Category Archives: Uncategorized

Anderson Levelers are Awesome!

After using the traditional leveling blocks on our Class A Motorhome for five years we were anxious to find something better for our Avion.

Kevin is a YouTube Research fanatic and thank goodness he is! He found the Anderson Levelers System which is THE best thing going.

They are a bit more expensive than the blocks but are sturdy, rugged and do a far better and quicker job. They store easily too!

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We purchased the deluxe kit which also included an extra leveler and extra chocks, etc.  The Rapid Jack leveler also has come in handy with some challenging elevations we have encountered. It is called their Rapid Jack and it works on duel axles to allow for tire changing.

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Here is a great video to show you how they work.

The only thing we did wish that the levelers were just another two inches wider because we would prefer our tires did not extend past the levelers at all. This issue does not affect their use though. They are awesome!  Also as some users have recommended, on certain terrain they could slip when you are trying to roll up onto them. We did find what happened to us at one campground was the campsite had a lot of fresh new small gravel and our leveler plowed forward rather than the tire being able bite and roll onto it. We believe fixing some of those stair tread asphalt type strips would solve this problem.

Our online friends at “Less Junk, More Journey” and Courtney and Steve from “AStreamin’ Life” both use them.

Get some! You will not be sorry!!

Winter Quarters 2017-2018

It’s November 1st and last weekend we Sadly had to put the Pewter Palace into winter storage.

Living in upstate New York,  at the entry region to the Adirondack Mountains,  we can easily get snow in November and we average about 9-10 total feet of snowfall annually. This fall was exceptionally warm and that allowed us to extend out camping season into third week of October with Temps so nice we only out the heat on a few mornings for a half hour. Then the rest of the days were in mid to high 70’s which was awesome. Several evenings we sat at our campfire with Pj’s,  bathrobe and slippers. Nice!!

Now that we have sold our house and downsized into a townhouse apartment we needed a place to store the trailer year round. Our apartment complex does not have any common parking or storage lot like some do.

We had toyed with renting a garage to keep the Palace in from the start. Knowing many Avion and vintage trailer promote inside storage for best preservation we knew that was the route to go if we could. Last year she was inside but our former storage place got locked up for winter and we had no access. We didn’t like that because sometimes we have small projects we could be working on over winters.

Needing space for some of our belongings that we knew could not fit into apartment (yes still more downsizing to go for sure) it seemed like a no Brainer to get a storage garage to handle all our needs.

We found a great place one exit south of us at exit 18 which caters to RV and boat owners. It’s brand new, clean and we have electric outlets. The garage is 43’long x14′ wide x super tall over 20′.  Big huge class A RVs have no problems getting in.

Kevin got the Pewter Palace backed in perfectly on first try. Tires up on rubber pads to breath and off concrete, water lines all blown out and RV antifreeze down the sinks, tub and toilet and we are all set. Till early spring!

We will be itching on get her out and will shoot for March or April at the latest to get in a nice long second camping season.

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 things we have learned in Year #1 of Avion Life

It’s mid October 2017 and while we are celebrating owning our Avion for one year I have decided to reflect back on things learned over the past 12 months.

Mind you, our past twelve months might be considered a bit out of the norm for most recreational RV owners. We bought our Avion in October, slept on her one night (in our driveway) before tucking her into winter storage for four months. In spring we decided to sell our big 2650 Sq.  ft farmhouse and downsize to a 1400 Sq ft townhouse apartment in town. Our house sold in nine days with a contract happening two days after we got back from our first big RV trip of 1800 miles to Ontario, MI, Indiana, OH and back thru NY. We decided at that point we loved living on board so much we would continue to do that so we could keep the house clean and more efficiently sort, purge and pack necessary things to keep for moving. We held four big tag/barn sales selling tons of stuff. Enough in fact to pay for our move!

Now let’s get to our top 10 things we learned: (in no special order)

1.  The aerodynamic design of the Avions is second to none. Kevin has to look in the rear view to remind himself she is still there. Our 28 foot length is the perfect size for us.

2. We are thankful to have black and grey waste tanks. Older Avion models only had one. However, without full hook ups the grey water tank fills in about 4 days.  Smaller tank than our more modern Class A had.  We used the house toilet so cannot really measure that. We used plastic step stools in tub to keep our stored stuff out of grey water back flow. Yes, u will know its time to dump your grey water when u see dish water coming up in tub drain. No biggie, it is essentially just soapy water.

3. Command hooks are priceless to put inside closet doors. Lift up style Cabinet hinges loosen up with regular use so keep a screw driver handy to tighten every week or so.

4. Our 24 pocket fabric shoe organizer mounted just inside our door on wall of refrigerator has been one of the best tips yet! Thank you Courtney & Steve of A Streamin Life!! It makes a great handy place for dog leashes, flashlight, recycle bags, work gloves, outgoing mail and bug spray.

5. An old fashioned but new Farberware percultor makes the best coffee and does not need electricity nor takes up counter space. Ditto for my box toasters which I have done a separate post on.

6. As a safety precaution it is good practice to shut off the water intake valve in the outside compartment when leaving for work for the day. Not that anything has happened, but if something had gone awry then water would not have been flowing into our trailer all day. I had to put a reminder note on inside our screen door to remember each morning!

