Category Archives: Refurbishment Projects

Replacing Avion Rubber Window Trims

With the exception of TIRES….the project that seems to get the most play on any of the Avion Forums, Facebook pages and Instant messaging is “what and how do I fix my windows that look like this??

We have had countless requests to create this comprehensive project blog post so here it goes.  Included is step by step “how-to’s”, where to buy materials, videos, tips and tricks!

By no means are we professionals at this-we just love our Avion and want to make her whole.  We make mistakes, we try to help others to not make those same mistakes if we can avoid it…but there are some folks on the Avion facebook pages and forums that have done 2, 3, 4. 6 makeovers of Avion windows who should and could be tapped for their expertise too!

(BELOW IS WHAT OUR 1987 32S LOOKED LIKE WHEN WE BOUGHT IT IN MARCH 2020)

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This is what our windows looked like AFTER we finished (or nearly finished) our project

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First...assemble the tools  we suggest  you have handy:

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  1. Heat gun (a hand held hair blow drier will work in a pinch)
  2. Power screwdriver
  3. Heavy duty scissors, or kitchen shears
  4. Needle nose pliers
  5. Set of picks (blue handles)  (can be found at big box hardware stores)

also, not pictured but needed…..

  1. Tape measure (we have found best to have a cloth measuring tape AND a regular metal measuring tape
  2. Phillips screwdriver (in case, like with ours, the screw cover had been screwed down to hold in place after shrinkage from age had started to pull away corners)
  3. Can of Pam cooking spray, to help lubricate the tracks before inserting new trim
  4. A hard plastic Bone tool (we have a link on our Resources/Links Page)
  5. Rages, shop cloths or disposable wipes & cleaner (we use GoJo Brand Workshop/Garage Hand wipes.  They have a ruff side but it does not hurt aluminum skin or window tracks, but really removes grease, grime and goo from window tracks.

NOTE: For the purpose of this blog post I am going to refer to the window glass bead as “trim” and the trim that goes around the outside of later model Avions like ours (87) as the “screw cover”.  The Glass Bead is what term to look for on the sites linked below that sell the right stuff.  The glass bead is the rubber trim that pushes into place that sits and hugs the glass of your window.  Don’t ask me why they call is a bead…it is far from that in my book…it is trim.  but using the right terms, Glass Bead and Screw Cover will keep you out of trouble, especially when trying to locate the stuff online or speaking with someone at these companies.

IMPORTANT TIPS- SOME OF THESE WE LEARNED THE HARD WAY!

(Don’t skip this part please!)

  • Do this project when weather is warm so old trim and new is as pliable as possible.
  • Take your cloth measuring tape, and measure each window around the metal trims- both the bead trim and the screw cover if applicable.  Using a cloth measuring tape makes it easier to loosely measure window curved corners.  Get that total for each project and ADD 10-15 feet for safe measure.

Pro Tip (ha ha) make a schematic of your trailer NOW and write down each glass bead trim track and  if you have them, screw cover track length for each window.  This will help in installation steps to follow.  ADD 2-3 INCHES TO EACH OVERALL LENGTH!

  • Always order at least 10-15 extra feet over what you think you need.  You are going to screw up your measurements or the 45 degree corner angles , etc. on occasion.
  • Do NOT take any old trim off until you are ready to tackle that particular window.  This we found was especially critical with the curved front and back windows.  We did not know this, removed all trim and over a few weeks of very hot 90 degree summer weather, the curved/bent glass pieces shifted down.  We had to manual slide them back into place and shim them to be able to get new trim into the tracks again.
  • We do not recommend microwaving (some do!) or laying out your new trim in the sun unless the temps outside are cold and you need to warm up the rubber to get it pliable.  The concern with heating new trim up too much is you do NOT want to stretch the trim as you are putting it in because once it cools it will shrink back to its normal length causing you problems in corners and seam areas.
  • We do recommend using the 3M trim adhesive we will  show in our steps.  We used this in all radius corners (rounded corners) as well as wherever seams butted up against each other (both under the trim as well as over top the seams).  This product is linked in our Amazon product list on our Resource/Links page.  We used just over (1) 5 oz tube for our ’32 foot trailer.  We did end up buying that second tube for like the last window, but this stuff will come in handy down the road for sure!

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  • This project requires strong finger strength.  There is no way around it.  Kevin was the only one with the finger strength to get especially the glass bead (the trim that sits against the windows) to seat in properly.  I had no problem putting in the screw cover which is in the outside track.  Be ready for finger cramping at night!
  • Use continuous lengths of trim for each window.  Do not piece together unless you absolutely have to.  The more seams you introduce the more likely you will have failures and leaks. Some of the curved windows will required a straight side piece and then one continuous piece for the rest-for example the curved front and, if you have them the rear side windows.  On our 32S we also had the small little windows underneath our picture window in salon.
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    This is our 1973.  Note the trim piece on right is a straight piece with 45 degree angle cut corners . The rest is one continuous piece around the two curved outside corners.
  • When you receive your ordered new trim, dry fit a small piece in each window track to be sure  you have ordered the right stuff.  We found out the hard way (too!) that our front and rear large windows with curved side glass pieces had a very slightly different trim profile than ALL of the other windows.
  • We highly recommend using the fill-able syringe we have on our Resource Page to put the 3M Black Adhesive into so you can create a small exact bead of goo to put into track corners and at butted seams.  I snip off the first 1/8″ to use with Parbond and with this 3M material otherwise the tip as  it is made is so tiny, its really tough to push this thick material through.
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Here I am using the fill able syringe with Parbond to fill any open unused screw holes left when we removed the original screw cover rubber trim that lays outside the window.  This screw cover is not on earlier models (e.g.our 73 did not have)  but was on our 1987

STEP # 1:  ORDERING THE RIGHT TRIM FOR YOUR TRAILER WINDOWS

Decide what trim, for your model year Avion (or other vintage trailer for that matter) you are going to need.  Here is what we ordered and from whom for our 1987 Avion 32S window project.  (Caution!  this may or may not be what you need depending on year!)  You can use the resources we have listed below to take a bit of your old trim you have cut off to measure and try to match up with the product #s online.  For best search…you may want to actually SEND the company a sample and let their in house folks match you up with the right stuff you need.

