"Ahhhh ... the glory of the open highway. The road stretches before you through a picture-window expanse of glass. Your partner is beside you, charting your course. As the miles slip by, you sip a cool drink in climate-controlled comfort, and suddenly realize your destination is barely half-an-hour distant. It's nearly time to pull over, change into a swimsuit, and take the staircase to the lower level of your motorhome for a little relaxation in the hot tub. Wait a minute ... staircase? ... lower level? ... the hot tub? In Art and Ruth Tibbets' travels, home-away-from-home has been a 37-foot, two-storey recreation vehicle, complete with walk-in closet, a laundry room with full-size washer and dryer, a kitchen with built-in dishwasher and more counter space than an average apartment, and the aforementioned two-person spa. This is not your typical motorhome ... just what Art intended it to be. Art describes their rolling mansion as a "master jigsaw puzzle" that only he could put together. "Since I was a boy, I've never been able to take the ideas in my head, and transfer them to paper," Art told The Independent recently, when we toured the giant RV in Campbellford, where it got a new paint job at Lew Carlaw's Body Shop, and some spiffy new graphics courtesy of John Scout of Home Town Signs. "I was one of those kids they threw out of Grade Four for not shaving," Art says with a twinkle in his eye. After earning credentials as a high-pressure welder, and a mechanic's ticket, Art spent "too many years" inhaling fumes that have now been proven to be toxic. Severe breathing difficulties, and a close call with death (he was given a year to live in 1982), led him to invent an air purification system; a system that he would incorporate in his motorhome several years down the road. "It started out to be a retirement home, and then it became a research project," Art said. "We were hopeful that (one of the large RV companies) would want to use it as a prototype for an environmentally safe, handicapped-friendly motorhome." Why handicapped friendly? It has an elevator ... yes, a lift capable of accommodating large wheel chairs ... to carry passengers to the second level. Built from the ground up (he started with two pieces of steel and "went from there"), Art's EnviroCoach has a Cummins diesel engine "belly loaded" in the centre of the chassis to provide more storage space "fore and aft." (Art originally wanted to call his invention a "land yacht" but thought the term too grandiose.) A generator runs off the engine, providing 200 amps of power while "on the road". Some of the extra space is used for the side-by-side washer and dryer, and some for the cedar-lined room that holds the corner hot tub. Both rooms are accessible from outside doors, but the spa can be reached by descending a staircase located beneath the upper-level master bedroom. (A switch activates air-controlled risers that lift the Tibbets' queen-size bed to reveal the stairs). "Ruth said she wanted a hot tub put in, and I couldn't think of a good reason not to," Art laughed. So, what can you do with 13 tonnes of double-decker fun? For starters, you can drive in clean-air luxury, at highway speed, for about 1,700 miles before having to refuel. The 170-gallon fuel tank provides that assurance, as much as the 200-gallon reservoir of fresh water guarantees there's always something to drink. And if you have a need to respond to nature's call ... this RV has a 120-gallon tank for waste. The "joys of winter" pose no problem for people driving this coach. Two separate heating systems provide plenty of warmth for living areas, although Art concedes the huge front and side window areas demand something "a little different" to keep them clear in winter months. "We use two of those micro-furnaces for defrosting the glass," Art said. "Boy, does that ever do the trick!" The motorhome was completed in 1997, after nearly four years of construction inside the 2,600 square foot building Art built just to protect his project. Since then, the Tibbets have enjoyed travelling throughout North America. But due to aging, health concerns, and a strong desire to spend more time with family (it's a second marriage for both, and they have 7 great-grandchildren between them), Art and Ruth are putting their RV on the market. They advertised their motorhome on eBay (highlighting such additional goodies as a water purifier, central vac system, and an outdoor shower that comes in handy when camped on an Oceanside), and got 2,100 hits in the first five days, Art said. "We couldn't get our price (it's kept confidential here for obvious reasons), but there were one or two pretty good offers," he said. "It goes back up for auction in May." What will the Tibbets do if not preparing to be on the road again? Well, they operate a successful herbal products business from their Havelock home; and of course, there is Art's ongoing need to do something about those inventions that keep popping into his head. "It's a God-given talent," Art said. "He's looked after us pretty well so far, and I hope He'll give us a few more years after this."