May 11, 2013

A Ticking Clock

My wife and I are in the market for [gasp] a motorhome. We're approaching the point where we are going to have to make some big decisions about the next few years and one of the options we want to explore is living off of the grid (as in avenues and streets). I've picked a test model (the Winnebago Rialta 1996-2005, prefereably a 2002-2005) and the interior style (the HD or RD) and all that's left is to find a vehicle for the price I'm willing to pay.

Seems pretty simple, doesn't it? It turns out, nothing is simple except, maybe, being born or dying.

There is a lot to consider here. Mostly, where the hell does the motorcycle go? I mean, seriously, how can I live in one of these things if I can't figure out where to put the motorcycle?

For the last 20 years, my wife has been more than a little jealous of my "adventures." She's not all that interested in the adventure part, but she has a fine idea of herself as a traveler and rarely going anywhere or doing anything has done some serious damage to that self-image. I'm good with a tent/bivouac and a sleeping bag, but she's pretty set on sleeping in a bed with solid walls around us (Notice the "us," instead of the more Geezer-friendly singular term?) On the other hand, I hate cages and was sort of looking forward to purging myself of all things four-wheeled in my geezerhood. A compromise is going to have to happen here and I suspect we all know what that means. (I give up some shit in exchange for a little peace and quiet.)

In the process of searching for information about these vehicles, we met a couple who are, probably, another decade or so older than us. (Imagine that?) Dave and Mary have had a great dozen or so years of retirement, motorcycling, full-time motor-homing, sailing the Pacific, and doing all sorts of cool stuff that most kids wouldn't dream of tackling. However, at 70-something David has worn out some parts and did a pretty good job of letting me know how near that moment will be for me. The moment when I have to decide if I can keep two-wheeling or if it's time to settle to call an occasional bingo game an "adventure." David has a couple of mangled discs, a bad shoulder, and failing eyesight. His mind is sharper than mine on my best day, but the body has taken a beating and the crows of some habits have come home to roost. Like a lot of us, he hates exercise and would rather rot than put in time on a treadmill or pumping iron. I can relate.

However, that is not a functional attitude. I've mentioned Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond before and here it comes again. The older we get, the harder we have to work to get to do any damn thing. This isn't optional, although it sure feels like it. What happens if we don't keep cranking out sweat and putting up with the pain for the gain is constant deterioration. Nature pretty much says, "If you're not going to work at this, die you worthless old bastard." Even if you do work at it, the end result is deterioration, it just takes a little longer. If you look at the world and national weight lifting champions, the downsizing of expectations with age is relentless. The Snatch/Clean & Jerk totals for 35-39 year olds is 328kG, 55-59 year olds is 239kG, 65-69 years is 213kG, and 75-79 is 180. We keep working, but our body is designed to peak at about 27 (for me) and go downhill from then on.

All this is just another piece of evidence that getting old isn't for sissies. Tonight, it's back to the workout routine.

As for the motorhome, some kind of ramp will end up tacked to the back of the vehicle and the WR250X will live there except when I'm off on a dirt road and my wife is happily ensconced in a civilized campground with the cat and dog for company.


  1. I've looked into this quite a bit in the last several years. Most class C motorhomes like you showed don't have any way to put a motorcycle inside unless it has a "toy hauler" version sand those are fairly rare. The Rialta does not seem to come in a toy hauler version. So, you'd have to put the motorcycle on a trailer. Almost all class C motorhomes are capable of hauling a one or two motorcycle trailer.

    The problem I have with a class C is it's your only transportation (except for your motorcycle). Unless you're staying a different place every night, you may need to get groceries, maybe go out to dinner, run errands, and such. You either have to plan well ahead or use the motorcycle for these things. I ruled out a class C for that reason.

    I'm thinking about a toy hauler travel trailer or fifth wheel and a pickup for the tow vehicle. Small trailers aren't all that expensive and I now have transportation besides my motorcycle.

    Just a couple things to think about.

    Yeah, getting old sucks. I'm running out of broken/degraded body parts that are easy to fix.

    Dale B

  2. You clearly are close to death.....if your wife reads this! No amount of exercise wil save you.
    As for a motorbicycle mount, you should have no problem. I saw a mountainbike mounted to the back of a Hardly Davidson in Zion NP last year. Clearly, where there is a will, there is a way. Good luck.

  3. If the motorhome has a class 4 hitch, you can buy a hydraulic system that will let you put one or two motorcycles (well... small ones, but then you're not likely to be putting a 1200cc cruiser on there) on the back of the rig.

    My parents spent the last 5 years traveling in a 39 foot class-A motorhome, and my father wanted to find a way to bring the bike with. It worked pretty well.

  4. I'm parked at a "welcome center" on the western edge of North Dakota, charging electronic crap and responding to email and work disasters. Yep, I bought a Rialta. Now I have to figure out a motorcycle trailer/hitch rig. It looks like the 650's days are numbered. All the way home from Oregon I've been figuring out how to eBay my stuff so I can clear out the home mortgage, empty the house so it can be closed down for the winter, and customize this thing for full-time winter escapism.

    It is really cool and, so far, has been knocking down 18-22mpg across mountains and windy plains. I found one in eastern Washington with 35k miles and no hard use . . . ever. It almost looks like new and runs great. I've found more "free" places to stay overnight on the way back than there are places to waste money.

  5. Dale, I'm working on an article inspired by David Hough and went back to some of the older stuff I'd written inspired by conversations with David. Damn, you were prescient here, weren't you? You were right on every single account. And now I own a Nissan pickup with a manual transmission and a 6,000 pound towing capacity and room in the bed for the WR and we're looking for a camper trailer. Shoulda listened to you before I bought the Rialta.


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