Category Archives: The Full Time Life….

Adjusting to Life on the Road…some slight changes to the way we connect to you!

Well, we have logged just over 1800 miles getting from our “former” home near Lake George, NY to our “new start of residency” in Box Elder, SD. Our 2023 adventure of over 14,000 miles to Alaska and back down the west coast has barely begun!

We are feeling happy, adventurous, and yes, a little Interstate I-90 jet lagged!

Dispersed camping at Nomad View in the Badlands NP

Many of you have said you love traveling vicariously through our social media posts, etc.—and we love that!!! Sharing with you keeps us feeling connected to relationships we have built over years and decades— you are our virtual neighborhood now-– (since we no longer have a sticks n bricks home!)

PLEASE READ BELOW TO SEE HOW SOME THINGS ARE CHANGING!

To be honest, it has been a struggle jumping from one social media site to another especially when traveling in remote areas with little to no cell signal let alone WIFI and from the passenger seat no less!

When we left NY — we began a new full time RV wanderlust life— and with that found a new and easier way to stay connected via a dedicated travel site on Patreon.

If you are not familiar with Patreon- it is a software site designed for travelers, hobbyists, artists, and all sorts of creatives to share their work, travel, their expertise and their life experiences. In some ways it is similar to the traditional WordPress I have been using for 6 years now for our ThePewterPalace.com site but the Patreon platform is far more intuitive, flexible, and easy to do as we travel!

I am finding it much easier to create on the fly and in a more timely manner. I have started posting articles, campsite reviews, tourism info as well as collections of travel picture albums and our weekly adventures very easily and quickly-especially right from my cell phone (unlike our wordpress .com site).

We are asking you to please visit our new page and please consider subscribing! Towards the top of the page you will see the various supporter/subscriber level options if you wish to say thanks (but it is totally optional) for our time and effort doing posts, photography, etc. Supporters/Patrons do get directly notified of all posts and have access to other features as you will see in the description at each of the three levels. Level one, a Pewter Palace Patron starts at $3.

BUT WAIT—–SCROLL DOWN!!!! If you simply want to see our “public” articles as we publish them, continue to scroll down just a little…and there they will be! I will continue to post periodic travel updates, photo collections and more here as our main online space.

WHAT ABOUT THEPEWTERPALACE.COM BLOG?? That is not going anywhere-but it will transition to more of a “help desk” and focus just on vintage trailer and Avion resources, how to topics and ideas for maintenance and upgrades to our beloved vintage silver beauties. We have so many followers there and so many folks who have reached out to us to thank us for helping them renovate or maintain things on their Avions– and we are happy to continue to host that site and post relative content. The format and software of the .com blog lends itself far better to this type of content publishing.

WHAT ABOUT OUR FACEBOOK PAGES?? These will continue but the overall content will not be quite as robust as what will be on our Patreon site because of the options the Patreon format allows.

Once again, we greatly appreciate everyone’s comments, congratulations and well wishes as we have embarked on our long awaited full time RV life of travel and adventure. Also thanks to those Avion owners who have personally reached out to thank us for help we have provided to them through our blog or on a one-to-one.

We sincerely hope you will continue to follow along with us. We want to, and love to continue to bring you great information, photos of places you may want to put on your bucket list and for you to be an armchair traveler on the Pewter Palace! Through your support we will do just that!

Thank you for being a big part of our virtual neighborhood! Please visit our new website for more!

Wishing you all well, safe travels and amazing adventures! On to Alaska!!

I Put it Somewhere….but Where is it? Tips for Organizing in Small Spaces

As many of you now know Kevin and I are striking out on our full time Avion life adventure in just a couple months. Your probably tired of seeing my periodic “days to go” count down on our Facebook Page! (Thanks for not complaining out loud!)

In this blog post I am going to cover:

  • The basics of downsizing
  • Methods and questions to use to help the process
  • Organizing Tips for small spaces
  • Real life examples/photos of what we found works well
  • How to find stuff after you have done such a great job organizing
  • The benefits you reap!

Getting Organized and finding places for everything we need (or think we are going to need) is getting really tough. FYI—Weekend, Week long or even month long trips are nothing like figuring how to move your entire household onto a rolling 32 by 8 foot tube of aluminum!

We ascribe to the adage that everything needs a place and that “place” becomes its “home” and after each use..it goes back there. No longer can you use a kitchen item and leave it on the countertop, use a tool and leave it on the coffee table (what coffee table??) or leave pairs of shoes or slippers lying by the sofa or door (yes, you know who I am talking about don’t you!)

So I have come up with some handy tricks/tips/steps to help with this process of our final downsizing. I think that these tricks/tips/steps can HELP YOU even if you are a weekend warrior camper, a few week traveler or…like us…full timers (or wannabees down the road).

BUT FIRST….SOME BASICS:

Don’t kid yourself!!! Downsizing takes work, it takes time, it takes hard-core REPEATED evaluation of you real needs & wants, things you covet beyond reason and….Yup! time for that item to go to someone else’s home–or into the trash bin!

