Keeping Your Trailer Safe from Thieves

It’s February and it is a great time to evaluate what equipment we have and for creating a punch list for the coming camping season.

I suspect our fellow camp trailer owners may be doing the same tasks! (Those who garden are also looking at seed catalogs right now too!)

Just this past year, two of our friends have purchased or are in process of purchasing a bumper pull travel trailer for themselves.  While we had truly hoped they were joining the vintage Avion owner family, they decided to purchase more contemporary rigs.  We wish them well and tons of wonderful miles of travels and hope we can camp together in the future!

One of the tips we would like to share with any and all travel trailer owners (motorhome owners can skip this blog entry! LOL) is how to KEEP YOUR TRAILER SAFE FROM THEFT!

I belong to many, many facebook sites and there are a few FB pages that specifically cater to sending up alerts to recent thefts of camp trailers.  It seems that the theft of especially vintage trailers is on the rise in the USA because of their popularity and growing value. If you do not currently subscribe to any of those site, I suggest you at least join one.  Who knows, while you are tooling down the road some day you may be able to help return a stolen rig to its rightful (and very distraught) owners!  You also may learn some valuable tips on how NOT to be premiered in the next new theft alert!

My husband Kevin is notorious for using YouTube and other means to carefully and methodically research RV products.  After much research, we purchased what is known by many in the know as “the most bullet-proof anti-theft hitch lock out there”.  It is made by Proven Industries, a USA based, family business who offer a LIFETIME GUARANTEE on their products. (no, we do not receive any incentive or endorsement perk from them)

Word to the wise!!!!  The traditional hitch lock that simply sends a large bolt-like pin through the hole in your hitch clamp or the kind that fits into just your ball socket with a bale type that goes over your hitch tongues are NOT going to stop thieves.

No matter how big the pin, how great the padlock.  Case in point- we had one of those MasterLock U shaped locks on our hitch two winters ago.  This is the kind that has a ball that fits into the underside of where your hitch ball normally goes then the U shaped lock goes over the top of your hitch tongue.  When we went to get her out of the winter storage garage about 40 min. from our house, we realized we had forgotten the key to the pad lock.  Kevin simply used a hammer and within about 40 seconds had busted the deadbolt U shaped thing off and removed the lock. Literally it took about two swipes of the hammer. Please do not be a statistic!

Proven Industries is the manufacturer of what is considered the Cadillac of the hitch locks and it is made in the USA and the customer service and reputation of the company is stellar.

In going to their site you will see that you must select the right lock for YOUR rig.  All hitch configurations, coupler sizes, etc. are NOT alike!  If in doubt, call them like we did especially for vintage rigs.  They know their product and can direct you to the right fitting product for your needs.

Check out their demo video’s to see the strength and effectiveness of these hitch locks.  Well worth the $$$.

A few other tips we can offer to you for keeping your rig safe are—-

  • Pull down your shades during the day if you are away so that it is not so obvious there is no one home.  Ditto at night if you are away from your trailer.
  • When you are in camp, but maybe somewhere out hiking, at the pool or walked into town, back your tow vehicle right up to or broadside to your locked hitch ball so no one can drive right up to your hitch.
  • Install trailer wheel locks (operate like a scissor system) in between your tires if you have a dual axle system.
  • Put a tire lock on your tow vehicle. (see fellow bloggers Long Long Honeymoon (AS owners)  and the TriMax lock they recommend). On our list to purchase this year!
  • If you get a Proven Industry lock system try to also lock your safety chain ends also into the lock area.
  • Install an aftermarket deadbolt on your door(s).  Factory trailer door knob locks are notoriously poor.  Especially on vintage trailers (many brands) the doors have been known to fly open as you are on the highway- resulting in lots of $$ to repair (that is if it was not left by the side of the road a mangled mess).

Hope you have found this blog article helpful.  We would welcome your suggestions, comments and any tips you have for preventing theft of your trailer.

PS:   We will be doing a post soon on LED light replacements (save money, reduce in cabin heat and save 12 V battery life!) so keep watching and reading!

