE”?

We had been shopping around for about 7 months for the coach we wanted to call our own. On one trip to see a pretty sad, run down 73 Travelcade model we came up with what our name for the one we hoped to eventually purchase would be. For those who do not know me I have a passion for 18th Century American history and in this have been collecting reproduction (all I can afford) pewter dishware and serving pieces for over 20 years. Admittedly I have way too much but when I operated a B & B in a period farmhouse in CT in the early 2000’s it came in handy and did catered dinners and colonial cooking demonstrations for 10-15 people.

 

Anyway, the sheen and color of the anodized aluminum of the Avions reminded my husband Kevin and I of my pewter…and well calling a living space that is less than 30 feet long a “palace” is just tongue and cheek fun!  So we had our name for her….now we just had to FIND her!  Needless to say the Travelcade was far more a project then we wanted. So the search of Craigslists from all over the USA, a tracking of http://www.RVtrader.com and even “looking for” postings on our personal FB pages finally paid off. We found our coach in the VT Craigslist on a Thursday morning, got out of work that day-drove 2.5 hours into the dark to see her.  Used car headlights and flashlights to scope the exterior. Thankfully the owner could plug the power cord into his adjacent garage so an interior inspection was much easier. We loved her! She was in really nice shape save a few tweaks and had been consistently used which is far better than those left abandoned in fields and backyards.  The owner accepted our offer and deposit and we drove back home another 2.5 hours that same night. This return home trip was filled with excited chatter and seemed to fly.  To top it off, the owner even volunteered to deliver her to our door!