Gracie Rides Again!

In 2009, for a very brief amount of time, we were the proud owners of a vintage camper. She was a 1974 New Paris Traveler, 16 feet long, and she was a mess. Wood paneled on the inside and in desperate need of a total overhaul, I didn’t care. I was excited because I’d dreamed my whole life of having a camper so that I could head out into the woods and be one with nature.

Here was the camper, which I dubbed Gracie, in all her worn-out glory:

We bought an old, beat-up Oldsmobile SUV capable of pulling Gracie, too. I named it George.

Not long after George and Gracie arrived in our lives, they both left. We soon realized that it was more work than we could handle, given our rudimentary remodeling skills. It was also really hard to back the thing up and guide it in one direction or another. We got disheartened and we gave up, and Gracie went away. George left next because there was no sense in keeping a third vehicle when we were never going to pull a camper.

In the subsequent seven years, I’ve still longed for a camper to call my own. Now that we live in the glorious Pacific Northwest, camping amongst the tall evergreens is a thought that stirs my heart. On a recent visit to Mt. Rainier National Park, we followed a Class B Airstream motorhome out of the park and that sparked a two-hour conversation. What about a motor home? Why hadn’t we thought about that? A small one would be perfect, and we wouldn’t need a tow vehicle (which we no longer had).

As we do with everything in our lives, we began to research with gusto. When Tim and I get bit by a passion bug, we go all out until we figure out what we want/what we’re going to do about that thing we’re passionate about.  We traipsed all over Kitsap, Pierce, and King counties looking at motorhomes. We instantly rejected Class As because they are far larger than we need. Small Class Cs were good, and so were Class B, although I was hesitant about wet baths instead of a regular, albeit smaller, bathroom. We endured obnoxious, high pressure sales at one RV dealership and found a few others who were helpful. We fell in love with a brand-spanking-new, extremely expensive Winnebago Paseo. And all the time, I kept going back to this one particular motorhome at the local dealership. A twelve-year-old, 23 foot Class B+ Winnebago with a small slide-out. Normal bathroom at the back of the coach, nice sized kitchen and pantry, lots of storage. Dinette and a couch that both convert to sleep four people. It called to me.

Other than a need for new cushions because the ones inside of it are faded, it’s in spectacular shape for its age and 81,000 miles. Yesterday, we began the process to buy her, or, as she’s been named already – Gracie Rides Again.

Here she is in a dealership shot. I’ll be posting tour pics once the loan closes and we take delivery in about two weeks. I can’t wait!


7 thoughts on “Gracie Rides Again!

  1. You’re going to love having Gracie Rides Again!!! Some of our fondest memories living Washington were our camping trips to the beach or up to Mt. Rainier. It was tent camping for us at that time, but there was so much beauty and relaxation on those camping trips. Can’t wait to read all about your camping adventures.

    • The only real tip I have is to stock her up like your second home. Just remember to keep it light. Fortunately, there are a lot of lightweight houseware options on the market for RVer’s. Having everything in the RV and ready to go makes camping a much nicer experience.

      Stick close to home on your first trip out. For a matter-of-fact, our first night in ours was in our driveway. It gave us a chance to figure some things out before we drove off. We stayed close to home on our first official camping trip and worked our way up to trips further and further from home as we become more familiar and comfortable.

      Most of all have fun and enjoy your RV!!!!

    • Great advice! I’m making huge lists of all the things we need to get to make sure it’s stocked. And we’ll honestly mainly be doing yard camping for a long time. Our dog can’t be boarded and she’s too aggressive to go with us to campgrounds, so we’ll be doing yard camping until she has passed. She’s 8 years old now and 100 pounds. We love her and I’d love to take her with us, but a campground would be too much stress for her. We just wanted to go ahead and get our motorhome now because times are weird, this country is crazy, and who knows if we might need it. And we can keep it for years, get it all perfected (new tires and such) so that it’s ready to roll when we can venture out farther from home.

  2. That’s really nice! It’s always been a dream of mine to have one. I like the size you chose. One of my best friends and her husband just sold their huge home in Connecticut and bought a Winnebago to live in and travel around in! I think that would be a bit too extreme to not have any “roots” but I am sure you are going to have some wonderful adventures ahead.

  3. We used to travel with a 5th wheel and pickup truck and we loved it! We’re not able to anymore with our aging! I would have been happy with a motorhome, too. I hope you’ll love it, too!

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