I love the Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method of tidying and simplifying your lifestyle and your home & personal possessions– “stuff”. I have read her original Tidying book (twice) and listened to it on Audible twice now too. It has sunk in…but its still not easy. In essence she has you ask basic questions and below I have tweaked it for my own use….and share with you….

  • Relative to how many people are in your household…how many (insert word here like…coffee mugs) do you need? How many do you use daily? weekly? If you are like me…you have ONE favorite china one, and one favorite travel mug. Pass along your extras via donations, gifts, etc. to others who may need them more.
  • Does it bring you joy? Are there things in your closet, on your mantle, on a wall shelf that simply evoke sense of deep joy when you look at them? touch them or use them? Do they hold such sentimental value that without them you would not feel whole or connected to your family, your past or where you have been through your life journey? Then keep them (at least for now) and bring them along on your future journey or ask a family member or trusted friend to keep them safe for you.
  • Create your must haves from your closet based on clothes you wear routinely, that you feel good wearing, that are more classic in styling and can be layered depending on seasonal temperatures. This is your A pile. I started separating them out 4 seasons ago in a separate place in my closet so I know exactly who they are now! Now move onto your B pile—the occasional or seasonal clothing/shoe/coat items. Pare these down- you do not need 3 winter coats and 4 pair of boots! Finally, the C pile...you bought “cause it looked good (or fit)”at the time-but not so much anymore, or you wore it to one event and it now has dust on the hanger…you know what i mean! My closet was full of them too! Go through each pile again…be honest, use that repeated evaluation mode and weed out more. I am on about mode #8. Donate these items or sell them if they still have some value. By doing this you send those un-needed items to a new home where they can bring joy (or warmth) to someone who really could use them. No item likes to be left forgotten in a closet or cupboard- they want to be used!

TIPS FOR SMALL SPACES:

  • Watch a Marie Kondo video on how to properly fold items before putting them in drawers or totes. It really does work!
  • Overhead cabinets for clothing or kitchen soft goods like dish towels, pot holders, cloth napkins are great, but using soft sided storage cubes or plastic shoe boxes helps to keep things organized and in place. In truth, overly heavy object should NOT be put in overhead cabinets (the airlines knows what they are talking about here!) you could risk the cabinet pulling away from the wall supports at some point if heavy items are bouncing around as you roll down the road-or may simply be heavy enough to push open the cabinet and fall on the floor during travel.
  • Especially for the kitchen, select items that have multiple uses! Like the collapsible food storage container that doubles as a salad or ice cream bowl or when mixing up pancake batter. The roll up dish drying rack that doubles as extra counter space overtop the sink. We have links to many awesome products here on our “Amazon Fav List”, (just a list of things we like and use).
  • Bathrooms are WAY smaller than in a “sticks n bricks”. Medicine cabinets are small with short heights for items. Purchase travel size or small size of bottled items first and refill them as needed from larger more cost conscious size bottles you store under the sink. This will mean less dragging the big bottles out from under the deep recesses of your bathroom sink cabinet!
  • Use the clothing rod in your shower to hang bathrobes and jackets you may use nearly every day. Most of us RVing do not shower every day due to the amount of water it uses- we do a “bird bath” in-between shower days with baby wipes or similar cleansing cloths.
  • If you don’t already have a shelf behind your sofa that sits down about 8 or 9″–make one! It does not impede the jack knife feature. We utilize this space fully (90″ long by 7″ wide) for things like our TV remotes, Thermacell lantern and refills, binoculars, flashlights, small solar powered puck lights and more! (see what we use to hold them below!)
  • We raised up our original Avion jack knife sofa by 6 inches to gain very valuable storage space underneath our sofa. Yes, we needed to make a new sofa skirt to hide stuff underneath but that was a small price to pay for DOUBLING our under sofa storage. We used 2by4 blocks 2 stacked on top of each other, bolted to the floor then the frame of the sofa bolted to the blocks. Here is the link to that project-LINK

USEFUL ITEMS- DESCRIPTIONS, PICTURES AND WHERE TO GET!

Below are photos of items we have found to be super useful. In most instances they can be found on our Amazon FAV list. This is not a store we get a residual from, its merely our list of items we have used and liked and want to share. The album below shows the items. Underneath the album I have indicated where we have purchased some of the items (when I can recall where)

  • Plexiglas Magazine Holders: for under kitchen cabinet cleaning supplies were purchased through The Container Store-LINK
  • Wire framed, and/or fabric covered bins were purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond but can also be found at many retail stores. SOFT sided ones work best for overhead cabinets due to the curve of the roof line.
  • Fold down counter extension (in our ’73) was the top of a TV tray from Walmart
  • Assorted lidded shoe bins and plastic storage bins under sofa are from Lowes/Home Depot and Walmart
  • for the following items, refer to links in our Amazon FAV list:
    • Rollup Dish Drainer
      • Collapsible food storage/prep containers
        • Grey lift top ottoman (is collapsible too)

HOW TO FIND STUFF AFTER YOU HAVE TUCKED IT AWAY IN A GREAT STORAGE PLACE!

