Sunday, June 3, 2007

Let me know...

Feel free to let me know how I've done on my first blog! I look forward to hearing from you.

Lathaniel

My Travco Motorhome

This is about my 1971 Dodge Travco 270 Motorhome on a Dodge 413. It is a brief story of how I found her abandoned in a field where she had been left to rot for about 15 years and how I brought her home with the help and love of several friends and how we all brought her back to life.

Yeah! The Bathroom is Now Finished!

For those of you who have been following my blog remember I hadn't had the bathroom finished yet...well, it's done. The pictures and description located in the main blog. At this time we are also waiting to have the starter replaced as the coach is not starting at all now. In addition we will also have a tune up performed. Hopefully this will prevent the coach from stalling when transmission is engaged in drive. Thanks for looking at my blog.

THIS IS THE STORY OF MY 1971 DODGE TRAVCO

THIS IS THE STORY OF MY 1971 DODGE TRAVCO
The Travco (Blanch) after her first bath in 15 years

Hey, Welcome to My World!

Hey, Welcome to My World!
Me stepping out of my 1978 Cruise Air in 1997

About Me

My Photo
Denver, Colorado, United States
Some of you may remember me from my previous Blog, http://travcomotorhome1971.blogspot.com/, well I'm back and with a coach built by a company that bought out Travco. I grew up in a small town called Lima, Ohio. Graduated in 1988 from Bath High School. Participated in Marching Band, Drum Corps, Winter Guard in the Rifle Line. I love reading and writing, movies especially the classics with Betty Davis and Joan Crawford (yes, I'm family). I now live in Denver, Colorado after living for about 10 years or so in Flint, Michigan. I love Denver and it's many seasons in one day, it's great. I am an RV fanatic and I cannot even attempt to try to put into words my love of the RV lifestyle as well as my love of vintage and classic motorhomes. I am now on my 12th coach. I hope you enjoy just a peek into my world and my newest motorhome, a vintage 1978 Foretravel Motorhome on a Dodge 440. Enjoy and welcome!

My 1971 Dodge Travco 270 on a Dodge 413

I fell in love with the Dodge Travco motorhome many years ago when I'd seen my first one down the street from a friends house sitting there looking like something out of a Sci-Fi movie. What makes matters worse is that it was for sale. At that time in my life I was unable to obtain one or any one for that matter at that time. Now, here I am, 9 motorhomes later with one of my own. I love the construction of the coach first and foremost. It's all steel. For those of you who have ever owned a motorhome, construction should be your most important inquiry before purchasing. I'm talking to all of you who even own a new one. I've worked for many RV dealerships in the service and warranty departments. I've seen upclose and personal how yours are built. You may not like the look of a vintage Travco, but trust me, hands down, you will never find one better built. It is truly framed in steel first, then the fiberglass shells placed over that. Not walls made in a press then screwed in. It is quite litterally what Motorhome Magazine calls it, a tank built by Dodge Motors to be a motorhome from the chassis up to the Roof ACs. This Travco and it's life previous are still yet a mystery to me. However, I am going to find out who had it and thank him for his extreme care of the vehicle until what ever circumstances prevented him from finishing what he started. He took care to winterize this coach in such a way as I've not seen in a while. Not only did he winterize the coach by removing all water from the lines, but he then disconnected the lines from the sinks, shower and toilet making sure no water was in the lines. For this reason and this reason alone, after over 15 years of this coach sitting, the water system works perfectly. Not a single leak can be found anywhere. In addition, the furnace, frig and stove works like new. The upholstery is like new as is all the cabinetry and windows. This coach was a prayer answered just in time for me. For that I thank God and the previous owner. When we found her sitting there in that field all alone and decripit I knew then I had to have her and I also knew it would take alot of time and effort to get her back to where she wanted to be. She is now just one month away from seeing what freedom on the road feels like. We've made great strides in the restoration of this coach. Feel free to take a step inside of our trials and errors to the finished product. I owe a great deal of thanks to my friends John and Carl for thier never ending support with the restoration of this coach as well as Greg and Carl for allowing me to keep it in their driveway while the restoration took place. I'd also like to thank the neighbors who never once said a word while we make a mess of Greg and Carls front yard every weekend with parts, carpet, furniture and rebuilding debris scattered about. I'd also like to extend a heartfelt teary thank you to my parents. Not one time did they ever tell me I couldn't do it. Not one time were they ever negitive in my attempts to fullfill my dreams of attaining as many vintage coaches as I could in my lifetime. They have always remained my biggest cheerleaders. Both my parents hurt right along with me last year when I lost my previous coach to arson. They have been a great support and rock. A heartfelt thanks also goes out to John and Carl for all of their help in making this coach into what it is today. It's uterly fabulous. Both John and Carl worked tirelessly on turning a rotting 70s landbarge into an eye appealing breath of fresh air. Thanks you guys...all of you for making this possible. Thank you Lord for allowing me to see yet another coach and another day.

How I found her

How I found her
Her Grave! November 2006

How I found her

How I found her
In her grave!

How I found her

How I found her
There was alot of work to be done

How I found her

How I found her
There was no carpet any where

How I found her

How I found her
All carpet had been previously removed

How I found her

How I found her
She hadn't seen soap and water in 15 years

How I found her

How I found her
Wow...there is even a bed!

The journey home January 2007

I began a search for a new coach after my previous coach, a 1982 33ft Triple Door Allegro burned to the ground by arson or something. The police never really did say, but none the less it was a loss that I still feel to this day. She was my pride and joy and my tenth coach. That coach was just the second coach I had owened for over a year. I'd had it close to three years. A long time for me. You become incrediably attached to a coach after that amount of time. This coach too was home to me and John for close to a year. We had thought about fulltiming and thought it wise to first test ourselves by living in the coach full time in a wonderful campground here in Denver called Prospect Park. That coach felt like home. In many ways it was home.

