RVs We Have Loved…
1. Mallard Travel Trailer:
Our RV history goes back to 2003 when we bought our first RV, this Mallard travel trailer. At the time we had a Chevy Trailblazer and we wanted to test the RV life with a travel trailer. The trailer was a 1998 25′ Mallard tandem axle. By motorhome standards it was quite primitive, but we didn’t want to spend big bucks on a more expensive RV ’til we knew we liked RVing.
This is the only photo we had (’til recently) of the travel trailer, such as it is, taken at a rest area in Oregon where we spent that night. (Were we ever really that young?!) We haven’t been without a RV since!
I was not fond of all the work involved with a travel trailer. The hand cranked levelers were work, the hooking up and dropping was work. We had to stop every 100 miles to add gas. We liked the traveling, but it was not very convenient.
We pulled the trailer once to Colorado and visited the Grand Canyon as we returned home, then once to Oceanside to see the kids, and once to Oregon to visit my buddy Al. We learned quickly that RVing was for us, especially me, and I wanted something better.
…and then, 16 years later, my dear Wifey was sorting through some old hard copy photos and came across a couple photos of our Mallard trailer. Here’s a photo of the whole Mallard trailer. (Even so, I’m leaving the first photo in place because it’s a nice reminder that we were once so young!)
2. Ol’ Rex:
We traded the travel trailer in on a nearly new Class A coach, a 2001 Rexhall, still in 2003. She was 31′ long and we loved her! When we bought her, she had just 4900 miles on the odometer. When we sold her to our friends Rich and Juanita in Oregon in the summer of 2012, she had reached 100,000 miles!
We enjoyed many grand adventures aboard Ol’ Rex, including my solo “Grand American Loop” which took me east to Florida, north to Maine, west to Washington, and south to home.
Here’s Ol’ Rex in 2003, our Rexhall when she was nearly new. We put almost 100,000 miles on her. Here I pose proudly with my lovely Trail Buddy and wife, Lavonne, shortly after we purchased our first motorhome!
She pulled my various boats during the years we had her. Here she sits on the ramp at Wallowa Lake near Joseph, Oregon. My old high school buddy, Al, and I had one of our best fishing adventures together during that trip back in 2011. That adventure is here.
3. Big Blue:
We then bought the 2006 Itasca Sunova that became known as Big Blue. During the three years we owned her, up to June of 2015, we put on about 25,000 miles. She was a fine Winnebago motor home, and was very comfortable.
Our Itasca Sunova when we first bought her…
She had a very comfortable interior. Click to enlarge the following photos (You can then scroll down a bit and click on “View full size” for a larger photo. Click again for a huge photo.):
Her stick-on graphics were getting pretty old and worn, so I decided to have her painted. I chose some green colors I thought I would like……but the finished product was just awful! Those colors turned out to be aqua, and I simply could not live with them. The new paint had to go!
So… I had her “wrapped” in vinyl, a fairly common procedure often seen on trucks and other commercial vehicles.
…and after the “vinyl wrap” she became Big Blue! The initial vinyl wrap was an awful experience because of the wrapping outfit I chose. But with a lot of extra effort and money spent elsewhere to fix their lousy work, she came out pretty nice. That mis-adventure and many photos of my frustrations are here.
Big Blue made for a very dependable and comfortable RV and we put quite a few miles on her for the time we had her. But after we bought the diesel coach, we sold her to another couple who I trust have enjoyed her as much as we did.
4. Cecil the Diesel:
The diesel itch was getting pretty severe. Although Big Blue had been an excellent coach for us, I wanted the improved air ride and greatly improved fuel efficiency of a diesel. I’d been looking for over a year when I found my dream motorhome, a 2004 Winnebago Journey 32T, about 150 miles away. I plopped down the money the day I saw her and never regretted it. She was so comfortable, so efficient, and so beautiful, too.
Here we pose with our Cecil the Diesel shortly after we purchased her.
Cecil the Diesel was my pride and joy during the short time we owned her. This is one of the rare photos that her actual colors reproduced correctly; for some reason digital photos did not capture her colors accurately very often. This photo was taken in Montana during one of our adventures.
She had a beautiful interior:
We bought her in March of 2015, and for about three months, ’til I sold Big Blue, we were the not-so-proud owners of two motorhomes!
She had a very serious, big-rig style instrument panel.
We put about 25,000 miles on her over the short time we had her, and drove her as far as Indiana. She was a fantastic ride. I could go almost 1000 miles between fill-ups because she had a large 90 gallon fuel tank and she used that fuel very efficiently. She rode splendidly with her air-ride suspension. And with that big diesel pushing from the rear, the ride was quiet and very pleasant. She was a beauty and I really enjoyed her!
In October of 2017 as we cruised along US50 in Kansas, heading for Graceland in Tennessee, we had a terrible accident. A fellow pulled his small van in front of us and we could not avoid a collision. He died at the scene and Cecil the Diesel was totaled. The story of that awful day is here.
October, 2017 and I kissed my beloved Cecil goodbye after the awful accident we had in Kansas. We were not at fault, and fortunately we were not hurt, but Cecil was totaled. The other driver died. What a terrible, terrible shame.
5. Big Blue II:
Taken June, 2019 as we backed out of Allen and Nancy’s driveway in Greenwood Village, CO and headed to Arkansas.
I never would have purchased another coach because Cecil the Diesel was so perfect for us. But when she was totaled in that awful accident in October of 2017, we had no choice. We were very blessed to have found our next coach, a 2005 Bounder Diesel. We bought her sight unseen from Ohio, and had her delivered. She was in as good of condition, in ways perhaps a bit better, than our beloved Cecil, but a bit larger at 34 feet long.
Big Blue II arrived at our home on November 16, 2017, the day this photo was taken. My hope since the accident was to have a coach for our usual trip to our son Craig’s home in Stockton for the family Thanksgiving Day feast, then on to my sister’s place in Gridley the day after…
…and I pose here during that Thanksgiving visit to Craig’s in Stockton.
Big Blue II came to us in wonderful condition, and longer by two feet than any of our prior coaches. Here is her very roomy living room.
Here the TV has been removed and replaced with a blackboard as I’ve done with all three coaches that had the TV in that position that made no sense. On the other coaches I relocated the TV down where it belonged. In this case, now that TVs are so yesterday, I didn’t move it lower, I just don’t have one. Now that everything is available online, we need only our hot spot and laptop computers.
Here are two views of the bedroom. She came with a very comfortable TempurPedic mattress, and after just one night aboard we were thinking seriously of buying one for our home bed, too – and eventually we did just that.
Diesel pushers almost always come with 22.5″ wheels, as do big rigs, and should have some serious wheels.
Note in the delivery photo that Big Blue II came to us with those chintzy stainless steel wheel liners while aluminum wheels were optional. They’re bright, sure, and most folks probably don’t even notice, but they simply don’t have the panache of aluminum wheels.
I missed the gorgeous Alcoa aluminum wheels that came with Cecil the Diesel. So these were added in April, 2018. I realize most folks would never notice the difference, but I certainly do! Big Blue II poses with her bright, new Alcoa aluminum wheels. It seems to me that a diesel pusher just ought to have polished aluminum rims – and now she does!