Gary and all. I'll be back in the US in the next few weeks. Right now we are in Istanbul overlooking the Bosporos. We spent several weeks truck camping in Northern Europe in a Tonke camper mounted onto a Mercedes truck. We stayed outside of the cities with the exception of Copenhagen where we camped in an old fort on the seaside.
There is no comparison in terms of costs or comfort between a TC and the hotel/restaurant/tour bus world. The TC wins hands down. We were camped on the shores of the Baltic Sea the night of last month's "Blood Moon" which we viewed with our own spread of foods and drink.
The Europeans are in awe of the Airsteam and vaguely aware of the Avion. But they have little to no experience with truck campers. We had dozens of inquiries about the Truck Camper with one German commenting it was "not normal".
The "normal" camper is a TT "caravan" or a class C. We were much larger which led to some tight corners in the towns and villages we visited.
But, we loved it.
Jane and I are reading, and enjoying, this thread from a campground in Terheijden, Netherlands. We have been traveling through Holland, Germany and Denmark in a Tonke truck camper mounted on a Mercedes diesel "Sprinter". It's the furtherest we've wandered from home. I'm planning on writing up this experience when we get back to the US. Best of luck on your travels.
Rasta, our collective experience is that there is ALWAYS more damage than meets the eye. Thats why, as I'm sure you understand, that there has to be a very careful audit of the coach. And the only way to be careful is to be completely familiar with the layout and mechanics. I know that the string is long, and sometimes frustrating, but it is all there. Everything. Including wiring harnesses, black water/gray water solutions.
And a chronicle of every time I run into something and have to repair the damage...which seems like about every 12 months;-(
Rasta, I now realize I worded my post awkwardly. I was in a bit of a rush and wanted to make a clear distinction between a post asking questions to the larger community and the Avionistas. I apologize for potentially making you feel unwelcome. Please feel free to ask for any and all expertise. You'll get lots of aupport
All of these topics are covered in the Avion string. Rather than start a new topic that people have to respond to in redundacy, it might be wise to go through the 300 pages and learn precisely how the Avion is put together and how to resolve issues. This Forum is not a "help desk", especially when all of the information that you seek has been carefully laid out by dozens of Avion owners.
Very well said and appreciated. You are one of the Avion Friends who would be welcome at Muley Point. And you're right, it is the most beautiful, awesome place imaginable. And the TC is the way to explore it.
Muley Point in 2016! That's the Avionista spirit. I'm thinking mid May or thereabouts. If it's just three of us that's OK. It will grow to the worldwide Avion and friends festival. I'll be there with my bent and mishapshapen C10.
Muley Point 2016.
There's a winding road to Muley Point. But, we'll all get there someday.
In the meantime we're trying out the Tonke, a handbuilt, Dutch, true truck camper. It demounts from the Mercedes frame. We plan to occasionally leave the coach at a camping ground and explore the countryside in the truck. We will be writing up our experiences with truck camping in Europe so that others, if they are so inclined, can take advantage. Already we can see cost savings, especially in expensive areas like Amsterdam and Copenhagen. We reserved a site online near Copenhagen in the interior of an old fort overlooking the waters between Denmark and Norway. It is around $70 for three days. Average in hotels is around $250 plus meals per day.
The Tonke reminds me of the Avion, except for its price tag. So, wish us luck in this detour on the road to Muley Point.
She goes into the shop for temp repairs and an insurance estimate on Monday.
Wednesday Jane and I are leaving for the Netherlands where we'll pick up a Tonke truck camper. I'm writing about it for Truck Camper Magazine.
We'll be driving it through Holland, Germany and Denmark visiting my daughter and her husband in Copenhagen. The camper is mounted on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis and retails for around $200,000. Quite a bit pricier than our Avions. Interestingly, I have been asked about shipping Avion TCs to Europe - though they are concerned that they are too heavy for their trucks.
I'll be an Avion evangelist with the Europeans.
I'll report to you guys when I return, or maybe while I'm on the road. Sure hope I don't plow through something with the Tonke.