Interstate and Pelland are the two we have dealt with the most.  They have very good customer service, thank goodness because their websites are really pretty bad!

(at the very end of this post we will show you specific links to the product #s and sources that we used on our ’73 28 Foot LaGrande Model and our  ’87 32S model)

STEP 2:  REMOVE OLD TRIM OFF A WINDOW AND PREP IT FOR NEW TRIM

Like with many or all projects, good surface preparation is key to a good finished product that will last.  

  • We found removing the Rock Guard really makes working on the front window much easier, but the rock guard can be left on if needed.  To remove your rock guard, check for any set screws in the upper track used to prevent guard from sliding out inadvertently.  To remove guard really is best done with 2 people on step stools.  Lift guard open up to an angle where the person (normally on the left) can begin to slide the guard out to the left along that upper track.  Keep sliding, the person on the right may have to help it over the bend of the guard on the end a little by flexing it out if possible or giving it a nudge, its going to be tight getting it past that point.  Continue to slide guard off which ever end of the track it feels most wanting to slide to.  We have found the person who helped on the right, needs to run around with their step stool to join the person on the left to guide it off due to overall length.  You do NOT want to bend this guard out of shape nor have it snap or crack.  They are nearly impossible to find original replacements for !

(1)  Remove old trim from the window you plan to work on today.  You may need a screw driver or needle nose pliers to pry it out and away from window track.  Do not bend metal track!  We highly suggest KEEP all the old Trim…at least for now!  See photo capture to learn why!

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Keep your old trim for now!  bundle it in froggy tape, mark which window it came from!  Case in point, we could not find the front/rear trim in time for our rally so we  “Frankenstein-ed” back the old trim putting it back in  and used 3M to hold it in again.  AND the black top trim piece we needed is back ordered…so we had to reuse that for now too!  Lessons learned!

(2)  Use cloths, scrubbies and a cleaner to get out all gunk, goo, bugs, etc from metal track.  Again, we use GoJo Brand Shop Wipes which are pre-moistened with a cleaner designed to remove grease, grime but are made for hands-so no harsh chemicals.

(3)  Remove any unnecessary screws (in the case of the screw cover, remove any exterior screws that were put in to hold old trim stuff on.  You will NOT be putting screws into the new trim.

(4)  Fill any unneeded “screw holes” made from old screws with Parbond or similar.  If there is obvious gaps in where the metal tracking butts up against each end, you can fill that slightly too.  The premise is we want to close up any unnecessary holes that can allow water into the trailer walls.

(5)  CHECK YOUR WEEP HOLES!  This is a great time to check your weeping holes on most windows.  They will typically appear as 2 small holes or square slots at bottom of the window on the tracks.  These allow any water that does get in to “weep” out of the holes rather than “seep” into your Avion wall!  I take a small pick or a screwdriver or large pipe cleaner and stick it in each weep hole to clean out grime, bugs and debris.  This cleaning of weep holes can become part of annual (spring and fall) or monthly maintenance routine depending on where  you are camping!

(6) Now is the time to do any black paint touch ups on the metal track that may have been chipped off or clean up any rust and repaint.  We used basic Semi-gloss Black Rustoleum brush on paint and a small brush.

STEP 3:  READY TO APPLY THE WINDOW GLASS BEAD (Sore Finger alert!)

(1)  Take your cloth measuring tape again if you had not written down how many inches the tracks are for each window.  Get your complete measurement of the bead track.  Add at least 2-3 inches to that measurement.  Yes, there may be some waste but if you cut to short trust me you will have FAR more waste in the end.

(2)  Start at either one of the bottom corners OR the center, depending on how the original one was done.  For all corners you will be doing a 45 degree “picture frame” fit.  I cut it by eye but if you are a stickler for precision, I guess you can find some angle tool to help you measure it.  (I do the angle cutting, Kevin would need the angle tool!)  You can try to push the rubber glass bead in without using Pam spray first.  If it goes in, it will require a bit of pushing with strong fingers and putting it in on a slight angle into the track first then laying it flat to the window.  You may need to use the Bone Tool or a pick to get it in to some places.  Here is a video we shot doing our 1973 Avion which really shows the technique that works best to get the trim in and snug to the window glass itself.

(3)  The whole KEY to doing this right is to push back on the material as you push it in.  This is to ensure the material will sustain its integrity and length for as long as possible once exposed to heat, sun, wind and weather changes.  You do NOT want to stretch it, you want it to be in there really tight and seated into the corners, bends and butted seams.  At the seams, we apply a little 3M underneath the two ends and really back off that finishing end so that the butting is very very tight.  In the corners, the same thing.  Cutting each end on that 45, cut it a little long and use the pick tool to force those pointed ends down inside the metal track corners too.

(4)  Use the 3M Adhesive (or we used clear Parbond on the ’73) to seal those seamed joints well.

(5)  Step back and take a look.  If you see some areas bulging a little, go back over them with your fingers, or the Bone Tool to get them to lay flat.  The bead should lay very tightly on the window glass if installed properly.  (Annually check those butted seams and corners and fill with e.g. that black 3M as needed.

STEP # 4:  INSTALLING THE SCREW COVER TRIM- EASY PEASY!!

Now for the far easier part!  The screw cover really goes in quite easily.  This is where we did use Pam spray to lube the track on some windows, while others seemed not to need it at all.