Kitchen Tips…what we have learned so far living tiny!

As many of you know,  we have transitioned from 2400 sq.ft. house to 1400 sq. ft. townhouse apartment this past fall.  During the time the house was for sale and during our (not to be repeated as too stressful) move- we spent a LOT of time in the sanctuary of our 1973 Avion LaGrande, 28 foot vintage travel trailer we affectionately call, “The Pewter Palace”.  We truly count our blessings for having her and the ability to have a place to lay our heads and feel released of cardboard boxes and all that goes along with a big move.

I found as I spent more and more time cooking in our tiny RV kitchen several very important things that i have carried forward into our small galley style kitchen– and some well, are just tips for RV kitchen day to day use.  When we eventually do our final transition to full time RV living some of these will really come into play while still more remain yet undiscovered.

A few tips to get started:

In the RV having a small double bowl sink is preferable over a large sink.  In the RV the dual sink allows for putting in one of those small dish drainer racks so you do not need to clutter up precious counter space with a rack or pad. (I only have a large sink in our apartment, which i like but I do not use a dish drying rack on the counter.  I have a pad I store away under the sink for when needed, but for the most part I use my dishwasher far more, and when I do have dishes that need drying, I dry them right away and put them away instantly.  Keeping a cleaned off tidy counter is far more satisfying for me now).

My sink area in the Pewter Palace when we first bought it (on left) and before I added my personal touches. It gives you a good idea of layout though and the dual sink setup.  We luckily found the original cutting board covers for each sink buried under junk under the sink.  You can see what I mean by precious counter space!  Picture on right was from Summer 2017 at the Tin Can Tourist NE Rally at Sampson State Park in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate NY.

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Dual RV sink also allows for:

  • Easier to rinse lettuce, veggies, etc.
  • A place to store counter items when rolling down the road ( I wrap items in dry dishtowels to prevent rattling)
  • Filled with ice cubes they both make a dandy place to put cold beer or dish that needs to be kept cold during entertaining
  • You typically do not have large platters or serving pieces on an RV so you do not need a large basin sink to fully submerge dishes.
  • One sink can double as storage space for your loaf of bread or bagels (i just put the sink cover on and wholla–bread is handy for sandwich making but not taking up space in fridge or cupboard.

Collapsible Bowls, Measuring Cups, Food Storage Containers and Strainers are awesome!                                       

GET SQUARE when you can!

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I just purchased these on Amazon based on referral by a full time RVer.  Yes, it totally makes sense to have square items in a square cupboard!

There are ever increasing amounts of online and big box (Bed, Bath and Beyond for one) who are selling collapsible kitchen gear.  Get square shapes when you can because they sit next to each other or other items in storage easier in cupboards and drawers.  Ditto on the square shapes for food storage containers too.

Keep your collapsible bowls in the cupboard right above your head at the sink.  These bowls will be used at least two times a day and should be readily handy and not buried.

Try to get bowls that come with lids.  They double as food storage as needed in a pinch but do not rely on them—otherwise when you need it to scramble eggs in one morning you are SOL and have to dump your leftovers or scramble the eggs in your coffee mug.

Get one BIG collapsible mixing bowl besides 2-3 that are small , 4-7″ diameter to medium (9″ diameter).  That is truly all you need.   That big size mixing bowl (about 11-13″ diameter) does come in handy for making a big pot luck salad to share, popcorn by the fire pit or even for soaking some ketchup stained shirt in some OxiClean (yeah…been there!).

To Strain or Not to Strain—that is the question!   In my quest to go collapsible to save precious space I did purchase a collapsible strainer for the Pewter Palace.  Thinking it would be perfect for pasta straining and……hmmmm???…what else would i use it for?  Well, actually in our first year of camping (including our four months nearly full timing) I have only used it once.  I really prefer my flat Pampered Chef grey pot drainer paddle.  Here is a photo because I cannot remember what they call it.  I love this thing and use it weekly at home too.  This is one item that I admit I will have to purchase one exclusively for the RV and just have not gotten around to it.  It is so easy to use for any size pots (more on them later too!) and is flat and simple.  So who knows….the question of to Strain or not to Strain- may make my collapsible strainer end up for sale at one of our RV rally swap meet sessions.  Space is way too valuable in an RV to have stuff in a cupboard that is not used nearly every day.

