Marathon Produces 900th Coach Conversion; Increases Production
Marathon Coach Inc., C2654, a bus conversion company based in Coburg, Oregon, recently reached a milestone by completing its 900th coach. The company, touted as the world’s largest Prevost bus converter, began converting new bus shells into recreation vehicles and corporate coaches in 1983.
Coach number 900, built on a Prevost Le Mirage XLII 45-foot shell with double slideouts, includes a host of luxuries and conveniences that appeal to the high-end consumer. The exterior features a remote-controlled awning system package with custom fairings, and Marathon’s exclusive Freedom Plus sewer hose system, which allows the sewer hose to extend and retract at the touch of a button. The coach also is equipped with a TechLink monitor located near the water bay, which allows the owner to control coach operations from both inside and outside the vehicle.
The interior is decorated with granite and leather throughout, and features a state-of-the-art electronics package. The system includes four television screens: a 42-inch plasma screen that drops down from the ceiling; a disappearing 20-inch flat-screen TV at the living area table; a 20-inch flat-screen TV in the bedroom; and, for those outside, a 30-inch LCD TV with Bose speakers in one of the storage compartments. The system also features an in-motion satellite system and an OnStar assistance system for concierge and emergency service anywhere in the United States. A menu-driven, touch-screen Crestron Control System allows owners to operate the TVs, lights, and surround-sound stereo system from anywhere in the coach.
The company, which also has sales and service centers in the Dallas, Texas, and Tampa, Florida, metropolitan areas, expects to reach the 1,000-coach milestone sometime in 2005.
Marathon also announced that it will increase coach production during the next year from the 62 conversions it expects to complete in 2004 to 72 coaches in 2005. As a result, the company is recruiting employees for all of its production departments. Approximately 350 people are currently employed at Marathon’s Coburg, Oregon, facility, and the company expects to add up to 100 workers within the next year.
Harrah’s Prairie Band Casino Opens New RV Park
Harrah’s Prairie Band Casino, located just north of Topeka, Kansas, is now providing resort accommodations at its state-of-the-art RV park, which was scheduled to open in August.
Harrah’s Prairie Band RV Park features paved interior roads leading to 67 pull-through spaces with full hookups. The area contains shower and laundry facilities, as well as 24-hour security. The facility boasts optional cable TV, phone, and high-speed Internet access. Guests staying in the park also benefit from the 24-hour shuttle service to and from the casino.
Harrah’s Prairie Band Casino includes a 12,000-square-foot convention center and meeting space that is equipped with full catering and banquet services. Dining offerings include a large selection of international foods and traditional classics, along with special themed dinner buffets in the Fresh Market Square Buffet, and a high-end steakhouse. Harrah’s also offers Fresh Market Express “” open 24 hours a day for those who are looking for a quick snack.
For more information, or to reserve a campsite, call (877)-2RVPARK (278-7275) or visit www.harrahs.com.
Fleetwood RV Opens New Paint Facilities
Fleetwood RV’s new paint facilities will enable the company to offer full-body paint on a broader range of products.
Fleetwood RV’s new paint facilities will enable the company to offer full-body paint on a broader range of products.
Fleetwood RV, a division of Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., C985, announced the grand openings of new paint facilities in Riverside, California, and Paxinos, Pennsylvania. Fleetwood RV collaborated with DuPont Performance Coatings to develop a paint-processing system that they expect will revolutionize the industry. The facilities cost approximately $13 million each to build.
These state-of-the-art facilities will feature several innovative technological advances, including: humidity- and temperature-controlled paint booths that allow Fleetwood more control over color and application, and, over time, will require less overall maintenance; environmentally friendly abatement equipment to capture and burn off volatile organic compounds (VOCs), creating 98 percent clean-air emissions; and clean room technology to help Fleetwood provide high levels of quality on all painted surfaces within a controlled environment.
The new Pennsylvania paint facility opened in August, while the California facility was scheduled to be operational in early September.