Again, the use of the screw covers on the Hehr windows was not in play until we believe the 1980’s.  We also cannot vouge for fact that all screw cover product #’s are the same, so again, look at a piece of your original, measure the profile end and look at the vendors to get the right stuff.  Be sure it is rubber…NOT vinyl!  Although our Ebay Source (below) advertises the product we ordered as “vinyl” it is clearly a rubber product.  Both are sold as screw cover, but vinyl is really sold more for boating and will not be able to bend around your radius curves.  Screw cover trim is far easier to find as  it is in regular use today on boats, cargo trailers, etc.

(1)  Using your window measurement of that outside track with that added “fudge length” adding 2-3 inches.  Cut your rubber screw cover.

(2) if you have not already prepped, cleaned, touch up painted your screw cover metal track do that now.  Fill in any holes from removed exterior screws with Parbond or similar.  Sand off rust, carefully repaint with black Rustoleum paint

(3) We found all screw covers on our 87 started at center bottom with a straight butted two ends together seam.

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(4)  To start, we put a small bit of 3M adhesive on the side we started with, then “clicked/pushed” the screw cover into place going around radius corners.  We put a bead (using the syringe) around EACH CORNER RADIUS bend too!  These corners are where you will see pop out first from age/sun shrinkage.  Having an adhesive in there should help prolong life.

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Above photo closeup of the OLD Screw cover.  A previous owner-we suspect the one in FL had put screws in through the rubber in an attempt to hold the rubber in place on each seamed corner and radius curve.  By doing this you are essentially creating holes for water to get in and to penetrate behind the screw cover “seal” and leak into your window track and ultimately possibly into your walls.   When you feel the need to put screws in like this….DON’T— just simply buy new screw cover and install!

(5) Kevin found the Bone Tool very helpful by flattening out the screw cover rubber and really forcing those little hooked ends into the metal track to grip well.  (see video below)

 

ANOTHER TIP TO SHARE:  When applying the glass bead AND the screw cover it really helps to have a second person who can keep the remaining trim above or at least level with the shoulder of the person applying the trim into the windows.  This prevents the drag of gravity trying to pull down on the excess material and helps the install.  If you don’t have a second person, then at least lay the excess over your shoulders to lessen the gravity drag downward and fighting against you trying to install “upwards” which you have to do to do this project right!

(5) Again, just like with the glass bead, you want to NOT stretch this screw cover.  During the install keep pushing it back slightly upon itself, especially around the radius corners so you are getting as much trim in as the track can hold.

(6) Butting the ends together, cut long and trim slightly as needed but to ensure a really tightly butted seam.  We lay some 3M adhesive on the final few inches of the trim before we do the final cut and butting of the raw edges.  Make sure those edges are straight for the neatest look.

(7) Apply a thin bead of 3M black adhesive over top of this seam as well.

This new glass bead if installed correctly should last in normal conditions at least 8-15 years or more.  Of course, if you are in hot weather states in the summer and your trailer is outdoors, the longevity may be less.  We know that the glass bead on ours was at least 20 years or more old and may have even been original.  Our trailer was bought new in FL, lived in FL till 2012 then sold and moved to PA.  Was stored outdoors.

Here is a PDF that I created and have posted on the Avion Trailer Owners Club Facebook page for its members.  I”m happy to share it here with you too! UPDATED 6-29-20-AVION Flexible Screw Cover Rubber Molding, Tips, Source to Buy for ’80s models

OUR SHOPPING LIST:

WHAT SPECIFIC PRODUCTS WE ORDERED FOR OUR 1973 AND OUR 1987 AVIONS AND WHO WE ORDERED FROM!  This may or may not be what you need!  Do your research, purchase sample kits or ask them to send you a sample or buy a foot of what you think you need FIRST!

Special note-JULY 2020:  We have yet to find the correct new replacement glass bead for our curved front and rear windows.  We are sending a sample to a Pelland and Interstate to get them to ID and select correct one. When we get it, we will update this post with that info!  All other materials that have worked for us are listed below with links to products and their distributors.

SOURCE DETAILS:    PELLAND ENTERPRISES:

Pelland also sells a great sample kit on their website…worth getting before you place your order!    https://www.pellandent.com/RV-Window-Seal

WINDOW GLASS BEAD:    Pellandent.com    H009-344-19

009-3441-pelland, glass bead for 73 and 87

  • 1973-  Used for all windows
  • 1987- Used for all curb and streetside windows AND for the straight inner trim on front and rear curved windows on each side of our jalousie center windows.

Model #  H009-344-19    for Hehr 5900 windows   

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TOP SEAL TRIM (flat piece that you cut to fit.  May need 3M on edges for extra hold)

h009-482-1-Pelland Enterprises, Top Seal

1987- used on all windows needing it, which are the straight windows, jalousie type.

  • PellandEnt.com   Model # H009-482
  • above may look a little too curved at the bottom of the arrow but when it arrives it really is more the flat that you will need.
  • https://www.pellandent.com/7900-Top-Seal-Hehr
  • July 2020 Price was $4.48 per foot

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SCREW COVER TRIM:

SOURCE DETAILS:  EBAY  SELLER – She is excellent to deal with.  Responds directly to questions, ships super fast.  Very good transactions.  Her “store” is full of various trims, etc. for RVs and Boats.

 

Search for:  BLACK RV Trailer Thick Vinyl 3/4″ Insert Trim Mold Flexible Screw Cover 100 Ft.

3 QUARTER INCH THICK , FLEXIBLE

  • July 2020 Selling for 100 feet @ $72.95 with FREE shipping!
  • She does sell it in various precut length hanks.  Buy what you need, and then some!

NOTE:  Be sure to order the correct ” Thick Vinyl 3/4 inch”.  She has a lot of various similar trims in her Ebay Store.  We did not order the thick stuff the first time and it was way to thin and would not have held up in the track for long and would have fallen out on the road.

So that’s it.  This is hopefully a very helpful post to all who need repairs or total replacements of their window trims.  The project is worth taking on.  Window and seams areas are the leading source of water damage to vintage trailers.

We hope we have helped you on your journey!  We love feedback so please leave a comment!

