2016 Winter Hibernation

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

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

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

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

Snug as a bug in a rug…

So here is her maiden Sherman voyage!!


Bedroom Carpet Facelift and Upgrade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Replacing Refrig Panels

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

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

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

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


Oct. 15, 2015.  UPDATED 12/2021  We decided before prepping her for winter storage the Pewter Palace would get her first bath by us. Scouring the various online forums and FB Avion lovers sites (I now belong to two private FB groups and one yahoo group)  we decided to proceed with the recommendation to use Simple Green Pro HD cleaner. It’s the PURPLE stuff. Then you dilute it per instructions. It did a very good job!

Check out this before….and after

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

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


A few more useful tips on giving your baby a bath since now we have owned two Avions and have 6 years under our belt.

  1. It is highly recommended NOT do use a power washer device to do the exterior wash.  The pressure may be too much and dislodge precious sealants between the layers of seams, or around sealed areas like the AC unit, vent stacks or roof vents.  If you do power wash, do it very gently and ONLY work from the overlapped side of the seams so you are not forcing water into the seams.
  2. Be sure to only wash on a cloudy day so that you can keep up with getting soap off quickly before it dries.  Be sure to only do a small section at a time and rinse, rinse, rinse.
  3. Start at the roof and work your way down the sides.  We find doing the washing like in layers of a cake work best ending with the bottom most area where the exterior storage doors are–again, rinsing everywhere as  you go so nothing is drying onto the rig.
  4. I have found using a lint free towel and hand drying is the best way to avoid water marks on the aluminum skin.  Where we live we have very hard water.  If you have soft water this may not be that much of an issue.
  5. If you  have been anywhere NEAR SALT WATER (does not need to be only at beach or waterfront) you need to wash your rig as quickly as possible to remove salt that will cause significant corrosion to your frame and aluminum.  If you are long term at a salt water location, e.g. a beach front campground- it is recommended you at least rinse your rig weekly.  Be sure to also wash your hitch components and tongue of trailer area too!
  6. Once completely clean AND VERY DRY we apply Oxowal penetrating fluid with a lint free towel to the exterior.  Must be applied in a level manner, no circular motion!  Do small sections at a time and again, best done in the shade to lengthen dry time to apply without streaks.  This does a great job of covering any white streaks which may still be present.


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

(UPDATE TO THIS POST! We sold our 73 in summer 2020 and bought our “forever Avion” our 1987, 32S a rare front kitchen model. )

BUT….do read on to learn more about us!

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


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


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

Adventures with a Vintage Avion Luxury Travel Trailer