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One more collapsible item I purchased was a very large collapsible bucket.  It sits kinda buried under my kitchen sink but because it folds down to only about a 1.5″ high it does not really take up much space.  We really could not fit a 5 gallon plastic bucket anywhere in our rig (inside or outside storage) so this does the trick.  Additionally, it comes in handy if you want to give your baby (I am talking about your RV here….not a real baby) a bath or as we found this summer when Kevin needed to soak his feet….it worked awesome!

In a pinch, the large collapsible bucket can also be used for:

  • toting laundry to and from the campsite laundry facilities
  • a game bucket to have your grandkids try to aim for with some balls or acorn tops or anything handy-well, almost anything handy.
  • makes a great cooler for beer when filled with ice when entertaining
  • soak dirty clothes in and do a mini laundry on the fly when needed
  • fill up to use as a clean water flush when cleaning your black/grey water systems

Another gadget that I have found to be indispensable, easy care and to store is my stove top toaster (best one ever!) which I have already done a separate blog post in detail about this gadget if you want to order one yourself.  This thing is non mechanical so great for boondocking.  Does not take up even a fraction of what an electric two slice toaster would take up in storing but also does not take away my counter space either!

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Dishes, plates, cereal bowls, coffee mugs Only put onboard a dish service for four max.  I use Corelle ware because it is light, takes a beating and does not break as easy as iron stone.  I do not like plastic plates for anything beyond a sandwich.  It is plenty, just wash your dishes and put them right away!  We do have some papergoods on board but do not use them routinely unless boondocking.

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Pots and pans can be kept to a minimum too.  You are camping—use the outside grill!  we have one small deep saucepan, one 9″ diameter deep sauce pan (that’s for that pasta or rice!) and two very small non stick fry pans, one with a lid.  I do not use cast iron because it is too heavy.  I do have one cast iron oblong sided griddle (an antique and rare) that i will bring when the grand kids or company come camping with us just to use on the grill or if pancakes are called for so I can do a decent size batch.

Coffee maker?  We LOVE our Farberware 10 cup Perculator.   I refuse to go the Keurig route because of space it takes up, wastefulness of those pod cups and the cost!  See a past blog post or our FB page for more info on our Perculator.  Again, no taking up counter space.  Easy to store in the cupboard, makes outstanding coffee.  Hint–we love to grind our own so I do pre-grind a bunch of coffee and put it in my Coffee keeper on board.  I will have to do a future post on that container because it is outstanding too and easily purchased on Amazon. (yeah, you are getting it that I do a lot of shopping there.  That is because I also have a CC tied to my Amazon so I get amazing points for stuff I would be purchasing locally every week like gas, groceries, or even co-pays at MD appointments.  Then I go “RV shopping” to Amazon and buy things with my points….no cash outlay– nice!

Hanging String Bags for Produce, Baked Goods, Fruits:  These babies are the best way to not fill up your 8 cubic foot fridge with odd sized, big stuff.  We simply screwed some of those safety clip cup hooks under this wood shelf and hook them in there.  Very secure and easy access.  Plus I have definitely noticed that the fruit and veggies keep longer because of air flow.  Plus, right handy when doing meal prep.

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They are completely washable and can also double for other things when needed;

  • Like a bag to take towels and gear to the lake, beach or pool.
  • A bag to use to put plastic dishes in to toss into a stream to wash off if water is getting low in holding tanks
  • Laundry bag for dirties
  • Tote sandbox or pool toys for kiddo’s.

We originally kept them up and with food in them when rolling down the road, but Kevin has since suggested that they come down if I have heavy things in them like in this photo where I had lot of apples.   So now I will just sit then in the sink or on the dinette bench seat when traveling just so we are not putting undo strain on the underside of the wood shelf.

