Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It does not yet have three million visitors a year and it is a marvel of geology.
Great Smoky Mountain NP remains high on my list, despite having more than nine million visitors a year. Most just drive through, and all that is concentrated in a small part of the year, the park is great off-season.
Then there are the places like Lisbon, Paris, Rome, Budapest, Prague and Bratislava. Not necessarily RV destinations. I think I like the peacefulness of Bratislava over the bustle of the larger European capitals, though once it gets "discovered" it will feel overrun by tourists like Rome and Prague.
Whatever they're using I don't recall EVER hearing about anyone loosing an axle when towing on roads.
I've seen it happen maybe four times in 50 years of driving. But not in the past 20 years (no longer involved in roadside service).
I've seen more front ends collapse than I've seen axles snap, but that was up in the rust belt in the 70s.
Did you take a magnifier to that first picture, or try edge enhancement on the scan? Looks like "Discovery" on my screen. That could be the model, or it could be the name of the manufacturer. There were hundreds of manufacturers around the U.S. in the 1950s and 60s, many selling only regionally or locally.
Other manufacturers have used that name since, most notably Fleetwood for a line of motorhomes, SunLite in the 1990s, NuWa for one of their Hitchhiker models. Yours is none of those.
We bought a Corsair in 1961, I don't know that the company survived the RV industry collapse following the early '70s oil embargo, but the brand name was still around in the '80s, being used by a different manufacturer. Discovery is a much more suitable name for a RV, more companies will have used it, so expect some false trails as you try to track it down.
I would look first at manufacturers who were building in the southeast in the 1950s and 60s.
Wall furnaces are still made, like this one which is probably too big, but the type was once common in RVs.
I had one in the back extension of my old house, to complement the floor furnace heating heating the original front of the house, but it was eventually replace with a ducted forced air system, to enable whole house air conditioning.
I think there is a reason these are no longer used in RVs, where air supplies are low because of small volumes and a tighter box than formerly. Note that you are suppose to open windows and run a forced air vent, just to use the range, which is a much smaller combustion source than these furnaces, even with all burners going.
Holiday Rambler ceased to exist as a corporation in 1996. Holiday Rambler became a brand name of Monaco Coach Corporation, which filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2009, and the assets (including brand names like H-R) were acquired by Navistar International. Navistar sold these assets to Allied Specialty Vehicles in 2013.
Considering the broad holdings of Allied Specialty Vehicle, I would expect that the Holiday Rambler brand is probably in a more secure place than it has been since 2005, when Monaco Coach started expanded beyond their financial and management resources.
Allied Specialty Vehicles was formed in 2010, a holding company acquiring the assets of a number of companies producing emergency vehicles, small buses, and RVs that got into trouble during the economic decline after 2007. Most of the acquisitions have been recent, from 2013 as markets in these categories have started to pick up.
Would I buy a RV, ambulance, or bus from these guys? Probably, as they are letting the experienced people run each of the businesses. Would I invest in them? Probably not, I am too conservative, liking extractive industries where the stock price represents some fraction of their licenses for in-ground assets, rather than companies that depend on sales or growth for value.
Vegas is on a E-350 chassis.
I'm not sure what Thor provides in the motorhome, but Ford provides two 15-amp 12 volt power points (not cigar lighters, those are a different specification) for the front dash, from the power distribution box. These are always live in the E-350 van.
Thor could be doing something quite different, but most likely they will be providing 12-volt power points, rather than lighter sockets.
My alma mater, Michigan State, where football has always been more important than anything else. I follow the results, sometimes watch the games when they are doing well.
I have other Big 10 connections, did my grad work at Northwestern (they've been to the Rose Bowl, after my time) and part of the family is U of Michigan (and some both schools in sequence). U of M has good years and bad years, tends to define their football fortunes relative to The Ohio State University, which for the last 60 years has been a losing proposition, no matter how good the Wolverines can be.
My older daughter is a Sooner. I am still wearing, from time to time, some old University of Oklahoma sweatshirts. I'm figuring I paid about $10,000 for each shirt, why not root for the team.