Safe travels!  Hope to meet you on the road or at a rally someday!

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Baby’s Got New Shoes! (Tires & Rims)

Today in  90 degrees and 64% humidity…..we (well, ok Kevin did all the work, I did my typical go-fer job and took photos) installed 4 new tires and a spare onto our 1987 Avion 32S.

The tires that came on our 87 Avion were a mixed batch with DOT codes ranging from  2015 to 2018 (the spare).  3 were Load Star brand and 2 were Power King Tow Max STR.  We were not real comfortable with the miss match and ages.  So The Pewter Palace needed new shoes!

After  much research Kevin made the decision to go with new 16 Inch aluminum rims and 16 inch radial tires.  This effectively raised the trailer a 1/2 inch overall.  Not a lot, but since these Avion’s are notoriously low to the ground, anything helps.

There is a huge debate and preferences of radials to bias ply tires.  To each his own.  Our feeling is we are going to be doing a lot of long distance multi day travels on highways especially as full timers.  Radials can handle that 6-8 hour day of driving in high heat conditions better than bias.  But this is our opinion from research and we believe everyone had their preferences and their reasons and we do not plan to get into a debate over it.  If it works for you….then that is great.

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Here is what we bought to complete this project:

TIRES:

LT225/75R16 Michelin Agilis CrossClimate  M3JH02CX2220                                             (July 2020 price in NY@ our local tire store, Warren Tire, Queensbury NY, $240.95 per)

https://www.michelintruck.com/tires-and-retreads/selector/info/agilis-crossclimate

RIMS:

16X6 6-Lug on 5.5″ Aluminum T02 Trailer Wheel – T02-66655T                                     (July 2020 price, online-$121.99 per rim)

https://recstuff.com/trailer-wheels/aluminum-trailer-wheels/16×6-6-bolt-on-5-5-aluminum-t02-trailer-wheel/

CENTER CAPS FOR RIMS:

4.25″ Stainless Steel EZ Lube Center Cap CCS002 (July 2020, $10.99 each online)

https://recstuff.com/trailer-tires-wheels/wheel-accessories/4-25-stainless-steel-ez-lube-center-cap-ccs002/

METAL VALVE STEMS: (we strongly urge metal valve stems, why?  rubber breaks down over time due to exposure to sun, etc.  Also if you have tire pressure monitoring devices on the stems, they add weight and over time the rubber will flex enough that they will crack and you lose air out of the valve stem….been there…done that!)

High pressure, Bolt in Metal Valve Stems (0-131 PSI)  ($3.99 each)

https://recstuff.com/trailer-tires-wheels/wheel-accessories/valve-stems/high-pressure-bolt-in-metal-valve-stem-0-130-psi/

HERE ARE SOME PHOTOS TO SHOW COMPARISONS FROM THE 15″ TO 16″

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New Michelin 16″ on left…….original Load Star 15″ on right.                                                               Both are mounted on Aluminum rims.  We chose the new rims to match what is on our tow vehicle, our 2011 GMC Denali 2500HD, 4WD, Crew Cab, Gas Engine. Sorry due to close quarters in our RV garage I could not take the photo head on, so actually the 16 inch looks a little smaller…its not!

 

Even with the addition of the 16″ size there is still plenty of “head room” above the tire.  Original 15 inch is on right.  NOTE:  This FACE WIDTH  of the tires are the same width!

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We did have these tires professionally mounted and balanced at our local, very reliable Warren Tire shop here in Queensbury NY.  We always recommend having your tires balanced professionally!!

STILL TO COME….(due to shipping delays have to go on later when we do bearings and brake checks)

We have ordered Centramatic Balancers: 

GENERAL INFO ABOUT THIS PRODUCT:  https://www.centramatic.com/balancers.rhtml

OUR ORDER:   AJP-10″ Light Duty 6 on 5.5″   (July 2020, pricing  4 pc set, $199.00 online only)

https://www.centramatic.com/wheel-balancer.rhtml?modelNumber=200-223

Wheel Bearing Check and Brake Checks will be done before our trip to the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally hopefully (leaving in 8 days), if not this will be done upon our return.  We had been told by previous owner bearing and brakes are good….appear so, but we always like to create our own “new benchmark” on our trailers for our own piece of mind.

Happy and safe travels….hope this post has helped you!  We LOVE COMMENTS!

Be safe, hope to meet  you on the road or at a campground or rally someday!

Kevin and Luisa Sherman

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Great Marker Light Replacements for Avions!

We needed to find a good source for our 1987 32S front and rear marker lights.

Amber in front (4) plus one centered on curbside near awning roller cover….

( 3 ) red lenses in rear.

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Front of our 1987 32S, Rockguard removed so we could more easily work on the marker light project AND for replacement of all window glass bead (seals, etc.) June 2020
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Front

 

Below is the excellent new product we found that fits perfectly to the 3″ on center and continues to be the same style as the originals with the rubber base and slip in lenses.

https://www.easternmarine.com/rubber-body-mount-amber-marker-light-1506ad?fbclid=IwAR3ZU7WNOMLPoDsqfUivnJtwQhGQVPClhDZL96hLh30_VPYixcEfs_ub314

I have put this photo specifically in below to show how we use a thin bead of Parbond along the top and 1/2 to 3/4 the way down each side of ANY light, or any fixed object, plate, etc. that must be installed on the exterior of the Avion.  This protects those vulnerable areas (now that have screws or rivets through the skin) from water penetration.

Kevin used 5/32 Olympic Rivets to secure the fixture in place.

20200607_131800
Notice the aluminum colored bead of Parbond along the top and part way down each side to prevent water penetration into fixture or rivet holes. (Rivets were dipped in Parbond before install.

So very often, as was the case with our ’73 Avion and now in our ’87, because of a lack of Parbond or similar sealant above the light fixtures, water gets in there, rusts the bulb clips and in some cases aids to corrode the wiring junctions.  A few seconds of Parbond application (see our other posts or our FB page about the fill-able syringes we use to feed a nice thin bead-rather than straight from the tube!)  solves water penetration issues.  Parbond sets up firm, but not permanent and can be removed. We use the aluminum color on this type of project, and clear Parbond on our black rubber window trims.  Clear could certainly be used on the light fixture project too.  Any other things you may have to afix to the side, e.g. an aluminum patch, etc. we recommend using the aluminum colored Parbond if the area will be eye level or lower.  This is what Chuck Cayo used when repositioning our awning brackets when we changed from an original Carefree system on our ’73 to a new Zipdee system in 2018.  So if its good for Avion-Guru, Cayo…it works for us too!!

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Last step on this project….

These marker lights come with incandescent, typical automotive bulbs.  Fine enough and what is shown in the lit up photo above.  However, we plan to change out EACH of these lights with LED bulbs to save energy, burn cooler and even brighter, and above all…so we get far longer life out of each bulb and should not need to do much maintenance at all with them.

We have worked with M4Products.com customer service AND the makers of the light fixtures to verify that the following small style LED bulb replacement will work in these new marker light fixtures.

https://m4products.com/ba9s-3d-2-cw-cool-white-led-light-bulb-with-mini-round-base/?fbclid=IwAR3qDP3lLHlLJ1fMBP5Sy2ZdqiZfkJqBdZQMnbjckg0PwXXOi06TeJRnxUo

We hope this post has helped you with this project!  Let us know!

Be well, travel safe, enjoy the journey!

Kevin & Luisa Sherman, thankfully Covid-19 free!

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Looking to Connect with Avion Owners?

What are you doing at 7 PM (EST) on Tuesday nights? 

Join us for a live, virtual chat ZOOM meeting with fellow Avioner’s from all over the USA (and the world)!

If it is one thing that this Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic has taught me, it is how to connect virtually with people in meaningful ways despite not being with them in person.

For my work, I have become very proficient at hosting live ZOOM meetings (you can start a basic Zoom account for free!) and have found that these LIVE virtual in-person meetings have enabled my colleagues, friends and family members to share stories, tips, timely topics and even share documents, photos, etc. in a meaningful easy way.  SO WHY NOT DO IT WITH AVION OWNERS?  LET’S GET TOGETHER TO “TALK AVION!”

Avion Tuesday Talks_instagram_eveninglight

SO…..Kevin and I are launching “Avion Tuesday Talks” –weekly topic —  live chats via ZOOM at 7 PM (EST).  Each week, we will have one manageable topic and hope to attract long time Avion owners to brand new owners….and everyone in between.  Even members of any of the Avion Facebook groups who are still “in the market to buy their first Avion” are welcomed.

Suggestions for future topic talks are always welcomed by shooting us an email, posting a suggestion on our facebook page or posting a comment on this blog anytime!

NOTE:  These meetings are best joined by you using a laptop with built in camera and speakers.  PC’s with audio and video are fine too.  Cell phones are ok but a little clunky to get the best experience.

My Pewter Palace Zoom account can handle up to 95 attendees.  Right now, I am also doing just the free subscription so our chat can only be 35 minutes (yup, i know i will have to put the timer on!).  If this catches on, we will explore upgrading to the paid service where longer 1 hr chats can be done.  But lets crawl….before we walk and see if the interest among Avioners is there first!

HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US AND HELP SPREAD THE WORD!  You can find the events listed by date on ourPewter Palace facebook page under the “events” tab.  This is where the topic of the week will be listed as well as the direct link info to log in and then join us at 7 PM.

Not familiar with Zoom??  It is super easy to learn and use!  Here is a terrific tutorial to view before your first live Zoom meeting!     Watch now!

Be Safe with LP Lines INSIDE your Avion!

Hey there,

This is a quick post based on the punch list of things we are going to prep our new to us 1987 Avion, 32S but this post applies to probably all Avions!

Under your stove you have a terrific drop down cabinet  with a lot of good storage space.  In our 1973 we used this for storing oversized trays, or some cast iron cookware and a plastic dish tub for stuff.

HOWEVER—this is also where LP lines typically come through on ALL AVIONS in the back corner (normally) of this cupboard which can pose a safety issue.  You NEVER want these lines to be pinched, or worse, punctured by stuff that you may have stored in that storage bin.

When you roll down the road, it has been recorded that your interior stuff sustains essentially an earthquake (cannot remember the degree magnitude right now, but is significant) so it behooves  you to batten down the hatches, and to be sure that anything you have in this convenient under stove storage area cannot shift and pinch, poke or puncture those precious LP lines!

Today, on our 1987 Kevin created a wooden “safety cage” that created a safe space for those LP lines. This project took a few minutes to do, a board, a power drill with screw driver bit and a few screws.  Safety is the word of the day.

Please check out this storage cabinet, and protect those LP lines! (yes, that is the original 33 year old linoleum!)

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Be well, hope to meet you on the road or at a Silver Avion Fellowship Rally soon!

Sincerely,

Kevin & Luisa Sherman

1987 Avion, 32S (our forever Avion) & a 1973 Avion, 28′ LaGrande (currently for sale)

Queensbury NY

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87 Microwave Gets a Facelift (removal++)

On our project list for our new to us ’87 Avion was to remove the original 1987 humongous microwave.  In truth–the edges of interior box were rusty and surely this behemoth sucks a huge amount of juice when “fired up” and running.  Plus…do we really want to trust the safety of a 33-year-old Microwave?

As an aside, in case you don’t know…Kevin and I have over 30+ years of 18th century living history reenacting at historic sites, museums, national and state historic parks from Nova Scotia to Colonial Williamsburg.  Yes…we are THOSE people who make and wear clothing and live the life of our forefathers and mothers in 1757-1781.  As a result of the immersion into this hobby, Kevin and I have long ago learned how to cook, clean and survive without a microwave for days on end.

