Sunday, March 27, 2016

Le Sport*

It took us two years to buy this rig. We had put a deposit on it way back in March of 2014, from the North Island, New Zealand, Uretiti to be exact, but then decided it didn't suit our interests in snowmobiling and cold weather travel. Two years later, it popped up on Craigslist, and, with our cold weather adventures done, it beckoned again. We were looking for something on a Sprinter 3500 chassis, diesel, good mileage, large enough carrying capacity for full-timing, towing, and savage-camping, with a more streamlined look, as close to European design, standards, and amenities as possible, consistent in cost with our near-term travel plans (that is, it will sit in storage in the US 6-8 months of the year), sleeping and seating 3-4. And well-made.

Le Sport was built in 2006 by Sportsmobile, an American firm esteemed for custom RV conversions, especially 4WD and adventure travel. Le Sport was a prototype for a venture into the Sprinter Class C or B+ field with the German RV manufacturer Robel (mit der umlaut). The venture did not pan out--too expensive to produce this side of the Pond--and only two vehicles were built, a boxy Class C, and Le Sport, the sleeker B+. We have long been admirers of Sportsmobile, having visited their plants in Austin and in Fresno in years past, and when Le Sport became available again, we seized the opportunity. Due diligence (Carfax), a good deal, taking our Ram for trade-in value, knowledge of the vehicle's history, and a chat with the past owner, sped us on our way. Also a sense of fate, destiny, kismet, karma...whatever. Maybe second time around. Le Sport's only serious shortcoming for us was a lack of solar power, although it comes with 4 big AGM coach batteries, and we are adding four solar panels very shortly before returning to Middle California. Below are some initial pix and comments.
At the dealership from whom we bought it; M-B Sprinter 3500,
2.7 l turbo diesel, 5 speed automatic

Cab view

The Kenwood monitor serves the back-up camera, audio and
video, CD/DVD/MP3 player, and the satnav

Storage above cab; came with interior and exterior front window

Looking abaft; TV and DVD player; also came with an in-motion
satellite system

Some of the interior storage; the woodwork is entirely solid, maple
we thought, but more likely birch, a cabinet-maker friend said

One of two easy chairs; together, they make into a single bed

The other; the two cab captains' chairs swivel to seat four at a
portable table 

Galley; two sinks; Swedish 3-burner stove

Shower and half of the dry bath

Other half

Fold-down table from medicine cabinet

Clothes closet

Lower bin for shoes

Fridge and freezer

Convection microwave

Queen bed and ever more storage

Exterior storage, under the bed

Other features--24 foot over-all length, dual pane windows with black-out shades and embedded screens, airbags, macerator (Herr Scheisschopper), 2500 watt generator, 1750 watt inverter, LED lighting throughout, new furnace, low-profile AC, working tank monitors, 60 gallon fresh/gray, 12 foot Fiamma awning, Blue Ox towing system, assorted suspension upgrades, stabilizers, alarm system, dualies, 19 mpg highway, power everything, keyless entry, etc.--filled out our nearly 3 page list of desired features for an American camper. We love it.

*Oh yes, Le Sport is a tentative name only. Until Vicki comes up with something better.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

End Of Season Sales

February 23rd, as it turned out, was our last ride on the Blue Wanderer, and a good one too. Our intent on this campaign was to enjoy a final season of winter camping and snowmobiling, and, at season's end, to sell everything connected with these endeavors and to transition to a different rig and style in the US. Vicki had already begun listing everything in Craigslist and other media, and, within a month, we had sold it all and begun moving into our new rig, tentatively called Le Sport. (Goes well with Le Duc, our European camper). Le Sport will get a separate post, in due course.
All saddled up after the last ride, ready to head to the Bozone

The Blue Wanderer's many campaign pennants

Riding off into the sunset...well, 19th Ave. in Bozeman, en
route to I-90...with its new owners, a nice couple from Billings;
they bought the trailer too

The Bigfoot rests upon its new home, atop a Chevy owned by
a nice couple from Colorado; with all the solar and other
accoutrements we added, they got a good deal

The Ram, resting on its trip east; oddly, it was the hardest to
sell, but we finally found a deal; I miss its raw power, especially
unladen, and its many new-fangled 2014 features

The post