After about two months or so, after I'd recovered from shock disappointment and anger I found the courage to move forward and begin a search for a new coach. It wasn't long after I saw a 1971 Dodge Travco 270 advertised on Craigs List for here in Denver. There she was in all her faded glory.

I had seen Travco motorhomes many times before on the road, in campgrounds or rotting away in someones field, but here was one for me. The price was hard to pass up, $1200.00 and the person selling it was kind enough to let me make payments on it until I paid it off. I thank him too.

January of 2007...she was paid off. Just three short months and she was now mine. Now...how do I get her from Longmont back to Denver, some 35 miles?

I will agree, that 35 miles isn't a long ways away, but upon beginning the moving the motorhome process, we immediately discovered there were no brakes. We learned quickly that there was no brake fluid. The coach did start right up though after my friend John, the mechanic through all this poured a bit of gasoline into the carb and we poured several gallons of gas into the tank. I'm not a mechanic type person and I was stunned that after 15 years it started.

To access the brake fluid, those of you that own a Travco know how difficult that is. We figured out a way with a baster and a hose attached to that. Upon getting it filled, we learned that we were going to have to pump the brakes to get them to work. Fine.

So, after paying the last of the installments, we started the coach and were on our way. First stop, the gas station up the street.

The coach performed very well to the gas station. We put in about $30 of gas and then began to head back to Denver.

Upon the first stop light things began to quickly go down hill. At the first stop light, in a busy intersection, the coach died and wouldn't start. It would turn over but wouldn't start. My heart fell into my lap and I could feel the tears begin to weld up in my eyes. The last time something like this happend was in my 1980 37ft Allegro Triple Door coach smack dab in the middle of 5 O'clock rush hour DOWNTOWN Denver. That was an experience I'd rather not have repeated. Thank God however that John and Carl were both in the car behind me this time.

John and Carl jumped out of the car when they noticed I wasn't moving and came to see what was going on. The engine wasn't getting gas or enough gas to keep it going at a stop. So, John decided he would drive the coach he knowing how to keep it running while at a stop. To do that, he had to keep his foot on the brake while keeping the gas pedal pressed down while at a stop to keep it from stalling.

Now, we were in the middle of the worse traffic I'd ever seen. John did a great job, however we were all seriously frustrated, nervous and scared and traffic was everywhere. The brake issue was scary and we almost hit a school bus while it turned in front of us and we were going about 40mph. After that shock we discovered that at 45mph there was the worst shimmy I'd ever felt in a vehicle in my entire 37yrs on this planet. The entire coach shook like we were in an earth quake.

We pulled over on the shoulder while the rest of the traffic flew by us at well over 65mph and after we picked up our teeth off the floor, said a couple of hail marrys, ventured out of the coach to see what could have happened expecting to see the worse. Carl, driving behind us in his car pulled over to all of us expecting one of the wheels to be practically off. It turned out that it was coming from the front drivers side due to an unbalanced tire. Whew!

Well, but this time we had only gone some 10 miles maybe and our nerves were completely done. Totally done! Both me and John were shaking badly and were now more afraid than ever. It would be one thing had we not just narrowly missed a school bus just a mile back but now this. No. We needed to stop.

We got back in the coach and decided to pull over in the next shopping mall and call it a day until the next morning. We found a mall just five more miles up the road, pulled over, got out and kissed the ground.

Upon stepping back and looking at her, even though we are going through hell now getting her back home (the cost of a tow from Longmont Colorado to Denver was out of the question) we knew she was going to be something special. Not one of us doubted I had made the right decision. I cannot tell you the gratitude and thanks I owe to both John and Carl for their dedication in the rebuilding of this coach, not to mention this drive home from her grave. It about sent us all to ours.

Carl had a friend just a mile further that agreed to let us park the coach there until morning. However this friend lived in a subdivision that had a book of CC&Rs about a mile thick and parking a vintage coach such as the Travco in his driveway was not appropriate. We found this out no sooner had we driven back to Denver with Carl with the coach in Carls friends driveway.

So, it was back up there we went. It was now dark and cold so we decided to park it yet again back in the parking lot of the mall we had stopped in the day before. All of us terrified to drive her any further. Keep in mind, the coach hadn't been registered or tagged or insured at this point. All I had was the title from the seller.

So, that night we let her sit. I remember looking back at her as we pulled out of the parking lot back to Denver to rest up for the early morning trip back out to the lot to retrieve her in the morning for the drive back to Denver. She looked so peaceful yet there was a hint of a grin on her face. As if to say, it's ok "Dad" I'll be ok. I need to rest anyways. I felt assured she would even though I hated leaving her there. But I couldn't ask John or Carl anymore favors that day.

The next morning, 4:30am we headed out back to get the coach from this lot. Me having not slept a wink. However, now...it was snowing. I don't mean a little bit of snow, but another one of the snow storms Denver had been plauged by in 2006/2007. One of the worst snow histories in Denver. When we got to the coach , we discovered that the battery was dead. We had no cables so we were off to find cables at 5am. After we got the cables, jumped the coach, got her started let her sit and idle for about 20mins., checked the brakes we were headed out. The windsheild wipers were not able to be used because the wipers were rotted from sitting on the windsheild for all those years. So, we were off.

This morning, the coach performed better than it had in the days previous. John had mastered the driving of the coach with the brake pedal and excelorator pedal and the coach did quite well on this day. It was freezing, snowing like a banchee and we were determined to make it home.

As we were driving though, much appreciation for the old coach was shown with every single driver that passed us the snowy mornng. People waved and smiled as we plugged along as if to give the motorhome the respect it deserves. Like seeing a senior make their way across a busy intersection, much respect is given. I had never noticed that before with other coaches, but this was amazing. Drivers of Dodge vehicles were the most entertaining. They would wave and smile frantically and point to the huge Dodge insignia blazened across the front of the coach. I loved it!

