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Andy,

I enjoy going to your website and can see that you have put a lot of effort into it. It is a great resource for people that are interested in vintage motor homes, weather they own one or are thinking of restoring one or just love the history.

I don't know if are aware but I am the owner of two places of business, Soapstone Valley Equipment is a truck and equipment repair shop, with myself and three mechanics since 1994, and next door Classic Motorcars of Ellington, where we have a show room with 20 - 25 antique cars for sale, we also offer repair service and parts for old cars and trucks.
www.oldantiquecars.com

The reason I tell you all this is because after being in the truck and antique car repair bussniess for 35 years, I have a few thoughts I would like to share with people who are thinking of restoring a vintage motor home.

I'm sure you have seen other web sites or blogs about Travcos. Some have done wonderful jobs and inspire the rest of us. Others seem to jump into a total restoration project without sitting down first and counting the cost. I have seen this many times when it comes to old cars.

I tell people the most expensive car (or in this case motor home) is the one you can get for free.

The real cost of a restoration is staggering.

People start with good intensions, tow home an old Travco and rip out the interior, try to get it running, after a while reality sinks in, the list starts getting longer and longer, rust issues, fluid leaks, wood rot, glass, electrical, paint, brakes, tires, exhaust, interior, etc. and all they wanted to do is take a trip in a cool old motor home. Sadly some get frustrated and give up.

I really admire those who stick with it and end up with beautiful rigs even if at a great cost.

I would encourage wannabees to consider buying a vintage coach that has had most of the work done, this has proved over and over to be the most cost effective way to enjoy the hobby.

Good running, driving Travco can be bought for $5,000 - $7500 and is far less than the cost of a restoration.

We that have old vehicles know that there is always things that need attention or find that even a good unit is a continuous work in progress. Or better said, we get to use out rigs and are always tinkering with them too.

It is my hope that someone reading this might give it some thought and that more people would be able to enjoy this great hobby.

Thanks Arlo Hoffman


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I will start adding information  after Aug. 28 when my full-timing offically starts.  This week, my daughter is taking me to Disneyworld.  We have not been there since she was 14.  It should be a nice time.   When I return, I plan to start south.  My first stop will be in Frenchburg, Kentucky.  The place of my mothers birth.  Then the second week of September, I will return to Kokomo, Indiana  to attend the Vietnam Veterans reunion.  Since, I have Two Travcos, I am going to leave my 76 320 in the South and my 74 270 here in the North

James Gary "Andy"Anderson

dodgetravcos.com

August 28, 2010

I left at 7AM.  It was still a little dark.  My headlights were very dim.  I thought that perhaps my alternator was not working.  I knew that my headlights had some condensation in them, but I didn't think  they were that bad.  It got daylight soon enough for it to be a problem.  I stopped for gas at Pendelton, Indiana.  I arrived at Frenchburg at 3PM. 
The only real problem I had was that when I started to get into the hills.  The 320 would bog down like it had no power.  I fought a couple of hills and then I turned on the electric back-up fuel pump and that problem went away.  Things seemed to go very good until I got to a sharp grade hill on highway 460 just before Frenchburg.  By the time I got to the crest, I was in low and floored going only 10 miles per hour.  I could not understand this.  I always had plenty of power before.  I was concerned, actually I was worried.  I have to climb this hill again when I leave here the end of the month. 

I realized that the truck I was pulling weighed 4000 pounds empty, but I had it loaded with tools for every problem I might encounter.  I  was also carrying all of my books of information for the Dodgetravcos.com website.  But, the biggest and heavest problem was that I had installed two 30 gallon water tanks and had forgotten that I had filled them for my last few days of boondocking at the lake I was staying at in Indiana.  I had filled the tank just before going to Disneyworld.  It was a great gift from my daughter.  Actually, they took me along to be with my Grandson when they wanted a break.  It was great.  He's 9 years old and loves to swim.  We spent a lot of time at the pool.  It was very hot just like it is today, September first two thousand ten.  Water weighs eight pounds to the gallon.  I did not need to carry that water with me because there is water here.  I boondock in my cousins yard, but I can fill the tank here.  There was no need for me to have that extra 500 pounds of water.  The tanks are on the drivers side rear.  I noticed that the coach was leaning low on that side.  I bet that the water was the cause of that.  I have not drained the tank yet, because I am using the water now.  The tank will be drained before I head back over that hill on the way out of Frenchburg.

I am leaving after Labor Day.  I am leaving my 320 here.  I am taking Shaggy to the Kokomo, Indiana Vietnam Vets reunion.  That will be my last trip in Shaggy.  I have her sold to a friend of my brothers.  I sold her for $3000.00.  I believe that is a fair price.  It has a cracked windshield that will require some body work to make it right.  The windshield cracked when I had it resealed because the body curve does not match the windshield curve.
 
I am at the Mennifee County Public Library looking for some information on my Mother.  This is where she grew up.  Actually, where she grew up is under water in the Cave Run Lake Recreational Area.  I am staying close to the town of Scranton where they are blasting away some of the mountain.

I am in the process of removing from my 320 all the stuff that I don't need to be carrying or pulling.  I have my little Chevy Colorado very full.  I am going to weigh it before and after I empty all of the books and papers into my storage area in Indiana.  It will be interesting to know how much weight I was carrying that I did not need.

My 320 was over that hill in in November 2007, when I was bringing her home from North Carolina.  It had no problems then.  I think I pulled that hill without downshifting.

It was empty and was not pulling a toad.

 I will post some pictures as soon as I get them downloaded.
Full Timing
Taking a Rest Break.  I notice in this picture that the rear is sagging low.  It must be the 600 pounds of water.

Full Timing
Here I am in Frenchburg, Ky.  I weighed the truck when I returned my stuff to Indiana.  It weighed 4510 pounds.  I weighed it again after I unloaded it.  It weighed 3810 pounds.  That's 700 pounds of stuff, plus the 66 gallons of water that weighs in at over 600 pounds.  I was 1300 pounds overweight.

Upon my return, my renter called and is going to move out of my house.  I must now stop full-timing and move back into my house.  I must be one of the shortest fulltimers ever.