We have all been there. You put something away and now its in a bin, closet drawer or somewhere you cannot find it!  right?!!

OUTSIDE: We have done inventory sheets on our exterior “basement” storage areas. Everything goes back in the same place after each use. Remember they can only hold up to 25lbs each on an Avion! These bays are not waterproof- so anything you put in there should be able to stand getting wet. We do use some heavy duty shrink style bags for some gear and they have worked against wind, mud and weather conditions. The storage bins behind the tires are the most apt to get wet!

In our truck “Merlin” We also utilize a DECKED drawer system in the bed of our truck for quick reach of all tools needed, auto supplies, etc. We then do a paper inventory and label each storage bin we have in the extended high cap of our truck. And we created a master list of where each one is placed in the bed–no fishing around and having to take it all out each time to find 1 thing we need! see our Facebook page for a whole post on this!

INSIDE THE TRAILER: Here are some tips on how I have found to help with that!  You may notice some are repeats from our slide show above but you may have missed something!

Fabric/Soft sided Bins 

I hang a spare key fob off the handle and write inventory on each fob

more….

I use green painters tape and write contents on outside of each bin. This helps Kevin put stuff back where it belongs too!

Hard to see into drawers!

We have this cupboard between our living room and hallway that has 3 pull out drawers. Each can hold up to 40 lbs per the original sticker. The top drawer is very high, above eye level and you cannot see into it so I put green tape on the metal outside facing forward so when the drawer is pulled out, you can see what gets stored in there! Works like a charm so I actually did it for each of the 3 drawers so Kevin also knows where to find what!

WHAT IS IN IT FOR YOU? I can honestly say our downsizing journey has had the resulting feel of heavy burdens being lifted off our shoulders. We actually sold a lot of stuff on ebay and Facebook Marketplace, especially our other hobby gear and made enough to pay for some of our Avion upgrades in the process.

Life is simpler, closets and cupboards are less full….but our life just gets more fulfilling! Here’s to happy trails and beautiful sunsets!

If you have not already subscribed to our blog and YouTube channel please do! We really appreciate it and your comments! Let us know topics you would like to see in the future!

5 “Living Small”- Organization Tips & Products

Whether you are living full time in your RV or doing just vacation travels at this point, one thing remains a constant. How to keep organized, how to fit “what you need” into a small space, how to maintain the organization you do set up.

Notice I said “what you need” NOT what you “want”. It is a hard pill to swallow- especially for those of us who have surrounded ourselves with tons of mementoes, family heirlooms, and “things” that seem to make us feel whole, cozy and satisfied in our sticks n’ bricks abodes.

My mind has been slowly but surely turning itself into preparing for that “full time mode” earnestly for at least the last 2 years. I think my grown children are still in shock that I could go from a 3000 sq ft home ( + huge storage barn) chocked with antiques, clutter and an overabundance of stuff collected for over 40 yrs of my adult life- to having all our stuff currently in a 1 bedroom 725 sq. ft. apartment!

I can credit the Marie Kondo and her KonMari method of dealing with tidying for increasing my mindfulness of living simply and with what you need rather than what you think you need/want. It becomes easier and easier to get rid of our “stuff” so it can bring pleasure, usefulness and joy to a new owner and move us ever closer to our ultimate goal of only owning what we can carry on our 8 wheels (trailer + truck) .

Am I there yet? Oh no, to be sure–when I just look around our tiny downsized apartment. We still have too much but at least right now, most of it is organized and up for sale online, or in totes marked “donate”. I try to donate a bag of clothes and/or a carton of items each week.

SO LET’S GET INTO SOME BASICS!

Some key basics of downsizing and living small that I have gathered over the past few years from fellow RVers, research and just plain living are these:

(1) Everything has a place to be stored and MUST be returned to that place immediately after use. Translation-—No more piles to be put away later– and everyone in the household must buy into this behavior!

TIP! Below is what I have done to ensure that each of us put back items used back to where they “live” for future use. Labels have especially helped remind us both what goes where! I use easy to remove green painters tape on these fabric bins (with metal frames to with hold their shape well-from Bed Bath & Beyond) this way if contents or uses change, I can easily replace with new tape labels and the painters tape does not leave any residual stickiness (at least not yet!).

(2) When at all possible items- especially in the kitchen and closet should have at LEAST 2 purposes/uses. Translation—- be creative, learn to do without to find ways to repurpose what you have rather than be lulled into marketing ploys to buy the next new gadget for your kitchen. You do not need half of the kitchen gadgets that Camping World tries to tell you that you do!