We made it home in one piece. Once we rounded the corner of my place were relaxed and fought back the tears. She was home! Thank God! We were home...at least for now.

The Coach made it home

The Coach made it home
The coach parked in front of my house after getting home finally!

Now the cleaning process begins.

As I mentioned before, this coach hadn't seen soap and water for 15 years and the dirt and dust that was everywhere was going to be a long process. We found old shirts, rags and whatever else could be used to wipe and clean, got some hot soapy water and began. We cleaned for close to six hours that day and had really barely made a dent. It was freezing out that day too and I hadn't checked a single coach feature like the furnace, or the stove, oven, frig or water system. I did plug the coach into the house, much to my suprise, the converter kicked on and after figuring out the fuse box, all the electrical outlets worked. So, I plugged in a small ceramic heater and in no time that little heater began to make it at least a bit tolerable in there while we cleaned, cleaned and more cleaned.

Just after we had cleaned

Just after we had cleaned
We had been cleaning for almost two days when I took this picture.

Just after we cleaned

Just after we cleaned
This picture taken shortly after the cleaning had begun

Just after we cleaned

Just after we cleaned
Picture taken shortly after the cleaning had begun

Moving the coach again...

We were able to keep the coach in front of my place for just several days before time came to move it to a more suitable place to begin it's restoration and transformation. My previous coach was parked across the street from my home and that's where it was burned down. I felt it not too smart to park this coach there too. So, I chose to move it to my friends Greg and Carls home and park it in their driveway. That is where has sat since January. When we got it to their house, the very first thing we did was wash it. Wow, the dirt that fell off of her was amazing. She cleaned up quite nicely on the outside. However, severe waxing will be done as the summer moves on. One we washed it we then backed it into their driveway where it sat and underwent it's transformation for the next six months.

The motorhome gets a shower

The motorhome gets a shower
John washing and scrubbing what he could off of the sides of the coach.

The motorhome gets a bath

The motorhome gets a bath
Now she can breath with all that dirt washed off.

The motorhome get a bath

The motorhome get a bath
John and Carl washing the coach.

A moment of Silence - Death by Arson - August of 2006

I wanted to take a moment of silence for the rememberance of my previous coach. My 1982 33ft Triple Door Allegro Motorhome built by Tiffin Motorhomes of Red Bay, AL. This coach had all of 24,000 miles on it. It was on a Chevy 454 Big Block, and at just a mere 23,500 miles had to have the entire top half rebuilt. We had spent over $5,000 for that. Then shortly after that the original frig went out and we replaced it with a new one at a whopping $1200.00. At the same time we replaced the frig we went ahead and replaced the original awning with a 20ft A&E for about $900.00. Both items were from Camping World here in Denver. The microwave was new too and one of my favorite features of that coach was the exterior pull out gas grill. An awesome feature for the vintage coach. One that ironically isn't seen much anymore at all. Go figure. She was one of the most pleasant coaches I'd ever owned. She was in a word, beautiful. We had done alot of work to her too. We had tastefully decorated her and it showed. Whenever anyone went in, they were amazed at how well she was taken care of an maintained. Let this be a warning to all of you who treasure your coach, your neighbors may not feel the same way. Keep her stored where you know your coach will be ok.

My 1982 33ft Allegro

My 1982 33ft Allegro
May she rest in peace! This is my actual coach Photo Shopped

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach
She was something special

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach
She was a beautiful coach

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach
She will go down as one of my favorite Coaches

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach
One of my favorite spots in the coach

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach
The rear queen bedroom, full wall of storage on the left and the side bathroom on the right. There was a back door from the bedroom of the coach.

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach
The exterior barb b que grill was used constantly. Far more than the oven or stove. Please note also, I had removed the hubcaps. I think vintage coaches always look best with their wheels showing. Painted a gleaming white.

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach

My 1982 33ft Allegro Coach
Her front end was hot too.

Now, back to work - February 2007

We began work on the interior of the coach and John began work on the mechanical parts of the coach. John began by removing the gas tank completely after all of the remaining gas had be siphoned out. He then cleaned the tank both inside and out, then painted the exterior with an automotive type black paint that was also rust resistant. He then cleaned the float device and we replaced part of that too. He then reinstalle that. Along with doing that, he also replaced the gas lines going to and from the tank along with the fuel pump located in that same general vacinity. He then replaced the fuel lines going to and from the fuel pump up front under the coach as well as the lines there too. The fuel line going to the carb was also replaced and a fuel filter in a clear glass housing was placed there as well so that we could be able to observe the condition of the gas going into the carb. At this point now, June 2nd, 2007 we have made reservations to have the carb taken off and rebuilt by a local carb shop for only $350. After that is done, then we will place on order our new 17.5 tires for the coach. We will order those from Discount Tire at roughly $100 a peace. Carl began to install the carpet in the coach. We removed the interior furniture (that could be removed - couch, and dinette) and he then measured and layed the carpet. I wanted a touch of color upon entering the coach, so we installed the same carpet on the interior facing wall, the wall behind the dinette booth. John and Carl felt that wouldn't look so good, but we went ahead and did it anyways. Now, neither of them don't think it looks good without it there. The carpet went from the driving area step up to the rear of the coach. The front area was reserved for something a friend of ours suggested. It was a suggestion we thought not so good at first. However, now that it's done, it was actually one of the best suggestions we'd heard yet.

Back to work

Back to work
John removes the gas tank

Back to work

Back to work
I begin the floor cleaning and prep before carpet padding then carpet can be laid down.

