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In Love With Motorhoming

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It's February .... a lovely month to pose this question: When did you first fall in love with motorhoming?

How, and where did it happen? Has your time together been fulfilling, adventuresome, unpredictable, a little rocky? Have you been inseparable or on-again, off-again?

And, if you care to add: What love song best describes your relationship with motorhoming or your motorhome?

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Actually I blogged about the time our love affair for Motorhoming started here:

http://community.fmca.com/blog/62/entry-535-how-did-it-start-part-one/

http://community.fmca.com/blog/62/entry-536-how-did-it-start-part-two/

The affair is still going on. We are in our second coach and looking forward to full timing very soon.

That should be a story!

What love song? Well, one comes to mind right off the bat. Our coach is a Holiday Rambler and we named her Ramblin Rose:

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September 1972, I rented a Type A motorhome in New Jersey and drove it, with my pregnant wife, young son and in-laws through New England, up the Maine Cost to Arcadia National Park and into New Brunswick, Canada. While on the way to Maine, on the I-495 bypass highway near Littleton, Massachusetts, I noticed that the motorhome's engine temperature was rising and that the alternator had stopped charging, so I took the next exit and stopped at a service station where we learned that the alternator bracket had broken. The mechanic told us that it would take about an hour and a half for him to have the broken bracket repaired at a nearby welding shop and to install a new "V" belt that would once again spin the alternator and the engine's water pump.

It was nearing dinnertime and there were no nearby restaurants. That was when the versatility and flexibility of motorhome travel really came into sharp focus. My wife and her mother decided to prepare dinner while we were parked at the service station. After enjoying a delicious, leisurely hot meal and washing our dishes, the repairs on our alternator bracket were completed and we were able to continue on our way. Our rented motorhome by today's standards was underpowered, and of course did not have hydraulic leveling jacks and slides, but for the remainder of our trip, our elevated perspective and panoramic windshield saturated our senses with the colorful fall foliage and rugged beauty of Maine's coast. By the time our trip was over my father-in-law, nearing retirement, was so sold on motorhome travel that he bought a coach of his own.

Although I could not justify owning a motorhome with just a couple of weeks of travel time available each year, I repeatedly rented or borrowed motorhomes until I had enough control over my calendar to justify owning one of my own. Our destinations included Disney World when our children were small, fishing trips to the Alabama shore and touring the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and nearby Painted Desert with my son when he was an adult.

May of 2012 my wife and I took the plunge and bought a barely used 2011 Itasca Sunova 33C and have been thrilled with our decision. The following Fall, after our purchase, we explored the beautiful national seashores of North Carolina's Outer Banks, including Ocracoke Island's pristine beaches. We've driven our coach more than 20,000 miles up and down the east coast from northern Maine to Key West, spent almost a month touring Florida to escape New Jersey's lousy winters and have attended motorhome rallies and many monthly meetings of our local FMCA chapter and of our Winnebago motorhome group, making many friends along the way.

After more than forty years of motorhome travel, my love for it has not only been sustained, it has increased. Upon retirement, my wife and I have plans to see much more of this great country of ours with multiple bucket trips.

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Our first MH was a 28 foot Farrin UltraStar. On our first night we dry camped in a marina parking lot in Oklahoma. When we woke up we were looking out over a beautiful lake while having coffee. Hooked! We made many short trips in that coach before we up graded to a Monaco Windsor 32'. Wow, now we both have a chair to sit in while having coffee looking out at beautiful scenery. We are now into a 40' Monaco Dynasty, the love affair continues to grow. Since our retirement we have become much more involved with our home chapter, Lone Star, and FMCA national and South Central Area.

The thing that we have gotten most out of our motor home are our wonderful friends. We also have lots of room for may new friends.

Song, "Pack Up all your cares and woses, Bye, Bye Blackbird"

Herman

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My mother used to tell us she wanted to get one of those RV's you drive from in the kitchen. (Winnebago),. A few years later we got a pop up and I was hooked when I was 17 I bought an old used telephone Van and customized it with a bed television about six years ago I bought a used 1993 Honey Bear class C. I wanted to be sure my wife liked it and to be sure I still did. And we did. My wife loved it and I fell in love again. This past summer we bought a new Thor Freedom elite Class C at the end of the summer.

We took trips to Maine Massachusetts, Connecticut and South Carolina. We down sized from our last Class C, but that's what we wanted that way less likely to stay in the RV. It everything we need and a bed for our Granddaughter. Can't wait to get out again I am Really wish I went south for the winter but to many obligations, this year. We're teaching our 7 year old granddaughter to love it too...

There will be another generation of our family RVing.

