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!

Saving Money on a Renovation

As we are on the final leg of our Avion restoration I thought I would share some money saving ideas we used during the process. 

Let me preface this by saying, a full restoration is NOT cheap but it is possible to save some money on some things that would otherwise be expensive or time consuming. 

Here is our list!

  1. Paint: Probably the cheapest way to make a dark RV interior come to life for very little money. I estimate we spent around $275 in paint and supplies.  Of course, the hours I put into painting were crazy but it was worth it IMO. It makes everything so clean and bright!
    Cabinets – before and after
  2. Reusing old hardware:  I admit I wanted new hardware but when I added up all the cabinet doors and drawers I quickly realized the cost was more than we were willing to spend. So for a $4 can of spray paint I saved us over $200! 
    Hardware – before and after
  3. DIY:  This is definitely the big one!  Being handy will save you BIG BUCKS!  Even if you don’t know how to do something, I can guarantee that there is a YouTube video showing you how to do it. If you can follow instructions then you can do it! Also, having friends who are willing to lend their expertise helps too. While we could have built our lounge area ourselves, our friend Doug is a master carpenter and he made it much better than we could have. Knowing your strengths is key! But don’t be afraid of researching how to fix something. Sometimes it is easier than you think!
    The Lounge – even though our friend Doug built it, I did the cushions myself!
  4. Modify:  for example, we had to replace our awning fabric. Since our Avion has curved sides there is a curved arm bracket for the hardware. It’s the original Zip Dee awning hardware. We called Zip Dee and got a quote – $1300 just for the fabric! 😳. So we looked around and found awning fabric on Amazon for $200. We modified the awning fabric on our original hardware and made it work. Now we have an awning for very little money! Think outside the box!! 
    Using rivets to attach a modern awning fabric to a vintage awning hardware
  5. Consider all electric:  the fridge in our RV was no good. We had no choice but to replace it. Again we wanted to save money and by going with an Energy Star all electric fridge we saved almost $1000! Money that will be applied to our solar that will easily run this fridge while boondocking. And if you don’t boondock then an all electric fridge is a simple choice! Also, we have the added benefit of having more fridge space as the electric models don’t have all the gear on the back that the propane fridge does. And it fit in the same cabinet! Amazon for the win again! 
    New “stainless” electric fridge!
  6. Consider whether it’s a “need” or a “want”:  Sometimes the best way to save money is just to not buy something! I know, what a crazy concept, right? But sometimes there are things you can just live without. For example, I really wanted a Precision Temp hot water heater when it was apparent we had to replace ours. But again, it was a $1000+ so we said no to that dream and went with a $380 6 gallon propane one instead. 
    New 6 gallon water heater
  7. I wanted to get new countertops but again, the cost was more than we could bear. So the next best option was to redo existing countertops with an epoxy makeover! I was skeptical at first that they could make our countertops look decent again but I figured for $90 it was cheaper than the alternative. And you know what? They turned out really well! The one kit had enough to be able to do the kitchen, bathroom, desk and shelf behind the lounge! Definitely a money saving win!  And the kit can be used on almost any surface. 
    New “granite” countertops!
  8. Electrical and propane:  sometimes these systems seem daunting but with a little research the problems can be easily solved. Get yourself a test light and learn how to check for blown fuses. The 12 volt system is a pretty basic system and is easy to learn. Now be careful with the 110 system! Unless you know what you’re doing we recommend an electrician. Propane is also fairly simple and with a little working knowledge you can easily repair minor leaks or install a new changeover regulator! Just be careful to follow all safety procedures. If you don’t know what those are then seek a professional. 
  9. Don’t be afraid of hard work! Putting the effort into your remodel yourself will save you a ton of money. Granted, it might take you longer than a professional but you’ll have the satisfaction of having accomplished all this yourself. It’s a great feeling! Obviously, know your limits (especially with electrical or propane) but don’t be afraid of getting dirty! ☺️

In conclusion, our remodel of this vintage rig has been expensive due to having to replace some of the main components but the fact that we were able to do these things ourselves made the cost more bearable. If we had taken this rig to Camping World or some other RV repair place the cost would have been sky high!

And while we are nearly done with all the major stuff we know that down the line we will need to do more repairs. After all, Armani is nearly 40 years old!  ☺️ But we also know if something comes up we have the skill and moxi to be able to fix whatever is necessary.  And it’s a lot cheaper than repairing something in a sticks and bricks!

That leads me to one other thing especially if you are hitting the road for the first time. This life is not magically perfect! The same issues you had in your home WILL happen in an RV. How you deal with those issues is the biggie. The key is having fun and being able to enjoy this beautiful country in the process of tackling these issues. That’s what it’s all about! 