Back to work

Back to work
Prepping the floor, cleaning from under the couch

Back to work

Back to work
Carpet is laid, oh what a difference!

Back to work

Back to work
Carpet is laid, wow...makes a HUGE difference!

Back to work

Back to work
The wall they didn't want to cover...now isnt it hot?

This is me!

This is me!
This is during the heat of the renovations. The coach was thrashed and as a clean freak, if I didn't have a beer in my hand I don't think I could have handled it.

The driving and engine compartment - March 2007

This area of the coach by far took the longest. The recunstruction of the front enterior of the coach. There were wires exposed and insulation from where the previous owner had taken all the carpet out. We had to figure a way to put it all back together. One note though on the previous owner whoever he may be...he was very consious as to not throw anything away he may have removed from anywhere in the coach. The originial curtains I found in the closet folded nicely and put away. The panels for which the carpet would go on in the front of the coach were also in the coach as were screws, and many various other peices that went in various locations in the coach. In addition, every single piece of paper, buyers order, brouchures, instructions on everything in the coach, Dodge manual, parts ordering manual and the complete owners manual still in it's original binder were all neatly stored within the coach. Nothing, not a single thing was missing from this coach. Wow! However, when rebuilding the front area, it was a best, stressful. However, both John and Carl transformed that space into a work of art. It looks perfect!

The front area of the coach

The front area of the coach
John and Carl fitting the pieces together

The front coach area

The front coach area
Little by little the pieces all come together

The front coach area

The front coach area
John had to build an entirely new wall for each of the front interior sides for the carpet to be laid on.

The front coach area

The front coach area
The front is coming together

The step up area

The step up area getting into the driving compartment, that went through several ideas. However, it was Carls idea that we decided to go with. He had found some vinyl tiles that had all the color elements I wanted to go with in the coach. The burnt orange ( how 70s could you get?), the green of the upholstery and a hint of yellow I wanted to use as an accent color. He felt this would be a great thing along there because it would be inbetween the carpet and the floor (which we will discuss in a second) of the driving compartment. As it turns out, it was a great idea. He also used the same vinyl tiles in the entrance door step up as well. This same tile will be laid on the bathroom floor. More on that later.

The step up area

The step up area
Carls Idea really paid off

The floor of the driving compartment and dog house

Another one of our friends who didn't help with the work really, but had some great idea came up with the idea for the floor of the driving compartment. Greg is a long time friend of Carls and is a construction site supervisor and comes across many unique ideas as well as supplies. He found some very thick and extremly heavy rubber material he thought would be great to lay down on the floor of the driving compartment then covered with a thin rubber material that would make clean up a snap in that area. Those of us who have had many coaches in the past know what a pain it can be to keep the driving compartment floor clean. The rubber that went down first was about half inch thick, very heavy and supper duty. It won't be going anywhere anytime soon. That as laid down first and then the thin layer of rubber sheeting over that. What that also does is produce an amazing sound barrier from the engine while it's running. Great idea Greg! It then makes the front driving compartment visually "industrial" which is exactly what it is anyways. Carl thought the doghouse would be great looking covered in the same carpet used on the floor of the coach and the front walls of the driving area. That idea too turned out to be a great one. Although carpeting a doghouse...not an easy task.

The front doghouse and driving compartment floor

The front doghouse and driving compartment floor
The flooring was industrial, heavy and thick all rubber compound with a thin layer of rubber sheeting over that.

The floor of the driving compartment

The floor of the driving compartment
The floor takes shape

The doghouse

The doghouse
The doghouse finally covered after a lot of time and patience from Carl

The ceiling

Another area of the coach that was in bad bad shape was the ceiling. Those of you who have been so blessed as to obtain one of these vintage beauties have experience this too. The ceilings that were covered with a textured paper 37 years ago may have had to replace it. The ceiling textured paper was glued to the ceiling panels but over time, that glue no longer holds and the paper begins to fall down or bubble. That was the case with this coach. It was aweful and then too, it looked as if someone at sometime had just begin to peel it away never fixing it but leaveing an aweful looking eyesore. So, the long time tedious chore of peeling off the paper from the panels on the ceiling. Removing the panels was totally out of the question.

Peeling of the ceiling

Peeling of the ceiling
Carl and John removing the ceiling textured paper

Peeling the ceiling

Peeling the ceiling
Carl removing a large peice from the ceiling

Peeling the ceiling

Peeling the ceiling
The ceiling has been peeled

Replacing the ceiling

I found some rolls of automotive type headliner in Big Lots and we all agreed that would make a great ceiling covering material. However, we were all not in agreement that the color choice would be the best. After looking around for a while, couldn't find any other color best suited for a ceiling of a small coach, like white or something bright so went with the color that Big Lots had which at the time was a sort of very light brown. We used a contact cement to adhere this to the ceiling panels. We cut each piece to fit the existing panels, at least the parts that were exposed. Once this was done, then we didn't replace the aluminum trim that was once there, instead went with a 4" wood trim down the middle of the ceiling and smaller wood trim pieces coming off of that. After it was completed it sort of looked like the hull of a ship. It does look great though. A big difference from the original. It was a nice change.

Replacing the ceiling

Replacing the ceiling
The ceiling upon completion

Replacing the ceiling

Replacing the ceiling
The ceiling upon completion

The Bathroom

One of the areas of the coach that needed attention was the shower stall in the bathroom of this coach. The shower stall hadn't been well taken care of at all. It had many cracks in it as well as discolored to due lackof care and had been used for a storage area by someone at some point and it showed. For that Carl used a Fiberglass cloth and resin repair. After that sanded and buffed all that down. Then applied two layers of Krylon Paint in almond color, a plastic paint to the shower stall. It immediately brought the shower back to it's original look and shine. Removing and replacing the shower stall was completly out of the question.

