Our Latest RV Project

So it seems that we can never get away from a project. We admit it, we love bringing something old back to life again. First with our Georgie Boy Class A and then our Lance Truck Camper.

But this time we have something special. REALLY special!

Introducing “Armani” – a shiny and soon to be restored vintage 1979 Avion 28J travel trailer!

1979 Avion 28J “Armani”
1979 Avion 28J

No, this is not an Airstream. Yes they are similar but definitely not the same. Airstream aficionados would argue that Airstreams of that era were better quality. Avion enthusiasts would disagree. As you can see, we fall into the latter category. No offense to all our Airstream friends! We really love Airstreams and nearly went that direction. But our friends Doug & Denise changed our minds with their purchase of their 1978 Avion “Ava”.

Doug, Denise, Zoey & “Ava”

We located Armani via Craigslist in Phoenix, AZ. After a quick drive down there (well, 8+ hours one way) we determined that while Armani needed major interior work, the external skin, frame and “bones” were sound!  A quick stop at a tire store for some new “kicks” and we were back on the road by 3pm! We decided to drive to Flagstaff and stop for the night at a motel considering that Armani was not camp ready. 

That’s when we hit traffic on I-17 headed north. Some DUMB ASS had thrown a cigarette butt out his window and caused a wildfire! We crawled along for nearly 5 hours only going 43 miles!!  Please, people – if you smoke so NOT throw your butts out your window!! It’s beyond stupid!!

Stuck in traffic

All of this happened very quickly. We had looked at other Avions and had even driven miles upon miles to view them only to be disappointed. I guess everything happens for a reason!

We didn’t tell our friends of our purchase. They knew we were looking but that was all. We made the decision to get Armani camp ready (well, we could sleep in it and use the bathroom lol) by June 12 as we were meeting our friends at our favorite spot – Ojo Caliente!

Armani at Ojo Caliente! Notice the lack of awning and AC shroud! 🙂

To say they were surprised is an understatement. Look at Denise’s face!

Surprise!!

After the initial surprise we let them get set up while we prepared lunch and champagne to celebrate. 

Only the best!
And of course the cheese & meat plate for lunch!

We had a great time at Ojo Caliente and now we are off enjoying the beautiful mountain air of Pagosa Springs for the next month. We will also be putting Doug to work to get this beauty back to its former glory – you see, Doug is a master carpenter and has already renovated their Avion! The renovations have begun and we will be doing a blog post on those soon.

Cheers to the future!

Cheers to the new endeavor!

Tiny House For Sale Part 2


We’ve had some questions regarding our Tiny House cabin and land for sale so I thought I would answer them here!

1.  Is there a video?

Yes! Here is the link to a YouTube video that we did on Easter Sunday! It shows the land and the area around it plus and indoor tour of the house!

2.  Is there a well?

No, we haul our water from the local fish hatchery which is about 6 miles away. The water is FREE so we didn’t want to add the expense of a well. Wells average around $25,000.

3.  Is water catchment legal in New Mexico?

YES! That was the next project that was on tap before health issues sidelined us.

4.  Will you take payments?

Maybe. If that were the case we would not negotiate on price and would require a background check, lots of references plus 50% down. It would definitely have to feel right to us as well so no gaurantees that we would offer that.

5.  How far away is shopping, health care, etc?

There is a Lowes grocery store and Ace Hardware 15 minutes away in Chama. In less than 10 minutes you can access a health clinic with doctors in Tierra Amarilla. If you want more extensive shopping there is a Walmart and City Market (Kroger) in Pagosa Springs which is about an hours drive.  There is also a hospital in Pagosa as well.

6. Do cell phones work? What about satellite tv?

We have Verizon and have had no trouble with the signal. A cell booster will help bump up your signal if you feel the need. There are other properties in the area with Direct TV so satellite is certainly available. We just don’t have a need for it.

7. How secure is the area?

Very secure! We left all of our possessions in the cabin and we were gone all winter and there wasn’t a single issue. There are other neighbors close by and everyone keeps an eye on everyone else’s place. It’s a close knit community.  Everyone is very friendly and welcoming!  There is also a locked gated entrance to the main properties that everyone has to go through.

8. What is there to do out there?!

SO MANY THINGS! ☺. Right around the property you have tons of hiking. There is fishing close by. You are allowed to hunt on your property (with correct license and tags of course). Plus there is El Vado Lake just 5 miles down the road and Heron Lake about 12 miles away. The Brazos cliffs are a short drive away as well – you can feed the deer from your hands there! There is also restaurants close by in Chama and of course the trains run in the summer! See a link below on the trains.

Old Fashioned Steam Trains!
Also close by is Ghost Ranch where artist Georgia O’Keefe spent many hours painting her gorgeous art! Santa Fe is a two hour drive away and of course my favorite, Ojo Caliente Hot Springs resort!

Ojo Caliente Hot Springs
Pagosa Springs, CO also offers many great places to eat and explore and also have family oriented hot springs as well. It’s a great little town with a wonderful mountain vibe and only an hour from Durango, CO. It offers skiing in the winter, river rafting in the summer. What’s not to love?

