Aug 212009

As most of my regular blog readers know, we have been looking for an RV to replace our faithful old MCI bus conversion. We have lived in the bus for 8 years and loved it, but our needs have changed and we needed something different.

Our criteria was a 38 to 40 foot diesel pusher, with at least a 330 horsepower engine, and a living room slide. As many of you know, I have long been a critic of many production RVs, but I have always said that there are a handful of manufacturers whose RVs we would be comfortable owning. If we had been shopping for a fifth wheel, our search would have begun and ended with Heartland. Unfortunately, they don’t make motorized RVs, only towables.

Of the production model diesel pushers, our top three manufacturers of choice were (in no particular order) Allegro, Winnebago, and Newmar. 

We did a lot of internet research, and looked at a lot of used RVs over the past six months, and almost bought a couple, but either we couldn’t quite get together on the price, or we couldn’t arrange the financing in time and someone snatched them out from under us.

Of all the rigs we looked at, the ones that really stuck out in our minds were the Winnebago Ultimate series, which was the top of the Winnebago line from 1998 to 2004, but every one we saw was out of our price range.

In early June we drove past a car dealer’s lot in Goshen, Indiana, and at the last minute out of the corner of my eye, I  spotted a beautiful 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage. We made a quick U-turn and checked it out, and though it was everything we wanted in a new home on wheels, we knew it was out of our price range. We looked at a couple of other RVs since then, but our minds kept going back to the Winnebago, and after a couple of visits and calls to the dealership, we were finally able to get them to negotiate a price we could live with.

Our goods friends Ron and Brenda Speidel are longtime Winnebago owners, and they are even on the company’s Consumer Research Panel, so they know their Winnebago’s. Added to that, Ron is one of the most technical guys I know, and he has always wanted an Ultimate Advantage, so we asked them to go with us to check the rig out.

I told Ron I wanted him to go over it with a fine tooth comb, with the mindset that Brenda wanted to buy it, and his job was to talk her out of it. After crawling over, under, around, and through every square inch of the rig, Ron had just one thing to say – “If you don’t buy it, I will.”

So yesterday we took delivery of our new home on wheels, and we are ecstatic! It has two slides, a 350 horsepower Cummins turbo diesel engine, six speed Allison automatic transmission, 7500 watt Onan Quiet Diesel generator, and every option we could ever want or need. Things like an automatic satellite TV dish on the roof, four door Norcold refrigerator, central vacuum system, and more. The rig has been babied, only 33,000 miles on it, all service done at the Cummins/Onan dealer here in Elkhart, and it lived inside a heated garage all its life.

It drives like a dream, and has more power than I know what to do with. In fact, when we were driving back to Elkhart Campground from the dealership, Ron and Brenda were following us, and had to call Terry on the cell phone to tell her to tell me to slow down. I thought I was doing about 35 and it was closer to 55!

We have the new motorhome parked next to the bus, and can’t wait to start moving in. Unfortunately, today we have to drive to Michigan to pick up the new issue of the Gypsy Journal from our printer, and then it will take several days to get it stuffed into envelopes and mailed out. And next week, we are supposed to be vending at the Carriage rally in Goshen, Indiana. But maybe we’ll at least sneak next door and just go sit in our new motorhome and grin at each other for a while.  

Thought For The Day – When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

Register Now For Our Ohio Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  46 Responses to “The Search Is Over!”

  1. Congratulations, you two! So glad you got the motorhome you’ve been dreaming of! Now we’ll have to adjust our ‘view’ of you as we watch for your rig on the road. We couldn’t be happier for you.

    Hope your beloved bus finds a new home with people who appreciate all the love, sweat and tears you’ve both put into it.
    Sharon & Don

  2. Congratulations Nick & Miss Terry, I’m sure you got a great coach from the sound of it and will many happy years and miles. Oh yah and Nick, no more oil leaks!!! Enjoy.

  3. Way to go Nick and Terry!!! I like it ! This one still sleeps two right?????

  4. congratualtions on your new home….I am sure you will have many years together….

  5. Way to go! It looks gorgeous!

  6. Congratulations to the two of you. I know you’ve been looking hard for a rig which meets your specs.
    What is to become of the bus?

  7. You bought a great motor home, Nick. But I do feel sorry for the next owners of your old MCI bus as they will have the experience of people knocking on their door at all hours of the day and night. However, you can easily offset all of their inconvenience, just leave a Press Pass on the dashboard so they can enjoy those free meals and other goodies we all know you get every day.

  8. Well,it’s about time!! Really, we’re all happy for you! Congratulations on a job well-dne, all the work you put into the search mission and getting the financing,etc. Hope the prospects you had for buying the bus will show up and take her away for the right price. The Winnie is beautiful and looks just right for you, and your smiles are as wide as a slideout. One question: do you have solar panels, or plan to add them for boondocking?
    I think the RV Paint Lady you met needs to put some Gypsy Journal graphics on that baby!

  9. Looks awesome, whats the inside look like and whats going to happen to the bus ? I’m jealous.

  10. Congrats on your new home! It looks great!

  11. Congrats on the new home. May your travels be even better now. we are so happy for the two of you and you will enjoy the added space.

