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The Rig

Our rig (Kathleen named her "Turtle") is an Xcursion, made by Xplorer Motorhomes. It's similar to other Class C motorhomes, except that it's built on a truck chassis instead of a van. The chassis is a 2005 Ford F-550, 6.0 liter diesel, 5-speed auto transmission, 4x4, rear duallies, and a 163" wheelbase. The coach is fiberglass with just one seam, joining the overhead to the main coach body.

The length of the rig is 26'. If you count the motorcycle on the rear and the spare tire in front, that brings us up to about 30'. We're about 8' feet wide and 11.5' high. Totally loaded with us inside we weigh 17,072 lbs(would you believe 438 lbs under our GVWR?) We wouldn't want anything bigger, and there are times we'd like to be a little smaller. It's amazing the places we can shoehorn into, though.

What came standard on our rig:
-Rear airbag suspension
-Backup camera w/color monitor
-5500w diesel generator
-Air conditioner
-LCD tv w/VCR/DVD, satellite dish
-Microwave/convection oven
-Three-way refrigerator (AC, DC, propane)
-Dry bath (separate shower)
-32"x76" slide-out
-12,000 lb. hitch
-Rear mounted spot/backup light

What we've added or changed:
-HWH leveling jacks (highly recommended, installed at HWH factory)
-Three 100w solar panels- installation by AM Solar, Eugene, OR
-Four 6 volt AGM batteries, charge controller- installation by AM Solar
-2000 watt inverter- Xantrex, installation by AM Solar
-water filtration system- Nature Pure
-Brush guard- Smitty Bilt
-Front-mounted hitch- Draw Tite
-Custom front mount spare carrier- Wright Way Fabrication, Arcata, CA
-Additional mounted spare
-200cc motorcycle (rides two!)- Suzuki DR200SE
-Motorcycle carrier- Ultimate MX Hauler
-Rooftop storage pod (removed tv sat dish for this)
-Custom outside storage bin in dead space underneath coach- Wright Way Fabrication
-Rain cover for roof vent- Max Air
-Removed folding bed from couch to create storage
-Replaced closet w/shelving
-Satellite radio w/roof antenna- Sirius (more Public Radio)
-GPS w/roof antenna- Garmin Quest (works as a hand-held, too)
-Removable aluminum bulkhead (isolates cab from coach when shipping)- Rus designed & built
-Rear springs (replaced origionals with custom heavy-duty set after 20,000 mi)- Harper Ford, Eureka, CA
-All new tires (originals feathered badly after 15,000 miles)- Bridgestone M724's
-New gas front shocks at 25,000 miles- MonoMax
-Heavy duty steel skid rollers for rear end
-Extra propane outlets for barbeque and catalytic heater
-Extra 12v outlets for fans
-Tons of other smaller stuff

We searched for months for a vehicle we thought could get us to South America and back in one piece. We considered smaller vehicles like a truck camper or the Sportsmobile van conversions, but as this was
going to be our home for 2 years with an 80-lb Labrador, we decided we needed something a little bigger. When we discovered the Xcursion we began a long process of decision-making and communication with the company, as they only made a few a year, each one more or less custom. This was excruciating at times, as we'd never owned, driven, or spent even an hour in an rv! But we never got the Xcursion we ordered. The company was sold, production was interrupted, and we decided to accept their offer of the owner's demo unit instead. This rig had just 2000 miles on it and many of the features we'd wanted. And we didn't want to go back to zero looking for another rig.

In the time since, we've made Turtle our own. She's been our home for just over a year, as we write this from Chiapas, Mexico in June 2006. We've put nearly 40,000 miles on the odometer, traveling all over
the United States, Eastern Canada and Mexico, about to head into Central America. People say an rv has all the maintenance and repair headaches of a vehicle PLUS a house, and we'd have to agree. There's
always something that needs adjustment, cleaning, repair or replacement, and we are finding increasingly that we have to rely on our own resources. For example, we hired an "electricista" (electrician) recently to help us figure out why we weren't getting reliable power to our rig, and he said we needed 220v, not 110v, and that we should plug directly into the service box, not the outlets!! It turned out to be the power source,
not us. Had we followed his advice, we'd be limping back to the States right now, everything electrical in our rig burned beyond recognition! Xcursions are back in production now, in Elkhart, Indiana, www.xplorermotorhome.com each one built to the customers' specifications. The new owner, Bob Helvie, appears to be taking the company to a new level, appealing to adventure travelers with things like diesel-powered kitchen appliances (a single fuel rv!), and heavier duty chassis. We wish him much success, and hope to see another Xcursion on the road sometime in our travels.

If you are curious about what our traveling home looks like inside, here's a peak! There are folding counters around the sink that add work space to our tiny kitchen, the dinette folds down into an extra bed, and we sleep above the cab of the truck. That's the door to the bathroom with jackets hanging on it in the second photo, the point of maximum congestion in the layout of our interior space because the door to the outside is to the left in that photo, hidden behind the refrigerator.

fridge, closet, and pantry, closed and open


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