Today's Pocono 400 race was the first trip out this season with the old Allegro. I am the world's worst procrastinator. I didn't get to half of the work that I wanted to do on the rig before I left. And I had to leave the race early because I have school work due at midnight (that I am not doing right now - I'm typing up this post instead :) )

I mentioned in another post that I discovered a broken shock mount last week that had definitely been broken the entire time I owned the thing. I simply can't believe the difference in the way the thing handles now that the shock is repaired. It is so much nicer to drive. It was pretty windy coming and going, which is no fun, but overall it rides so much better.

I also previously mentioned that early into last year's Pocono trip, I broke the pilot tube on the fridge and had to resort to running the generator to keep the fridge on. Well the generator quit working on that trip too. This was my first trip out with everything fixed. The fridge gets so much colder on propane. The fridge hung out at around 35 degrees and the freezer was about 10-15 below zero.

It was 3 days, 2 nights of dry camping. Despite my lack of preparation, everything went really well and the 33-year-old rig performed flawlessly. I had the tanks pumped out before I left, which I had never done before. I don't know why I've been torturing myself by finding places to dump at home all these years. The $25 we paid was well worth not having the hassle of dumping when we get home.

Saturday night we saw some 20-somethings circling the area and finally settle down near us. We noticed that they were looking over and waving so we went over to introduce ourselves. Let me say at this point that I have a terrible memory with names and faces. It turns out that they look for our Allegro and set up near us every year because we're "fun." I honestly don't remember them, but was kind of flattered anyway. As per usual, it was the oldest rig there and lots of people asked about it.

I've often complained about my steep driveway here. Today I was able to climb up it without scraping for the first time. Curiously, it really did not want to climb the first 100 feet or so, which is the steepest part. I had the pedal to the metal and it was barely moving. Thankfully when we got to a less steep part it perked up. Slight moment of panic there though.

The $800 radiator I put in it last year continued to perform well. It was in the low-90s today and it barely got to 200 degrees climbing the hills and got below 180 degrees while coasting down.

We brought home a few billion ants that I will have to address. Before our next trip out, I really want to get to the front air bags (yeah, yeah - 4 years now and I still haven't replaced them).

All in all a great time with the old Allegro. There is some serious hardware out there, which does look appealing, but the old girl has a certain charm that people really seem to like.

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Comment by Jim Stoltz on June 19, 2017 at 12:27pm

Great story Rich. I got mine on Craigslist, too. They listed it for $600, which was very intriguing to me. It was at a tow yard. The original owner was on his way somewhere when the engine blew. He turned it over to the towing company. The son-in-law of the owner of the towing company had big plans for it, but ultimately did nothing. He had thought it was a blown head gasket - easy fix. In reality, the #3 piston came apart and rendered the entire engine a boat anchor. It sat there for 5 or 6 years, based on the date on the inspection sticker. It still had clothes, towels, soap and toothpaste in it from that last, fateful journey. Thankfully there was no food! Despite the years of mildew that had collected all over every single surface inside, I could tell that the original owner took really good care of it. He drove the heck out of it - it had 79k on it when I got it (not a lot for a 33-year-old vehicle, but a lot by RV standards). I figured since he was on the way somewhere when the engine blew that everything had to work. And it did. I offered the guy $400 for it if he towed it to my house. He agreed so long as I agreed to put it back on the road - no parting it out. I found a GM Performance 454 on Craigslist, yanked the old one out through the driver's door and plopped the new one in. It was really only about a day's work to swap that out.  

It's funny you mentioned your torque converter. I lost (okay, misplaced is a better word) my torque converter cover during the engine transplant and always think to myself "I gotta find that thing" when I see the torque converter whirring around under there.