12 slot large cupcake pans (one for each person).  THIS is a Keeper for sure!  We had to learn it the hard way as newbies and run to the closest WalMart when at our first TCT Rally.  Many rallies have fabulous Pot Luck Dinners built into the group social plans.  They are wonderful, provide lo-cost ways to get your meals and outstanding ways to meet fellow RVers.  True long timer’s know the best thing to do is to bring a cupcake pan as your plate!!  This way you take samples of all the yummies you want, ok–you can fill a few of the spaces with chili and desserts if that pleases you!  You may be tempted to not look quite so much like a glutton by only buying a nine or six slot pan, but honestly the 12 slot is the best because you can do salads, veggies, main course and dessert in one swoop.  As anyone knows…camping folks are hungry folks and if you do not snag something your first time in line- it may not be there when you go up for seconds! This cup cake pan plate allows you to not have to bring a separate bowl for any soups or chili’s (there are always awesome chili’s of all types that are brought to these pot lucks).  And it is FAR easier not to have to try to balance carrying all of that either.  This was one of those —wow!!…what a great idea things that we learned from experienced campers and we cherish it totally and love the fact we may be passing on this tip to someone reading this blog that is a newbie like us!

Oh—almost forgot—–Your oven?  we do have one- have not used it yet but it does work… But I, like tons of other RVers, find it great for storing things in!  I keep my stove top toasters( yes, we have two), a disposable aluminum roasting pan and one cookie sheet in there.  Just never, ever store anything on that lower level area where your gas pilot inlet is.  Only store on the wire rack shelf.

Hope you have enjoyed my musings…..get your cupcake pan!  Smell the coffee and get out there and enjoy cooking in a tiny kitchen you call home!

~~  One Life….Live it!

2018 Silver Avion Fellowship Rally is on!

Info about this year’s gathering of fellow Avion owners has been posted on Facebook. I will try to insert the link below but for some reason the link is not working when I have tried to post it on our Pewter Palace Facebook page. If you have trouble just go to Facebook and search for  “silver avion fellowship rally” and find the one that is in Elkhart Indiana.

We may not get to this awesome rally this year just because I only have limited vacation time from work and other obligations and planned travel may gobble up that precious time.

But we had such a good time last year as newbies that I would encourage any Avion owners to attend.

The folks were so friendly and welcoming and we learned a lot. It is so cool seeing the inside of other Avions too!!

Have fun and tell them Luisa and Kevin Sherman sent you!!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/284409031667225/permalink/1544786348962814/

The Long Hibernation

Winters come early and linger late here in the Adirondacks of NY.  Our bevolved Pewter Palace is safe and sound tucked into her “den” till at least April.  It is not uncommon to still see some snow piles then.

This fall, we sold our big house and moved into a townhouse apartment. We are loving our new place and the decision we made. The only downside is that obviously we no longer could have our camper in our backyard. We miss her a lot and miss the convenience of being able to get on board in a minute notice to putter or work on some things. Heck I think we would even spend some nights on her too since we know our furnace works like a charm. But alas, other arrangements had to be made.

We decided to rent a large 45 foot long indoor RV storage garage to keep her in as well as our other reenacting gear, spare tools and stuff we want, at leaat for now.

I will tell you that last week we went over to check on her and look for some Xmas stuff I cannot seem to track down. Yikes when we got there and opened up the overhead door we both were flooded with emotion and realized how much we truly miss not living in her. We quickly went on board and were like petting her and cooing to her. I don’t know why we are so attached to this rig but we are. Maybe it’s because we know she will be our full time home in ten years. Maybe it’s because we love the German decor, maybe it’s the simplicity of life in a trailer where all you need is a reflection of really how little you need to be happy. Maybe a combination of everything.

