Tag Archives: avion

Some of Our Favorite & Inspirational Bloggers/Vloggers for the RV Life

Over the last 9-10 years, Kevin and I have put considerable time into researching, planning and beginning to execute a thoughtful plan towards our goal of “going full time” RVing.  In this blog post we tell you about four of our most favorite RV bloggers/vloggers and include a little about them and links to their blogs and YouTube channels.  They are entertaining, inspirational, educational and oh yeah…..travel to amazing destinations!

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This is not our rig, but very similar to our first RV a 1998 Itasca Sunrise, 32′ Class A.  No slides, under powered, but wetted our appetite for more!

Originally and shortly after we sold our Class A 32′ motor home back in 2012 we realized then–after she was not in our driveway, how much we missed life on the road.  Albeit at that time, and it continues, we only get to do long weekends and the occasional big trip of a week or two around the eastern half of the USA but—each time we do we are more and more convinced this is the right path for us.    We also know it is not for everyone.

Along our journey we have found some truly inspirational friends in bloggers/vloggers who have chronicled their similar journeys from the decision to forego the traditional and head into the non-conventional life of making a rolling home….your only home.  We also have learned there are many variances in between this.  Some people live a portion of their year on their RV while returning to their sticks N bricks for the rest of the time.  More times than not, these are snowbirds who fly south in the winter RV in tow (or behind the wheel) and spend a warm and sunny February in FL, AZ or TX.

imagesThere are others who “escape” the brutal hot sizzling summers of those same places for their “camp in the northern woods, cottage on a New Hampshire lake or the beach family compound on Cape Cod or the rugged shores of Maine.  For many and varied reasons they prefer (or cannot quite imagine not having) a structure to call home base.

For us….that decision was easily made.  We did not want to be tied to the maintenance of our rolling home AND the maintenance, cost and distance filled with concerns about the safety, etc. of a northern sticks N bricks home base.  We would rather have what we own on our back so to speak and know that where ever we wanted to be…we would be and that could change from year to year, season to season depending on where the wind and whims blew us.  I personally have owned one home or another since 1982 and I am more than ready to not have that responsibility.  We simply do not want to deal with frozen pipes, switching out storm windows or raking leaves in our retirement years.  Been there….done that….done!

So we watched, learned, read, and chatted with many who have made similar decisions such as ours to “go full time”.  This is not a decision we have made on a whim.  But don’t be fooled, we have some family and friends who think we are nuts….and others-like my adult children….who are totally supportive and know we will succeed.

After being “RV-less” for about three years the itch became unbearable.  We started falling for Airstreams but did not want to do a total restore and ones in road worthy, camping shape were out of our price range.  Quite by accident we stumbled upon Avions.  Their iconic aluminum, rounded exteriors, quality interior and exterior build and their reputation for excellent tow-ability had us sold.  It took us another two years to find one we wanted….and although we had anticipated having to fly across the country to buy one, we found one on Craig’s List right in VT not more than 15 minutes from my daughter and son-in-law’s house!

IMG_1507168528568We purchased our 1973 Avion, 28′ LaGrande in September, 2016 (some Birthday gift for me eh??!!) and we have never have looked back.  Each month we grow more and more fond of her.  We sold our house in Oct. 2017 and moved into a townhouse apartment all under the methodical plan of incrementally doing our downsizing exercises in prep for full time RV life when we retire.

Below are a few of our very favorite bloggers/vloggers and for various reasons we have noted underneath each one.  Along the way we have internalized and put into practice some of their suggestions and methods, and in other cases it forced us to have heart to hearts with each other to realize….yeah, that may have worked for them…but we will be more comfortable doing it “our way”.  Watching literally hundreds of hours of YouTube videos (we subscribe to most of our fav’s so we don’t miss an episode) to reading countless articles and books on the topic….we have grown in our understanding of what life is like on the road…and what we as a couple expect from the journey, each other and life in general.  It has been a good way to learn…together to prepare for this next chapter.

