NM, RV Park Reviews, Tiny Life, Travel

Heron Lake State Park ~ Los Ojos, NM

New Mexico has some of the best state parks in the country, IMO, and back in January of 2017 when we still had the truck camper we purchased a year pass but unfortunately never got to use it.  So when we got back on the road again in our Avion we decided we had better get our moneys worth out of it before it expired (01/31/18)!

New Mexico state park passes cost $225 a year for out of state residents and $180 a year if you’re a New Mexico resident.  Now that might seem like a lot but when you are camping and are in a non-electric site the cost is free!  If you choose a power and water site the cost is $4 a day and a full hookup site (where available) is $8!  Not a bad deal, IMO.  Also dump sites are available at most parks.

Our first state park of this tour was Heron Lake State Park in Los Ojos, NM.  Situated just 20 minutes from Chama, NM and fed by the Rio Chama.  This state park and lake offers many camping opportunities but if you’re looking for something with power and water there are only two options:  Blanco and Willow Creek.

Site #57 at Blanco. Large pull through, power/water and a picnic table with shelter
Willow Creek has smaller sites and not nearly as many pull throughs as Blanco so when we came through looking for a site we chose Blanco.  We found a large pull through almost immediately that was a non-reservation site.  All sites in Blanco have fire pits and picnic tables and some have covered shelters.  Our site had a shelter and was fairly private. Blanco also has a bathhouse with showers while Willow Creek has a bathroom with toilets only.

There are many hiking trails in the camping areas that lead down to and go around the lake.  All are easy paths to hike and offer beautiful views!

Hiking trails to the lake!

Heron Lake

A place to rest with a view of the lake
The only downside to the campsites at Blanco and Willow Creek is that none of the sites have a true view of the lake.  You can glimpse it from certain sites but there are no full views.  There are other dispersed camping sites down the road that you can see the lake from but none offer electric or power so keep that in mind.  Also, some of the other dispersed areas are not able to accommodate larger rigs.  Be sure to scout all areas before driving in!

Another view of site #57
Length of stay in all New Mexico state parks is 14 days and as we are determined to take it slow this winter we did stay the whole 14 days in Blanco.

Verizon cell service offers 1 bar of LTE but it can go in and out without a booster.  TMobile was nonexistent.

All in all, Blanco and Willow Creek offer nice pull through and back in sites that are fairly large and private, good amenities and lots of outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing.  We will definitely be back!

Gorgeous pine trees!

It was wildflower season!

Beautiful sunsets!

Goodnight!
Boondocking!, Solar, Tiny Life, Travel

And We Are On The Road Again!

This has been a crazy year to say the least. Mark experienced some really bad health issues this year which put a brake on our travels. His health issues were getting so bad we even sold our little off grid cabin. 😢

Sold!! We will miss this adventure

Fortunately we were able to figure out what was causing all his symptoms (Lupus) and now we have a game plan with his doctor and are able to get the most severe of his issues under control.  Along with his major back surgery nearly 4 years ago, things have been really insane health wise. I’m glad that we now have a handle on it and know how to deal with it!

As Mark was feeling better we started to get the itch to travel again. Our friends Doug and Denise have a cute 1978 Avion and we fell in love with it when we visited them.

Doug, Denise, Zoey and “Ava” the Avion

We made it our mission to find one and that we did. We even got to surprise them this summer with it! And of course we were fortunate to have their help for about a month with the rehab of our rig.

Now that Armani the Avion is restored to his former (and better, imo) glory we have decided to hit the road again.

All set up at our first location on our latest journey

We will be hanging in the northern New Mexico area while we finish up some doctors visits and shake the bugs out of the rig.  Oh, and we got a couple new travel partners too!! Meet Ranger (blk/wht) and Scout (tabby). So far they have taken to RV life just fine and we anticipate many fun adventures with them!

RV life is tough on kitties! 😂

See you down the road!

Adios!
General info, Remodel, Tiny Life, Uncategorized

Avion After Photos

Finally!! After nearly 3 months of working full time on Armani the Avion we are pleased to say he is ready to be a full time RV!

Not to say that everything is finished. As we all know with RV’s of any age the work never stops. We did complete the solar project as well (more on that later). And we still have to buff and polish his satiny aluminum! But now we are ready to get back on the road after our nearly 8 month hiatus! Wow! I can’t believe it’s been that long.

But without further ado I present the completed interior of our Avion. Click on each picture to see a full size version. Go HERE to see the before photos! Enjoy!

New awning installed!
New and improved lounge area!
Another view of the lounge
Love the “L” shape!
The dining area set up
New fridge (electric), new hardware on screen door and a compass rose decal!
Compass Rose decal up close!
Looking towards the lounge and kitchen area
Loving the NEW kitchen! It’s amazing what paint can do!
More kitchen
Another view
With the kitchen cart and “bar” added – the Berkey is a must!
Up close detail of my faux finished counters! They turned out great!
The new flip up desk! Replaced the old dresser that stuck out too far
Desk engaged
Another view of desk
Desk engaged – see the storage underneath?
Bedroom completed! Sweet dreams on our 10″ memory foam mattress
Looking the other way. We installed our 12 volt TV on the cabinet for easy viewing.
The rear bath. So large and luxurious now. We carried our 100% cork flooring throughout the whole rig.
Large porcelain sink. Kitty approved!
New flush toilet and the counters were faux finished in here as well.