We were delivering food and gear to crews who were setting up sandbags during a Mississippi River flood. The road was undermined by water, the truck slid oh-so -gently down the slope, and the whole thing wound up in the river. We tried to tow it out, but the camper was hooked in a way that made that impossible. So, the camper was released and sort of floated until it sank. The truck was pulled out. Then the camper was pulled over a series of plywood panels and the water was drained out..all this took away from the efforts of the flood crews. But, OTOH, we had lots of power equipment nearby.
Glad I didn't have a Lance. No disrespect intended. Its just that the Avion is a beast.
Ticki, thanks for your advice. I actually got the Avion on the insurance schedule, but was never able to determine replacement costs that were realistic. Now, I'm into it. I wonder if Cayo could really make stab at this? This always an issue with restored campers. I'll try to keep everyone as I go through the process.
Dave Pete, this Avion has been dumped into floodwaters, crashed into an overhanging porch, backed into a steel beam at a motel and now plowed through a covered parking area.
And who can forget the time the doors locked, with the engine running, at a campground in Las Vegas? We fished through a crack in the door...actually some guys from Circus Circus fished through and unlocked the door. After about an hour. I almost had a nervous breakdown.
Its humbling and amazing. This TC is going to outlast us all.
Well folks, I did it again. This time I ran into a low beam on a covered parking area. It lifted the solar unit off of the roof, tore out the Fantastic fan in the front and the vent in the center, dented the roof, and generally put us into a bad mood.
We had been looking for a restaurant in downtown Bloomington, Indiana. It was rated number 1 and was Afghani...surely an unusual combination. So we went slowly tooling around looking for a spot to park the TC as well as the Samurai we pull behind.
So, we went up to a parking shed that is also used for an outdoor farmer's market and actually measured the height before proceeding.
we went under one, under two and at about 1/2 MPH we heard a grinding sound as we passed under the third.
I tried to reverse, but Jane said hold it!!! The solar unit has wedged in the roof.
We talked to the city and they called a roofer who undid the fibreglass panels while we let air out of the tires. After about an hour we cautiously pulled back.
The solar was totaled, the roof is creased pretty badly and the front window appears to have cracked.
In an effort to Keep Calm and Carry On we went to the Afghan restaurant where they were closing... We found a place called Darn Good Soup and quietly supped on Cream of Mushroom Soup.
Believe it or not the roofers bound up the broken roof vents, etc and we went through a heavy rain to find a camping place a 100 miles away.
As they say, other than that, had did things go? Well, the insurance adjuster was just here and making noise about totaling it out since they can't figure the value nor the repair costs.
This is our third mishap with the roof and its getting a little old, not to mention expensive. My son tells me there is a device called the Giraffe that will read out potential overhead danger. I'm looking into that.
I will say the Avion can take a licking and keep on ticking. We DID continue on the road and camped very nicely for the next three days.
As to what happens with Old '67 Avion, We'll keep you informed.
We have an exhaustive discussion of Avion campers on the string that Ticki suggested.
Here is some advice: campers almost always look better than they are. The really bad stuff is often hidden. The price is high unless the camper can be checked very thoroughly in advance, and I doubt that there is anyone around who is familiar with Avion tcs. If the fellow won't let you check out the systems, then walk away.
The asking prices are ranging, for non restored Avion tcs, from around $1500 to $8000. An average is around $3500....you can see them on eBay from time to time. A rule of thumb is that a good restoration will cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Add that to the purchase price.
Hopefully you have some experience with older machines and know the level of work, and disappointment, that is possible.
But, I assure you, it's one of the best TCs ever built.
Best of luck.
As 67avion's prior owner, I was the one that made the "monster", the extremely heavy duty belly bar. If you want to buy it, I bet he'd sell it to you at a reasonable price.
But his criticisms are quite valid, particularly if you off-road. With my new unit, I bought Torklifts for the front and copied Torklifts for the back to fit into the hitch ends.
Just to be clear, the belly bar certainly served its purpose...it handled my camper with never a problem. That is, until I went off road into some sketchy rocky road. And then I nearly had a disaster. My Blue Heaven was very clear about the belly bar when I got the camper from him several years ago, in fact he is an ideal PO.
So, if you never go off road or go over a curb, etc., there is nothing to worry about. If you do, then that solid belly bar could do some real damage.