If ever there were a natural proving ground for any kind of vehicle, and especially a 40-foot diesel-pusher motorhome, California State Route 74, also called the Ortega Highway, is it. It winds from sea level up to where it crests at the top of the Santa Ana Mountains and then drops dramatically down to Lake Elsinore below.
Bob Tiffin, founder and CEO of Tiffin Motorhomes, has several passions; among them are restoring classic automobiles and building quality motorhomes. A perfect bridge between the two is the Phaeton motorhome, named after a luxury touring car that was built for several decades beginning around the turn of the 20th century.
Thomas Paine said, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” When it comes to manufacturing motorhomes, Monaco Coach Corporation elects to lead.
Monaco remains on the cusp of motorhome design. A case in point is the Dynasty, wherein for 2006 some features previously available only as options are now included as standard equipment.
Although its name may evoke visions of a warm Baja beach with soft zephyrs stirring the palms, my wife, Saraine, and I took a Tropi-Cal motorhome in the opposite direction, north to Yellowstone National Park, with three passengers. A 2,700-mile trek from Mesa, Arizona, to Wyoming and the nationâ€™s first national park, and then on to Las Vegas, Nevada, gave me an all-around experience in this coach.
When a 2005 Mandalay arrived on the West Coast this past November, I jumped at the chance to take my turn behind the wheel of this luxurious, diesel-powered motorhome. For a week, the 41-foot coach â€” model 40B â€” took me across a broad range of driving scenarios and Southern California landscapes.