Shower Stall

Shower Stall
This is after the fiberglass has been repaired and after the paint.

The Shower

The Shower
Need to find a handle to the shower faucet and are on the look out now for a shower head. All of these were removed by the previous owner when the coach was winterized 15 years ago. These are the only two items missing in the entire coach.

Bathroom Floor

The bathroom carpet had also been long removed from the previous owner and Greg our construction friend mentioned that it would be a good idea to put down vinyl floor first on top of the wood floor after we treat the wood floor. Then on top of that lay down the carpet, same as the rest of the coach and not tack it down so that it can be removed and cleaned. This was a good idea since cleaning the bathroom carpet in any coach is also a bit of a chore due to lack of space to even move around. As for the rest of the bathroom, the ceiling was done the same as the rest of the coach and other than accents, the bathroom was just fine. The wall paper panels in there was still after all these years, perfect.

Bathroom Floor

Bathroom Floor
Waiting to be prepped for the tile and then the layer of carpet over that.

The Bathroom

The Bathroom
Picture of the bathroom just after deep cleaning it.

Curtains

As you will notice in just about every picture are the curtains. These are the original curtains I found in the closet of this coach folded nicely and kept out of the elements. They were nere perfect in every way when I unfolded them, however, they are well dated and that's ok, but my sister is now currently making new ones to hang in the coach. The windshield curtains were no where to be found and the rear window curtains were left in place all those years and are falling apart. So, new ones for the entire coach are on the way. Those will be a mint green fabric with a hint of yellow thread through them and next to burnt orange the wee bit of orange thread in the fabric stands right out. This fabric is also rubber backed so will be great in cooler weather. Pictures to soon follow.

June 2nd, 2007

She is just about ready to hit the road now with a new lease on life. Our appointment for the carb rebuild is just a little less than two weeks away and the new tires two more weeks from that. Over the last week I've finally tested all the house systems. I waited so long because I was a bit nervous and scared at what I would find wrong or not working. To my dismay everything works perfectly. The water system including the electric water heater work wonderfully, no leaks. The furnace, after replacing the wall thermostat works wonderfully and is very quiet. The frig works nicely on electric, propane not tested yet. The stove works fine as well. It's all coming together nicely I must say. We have other areas to finish, to put the finaly details on like the carpeted wall needs to be trimmed in a wood trim, other trim areas as well. The exterior needs to be waxed several times with a buffer, and the rear ac in this coach will be removed and replaced with a 12volt ceiling roofvent/fan remote control to not only allow more light in back there in that hall way kitchen area of the coach, but to allow for more ventilation and air flow as well. You do not need two ACs in a 27ft coach. We also need to work on the running lights as most of them do not come on. This should be a very easy problem to fix. Having a single running light out is a major pet pieve for me. This coach also has a monitor panel in the kitchen area that for some reason doesn't seem to work as it should. I'm able to turn off and on the water pump but thats about it. So, stayed tuned as I will update with more pics and more information on what we've found and how we fixed it.

My 1971 Dodge Travco Motorhome

My 1971 Dodge Travco Motorhome
She, in all of her Glory

The origina Owners Manual

The origina Owners Manual
This is the original Owners Manual. Not a single page missing.

Owners Papers

Owners Papers
From the Owners Manual

Papers From the Owners Manual

Papers From the Owners Manual
Motorcade Newsletter from the owners manual.

Original Motorcade Sticker

Original Motorcade Sticker
There were two of these in the owners manual. Can you believe it?

Dodge Motorhome Chassis Manual

Dodge Motorhome Chassis Manual
This was also included in the owners manual

Books Saved

Books Saved
In all of my coaches I've always had a "library" and these were some of the books I was able to save from the fire of my previous coach. I carry them where ever I go. Always.

Dinette Booth flipped

Dinette Booth flipped
We wanted more floor space up front, so when no dinette is needed, the dinette seats are flipped around to make a couch.

The Bedroom

The Bedroom
This area once completed will be more like a day bed with lots of different shaped throw pillows. It is a very comfortable reading area.

Coach nearing completion.

Coach nearing completion.
Looking from the main couch to the front of the coach.

The coach Monitor Panel

The coach Monitor Panel
I guess it does work. After some tinkering behind the panel, noticed a wire or two loose. Tightened and we're back in business.

The Frig

The Frig
Yes, the frig works much to my and everyone elses dismay.

Chest of Drawers

Chest of Drawers
I don't know about anyone else, but storage is a big deal to me. I was stunned to see just how much storage this coach had. I dare say it has close to the amount I had in my 33fter. Even in the early advertisements for this coach, the couc and dinette seats make great storage areas. It's nice. The top of this chest of drawers so close to the kitchen ad just tons of counter space for food prep if needed.

Kitchen Area

Kitchen Area
I love this kitchen. It's very functional with the cabinets being so low and easily usable and there is alot of counter space.

Steering Wheel

Steering Wheel
The steering wheel is one of my favorites from that era too. The dash was filthy at one point. It took lots of cleaning with a toothbrush to get it at it all.

The Engine Name Plate

The Engine Name Plate
This is the engine name plate.

The Name Badge

The Name Badge
The name badge of this coach on the rear passenger side.

Lovely Coach!

Lovely Coach!
Such a great picture of such massive progress. It's hard to imagine anymore what she used to look like. Throw in some color and it's all good!

My 1971 Dodge Travco Motorhome - May 2007

My 1971 Dodge Travco Motorhome - May 2007
Her Interior After many months of work

All Windows Open

All Windows Open
The coach is relatively comfortable with all the windows open in the heat of the day. The bedroom I've noticed though gets just a little cross breeze through the little windows back there, this is where the new ceiling vent/fan will come in handy once it is put in in place of the rear AC.

