“Go Fast” Blue Bird Helps Kick Off West Virginia Bridge Day
The “Go Fast” Blue Bird, a specially outfitted 2003 43-foot Blue Bird Wanderlodge LXi, was at the center of opening festivities for West Virginia’s largest outdoor festival, Bridge Day, held October 19, 2002, in Fayetteville.
Governor Bob Wise got the event started from a special platform placed on the roof of the motor coach, which was parked on the 876-foot-high New River Gorge Bridge. Later, an estimated 400 BASE (Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth) jumpers parachuted into the gorge. Some of the jumpers used the motor coach’s platform as their launching point. BASE jumping is permitted from the bridge only on Bridge Day.
The motor coach is used by Go Fast Sports & Beverage to transport its team of athletes to special events throughout the country and to encourage sports enthusiasts to stay active.
MCI Delivers Fourth Madden Cruiser
Tom Sorrells, president and chief operating officer of Motor Coach Industries (MCI), C5548, turned over the keys of the latest Madden Cruiser to NFL commentator and ABC Monday Night Football co-host John Madden this past September in New York City. Mr. Madden, who hasn’t boarded a plane since 1979, was expected to travel more than 80,000 miles during the 2002-2003 NFL season in the new coach, spending up to 50 hours a week driving to and from games.
Mr. Madden first rented a motor coach when a train couldn’t take him where he needed to go. This is Mr. Madden’s fourth MCI coach and his second MCI E4500.
“MCI’s relationship with John Madden spans 17 years, and we’re pleased he has chosen MCI time and again,” Mr. Sorrells said.
The custom interior on the Madden Cruiser — completed by Klein Interiors Specialists of Nolensville, Tennessee — is decorated with a stained rosewood interior finish and contemporary soft tones. The front lounge includes a sofa sleeper, and the galley features a convection-microwave oven; a three-burner glass-top electric stove; and a side-by-side refrigerator. The dinette area, from which Mr. Madden broadcasts his live radio shows, includes granite tops and accents. The bedroom office suite features a queen-size bed that slides to the side but can be centered for sleeping. The coach contains two baths, with an extra-large steam shower in the master bath.
The office area includes a built-in desk, a computer, a cell phone system with three telephone lines, and a fax machine. Three Sony flat-screen televisions are strategically placed to give virtually any seat in the coach a view of one of the hundreds of stations receivable via Datron mobile satellite.
Book Guides Readers To Factory Tours
Have you ever wondered how toothpaste is put in the tube? How a candy cane gets its stripes? Or how a crayon is made? Then you should pick up the latest edition of Watch It Made In The U.S.A.: A Visitor’s Guide To The Companies That Make Your Favorite Products ($19.95, Avalon Travel Publishing). Written by Karen Axelrod and Bruce Brumberg, the book provides information about factory tours and company museums for more than 300 nationally or regionally known businesses in the United States.
The book includes listings for companies that make familiar products, such as chocolates (Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania); toys (Lionel, Chesterfield, Michigan); and beer (Coors, Golden Colorado). The list also mentions several motorhome manufacturers, including Airstream, Coachmen, Fleetwood, Holiday Rambler, Jayco, and Winnebago Industries.
Each individual listing describes what visitors will see during a tour, interesting tidbits about the company, and specific tour information, including cost (90 percent are free); freebies; days and hours of tours; directions; and more. New company museums and exhibits include the Jell-O Gallery in Le Roy, New York, and the “Kool-Aid Discover the Dream” exhibit in Hastings, Nebraska, while large visitors centers include the Jelly Belly Center in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, and the John Deere Pavilion in East Moline, Illinois.
Watch It Made In The U.S.A. can be purchased at bookstores and through online booksellers.
El Monte RV Enlisted To Serve The Military
El Monte RV, a motorhome rental company with facilities located throughout the United States, has partnered with the Government and Armed Forces Travel Cooperative (GAFTC) to provide military personnel affordable RV travel opportunities.
GAFTC, which is contracted by the Department of Defense, encourages military personnel — particularly those who have been or are stationed overseas — to take vacations with their families. The organization provides numerous travel packages and discounts for eligible participants to choose from.
“Taking time for relaxation and family is critical to rejoining everyday life,” said John Cully, president of the GAFTC and a retired army colonel. “Offering travel opportunities is part of the solution. Our goal is to help our service people rejoin everyday life and avoid conflicts within the family.”
Mr. Cully said that RVing makes sense, since military personnel and their families can eat, sleep, and share the adventure of travel together. Plus, motorhome travel provides many money-saving options, such as bringing your own food and staying at affordable campgrounds.
The partnership with El Monte RV will provide special RV rental offers to eligible military personnel through a Web-based marketing system (GovArm.com) linked to more than 500 military installations throughout the world. To find out more about the program, including eligibility requirements, visit www.govarm.com.
Rand McNally Releases New Atlas
The Rand McNally 2003 Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas is now available with a new easy-to-read design and numerous additional improved features.
