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!
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.
(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!
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!
We ventured about 2.5 hours heading east from our home near Lake George NY to spend a long weekend (3 nights, four days) in the Green Mountain National Forest of nearby Vermont in late August 2020. The drive was over hill and dale from our home in eastern side of upstate NY, peaceful through quaint NY and VT villages and bucolic farmscapes. Closer to our destination, we passed Bromley Ski Area which now also has a full compliment of summer activities including chair lift, bike trails and more. There are several notable ski areas along this route in an easy to reach too.
Sometimes its really nice to just have a short hop, skip, and jump to a pretty local place but that feels worlds away from your normal backyard.
Our destination was Hapgood Pond Campground which is under the management and inside the Green Mountain National Forest. The campground is located in Peru, VT. Peru is a very small backwater village with a town green, one quintessential VT general store ( see slide show below) , an 18th C. church on the green (of course) and a handful of beautifully restored 18th and 19th century houses dotted here and there. Just off Route 11 heading NE out of Manchester, VT, this sleepy town is the perfect and close get away. I have a slide show of the general store and more info below.
Nearby, Manchester Vt offers outlet stores, boutiques, ample varieties of unique, locally-owed restaurants and of course, the Northshire Bookstore which is a destination unto itself. This large store is worth the stop even if you are not a bibliophile….they have wonderful unique gifts, new age, inspirational and spiritual gifts and accessories and some quirky retro gifts and great unique kitchen accessories too! Warning, Manchester can be very touristy and busy on summer weekends, we hit it right because of an anticipated rainy Saturday–the rain cleared out by noon and there were not many folks downtown yet.
Hapgood Pond Campground is beautifully set with surrounding pine and forest lands, it has a beautiful and ample pond with great beach for swimming (sadly the one weekend we were there it was a late August cold snap and only in the 60s during the day so too cold for a swim). It has a 1 mile nice hike trip around the pond is worth the adventure. We did the hike on Saturday starting out at 6 PM and the lighting was beautiful and we had the whole thing to ourselves…quite magical. I suspect in peak seasons of summer weekends the trail could get busy as there also is a day picnic area as part of this 27 campsite park. The campground access road is dirt/stone dust, level and well maintained road which is a little narrow but certainly do-able for our 32 footer. Just watch the one right hand bend. We would not recommend anything larger than 35′ for sure. Please also avoid the sites 17-20 which are in a dead end loop unless you tent or have a small pop up trailer. You will not get in or out with anything bigger.
Campsites: Sites 1-8 are first come first served only for RV/Tent sites. You simply arrive, claim an open site that works for you, fill out the ticket from the main map display and put your payment info and contact info into the lockbox and your reserved ticket on the clip on the site # post. There is an onsite volunteer Camp host whose site is clearly marked as you enter the campground side of the site to the left on the main drive. To the right is the day use only which is also for a small fee.
Most of the first come, first served are very short sites, ok for lets say under a 20 foot camper, perfect for tenters, pop ups or van campers. The creme de la creme for us is Site #2. It is a first come first served but in a great location by the vault toilet building #1, has a water spigot in the site and a really easy access walk to the public beach, pavilion and walking trail, etc. We will definitely look to get this site once we become full timers and with our Senior Pass can book it for like $10 per night…great deal! The rest of the sites are reservable in advance through Reservation.gov website.
This Summer of 2020, Covid-19 and all…..We had reserved Site 26 for three nights, Fri/Sat/Sun in late August ($68.00 total through Reserve.gov) . We needed a restful get away. For our 32-foot length trying to do the online reservations they said they had only 2 sites that could accommodate 30-35 foot rigs. Looking around once we got there, we believe that at minimum sites 24, 26 and 27 (has some overhanging pines we like to avoid) could handle our size of travel trailer.
Below is a photo of our site 26. Nice site, and we would book it again! Amazingly…this is the FIRST campsite in 8 years of RVing that after Kevin backed in, I turned on our LevelMate Pro app and it was PERFECTLY LEVEL SIDE TO SIDE! Wow! that never happens! We only had to level front to back. That was awesome…bravo to the campground staff for their maintenance! Our Verizon hot spot provided some decent upload and download speeds, my cell was pulling 3 bars consistently at our campsite.
