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100 years of RVing

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I thought I'd chime in regarding the 100 years of RVing that most of the RV magazines (including FMC) have commented on. Although the magazines have touched on the major contributors to the RV lifestyle, such as early trailers and converted cars, teardrops, Winnebegos (sorry for bad spelling), Fleetwoods and such, they missed some of the minor players that I feel are important: the converted coaches.

Names such as Flex (Flexible), Silver Siders, Golden Eagle, GMC and such proliferated the motorhomes of the 1960s and 1970s and there was a large number of converted school busses as well. These were true "bus nuts" and most of the work the owners did them selves, some very well and some not so well. I remember seeing busses with working dishwashers, wood burning stoves, and even real grass on the roof. There was even one FMCA member (his name and number escapes me) whos wife had kidney failure. They didn't let that stop them from traveling. He installed two generators, a very intricate water filtration system, and she was able to do here treatments in the bed in the back of the RV, long before any type of portable system was invented.

Our own 1957 Fitzjohn had it's own "querks." It was built with no propane appliances and only electric. We thought this was great since we didn't have to turn anything off to travel through tunnels. It had it's problems though, because batteries do get drained at times (it had a bank of 8 batteries in back next to the gas rear-engine). The old Kholer generator had a great backup system though, if you could not start it with battery power, it had a crank start (not pull start, but crank like an old Model T!). This never failed, except for the time my dad parked too close to a tree and couldn't get the compartment door open to get to the generator! He had to crawl through and take the door off from inside to get it started.

Chris Guenther


1989 Southwind

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