With an unusually mild winter here in our part of Canada, Lorraine and I have started to think about bringing the Castaway out of storage.
We inspected the coach at our storage site just last week. I have been dropping by every six to eight weeks to check all the systems and to make sure that the batteries are topped up with distilled water. The coach looks great and the energy management system is working perfectly.
We are building our post-winterizing checklist for our coach which includes a service trip to our dealer, the Hitch House, in mid-April. We’ll be leaving the coach with them for a couple of weeks to do the service work as well as to perform the recall and a few other minor warranty items.
Our weather in February has been more like what we would expect to see in mid-March. Pleasant, spring-like conditions. It has us thinking about some of the wonderful memories we enjoyed on our coach from last year. One of our favourites was staying at the Petoskey Motorcoach Resort in the upper peninsula of Michigan, a beautiful resort property about a two-day drive from our home in Canada. The picture above was taken from that stay. We are going back to Petoskey again this year, although this time we will be staying at Hearthside Grove.
We are hoping that our home finally sells this year. We have had it on the market since last March. I had expected somewhere between a year or two to sell the property. It is a wonderful home but it is an expensive country estate which narrows down the pool of potential buyers considerably.
When the house does sell, we will finally begin the process of getting ready to do a lot more travelling with our coach. We are quite anxious to make the transition to our new life. It may take another year or so.
Somewhere along the I-4, between Tampa and Orlando, sits this monument to Airstream Trailers. A bit of a twist on the concept of Stonehenge.
From Atlas Obscura:
Frank Bates, the owner of a nearby RV dealership, envisioned Airstream Ranch as a tribute to the iconic company’s 75th anniversary. He was inspired by the similar Cadillac Ranch installation in Amarillo, Texas which consists of a row of the classic cars sticking out of the ground in the same fashion. The Airstream Ranch sees eight silver bullets of the open road jammed into the earth at an angle not unlike a chromed out set of giant’s dominoes. Thousands of visitors frequent the attraction each year to marvel at the odd automobiles, but not everyone is so tickled.
This display of old Airstream Trailers was put together in 2007 near Bates’ RV dealership in Dover, Florida. He has a dealership near some of our family in Venice, Florida
The Airstream Ranch is now being dismantled. Might be able to pick up a used Airstream for a pretty good price.
We just received our copy of Family Motor Coaching magazine and they have, on the front cover, a photo of a 2017 Newmar King Aire. A bit unusual for a magazine cover, the King Aire was decidedly in need of a wash on the outside. Lots of dirt visible particularly on the tires.
The King Aire goes for more than a million dollars here in Canada so it is a decidedly serious investment in a motorhome. A cool half million more than our Castaway.
When I look at some interior shots between the King Aire and the Castaway, I’m not thinking that there is a significant difference on the surface between the two motorhomes.
This is our interior:
And a somewhat similar angle in the King Aire:
But there are a lot of differences between the two coaches.
I love the glass console in the King Aire — the Silverleaf electronic dash — as well as the new Total Vision system which offers a 360-view of the coach. I have something similar on my car. It provides a bird’s eye view of your vehicle which makes it very, very easy to park.
All the flat panels are 4K with Bose providing the sound support. The King Aire comes with a huge 200-gallon tank. It is built on the Spartan K3 chassis with a Cummins ISX 600-horsepower engine. The engine features the new Cummins Connected Diagnostics System, a feature that allows the engine to communicate directly with Cummins and allow them to initiate customer contact in the event of a fault code. I really wish we had that feature on our coach.
A brand new 2016 Dutch Star 4369 caught fire last September. And now we know why:
Fortunately we have had our coach in storage since October. Newmar had an erroneous postal code for our address and we only just received the notice in the mail last week roughly 6 weeks after the date of the recall notice.
Thank heavens we were not traveling south with the coach this year. Despite the number of “coulds” in the recall notice above, a coach did catch fire. If we were snowbirds, we would have been on the road extensively during the latter part of 2016. Our coach could have caught fire.
We have booked our service appointment for when we take the coach out of storage in April.
I am a wee bit concerned about the 4-hour drive to the dealer from the storage facility. We are going to check with Newmar and Freightliner to confirm if the coach is safe to drive that distance with this defect.
I guess there is more than one Basecamp on the market. Airstream has one. And Swift has one.
Swift makes their RVs in the United Kingdom. I don’t believe that they are available in Canada. They have, however, decided to enter the Australian market.
As always, I find the clever use of space very interesting. And the next few photos show just how much, or how little, space can be used to full effect in a compact area.
Swift offers the Basecamp with 13 exterior paint treatments. And many of the onboard systems can be controlled via a smartphone, something, I might add, that cannot be done with our big Class A machine.
You can find their Facebook page here.
We did not go to the Toronto RV show this year.
It is probably Canada’s largest show at roughly 350,000 square feet of exhibition space. The Tampa RV SuperShow and the Hershey RV Show both weigh in at over 1 million square feet of exhibition space. Very different experience as those two shows are large, outdoor events with a huge inventory of product. The Toronto show is indoor with a limited supply of product.
When we last went out, there were only a handful of Class A coaches. And by a handful, I mean less than a few dozen. Newmar does not show there. American Coach does not show there. No Prevost coaches from Marathon. Or from any one else. Sicard RV shows up with a few nice coaches as does McPhail’s but that is pretty much it.
Lots of fifth wheels and trailers though. Unlike the boom in RV sales in the States, Canadians are not feeling that optimistic about our economy. RV sales, particularly in the Class A segment, are not surging. Partly due, of course, to the low Canadian dollar. U.S. products are really expensive in Canada.
I did get some highlights from the Toronto RV show and one small trailer caught my eye, the Little Guy T@G Max:
This is a teardrop camper trailer. This style of camper emerged after the second World War. They were made of materials obtained from surplus markets — the skin was made from the wings of decommissioned bombers, the wheels from decommissioned military jeeps. Today, the materials are no longer military surplus. And the design is obviously very compact.
Great use of space though.
Get to the chopper was a line used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie “Predator”.
I just did not ever expect to see one on top of an RV.
Furrion’s vision is a bit ambitious: to make the future perfect.
Today, our mission is to reinvent luxury living for a new generation, helping our customers escape the constraints of everyday life and live a future of limitless possibilities.
It is this clear, idealistic vision that drives everything we do. Creating perfection isn’t easy, but we’ll never stop trying.
This video gives a walkthrough of the Elysium coach by Furrion. I somehow doubt that I will ever see one on the road.
It is a big show, the Tampa RV SuperShow. And some of my family attended the show this year. They even sent us photos in front of what appeared to be a Newmar Dutch Star like our Castaway.
The Tampa Bay Times carried an article which predicted a big turnout, over 70,000 attendees.
For industry representatives like Alonso, this year’s event is shaping up to be a record breaker.
“Ever since Trump won the election, people are going crazy spending money,” Alonso said.
The event has pulled in about 63,000 people for the past two years. If the weather holds up, Dave Kelly, head of marketing for the Florida RV Trade Association, has set the ambitious goal of 70,000 attendees.
The gate was 70,528.
From RV Business:
In fact, each of the first four days set an attendance high compared to past years which, despite a Sunday (Jan. 22) storm that brought rain and wind to the show’s Tampa-based venue, resulted in an overall gate of 70,528 people – a total that eclipsed 2015’s record of 63,264 by 7,264, according to Lance Wilson, president of the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA).