In my family there have been a series of Travco motor homes. Growing up,
had a 1971 270, which we later traded on a 1976 270. Great rigs both, and
we looked forward to having the five of us - often with an animal and an
extra kid - packed in for a few weeks at a time while we traveled the
continent. Based in Michigan, our rigs saw many trips to Florida and
Alabama, the East Coast, Ontario and Quebec, the furniture markets at High
Point NC, and more than a few summers parked at a nearby state park on Lake
Michigan where we'd enjoy a vacation near enough to home that Dad could work
during the day and save his vacation time for an extended Spring Break.
Harkening back to those fun family days, I recently purchased a 1972 270,
which I will be using as a dorm of sorts as I go back to school for the
first time in nearly 25 years. Caving in to sibling rivalry, by brother went
out and bought a 1970 270 just a couple weeks after I brought mine home.
The trip home with mine was more than a little adventurous, to say the
My rig had been sitting for several years, not being used for anything,
while the owner planned to "someday" restore it. When he finally realized
that wouldn't happen, I bought it from him. About an hour north of where I
picked it up in southern Indiana, it started to rain. Given the condition of
my wiper blades and the late hour, that was a bit of a deal to me, but as
long as it didn't rain hard we would be okay. Soon though, I realized my
lights were getting quite dim. This was a problem, considering it was now
about 9:00 PM on a Saturday.
I pulled off the road just north of Bloomington, and made sure it would be
okay to park for the night in the service station's parking lot. I had no
idea how we were going to get the rig fixed so we could get it home, but
that could wait for morning. We began our adventure of staying in my rig for
the first time, something we'd planned to do on the way home, but not under
these exact circumstances. Now without power, we pulled out our sleeping
bags and prepared to camp out for the night. I made a quick call to my
brother to let him know our plight before turning in.
During the night (keep in mind this was late January) it began to storm
something fierce. I swear the rain was coming down horizontally, and in one
continuous sheet rather than drops. I kept watching for an ark to float by,
and wondered just how water tight the rig was. Considering it could have
been snow, we were very grateful that it was rain. It was actually quite
warm out, much to our surprise and delight.
In the morning I hailed my brother again. He asked if we knew where we were,
and I told him when I looked back to the south I could see a sign indicating
Bloomington's College Avenue exit was a mile down the road. He told me to
turn around and face north. Could I see a road going off to the east? Indeed
I could. He told me that was the road that went to his friend Ken's house,
about two miles away.
Ken is the only person we know in Indiana. And Ken is very adept with
working on old Dodge motors.
After a couple phone calls, Ken came out with his tools to see if he could
get us back on the road. Remember now, it was Sunday morning, still storming
ferociously with winds in excess of 50 MPH, and we were in the middle of
Indiana with not much around us and a 34 year old motor home. I had visions
of spending a few more nights there while we tried to find parts.
Within a couple minutes Ken figured out that our voltage regulator had
failed, and probably took the alternator with it. Quick diagnosis, but where
were we going to find parts like that for a 34 year old rig, on a Sunday
morning? One phone call later, and we were on the way to a nearby parts
store that had the exact parts we needed, and for less than $40!
Now, remember the wind and rain? When we started working on the rig, the
rain stopped, and the wind dried out our work area very quickly. Being
underneath the rig we were sheltered well, and a truck parked next to us
acted as just enough of a wind break that we weren't uncomfortable at all.
When we set out to get the parts, the rain kicked up again, giving us
visions of working in a swimming pool when we got back a bit later. By the
time we got back, the rain had stopped and the wind had dried us out again.
Very cool! Considering that this was late January, the storm should have
been a blizzard of Biblical proportions, but we were very grateful that God
had seen fit to bless us otherwise.
Within a couple hours of the time we started working on the rig, Ken had us
back on the road and headed safely north again. We couldn't imagine having
all those pieces come together so well as they did. Anywhere else and we
would have been quite thoroughly stranded, and paying major bills to have
the rig fixed for us. Considering our tight finances, we were very grateful
this wasn't the case!
The rest of the trip home was fairly uneventful, and the rig is now being
prepared for full-time habitation by me and my entourage of five cats. I'm
sure there will be many more stories to come...
Shawn Keith firstname.lastname@example.org