Site 26 was very comfortable for us. Nice large, deep fire ring, huge long picnic table in very good condition, the site was clean, cleared and with just a little maneuvering Kevin got it backed in. NOTE: the water spiquot and bath house/very clean vault toilets are directly opposite the campsite and close to the road edge enough so you do not have the flexibility of going a little “off road” to angle into the site. But he managed fine. We did take our front hitch storage tray that holds our generator off before trying to do the back in angles.
FYI- You are in a National Forest so…..These sites are NO HOOKUPS! The campground is pet friendly. There is no electric, sewer, cable hook ups! if you are used to these conveniences, this is not a place for you. Our site was quite shady with some beautiful sunny rays during the morning through late afternoon hours, but enough shade that we suspect even in hot summer days the shade would greatly help keep the camper interior heat level down. We did run our generator a few hours each day just to keep the batteries topped off since the are a bit on the old site and not lithium ions. Due to the cold snap and rainy day on Saturday, we never had use of our AC nor even a fan. Open windows and nice breeze was perfect.
Every other camper in the park was super respectful of all Covid-19 mask and other precautions. There was no noise issues, everyone kept their manners and cleanliness in the vault toilets which were cleaned daily, no smells, no trash and very well built *aka no spiders, etc) and ventilated. The best we had seen so far in “government campgrounds”. It was truly one of the most peaceful and restful camping weekends we had in a long, long time. Bless you Vermonters!
There is a palpable difference when you are camping in a National Forest or State campground with very little amenities or activities versus a private campground hell bent on having every bell and whistle, every type of kid oriented activity, playground, pool slides , etc. This National Forest campground was bliss!
Saturday after we ventured into nearby Manchester (about 20 min drive) for lunch and about a 1 hour stroll around to shop. On our way back, we also stopped at the adorable general store in “downtown” Peru where the campground is located. Clearly the store knows its prime clientele is the transient campers. It was the quintessential Vt general store with lovely fresh foods, baked goods, local and Vt made gifts, basic housewares, RVer last minute “whoops I forgot this!” items. I loved it–its cozy, well kept, modern of inventory but quaint in style. The locally made VT smoked cheese we bought was delicious as was the shared chocolate cupcake. They boast take away sandwiches and pizzas to order. Next time!
BTW Hapgood pond is a result of an early industrial revolution era dam put in place to power a mill. A typical story in New England and outlined in the story board near the beach and rustic, nicely maintained pavilions where larger family groups could have a nice picnic together.
Here is a photo slide show from around the park and our hike.
While spending an enjoyable rest, we got a little itchy after a rainy Saturday so by Sunday afternoon the weather was beautiful and we wanted to explore more of the Green Mountain Forest itself. So using our maps we found at the end of Hapgood Pond Road, heading north, then west you come onto Forest Road #10 which is a nicely maintained, unpaved road. It is ample in width and in super good condition (better than some RV parks!) but with very little pull offs and definitely NO TURNAROUNDS FOR RVS! We did this as a day venture just in our tow vehicle, our 2011, GMC 2500 Denali,4WD, Crew Cab and had no issues. However about 1/2 way through thinking this would be a great place for a dispersed camping site persay.. the RED FLAG happened!!!
CAUTION!! midway through our 1.5 hour back road Forest Route #10 there was a very high pitched replacement cement bridge (see in slide show below) that literally went up on an 75 degree angle over a span of maybe 6 feet!! Our RV and anything shy of perhaps a small camper van would have bottomed out royally or gotten stuck on the top of the crest!
That being said, the ride through the forest is one we would recommend. There is an access point to the “long trail” of the Appalachian Trail inside the park and many other trail heads that looked inviting! There are 4 dispersed Tent sites that we saw but none of them were very remarkable or nice. One along the stream was ok, it was at the eastern most end of the road.
The pristine greenery kept us in awe, the long forgotten apple trees in one area reminded us that at one time, perhaps 100 years ago this area was finely tended and was cleared farm land…all now reclaimed by Mother Nature into a thick, native woodland.
This bridge pitch may not look super steep in this photo but it was! Your RV would turn into aTeeterTotter with NO where to turn around and go back!
Our last little adventure was to take a trip up to the NE to Weston, VT which is along Route 11 North from Peru. It took us perhaps 25 minutes tops. Weston is home to the ORIGINAL VERMONT COUNTRY STORE! Since the 1800s the same family has operated this store in this little village. (They do have another store nearer to Brattleboro but it is more touristy I think, they also have a huge website and publish a catalog. They are known for selling long forgotten housewares, candies, cleaning items and hard to find health and beauty items)
We enjoyed our Sunday morning there, with little crowds, a yummy lunch outdoors in their picnic area (restaurant closed due to Covid). They are known for their homemade Mac n Cheese and I had the “Northerner” with BBQ pulled pork or’ top mac and cheese deliciousness. It was enough to have a full portion for dinner later that night. Kevin had a Reuben special and ranked it well among his many tests of this culinary delight from around the country he has had. I dropped some coinage in the store, always willing to support local businesses and off we went to our trip on Forest Road #10 into the depths of the Green Mountain National Forest itself.
Our trip came to a relaxing close on Monday morning as we savored our final breakfast meal and began our pack out regime after I checked my emails for work and did some correspondence. Getting out of the Site 26 was far easier than getting in, but again, we would book this site again now that the “angling” to get in was mastered on the first try.
It cannot be underestimated that sometimes, just a 2.5 hour drive can bring you such a new perspective, new vistas to see, new moon shots to honor and the peacefulness of the forest to reinvigorate the soul.
We will definitely will make Hapgood Pond Campground in the Green Mountain National Forest an annual (or at least biennial) stop on our camping itinerary in the future. We may even stay a week or two once we are retired and spending our summers in New England…so don’t take our Site #2!
Stay safe, enjoy the journey! Reddy certainly did-below she is sacked out on MY lounge chair just like the Queen of the campground she is!
Kevin and Luisa
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By our grandson’s “popular demand” we booked another weekend trip to our local (45 min north) Jellystone RV Campground ( formerly known as Paradise Pines Jellystone I think). It had been two years since we had taken them there. This park is located just off RT I-87 in North Hudson, NY. Very easy access. Close enough to visit area attractions of a Buffalo Farm, Lake Placid, The North Pole, Lake George and Fort Ticonderoga on day trips as well as other small lakes and rivers that dot the eastern side of the Adirondacks.
We booked especially to go on their “SPOOK-TACULAR” Halloween themed weekendwhich was awesome to say the least. I did get our site and Avion all decked out and it was a big hit with the grandsons and nearly everyone in the park threw us mega compliments and thumbs up! Right from the entrance point to the park and all over the park they had huge blow up halloween themed decor which was really great. Many of the campers also decorated their campsites and rigs. We all got in the mood!
This campground is a favorite for those with small families, afterall who can shrug a hug from Yogi or Boo Boo right??
The park is a simple 45 minutes north of us into the Adirondack Mountains on Route 87/The Adirondack Northway. Once you exit for North Hudson, the campground is a minute up the road on the left.
We had site # 15 and were very pleased with this site for our rig. It easily accommodated our 32 foot long Avion and had full hook ups. There we are on the right
** We originally booked site 137A online based on the online map. WHOA! do not go by that map and do not book that site or site 137 which everyone will walk through! We did a reconnaissance trip 2 weekends before and 137A is what we would call an “after thought site”. It appears there are a few of them at this campground where they are trying to SQUEEZE every last inch of turf to fit some level of RV into it. Not good. However—The staff was extremely accommodating and very pleasant as we did a drive around the park to view on my phone app to view what was still available. She gladly rebooked us for Site 15 (there were only 3 sites left!) and we were very pleased with this customer service.
This pricing below was reflective of a 2 night stay. Premium Water/Electric/Sewer 1 $206.00
Adults on Site 2 $0.00
Children on Site 2 $0.00 Pet(s) 1 $10.00 (yes, Reddy costs extra, but we love her enough to pay!) VIP Site Lock-in Fee 1 $15.00 (I opted to get locked into our site, no surprises!) BYS Fee 1 $10.00 (this is an extra fee paid to the online booking company) Subtotal $241.00
Deposit Paid $133.90 (required % when booking online)
We actually ended up adding Thursday night (special rate deal only $50, so we could arrive then or earlier than 2 pm check in on Friday) so we ended up having a slightly higher bill in the end. But we love getting in there on Thursday before everything fills up and we can set up and relax before the family comes too!
Very kid friendly park (lots of kids–hey, its a Jellystone so expect that please!)
