There was a thread started by another forum member a few weeks ago discussing older coach remodels/modifications and I didn't have any digital pictures of our past rigs. Last night I had my son scan some pictures of our past RVs and decided to start a new thread rather than dilute the other thread. My wife and I were blessed and started camping and then RVing early in our married life. When our son came along he just accepted it as normal because he didn't know any different right from birth. He has always traveled by way of some form of RV and all of our family activities have revolved around enjoying the outdoors and some form of motorsports. My wife and I didn't come from families that did this but we learned quick.
We perform and have performed ALL of our own repairs, modifications and upgrades which I find almost as fun as using our RV's.
I know technically not a motorhome but this was our first RV. We bought the 1988 Ford F250 after my wife and I were married. The truck was totaled and I rebuilt it in 1991 just after purchasing our new home. In 1992 we bought our first RV, a 10 1/2' Northland camper with the lengthwise queen bed over the cab. It was a 1990 model and I did some work for a guy who owned a car lot who took it in on trade and didn't want to deal with a camper. I traded some work on various cars on his lot for the camper. We agreed on a $3500.00 price so I worked off that much in parts and labor for him. Turned out to be a great deal and a great friendship emerged.
The camper was in immaculate condition with very little use. However, the brown/beige two tone stripes on the exterior had to go. I had some leftover paint from when I rebuilt the truck so I color matched to camper to the truck.
Here is a picture of just after painting the camper and loading it for its' maiden voyage.
First trip out with the new setup, wife's family reunion. Needless to say although a small RV, we were hooked.
By the following year I had also purchased a wrecked 24' enclosed trailer to haul our toys to the sand dunes. I needed some extra carrying capacity so I converted the F250 to a dually and painted to match. I also had to fabricate an extended hitch to tie into the frame of the truck in which could handle the tongue weight of an enclosed trailer full of sand toys.
Washed up in the driveway before heading out. Sorry, I don't have any pictures of the trailer hooked up to the truck/camper in my photo album. Stupid me, it was quite a sight.
We owned the truck camper for several years and thoroughly enjoyed it, although it was small, even for a family of three. We didn't travel long distance with it as we mainly used it for weekend getaways and sand duning but it fit our budget at the time. We enjoyed listening to my aunt/uncles stories about traveling in their motorhome (1976 FMC) and thought maybe someday. We went snowmobiling with them one weekend and the motorhome bug bit us and bit us hard. We immediately went into save mode to acquire a motorhome.
In 1995 we fell into a great deal on a 1984 30' Travelcraft on the GM P30 chassis. The gentleman we bought it from belonged to my aunt/uncles' motorhome club and he had lost his wife about three years prior and the Travelcraft had just sat. It had been neglected and was in desperate need of some TLC. Friends thought we were nuts due to its age but it had character and was extremely well built despite its' age. It was really ahead of its' time, it had the larger 6500 watt Onan genset, one piece fiberglass roof, water tank up inside the closet (heated), blender built into the counter and a very luxurious looking wine cabinet, not that the wife and I drank but it looked cool and high tech. He made us a good deal and we commenced on remodeling/modifying the coach to suit us and off we went on our journey.
I went through the coach bumper to bumper and got it current on all maintenance related issues such as all fluids, filters, replaced tires and fixed the many little things that needed attention. I also did some transmission upgrades, Doug Thorley Tri-Y headers, full tune-up including re-curving the distributor and rebuilding and fine tuning the carburetor. We drove the coach for a full season and fell in love with it, prior to the second RV season starting I promised the wife I would do some cosmetic upgrades to brighten it up and bring it more current. The sidewalls were holding up very well as they were aluminum skinned and painted with automotive paint. The endcaps however, were gelcoat and no matter how much I buffed them, they would die back and loose their gloss. The bottom section also had some bumps and bruises that needed attention.
I painted both endcaps and the bottom section with PPG basecoat/clearcoat urethane and it turned out great. Much easier to keep looking good. I also installed a Gear Vendors Overdrive unit for the second season and after driving it I realized that should have been one of the first modifications done. It made highway driving so much more enjoyable. We met some people who we started taking extended road trips with and this was the start of our long distance RVing. We traveled around most of the western U.S. and parts of Canada with this coach and either towing our 24' enclosed trailer or flat towing our Jeep Cherokee until 2000 when we sold it and upgraded to our first DP.
Here are some pictures of our Travelcraft undergoing its' external remodel/refresh. Sanded and getting ready for paint.
I was able to match the maroon color pretty good but I couldn't match the gold strip so I ended up repainting the gold all the way around as well as the bottom section which was faded to more of a "pinkish" than a maroon by now.
Bottom section. I even painted the generator door to tie it all in with the bottom.
Buffed/polished and reassembled. Almost ready to hit the road.
The wife and I then decided to tackle the interior. Out with the dark maroon and woven wood shades.
In with the newly upholstered interior and vertical 3" blinds. I had an upholsterer who had done several street rods/customs for us over the years and he was very adamant that he does not work on RV's but he agreed to recover the furniture if I were to remove it and bring it to him and not tell anyone. He also covered the valances over the blind tracks that I fabricated from wood.
Continued into our next coach, 1991 Beaver Contessa, immediately following.