Some examples:

  • Rubbermaid waffle style shelf liner 6″ squares make great pads between dishes to prevent rattling BUT they also make great jar opening grips!
  • Our foldable, lidded storage ottoman’s are perfect shoes while the other holds my patio solar lights, picnic table cloth and string lights that we use each time we set camp. They are right by the door for easy access but also double as extra seating inside or outside (can hold up to 250# each) and pulled over to the sofa make great footrests or to hold a tray of snacks during happy hours indoors! Hey, great– that is at least 3 uses! Amazon link to see the ones we have. We have the charcoal grey.

A roll up dish draining rack makes a perfect extra countertop space during meal prep or plate set up. This is truly one of the best pieces of equipment we have bought in the past 8 years of RVing. I use it at least 2-3 times per DAY!

(3) Size Matters! Be aware of the sheer size of some items. Will they fit into your RV cabinets or drawers? Things might fit fine into a sticks n’ bricks kitchen cabinet or closets- but RV cabinets and closets are much smaller, often have curved back walls (like our Avions!) Translation—-Look for things that collapse, things that can nest into each other, smaller versions of household items, things are that a lower height on one end so they conform to the curve of your roof- magazine storage bins are a great example of these-just flip them around so the short side is towards your outside roof wall in those upper cabinets!

TIP: Here is a link to a great set of collapsible food storage containers that I use. I use them also as bowls per say to whip up things like tunafish, egg salad, etc. too! IMPORTANT NOTE: Square and rectangular storage containers fit far better ( than round bowls) and efficiently in refrigerator shelfs and storage cupboards!

(4) A Great Storage Idea for your Bathroom! Perhaps one of the hardest area of our Avion to store stuff in has been our bathroom. It is a side bath and therefore narrow and without the storage closet and cabinets we had in our rear-bath ’73 Avion. Our undersink cabinet has a lot of plumbing challenges, the shelve heights cannot handle normal sied bottles of shampoo, mouthwash, etc. and the vanity to the right where the hamper once had been also presents its challenges and certainly does not make items easy to get to (I store reserves of T-paper, paper towels and shopping bags when lifting up the hamper lid on the counter)

Recently, I happened upon a collapsible mesh toy storage hanging system at my local dollar store. It seemed the perfect thing to hang from our clothing rod in our shower to keep everyday toiletries, shampoos, etc. handy and in easy reach. After using it now on a 2 week trip–it has been great! Here is an amazon link to similar to what I purchased (for $3 at my dollar store!) Mine has all three openings on the same side so check out your own local dollar stores first!

Lastly…..

(5) Become more mindful of what you use every time you go camping….AND even more importantly what you don’t! Translation—-start a bag or box of items you find you are not using—and during each camping trip put at least a few things in there to put out at your site with a FREE marked on the carton, or donate them to a local charity. Obviously the same goes for clothing- layering is the name of the game!

Hope this little article has given you some helpful tips and inspiration! Below–I have put many of our regularly used items into a helpful shared list I created on Amazon several years ago. The link is below to find that list! (note, this is not a sponsored store, we do not get any residual from any purchases you make- its there to purely be helpful!)

CLICK THIS LINK TO OUR RESOURCES PAGE, THEN SCROLL DOWN JUST A LITTLE TO FIND OUR Amazon LIST LINK!

Happy and Safe Travels!

Luise

BEST Mouse Repellent We Have Found!

We have used this effectively for over 10 yrs. Check out our tips and video links below!

In this article we review:

  1. Why use Fresh Cab
  2. Where to Purchase
  3. Testimonials & Videos
  4. How to place to be most effective
  5. Dosage we recommend
  6. Links to our other Winterization Tips and Practices in our Avion

We have had RVs (Class A and 2 travel trailers) and live in upstate NY which unfortunately is not “year round” friendly for RVing.  So we must winterize and store our RV.  We do store inside a cement floor, steel storage building which is optimal but we know many of our fellow RVers must store outside on a driveway or field/lawn (field/lawn is worse scenario and try to avoid this if you can!)

We also have owned a small 5×8 cargo trailer where we have kept our living history reenacting equipment, including clothing, blankets, candles-you name it for over 30 years.  Annually these things must be protected from those nasty little critters….MICE!   Mice love to find quiet, dark places and are especially attracted to candles, paper, cloth and of course even the “whiff” of food, grease (even splatters or on towels, or leftovers on potholders, etc.)

We SWEAR by FRESH CAB sachets!  We have used them effectively now for over 10 years along with our other winterizing techniques which we have detailed fully in a past blog post….cue link —-  LINK FOR ARTICLE.

Does Fresh Cab keep mice away?
 
 
“Fresh Cab is the only botanical rodent repellent effective enough to be registered by the Federal EPA and trusted by licensed pest control experts for both effectiveness and safety. Fresh Cab keeps mice out of homes, cabins, basements, attics, garages, sheds, and storage units.

Fresh Cab is a natural product, no harsh chemicals.” 