Our Site 15 had easy access to bath house/showers and in the other direction the game hall, pool and other amentities (though not much doing because of Covid19 restrictions)
Close to home for us- nice for a change!
Their camp store is one of the best we have every seen for not only gifts and food incidentals, but their supply of RV gear, parts, light bulbs, and all sorts of hardware is better than some RV dealerships we have been to. Seriously! they do a great job with that!
5.Decent hook ups, though at this park their sewer runs slow during dumps so be careful!
6.Nice level site, large area in front for kids to ride bikes and play. Our “lane” was a dead end this time which was much better than 2 years ago when we backed up to the playground (nice) but were on the main entry road for all rigs to come and go (not nice)
7. They pick up your trash at your site. Someone is always patrolling and that is a great perk they offer. We love that feature at campgrounds.
8. We totally enjoyed their adult, larger pool again this time. Tip- go early when it opens at 9, stay till about 11 then hightail it back to your campsite before it gets super busy! Evenings it will calm down again too over dinner time and later.
9. If you do not want to cook, the owner does a lot of BBQing of hamburgs, hot dogs, sausages, etc. and I think even breakfast sandwiches at the main store area.
10.Totally AWESOME Haunted Forest Trail!!! We cannot say enough for this themed “spooktacular” weekend. Wow…the trail was long, very high caliber of actor volunteers, scenes and set stages. The kids were petrified (ages 7 & 5) but we adults LOVED IT! It also was no extra charge or tickets required.
Overall, this park is tired. Most of the outbuildings really need repair, roofs cleaned off and a freshening up.
The main bath house and shower pavilion for our whole northern section of the campground is old, still has the same missing formica counter top pieces from 2 years ago and really sorely needs a total upgrade. The shower area is a little better and at least does have private doors to each stall with changing areas, etc. NOTE: there is NO handicap toilet stalls or accessibility features in this bathroom building, perhaps the newer one near the snack bar and main office does have H/C features–so you should check on this if that is a need.
COVID-19 CAUSES LESS ACTIVITIES….Not their fault but many of the activities that our grandsons LOVED last time 2 years ago like the “bubble party”, the Hey Hey Hey rides with Yogi and the bounce pillow and, dance party, etc. were either not happening or were really transformed and toned down due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. The hey rides, little train ride and bounce pillow did not run at all this weekend.
TIRED MINI GOLF….The boys did get in a round of Mini-golf with us. But the mini golf area is also not maintained the way it should be. There was debris and garbage on the ground that clearly had been there for a long time. The boards of the various # holes were moss covered, rotted away in some sections and so slanted now you cannot take a good hit. But it is in the shade and they had fun…so we played along.
LOTS OF STAFF BUT WHAT DO THEY DO? Ironically we saw tons of staff at this park. Not sure why the maintenance seems so lacking. The Activity Director, Meghan was bright, bubbly and did a nice job with the bingo game that Sarah and I treated ourselves to. Not sure why they held it on the front porch instead of the open air rec hall but whatever…I WON coverall and took home $21 so whose complaining right??!!
DEFERRED MAINTENANCE- again, our picnic tables both at the Yurt and at our site had rotten boards, not maintained. Some adjacent sites to ours did have the metal base tables which looked better. Our premium site did come with a raised charcoal grill if you needed it. we used it to set our Weber on!
YURTS ARE NOT UP TO PAR FOR THE COST…Our daughter and her husband rented one of the Yurts just across from our camper. It was small, stuffy and had horrid air fresheners going to mask the musty, closed in smell, 2 sets of bunk beds, a small kitchen kind of set up (no running water) with a microwave, refrigerator (quite big) and a plastic table/chair set. It did have A/C and also did have zip down window curtains with screens. They said the beds were like sleeping on boards. They had deep hard foam mattresses. You have to bring everything else. They determined the Yurt was definitely not worth the money they are charging. Also, they had NO privacy since a tiny tenting site was squished in on the side of their Yurt space and they were not quiet campers. There was no housekeeping done to the Yurt between renters it appears and we felt like we had to do a once over sanitizing. Yurt renters have to walk to the bath house for all their needs, washing dishes, showers, etc. too.