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In 1976 we rented a friends 26 foot motorhome on a dodge chassis and took our two boys then 9 and 7 and we drove around the Great Lakes ending back in Rochester. We continued to tent camp for @5 more years looking down our noses at the people who didn't know what camping was supposed to be (and wishing we had one when the weather turned inclement). We remembered the experience of the rental fondly and just couldn't justify the expense because of work and community commitments. In 1999 we took a trip kayaking on the Johnston Straits in British Columbia and then to finish up the trip we had rented a modest Class C for a week driving from Vancouver to Jasper and back -all in one week! Hooked and double hooked. We had a specifications list on the dashboard by the third day and couldn't stop talking about what we wanted.

Time passed and just over a year later we wandered into a local dealers RV Show, just to take a "look see." Five hours later we were the owners of a 33 foot basic coach with no slides and no levelers. We had started small, "just to see if we still liked it." That was 2001. We love it.

We too have our story of stranded in the coach. We were forced to stop on I40 in a dust storm, the road was closed and we were stopped on the road. Eventually we shut down the engine started the generator and had a lovely dinner while we waited. The road was closed for 8 hours! We really pitied those who did not have all the comforts of home we did.

We are full time in our Phaeton regularly crossing the country coast to coast to spend time with our children and grandchildren. We take the grandchildren out for extended trips with us and once we had our two boys and their wives rent C's to join us for 10 days in the San Antonio area. They love it too. the younger one has his heart set on buying a starter coach for going to music festivals and taking his boys along.

We are sitting in Falcon State Park, one of our favorite places. We decided to come for four or five days and are planning to leave after two week. No favorite song, well "On the Road Again" of course, in our case it is "On the Road, Still"

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If you want the details of how my parents and i fell in love with motorhomes, just check out the Jolly Green Giant article in the Dec. 2013 issue of FMC:

http://www.fmcmagazine.com/back-issues/2013/december/3352-the-jolly-green-giant.html

Basically, i loved the motorhome lifestyle so much, i conviced my wife we needed one in 1997, a year after our first son was born. We've actually moved up and down the spctrum of RVs going from the motor home, to a tent trailer, to tents, and now another motorhome.

As far as traveling song, i love "Ive Trucked All Over This Land" by C.W. McCall. Sure. It talks about trucking, but change the word "Trucking" to "Camping", and it applies to many of us.

Chris G.

F3508-s

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In the late 60's my parents drove my sister and I all over the country in their Volkwagon Camper Van. They then upgraded to Allegro Motorhomes, my Dad and I used to drive all over in it "county hunting" with our Ham radios. I purchased a 1986 Barth Regal 28' and I drove it all over the country with my wife. It was a great Class A puller with off road capability. Wonderfully built coach with everything we needed. It's max speed was 65 MPH while towing my Jeep. But you could work on it without the aid of a computer and with normal tools. It had Twin beds, dual fuel refrigerator, two coach batteries and one chassis battery, crank up antenna. All we had to worry about before leaving was if the antenna was up and the stairs retracted.

Now we are in a 2006 Tiffin Zephyr 45 QSZ hauling more "stuff" than we will ever need. 500 HP Cummins ISM will cruise at any speed regardless of the load. Residential refrigerator that loves to suck the electricity. 6 Coach batteries, two chassis batteries. Select Comfort King Bed, In motion satellite, flat panel TV's, Solar power, it is just amazing what these buses can do. The car hauler I tow behind the bus is bigger than the Barth we once had. Now I have to worry about curbs, lane widths, avoiding major city traffic in the daytime, never having to back up, etc. Dirt roads (remember driving down dirt roads with the generator on?) What a dust storm I can create. With this monstrosity I am always watching for tree limbs, turning radius. etc.

I love the life style so much we try to get out every weekend weather permitting. Sometimes I miss the Barth for it's simplicity, It was the essence of RV'ing. Now our idea of roughing it is parking on a slight incline and the Satelite signal is lost. But every once in a awhile I pull over while driving at night and turn everything off, step outside and look at the stars. Beats the heck out of sleeping in my bag on a sleeping pad using my clothes for a pillow!post-1021-0-70226700-1422938205_thumb.jp

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RV'ing became a fantastic way for our 3 boys, my wife and myself to be together and enjoy the outdoors. It began with a 1970 12' trailer, followed in 1973 by a 22' trailer, a 24' Cobra Class C in 1976, a 33' Columbus Class A gas in 1989, a 36' National Tropical Class A gas in 2000 and finally a 42' Thor Tuscany Class A diesel in 2011. There are far too many great memories from our many thousands of miles traveled. I recall the times we would take the Class C motorhome to the Drive-in where they allowed us to park in the back row. The kids would climb in the upper bunk to watch the movie while we would make hot dogs or hamburgers and later popcorn. The rig also doubled as a place to just crash while attending the many sporting events the boys participated in over the years. The motorhome also provided a cost effective way for the family to accompany me on business travel throughout the U.S. Of course the great times were sometimes tempered by some rather anxious moments like the time we "camped" in the middle of the interstate in a blinding blizzard, or when a truck tread ripped off the driveshaft and exhaust system. There were others but the good memories well out weigh the bad. Anyone contemplating the RV lifestyle needs to just "DO IT".