Here are our favorite bloggers/vloggers.  They are not in any particular order because each offers us different windows on life on the road that are equally important in our planning phases.  You will notice a bit of a pattern here where 3 of our 4 fav’s are also Airstream owners.  Similar enough to our Avion…we all love round aluminum corners!  LOL

courtneyAndI-1A Streamin’ Life:  Steve and Courtney.  Now mid- 30-somethings who figured out a way to retire early (31 & 34) and we have followed since their decision to sell their two houses  a couple years ago (had recently married), sell their stuff, purchase an Airstream (an older one, 30′) and hit the road full time.  Both were still working the first year in their Airstream, living stationery in an RV park in Tucson, AZ while preparing their rig (and themselves) for hitting the road full time.  They are level headed, practical and very good money savers and managers.  Their blog is full of helpful videos on managing trip expenses, planning big trips and week long trips, downsizing to what is really needed and what is not.  They travel with their two dogs which also has given us tips on travel with our dog, Reddy as well.  Courtney and Steve are a terrific resource for how to determine your financial needs to go full time, save up for early retirement and more.  The recently launched a terrific online course to teach others how to plan Epic RV Adventures for more about that click here.   To check out more about Courtney & Steve and their adventures around the USA visit…..Their Blog/website     Their YouTube Channel

P1466425Less Junk, More Journey:  Marisa and Nathan.  Once again, these are “kids” as we refer to them as…basically Marisa is one year younger than my son, and Nathan is three years older than my daughter.  I am sure in some way I live vicariously through them and their journeys trying to imagine them as extended family.  Kevin and I will often refer to them as “the kids”.  Their blog has some terrific, easy to navigate pages like their FAQ that really gives you a terrific way to see their answers to many questions you may have about how they made their decision to go full time, steps they took, etc.  Their young daughter, Hensley is a year younger than our grandson Lucas and a year older than our grandson Sawyer.  She has been on the road since infancy and it is so fun to watch her explore, learn and travel with her fabulous, down to earth parents. Watching where they go, how Hensley enjoys it and some of their methods for keeping sanity on the road with a toddler has given us great ideas for when our grandsons are with us in our RV (it is our hope and plan that they will do more and more of it as we have more time to travel) Their Blog      Their YouTube Channel.

loloho rigLong, Long Honeymoon Kristy & Sean.  Also known as “Lo Lo Ho“.  What started out as a honeymoon on an RV has progressed into well over a decade of extended travels from this wonderful couple.  For over 12 years, Kristy and Sean have made dozens of highly informational videos on everything from backing into a campsite, to dissertations on generators,hitch locks, and many more pieces of equipment, etc. to their epic journey across Alaska (actually our other two bloggers have just done the Alaska trip now too in the last year!)  Last year, Sean was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor but with proper medical intervention and a bit of a slowing down of some of their multiple month trips he is fully on the mend with no tumor reported at his recent medical check up.  Wow! miracles do happen!  This couple maintains a bricks N sticks home and plans big trips each year to various parts of the USA from the Keys to Maine, from Seattle to Atlanta and everywhere in between.  Their video titles are well organized and were especially helpful when we first started RVing….they have some great tutorials to keep you out of trouble!  Their sense of humor and little bit of Laurel & Hardy type of format is so fun.  Sean’s writing style and sense of humor is unbeatable and Kristy is the perfect foil!  Their Blog    Their YouTube Channel

cherie and chris, technomadiaTechnoMadia:  Cherie and Chris.  These were one of the very first full time RV couples we found and began following. They are wanderlust spirits who travel the country in their upgraded retro vintage bus (yes, converted from a passenger tour bus).  Their specialty is their amazing knowledge of tech tools, internet on the road gear, trouble shooting electronics and over the years they have tested, reviewed and scoped out many pieces of internet and mobile gear that full timers may need or want.  A little over a year ago, Cherie and Chris decided to park their RV bus part of the year and bought a large trawler style yacht which they plan to do the “great loop” the Inter coastal Waterway around the eastern/central USA in sections over the next five years or so.  They are typically based in the FL area but also do presentations and speaking engagements at many large national rallies so they also travel all over.  They could be considered more of the senior statesman when it comes to full time life on the road, having done so for well over 15 years now.  They travel with Kiki their cat who is a star all on her own.  Their Blog   Their YouTube Channel

Summing it all up…..

We appreciate the time and talent that each of these bloggers/vloggers bring to the world of full time RV living or mega traveling.  Each of them share a candid snapshot all the time into their lives, their ups and downs, their triumphs and tribulations.  We have learned so much and not to seem like we are bragging but we sense we are far more informed that many other would be, soon to be, or already are..full time wanderers.  We owe this all to these folks and the many others who we watch from time to time on their blogs. We follow or at least check in with about a dozen RV couples and singles who focus on various subjects.   We simply wanted to highlight the top four that we follow…otherwise this blog post would be longer than it already is!! LOL

Thanks for tuning in.  Please visit our friends above. and PLEASE……Let them know that Kevin and Luisa Sherman from “The Pewter Palace.com” turned you on to them!

Safe travels and please subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss a another post!

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Luisa and Kevin Sherman- ThePewterPalace.com

Avion Medalions and Emblems and more….including Resource List

Clearly anyone who owns an Avion understands that they are historic preservationists in the most fundamental sense.  Not only do they maintain, restore and covet their aluminum beauty…they also USE it as it was intended to be used—for enjoying the outdoors, sheltering from weather and creating memories with loved ones and dear friends.  If they did not revere history and love nostalgia they would own a modern cardboard box, flat top trailer with little to no personality and certainly not built for the longevity that the Avions can boast to this day.  (our Avion turned 45 years old this year-2018, and I challenge any modern box campers to be on the road in excellent running order in 45 years!).


NOTE:  at the end of this blog post I have a list of resources for reproduction items talked about throughout this post.  Enjoy!


Almost monthly, there are questions about, or seekers of information on the various medallions, decals, numbers and company markers on the trailers. 

In this article I will attempt to answer many of the questions and in some cases provide some current links to where some of these items (or reproductions of same) may still be obtained today.  Also included are links to other websites where directories of the Travelcade member ID # may still be looked up.  Sadly, currently no one source of all those numbers exist so the hunt is on and if someone would eventually scan and post the books in an archive it would be like winning the lottery for a lot of us!  More about that in a subsection below.

Lets start at the beginning…the birth so to speak when an Avion was coming off of the assembly line.

As a side note, see our post about our trip to Benton Harbor MI in April 2018 to see a video of the plant that still exists but now is a cheese factory.

Avion Coach Company Medallions and Logo Markers:

pre 73 avion nose front
This is the company logo on front of a pre-1973 Avion.  How to tell?  The originals from 1956-1972 have the “pie slice” multiple riveted sections converging in the front, then from 1973 onward the design changed dramatically -see example below which is our Avion.  This was the first and only real major structure change the Avion (Cayo) corporation ever made to these trailers.
our 73 Avion nose, breadloaf style
Notice that the design change in 1973 created what many of us call  the “breadloaf” style.  This design change added significant headroom inside and more front storage over sofa or dinette and far more headroom in the rear bathroom area.  It also meant a far larger, and curved three section front window which was fitted with a rock guard.  The rock guard is on hinges and raises up.  The guard provides protection to windows and shade for the interior.   I will put a source to purchase a reproduction rock guard at end of this post.  The metal Avion Logo was moved to below the window and a stenciled AVION motif added to the rock guard.  We will be repainting ours this spring.
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This is the rear of our Avion the day we bought her.  She was quite dirty and needed a bath!  You will see the Avion logo medallion also on the rear above the bathroom window. More about the decal sticker above the light later in a separate blog post.

These logo medallions from what we have seen were almost always painted red.  Today many look like a pale/faded tomato red, but from what we understand a deep true red was more similar to its original color. Over time, the colors have faded.  This is the same with the rub rail- that vinyl strip that slides into a channel that goes around the trailers mid-belly in two layers with a shiner (non-anodized) strip in between them (at least on the years surrounding our years of production.  In the 80-90’s the colors for Avions turned more to using blues and black.  You can see that along the way one of the three previous owners of our trailer replaced the rub rail with black which is very common to see these days.  The rub rail material is not easily found in the right size.  Resource list at end of this post.  Some people have taken to painting the rub rail vinyl back to red, or from faded black to black.  It can be done, but I have seen them and to me it looks a bit like a cob job.  Perhaps if you were to actually remove the vinyl and spray paint it it might be better—but no way am i promising you will ever get that rub rail back in the channels again very easily!

2018-04-01 14.08.23As another side note to the company medallions, above is the dealership plate from where our 1973 Avion was originally sold from.  This dealership does not exist anymore but we have located where it was through old news clippings and at the time surely it was on the outskirts of Dearborn Heights in a rural area– but now that address is smack dab in the middle of a very built up almost urban environment.  Our little lady did not travel that far from her birth place to be purchased for the first time.  Many Avion’s also still have their original dealer emblem on them.  Again, its all about nostalgia for us and we wear it proudly.