And that’s it for now!  I hope you’ve enjoyed this virtual tour of all the updates we have done.  Now to hit the road!

1979 Avion 29J. What a fun restoration this was!

Cheers!

Shelly & Mark ~ Boondock or Bust!

 

Remodel

Faux Finish on the RV Countertops

The original countertops in the Avion were either a dark brown or a hideous yellow. I couldn’t stand them!  But I knew we couldn’t afford to replace them so I set out to find a product that I could use to faux finish them.

Hideous brown counter
Gross “harvest gold”

After all the research I ended up going with Giani countertop paint kit in White Diamond.


I was hoping the kit would be enough to do the kitchen and bathroom counters as well as the new desk, arm rest and shelf behind the lounge.

First I had to clean the counters well, tape everything off and then apply the primer:

They already look better!

Then there are three sets of minerals that you dob on with a textured sponge. In this case it was a Pearl Mica, Inca Gold and a white limestone.   First coat went well though it wasn’t quite the look I wanted.  I didn’t care for the Inca Gold.

Hmmmm… not bright enough!

I had envisioned a brighter look. Fortunately I had enough minerals to go over it again. And that gave me the look I wanted!

Much better!!

After you get the look you want with applying the minerals you apply the epoxy clear coat over it. I had enough to do 2 coats of epoxy but would loved to have do 3 coats.

All in all this was a fun project and by only spending $90 on Amazon for the kit I was really pleased how it turned out! I would certainly do it again!

Granite anyone? Sneak peek of the counters and cabinets!
General info, Remodel, Tiny Life, Uncategorized

Avion Renovations Have Begun – The Lounge

When we purchased Armani it was with the knowledge that it needed a lot of interior work. The outside skin and “bones” were in great shape even after having sat in a field for the last 12 years.

Armani at Ojo Caliente! Notice the lack of awning and AC shroud! 🙂 Great skin and bones tho!

But the inside was rough. Not only was it REALLY dirty, a lot of the cabinet doors were warped not to mention we had no way of knowing what systems worked or not.

We also knew it had an electrical issue. The previous owners (an RV “flipper” that dealt in Avion’s and Airstreams) had rigged up the breakers to make sure the outlets worked but that was really unsafe! Fortunately Mark is a wiz with electric and between he and Doug they got the issue sorted out and now we have nice safe GFCI breakers and nothing trips when it is plugged in! Safety first, folks!

Our next project was to get rid of the nasty dirty couch in the lounge area and to get the parquet floor pulled up that someone had put down over the original linoleum. Like I said, really REALLY dirty!

The lounge area – this nasty couch bed needed to GO!
Doug removing dirty couch bed!
All out and now at the dump!
What’s behind door number 1? GROSS!!!

After that was accomplished and all the adhesive scrubbed up (hours upon hours with multiple bottles of Goo Gone), everything cleaned and painted it was ready for the rebuild!

Ahhhh!!! MUCH better! Let the build begin!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Doug is a master carpenter and he has already remodeled their Avion so we drew from his experience and got going on our new “L” shaped lounge!

As all us RVers know, weight is a major concern. We didn’t want to add a ton of weight by using 2×4’s. Doug used 1/2″ plywood strips to create a box (glued and nailed together) to create the legs. He used the same plywood strips to create brackets in between and 2×2 posts against the wall for the base support. Then plywood sheets to form the base of the seat. It goes all the way to the back wall so now behind the back of the couch we will have storage not to mention all the room underneath!

Doug wanted everything nice and light! You see here the beginning of the legs he built.
Installing the base for the lounge!
Getting there!
It’s starting to look like a couch now!
Look at all that storage we will have underneath and behind the back cushions!
The arm rest being built
The back cushion supports
Painted and ready for cushions!

Now before you think this is not sturdy let me tell you, it is SOLID! We are extremely impressed with the quality of this build and if you need any restoration work on your rig we would highly recommend Doug! He is the best!!

And now for the finished project!

The “L” shaped lounge with cushions installed!
The “L” shaped lounge.  There will be a cushioned bumper on the wall to lean against.
The view of the lounge with the arm rest! There will be a cushioned bumper on it as well.

We are very pleased how this all turned out!  I made the cushions myself using 4″ high density foam, batting and material wrapped around and stapled to a board that fit in the appropriate space.  It will be easy to change the fabric in the future if we wish or need to.

Now that the lounge is done we moved onto the old dresser area and tore all that out to build in a new desk!  We’ve also installed an awning and I will be posting on that soon.  Stay tuned! 🙂