The atlas, which is published primarily for over-the-road truckers, also provides useful information for motorhomers. The 2003 version includes an updated state-by-state listing of low clearances and restricted routes; telephone numbers and Web site addresses for sources of information about road construction and conditions throughout the United States and Canada; and a mileage directory with more than 40,000 city-to-city mileages between 300 North American locations. The atlas section includes maps of all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces, plus hundreds of detailed city maps. Construction updates and other travel information can be found at the associated atlas Web site, www.mcra.randmcnally.com.
Rand McNally offers both a basic and deluxe version of the 2003 Motor Carrier’s Road Atlas. The basic edition has a suggested retail price of $19.95. The deluxe edition, with stay-flat spiral binding and heavy-duty laminated pages for on-page route marking, has a retail price of $79.95.
The atlas is available at major truck stop chains and at Rand McNally Map & Travel Stores. It also can be purchased directly from the company by calling (800) 275-7263 in the continental United States (847-329-6656 outside the continental U.S.) or by ordering online at www.mcra.randmcnally.com.
Creative Mobile Interiors Unveils “Personal Luxury Vehicle”
Creative Mobile Interiors Inc., based in Grove City, Ohio, recently completed its first conversion of a Freightliner Sprinter van, naming it the Sprinter PLV (personal luxury vehicle). The company has designed several motorhome-style floor plans for this vehicle.
The Sprinter van is built on a Mercedes-Benz chassis with an MBE 600 2.7-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. It measures 21.6 feet long, 6.3 feet wide, and 8.5 feet high, with a minimum interior height of 64 inches. The van has been available in America only since November 2001, although it’s been produced in Europe since 1995.
Owen Connaughton, founder and president of Creative Mobile Interiors, believes the Sprinter PLV will impress motorhome enthusiasts with its quality and value packed into a smaller, more maneuverable vehicle. Some of the more popular options include an in-motion digital satellite system, rooftop air conditioning, a flat-screen television, and leather seating. The Sprinter can be serviced at any of the more than 140 Freightliner service centers in the United States.
For more information about Creative Mobile Interiors and the Sprinter PLV, call (614) 539-4600.
RV.com Offers Trip Planning Tool
RV.com, a Web site presented by Dometic Corporation, C306, that provides myriad information about RVing, recently added a free road trip planning tool to its selection of options. Travelers now can visit www.rv.com, input their trip destination and other preferences, and receive trip routing maps, as well as information for lodging, entertainment, shopping, and recreation opportunities along the way.
The new trip planning tool allows travelers to plan and print out a day-by-day trip itinerary, complete with turn-by-turn directions and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of selected and alternate stops. The interactive tool, powered by TripKing, can be useful for travelers on monthlong vacations or those simply getting away for the weekend.
Interstate 75 Book Celebrates Flight
The 11th edition of Dave Hunter’s book, Along Interstate-75 ($21.95, Mile Oak Publishing), once again provides I-75 travelers the information they need to make the trip along the highway as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible.
In addition to the usual detailed maps and sight-seeing stops, this year’s edition celebrates the centenary of powered flight with a special section detailing 2003 events in Dayton, Ohio, to commemorate the Wright Brothers’ invention of the airplane. The 11th edition also includes new stories; side trips; restaurants; gas stations that can accommodate wide-turn vehicles; and diesel fuel and propane gas suppliers along the interstate.
Along Interstate-75 can be purchased at major bookstores; through online booksellers; by calling (800) 431-1579; or at www.i75online.com. Updated fuel prices, road construction reports, and detours can be found at the book’s Web site.
RV Service Center Opens At Former Custom Coach Facility
Midwestern Enterprises LLC recently opened its new company, America’s Motor Coach, at the former site of Custom Coach Corporation in Columbus, Ohio.
According to company owner Ed Bowman, America’s Motor Coach will provide routine and preventive maintenance services, bus refurbishing, collision repair, painting, and retrofits ofmotor coaches and motorhomes. “Our objective is to simply become the best motor coach and RV service center in the eastern United States,” Mr. Bowman said.
Midwestern Enterprises, which purchased the property in June 2002, retained several mechanics, engineers, technicians, and craftspeople who worked at Custom Coach. Since the acquisition of the property, the company has resurfaced the service bay, upgraded technical equipment, and added a new computerized information system that can keep track of clients, compile services being performed, and generate collision estimates.
America’s Motor Coach is open weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, or to schedule service, call (614) 481-8181. The company offers indoor and outdoor motor coach storage with electric hookups, and a variety of coach parts and retail supplies.
Book Reveals Free Tours In Southern California
The Southern California edition of Jodi Jill’s book, Tours For Free California ($18.95, BentLight Media), highlights more than 100 free tours available in that region, as well as Las Vegas, Nevada. The book provides readers with a behind-the-scenes look at businesses and historical sites that many residents only know by name.
Free tours described in the book include a visit to Callaway Golf, where visitors see how golf balls and golf clubs are made; a stroll along Hollywood’s Walk of Stars; excursions to see motorhomes being manufactured at Fleetwood RV and National RV plants; and a toe-tapping visit to the Lawrence Welk Museum.
Tours For Free California is the second book in the Tours For Free series. The book can be purchased at bookstores and through online booksellers; at www.toursforfree.com; or by calling (888) 851-5778.