9.  How does the solar and composting toilet work? Will you give us some pointers/advice?  What is included?

We will be happy to do a walk through on the solar and any other aspects of the cabin including showing you where we get the water.  The composting toilet is a Nature’s Head brand – the best on the market!

All the furniture stays unless otherwise requested. We are including the two 30lb cylinder propane tanks as well. Plus all appliances stay.

10.  Is there trash service?
No. All trash must be taken to the local waste transfer station in town.  Burn barrels are NOT allowed due to the threat of wildfires. 

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If I get any more questions I will post them here in the future or if you have any additional questions you can contact me directly via the comments section and I will answer you back quickly.  View the MLS listing below:

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

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 Quick Truck Camper Makeover

When we bought our truck camper at the beginning of July we knew we only had a couple of weeks to get it squared away for our trip to South Carolina at the end of the month.  We were on a time crunch to say the least!

The first thing we did upon bringing it home was to check all systems out.  Everything works (that we can tell at the moment) and it was good to go.  We could have taken it the way it was but honestly it smelled like it had been closed up for a long time and it really needed some deep cleaning.  Next thing I know I am going on a painting frenzy!

The interior was outdated and blah.  We thought white cabinets would brighten every thing up!  It sure did.

I will be adding a tile backsplash but for now some leftover yellow paint from the cabin works just fine.

I had the teal left over from our cabin door.  I really like how that pop of color looks!

Didn’t do a drastic change in the dinette.  The cushions and fabric were still in good order but we added new curtains and of course painted all the cabinetry white.  The walls we went with a real light tan.

The bathroom before had that hideous wallpaper.  I stripped it all off and then painted with an exterior semi gloss paint.  I know it won’t hold up forever to the water.  When we get back we will be tiling the walls of the bathroom and replacing the flush toilet with our compost toilet.

Bedroom before

The bed area before had a cabinet above where our heads were.  The space is tight enough without that cabinet so we removed it.  Painted the walls a lighter version of the bathroom by adding some white to it.

Whew!  It was a lot of work and we accomplished it all in just two weeks.  We also redid the floors!  We had some leftover flooring from the cabin.  We think it turned out great.

Floors before and after!

We have made our way out to South Carolina – an 1800 mile trip!  It’s been a lot easier than pulling the trailer (even we did tow our 4 Runner) and so far everything’s been great!

Before leaving for South Carolina we went to Ojo Caliente Mineral Hot springs.  I will be doing a post on that amazing place soon!

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. 😜

Our tiny house homestead build!

We’ve been very quiet lately! We left Santa Fe back in early March and got ourselves up to our new hometown in northern New Mexico.  It was still COLD and there was still snow on the ground.  The road to our property was impossible to get through, but we were close and that’s what mattered to us.

The road to our property - a muddy mess!
The road to our property in late February – a muddy mess!

We did manage to buy ourselves a 4 wheel drive vehicle though!  We found a well maintained (older) Toyota 4 Runner and snatched it up.  It needed new tires but otherwise was in perfect shape.

Our new little Toyota 4 Runner! Perfect run around vehicle

After about a week or so of nice sunny weather our road managed to dry up and we made it to our cabin! It was nice to see that everything was still in great shape and it had handled the winter well.

Made it to the cabin after 4 months away

Our RV pad we had put in last fall looked in great shape too and we couldn’t wait to get started on our build.

RV pad on property looking west
RV pad on property looking west

Here is an update on our build.  As we are maintaining a separate blog for our Tiny House project you can read about that here:

http://offgridtinylife.com/2016/03/10/the-build-begins/

And the second installment:

http://offgridtinylife.com/2016/03/31/the-build-continues/

And yesterday (4/4), after spending a month at an RV park in town we were finally FINALLY able to get our rig up the mountain and set up on the RV pad!  The thrill of waking up this morning to the sounds of nature were beyond compare.  It is beautiful here and quiet and the wildlife abounds.

We are home! You can see the cabin on the hill behind the RV.

It is still a bit cold but nothing we can’t handle.  The solar on the RV is working like a charm!  We sure love this life.

Be sure to follow our Off Grid Tiny Life homestead blog!  We are building a tiny house cabin on 5 1/2 acres in northern New Mexico.  We are completely off grid and will still continue to travel in the RV from time to time or even do some truck camping!

Demo done – Remodel begun!

Wow!  The remodel is almost done!! I say “almost” as I don’t know that we’ll ever truly be done.  I have a long list of *little* things still to accomplish but the big things are pretty much DONE!  We started by tearing out all the carpet, the couch, and the dinette to make it our own.  We painted, put down flooring, built a desk/counter space, put in a new couch, etc etc.  Here are some photos of all that we have done!  I will be uploading the newest ones soon with the completed look – including a post about our new location!! It is AWESOME!  🙂

Here we go:

I will be adding quite a few more photos in the next week.  We are pretty proud of the finished product!  And I’m really grateful I have the handiest husband ever!! 🙂