Gregs Boat

Gregs Boat
Gregs boat sitting in his front yard waiting for the spot the motorhome is sitting in. Do you think he was dropping a hint? "It's done now move it!" Nah...he wouldn't say that would he?

July 29, 2007

Since my last update on this blog, alot has happened with this coach. The coach was last parked at my friend Carls home in another part of Denver while it was being restored since January of 2007. Early in July they moved to a different part of Denver, about 20 miles South. This was to have been the first time the motorhome had been driven since driving it home from purchasing it in January of 2007. We had the carb rebuilt at the end of June and upon putting the carb back on ourselves apparently hadn't tuned it correctly. This will be done here shortly where it sits now. The coach ran like a champ while sitting still, but when in gear it wants to stall. So, the day came when it was time to move the coach to the new house. I got as far as about two miles or so when she ran out of gas going uphill into a shopping center with a gas station which is where we headed anyways. After what seemed like forever getting the tank full enough for the motor to start with a gas can going back and forth to the gas station, I got her started and up to the gas station where we then put in $50 in gas. This should do it I thought. Nope. Again, once I engaged the coach into drive, she wanted to stall. After several attempts at this we felt it not safe to have on the road so I parked it there in the lot of this shopping mall. We then checked the filters to see if maybe material or matter had been pulled from the bottom of the gas tank and clogged the filters. We replaced the filter from the gas tank, it was clogged. We also replaced the ignition coil as this can sometimes be a cause as to why a Dodge coach will stall or not continue to run. When we went to start it again after replacing and changing all of this, keep in mind it is now about day two of it sitting there in that parking lot, the engine wouldn't turn over at all. The starter was fried. Done. At this point, we are trying to move into a new home, with just pick up trucks and this was indeed trying and nerve wracking in and of itself, so we decided to just have her towed to the new home. Day three the tow truck arrived and towed the coach to her new home in Englewood, Colorado just some 19 miles from where it was sitting at that shopping mall parking lot.

The Bathroom is Now Finished

The Bathroom is Now Finished
Awesome Orange Material used for the ceiling of the bathroom.

The Bathroom is Now Finished

The Bathroom is Now Finished
Excellent choice in material for the Bathroom ceiling.

The Bathroom is Now Finished

The Bathroom is Now Finished
The wall panels were my inspiration for the colors of the entire interior of the coach.

The Bathroom is Now Finished

The Bathroom is Now Finished
The floor turned out great. Same tile as in the entry way and driving compartment step up.

The Bathroom is Now Finished!

The bathroom was pretty much last on the list of things to do in the coach. It's such a small space that really only one person can be in there doing anything at one time. The floor, shower stall and ceiling were in desperate need of redo. Carl took on this project with vigor. The ceiling was redone in a really awesome looking and feeling material. It's very thin and easy to manipulate. When he showed it to me I screamed. It was fantastic. Once up it brightened that entire bathroom. It's a joy to go in there now. The floor of the bathroom was redone in the same lino tile that was used in the entry way into the coach and also used at the drivers compartment step up area. It really looks nice. The toilet had to be removed to put the lino down on the floor and this was a good thing since the neck and ring had to be replaced anyways at the base of the toilet. The shower stall was redone as mentioned before and repainted and looks like new. The flowered wall panels were in perfect condition and were actually the basis of my color choices for the entire interior of the coach. The bathroom cabinet, sink and storage areas were also in like new condition. For a such a small bathroom there is quite a bit of storage in there too. Nice.

Blanche Wouldn't start

Blanche Wouldn't start
Coach sitting in parking lot of shopping mall when tow truck arrived. Just look at that coach though...it's freaking HOT! I mean, take it all in, that is an awesome looking vehicle in every way imagineable. Simple yet extremly functionable.

Blanche wouldn't start

Blanche wouldn't start
Getting ready to two Blanche to her new home across town.

Blanche had to be towed

There is something a bit nerve wracking about having your vintage coach towed. I hate it. It had to be done due to money quickly running out while moving as well as no time to stop and work on a vintage coach. I was a bit nerved because the coach is still on its tires of 15 years cracked all to heck. However, once we rounded the corner of the street where the new house is I felt much more relaxed. The tow truck driver backed her into her new spot on this RV pad next to the new house. This tow only cost a wonderful $160. Not bad at all. It's usually that much just to hook up a motorhome to a tow truck.

Sitting in her new spot

Sitting in her new spot
At the new house on the RV pad next to the house.

Introductions

I'd like to take a moment to introduce everyone to you who are reading my blog.

Lathaniel

First off, there is me. The RV fanatic that got this whole vintage coach restoration thing in action to begin with. I couldn't help it, I saw the motorhome sitting in that vacant lot rotting away and had to have it. However, the resoration would not have happened with out the help of the two following people. I owe alot of gratitude and thanks to both of them.

Lathaniel

Lathaniel
Actually tent camping in June of 2007. Is he having fun with out his motorhome?

Carl

Carl did alot of interior work. He did the entire dog house and both he and John rebuilt and put together the front of the driving compartment. The floor of the driving compartment was done by Carl as was the bathroom. He, John and I did the ceiling of the coach. Carl was also responsible for laying the carpet and pad and he also went one step further by doing an amazing job with installing trim along the floorline around the carpeted areas. Alot of the interior polishing of the fiberglass was also done by Carl. Oddly enough, it had always been a fantasy of his to restore an old motorhome back to it's luster. He actually never thought that would ever happen...he hadn't me me yet. You've done a great job Carl. Thanks so very much for all of your help.