7. We need so much less than we think we do. We have done so well with two fry pans, two small sauce pans and a service for four of dishes, cups, and silverware. It’s all we need. Also, wash, dry and put away after every meal. Everything has a place and everything in its place keeps order in small places. Now that we live ten feet from our beds, we each make our bed everyday too!

8. People give you some odd looks when in a vintage trailer. Avion owners and vintage trailer rallies are a blast and super fun.

9. I am still learning how to line up the car to the hitch ball.  But the LevelMatePRO is awesome for leveling!

10.  We have Learned that living in 200 Sq. Ft is not as tough as we thought. It actually is very relaxing and evokes a sense of freedom from other encbrances that is hard to explain.

This is a good place to end our first year with our Pewter Palace Avion.

Good night all!

Mor-Ryde Jack Lift Hook for Avion Travel Trailers

Here is our video on how to use the original Mor-Ryde Bottle Jack Lift Plate.

This original piece of equipment has become quite rare to find because along the way subsequent owners did not know what that somewhat rusted, odd shaped thing was. Lucky for us, our previous owner inherited his trailer from his Uncle who was an old-timer and had owned our trailer for over 20 years taking her to Florida annually and also to Alaska and California.  He knew the value of having this little piece of metal to ensure no damage would be done to the Mor-Ryde suspension in case of a need for a tire change.

We hope this video will assist those who have this equipment, maybe packed way low in one of the storage bins on your trailer.  This coming winter, Kevin plans to get these replicated and we should have them for sale.  Let us know if you are interested and we will follow up with you when availability and pricing becomes known.

We appreciate your comments on the video.  If you like it please give us a thumbs up!

 

 

Phase One-Rehab update 4-21-17: Window seals, roof fan work

News update and photos in from Bill “Fletch” Fletcher owner of Fletcher’s Trailer Restoration and Sales in Trumansburg NY (Finger Lakes Region) was received today. Owner Fletch has two Avions he personally owns and has restored and maintains. Plus he has a sales yard full of some really cool vintage aluminum trailers ready for their new owners to finish off.  I saw a Spartan that was awesome and ready for a new interior!  Kevin was partial to the Holiday Rambler that Fletch owns and uses.  Kevin was raised up during his youth with his parents owning several Holiday Ramblers and ultimately with so many kids (Kevin is youngest of 8) they owned a 32 footer.

Here is our Pewter Palace parked snug and a bug in a rug indoors while being worked on.

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The palace is inside the shop and windows and exterior curbside compartment being recaulked with Par Bond which is the aluminum color caulk/sealant of choice for aluminum trailers.

2017-04-21 15.21.38It looks great and will certainly provide some needed sealant especially for that outside compartment that holds our leveling blocks, etc.  Not that anything in there cannot get wet, but it also provides more protection so that moisture does not get in there and possibly compromise any adjoining internal areas like the bathtub area, etc.

Good news is that Fletch said our roof and its seams, and sealants around roof vents, etc looks quite good.  He has ordered Eternabond tape to go over a few seams but for the most part she is in really good shape.   Yeah!  We had not seen any but wanted to be sure.

They are also working on replacing the roof fan shrouds with the new ones we had already purchased direct from Cayo in Watervliet, Michigan–the guru of Avions and whose family started the company.  Chuck Cayo continues to be the go to man for things having to do with Avions and their restoration.  These shrouds were so hard to find, that he took initiative to have a prototype made up and now offers replacements identical to the originals.  These new ones are nice a light, bright and clean looking and will certainly last another 40 years.  Fletch will then replace the toggle switches and motors for the fans.  I in the meantime will be restoring the mesh screens that get inserted at the final stage inside.  Once complete…we will be all set.  These are the 18″ square fans which are much larger than the typical fantastic fans made today (14″) and really they let a lot of nice light in too.  One thing I wish we did have that newer Airstreams have is a skylight…but oh well…we have a vintage rig and we love her.

Here is E.J. one of the workers at Fletcher’s fitting up the holes on the new shrouds using the original  ones for template for drill holes.  Note the brittle, almost butterscotch color of the 44 year old ones.  I will be doing a whole separate blog page just on the roof fan systems since Avion restorer’s who have these are always sharing photos and tips.

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2017-04-21 22.52.40We also have a few windows where the gaskets around the windows after 40+ years have either broken off in small sections or have shrunk where the seal is not sufficient. Fletch is on the hunt for the right stuff….

This is the curbside front window which is the one that we knew was leaking a slow leak last fall. Definitely have to get it fixed.  It is great that we were able to get our rig out about two weeks ahead of Fletch’s original schedule  because he got a chance to start working on her earlier than expected.

We continue to amass stuff to outfit the inside.  I have yet to begin working on the curtain rehab….more to come!

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Removing old caulk and applying new Par Bond sealant.  See the difference below on top track of window.

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P.S.  Sorry some of these photos are a bit wonky.  Fletch sent them embedded in an email and I had a really tough time working with them and could not download them separately so I had to use screen shot images.

Handy Heater

Took advantage of the seasonal display at Lowes on space heaters, etc.  Will work well to warm the entire trailer when we are hooked up to shore power and we can save our LP.

We bought this great little electric heater in a beautiful wood cabinet on three sides. It will fit perfect next to our dinette bench on the street side and make a perfect end table too.   1500 watts and draws 12.5 amps. Has thermostat remote, blower settings  etc. Sweet!! $99.00 a good buy.

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Winter Wait Game

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

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

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

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

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

Back to my hot cocoa!!

 

 

2016- An Avion Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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