I am sure that some of our friends who have been fortunate enough to inherit a family cabin or camp, or a beach cottage know how this feeling takes you over. You arrive to the door after stressful week at work, kick off your shoes and put on the slippers that you leave at your hideaway… And whammy… De-stress and comfort overwhelms you. That familiarity calms you and transports you into a different way of looking at life. I know… We feel it now too, but ours has wheels, so we also have the luxury of being able to change our view, She says with a big smile……

Sleep tight Pewtty Pal…. Spring will come and so will we!

Its All About the BLACK TANK!

You would think we would have better things to discuss with the holidays approaching and time spent now daydreaming (or really planning) for our 2018 Avion Adventures!

But honestly, with our Pewter Palace in winter storage, it seems like a good time to discuss those not so popular things like….black tanks and sewer smells!

We are fortunate in that our 1973 Avion has both a grey water and black water tank. Up to and through 1972 Avions were built with only one discharge tank (held black and grey combined).  yikes!  That would not do for us at all–Especially once we start full timing.  These tanks, when our rigs were built were not the size that most modern trailers are.  In fact, our grey water is 25 gallons and our black is also 25 gallons.  Through our experience, we pretty much can get a little over a week with our grey water (assuming no showers – we use the campgrounds shower, and not dumping dish water on the ground outside rather than down the drain).  We can get about 5-7 days with black water tank, again, depends on if we are spending most of the day away from camp either siteseeing or going to work.

Lets remember, that up to that point (1972) these rigs were totally produced for the leisure market and living full time in them was virtually inconceivable.  Were there some full timers in the 70’s?  I suspect so, but nothing like the ever increasing rage and trends that are going on now.  The internet has certainly made it all so much easier and seamless-even for those who telecommute now for work.  Full Time living on an RV is really quite simple and easy.

Also, I would bet that most travel trailer campers also were using private or public campgrounds that at least had some hook ups with at minimum, dump stations.  We still see a considerable amount of campgrounds, especially those in more rural locations having just electric and water intake available at the actual site you have, and then you have to drive to the dump station to empty your black/grey water.  The NY State Campground we were at this summer for the Tin Can Tourist NE Rally (Sampson State Park, nice place!) had water and electric at our site, but a communal dump station area for discharge.  Many, many state and national campgrounds and parks are still this way.  Lets face it, the cost for putting separate lines to a campground with over 200 sites would be outrageous in today’s costs.

So back to the original intention of my blog post.  Black water…..how to manage it as efficiently as possible with NO smells.

When we had our 1998 Class A Itasca Motor home, we constantly had issues with “smells” which were sewer gases leaking from (I guess)  improperly constructed vent tanks. it seemed more prevalent when we were on the road down the highway but none the less, we still could “smell” when we had to dump.  We tried a variety of toilet treatment chemicals purchased at a variety of camp and RV stores…all supposed to offer the best in waste breakdown and prevention of smells.  We tried the gadget on top of the roof that was a directional rotating wing type cap that was supposed to help.  I guess the swivel vent did help a little.

But guess what…back in 1973 the engineers of the Avion’s knew what they were doing.  To date, we have NEVER had any of those smells in our Avion! And remember, we just got done living in her for three and a half months full time, stationary.   We have the vintage, standard fixed cap on the vent pipe that comes up thru the roof.  Yes, we do have a more modern (but still plastic) toilet but the fact that the black water holding tank is directly below the toilet I think helps to prevent issues.  You literally can “see” when your tank is getting filled…ok, not a great site to behold- but a good check and balance anyway.

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A photo of our 1973 Avion LaGrande, 28 foot bathroom.  What you cannot see is the tub/shower and two very spacious storage closets in addition to the under counter storage.

 

BUT…what I truly think has really made the different is using this!  UNIQUE Brand RV Digester (remember…we do not get paid for any endorsements…this is just our feedback to help fellow RVers)

Our rig came with a bunch of the traditional and well recognized brands of other digesters, but i really wanted something different to avoid past issues.  In doing research and with checking LOTS of reviews on Amazon, this one consistently rose to the top…pardon the pun.

This stuff is so eco-friendly too!  (My daughter would hopefully even approve!)  Reviews note that Unique RV Digester is also proven to “unstop clogs, dried out and caked on gunk”.  Glad we did not have that issue…but truly, we see lots of posts on RV FB chat sites where especially vintage RVs have sat for so long unattended that their sewer systems have to be pretty yucky.  Supposedly, if you load your tank with the prescribed amount of this stuff….let it sit, then take your rig on the road for a little hula dancing down the road this stuff will unshake and degrade the sludge and make it possible to drain and start reusing your system effectively again.  There were many testimonials to this effect on Amazon and honestly, I was quite impressed reading them.

Many Avion owners (and other vintage trailer owners for that matter) have realized the fact that well…those “monitor panels” really do not work well or at all after decades.  The sensors they use on even more modern units to signal when your tanks are getting full leave much to be desired.  In fact, their lousy.

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Unique RV Digester, in some cases has even proven itself to clean the detectors and get those lights working again.  That did not happen to us…but no problem…like i said–we can give it an “eye spy” and see when our black water/sewer tank is gonna need an emptying.  Nothing like an eye witness right??

What I can tell you is that the Unique RV Digester solution has worked beautifully for us.  We have NO Smells, No clogs, and everything drains beautifully.  We did follow the initial start up instructions and for the rest of the season were on the “maintenance” dosage after each dump.  We also put a little in our grey water too, just to help breakdown any food particles and grease that may have slipped down when doing dishes.

An added funny….you know part of what we love about RV camping is meeting other folks, sitting around a communal campfire and sharing stories, jokes and fun times.  Well, wouldn’t  you know, when we were at the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally this summer in Elkhart Indiana the conversation turned to RV Black Tanks.  (Don’t ask how we got there!!) but lo and behold, a fellow Avioner mentioned this same UNIQUE RV Digester with the same gusto and recommendation we had.  He also has been a long timer and it was great for Kevin and I to hear others have had such success and recommend it too.

So armed with this first season going so well, we have stocked up on our Unique RV Digester and are ready for smell free travels!

Hope this blog post helps fellow Trailer and motorhome owners too.  If you want to order this stuff…here is an Amazon link.  They do track you down and the company will offer you coupons for future purchases.  Read about their company, they are pretty cool too!

One life….Live it!

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If you see us on the road…beep, wave and say HI!!

 

 

 

 

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!

Space Saving- Veggies, Breads, Fruits and more!

Space savers and multi-use reign supreme in trailer living! Anyone who has a vintage trailer, or any trailer or motorhome under 34 feet or so understands the need for saving what precious counter top space you have and to keep it as free from clutter as possible.  Likewise, although our refrigerator has served us well and at just under 8 cubic feet seems plenty for us (I do love the separate freezer too!).

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(This is a photo of when we first purchased the trailer but note minimal counter space)

Some of the full time Vloggers we watch like “Less Junk, More Journey” and “A Streamin’ Life” have both come up with some great tips…and we would like to share one of our own here!

We are lucky to have these great wooden shelves in our Avion which were installed by former owners but really look like they came with the rig.  Using an area previously used for a undermount toaster (we inherited and it did not work, so was removed) we mounted 3 pairs of large safety cup hooks (the kind that have the metal closure piece) and have put on them to the right of our counter area.

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On each of the hook pairs we have hung these awesome natural string, mesh shopping bags which perfectly hold our fruits, veggies and breadstuffs—all of which would normally take up a lot of room in the fridge.  The bags also then are handy to remove when empty for the next trip to the grocery store.  Very convenient!  I love them!

Where to purchase??  Mesh bags purchased on Amazon (3 bags for $11.99 and free shipping with Prime).  They are of an excellent quality.  the strap handles are beefy and the entire bag appears well made.  We will get their first workout this weekend when we travel to the Finger Lake Region in upstate NY.  Its about a four hour trip and i have them loaded with apples, potatoes and banana’s so we can see if they do the ultimate trick.