KIDS POOL AND SLIDE AREA VERY HECTIC AND FULL….We did not use the kids pool area. It was WAY over crowded for our personal feelings about Covid protection and need for social distancing. I did hear someone on staff taking names later on in the day while we were at Bingo so it does sound like they were doing what they could to “schedule” folks to use the pool to avoid too much close contact. They did have sanitizer in the pool area with rags asking each person to wipe down any chairs and tables they used when they were leaving (to be honest, we totally did not remember to do that!) Perhaps one of those staffers could have been assigned to do this and monitor behavior in the pool areas too?? The children’s area pool with swirling large tube slide is really way too small for a family/kid oriented themed campground like this. Almost seems like they need to invest in a new large kids pool area, or build another pool ONLY for adult swimmers. A hot tub would be nice too…but only if it is “adult only” restricted. We will often search for parks that have those amenities for adults only (yes, ok, we are getting old and crabby!)
Like I had said from the start, we booked this trip to Jellystone because our grandsons asked for a camping trip here again this summer. Will we go back? Probably not and that was the consensus from my daughter too. If you do go, any of those sites along the side we were on at site 15 are we believe the best sites in the park. There are a lot of other kid-friendly campgrounds that have as much if not more to offer and are better maintained.
Hope this review helps….We appreciate any comments you may have. Safe journeys!
Today in 90 degrees and 64% humidity…..we (well, ok Kevin did all the work, I did my typical go-fer job and took photos) installed 4 new tires and a spare onto our 1987 Avion 32S.
The tires that came on our 87 Avion were a mixed batch with DOT codes ranging from 2015 to 2018 (the spare). 3 were Load Star brand and 2 were Power King Tow Max STR. We were not real comfortable with the miss match and ages. So The Pewter Palace needed new shoes!
After much research Kevin made the decision to go with new 16 Inch aluminum rims and 16 inch radial tires. This effectively raised the trailer a 1/2 inch overall. Not a lot, but since these Avion’s are notoriously low to the ground, anything helps.
There is a huge debate and preferences of radials to bias ply tires. To each his own. Our feeling is we are going to be doing a lot of long distance multi day travels on highways especially as full timers. Radials can handle that 6-8 hour day of driving in high heat conditions better than bias. But this is our opinion from research and we believe everyone had their preferences and their reasons and we do not plan to get into a debate over it. If it works for you….then that is great.
Here is what we bought to complete this project:
LT225/75R16 Michelin Agilis CrossClimate M3JH02CX2220(July 2020 price in NY@ our local tire store, Warren Tire, Queensbury NY, $240.95 per)
METAL VALVE STEMS: (we strongly urge metal valve stems, why? rubber breaks down over time due to exposure to sun, etc. Also if you have tire pressure monitoring devices on the stems, they add weight and over time the rubber will flex enough that they will crack and you lose air out of the valve stem….been there…done that!)
High pressure, Bolt in Metal Valve Stems (0-131 PSI) ($3.99 each)
Wheel Bearing Check and Brake Checks will be done before our trip to the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally hopefully (leaving in 8 days), if not this will be done upon our return. We had been told by previous owner bearing and brakes are good….appear so, but we always like to create our own “new benchmark” on our trailers for our own piece of mind.
Happy and safe travels….hope this post has helped you! We LOVE COMMENTS!
Be safe, hope to meet you on the road or at a campground or rally someday!
I have put this photo specifically in below to show how we use a thin bead of Parbond along the top and 1/2 to 3/4 the way down each side of ANY light, or any fixed object, plate, etc. that must be installed on the exterior of the Avion. This protects those vulnerable areas (now that have screws or rivets through the skin) from water penetration.
Kevin used 5/32 Olympic Rivets to secure the fixture in place.
So very often, as was the case with our ’73 Avion and now in our ’87, because of a lack of Parbond or similar sealant above the light fixtures, water gets in there, rusts the bulb clips and in some cases aids to corrode the wiring junctions. A few seconds of Parbond application (see our other posts or our FB page about the fill-able syringes we use to feed a nice thin bead-rather than straight from the tube!) solves water penetration issues. Parbond sets up firm, but not permanent and can be removed. We use the aluminum color on this type of project, and clear Parbond on our black rubber window trims. Clear could certainly be used on the light fixture project too. Any other things you may have to afix to the side, e.g. an aluminum patch, etc. we recommend using the aluminum colored Parbond if the area will be eye level or lower. This is what Chuck Cayo used when repositioning our awning brackets when we changed from an original Carefree system on our ’73 to a new Zipdee system in 2018. So if its good for Avion-Guru, Cayo…it works for us too!!