Comment by Rich Thomas on June 19, 2017 at 12:03pm

I bought the Palace off Craigslist. The PO was very honest about everything in the add. I him-hauled around for a month before I went to look at it and that's when I lost my sanity. The add stated red flags all over the place like Tornado survivor, only 19,300 miles and good tires,runs well. I finally had to go see it and bought it on the spot contingent the salvage title could be taken care of. it had a 2" triangle hole in the roof from a 2x4.( It really was a tornado survivor and insurance totaled it for that little hole) Any way that's an other story that makes it fun when people over look the mc mansion parked next door to chat with me about the Palace. With in the first 20 miles of ownership I blew a dual tire and locked up a front caliper all of which I had planned to replace in short order but not on interstate 71 down town Columbus Ohio. Those two Items was almost equal to the purchase price alone but would have been a cost any way so I took it in stride. As I am writing this, my new torque converter just got delivered on my step. How awesome is that!  Any way you look at it RV-ing isn't an inexpensive endeavor; it is however a means to escape the every day and a way to bring family's and friends together. i love my old Palace and hope to salvage some of this years season and if not i'll fill in with the Coleman and the Palace will rise from the ashes next year all the better for it. 

Comment by Jim Stoltz on June 16, 2017 at 1:36pm

This is my 4th season with mine, and I only get out a couple of times a season. I only have a bit of 2,000 miles behind the wheel of it but you do gain a lot more confidence over time. It was terrifying at first.

Comment by Dawn Michelle on June 16, 2017 at 9:14am

I just love these discussions.  Reminds me I am not at all alone!  

My worst moment, too, was after Juno was in the driveway, Rick had gone back to Denver and I realized she was all mine to deal with, and even at 21 feet she seemed so BIG.  I thought, "girl, you are bat-### crazy for doing this".  

Since then though I've gained a lot more confidence and I can actually now see myself reno'ing something bigger one day or an airstream.  What has surprised me most is how much I just enjoy it.  I have a friend who is going to start building a tiny house in the next three or four years and I'm planning to go help her.

Comment by Jim Stoltz on June 15, 2017 at 10:03pm

Yes we do Russ - otherwise it would suck all the fun out of it. This is a picture of my life-changing and "oh **** what have I done" moment.

Comment by Russ Johnson on June 15, 2017 at 9:36pm

Well said, Jim. One has to over look some of the expenses or it will make the whole adventure just unbearably painful. The MMP has cost a lot of money and grief of being sitting on the roadside. But those expenses are past us now and it has proven to be reliable. The newest endeavor is not cheap or fun by any stretch of the imagination, but it is something that has to be dealt with. So it goes into the your needs category, with some of the finishing items--hardwood floor, recliners, drapes--into the wants category. Fun times still await us and I am looking forward to being on the road again in something that hopefully will not look like a bowl full of jelly going down the road, LOL.

Comment by Jim Stoltz on June 15, 2017 at 9:04pm

Dawn Michelle - yes, splitting the costs up into categories doesn't put the money back in my bank account but makes me feel better about it. I don't think any of us bought our campers thinking we'd make a profit on them. They're money pits, but they're also memory makers which makes them extremely valuable to me.

Comment by Dawn Michelle on June 15, 2017 at 5:23pm

Rich - I am sad to hear the Palace might not get to stretch her wings this summer!  But, Jim, I do like how you break down your lists of costs.  I'm going to do the same and see if that doesn't help me swallow some of the numbers better!!  

Comment by Jim Stoltz on June 15, 2017 at 5:17pm

Sorry to hear the Palace is down for the count, but at least you have a backup. Mine continues to be okay mechanically (knocking on some wood here....). It's a very simple platform so there's not a whole lot to go wrong with it (continuing the knocking on wood...).

People always ask me "how much $ do you have into this thing?" Well there's 2 answers. One is the real number, which I will never get back from it. The other is the number that I've convinced myself makes sense. I break it down into "needs", "wants" and "wear items". In the "needs" column, I have about $1,500 tied up in it. Purchase price of $400 plus the engine and incidentals - those are "needs". Wear items are tires, brakes, fluids, belts, etc. I'd have to spend that money no matter what. Wants, well there's a long list: new floors, new range, new fridge, new toilet, new plumbing fixtures, fancy wheel covers, LED lights, etc.

It really is a labor of love. I love bringing it places, I love telling the story of how I got it and I love that it's my little home away from home. I've gotten to go places - in relative comfort - that I never would have gone to otherwise.  

Comment by Rich Thomas on June 14, 2017 at 7:50pm

Sounds like you had a really good trip Jim. I'm starting to think this year is going to be a bust for the Palace. But my old stand by Coleman Red wood pop up is going to get a work out come Thursday.

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