The scent in our opinion is very nice, a mild Balsam Fir (..like those little balsam pillows in mountain area souvenir shops!)  and outdoorsy scent (its all herbals) and in fact when we were selling our ’73 folks noted how nice and clean it smelled.  The package says each sachet lasts about 2-3 months.  Typically for us, we winterize at the end of October.  I go back into the rig in January then again in March to toss out a few more sachets leaving the original ones there too (I think they have some residual effect).

NOTE:  the sachets are made somewhat like mega-sized tea bags and I cut them in the middle where the thin paper connector is so i can put more around in various areas.

Why use these over traps and poisons?  Simple..We do not want dead mice in my trailer.  Period. They stink as they decay, a dying corpse does not deter other mice from coming in, the dead mouse could become maggot filled and its just gross to take dead mice from a trap! We do not want poisons around where pets or grandkids could come in contact and I want to reach places that are hard to get to!  We want to deter them from liking/loving our trailer as much as we do!  So we REPELL them from the get go- so we are not hospitable!  

WHAT AREAS TO FOCUS ON?

Inside the camper:

  • Around floor edges
  • Under the sofa and chairs
  • Inside back edges of cabinets and drawers (Utensils may harbor food scents!)
  • Under bathroom cabinets and beds
  • Around any vent openings in closet floors, etc. where there is access to the undercarriage of your rig.
  • In tight or hard to reach places I literally open the cabinet door and do a hefty “pitch” and toss the sachet bag to the rear of the cabinet so it lands on the back edge floor—that is where mice like to scamper!

Outside the camper:  (just be sure to remember to take them out in spring before your first camping trip!!!)

  • In the hot water heater compartment
  • All/Each Underbelly compartments (storage areas accessed from outside the camper)
  • In the sewer/dump station compartment
  • Battery box (mice like to chew wires!)

OUR TRIED AND TRUE METHOD FOR PLACEMENT AND USE:

We use 12 sachets in our 32′ trailer, each “tea bag” is cut in half at the paper connector so actually 24 packets in our RV at all times.  This is overkill based on the square footage recommendations on the packet but we want to ensure we never have mice and so far this has worked for us.  In spring I will take the obvious ones out that are in the common sitting areas, along floor edges, and hot water tank and furnace areas but WE LEAVE the ones from the winter i tossed into the back of cabinets, into the sewer compartment outside bay and over all the vent openings in closets, under bath and kitchen sink and anywhere inside the trailer that we normally do not access like under the bed storage, under back edge of sofa.  We leave them there for rest of our summer/spring/fall camping season.  Then in October we clean out all the old and replace with fresh new ones.  

Again using Fresh Cab is NOT the total solution!  Please be sure to review my other full article so you get tons of other tips on how to winterize your rig.  Nothing is worse than a mouse infestation! LINK TO FULL ARTICLE.

WHERE TO BUY THEM??

  • We now support our local ACE HARDWARE store who sells Fresh Cab and we purchase two of the large size multipack boxes. 
  • TRACTOR SUPPLY stores also sell it. Link
  • They can also be found on Amazon
  • Menards stores have at least the smaller packs. Link
  • The FRESH CAB company (EarthKind, Inc) also have their own website and you may find sales now and then with free shipping. 

Fresh Cab originally was originally designed for cabs of farm vehicles stored for winter – hence the name.  It is SAFE FOR PETS (non rodent kinds of course!  LOL)

DON’T BELIEVE US? CHECK OUT THESE OTHER TESTIMONIALS!

HERE IS A GREAT ARTICLE! The article goes more in depth as to the herbal formula used, amount needed for sq. footage of space, etc.  Well worth the read!  

We also found a good video!  Note, this experiment dealt with a barn vehicle that was already infested!  Hopefully your RV is NOT so you are going to use Fresh Cab to make sure it stays rodent free!

Here is a video geared towards RV storage and use of Fresh Cab.  Although covering an Avion travel trailer is NOT advised due to abrasion against the aluminum skin!

Happy travels, and here’s to a rodent free RV!

Kevin and Luisa

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4 Little fixes… Big Helps with RV travel & living!

Living “little” has its challenges…living little and on wheels presents even more! While we are not “full timers” quite yet, we do spend a fair amount of time on the road and camping in our vintage 1987 Avion 32 foot travel trailer.

On this snowy, 13 degree day here in upstate NY I thought I would do a post about some of the little hacks and items that I have found make trailer life and travel just a little easier.

I am in charge (primarily) of the interior decor and liveability of our Avion. I like a warm and homey feel. I also do not want to spend a lot of time taking out and putting away those decorative items and touches each time we set off for a new RV destination or trip. So in my quest to find ways to “fix in place” items…here are my go to products in no particular order.

We don’t speed, we prefer 60MPH on highways but that does not mean that things stay put…this helps!

Pro’s: clear, works well on non-porous items like china, glass, plastics.

Con’s: does not work well on vertical applications, melts in warm weather/high heat, not good for heavy items

I use a variety of items to help some of my pictures, collectibles (yes, after 30+ yrs of antique collecting I could not quite give up that obsession completely) and decorative items that I want to “stay put” in our Bavarian-decor themed RV.