Elegant MotorCoach Launches Web Boutique
Larry and Joy Marshall have announced the formation of a new e-commerce company, Elegant MotorCoach, C10077, along with the launch of a Web site, www.elegantmotorcoach.com, to market its product offerings. The company’s slogan, “We’re not about what you need, but about what you want. Enhance your dream home on wheels in casual elegance, style, and comfort,” represents its novel approach to providing accessories to the RVing community.
The Web site will feature distinctive, innovative, and fun products and services designed specifically for RVers and researched and endorsed by the Marshalls. Among its offerings are sleep and comfort products; the latest portable GPS navigation systems; appliances; outdoor and recreation toys, such as a portable spa, a magnet-driven electric bicycle, and outdoor pet enclosures and pet strollers; and much more.
New Company Rents Audiobooks On CD
Simply Audiobooks Inc. has introduced a new concept to the North American audiobook business, a market said to be worth $2 billion annually in the United States alone. Simply Audiobooks offers online rental and home delivery of its audiobook CDs to listeners for a monthly subscription fee. The company has more than 10,000 CDs available and is adding 500 new audiobooks every week to keep up with customer demand.
Each subscriber is allowed two to four rentals at any given time, depending on the membership plan they choose. Here’s how it works. Subscribers select which audiobooks they’d like to receive and Simply Audiobooks sends out a package with an audiobook inside. The subscriber listens to the audiobook and, when finished, mails it back to Simply Audiobooks. When any title is mailed back (all return packaging and postage are included), the next title available on their request list or “Bookshelf” is mailed to them. No postage, handling, or late fees are charged. Customers can keep their audiobooks as long as they like. Fulfillment is completed via First Class mail, and most orders are delivered in two to five business days.
Three membership plans are available. They include the Fan Plan for customers who listen to one to four titles a month ($24.95 a month or $19.95 per month if prepaid for six months); the Pro Plan for those who plan to listen to five to six selections per month ($34.95 a month or $27.95 per month if prepaid for six months); and the Guru Plan for those who listen to seven-plus titles per month ($44.95 a month or $35.95 per month if prepaid for six months).
To introduce the concept to new and current audiobook lovers, Simply Audiobooks is offering a free 15-day trial program to new subscribers. A valid credit card (VISA or MasterCard) must be provided to confirm the subscriber’s identity.
For more information, visit www.simplyaudiobooks.com or call (877) 554-4332.
ReserveAmerica Celebrates 20th Anniversary
ReserveAmerica recently marked its 20th year as the first recreation reservation service. During that span, the company has achieved many key accomplishments and milestones. They include:
- The successful management of more than 25 million reservations during its 20 years in business. The company processed 3.5 million reservations in 2003 alone.
- The first company to take the camping industry to the Internet by processing America’s first online camping reservation in September 1997.
- Being awarded and continuing to manage several of the largest state park agency contracts, including those for California State Parks, Florida State Parks, New York State Parks, and Texas Parks & Wildlife, and an additional 14 government agency contracts.
- Being awarded the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) contract in 1997, consisting of the USDA Forest Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness agencies.
- Breaking a one-day reservations record by managing 13,589 reservations for California State Parks on January 1, 2004, with 60 percent of those processed online.
- In 2004 ReserveAmerica launched the Outdoor Recreation Management Suite, a multimillion-dollar project designed to better serve the current and future needs of state and federal agencies.
ReserveAmerica employs more than 800 full-time and part-time staff at its five U.S.-based offices in California, Wisconsin, Texas, New York, and Florida and its one office in Ontario, Canada.
Prevost Coaches Campaign Across North America
Motor coaches built by Prevost Car Inc., C632, are currently front and center in several high-profile political campaigns in both the United States and Canada.
U.S. President George W. Bush, the incumbent Republican candidate, was the first to make headlines as he launched his 2004 campaign from a Prevost H3-45 coach converted into a mobile presidential office bearing the slogan “Yes America Can.” Democratic candidate John Kerry also traveled in a Prevost coach earlier in the year as he campaigned aboard his “Real Deal Express.”
In Canada, Liberal leader Paul Martin is waging his campaign aboard a fleet of Prevost coaches, which carry the prime minister, his aides, and the press corps from coast to coast. Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Quebecois also is campaigning throughout Quebec in a Prevost coach.