Below is our LaGrande “model” medallion which appears on both sides of the trailer to the rear-basically even with where the bathroom is located (at least with 70’s models).  Early Avion photos (50’s-60’s)  we have seen do not appear to have these though there were some model names.  See second photo below for placement.  Many of these model plates that we have seen are, like ours is pitted.  They are stainless but age, and in our case, being kept in Florida near the ocean in the winters for many years has caused the pitting.  If a rig has been kept under cover or in a garage these emblems may be in far nicer condition.  The background is dappled/textured a bit and supposed to be painted all flat black. Only the raised lettering is supposed to be shiny.  The “Travelcade” models (a wee bit of a step down, basic model of Avion) also have them in the same locations.  It is not advisable to remove these unless you really know what you are doing.  (again, this was before our baby had her first bath!)

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This photo is after her bath!  Note location of the LaGrande emblem on rear, about even with the bathroom shower area.  These are also riveted on.

HOW CAN I TELL HOW OLD MY AVION IS AND HOW LONG IT IS?  In the photo below you will see the vehicle details on the orange plate that was afixed to the trailer upon completion at the Avion assembly line plant.  This is not our trailer but you can see and tell the year, month, and production # as well as the model style “LaGrande”.

These plates are very important when looking at purchasing a new to you Avion or for reference for a rig you currently own.  Hopefully you still have one on your trailer.  This one is located just to the right of the door entry.  This is also where ours is, however there is another plate on the streetside as well that also has important trailer information and should be documented.

There is an excellent resource website maintained by “DR G”, Dr. Don Gradeless that is a treasure trove of manuals (PDF by year) you can download or view, info regarding Avion specs and also early rosters of some Travelcade member units.

His website is at:      http://my.execpc.com/~drg/avionrem.html

Here is how to read the numbers (see image below)- this stands for trailers made at least in the 1970’s that we know and cannot attest to how earlier or later models may be marked.

 SERIAL NUMBER         75-L-28043

1975 production year   L = LaGrande Model      28 = foot length   043 = 43rd trailer made that year.

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Trailer Travelcade Member ID Numbers and Units:

I will be including a whole separate blog post about the history of the “Travelcade” membership club because it really was cool!  But for purpose of this post, I refer to the wonderful Avion history book written by Robert Muncy (link to purchase here) entitled SILVER AVIONS AND CAYOS.  Muncy writes that the Travelcade club of Avion owners got its start in 1959 and had its highest rendezvous turn out of 818 Avions in Coldwater MI in 1970.  Please see my future post about the Travelcaders and their club soon!

The photo below is our Avion, our “Pewter Palace” as we call her with her original Travelcade ID numbers and geographical unit emblem.  Not all Avion owners joined this optional club and so if you do not see any type of stickers like this (front and rear streetside is where they should be) then the owners did not partake.  Benefits of the club included a printed newsletter, attendance at rendezvous (FL, MI, WI) and the ability to order and wear some of the truly awesome “Travelcader Swag” like earings, jackets, knitted caps, pith helmets, bolo ties and more….remember….this IS the 1960-70’s!!  See some of the swag we have gotten so far in this previous post or on our Avion Swag post page.

Our trailer’s second owner was from CT and therefore was part of the New England Unit which sadly no longer exists.  In fact, the whole “Travelcade” club and movement died out after the corporation sold to the Fleetwood RV company in the 80’s.  Happily, a diehard group have resurged the zeal for hosting rallies of Avions again and now there is are very active “Sliver Avion Fellowship ” units based in MI, TX and more recently one started in Arkansas.  The trend and desire to all get together again is growing each year as is the popularity of owning one of these classic, well-built beauties.  We attended the Silver Avion Fellowship Rally in Elkhart MI in the summer of 2017 and had a blast with over 25 Avions of all designs, lengths and styles present.  The MI group, I believe is the one who got the whole Fellowship rolling again.  Search Facebook for The Silver Avion Fellowship and ask to join. There is a similar named fb site for the event too. I believe that black numbers and letters were the standard issue of these rigs.  People attending the Travelcade official rallies back in the day would register with their trailer number.  There were published member directories for each year and geographical unit.  If you are lucky, someone at one of today’s Fellowship Rallies may come with one and you can look up your original Travelcade member’s name, address, etc.    On occasion someone will also post out on one of the Avion FB pages that they have access to one of the books , or you can post out on the Avion Owners facebook pages that you are seeking a “look up” for the numbers on your rig.  Folks are more than happy to help find this nostalgic piece of history out for a fellow Avion owner.