Cheers!!

Shelly & Mark ~ Boondock or Bust

Avion Before Photos

I thought I would give you a look at the interior of our 1979 Avion 28J before I start sharing our restoration photos.

1979 Avion 28J – the skin is in great shape! We need to install a new awning though as the original is gone.

Someone had done some “renovations” of their own many years ago in the lounge area and added some parquet stick on flooring over the original linoleum so of course all of that is getting removed and redone.

The kitchen and lounge area before demo. Someone had applied sticky floor tiles to the original linoleum. Ugh.

Everything else had been left pretty much original though so we wanted to keep the vintage feel but make it a more modern living space.  Paint can go a long way in making a space gorgeous!

Kitchen stove and sink. The stove/oven works! The sink is too shallow and will be replaced.  Countertops will be redone and a backsplash will be installed.
The original cabinetry. It looks good at a distance but there were many holes that needed patching so the cabinets will be repainted.

We’ve already begun the restoration. We have removed the old non-working fridge, hot water heater, water pump and toilet. All new items have been ordered and/or installed. We are going with an all electric fridge. (We will explain our reasoning behind this decision in a future post.)

The fridge and old wall heater are gone now.
Looking back down the hallway you see the bedroom and the rear bathroom.

We still haven’t tested the AC unit to see if it works as we don’t have 30 amps at the house. Once we get it back to a livable condition we will plan a short trip to a local RV park to check it out. If it does work then we are on the hunt for a shroud and interior cover for it. If it doesn’t work then that’s an item for the future.

We are also still working on the furnace. Fortunately parts for it are easily obtained and we know we can get it back to par again. Basically that’s the only major item we haven’t had to replace yet! But, we bought this rig for its bones and exterior. We anticipated replacing all the major items so we knew what we were getting into. It’s a labor of love but we don’t plan on letting this baby go so we are in it for the long haul!

The large rear bath. Toilet had to be replaced.

And of course, another item on the agenda is solar. (We are Boondock or Bust, after all!) After having done the off grid cabin thing (and previous RV solar) we know what we need in terms of power. Again, that’s for the future but all I can say is that I’m so glad the cost of solar is going down!

As we’ve started on the renovations already I will be sharing as we go along. The lounge area is nearly complete so that post will be coming soon. It’s going to look gorgeous!

Tiny House and Land For Sale

The tiny house cabin

Due to serious health issues we have decided to put our tiny house cabin and land up for sale. 😞

Mountain Cabin with great views and abundant wildlife to call your neighbors.

Details:

600 watt solar system that includes solar panels with a battery set up with 600 Amp hours, Go Power 1500 watt inverter with and a 12 volt electrical system with LED lights etc.

Cabin has a 200 watt wind generator to provide additional on site power.

The interior bath features a Natures Head composting toilet and a separate indoor shower. There is a refillable water storage tank with pump.

Tankless hot water heater runs on propane.

Propane wall mount heater. Kitchen has a refrigerator (runs on solar) and cooking stove and kitchen sink with counter tops.

Cabin has a covered front porch and a 10′ X 20′ rear deck with fire pit and Sail Shade provides shade .

Property has a separate level gravel RV pad and terrific view and a timber covered hills. The Rio Chama Valley offer the best in all kinds of outdoor recreational activities for all 4 seasons of the year. El Vado Lake is just a short drive to great boating and fishing. If you are looking for a “Tiny House” this one is ready to go.
$44,900

Click on this link to see the MLS listing on Zillow:

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/Lot-36-UNIT-4-Tierra-Amarilla-NM-87520/2094669932_zpid/

See below for additional photos. Click the images to view full size!

Our New Rig

Well, new to us that is. 🙂 We have downsized to a 1986 Lance 900 series truck camper!

The camper is in great shape and all systems work! The only thing it doesn’t have is AC but it is wired to have an AC unit in it. At some point we will add one in.

Our 1986 Lance 900 series and 2006 GMC 2500 HD

Looking good on the GMC!


Inside is a bit dated of course. What can you expect from the 80’s? So, our mission is to totally update it and make it a bit more modern! And as we are leaving for South Carolina on July 25th we better get cracking!

What will we do for AC in the south? Well, we are just going to throw a window unit in it as a temp solution. Yeah, it will be a bit redneck-ish but better that than melting in the heat!

LOVE the counter space in the kitchen!
The fridge works great!
Large booth seating with a nice window for views
Queen size bed with lots of storage space
Full bathroom but will be using our composting toilet instead

In the next couple of weeks we will be adding solar, repainting everything and generally just giving it a really good cleaning. There are some minor repairs to make but nothing that is too difficult.