Motor coaches have become popular among politicians, because they can be transformed into comfortable and functional spaces, allowing politicians to be on the ground, closer to the electorate, while giving them the flexibility to move quickly from one stop to the next during campaigns. Moreover, they can be used as moving billboards with custom-designed exteriors featuring the colors and slogans of the politician’s campaign.
For more than 20 years, Prevost Car Inc., based in Sainte-Claire, Quebec, Canada, has developed innovative bus shells that their bus converter partners transform into luxurious mobile executive offices; high-end motorhomes; touring coaches for celebrities; and mobile command centers for armed forces, police, and fire departments.
New Book Lists Public Dump Stations
RVer’s Guide to Dump Stations bookA new book from Roundabout Publications and the editors of RVdumps.com is designed to help RVers find public dump stations throughout the United States. RVer’s Guide to Dump Stations includes the locations of more than 1,300 public dump stations, most of which are free or charge a minimal fee.
The information is presented in an easy-to-use format with locations organized by state. Dump stations easily accessed from interstate highways are listed first and identified by exit or mile marker number. Those in other locations are listed alphabetically by city or town.
The 144-page book costs $11.95 and can be ordered directly from the publisher by calling (800) 455-2207 or by writing Roundabout Publications, P.O. Box 19235, Lenexa, KS 66285.
The RVer’s Guide to Dump Stations paperback, along with E-book ($7.95) and CD ($9.95) versions of the book, also can be ordered at www.rvdumps.com.
Bendix-Dana Joint Venture Begins
The Dana Corporation, C7904, and Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems began a joint venture on July 1, 2004, with the startup of Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC. The company, based in Elyria, Ohio, and with technology centers in Elyria and Kalamazoo, Michigan, will combine the braking expertise of Bendix and the Knorr-Bremse Group with the axle and brake integration capability of Dana to make a comprehensive range of wheel-end brake products available for use in medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles.
It also was announced that Kishor Pendse has been appointed president of the organization. Mr. Pendse was most recently vice president and general manager of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems’ wheel-end business team.
LazyDays’ Wallace Makes Significant Gift To Cancer Research
Don Wallace, president and CEO of LazyDays RV SuperCenter, C1702, located in Seffner, Florida, and his wife, Erika, recently bestowed $5 million to the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in Tampa. The contribution is the largest gift ever to a single clinical or research program at the Moffitt Cancer Center.
The gift is part of the center’s $87 million “Today the Tower, Tomorrow the Cure” capital campaign. The Wallaces serve as chairpersons for the “Awareness Phase” of the campaign, which is raising money for the construction of buildings devoted to translational research and cancer care. Translational research involves putting laboratory discoveries to practical use quickly in the realm of patient care. The Tower Project represents one of the most important endeavors ever undertaken by Moffitt Cancer Center in the fight against cancer.
“The Wallaces’ history-making gift will help enable our doctors and researchers to provide the highest level of care possible to breast cancer patients throughout Florida,” said Dr. William S. Dalton, director and CEO of the Moffitt Cancer Center.
The center is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of the top cancer hospitals in America. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.
The Wallaces also support a wide range of other local organizations, from children’s charities to the arts. Don currently serves on eight charitable boards, including the Moffitt Foundation’s Board of Directors. Erika serves on the boards of The Spring, a domestic violence shelter, and ChairScholars, a scholarship program for disabled students.
Dan Gamel’s RV Centers Commits To Fleetwood RV
Fleetwood RV, a division of Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., C985, announced in June that Dan Gamel’s RV Centers will sell Fleetwood’s full line of RV products exclusively at all eight of its locations. Previously, Dan Gamel’s RV Centers sold RV models from a variety of manufacturers.
Dan Gamel Inc. has sold Fleetwood RV products since 1982, winning numerous dealer awards, including the highly coveted “Circle of Excellence” award as well as the industry’s dealer of the year award. Dan Gamel’s RV Centers is currently Fleetwood’s largest multi-location dealer.
Dan Gamel’s RV Centers has seven California dealerships, located in Chico, Fresno (two locations), Modesto, Morgan Hill, Redding, and Rocklin. The company recently opened its eighth RV center in Yuma, Arizona.