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Old 08-18-2008, 06:49 PM   #1
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What motivated YOU to get that big-butt diesel pusher that turns peoples' heads as you drive your oversized carbon footprint around?

I know exactly what motivated me. My first, or should I say, my DAD's first RV. My Dad was born and raised on a farm and learned to be śresourceful' at an early age. Unfortunately we had to suffer through that resourcefulness while we were growing up. We had vehicles and contraptions that would make Rube Goldberg jealous. Had an old car that you were going to junk? Tom Sr. would take it and drive it, torn seats and all, for another 5 years. Have a wood fired-hot water heater (he was śgreen' before his time. I though he was cheap.)? Tom Sr. will take it.

One day, when I was about 5 years old, Dad convinced my Mom to let him buy a Sears arc welder. Not the kind you plug into the regular wall socket, but one you needed to plug into a 30 amp socket! Of course the wiring, though safe, was hobbled together in a cornucopia of various brands and sizes. Square D, Federal Pacific ľ all companies contributed to our power plant. Think of all the things he could build now.

Too young to know better at the time, I saw various components start to appear in the driveway (since we lived on a 50 ft. x 100 ft suburban lot, so did the neighbors). The back half of an old pickup truck. Scores of angle iron. Scraps of plywood. Piano hinges. Wire from points unknown. Gallons of orange Rustoleum (we'll get back to this later...)

Like one of those time-lapsed Disney films of a flower blooming, our ścamper' began to take shape ľ weekend after weekend. The flash of welding blinking out of the garage door. Local kids running by with hands over their eyes so they would not go śblind'. That distinctive hum of the arc welder and the crackling splatter. Angle iron welded to truck axle. More angle iron welded to the existing angle iron. Plywood walls. Beds make of plywood sheets. In a splurge of luxury, he had a custom canvas top made for it. After it was constructed, he proudly painted the whole thing --- ORANGE!

Like this Jed Clampett camper was not obvious enough. Now it had to resemble a construction cone on steroids!

My Dad might have been proud of his creation but his family was not. Although functional, it lacked any architectural or design features that would make it appealing to the masses. Unknown to me to this day is how he was able to convince the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles that this śthing' was safe to ply the roadways of the country.

I think our first trip was to Niagara Falls. Probably some kind of psychological defense mechanism prevents me from remembering the exact details. The faithful Country Squire station wagon chugged along with ścamper' in tow. As we drove, oh boy did we turn heads ľ but not for the right reasons... I saw genuine pity in the eyes of the families that passed us by.

As we settled in our campsite, I went off to the playground and quickly made friends with some of the boys. One boy asked me if I wanted to go back to his camper and we walked over to his site. As we rounded the corner, I saw śit'. A Winnebago Brave. Gleaming white aluminum (that was a śspace age' metal back then). Real windows. A real door. NO zippers. That distinctive notched front window that made it look like an alien spaceship (to a 5 year old). He took me inside and I was engulfed by wood paneling. A kitchen. Running water. This was heaven.

When my friend suggested we go check out MY camper, I was mortified. I got light headed. Everything was tinted ORANGE. I needed to go outside for fresh air. Quick thinking. Quick thinking!

"Naw, we better go back to the playground. I think my Dad is taking a nap."Ł

I quickly ditched my new friend and slunked my way back to the śwrong side of the tracks'. Back to the world of peeing into a jar in the corner (what were my parents thinking?) and zippers that never closed well enough to keep out every mosquito.

So next time you're driving down the road looking down at some kid with his nose pressed up against a car window, give a smile and a wave. You may be playing a role in that kid fulfilling a dream.
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'17 Winnebago View 24V, '02 R-Vision B+
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Old 08-18-2008, 06:49 PM   #2
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Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Florida Keys
Posts: 2,163
What motivated YOU to get that big-butt diesel pusher that turns peoples' heads as you drive your oversized carbon footprint around?

I know exactly what motivated me. My first, or should I say, my DAD's first RV. My Dad was born and raised on a farm and learned to be śresourceful' at an early age. Unfortunately we had to suffer through that resourcefulness while we were growing up. We had vehicles and contraptions that would make Rube Goldberg jealous. Had an old car that you were going to junk? Tom Sr. would take it and drive it, torn seats and all, for another 5 years. Have a wood fired-hot water heater (he was śgreen' before his time. I though he was cheap.)? Tom Sr. will take it.

One day, when I was about 5 years old, Dad convinced my Mom to let him buy a Sears arc welder. Not the kind you plug into the regular wall socket, but one you needed to plug into a 30 amp socket! Of course the wiring, though safe, was hobbled together in a cornucopia of various brands and sizes. Square D, Federal Pacific ľ all companies contributed to our power plant. Think of all the things he could build now.

Too young to know better at the time, I saw various components start to appear in the driveway (since we lived on a 50 ft. x 100 ft suburban lot, so did the neighbors). The back half of an old pickup truck. Scores of angle iron. Scraps of plywood. Piano hinges. Wire from points unknown. Gallons of orange Rustoleum (we'll get back to this later...)

Like one of those time-lapsed Disney films of a flower blooming, our ścamper' began to take shape ľ weekend after weekend. The flash of welding blinking out of the garage door. Local kids running by with hands over their eyes so they would not go śblind'. That distinctive hum of the arc welder and the crackling splatter. Angle iron welded to truck axle. More angle iron welded to the existing angle iron. Plywood walls. Beds make of plywood sheets. In a splurge of luxury, he had a custom canvas top made for it. After it was constructed, he proudly painted the whole thing --- ORANGE!