Mark M.

Aurora, CO

F427211

42' 2011 Tuscany

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Our first adventure into RVing was basically driving our sports car to Lake Saguaro near Phoenix, AZ and slept on the beach in a sleeping bag. From that, we bought a Van conversion and drove it all over the West from Canada to Mexico with our toddler. We then bought a 22' 1970 Class C Establishment and drove to Mammoth Mt. skiing. Back in the 70's one could park on the road in front of the lifts for free.

We traded that in for a 1987 27' Winnebago Chieftain which we drove thru Canada and the East Coast from Maine to Key West and across the South back to California. Our last big trips have been to criss-cross the US corner to corner and other places in between from Banff, Canada, to New Orleans, to New Hampshire to Arizona to enjoy the Scenes that each season displays.

We blew the engine on our 1994 37' Safari Diesel and now drive our 33' Allegro gas class A to visit family in San Francisco, Bremerton, WA, Spokane, WA, Chicago, New York, Boston, etc. once a year. We actually went Full-Time for a year at Lake Elsinore, CA. but went back to our land home for convenience for our now grown kids and our grand kids.

Our favorite song: Willie Nelson;s "On the Road Again."

Joe & Rickey Tambe

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We started with motorhomes in the mid 70's. Our first motorhome was a 69 Lifetime 24 ft. After using it for several months sold it and got a 75 Pace Arrow. I was teaching so we had the summers to vacation. We covered the lower 48 states twice in 3 1/2 years and also eastern Canada. Our rv mileage now is over 400,000 miles with some 10 different motorhomes.

Our kids were small when we started and there is not a better way to see the country than with an RV.

Now, on occasion we take some of the grandkids with us.

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Several years (1999) ago my father passed away. His initial gift to me came from his life insurance plan. It was a small amount of money, about $7,000. I thought to myself, not enough to gain much interest or to use for the children's education. What could I do with this money that the children would remember their grandpa for it? As I lay in bed recouperating from a rear end collision and reading a AAA magazine, I saw an ad for a "Memorial Weekend Special" from Cruise America. A great deal on the rental of a Class C motorhome for the Memorial Weekend. I thought "Wow, what a great memory for the kids!". Off I went to the Cruise America office and worked a deal for 5 consecutive weekend packages, but back to back with no break. That covered about 25 days of rental.They went for it!

In June of that year, with 3 of our 5 kids in tow, we headed out from So. California S.E. as far as New Orleans, North as far as North Dakota (Mt Rushmore) and then back west through Washington, Oregon and down through California. Each child picked their favorite place so in between we saw the Grand Canyon, Presley Mansion, Sun Studios, Branson, Mo., Old Faithful, and lots of other exciting points of interest that are still talked about today.

Most importantly, on about the 3rd day, just as I had just fixed another cup of coffee and a bagel for my hubby at the wheel. was when I heard those words of "love". My hubby, Mark, turned to me and said, "Yep, I could definitely see us doing this when we retire!". That's about as romantic as it gets for him. And here we are. We now have a 35' Class A Tiffin Alegro Open Road that the grandchildren travel in with us. We are absolutely in love with it, the country, and all of the time that we spend together!

However, all things said, the most precious part of this all is that, because of my father's generosity and a willing hubby, our children have wonderful memories, a love of traveling, and an appreciation for their beautiful country and the sacrifices made to keep it free.

Thank you for the opportunity to tell our story and to share in everyone else's story too.

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Started around 1998, I took my new wife to meet my Grandparents in Johnson City TN (too sick to make the wedding when we got married), my grandfather always had a camper of some sort. A that time it was a Hornet fifth wheel, we met up with them and they invited us to follow them to Pigeon Forge TN for a long weekend getaway. My wife and I stayed at a Best Western down the street, we hung out with them when we were not sleeping. I loved it, my wife was on the fence (5 star hotel girl) (good thing the Best Western was very nice that could have been our last trip together :) ).

