Like many RV of ANY age (ours is 46 years old this year-2019!) there never seems to be enough kitchen counter space. Especially now with the advent of Instapots, Keurig coffee machines, etc. there are times where we just need MORE!
Here is a 1/2 day project we did to nearly double the size of our counter space in our 1973 Avion, 28 foot LaGrande model.
1 wood topped snack/TV table tray. Here is the $10 one we used purchased at our Walmart. (we already had a set of these in our sticks n bricks home, so no cost to our project!)
Aprox. 3/4″ thick x 2″wide wood strip (for support inside drawer cabinet). Length should be based on interior cabinet (under countertop) to floor of cabinet.
Screws (will vary based on thickness of your exterior wall base cabinet)
sheet of paper (for making a template)
flashlight (to have helper light up inside base cabinet for marking drill holes)
extra pair of hands-always helps and is needed!
NOTE: If you prefer to purchase a kit from Camco for a 12″ counter extension here is that product along with an install video which may help you even if you do the do-it-yourself one like we did below. Camco RV Counter Extension Kit
We took the folding legs and wood hardware bracket off of the snack table.
We made a paper template of the positions for the hinges by placing on tray back, taking measurements of the distance in between the 2 brackets we felt would provide optimal support.
This template will later help us know where on the side of the kitchen base cabinet we need to drill our pilot holes. You can choose to position your lift up counter extension at same height as your existing kitchen counter or just below. We recommend to install it just below the bottom edge of our formica countertop. By doing it that way, our extension, when folded down is flush with the cabinet. See position below.
Using the hinge template, we made marks on the exterior side of our kitchen base cabinet where we wanted the hinges placed. Careful to take into account that your hinges are going to be below the finished edge of your extension snack table board.
We measured from just under the formica counter edge down to the position of the top holes for the hinges to ensure this jived with our template.
We used the template to figure out where on the INSIDE of our base cabinet (drawers had been pulled out) that our vertical wood slat needed to be positions to provide additional support to the cabinet once hinges and extension table was in place.
Here is a photo of the wood support slats in place waiting to receive the screwed in hinges from the outside. Note, we used small screws that did not protrude through the base cabinet but were sufficient to hold the slats in place independently before we proceeded with project from outside of the base cabinet.
We then double checked and with a pencil marked the holes using our template were we would be screwing in the hinges onto the exterior side of the base cabinet, and screwed in the hinges. Be sure to ensure they are level. Install 1, then use this to hold your level in place while you position the second one the same distance apart as your wood slats are on the inside that are being used as support to receive the long screws that go from the hinge exterior, through your base cabinet wall and sink into the wood support slate on inside of cabinet.
Next we used the template again to drill pilot holes into the underside of table tray top. Ours was oak and very hard so pilot holes are a must. It should be noted that wood top snack trays come in many colors, honey oak, walnut, etc. and you may wish to select a tray top that compliments your base cabinets. We used a snack tray we already had on hand to save money-hence the “butcher block” look rather than matching our base cabinet stain.
Perhaps the hardest part of the whole project was laying the tray table down on fully deployed and locked in place hinges and from the bottom, screwing the table top to the hinges. This really does require a helper to ensure the top stays in place and is level.
2019 marked the 100th birthday of the originalTin Can Tourists club and we were excited to be part of honoring its rich history. The best part of THIS particular rally was that there were 17 Avions!
More about the history of this international club can be found here at Tin Can Tourists can be read here on their very interesting history page.
We joined TCT in 2017 when we purchased our 1973 Avion travel trailer. Its super affordable at $20 per person per year. This grants you access to their forums, newsletters, TCT swag, and of course, to attend TCT rallies that are held all over the USA! This club promotes safe, fun camping and camaraderie among fellow campers. It does focus on antique, vintage and classic camp trailers but is open to all modes of wheeled campers, motorhomes, and car/tent campers and no longer has a mandatory vehicle age to join as long as members support the goals and mission of the club. It’s no wonder that the club theme song is “The More We Get Together”. We certainly can attest to them holding up these goals. So far we have attended TCT rallies 2 times in the Finger Lakes of NY and this trip put us square one in their large Centennial rally which was held at Camp Dearborn in Milford, MI and have had terrific times. We will look forward to hopping around the country once we are full timing and attending more and more TCT events.