Last step on this project….
These marker lights come with incandescent, typical automotive bulbs. Fine enough and what is shown in the lit up photo above. However, we plan to change out EACH of these lights with LED bulbs to save energy, burn cooler and even brighter, and above all…so we get far longer life out of each bulb and should not need to do much maintenance at all with them.
We have worked with M4Products.com customer service AND the makers of the light fixtures to verify that the following small style LED bulb replacement will work in these new marker light fixtures.
What are you doing at 7 PM (EST) on Tuesday nights?
Join us for a live, virtual chat ZOOM meeting with fellow Avioner’s from all over the USA (and the world)!
If it is one thing that this Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic has taught me, it is how to connect virtually with people in meaningful ways despite not being with them in person.
For my work, I have become very proficient at hosting live ZOOM meetings (you can start a basic Zoom account for free!) and have found that these LIVE virtual in-person meetings have enabled my colleagues, friends and family members to share stories, tips, timely topics and even share documents, photos, etc. in a meaningful easy way. SO WHY NOT DO IT WITH AVION OWNERS? LET’S GET TOGETHER TO “TALK AVION!”
SO…..Kevin and I are launching “Avion Tuesday Talks” –weekly topic — live chats via ZOOM at 7 PM (EST). Each week, we will have one manageable topic and hope to attract long time Avion owners to brand new owners….and everyone in between. Even members of any of the Avion Facebook groups who are still “in the market to buy their first Avion” are welcomed.
Suggestions for future topic talks are always welcomed by shooting us an email, posting a suggestion on our facebook page or posting a comment on this blog anytime!
NOTE: These meetings are best joined by you using a laptop with built in camera and speakers. PC’s with audio and video are fine too. Cell phones are ok but a little clunky to get the best experience.
My Pewter Palace Zoom account can handle up to 95 attendees. Right now, I am also doing just the free subscription so our chat can only be 35 minutes (yup, i know i will have to put the timer on!). If this catches on, we will explore upgrading to the paid service where longer 1 hr chats can be done. But lets crawl….before we walk and see if the interest among Avioners is there first!
HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US AND HELP SPREAD THE WORD! You can find the events listed by date on ourPewter Palace facebook page under the “events” tab. This is where the topic of the week will be listed as well as the direct link info to log in and then join us at 7 PM.
Not familiar with Zoom?? It is super easy to learn and use! Here is a terrific tutorial to view before your first live Zoom meeting! Watch now!
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!
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.
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
Yes, We have sold our beloved 1973 Avion, 28′ LaGrande! This hard decision only came because we have just recently purchased a 1987 32S model that has a little more space for grandkids and visiting family/friends from out of state when we go full time living and will be traveling around the USA and Canada in our Avion beginning in 2023. Ironically, we have found out that the 28′ actually has more storage capacity than our “new” to us 32′!-more downsizing is on the “to do list”!
So our 28 footer has found a new home and new owners Val and Michael. Ironically we bought this trailer from someone on VT in 2016 and now 4 yrs later she is moving back to VT to a lovely active family who no doubt will enjoy her like we have and make many great memories!
There are a lot of camping club membership programs to chose from. Each RVer has to do research and soul searching to find what fits their current and future needs best. We spent years researching and deciding before pulling the plug to join the clubs we have so far to save $$ on camping fees and support.
I am not going to go into every club membership here in detail. A simple search of YouTube and the web will provide our followers with plenty of opinions by full time and part time RVer’s, and those who weekend (or vacation) camp only.
What I will focus on in this blog post are the decisions we made, that we felt worked best for us at this point in time. Each of you will have different needs, preferences, geographies to consider for traveling–so only you can make a decision that is best for you.
What we have in our “travel club kit” currently is the following:
Good Sam Club (regular membership, not the roadside assistance membership)
Why? for the discounts at Camping World and at participating campgrounds
Why? for roadside assistance, RV towing, and discounts at campgrounds, attractions, dining, hotels, general travel discounts at retailers.
KOA Membership: Small annual fee, you build points with stays but in truth you would have to do a lot of KOA nights to really make the points amount to much. Meanwhile we do get discount on every booking at a KOA we do with this membership. KOA’s are fairly consistent and we happen to have a few of them at points on our regular vacation travel routes- so why not stay a little cheaper? You can purchase these memberships directly at the campground or when making a reservation online they will ask you.