Kids started to come along two years later, frequent Disney World trips and stopping many times for the restrooms and food along the way I decided to bring up the idea of a motorhome again, it was shut down almost immediately. A few years had past and my wife wanted to take a road trip across country to California from Pennsylvania, she looked into renting a Class C, it was so expensive she asked me about buying a fixer upper for cheap doing the work myself, using it for the summer and selling it the following spring. Of course I agreed thinking finally a motorhome in our family.

I located a 1998 Coachmen Santara 311SB for sale on consignment in the Poconos that needed a bunch of TLC, husband passed wife had it at the local dealer to get rid of it. So we bought it In February 2008. I worked on it several nights a week and we took it out the first weekend in May to give it a try and see how it goes. The kids had the time of their life my wife had fun also. Summer comes along and we head out for the west coast, we saw so much and stopped at every possible land mark all the way out and back, absolutely the best family vacation ever, we all had alot of fun. We started to book long weekend family trips ever since. As the kids got older the Class C became smaller so this past spring we traded it on the DP we have now. My wife will tell you she is not a "camping person" still to this day....but we still have a lot of good times and memories when we head out. I asked her pick out the next Motorhome (our current DP) so she would warm up to it faster ;) .

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I assume you mean all the new towables that will be joining this "club" since you are referring to a 2 1/2 year old post.

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What a great thought.  Don't know how or why I missed it, back in 2015...thank you Joe!

Back in 1967, I was working in N.O, LA. and my Mom and Dad lived in Santa Monica, CA.  On one of my many drives out West, Dad took me to the L.A. Auto Show and I saw a 1967 Winnebago and bought it...got to pick it up 3 days later and drove it back to New Orleans.  Had a great time on my days off, traveling all over Texas and New Mexico....when you work in the bayous of LA., anywhere away from swamps will do on your 7 days off ! :o  18 months later I sold it.  Could not take it to Stavanger, Norway for 6 year contract on a drilling rig.  In, 1977 I was back home in Texas and got a used 1973 Landau, followed by a 1981 Apollo 3000, Apollo 3300, 1987 Barth, 1997 Allegro, 2002 Southwind, 2006 Southwind, 2007 Winnebago DP, 2011 Allegro Bus and my current 2010 American Coach 45 foot.  Without a doubt I LOVE the lifestyle and put an average of 14,000 miles a year on my coach!  I'm a member of 5 different Chapters, National Director, 2nd VP of Lone Star and Golf Captain of FMCA Six State....Life can't get any better than this! 

I'm not full time, just take the time...beats sitting on a couch at 74+!

On my next one, I'll paint "Never Satisfied" across the front...:wub: 

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Carl, that is an amazing story. This is why I brought this post back to life. 

I was pleasantly interested in Hermans story, it drew me in.

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Yes this is a real HOOT!  I did not entertain the idea of a coach until about ten years ago when I discovered an older friend had one and I had a look inside. It happened to be the Safari Zanzibar I ended up with. It never occurred to me to look  at other coaches. I just asked him one day if he was going to sell his at some point. His reply was "I'm not going to be driving this when I am 80. I asked him if he had any one in line to buy it, he said no, I said put me at the head of the line...short story 2 years later I was driving it home, a smile on my face. It was beautiful, 26 thousand miles on the odo, great paint and a perfect solid black walnut interior, cherry textiles, good tires, everything worked and had had, fastidious care. 

Turns out it needed suspension help like many Velvet Ride Safaris. This forum pointed me to the guru of Safari, Ralph Andrews and the solutions. I made them all and what a ride and the fun began. This is one more dream come true. The travel, meeting people like Herman, Carl, Brett, Byron and Joe, and a chili no bean cook off and seeing places we only dreamed of. We put 25 thousand miles on it before we bought the ultimate SMC Safari Panther. In the first year we put 10 thousand on it and this year we will do better yet.

We have boondocked extensively, 9 consecutive weeks with out a plug in and three different locations. We made a three week trip in September to the Pacific Northwest to pick up 60 pounds of Columbia River salmon and to Newport, Oregon to get 20 Dungeness crab freezing in a freezer on the trailer heading home to Colorado. Yes I filleted the salmon and steamed the crab and then we Food Savered it and froze it in a 5 cubic foot freezer kept frozen cold from the 120 on the coach... boondocked the whole trip.

Janet is now making the suggestions as to where to go. This year, back to Arizona, more boon docking at Alamo Lake with more interactions with the wild burros, canoeing and riding the ATV. Then mid March, off to Northern Florida for a family get together, her idea. I just smiled and said what time do we leave and you guys gave me directions...what a life style!!!  

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