Marlene masters 38 foot 35,000 GVW behemoth, lower gas prices stave off bankruptcy

Note: My laptop computer gave out, so these blog entries are a bit belated.

A few weeks ago I was checking prices on generators, I wanted to get a 7,000 watt Honda with an automatic start. The going price for them is around $4,000. In the meantime we were also checking out motor homes. It was then I found the perfect fit for us, a 38 foot Fleetwood Southwind motor home, complete with an onboard Onan 7,000 watt generator. The price? Only $6,500. We decided to forget the Honda, for $2,500 more we could have an entire motor home. Of course, this generator was used, but we decided it was a good deal anyway.

Naturally, a perfectly good motor home causes restlessness. So we decided to make a sales call to a potential chicken customer (we also sell chickens) in Haines City, Florida, who coincidentally also had a property overrun with wild hogs. I found him through an ad placed on craigslist.

Sunday afternoon, January 3rd, we pointed the motor home south towards Florida. Initially, I wanted to head north, home to Alaska. (we purchased the motor home in Pa, have made a trip back for the holidays) However, I checked the route and we would have been driving for over a thousand miles in -30 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures. Despite the snow chains I purchased, I thought it might be an unreasonable risk to tackle the Alcan Highway just then. I was also worried the extreme temperatures might freeze the pipes (and us) in the motor home, despite the propane furnace.

As we were cruising down through, Marlene told me she could drive the motor home. Despite her fine ability at handling the limo, I was worried the motor home was a bit to big. It was after all, 38 feet long, had a GVW of 35,000 pounds, and filled up the entire lane. Turns out, she was right. Marlene took took the wheel, and didn’t look back.

We also discovered the motor home is a terrible gas hog. We got 6.8 mpg on the first tank. A bit aghast, we feathered the throttle and attempted to drive it in the most fuel efficient manner possible, which is a challenge with a 460 V-8.

Subsequent tanks all ran about 7.8, with 7.9 mpg being the best we got. Thankfully, fuel is cheaper down south, and we filled up several times for under $2 a gallon. We arrived in Haines City around 7:30 PM Monday night. Despite everyone’s warning that Luis was attempting to lure us out in the Florida countryside to rob us, he turned out to be very helpful and non threatening. His place turned out to be nicer than expected.

Stay tuned for updates… Matt

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