Yes, at home I do use a microwave, but camping life and its pace and fresh air seems to shrug microwaving for us.

When we bought our ’73 Avion right off the bat we began looking to see what cabinet we could retrofit to install a small microwave thinking we needed one in an Rv.  Doesn’t every RV have one after all? (our Class A did).  But our common sense took hold and I asked discerningly- “what do we really use it for??”.  Perhaps heating a left over cup of coffee (can be done in a sauce pan), or reheating a left over (we rarely have leftovers and if so, tin foil can do the trick on the grill, in a covered pot on the stove or in our Avion oven)So did we REALLY need a microwave and to hack into the pristine, original cabinetry that Avion’s were/are known for?  We decided to wait a year of using our 73 before we hacked.  A year turned into three and there was no doubt, no microwave was needed for us.  We are resourceful camping souls from the 1700’s after all-  having logged literally 1000’s of hours in reproduction canvas tents, hauling water and cooking over an open fire even in 95 degree summers (with 3-4 layers of wool and linen clothing to boot)!  Running water and a toilet are high style for us!

So fast forward to our newly purchased ’87 Avion.  The 32S has a front kitchen.  It’s one of the big reasons we love this floor plan.  Here is a photo of the behemoth microwave that came with her off the assembly line in Michigan 33 years ago this past February. Yeah, the # buttons were like the size of a postage stamp!

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Here below are some photos after the microwave was removed, and the cabinet interior cleaned up, a floor created over the framing and wiring for the stove exhaust hood safely wrapped, encased and secured.  Kevin did a super job on this and WOW!!  Look at all this space I have now!  More than enough for some modern convenience contraptions I really do use like…my air fryer, small InstaPot, my crockpot and metal stock pot (for the occasional Lobsta’ dinners now and then or the rally chili cook-off contest!)  Plus maybe even some oversized boxes perhaps of dry cereals, oatmeal, etc.

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I had the brainstorm one night that instead of trying to salvage some original Avion cabinet doors to put in here, how about a corkboard?  In 225 Sq Ft of living space you always want to err on the side of versatility and each thing, full timers will tell you, should have at least 2 purposes!  So onto Amazon I went and found this beauty–a wood framed, magnetic chalkboard!  I have the link for it in our page that features our Favorite things/resources. (no, we do not have an Amazon store, we do not get any residuals from anything you order, its just us helping you to find things we love, use and have tried before)

 

I love the way the black chalkboard matches the look of the black front refrigerator and oven.  Really looks like it belongs!

So let us know?? what cha’ think?  We simply love it!  We used the same hardware as we had replaced in the kitchen (seen on right photo above) and so here is the big reveal below side by side….you decide!!  BTW…this board is chalkboard and magnetized so i am thinking a fun place to put grandsons current photos and some little magnets from special places we go to around the USA!!

 

Another project checked off the list!  This one took about a total of about 3-4 hours total including refit of interior cupboard, staining of frame, going to store to get hinges and the intallation this evening

Happy travels!

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Kitchen Refresh & More–on our NEW 32S!

You may have seen our sneak peak where we unveiled that we just purchased a new to us 1987 Avion 32S.  We have dove right in getting to our punch list.  The weather here in upstate NY still is not great (3rd wk in April and still in the 40s-50s).  Thankfully for us (but not on the pocketbook) we have secured an additional RV garage bay 3 doors down from our 1973 (which is coming on for sale soon!)

The biggest “change” we have done so far in the last 12 days is the total switch out of the original cabinet hardware throughout the trailer which was a combination of off white porcelain and brass tone pulls and updating it with a new look that to us seems to go with the quintessential look of our all aluminum trailer. Before doing this switch out, I wiped down every cabinet inside and out applied Howard’s Restor-A-Finish to every piece of woodwork, doors, cabinet and closet fronts, then followed up with Howard’s Feed N’ Wax which not only makes the wood “pop” but also protects it with a non sticky wax finish. (I have placed a video from the Howard company in some additional details below)

See what you think! 

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BEFORE…..
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AFTER…..

You will notice that we found we HAD to re-purpose the original oval ended backplates because there was no way we could circumvent the fade and marks that they made. So Kevin had the awesome idea of spray painting them the hammered pewter finish we have used before. Below is after Kevin had by hand soaking in paint stripper, then stripper neutralizer, then green scrubbied them and finished with a steel toothbrush, then sprayed on primer.  Here is our parking lot “clothes line”!

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So we used the Rustoleum Hammered Aluminum (light version) to give it “the Pewter Palace look” and then installed the new brushed stainless modern handles for a clean updated look (Thanks to daughter Sarah for her #1 vote on the handles!).  The handles were found at Lowes in stock, in store just under $7 each- great quality!

Below you can see why we could not go with just the handles, but needed the backing plate. By the way, this is also before I applied the Feed N’ Wax.

The finished job in the kitchen! We are so very thrilled with the way it looks and functions!  We like the traditional “hammered pewter” with the modern sleek brushed aluminum handles- a melding of old world…and new!

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IN CASE YOU ARE INTERESTED IN READING MORE….

Other things we have finished on our punch list between April 14 (delivery day) to 26th, 2020.

All draperies, pillow covers removed and dry cleaned.  Although they were not really dirty and former owner thankfully was a non-smoker- we just figured easier to start with a fresh baseline.  The curtains had been custom made just 2 years ago.  There is a lot of curtaining and I am not sure I will keep it all.  In fact, I know i will be moving the beige kitchen curtains to the rear bedroom because of the pattern and color schemes of our current bedding and German decor.  Plus some of the curtain valances really needed pressing too to just look perfect! 40LBS of curtains, bedding, pillow covers came with our trailer…yikes that is a lot of weight!

All cabinetry doors and wood walls have been treated and fed with Howard’s   Restor-A-Finish (cherry in kitchen, Maple-Pine elsewhere).  Wow…what a difference- the woodwork quality in Avion’s is second to none!  Then everything was treated with a coating of Howard’s Feed N’ Wax.   Check out their video!

