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After days spent moving our new home, you would think that we would already be intimately familiar with the Avion Ultra. But most of that time was spent anxiously watching the camper sway on the truck bed and falling to sleep each night, exhausted. Finally, we were alert enough to take a proper accounting of what we had just bought.

The Avion’s Exterior

The exterior is in shockingly excellent repair. We have followed other Avion owners as they have had to pop out dents and patch rusted holes. While there are a few rust spots from old screws, there aren’t any notable dents. We have a few minor patches ahead of us and some leaks to track down, but the camper exterior won’t be our main challenge.

Camper with antenna added.

The Avion’s Interior

Being a truck camper from 1970, there is no big surprise that the interior looks and smells like what it is: nearly a half-century old. Frankly, when it comes to most of the current RV industry, the only innovation in camper interiors for decades is that they now really like sticking in mini fireplaces. We have looked at a lot of campers and most either look like we are in an operating room, a sad bachelor pad, or the home of some spinster auntโ€”all that’s missing is doilies.

Things that we like: space, lots of windows, the large table for working. Things that we don’t like: the east-west full sized bed and vinyl covered aluminum walls. Yes, like hardwood floors covered by carpet, there is aluminum interior walls under that beige. With just a few heavy duty cleaning agents, we’ll convert the interior of this camper from a 1984 beige Apple II to the shine of a MacBook Air.

But, before we look too far ahead, here is what we have right now:

Interior view facing the bed.
Interior view facing the bed.

Interior bed facing the door.
Interior view facing the kitchen.
Interior view facing the kitchen.

Interior view facing the dinette.
Dinette view with table removed.
Dinette converted into bed.

A Few Surprises Inside

Along with the camper, we also found a few oddities left over from generations of use:

  • A fish scaling board
  • Two small cast iron frying pans and a small skillet
  • Placemats
  • Television antenna*
  • Lots of instruction manuals and receipts over the history of the camper.
Random items collected from the camper.

Antenna attached to the camper.

The instruction manuals and receipts may be the greatest gems. We plan to scan and upload them soon. We even have the original sales receipt with the name of the original owners. They have already passed, we checked. But evidence of their travels are still plastered to the back of the camper in the form of stickers listing all the past destinations. The stickers were pealed off, but the ghost of an imprint still remains.

The owners’ son is still around. We’d kind of like to visit him one day if he would be open to sharing stories.

Despite many a charming discovery, what we also found was lots of rot. Parts of the floor were spongy from years of persistent leaks. The tie-downs that we had been sweating over during the drive really were pulling their way through rotten plywood along the camper’s wings. Moreover, tracking down leaks would not be a simple matter. We would need to remove the interior walls and insulation to pinpoint and patch leak points.

The inspection confirmed our suspicions: this would not simply be a matter of replacing the floor and introducing a new paint scheme. Making this camper road worthy would involve completely gutting the camper and rebuilding the interior from the dining set to the insulation.

This will be a whole new adventure.


* We assembled the old TV antenna just to see what it looked like. For those young-uns: before the digital days, television was broadcast and picked up with an antenna. Did you ever see those funky “rabbit ears” on a television set? This is that, but on a much larger scale.

Lexi lives in a truck camper down by the river.

Comments:

  • Judy

    July 22, 2017

    Looking forward to following your progress

    reply...
  • Max Weiss

    April 13, 2020

    Valuable information. I am beginning an Avion C-11 project (windows, door, hatch, solar, radiant floor, interior paint, exterior polish.

    reply...
    • May 3, 2020

      Welcome to the Avion family, Max! You have an exciting project ahead of you. Don’t be afraid ask us questions. Heck, maybe you can inspire some more in depth explanations of things I forgot to explain.

      reply...
  • Mike

    April 20, 2020

    Hi Lexi
    I know its been about three years since you brought home your C11.
    I just noticed you had the antenna attached to the camper. What ever became of it, might I ask.
    Mike

    reply...
    • Lexi Goforth

      May 3, 2020

      Hi Mike,

      Yeah, that’s a fun little doodad. Right now, we have it in a storage shed along with a lot of other original parts to the Avion. We keep them available for future reference and possibly to be reintegrated into the Avion. I suppose we will likely have a big sell off of what remains once we feel sufficiently finished.

      reply...

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