We arrived on Monday, May 13 at Camp Dearborn in Milford, MI. This massive city-owned park has a very unique history itself and is filled with a variety of camping options. TCT uses this camping site annually for their Fall rally which is well attended. But this spring Centennial Rally had over 170 rigs registered…for a total of over 350 attendees which was terrific. Even more terrific was the sheer variety of the rigs that converged! I took so many photos that I am going to put most of these into slideshows on this blog in an effort to save space. However some of the trailers were just SO notable that I have chosen a select few to post their photos individually as well as our photos to show what a great time we had and our campsite.
Our campsite at Camp Dearborn all set up….Site 98 (paved site, huge 8 person table, fire ring with full hook ups, 30 Amp service, special rally rate I think of $37 per night) which was right on what could be considered the 100% corner intersection which was awesome because we had such nice sweeping views of the campground and no one on one side of us since it was a corner lot. Also, the bath house is right across the lane if that is important to you.
We had been experiencing some very chilly and rainy weather along the trip, but as soon as we got to Camp Dearborn it seemed the Sun God decided it was time to give us a break and it reached into the mid to high 70’s nearly every one of the 5 days we were at the rally. Perfect camping weather!
The Centennial rally boasted a nice selection of group activities each day. Not too many to where you feel you are on a hamster wheel but each evening there was a different nationality themed dinner. (actually we would have liked to see a few more “how to” or other types of learning/sharing workshops during the day as options to attend). Italian, French, Canadian, Polish Buffet dinners all were good. It was actually fun standing in line with 100’s of fellow “Canners” and those lines moved fast but allowed all of us to get to know each other. The “big tent” was also the site of live band music 2 different nights, a few slide shows, safety workshops, new member welcome and the Centennial Rally Dance which touted a “Roaring 20’s” theme that we dove into (well, I dove….Kevin came along for the ride as a wonderful husband will do!)
Here is a slide show of some of the unique campers that I took photos of. These certainly are just a sampling of what was there. Kevin and I enjoyed taking full walks around the entire massive campground on their paved roads at least 1 x per day to see what had just pulled in since some folks started coming in on Monday like we did, but others continued to come in all the way up to Friday afternoon. So each walk held new surprises to see!
One of the special features of this particular Centennial Rally was that any vintage rigs “Made in Michigan” were specifically featured and showcased. TCT did that by issuing each of us a special commemorative sign that we had out and could keep. Also one evening a guest speaker did a great presentation on Michigan “wheeled” industry from car making in Detroit to RV trailer making history.
Even our dog Reddy got into the act by wearing her “Avion” sweater I had recently crocheted for her. She also loved her stroller since at age 11 her arthritis gets the best of her on long walks we did around the rally. Many thanks to Avioner Rhonda who has now given me a Travelcade patch to sew on Reddy’s coat to complete the look!
With this “Made in MI” focus, 17 Avion trailer owners descended on this rally and it was so completely awesome to see Avions of all ages, sizes, and levels of renovation!! We met several new Avioners who we had only known of by mutual facebook posts (so nice to put faces with names!) , but also got to get even better reacquainted with several Avion owners who we had met 2 years ago when we attended the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally in Elkhart, IN. (which we are attending again this summer!) Truly building these relationships with fellow Avion and other vintage camper lovers is such an important part of our zest for this hobby. We learn, laugh, share and support each other.
HERE IS THE AVION TRAILER SHOWCASE!!
We stayed at the rally until Sunday morning and then pulled out to take a fairly easy time home. We (well, Kevin did) drove 7 hours through MI, OH, PA and into NY along Interstate 90.
As part of our trip home we overnighted at a winery who is a member of Harvest Host which is a membership organization that allows wineries, museums, golf courses, historic sites, organic and regular farms an opportunity to showcase their facilities by allowing Harvest Host RV members to stay overnight on their property. These are typically boondocking overnights and only fully contained RV’s (motorhomes and trailers) are allowed. No tent camping is permitted. Some hosts we have seen do have some limited hook ups, some will allow a few nights if requested. The impetus of this is that the RVer will support the business by taking a tour, a tasting in their winery, purchasing of goods at their site store in lieu of being charged for a camping stay.
We stayed at Merritt Estate Winery, a Harvest Host member which is a nice place, but admittedly, their parking lot and accessibility could be really challenging if you are not coming in at a very “off” time, e.g. early in morning or definitely before 2-3 pm. After that time of day, if there are any trucks, vans or cars in their parking lot- where they want you to turn around in is going to be really tough unless you are a small camper van or small class A. When we got there, they had not moved a large white truck or van of theirs out of the parking area where they wanted us to turn around in . They say they are tour bus friendly but I suspect that the buses disembark their passengers at the top of the driveway, not below in their small parking lot.