Mattresses refreshed: the mattresses have been Febreez’d, and set out in the sunshine during 4 sunny days (not every day was warm…but they were sunny!  The zippered mattress covers machine washed and came out great!  The mattresses had been custom made.  Due to the rear twin bed configuration, the twin beds are curved at the foot on one side to align with the curve of the rear of the Avion (Airstreams do the same thing).  The mattresses are an excellent coil quality, soft pillow top and only 2 yrs old from MattressInsider.com (tags still on) -so we are keeping them.

Mirrors all cleaned.  Some of the mirrors are glass, others (living room and bathroom) are highly polished stainless steel which is great because they are much lighter and will not break…ever!

Breathable Beds are important: Kevin drilled some additional vent holes in the tops of the bed’s wooden platform/storage covers.  We also took the fiber vent pads from our old Avion (also from MattressInsider.com) and trimmed them to fit the “new curve”!

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Dining table rehab:  we took off the hardware for drop down to bed dinette table.  Used same hammered aluminum spray paint to cover over rusty areas, and reinstalled table.  Looks great now!

Wiped down and cleaned all interior walls and ceiling:  For this cleaning I have found the best results are from either using a Mr. Clean Eraser sponge with (green) Fabuloso cleaner, diluted per their instructions or for stubborn areas I use GoJo textured hand cleaning wipes. These things are truly amazing and we use them on a lot of projects-besides being great hand cleaner wipes when working with grease, paint, etc. etc.

Window projects to date:  Kevin has lubricated all the window cranks, removed interior window screens and ewe have begun repainting frames with black satin Rustoleum spray paint. Washed all the interiors of windows.

The wonderful hallway double cedar closet wardrobe has been refreshed with Colton’s Cedar Spray (all natural and not a strong scent) to bring back its great qualities to repel moths and keep clothing fresh.  Neat thing we found was that Avion was so quality in their thinking that there are tabs that pull down a wooden cover with rubber gasket that goes over each clothing bar when traveling, thereby preventing the proverbial clothing hangers landing on the floor and clothes in a jumbled mess!

Original 1987 pull down shades get a bath:  I have decided to retain the original pull down fabric shades that are in the kitchen/dinette area, over the sofa and in the bedroom.  I HAVE removed the chic “mauve and pink” woven decorative trim though!  Ha ha!  I will need to replace some trim with something more to my decor in the kitchen and living room though because when these were originally made the trim was sewn and glued in place and the glue is so embedded and aged golden that it must be covered over.  The bedroom ones were far easier, those I was able to just cut off the original fabric scalloped tier to leave simply just a very decent off-white linen woven-look shade which will look just fine.  All of them got the “hot tub” treatment in our apartment bath tub with a hefty amount of Oxi-wash and Tide.  Check out that dirty water!  In defense of former owner, he had heavy black out curtains made and I suspect never really used these in the past 8 years he owned the trailer.

Well, that should do it for our aching backs, but so worth it for the first 12 days of ownership.  We are really pleased with how things are going.  Now that it stays light longer we have been able to get over the RV “carriage barn” after I finish working each day (remotely of course due to Covid-19 Pandemic) and the past two weekends.

Our goal is to have the interior completely knocked out and finished by end of next weekend so we can move all of our gear out of the 1973 and get her up for sale!  Then we will start on our 32S exterior punch list so stay tuned!

Bye for now, be well, stay healthy and safe!

Kevin & Luisa Sherman

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Breaking news! Sneak Peak of Our New Avion!

We thought it would not happen, but since our plans are really congealing to go full time in 2023 (and it seems like not such a far off time anymore)…we started really looking at our needs for full timing.  A slightly bigger rig with more defined “living space” areas and above all…a rear twin bedroom with panoramic window views to enjoy sunrises and awesome views as we camp at beautiful places like this below…once we start our “new chapter”.

Here is a shot of the Badlands of South Dakota- a dispersed camping area that we will definitely be visiting in 2023.  The second photo is by Mark of “AvionAwesome” who owns a vintage Avion and this shot he took is on the Utah/AZ border.  His photograpy is fabulous so check him out on YouTube or Instagram.

And…..Drum Roll Please!!!!

Here she is!  Being delivered to our RV carriage barn in NY last week!  Click here for VIDEO

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So why change from our 1973  ’28 foot LaGrande?  We love our ’28 foot LaGrande model but after some hard consideration, we had recently decided IF a 32S Avion floor plan trailer came up for sale in really good condition we would pounce on it. It was the only change we would accept over our beloved ’73.   AND we DID find one!  In early March( before all the pandemic restrictions-whew!) , a fellow member of the Avion facebook pages posted his 1987 32S Avion for sale.  He had bought a pristine ’34 foot Avion. We contacted him within 2 hours of the posting.  Kevin and I hopped into our car at 4 AM the next day and drove to eastern PA to take a look.  It was perfect for us.  Many of the upgrades we knew we were going to want to make before we began our full time journey had already been done-saving us a lot of sweat and time.  Plus it reaffirmed our decision that the 32 S with its front kitchen, separate rear twin bedroom, and its huge picture window in mid coach living room was just what we needed to complete our full time reality.  So we jumped and bought it!

YES, we will need to sell our lovingly maintained 1973, 28 ‘ LaGrande model travel trailer-so if you are interested watch for our posting soon!! You can see plenty of videos and photos of it here on this blog or on our YouTube channel, search for The Pewter Palace

Here is a shot of the rear twin bedroom.  Plenty of storage, windows on all three sides and …a TV!


Then the front kitchen makes it feel more “homey” versus a galley kitchen, plus we love having the stationary dinette and the storage underneath it is awesome.  Once we retire we hope to do way more camping with the grand kids and now each of them have have their own bed (the sofa folds down to a double bed and dinette a single).  The dinette seats are on springs so they are super comfortable for sitting on and make a super comfy single bed versus on a normal dinette plywood base.