Passport America: We made the decision to purchase the LIFETIME membership. This membership gives you discount at participating campgrounds all over the country. There typically are # of night restrictions and many parks do not offer the discounts peak season, weekends or holiday weekends- understandable. Discounts vary from park to park. The reason we bought our lifetime membership pass now is that while we are both still working and have good cash flow, and can purchase at 2017 rate…why not? Now its paid for, and one less monthly bill coming in once we are retired and our incomes are more stretched.
You can purchase an annual pass…currently on their website that is $599 per year for one “zone” e.g. Northeast.
We also chose to purchase the VIP lifetime, nationwide membership package. BUT we did not buy “new” and we did not by the annual zone type pass. We went through a resale broker who came very highly regarded by several full time RVers we have been following for years including RV Love who has an excellent video on this and other camping membership clubs.
By going through a re-seller, we used Campground Membership Outlet,located in Florida the process was pretty simple for us, but it did take a few months for TT to get their act together for the final processing and to send us our membership documents, etc. Campground Membership Outlet has been in business over 20 yrs and we felt far more comfortable going through them than purchasing from a private seller on Ebay or Craigslist. Yes, these plans are for sale on those sites too but buyer beware as there is a lot of fine print you need to be aware of and to be sure you are getting a legit membership. The staff at CMO, Kim & Chad were excellent to work with and sent us explanations of what currently plans they had in their inventory at the time we were looking. This inventory is going to change since it all depends on what current members are turning their packages in for resale. Our package originated from someone who bought in the 1990’s. We were able to purchase a membership package for $1,000’s less but actually with better perks and less restrictions on # of overnights, less restrictions on nights out of network before you can book again and a much better 120 day advance booking window. We felt it had advantages over the annual zone pass. Thousand Trails is a national network (though there is definitely limited participating campgrounds in the middle sections of the country. See the map graphic below and check out their link for more info.
There a lot of research and comparing that needs to be done when you are looking into Thousand Trails. We have heard their TT direct sales people are pretty high pressure…(another reason we liked going through the resale broker). And yes, depending on the resold club membership package you purchase- you can also resell your membership down the road if desired and recoup some of your initial investment.
With a Thousand Trails membership you do incur the initial investment, and you do pay an annual maintenance fee. Ours is right around $550-600 per year. This too is locked in with only up to a 3% raise after 5 yrs. Again, even before we go full-timing, right now if we do 8-10 nights of camping at a TT campground we have more than paid for our annual maintenance fee.
Why did we purchase the LIFETIME membership package now in a lump sum?
We saved money compared to contemporary plans which are only going to go up in cost each year.
We have the disposable income now while we are both working full time
With inflation who knows what these packages will be once we do retire
The longer we wait, the less of those more lucrative older plans that are available because they are being snatched up by many full time RVers.
We live debt free now and want to continue that once we full time. Honestly, we have heard some folks who have purchased new plans paying upwards of $10-15K for their memberships. YIKES! P.S.Thousand Trails corporation does do financing but again, we did not want to have those monthly bills after we retire.
We use our membership now to save overnight camping costs, but more importantly we crunched the numbers and once we go full time we will literally pay for our entire package (ours was $3500) by the very first year we are full timing after less than 100 days of overnights in participating TT campgrounds.
Thousand trails participating campground fees for us now range from free to $5.00-$8.00 per night versus rack retail of $35-65 per night for the same park!
With our package we can book up to 120 days in advance, stay up to 3 weeks at the same campground, get a newspaper and 2 free coffees per day
Our children can use our membership to rent a campsite or a cabin rental with hefty discounts for up to 2 weeks each year.
We can also gift this membership package as a legacy inheritance to our children when we no longer can be on the road- and then they have it for their lifetime.
There are add on packages (some are shown on map above as blue and gold) that also include the Trails Collection (gives you access to Encore RV Resorts). We have chosen not purchase this collection yet, but will as soon as we launch full time. Encore RV properties do tend to be nicer, with more amenities and are in some prime resort areas. There is one here in the Lake George Region (Lake George Escape Campground)- but even with our current plan we can stay there for a significant discount which is ok for us right now without having invested in the $200 per year additional cost for the Trails Collection.