We will get as much done as we can before leaving for SC and our daughters college graduation and will finish up all the renovations when we return in August!

Our plan is to leave our little off grid cabin before the snow flies (generally October) and then hit the road for the winter!

Stay tuned for our maiden voyage. Hopefully it all goes as planned but you never know with us. 😜

Officially Downsizing!

Ok y’all, we are in the cabin for the summer (woohoo!!) so we’ve decided to put our rig up for sale! We want to downsize to something smaller for our winter adventures but before we do that this one has to go.If you have followed this page this past year you know this has been a fun rig and we’ve had some great adventures in it!  But, we really want to camp in some areas that we just can’t get this rig into so it’s got to go to someone who will enjoy it as much as we have.  So, if anyone is near northern New Mexico and has any interest in this beautiful travel trailer here are the specifics!  Even if you’re not close by, we can certainly work a deal.

For Sale!! 2015 Aspen Trail 2780RLS 30′ travel trailer by Dutchmen.

$16000.00 OBO (no low ball offers, please)

Purchased new June 2015 for $30k.  MSRP $33,900

We are downsizing so our loss is your gain!

Clean title – no money owed on this rig!

This is a beautiful travel trailer and we have hauled it from South Carolina to New Mexico. We traveled full time in it for about a year so all the bugs and kinks are worked out! It is in great condition with only very minor wear and tear.

Features:

Power tongue jack and manual stabilizers.

Included is the anti-sway bar kit with heavy duty tow ball hitch.

One large slide (slide topper) with couch and dinette. Both fold down into beds for the kids! SLEEPS 6!

Automatic awning 18′ with LED exterior lighting.

Gorgeous L shaped kitchen with stove/oven combo, split sink with modern faucet, microwave and dual propane/electric fridge/freezer.  Propane/electric 6 gallon hot water heater.

Lots of cabinet and storage space in this unit.

All lighting has been converted to LED and it has one 100 watt solar panel with a 30amp PWM charge controller and one 100 amp hour deep cycle battery. It is set up to add three more 100 watt Renogy solar panels up top (as the brackets are still there and no holes were put in roof as they were Dicor’d down) and there is a large battery bank area in the pass through to add more batteries. 12 volt plugs have been added throughout for ease of charging phones/laptops or running a 12 volt fan.

Ducted air conditioning and furnace. Both work perfectly!

It has been set up for boondocking (dry camping) and we have a composting toilet that we have removed so it will need a regular flush toilet added which we will be happy to do pending sale – or better yet, just get a composting toilet! 😊

A mattress will also be needed as we kept the Temperpedic we bought for it. It will hold a full length queen size mattress.

Large storage under bed and dinette. Large pass through storage as well.

Everything works and has been well maintained this past year. There are new seals/bearings in the wheels with better high temp grease that is an upgrade from factory. New water pump was installed for better PSI with a water saving Oxygenics shower head.

Spare tire and rack.

Stereo system with outdoor speakers.

So many features it’s hard to list them all!  Just ask if you have any questions.

This is a NON SMOKING rig. We do have a dog but the rig is very clean!

Any questions please Email me at boondockorbust@gmail.com

Located in Tierra Amarilla, NM. More images will be added but here are a few!


Snow Day in April!

This past week we knew we had a storm coming.  It mostly just showed rain but to be on the safe side we loaded up on propane, groceries and the like. And it’s a good thing we did!

Over the weekend we had a bit of rain and snow but it didn’t stick around and it really didn’t seem all that bad.  Then Sunday it all changed.  Around 3pm a little light snow started coming down.

A little light snow. No biggie!

And then around 5pm it really started falling.

Getting heavier!

The weather service predicted about 1-2″ of snow fall.  Boy, were they wrong!

Good morning! A good 6 inches or more and still falling!

The snow was supposed to stop by 10am.  But as of this writing at 11am it is still coming down heavy.  It’s supposed to turn to rain later in the day which will of course melt it all off and make everything a soupy, muddy mess.  As we are a mile and a half down a dirt road we will be staying put until everything dries out.  The 4 Runner can make it out if necessary but it’s better to stay put and enjoy this last (hopefully) snow storm of the season!  It really is quite beautiful and our new metal roof on the cabin is holding up well. Cheers!

Early morning light. Tons of snow!
The cabin looks so magical in the snow!  You see our wind turbine?  🙂

And the RV looks pretty damn cozy too.

Winter?? No wait, it’s spring! Hello, New Mexico! 

It’s a good thing we don’t have to be anywhere – we are pretty well snowed in for now. 🙂  We had to get up on the roof of the RV and clean off the solar panels and run the genny for a bit!  It’s always nice to have a back up system.

The road out. Not going anywhere!