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! 🙂

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!

Camping at American Girl Mine

After spending a couple of weeks at Quartzsite we were starting to get frustrated with the crowds and rude people. We had a huge rally group park right on top of us and one guy nearly hit our dog (who was on his cable by our rig) with his RV. Time to go!

We decided to head down HWY 95 towards Yuma and decided to stop one night at KOFA wildlife refuge.

Overnighting at KOFA wildlife refuge

After chatting with some other RVer’s we decided to head to American Girl Mine. This is another BLM area on the California side of Yuma.

All set up at American Girl Mine BLM area

There was a big gathering of fellow RVer’s including Aluminarium, Wanderwasi, Drive-Dive-Devour, Bold & Adventurous, Finding Marshall, 2 Wander Away and many others!

The first night there we had a low key gathering for happy hour and enjoyed a glorious sunset!

Sunset in the desert

We’ve been big fans of Aluminarium since we started this journey so it was awesome to meet Leigh, Brian and Curtis! We love their website Campendium which provides so much good info on boondocking areas, state parks and RV parks. You can leave a review of any place you’ve stayed as a helpful resource to others.

Leigh was also kind enough to feature us on her blog!! Of course, it could be the fact that we were sucking up wearing our Campendium hoodies too! 😜 

Wearing our Campendium hoodies!

While we were there, Jase of Wanderwasi was kind enough to get some great drone footage of us and our rig!  This was such an awesome thing for him to do and we so appreciated having this great memory!

There was a lot of great walking/hiking areas including the old mine shafts and tailings.

American Girl Mine
American Girl Mine

Just up the road was Tumco Ghost Town.  Another great area to explore with a ton of history behind it.  Very interesting to see the remains of the old buildings and mining areas.

Tumco Ghost Town
Walking the trails at Tumco
Walking the trails at Tumco

Another awesome aspect of being in the desert were the hummingbirds!  We had so many come and visit our feeder and I was actually able to capture this great shot of this pretty girl.    

Female hummingbird captured with my iPhone 6. She would let me sit within inches of her!

The desert is amazing in so many ways.  It’s so surprising to me that so much can survive there in the extremes of summer.

Surviving the odds

And of course, the sunsets will blow you away!

Another glorious desert sunset

We spent nearly a month in the area and while we enjoyed it immensely we were really ready to see our property again!  So on February 5th we loaded up and headed to New Mexico.  We are currently staying in Santa Fe as the snow is just a little high yet at our place, though with the current warm temperatures everything will be turning to mush and mud soon!

The RV park we are staying at is nothing to write home about, but it’s close to Santa Fe, an hour and a half from our property and is convenient if nothing else.  Sometimes this life is not very glamorous but then again it provides a lot more freedom!

New year, new format!

new-beginnings_t_nv-1024x768

As those of you who have visited our blog before can tell, we have changed up our format a bit to recognize our upcoming tiny house/homesteading adventures!  Yes, we will still be traveling in an RV on occasion (not sure if we are downsizing yet) but this summer we will be spending it mostly in northern New Mexico on our new off grid property!

So while we are keeping the www.boondockorbust.com online address we have changed the name to Off Grid Tiny Life!  We hope you will enjoy our upcoming endeavors and see what sort of shenanigans we get up to.  It should be interesting to say the least! 🙂