Full disclosure…from what we have heard and experienced ourselves, not all TT participating campgrounds are equal. In the basic TT plan, many are older parks, some certainly not what we would consider a “resort” level by any means…but when you are staying in a full hook up site for free (our program they are free for us!) to under $10 per night..we are certainly willing to deal with some cobwebs in the bathrooms, some peeling paint on playgrounds (or no playground) and perhaps worn down gravel driveways. The way we look at it, once we full time we will plan to spend 2-3 weeks in a TT campground cheaply (do our laundry, take long showers, pump out our tanks, refill our water, perhaps dip in a pool or hot tub) then roll on out to either boondock a bit…or use the money we saved by staying in a TT campground to book a week at a luxury RV resort stay at a future date. Works for us!
In closing, again, this is our plan and may not be right for you. Only you can decide by doing the research needed.
This year, in 2020 we will also become life time members of ESCAPEES.
This is a national club with a lot of member support, great online forums and meet-ups, conventions with workshops, etc. It is not just for full timers, though many full time RVers belong to it and love it. Reason for this is they host rallies and RV caravan trips, club members get excellent discounts on certain RV equipment needs and they too have their own RV parks where we can stay for really cheap for a great stop off point along our wanderlust trail.
Once we know our full time launch date we will most likely add Coach-net RV Roadside Assistance membership since it is deemed the most comprehensive and best for national travelers. We plan to continue our AAA RV plus however, just to be sure we are covered in all geographies and to continue to get their travel discounts no matter how we are traveling.
We also are members of Tin Can Tourists and Harvest Host too….but those and others are for another blog post in the future!
Happy travels from Kevin & Luisa Sherman in the Pewter Palace!
There are many reports about moisture issues from underneath RV mattresses. This is a real issue and one not only that can cause rotting wood structure of your bed platform but also cause unhealthy mold to form there as well as literally on the outside and inside of your mattress itself. Not good!
This issue becomes more prevalent with those who full time in their rigs or especially for those who are in high humidity areas or who winter in their rigs where internal heat temps versus external surfaces (e.g. in ours the wheel wells under our bunks which essentially are “the outside”. This converging of a heated surface (body heat, furnace heat) and a cold surface will cause sweating and condensation.
After researching and doing a lot of checking of reviews and posts from full time RVers we found the following product. We ordered it last spring and did our install before beginning our 2019 camping season.
It is sold by the foot and is I believe 4 ft wide. So for our Avion bunks @ 34″ we did have to cut to fit both width and length. The stuff is very sturdy but also simple enough for me to cut with sturdy kitchen shears.
GATHER ITEMS NEEDED:
Sturdy Kitchen Shears
Metal tape measure or yard stick
An extra pair of hands
Double faced Heavy Duty minimum 2 inch wide Velcro strips or large squares (more about this later!)
Duct or Gorilla Tape (if you have a double or queen bed and will need to piece together)
Measure width and length of your bed/bunk. If you have an Avion floor plan like ours and two bunks, simply double the length of one bunk for what total length you will need to place for your order.
Place order, will be shipped directly to you. Is not super heavy. Watch for when company may have sales on free shipping!
We took our measurements of bunk base, first cut new mat the correct length, then marked and measured the correct width and cut. Note- we have a slight molding lip on our bunk base that is intended to create a bit of a lip to prevent mattress sliding off. So we cut our mesh mat to also fall just inside that small lip.
For the actual install, we followed the manufacture’s recommendations and we placed the “mesh pocket” side down on our plywood bunk base, then placed the mattress on top of the breathable fabric side of the mesh.
** after using for a few trips this way we did find that the mesh side was very likely to cause our whole mattress to slide a lot and often found our mattresses half into the hallway after being on the road. A fix we plan to do this year is to take a few large strips of the 2 inch wide sticky back Velcro strips and place them a few places on the mesh side to stick down onto the wood bunk base. The small molding on the bunk base that DID keep the mattress itself in place was not enough to hold the mesh layer in place. The mesh layer is a woven plastic and a bit slippery. We anticipate that the Velcro strips will do the trick and highly suggest this modification.
After securing down with the Velcro strips, replace mattresses down on top of fabric side of new mesh mat.
If you have found other materials or fixes to prevent moisture from ruining your wood bed base or mattress let us know!
Kevin & Luisa Sherman
Adventures with a Vintage Avion Luxury Coach Camper