For china, glass and non-porous items I use Rock N Roll clear gel putty. Link on Amazon. This product is good for things that lay flat on a counter or shelf. It does NOT work for items held vertically or in high heat climates. (yes, this is a testimonial…been there, done that as it dripped down my wood wall).

For vertical items such as pictures, textiles or wall decor I use a combination of heavy duty Velcro with sticky back, 3M hooks or velcro strips then I will also use Quakehold! Museum Putty which is a waxy, thick putty. I have used both the “collectors” and the “quakehold” versions with positive results.

Our faux Deer Head Mount/clock is hung with a 3M hook strip then bottom corners secured with a pea-sized blobs of Museum Putty on either bottom corner. It has not fallen once!

Museum putty does not seem to melt in higher temps, it also works on wood and textiles better than Rock N Roll putty. Both products do allow you to remove your stuck down item with a twist and pull. I will often put two pea-sized blogs of museum putty on bottoms of frames. Roll the blobs in your fingers/hands to warm up and become pliable then place on the bottom corners of hung pictures to keep them from shifting around and possibly marring our original, beautiful Avion wood stained walls.

It may sound funny…but paper towels that “Stay Put” are also a blessing.

Viva paper towels are the only paper towels I have found that actually cling to each other on the roll. So as you “roll down the road” they do not “unroll” off your dispenser! You will note, I also use a vertical paper towel holder (on our Amazon List) and this helps as well and this one in particular is weighted and has a rubberized base. I have yet to have this dispenser move more than an 1″ on our front counter shelf during any trips. Please let me know if you have found any other brands with similar features. Viva are a little more pricey than other brands but they also are very absorbent and do the job!

Using cotton mesh shopping bags to hold fresh produce, breads and such saves precious refrigerator & counter space!

Cotton Mesh Grocery Bags: We used screw in large “safety” cuphooks (the kind with the little tabs so the hook is closed) and hang these mesh cotton bags to hold tons of stuff from apples & bananas to bagels and loaves of bread. These kinds of foodstuffs take up tons of room in an RV refrigerator and typically these items do not lend themselves to compact stacking. Using these bags they are handy, off my counter top, easily in reach and items stay circulated with air! The added bonus is when empty they are the signal to take them down and bring them along shopping to the grocery store to restock up! I found these on Amazon.com. NOTE: I do not recommend leaving them hanging in place with items in them if you are on the road. I unclip them from the hooks and simply place the bags with their contents in my sink or on my dinette cushions during the trip and hook them right back up once we have arrived at our next campsite.

Not for your carpet but for your mattress! This gripper rug pad helps to keep mattresses on the bed board foundation while you roll down the road!

While not all RVs have this issue, our ’73 Avion with the mid coach twins did and so I share it with you here. Our 87 has the rear twins and in between them is a night stand which prevents the mattresses from “taking a walk” while we roll merrily down the road.

But for those of you with RV mattresses who do like to “walk” I have found that cutting up this TrafficMaster Premium Gripper Rug Pad we purchased at Lowes did the trick! We bought the 8 x 10′ size, cut a piece for each of our twin bunks. P.S. Use any left over pieces in between your dishes and pots and pans to prevent rattle, breakage and scrapes.

We placed the gripper pad directly onto the wooden bed base under the mattress and wholla— no more sliding mattresses! The waffle texture and breathability also helps a little to protect your mattress from lack of air flow = mold issues. NOTE: for maximum protection of our mattresses we also use the fiber layer made by MattressInsider.com which is a stiff full 1″ of breathable layer to prevent any moisture issues from under the bed storage (cold) space and from body heat being trapped in the mattress. I have seen way too many moldy looking bed boards, walls and mattresses in other peoples photos of their RVs! I have a whole blog post just on that layer with links to product, etc. A breathing mattress is a happy mattress!

All or most of the items I have mentioned above can also be found in the shared AMAZON list we have on our Pewter Palace Resource/Links page. We constantly add new items, this list is for our readers benefit- we do not get any kickback or credit from Amazon.

Hope these 4 little tips/hacks help! Let us know what you have found a great trick/hack in the comment section below!

Be well, stay safe and happy travels!

-Luisa

QuiCk Take!- No Microwave? No “reheat” problem!

Let’s get it right out on the table now….we do NOT have a microwave in our Avion trailer. We did not have one in our prior Avion trailer. We DID have one in a 32 foot class A we owned for 5 years...it was a great breadbox!

To Microwave or no Microwave…that is the question!

Our ’73 Avion was not made with a microwave in it. We did not want to destroy the pristine original cabinetry either. So we did a critical review of how we (I) cook, what we cook, space considerations. Before we tore into those pretty real wood cabinets, we would camp in her at least 1 season first before installing a microwave to do a real eval of if it was needed. That summer, due to our house being on the market (yes, it had a microwave on the counter!) we LIVED full time in our 28 foot, 1973 Avion travel trailer for 3 months. NOT ONCE did i miss my microwave. Decision made….we do not need a microwave as long as we practiced a little ingenuity along the way for reheating items normally “zapped”.