Carl

Carl
Carl standing while tent camping June of 2007

Carl

Carl
2007

John

I have known John for close to 12 years. He has always been mechanically inclined and had been an automechanic most of his adult life. He is also secretly an RV enthusiast having lived in several motorhomes and travel trailers throughout his adult life. Both he and I lived in my 33ft Allegro Triple Door motorhome for almost a year in a camp ground here in the Denver metro area. John assisted with any mechanical work that had been done. He had removed the gas tank from the coach, cleaned it out, repainted it and reinstalled it. He also replaced the fuel lines in various areas of the coach as well as all fuel filters. He uninstalled and reinstalled the rebuilt carb. He also helped with the installation of the carpeted panels on the front interior of the coach. He also taught us how to gain access to the brake fluid area of the coach. His idea with a baster helped in getting brake fluid into the chamber it goes int without breaking an arm to get to it. Thank you John for all that you have done with this coach.

John

John
John with us at the Drum Corps Championships in Denver with a rental coach I borrowed from B&B RV where I worked as rental agent.

John and Lathaniel

John and Lathaniel
This is exactly why I don't tent camp. Dirt under the nails. Just not acceptable. Darn it all, I wish the Travco were here.

How did I get started with my love for vintage and classic motorhomes?

My love of the RV lifestyle started way back when I was just a little boy. My grandfather had purchased brand new off the showroom floor a 1970 Islander Motorhome. I was just one year old at the time, but by four I remember tinkering around with my grandfather while he prepped the coach for trips. I loved hanging out with my grandmother and my mother every spring when they would make it a huge family deal cleaning, polishing and getting the motorhome ready for summer. When the day of the cleaning arrived, Grandfather would begin early in the morning prepping her for her first start. Checking fluids, tire pressure and all, then when it was time, he'd back it down their long driveway half way closer to the house and within eye range of all the neighbors and the "waking up the motorhome" process would officially begin. Neighbors would set out their lawn chairs up and down the street and watch.

Keep in mind this is the very early 1970s and motorhomes were EVERYWHERE and the love of the RV lifestyle was shared by alot of people even silently in lieu of the gas crisis.

Then after everything had been done (followed by a brief prayer blessing over the coach for the season) Granddad would then back it all the way down the driveway with the assistance of just about every neighbor in a five mile radious and then drive it around the block (he said to make sure the fluids were evenly dispersed) but now as a grown man, I know why. Pride!

Even at that young age, I knew that owning a brand new motorhome was a big deal for most people, but for a black family in the early 70s it was far far more than that.

My grandparents had raised my mom and her five siblings in almost near poverty with both my grandfather and my grandmother working, even back then, living in a one room shack on the outskirts of Dayton, Ohio. Then, after my grandfather worked many long hard years as a preacher and working for Wright Patterson Airforce Base he and grandmother had finally reached a place where they could aquire such a luxury as a brand new motorhome and a much larger house in Lima, Ohio (the city where the Superior Motorhome was built).

The Islander was 25ft of 70s luxury. It was a great coach with a great floorplan. Kitchen behind the drivers seat with the frig behind that then twin beds and rear bath. Behind the double passenger seat ( a seat that flipped to face the other direction) was the dinette, the entry door, closet then the other twin bed rear of the coach a really nice large rear bath. To me, a kid, it was like the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. A house that you can drive. A little home you can take wherever you please.

When I think back on it now, the Travco would have been everywhere back then and considered high luxury in many ways. From what I can tell, Grand only paid then a mere $8500 brand new for that coach.

At the tender age of 5 years old, I began reading. Not see dog run, but Motorhome Life. My mom and my grandmother both taught me how to read by Motorhome Life. It wasn't just the glossy pictures I liked, but the stories too. I was hooked.

I didn't get my first RV until I was about 19. It was a 12ft Truck camper with a side entrance and built in the early 70s. So, it was insanely huge! I loved it and drove it everywhere and then soon afterwards got an early 70s enourmous Coachmen Truck Camper. Then as time progressed I moved into my first coach. A 1976 24ft Globestar Class C followed by a 1970 Winnebago Brave 26ft then followed by a 1978 26ft Cruise Air, 1985 28ft Holiday Rambler Presidential, 1986 Winnebago/Itasca 32ft, 1987 34ft Double Door Bounder, 1980 37ft Triple Door Allegro, 1982 33ft Triple Door Allegro, and now my 1971 Dodge Travco.

Why so many? Well, there are just so many 70s coaches that I love! It's hard to just settle with just one when there are so many left to fix up, own and pass on. I found myself quickly getting into the 80s with my coaches and began to get bored. The 80s coaches weren't bad, but the character was beginning to fade in those coaches and I loved the character of the 70s units. So, back to the retro coaches I went. Although, driving a 37ft Class A coach through Denver was a treat. Difficult, but fun none the less. I find that I can drive a 37ft coach far easier than I can a car. As a matter of fact, for many years, well even now, I have a motorohome and not a car. My family and friends tell me that's not practical, but they don't have the "bug" of owning and caring for such a marvelous feat of engineering as that of a little house that goes where you go, anytime, anywhere and anyhow. Go figure.

My grandfather passed away after a long battle with Alzheimers 8yrs ago and my grandmother still talks about the motorhome and all the memories that had in that coach and all the plans my grandfather had made with travels and living the RV lifestyle. However, when his disease set in back in the early 80s, the coach was sold. Since then, my Uncle, one of granddads sons, who lives here in Denver also, became a coach fanatic as well. He's on his second coach, a 1996 Fleetwood Southwind 35ft. He and his wife are avid RVers. You never know where they are going to be from one weekend to the next. Even fulltimed at one point in Arizona to see if living together fulltime in a motorhome would work for them. It didn't, at least not now.

I have worked for Northwoods RV in Mt. Morris, Michigan as a warranty and service writer. Nolans RV in Denver, Colorado as a sales person and Windish RV Center in Lakewood, Colorado as a warranty writer and B&B RV as a rental agent.