Why Bags over Baskets?  I decided to go with the mesh bag style over the tiered basket style simply because of a few reasons; bags were lighter in weight, provide additional use of taking as grocery bag to market, less chance of spillage if trailer is rocking and rolling as we go down the road, mesh bags will not rust, easy to throw in washing machine, and …they hold more!

Hope this little tip gives you some ideas!  Let us know if you decide to use this idea! we would love to see your installation or other ideas you have used these great mesh bags for!

One life….Live it!                                                                                                                                     Luisa

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LevelMatePro- awesome leveling tool-app

Let’s face it, Kevin and I are not known for our geekie-ness (just ask my thirty-something kids!) but we have fallen in love with this Tech-savvy, easy to install and use tech instrument and app (for Iphones, Ipads and Androids) that make leveling your Motorhome or in our case, our trailer a breeze!

The LevelMatePRO is a level guidance system that once the receiver box is installed inside your rig, it sends a signal to your cell phone or Ipad in your car via Bluetooth that allows you to quickly and clearly see how level (or NOT) you are in a particular spot.

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Kevin is a prolific YouTube maestro and uses reviews and how to videos to learn about new gadgets that especially full timers have found useful.  This LevelMatePro came to us via the RVGeeks.com channel/website.  These guys offer no nonsense reviews, practical tips and how to’s on a myriad of tech related gadgets as well as other RV accessories and tools.

Of particular greatness is for folks who are swooping in for a quick overnight of boondocking in a parking lot, you can literally drive around with this thing on and see a spot that is the most level possible—thereby saving you even having to haul out one leveling block!

For us…it is a time and labor saver (not to mention stress saver).  Before the LevelMatePRO Kevin would park the rig, leaving the Suburban (a.k.a. Darth Vader) running.  Shoot back to the trailer, open her up, pull stuff out of  my freezer in the refrig to then place is 11 inch bubble level on the freezer shelf to ensure level sitting.  UGH….not level….back to the car, forward a scootch….backward a scootch…up onto the leveling canoe (as i call it) inch, inch…OK!  The back and forth into the freezer shelf could be done multiple times. YIKES!  Why you ask was I not doing this part….trust….its a guy thing….He felt he had a better handle on it because, well after all–it involved a tool. LOL.  2017-09-10 11.52.23

Ahh…..so now with the LevelMatePro we simply sit in the car together, read the screen.  We take out the one, or two leveling canoes (another blog post about them…far better than the stacking blocks) and while I do stay on the outside to monitor, we BOTH have our leveling apps running and can be assured of perfect fit.  And best of all…the food stays in the freezer!!

We bought our gadget on Amazon through the RVGeeks.com referral so they get a little perk for the order, which is fine with us since they do a lot to bring these things to fellow RVers.  Cost is about $130-150 and the item is entirely wireless!

The set up was very easy for us.  The manufacturer suggests with trailers that you mount as close to front of the rig as possible.  It can face either front, to either side or to back but should be mounted on a vertical surface.  Since our rig is curved we opted to mount our receiver on the side of our wooden front hanging shelf.  This shelf is very sturdy and we faced it towards the driver side since the instructions said that the driver side installation is optimal.  Two screws and we were done (after putting the batteries in of course!).  On/Off button is easy to access and reach.  The App guides you through the set up as does the very good and graphic instruction manual that comes with the equipment.  YES! I did say that it comes with printed instructions and graphic screenshots of what you should see.  Amazing in this day and age as so many things you buy now want you to go online for any installation or instruction manuals.  How refreshing!  and….I have frozen food!

PS:  There is also a hitch memory setting too so once you have your rig level, and you want to unhitch to take your tow vehicle out to dinner or siteseeing…use the hitch memory setting and when you go to rehitch up, the level pro will let you know exactly when you have lifted your rig just enough to get underneath to hitch up.

Check it out!  LevelMatePro is a great gadget!!  (good for Class A,B’s and C’s too)

*note, we do not get paid or receive any other type of enumeration or free products for our reviews of our “great gadgets”.

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Adventures with a Vintage 1973 Avion Luxury Coach Camper