This same trend continued when we bought our 1987, 32 foot, S model Avion just as the Covid-19 pandemic was hitting in March 2020. She was delivered to us in April, by June the original huge, heavy clunker microwave was on the trash heap. The cabinet that once held it now has been usefully repurposed to hold kitchen contraptions I DO USE…my Instapot, my small sized air fryer, my mini Belgian waffle maker…and then a felt bin that holds batteries, quick little tool box and my sewing box. It will probably hold my portable sewing machine for the first few years of our full timing…cause I just wont be able to part with it yet! LOL

Our new cupboard also sports a hinged lift up magnetic blackboard purchased on Amazon that fit perfectly and was already wood framed and i just added a bit darker stain to match our cabinet colors. We installed two Earth Magnets on the ceiling which hold the door open by clamping onto the metal pull. See photos below

BEFORE….check out the size of those 1987 buttons! The thing weighed 47 pounds!

AFTER……

SO HOW DO I REHEAT RESTAURANT LEFT OVERS? OR THE MID MORNING COFFEE??

When we carefully analyzed what we normally eat, drink and reheat it was apparent that the 2 fry pans, 1 lid and 2 pots are all I need in my kitchen arsenal to do all my cooking (we also cook on grill or fire pit outside a lot too!). When “living small” (we are in less than 200 sq. feet) the name of the game is to strive for everything you have can be used for at least 2 or more purposes.

So for an example….recently we treated ourselves to a big lunch out at the Vermont Country Store restaurant in Weston, VT. The portion of “Northerner” Mac n Cheese I got was heaped with BBQ pulled pork and delicious but enough for two meals.

How to reheat leftovers with pans you routinely use:

To reheat this type of meal so that I could keep in the moisture (like a microwave does esp. if you use one of those plastic plate covers) I did this…

(1) Put a piece of aluminum tin foil a little larger than my small fry pan into the fry pan. Shiny side facing up towards you!

(2) Put my leftovers in center on the foil, create a loosely folded packet

(3) Place large fry pan on the burner, place smaller fry pan with foil leftover packet inside on top of it.

This is just before I poured in the water to create essentially a double boiler!

(4) Now pour enough water into the LARGE fry pan to come up to about a half inch from lip of smaller fry pan. Place large metal fry pan lid cover over top (yes, handle of smaller fry pan makes it so it cannot close completely. If you do not have a lid, lay another piece of foil tightly over the top and tuck under

Tip: If you have a smaller round cake pan to fit inside large fry pan that works best. I do not carry cake pans in my trailer…I bake in my instapot or air fryer if the mood hits me.

(5) Turn on the burner- I used medium heat initially then turned it down to low once water boiled, allow the water to boil in the large fry pan, heating the inner one. Keep an eye and replenish water as needed so you do not burn it dry and ruin your pans.

Essentially I have created a moist heat, buffered by two layers of metal so the leftovers do not burn– a Double Boiler of sorts. The steam also created under the lid heated the foil and created a perfect environment for luscious, reheated and a very yummy moist 2nd Mac N Cheese dinner!

OTHER REHEATS…

Left over coffee….use a saucepan!

Potatoes? par boil, wrap in aluminum foil and grill over fire or on LP portable grill

Aluminum foil packets can be used for tons of packet cooking options. Load in veggies, like potatoes, onions, squash, tomatoes, some spices, olive oil or other marinating type of fused cooking oil and put on the grill above the fire, or you can even bury the packets somewhat into the coals themselves.

Reheating steak and other meats- TIP– I learned from a chef long ago to put a lettuce leaf on the top to exude moisture but no flavor into the meat when reheating. Use the same two fry pan method I show above!

WHAT IDEAS AND TRICKS DO YOU HAVE? I would love to hear from you!

–Luisa

Great Kitchen Gadget-Flexible Dish Drain Board!

We all have issues with “SPACE” in our RVs.  Anything I can do to reduce weight in storage AND space in my cabinets I am all over it!

MAJOR KEY to Happy RV-ing (and your significant other not repeatedly telling you to downsize more!)…..is to try to have each item (or most items) you have on board have at LEAST 2-3 various uses. 

Multi-purpose items are the name of the game when you are traveling and living in less than 210 square feet like we do. 

PS: I have included links to purchase ones I have saved on my Amazon Share list for RVers  at the bottom of this post.  (no we do not get kickbacks from Amazon on this, just sharing to be helpful!)

THIS IS ONE OF MY BEST SPACE SAVING, MULTI-PURPOSE KITCHEN GADGETS!

A collapsible, fold-able, stainless steel dish drainer which doubles as extended hot pad AND extension of counter space when laid over your sink!  Hey that’s a “hat trick!”

