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Greeting from January 1999!

January 19th, 1999

Geez.... Got so busy that I forgot to write about the CES show in Las Vegas.  That's the Consumer Electronic Show for you non-electronics buffs.  If you can dream it -- it was there.  Enough said! Four days in Lost Wages Nevada is enough. Hoover Dam photo

On to Tampa Florida to the RV Super Show at the Tampa Fairgrounds.  Whew... what a show!  There was every kind of recreational vehicle (camping) that you could imagine.  Here's what I did for four days.  My friends Gordon and Lindy (photo) who used to own a Wanderlodge that was previously featured on this web site, joined me in gazing looks and drooling desires, as we viewed the finest and most expensive motorhomes in the world.

Upon entering the first building, we walked smack into the Vogue display.  Now I have to say that Vogue made some ugly motorhome in the past -- high quality, but ugly.  Their new line is absolutely the finest quality workmanship I've seen in a coach.  It measures up to the Prevost conversions made by their sister company, Vantare'.  If I were in the market for a top end fiberglass coach, this would be the one I'd choose.  It is so far superior to Country Coach's Concept that they shouldn't be in the same price category.  It beats Foretravel all around for design, and esthetics -- materials and beauty.

Next, we got a look at Vantare' Prevost conversions.  Expensive but very opulent!  There isn't much you can say when you see the best, but that "I've seen the best".   More on these later!

From Vantare' we moseyed over to Marathon.  Now, in the past I've said some very nice things about Marathon and I still stand by every compliment I've stated.  This is top quality.  Marathon and Vantare' are on par as far as I can determine.  There are some minor differences but overall I'd say they are equal.  Marathon has finer manufacturing and service facilities, but that doesn't mean Vantare' can't build and service just as well.  Most likely they do.

There's not much more I can say about the actual conversions -- they're both the finest in visible and hidden workmanship and materials.

Before I go into the other conversions, let me tell you about the Wanderlodge display.  Poorly staffed, showing a lack of interest in the prospects looking over the Wanderlodges.  The coach doors we not secured (in the open position), and it appeared that no one was interested in showing those coaches unless pressed. I get the impression that Wanderlodge customers are not attractive to the Buddy Gregg sales staff.  Especially, the group of employees sitting with the short silver-haired, mean looking, blond at the table.  Obviously, she wasn't getting 'off her butt' to greet anybody.  Prima Donna city if I ever saw it! The Wanderlodge coaches are very nicely finished and decorated.  The workmanship seems to have come up to high-quality standards in the last few years and overall they look good.  They are very conventional and lack the glitz, but that not a negative.  However, I don't understand why they still include a tool box?  There isn't a thing on that coach that could be repaired with common tools and simple hands.  None of the other bus-style coaches came with it's own toolbox.  Seems like a waste of space.

After viewing Vantare', Marathon, and Vogue, we ran into a couple more Prevost converters.  Angola, Parliament, Genesys, and of course the Buddy Gregg three (Liberty, Royal, and Country Coach).  I'll pass on the later three for reasons I won't go into here.  Let me say this about the others.  The Parliament we looked at is way over priced and poorly decorated.  The Angola while beautiful in layout and decor, lacked the finesse of detail in minor things like painted fender skirts and neat generator installation. However, Angola was the only manufacturer who displayed the two door Prevost.  It's a very convenient option -- one I would consider in a 45-foot coach.  Angola also had the best computer workstation piece of furniture I have ever seen in a coach.  I would consider an Angola except for the mechanical installations I viewed.  The Genesys is a new entry in the bus conversion field and made in Canada.  Beautiful decor, workmanship, and materials, but I can't fairly evaluate the mechanical installations, as I didn't get a good look at them.  Again, details like painted fender skirts were omitted and they, like Parliament used noisy overhead A/C units.  Genesys might become a serious contender if they get a service organization together.  It's a nice conversion, fairly priced.

On Saturday Gordon and I went to Lazy Days for the day to see what's new in the lower-end coaches that weren't shown at the Fairgrounds.  Lazy Days has their own show and believe me they are big enough to do that.  That place is so huge, they have their own Camping World and a Cracker Barrel restaurant on the premises.  Flying J is building a fuel station and restaurant on the property.

Now, I'm not a fiberglass coach person, but I have to tell you that I was impressed with the American Eagle line and especially the new (prototype) Heritage version we had the opportunity to see while it was passing through their, dealership for evaluation.  This is Fleetwood's flagship. It is beautiful, but at $435,000, I would invest in a used Prevost.

Sunday, I went back to the Tampa show to closely view the two makes that I thought were candidates for me -- Vantare’ and Marathon.  Mr. Clint Guth of Vantare' went completely over the bus with me and explained how they are built.  He is very knowledgeable and answered to my satisfaction -- every question I asked.  Mr. Randy Harris of Marathon did likewise.  Both men were very nice to me and I'd like to buy a coach from each one of them.  Maybe over the years, I will do that.  However, right now I am having a difficult time making up my mind as to which way to go.  A used very expensive edition or a not so elaborate, new edition! -- Marathon or Vantare'!?  Decisions decisions!

Monday, we went out to Sanford to see the Vantare' plant where they gave us a tour and introduced us to the decorator team, (notably one cute Debby).  Clint then took us on an impressive road test in an XL40.  Here's my dream coach, this week.

Leaving Vantare' we stopped at the Marathon's sales and service facility in Tampa (San Antonio to be exact) where I found the ultimate coach (for me). The more I look, the more I want -- the more I don't know what I want.  Whew..  Sell the property and hit the road!  That's the plan, and the sooner the better.  Don't misunderstand me - I still love my present coach.  It's a beauty, but it ain't no Prevost. (sic)

Stay tuned to more of the "I gotta' have a Prevost" story.

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