Monday, August 30, 2010

As Promised--Adventures with our 1988 Bounder

I remember going to look at the Bounder for the first time.  It looked so nice with it's flashy orange and brown stripe, the awning was open and it looked great for a 12 year old.  We had been looking for a "new to us" motorhome for some time and most were disasters.  Most folks didn't even attempt to tidy up, carpet was stained, bumper stickers plastered all over the  back and they were in a general state of disrepair.  Not this bounder.  It was shiny and clean and everything worked.  There was real pride of ownership. 

After a thorough inspection we took it for a test drive.  Now this was the first Class A that I had driven in.  The windshield was huge.  It almost took my breath away, but not in a good way.  It seemed everything was right there in your face--the road, the trees and utility poles, traffic and the yellow and white lines on the road.  Now you would think good visibility would be a good thing, and it is.  I don't know if it was that I was so high up or just it was so much to take in at once but it was a bit overwhelming. 

The next thing I noticed is how much steering it took to keep on track.  This should have been red flag, but again I had never been in a Class A before and I don't recall Tom saying anything at the time.  So the deal was made and we became the proud owners of a 1988 32' Bounder.

We scheduled our first camping weekend and took off after work on Friday.  It would have been better to book a site at one of the local campgrounds, but for some reason we booked about 40 miles away.  We didn't arrive at the campground until after sunset and it was a madhouse.  This was the weekend before Labor Day and the final fling of the summer for many families. 

The site they gave us was impossible to get into.  It was almost like, as I remember it, a field with a swale that we needed to drive through to park.  We figured if we tried to park there we would have hung up the back end of the motorhome so we cut our losses and left.  We had no idea of where we were going really but headed back to the Interstate and ended up staying at a rest area.  Our first night in our "new to us" motorhome and it's spent in a rest area. 

The next day we headed over to the Mississippi near Dubuque.  We discovered a nice little county campground right on the river where we spent the next night.  We had a pleasant time there until that evening as we were sitting outside we kept smelling gasoline. After a brief investigation we discovered that our gas tank was leaking.  It was a very restless night as we lay just above the gas tank hoping that no one passing by would toss a cigarette butt near us.  So much for the first outing.  One of the baffles in the tank had come loose and had to be welded.

The next time out reverse quit.  I backed it into a campsite and it just stopped going backwards.  We did stay, but on the way home had to really plan any stops so we didn't get into a situation where we would need to back up.  So another expense.

Then there was our 2003 trip to California, Las Vegas, and Arizona.  Remember I mentioned the steering . . .  Well, it wasn't my imagination, the Bounder was squirrely.  Every undulation in the road or passing vehicle caused the Bounder to drift.  When a semi would pass the Bounder would leap toward the shoulder right over the rumble strip.  Every time we would lurch to the right, I would tense up, Quark, who sat on my lap would dart under the seat.  This set up a pattern that he still needs to overcome.

There’s more but I will save them for another time.

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