Well, the last time I posted on the forum, I had visited Showhauler and started the yearning process.
I had the chance to take my wife there a few months ago so show her what I was all jazzed up about. She loved it and had quite a different opinion of life on the road if we could do it in one of these. Last weekend, I took the whole family to Beck's Marine in St. Johns, MI and got the chance to see two more of them. A 28' and a 30'. Nathan Beck was out of town so I was shown around by Paul June. My impressions of their operation were good. It seems that Beck's has been involved with SH since early on in their truck conversions. They were a race horse trailer conversion company before that. You could tell there was a bit of pride in the relationship and I sense there was a lot of input from them.
I asked if we could have a ride on the 30'er and away we went. It was a new Century with a MB and a Meritor auto.
Boy, is that weird! you just press the "go" pedal and it revs up, lets off, shifts, and revs again. All by itself. Coming down from speed is just the opposite, you engage the retarder and it starts to slow a bit, revs the motor, downshifts, and slows more. Again, all by itself. I can see why seasoned truckers are a bit leery of these, they leave you with nothing to do but point and go.
After a bit of road time with the wife riding shotgun and me riding in the back, Paul asked if I wanted to give it a try. What was I to say, I wanted to be polite! I could see myself doing this real easy.
Our family went on a 3000 mi trip in a 29' Ford class C a few years ago and my wife only drove for a short time.
She swore that she would never drive anything like that again unless I lay dead in the passenger seat. After a few miles on the road, she started saying stuff like " you should get an auto in case I want to drive" Realize that has driven a stick for 20 years, so that wasn't the problem. She just didn't like the "float" of the class C that we rented.
Found another truck from a friend that runs a trucking company. 2000 Volvo 610 with an Eaton Autoshift, Detroit s60 and 3.55 rears. 460,000 mi, great rubber, and a week old clutch. He treats his truckers right, and it has many of the bells and aluminum. Due to trade it in a month, so the clock is ticking for me. Hmm, now where did I leave that $35,000? BTW, If I can't come up with the cash quickly enough, anyone interested? And I'm not telling anyone where it is until I'm absolutely sure that I can't get it myself.
Two nagging problems for me (other than where am I going to come up with $150,000),
With a 32' coach, I'll come in at 42' for the truck. I need to carry a trailer and if I'm crafty, I can only pull 20" and stay below the 65' limit. Sure wish I could pull at least a 24', of even a 26'. A stacker would help, but 20' is definitely tight.
Secondly, I have to find someone that has taken a roof and sleeper off of one of these. I did confirm that the roof is Fiberglass, and the sleeper walls are steel, so it should be do-able. I really don't want a day cab truck because of the previous use pattern and the goodies that come with a OTR. Interestingly, it looks like the rear wall of these Volvos is the same panel that they use on the day cab. They just build from there to finish the sleeper.
I did get the "guide' from onezman and it will be useful. I'm sure we can all come up with more questions, so keep up the good work, buddy.
Well, its back to work watering the money tree!
(trying to scratch the intensifying itch)