Like this Jed Clampett camper was not obvious enough. Now it had to resemble a construction cone on steroids!

My Dad might have been proud of his creation but his family was not. Although functional, it lacked any architectural or design features that would make it appealing to the masses. Unknown to me to this day is how he was able to convince the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles that this śthing' was safe to ply the roadways of the country.

I think our first trip was to Niagara Falls. Probably some kind of psychological defense mechanism prevents me from remembering the exact details. The faithful Country Squire station wagon chugged along with ścamper' in tow. As we drove, oh boy did we turn heads ľ but not for the right reasons... I saw genuine pity in the eyes of the families that passed us by.

As we settled in our campsite, I went off to the playground and quickly made friends with some of the boys. One boy asked me if I wanted to go back to his camper and we walked over to his site. As we rounded the corner, I saw śit'. A Winnebago Brave. Gleaming white aluminum (that was a śspace age' metal back then). Real windows. A real door. NO zippers. That distinctive notched front window that made it look like an alien spaceship (to a 5 year old). He took me inside and I was engulfed by wood paneling. A kitchen. Running water. This was heaven.

When my friend suggested we go check out MY camper, I was mortified. I got light headed. Everything was tinted ORANGE. I needed to go outside for fresh air. Quick thinking. Quick thinking!

"Naw, we better go back to the playground. I think my Dad is taking a nap."Ł

I quickly ditched my new friend and slunked my way back to the śwrong side of the tracks'. Back to the world of peeing into a jar in the corner (what were my parents thinking?) and zippers that never closed well enough to keep out every mosquito.

So next time you're driving down the road looking down at some kid with his nose pressed up against a car window, give a smile and a wave. You may be playing a role in that kid fulfilling a dream.
__________________

__________________
Tom and Katharine
'07 Winnebago Tour 40TD, 400hp Cummins
'17 Winnebago View 24V, '02 R-Vision B+
RVing for 19 years & 150,000+ miles
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Old 08-20-2008, 06:57 PM   #3
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What a great tale! Made me smile. Do you have photos?

This is what got Rick started. His family took a lot of trips in the Aljoa. My family tented and later had a truck and camper.

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Old 08-23-2008, 07:30 PM   #4
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Thanks for the photo's! They're great!
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Old 09-30-2008, 07:33 PM   #5
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This guy did a MUCH better job than my Dad in building his camper.

Check out his YouTube video:
Build a 5th Wheel

However, I would have preferred an ORANGE color scheme.
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'07 Winnebago Tour 40TD, 400hp Cummins
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RVing for 19 years & 150,000+ miles
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Old 10-01-2008, 01:51 AM   #6
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I come from the same side of the tracks, but less creative stock. My family's idea of a "vacation" was to drive 500 miles to stay a week with family - usually to their chagrin. And "camping" never was an utterance in our household - I even failed that Boy Scout merit badge.

My introduction to anything that might be considered RV'ing came from a 30+ year involvement with amateur automobile racing. When I got started, a state-of-the-art tow rig consisted of a station wagon with a single-axle trailer. Nowadays, the paddock area at an SCCA race would make the FIA factory teams of a generation ago jealous - but I digress.

After racing a few years with an open trailer and a canopy we decided to go with an "enclosed" trailer. My DW boldly pronounced that if we were building a trailer, it would have a full living quarters in it. (In all fairness, this is a nice touch; drink a beer after the race and don't have to worry about how to get to motel, get an extra hour's sleep a night, place to change clothes, etc. - not a bad idea.)

However, we soon discovered that this was leading-edge technology. 40' "toyhaulers" that
could handle a full-sized car, grenerator, compressor, a ton of tools, etc - plus a LQ - just did not exist. We were pioneers. We also had a penchant for spending large amounts of money doing things over when they didn't work right the first time. But - we became, whadd'a'ya call 'em . . . "experts".

After numerous near-disasters with trucks, brakes, tires, hardware, etc. . . we found out what DIDN'T work - and luckily, what did. Our second endeavour - the '01 UC we still have, was the culmination. Is it perfect? No - but if we'd done a 3rd on, it would have been.

As the fates would have it, my health deteriorated to the point where I was no longer able to pilot a race car. But we were still part of the game, and the club is our "family".

We kept the race rig (just in case, yeah . . .), and bought a DP. After 2 years with it, and learning the ropes again (who not to trust, who builds junk, who stands behind their product, etc.) we traded it for a newer, bigger one. Also, circumstances had changed, and we could get a MH larger than 32' in our yard.

4 years ago, I was blessed with the ability to retire - and my DW followed a year ago. We still have the "big motorhome" and take it to races and on some destination trips. We built another trailer for it - a 24' with a mini-LQ (1/2 bath, A/C, cots) - so we could provide "free" lodging to some of the volunteer workers who help make the races happen (bet you thought they got paid, didn't you). We take one of our 3 "street" vehicles with us, in it - kind of a "super toy hauler" depending on what we plan to do outside the race venue.

Fuel prices being what they are, and our travel plans being as extensive as they are, we decided the big Vectra was not practical for our continental tour plans (the entire country over the next 4 years). The advent of the new Sprinter-based units provided our next impetus. We bought a 24H View, with the intention of putting about 200K miles on it, and saving enough in fuel to more than pay for it!!

If you see us somewhere, drop by, and I'll pour you a cool glass of "Chateau du Box!!.
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