  12. Congratulations and as my mother always said, “use it well”.

  13. As I said earlier, CONGRATULATIONS!!! We are so HAPPY for you both!!!


    Mike & Pat
    The PressurePro People…

    Don’t forget,,,,,,,put the sensors on exactly the same wheels on your new one as they were on your bus. Then you will have to delete the two from the tag axel…….If you get lost. give a call,,,Ms Pat will help you!!! 🙂

  14. Congratulations Nick and Terry!!!

    You look like kids on Christmas morning!

    Just a thought, Terry, you could keep the MCI Conversion and let “Bad Nick” reside in it.


  15. Mucho Congratulations! Now, Nick, what are you going to do with all that spare time, since you won’t have to be “tinkering” all the time? ;>)

  16. Comgratulations Nick and Terry. May you have many years of happiness in your new rig.

  17. Congrats! Each time you go to have a lookie see, carry something over there with ya. Won’t take long to have the move completed, as you will be drawn over there so many times in the next week! May you enjoy for many many years to come!

  18. Wow Nick and Terry!! What a great choice. Now the move from one to another but Its fun really. I know Terry will get everything set up just the ways she wants it! Enjoy!!

    Jean and John Watson

  19. Wow, what good news. Congratulations and best wishes for many happy years with your new home.

  20. That’s just great, guys.
    You two deserve an upgrade.
    We’re looking forward to seeing you in Celina.
    Travel safely.

  21. Oh my gosh! Today would not have been a good day to forget to read your blog! How very exciting. Contratulations Nick and Terry. Will you have an open house in Celina?

    May you use it in good health.

  22. Congratulations. Your rig is beautiful and we wish you many happy miles in it. Yes, those smiles last night were as wide as the slide so keep them.

  23. Congrats,

    Now how are we going to recognize you two when your driving by? Maybe you can put the Gypsy Journal logo down the side :-).

    Enjoy it, you guys deserve it!

    Phil and Rudee Rubeck

  24. Congratulations on your new home! Best wishes for many more miles on the road in the new rig. We agree with all the above – how will we recognize you now? I’m sure you will figure out some unique way:-)

  25. Way to go Nick and Terry. I can’t wait to get to Elkhart to see it. I feel for you during the change over though. You will be surprised to find all the things you have in your bus that you didn’t remember having. Congratulations

    Bill and Helen

  26. Sweet!!!!!!
    Barry & Joyce Crocker
    Valley of the Rouge State Park, OR

  27. Yay! and Yay! We’re so glad you found what it!! Enjoy every minute!
    Molly & Bob

  28. May as well add our congratulations to all of the aboved. But how will we ever recognize you as you drive by us on the road? Oh, you’l be the one with big grin, driving way fast!

  29. Welcome to the Winnie family. You might want to start thinking now about vending at next year’s Grand National Rally where only Winnebago’s are allowed on the rally grounds.

  30. Congrats on the new wheels. Now you’ve got no excuse not to head to Alaska ( but wait a few months – the snow’s about ready to fly). Are you going to transfer all your Solar to the new bus?

  31. Congrats Nick & Terry, How are going to recognize on the road now that you are in a production model?

  32. ….. now on to Alaska and beyond…….

  33. Hey! You had better repaint the new Class A with the same colors as the old bus. How are we going to recognize you otherwise???

    Congrats…you deserve it.

    George & Jaimie

  34. Congrats!!! I had a feeling that was the one you would get. You talked about it alot. Have fun.
    Jerry and Lu

  35. Totally Awesome! Good things do happen to good people. We are thrilled for you and can’t wait to see your new home at the GJR in Celina next month.

  36. Fantastic!!! Just want to add my congrats. So glad for both of you. Life is to be enjoyed to the fullest and you two are doin-it. Fun, Fun, Fun. Keep us up to date on moving and the fate of the old bus. Happy for you, Connie B.

  37. Good for you guys. It sure is a nice looking motor home with all of the bells and whistles an person could hope for.. I hope it give you many happy trouble free days.. Enjoy..

  38. It is a good looking rig. It has more than enough power and you should be very happy with it.

  39. Happy motoring to the two of you!!!!!! Hope you mark it in some way so we can recognize that beauty when we see it. I’ll miss the old bus.


  40. New RVs – fun! Congratulations Nick and Terry.


  41. get all your friends there to help you move every thing.

  42. Congratulations! You picked a beautiful coach! Enjoy!

  43. We join the throngs wishing you many safe and happy miles. Tom asked if Indiana allows you to tow the bus? That way you don’t have to unload any time soon and we’ll all recognize you. Seriously, we are thrilled you have found your dream rig; know you’ll love every mile. See you in Yuma; we’ll be bringing anything you need. Barbara & Tom

  44. Nice looking coach, did you trade you bus in?

  45. Congratulations on the purchase of your coach. We have had our 2002 Ultimate Advantage 40J for 6 yrs and after 63,000 miles it still looks like new. I had my tires changed last year and while a few had a few cracks the tires were excellent as asvised by the dealer, If the coach has truly been stored in side the the UV rays should not of affected them much just get them checked by a quality dealer. Michelin says the tires have a 10 yr life with proper maintenance.

  46. Congrats on your new coach you two! Regarding people commenting on you “getting rich off other people’s backs”…I wonder if those people commenting also resent their orthodontists sending their kids to college on their backs, their lawyers paying off their mortgages, or perhaps their doctors buying a new BMW. You work hard for your money, you provide an excellent service and deserve all the goodies you can get!
    Enjoy every minute.

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