We did enjoy having a nice quiet picturesque site and the wines were good and gift shop had some nice cheeses and I bought three bottles of their wine…so we more than paid for our site in the end. But a Harvest Host site is a nice alternative, and this site was only about 10 minutes off I-90 which made it also convenient. Below is a slideshow of some more pictures of our overnight at Merritt Estate Winery.
A word of warning to fellow Harvest Host members, PLEASE check out their Harvest Host site using Google Satellite before committing to go. Call the host on the phone and clearly discuss what kind of space and turn around area and access they have. These owners (normally non RVers) do not understand the turning and backing capabilities of RVs. Our combined rig and trailer is just under 50 feet long and cannot spin on a dime. One Harvest Host site in OH we had checked out enroute to MI would have been a disaster trying to use, although the owners were very willing to have us stay over.
If you are interested in joining Harvest Host, please use our exclusive 15% discount code! You save money and we get a small referral fee credit (that we put towards future purchases at Harvest Host site gift shops to support their businesses)
Hope you have enjoyed our Part 2 of our Spring 2019 trip in our 1973 Avion. Here is a link to Part 1 (Watkins Glen/Finger Lakes to Frankenmuth MI) if you want to check that out! If you want to be sure to get notifications of future posts and travels, please subscribe to our blog!
Along the way of our past six years of researching, planning and dreaming about our eventual “full time RV life” we have enjoyed and learned from many who have taken the plunge before us!
Among those who we respect and have learned from the most are a handful which include at top of our list, Steve & Courtney from AStreaminLife.
We have followed their journey from their initial change of lifestyle decision, to sale of their house, to downsize and deciding what trailer to get (Courtney was totally new to camping and RV life while Steve had grown up with parents who RV’d tons!) , to their first year commuting daily from full time RV living in a local KOA campground in Tucson AZ, but keeping their day jobs…..to their first years + now full time on the road.
Each episode they post on YouTube we learn something, laugh (at sometimes Steve’s dry humor jokes) share similar likes, dislikes and we know we are far more better equipped when our day comes because of them and others who have taken the journey and are willing to share their successes, failures and “whoops” candidly and honestly.
For more information about AStreaminLife visit their full website too! link
So this year, in the season of thanksgiving for many blessings we have, we also wanted to let Steve and Courtney know how much we have appreciated their friendship and effort to allow viewers like us to be included in their daily life. We knew they were going to be coming up to the ADK’s hopefully this summer and that they loved to visit and film waterfalls. Well, we know the DACKS are full of neat spots but knowing Courtney loves the “epic planning” part of their trips we sent a Christmas present to them in Scottsdale AZ where they were going to be celebrating with Courtney’s folks over Christmas time. Included in our gift to them was a travel guide to ADK waterfalls, and each of them got a pair of socks befitting to their lifestyle and their tastes. Steve’s socks were a custom beer bottle (he loves craft beer and breweries just like Kevin does!) and for Courtney I picked out a pair of socks that had a camping theme complete with trailer, campfire, etc. It appears they loved them and we are so happy for that!
Here is a clip of their Scottsdale AZ video published on their YouTube Channel. Specific reference to receiving our Christmas present socks (and showing them off) is at about 5:47 minutes in–HOW SWEET OF THEM TO THANK US IN THIS VERY PUBLIC WAY! WOW-did not expect that and they have over 11K YouTube followers!! Please watch the whole video (and their other videos on early retirement how to and RV living and travels to magnificent places in the USA!) so you can learn more about who they are and you will see why we enjoy following them on their journey so much. Better yet! subscribe to their YouTube Channel and see the many valuable and educational videos they have posted from selecting a generator, to downsizing tips, to finding the perfect campground…or the not to perfect dip into a BLM spot that got them stuck AND cost them a portion of an underbelly pan which had to be repaired!
BTW- they typically camp in exactly the same kind of BLM and private campgrounds that we know we plan to go to as well…over this Christmas ’18 they are in Cave Creek which is a town Kevin and I have spent quite a bit of time in already as it is only about 35 minutes north of where my son David lives with his wife Bri. Kevin and I had already checked out and put the campground in Cave Creek (Cave Creek Canyone road below) on our list of must stays.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Kevin & Luisa Sherman, The Pewter Palace
Adventures with a Vintage 1973 Avion Luxury Coach Camper