Sometimes I Really wonder how these new coaches will hold up to the test of time. What will they look like, how well will they hold up 37yrs from now? It's really hard to say. The Dodge Travco will forever go down in history as one of the most durable, most well built coaches of all time. For that, I'm proud.

An Ad for my Grandfathers Coach 1970

An Ad for my Grandfathers Coach 1970
This was just one of many ads I found for my Grandfathers Islander in 1970 Trailer Life Magazine

Me and my coaches

Me and my coaches
1982 33ft Triple Door Allegro

Me and my coaches

Me and my coaches
1985 Holiday Rambler Presidential

Me and my coaches

Me and my coaches
1978 Cruise Air

Me and my coaches

Me and my coaches
1980 37ft Allegro Gas

Vintage Travco Photos and Advertisements

Not only do I enjoy owning classic coaches but also love just love looking at lucious pictures of these coaches when they were brand new. I also like to collect brouchures of just about every make and model of classic coaches. Here are a few I've collected in regards to the Travco. There are also various Travco pictures from various sites too. Enjoy.

Dodge Ad

Dodge Ad
Vintage Dodge Ad

Vintage Dodge Travco Ad

Vintage Dodge Travco Ad
Classic Dodge Travco..I do like the low swung body, although it would have been a pain to change a tire even worse, accessing the brake fluid would have been quite nearly impossible.

More of the Travco

More of the Travco
Vintage Travco ad

Traveling in a Travco

Traveling in a Travco
Vintage Travco Ad

Travco Ad..

Travco Ad..
Vintage Ad...please read

Field of Dreams!

Field of Dreams!
Omg, to have been there....can you just imagine?

Vintage Travco ad

Vintage Travco ad
Interior shot of my favorite Travco floor plan

Yet another ad

Yet another ad
Vintage Travco ad

Travco Ad

Travco Ad
Vintage for all it's worth. This is simply HOT!

Vintage Travco Ad

Vintage Travco Ad
Classic Travco Ad...love this picture!

The Original

The Original
Can you believe it? The Original Design of the Dodge Travco as we know her now.

Some pictures of my favorite classic coaches

These would include such masterpieces as Apollo (my favorite the 33RB model complete with wet bar), Vogue, Sportscoach (before coachmen took them over), GMC (of course), Condor, Shasta (yes, they actually made a class A coach), Holiday Rambler, Landau (also had a wet bar at one point),

60s/70s Shasta Class A

60s/70s Shasta Class A
OMG...just look at thing, how could you not love it!

60s/70s Shasta Class A

60s/70s Shasta Class A
It is highly important when driving your new coach that you wear a yellow sundress and white pumps! Mandatory!

60s/70s Shasta Class A

60s/70s Shasta Class A
OMG...I can't stand it! I would faint upon entrering that coach every time. It's way too much for the senses. It's hot!

1978 Apollo Motorhome 33RB

1978 Apollo Motorhome 33RB
My favorite coach of all time! This coach won a design award in 1978 I believe for the most inovative design. I mean, just look at it. Does it really look like it's a 1978? Um..NO. It's too hot for words. I've come close twice to owning one. Third time is the charm they say. We'll see. It's a must have! Any motorhome built surrounded by nothing but steel is a huge plus for me, not to mention the one piece fiberglass roof CAP. Yeah, meaning roof leakage is nearly impossible. Yes, it weighed a ton, but...well...flat lands here I come. Then too the price of gas...well, um...guess I'd just have to travel Denver metro area...or something.

80s (yes, I said 80s) Airstream

80s (yes, I said 80s) Airstream
Sorry, but I had to include this silver land barge. Have you ever seen one in real life? If you have it seems like it just goes on and on for days. It's a classic all by itself for many reasons. An insanely long Airstream Trailer on steroids. It's fabulous.

Coachmen Motorhome

Coachmen Motorhome
Are you seeing this? Wow!

Coachmen Motorhome

Coachmen Motorhome
My how they changed!

1970s Executive 35fter

1970s Executive 35fter
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG...ok, so this mommy is just plain HOT. I have this brouchure, found on Ebay and the ambulance had to come and resusitate me. No, seriously, I screamed like a girl....ok, so that's nothing new...but I really freaked out. I had no idea that Executive Built a coach this ginourmous in the 70s. The interior rear of the coach, the entire thing is a wrap around seating area with wet bar. Ok, so the whole damn coach is practically a bar on wheels. I'm so not kidding. Yes, It's a motorhome but for people who like their cocktails. There are two, yes, two wet bars. OMG...This is a true "Party Barge".

The Ultimate Drinking and Driving ad.

The Ultimate Drinking and Driving ad.
Yes, can you believe how times have changed? I mean, whiskey and a motorhome? No, not a good combo. Then again though, they are in a motorhome, so I suppose you could just sleep it off first in the coach. Loved those teeny tiny class As. Where have they all gone and why don't manufactures make them again? They are perfect for day trips and weekend get aways for people who don't need the entire family mansion on wheels.

Sportscoach Motorhome

Sportscoach Motorhome
Nice...just a nice coach.

Sportscoach Motorhome interior

Sportscoach Motorhome interior
Plenty of room to move about. Lots of space for me to decorate too. Love it!

Ah...the GMC

Ah...the GMC
Yes, she had her issues, but you must admit, ths is a hot coach. Period!

This is the interior color scheme to beat all others.

This is the interior color scheme to beat all others.
Now, for those of you who are color blind, this interior was practically guaranteed to restore all sight. She is sitting there thinking, why on earth didn't I listen to my husband and chose the more festive blue color, you know that blue that came from outer space. Almost a neon blue. Yeah, that would have been much better. No one wants to come visit me in here. I'm sure they would've liked the blue better.

The Landau

The Landau
Just a wonderful looking coach. I love the lines, the exterior design is hot. Low swung body is really cool.