As you can see by our membership number—our trailer owner’s were the 14229 members enrolled.  WOW!

Below these emblems, or on the curbside somewhere near the front side panel, some Avions also have a vertical list with smaller letters of the location and date of EACH Travelcade Rendezvous that they had attended.  It is an amazing story for your Avion and we highly recommend that you LEAVE it, or if needed get repro stickers if some of the letters or dates are worn off.  Some trailers only have a shadow (left from fading of the finish) on their rigs.  Again—this is a badge of honor that should be maintained in our opinion and we know many other Avioners agree.  So please keep them visible!  We wish we had some but perhaps our owners were more interested in just reading the member newsletter than traveling south.  We do know they took our trailer to Alaska twice though!

If you look very closely below you will see under the “pie slices” a discolored area on the body.  In the right light, you can see EACH of the rendezvous that this trailer has been to.  It was quite amazing and yes—a badge of honor we are happy to see they have kept even though the actual black letters are long gone.  Those letters were issued to you when you arrived at the Travelcade Rendezvous.  Today’s Silver Avion Fellowship Rally we attended in MI is reissuing these once again and we will put it on our trailer once we get our clear coating done by Chuck Cayo this spring.

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Below are some resources for items mentioned above.  Please do remember to check back to my blog often as I will be adding an entire post about the Travelcaders and club which will include some vintage photos of rallies, people wearing Travelcade swag and more… including where to buy reproduction Travelcade Large Member Stickers like what is on the front and rear of our rig (we have purchased new ones to replace our very faded and worn out ones)

CURRENT RESOURCES THAT WE ARE AWARE OF: 

(these were viable at date of this post, sorry if no longer active)  Please contact me if you find new or other sources!!

Our Facebook Page for the Pewter Palace: https://www.facebook.com/PewterPalace/


Avion reproduction Rock Guards:   Chuck Cayo- Cayo Repair, Watervliet MI.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cayo-Repair-Service/116726535054286  (Chuck is an old school kinda guy—-and is the guru of Avions (his grandfather co-owned the original company and Chuck grew up with them from his father.  They do not have a website, but this listing gives phone info)


SILVER AVIONS AND CAYOS, book by Robert Muncy (a must have for any Avion owner)

https://www.muncywinds.com/silver-avions-and-cayos.html


Rub Rail Vinyl strips:

(1)  Chuck Cayo (above) keeps black in stock most of the time.

(2)  Others have used sources found on Airstream (gasp!) forums, recently someone used vinyl stripping found on a website that sells it for lawn chairs.  He said it worked well.  I got some samples, nice colors but is very thick and not sure how well it will last with temp changes/extremes of full timing plus would be really hard to insert in because it is flat, not curved and very stiff.  They said do it on a sunny warm day, and use a heat gun to soften and insert- perhaps with a putty knife to help tuck into track gutter.

(3)  Vintage Trailer Supply also at least from time to time does carry limited sizes and colors since this is a type of trim that is found not only on Avions, but Airstreams and other vintage rigs.  https://www.facebook.com/vintagetrailersupply/


(4)  Travelcade Member ID #’s and Units:  This is a very recent link that I found posted on one of the handful of Avion facebook pages that i belong to.  So far, I believe the folks who have ordered from her have had a positive experience.  Mind you, you must have a steady hand to apply these…or take the letters and numbers to a professional sign shop or automotive detailer who does this kind of thing and have them apply them!  As mentioned, so far, we have only seen black letters on originals but I believe some current owners are using red for their numbers.  I guess its a matter of choice.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/598338016/avion-number-decals-airstream-avion-rv?ref=shop_home_active_1

As always, I hope you have enjoyed this post and gotten some “take aways” from it.  I would love to hear your feedback, or if you have other sources for the items discussed above or anything to do with Avions.  Its all about helping each other to preserve and enjoy our beloved Avions as much as we call.

We look forward to meeting fellow Avioners on the road in days ahead….till then…

ONE LIVE–LIVE IT!

–Luisa

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