When Dawn and I decided we wanted to do the RV thing for 4 to 5 months, we started thinking about the amenities. We love our boat; it’s very functional with our lifestyle. Dawn goes to bed early and I usually stay up pretty late. In order to make this work we knew we’d need a dedicated bed, separate from the living area of the motorhome so she could sleep and I could read, work on projects, research, play with the HAM Radios, etc. In addition to that we also really wanted a separate shower stall. We don’t have a wet bath on the boat and we prefer this. Given the right motorhome this probably would not have been a deal breaker, but it was a definite preference. That was it for living requirements really. As for the rig itself, we wanted something pretty easy to drive and small enough to get into older parks, so we ruled out anything over 30 feet and we were looking primary around the mid 20 foot range.
We also have a passion for all things vintage, and minimalist. We also believe strongly in community. For us this meant we really wanted a funky vintage RV. We also wanted one with a strong owners group, selfishly for our own help, but also so we could return the favor over the long haul and help others.
Searching for the RV happened exclusively via http://Craigslist.org using http://SearchTempest.com. On Craig’s List you can only search on city at a time. Search Tempest let’s you define your search across as many Craig’s List cities as you want. We started searching Oregon and Washington, but as time went on we realized we didn’t need search the entire NW, and Puget Sound was good enough, which still requires Search Tempest to do the search easily.
We spent about a week visiting 1970’s eras Winnebagos. We LOVE these. The boxy style is gorgeous, and some of the layouts of the \~25 foot Braves and Chieftains are really awesome. This was our initial target and we saw some great rigs, but ultimately they all required more work to be ready to do a big trip then we were willing to do. Along the way we also had some great stories.
We called one owner who we knew had a late 70’s brave with the entire interior disassembled and needed to be reinstalled. We talked to him on the phone and he went over this again. We asked him, if the exterior was tight, waterproof, no rot, etc. He said, “Totally.” We went to see it and there was a 1 foot by 6 inch hole in the roof where a vent should have been and rain was pouring into the RV. A lot of people love their RVs and can’t see the warts I guess. ;-)
After about a week of looking we felt the clock ticking. We gave up on the vintage Winnebagos and expanded our search to other years and body types within our price range. This led us to finding a 1991 25 foot Winnebago Chieftain on a Chevy 6.2L Diesel chassis. We’re attracted to the diesel because we work on them all the time on the boat. The layout is great with an aft double bunk, dedicated shower, and convertible dinette table. This rig lacked the vintage styling we wanted but it has the benefits of having more modern systems and a very roomy layout for its paltry 25 foot length.
Right now she’s at the mechanic and we’re expecting that to finish up any day now. I’ll explain all that in a future post.