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On our project list so far….

Interior Punch List so far:

  • Apply Restor-A-Finish “Maple Pine” to all wood cabinetry, doors and closets as it is really dry.

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  • Change out all original cabinet hardware with more contemporary look (my daughter was the final judge on which we would go with so watch for a dedicated post on the cabinet refurb soon!)
  • Clean all drapery and original pull down fabric blinds (yes, still with the “Mauve” original motif trim!) and assess what we will keep and what windows will have a different window treatment to ensure we have light and panoramic views.  Since our full timing will include “chasing 70’s (degrees) there is no super need for heavy lined drapery, etc. but the drapery in the rig is very good and nearly new.
  • Do a once over clean and then the interior will be done!  Very little needed as it was very well maintained.  We are the fourth owner.
  • Install Lithium Ion Battleborn battery system.
  • Convert remaining copper plumbing to PEX
  • Find new convention/microwave oven.  Currently the original 1987 model is just a microwave.

Exterior Punch list (so far):

  • ALL windows need to be redone with new glass bead and trim.  Time consuming and tough on the fingers but we had to do the glass bead on our ’73 front window so we know how to do it.  Now we just have the whole rig to do!

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  • Install the EasyStart system in the AC unit (Kevin had just installed that last October in our ’73 and it works great when running on a generator.
  • Remove blue midline sticker, and replace with a 3M Chrome insert (see below)

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  • Apply Eternabond to the seams where zipdee awnings meet the roofline.  Apply Parbond first, then Eternabond tape.
  • Repaint hitch and front frame area
  • Give her a super good bath

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  • Possibly replace some of the nose and rear orange running lights or seal better
  • Replace Travelcade Stickers, front and rear with reproduction ones as they are very worn out. You can buy them on Ebay, that is where our ’73’s are from.. Source for those is on our Resource/links page
  • Begin planning for solar panel installation (probably not till 2022)

With all the goings on with the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, it is questionable how many of our RV trips we planned for this summer to rallies, etc. will actually happen. This is sad for sure and we will really miss seeing everyone and going camping.  But the silver lining is that it does give us dedicated time to work on the projects above so for the 2021 season our NEW Pewter Palace will be all ready to roll and we look forward to showing her off…she is a beauty!  Watch for more interior photo shots soon!

Until we meet on the road again…

Be well, stay safe and healthy!

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Making Lists…Using downtime productively during Pandemic

Hey everyone,

Hope this post finds you all well, healthy, staying home…to protect your family and save lives! If you are like us you are hunkered down on a government imposed “stay at home” order. BTW- we totally agree with this order- we must stay away from others!

Here in NY State (thankfully we are 3 hours north of NYC) we are hunkered down with some adjusted work at home schedules for Luisa and adjusted go into work schedule for Kevin.

PP during Covid-19

So we have taken this time, as we see many are commenting on with facebook that it is a great time to plan and DO projects on your Avion’s! We are doing that too!

You know…that one that has taken forever to get tothe one that you have to take stuff apart and have been fearful you cannot get it back in time for your next camping trip in a week….that hinge that needs re-tightening.

Kevin and I created a great “to do” project list template, broke it up into exterior and interior, then by area…for instance:  on the exterior (front, curbside, rear, streetside, underbelly, front) and on interior (kitchen/dining, salon/living room, bath, bedroom).

Here is the template we designed.  Feel free to print out, customize for your needs.

TEMPLATE- Avion PROJECT Tracker by year-by ThePewterPalace  (this is a PDF)

OR-below is a JPG image which you should be able to click and download.

TEMPLATE- Avion PROJECT Tracker by year-by ThePewterPalace

Sometimes its just really nice to be able to see the visual of check marks noting accomplishments!  It helps to not make everything feel so overwhelming especially if you are working with a “field find” total gut job!  (thankfully we are not!)

HAPPY PROJECTS, HAPPY EASTER! 

Stay home (work on your Avion) stay healthy and safe! We are ALL going to have tip top shape Avion’s for the 2021 camping season for sure!

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Easy & Safe Way to Reach the Avion Rooftop

From time to time we all need to access the roof of our beloved Avions.  Unlike more modern “box” rubber roof trailers, our Avions have special needs (but of course–we know that right!!) 

It is important to note on ANY aluminum trailers you need to be sure you use a flat board to kneel or stand on to deflect your weight out so it is not concentrated in one area.

Also NEVER put any weight on the front or rear “fan” slices on your Avion (or Airstream for that matter) because from what we have read those nose and rear areas do not have the structural support to handle weight.

 

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Whether it involves replacing the roof vents, installing a new AC or its gasket, or to the install of the venerable Eterna-bond Tape that helps us all keep our rigs water-leak free…we all need to access our rooftops at some point.  Getting up level or above and safely being able to work is critical to safely working on and maintaining your Avion.

Kevin was lucky to find this MetalTech 4 in 1 scaffolding system at Home Depot on a terrific sale as it was the only one left in stock. LINK  But fear not, they, or similar are available still from big box home improvement stores or elsewhere!

This scaffold system was quite simple for us to put together one morning at our RV storage garage.  The directions were excellent and it required minimal tools as outlined.  Even I, who is not thrilled with climbing ladders per say felt totally fine getting up on “the deck” and peering over onto our rooftop to size up future projects!

 

You will  note, Kevin did also purchase the side“outriggers” that we feel are very important to have for safety especially since you will want to position your scaffold close to your trailer side wall and the stabilizer will help…well…stabilize you!

Be sure to follow all safety protocols outlined in the directions for assembly and use of any scaffolding.

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Ours also as you can see is a 4 in 1 which also has a shelf, work surface and jig set up for a chop saw that you may wish to use.  We have found this to be a great piece of maintenance equipment and well worth the about the $300 we paid for it!

Be well, Be safe…Hope to meet you on the road!

Kevin & Luisa Sherman

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