I love it so much, the original one I ordered (from Amazon and arrived in winter) never left my apartment kitchen!  I use it every day and had to order a second one for our Avion!  LOL

Flexible Stainless Dish Drainer!  Watch my video to see its many uses!

What is also awesome about this gadget is that you can also cut it to any size that fits your sink(s) best.  In our 1987 Avion I happen to have a gorgeous Corian huge, deep sink with a side bar sink.  So I have the flexibility of using the drainer exclusively over my bar sink and I have found I can actually stand up my dinner plates as they dry, leaving plenty of space for all the other dishes, cups, etc. to dry at the same time.  Simply cut through the outer rubber edges of this gadget to make it custom fit to your needs!

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DID I MENTION HOW COMPACT THIS THING IS?

Yeah, they make collapsible dish drainers and small single sink ones specially for RVs (I have tried both) but you still have to either leave them in the sink or find somewhere UNDER your sink in the cabinet to store it….that takes  up precious space!

Here is what this dish rack looks like when rolled up!  Seriously!! Basically takes up the same size as package of spaghetti out of the box.

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MULTI-PURPOSE IS THE NAME OF THE GAME in LIVING SMALL!

How many alternative uses can you find for this great gadget??!!

Oh right….AND it is a great place to dry dishes so they drain into your sink not all over your countertop!

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So are you convinced?  I was so thrilled with using my first one when it arrived in winter and our Avion was in winter storage, I had to order a second one for our Avion!

Once we go full time in 2022, I will probably trim down the first one, cutting it to exactly fit my side bar sink so i can leave it in place and then roll  up and use  my larger full sized one when i have more dishes to do, need a counter top extension quick or…cool off that fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies…yum!

Here is the link to our LINKS/RESOURCES page on our blog home page.  Look for the Amazon list that I share.  You can find this roll  up dish drainer there in two different sizes as well as tons of other items we use routinely in our Avion RV Life!

Happy and safe journeys!  WE LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG OR ANY OTHERS!

Please subscribe if you are not already a subscriber so you get a direct email when we post a new blog topic!

Best, from Kevin & Luisa Sherman

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Don’t forget our AVION TUESDAY TALKS — LIVE ON ZOOM!  

Different topics every week (or most weeks that is!).

Check our Facebook Page for current schedule!

Avion Tuesday Talks 8 PM

 

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!

orig microwave in our 1987, 32S_ march 2020

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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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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Keeping Away Mice!

It’s winter….not much to do but dream of our future travel and do frequent garage checks to ensure no unwanted four-footed visitors are enjoying our Pewter Palace as much as we do!

On many of the forums, being winter, there is lots of discussion about keeping varmints, specifically MICE out of your rig. Be it stationary camping-anywhere but especially boondocking, a few nights, or tucked away in storage for winter…these pesky rodents can get into even the smallest of crevices!
 
found on Google…you can chose to believe it or not…(we do!)
“Bobby Corrigan, noted rodentologist and award-winning pest management consultant, states that if you can put a #2 pencil into a hole, a mouse would be able to get through it as well. Others like to use the dime as an example of the width a mouse can exploit.”
 
Our preventative steps to rodent prevention:
  1. Sealed up any unnecessary gaps between vent stacks, electrical inlets, etc.
  2. Use Fresh Cab sachets  all around the rig including: bottom of every closet, under bed storage, bath cabinet bases and in winter all over the place. They have a very mild lavender and pine scent and are 100% natural.  Also–safe to use around pets!

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3.  Maintain fresh supply of BOUNCE fully scented dryer sheets under mattresses, in closets and cabinets (next to the FreshCab), in between stored linens and clothing.

4.  When on shore power (and through winter in our storage garage) we maintain a white (or clear) colored bulb LED rope light that goes in a complete loop all around the ground underneath the perimeter of our rig.  Mice and other varmints like rats hate light.  See photo below, this is in our year round storage garage.

5.  When boondocking we use solar powered spot lights that we put out each morning anywhere we can collect the most sunshine, then position them to shine overlapping each other on the ground at the edges of our four corners of our rig….yeah….pretty much making a “lit stage” under our Avion.

 

Others who RV have mentioned things like the ultrasonic pest plug in devices, Irish Spring Soap, etc. but we have found our combination above has served us well so far both in our Class A for 5 years and now our Avion travel trailer since 2016.   Of course, a cat would help to, but that is not the direction we are going!

FYI-We also have spent over 30 years of weekend camping in historical reproduction canvas tents with sleeping bags and all gear on the ground and we have always found just even the Bounce dryer sheets have done an amazing job of keeping spiders, mice, crickets, daddy long legs at bay for sure!

More about Fresh Cab and other Earthkind company products.  100% natural!

 

PS:  in our storage garage we DO maintain large rat/mice bait traps with poison in them because we also store a lot of household and camping supplies and equipment on shelves in our garage.

If you have any sure fire, time tested ways you have found to repel mice let us know!

Safe and Mice-free journeys!

From Kevin & Luisa

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