My younger daughter went to private schools without football programs. Didn't cost any less. But now she is in grad school, at U of Michigan, and I am finding it hard to get behind a loser team for a school that was my own number two rival (after Notre Dame).
It started as a joke. It has become a cultural icon.
This is regional humor, and a way to deal with trash when disposal is expensive. We turn junk into art, city folks sometimes find it quaint.
On a county road in northeastern Oklahoma we have a concrete mixer body dressed up as a space capsule. It sits in the bar ditch where it was left when the truck was hauled away after an accident. Painting it started as a high school prank. This piece of trash sat there in the ditch for several years, acquiring new graffiti with each graduating class. This was on a little-used county road, and it was a local gag.
Then, for almost a year, rebuilding the US-60 bridge over the Verdigris River diverted traffic down to Winganon Road. Someone painted the mixer body to look like an Apollo command module, and the roadside space capsule achieved Internet fame. Somebody put a lot of work into it, even fabricating boosters. For a contemporary picture, Google "Winganon Space Capsule." It keeps changing, though the US-60 bridge project is finished and Winganon Road is back down to maybe 50 traffic movements a day. And what is there is just a piece of trash too expensive to haul out of the bar ditch.
The empty Midwest, the Great Plains, is full of roadside stuff like this. We have a huge store of scrap metal and implements, every farmer and rancher has welding skills, anybody can paint, and some of us have either artistic inclinations or a perverse sense of humor. There are about 150 miles of highway between my house and my daughter's home outside Wichita, and I can go past at least three roadside works of art between here and there, depending on the route I choose.
The "back roads" (usually part of the trunk highway system, or at least the state highways) are full of sights like this.
If you are going to make a really cheap top, I guess it might be an advantage to give it a name that implies it comes from a country where everything is precision crafted and really expensive.
"Swiss" is an Indiana company and they've been in business for about 40 years. Their business is local/regional.
Like utility trailers, camper tops have two tiers. There are national brands with big advertising and distribution expenses, and there are local and regional manufacturers that have a small number of local dealers or sell direct. The local guys have lower expenses, can sell at local prices.
Ask your Swiss dealer to give a reference from a local buyer, if you are concerned about quality. It is not a national brand
I don't use cruise control in hilly country, I don't use it on wet pavement, I don't use it on snow and ice, I don't use it in heavy urban traffic.
It is not so much a MPG issue as it is a safety and vehicle control issue. The owner's manual for every vehicle offered with cruise control will list these places or conditions as not suitable for cruise control.
I don't think it makes that much of a difference, those are just brand names for engine families. I would by the truck with the best dealer support, which in my town means Ford.
I had Dodge trucks until an out of town dealer from a bigger city took away the franchise and turned the service business into a rip-off operation. I came to town 35 years ago with a Chevy but couldn't stand the dealer's inadequacies, though things may have improved since the bailout reorganization, when the Chevy franchise was revoked and handed over to the Buick dealer. The Buick dealer has always been good.
Point is, local service issues can matter more than national brands and brand loyalties.
What I find interesting among vintage enthusiasts I've met is the trend toward modernizing them to have facilities more like modern RVs.
Our 1961 TT had one LPG lamp, two 12V lamps, gravity fill fresh water pressurized by bicycle pump for one cold-water sink and to wash down the toilet, no water or 120V hookups. No shower, no water heater, fridge and wall heater used pilot lights. 12V worked from the tow vehicle battery. It would be a good dry camping TT today.
What I see more often among vintage "restorations" is addition of 120v/12V electrical systems, pump driven water supplies, fridges, furnaces that need 12V power, and even water heaters.
If you want real vintage, you might have to find something ancient to restore, a shrinking market, rather than one that has already been modernized.
One campground I go to allows up to three tents/RVs in a combination at a site. Another allows one tent with a RV. I also go to RV parks that allow no tents anywhere.
Sometimes the limit is not the number of tents, rather the number of people using the site.
So it depends on where you are going.
Whether or not the alternator is going to charge your house batteries is a matter of time/distance, not battery size. Any alternator on a Ford or Chevy van cutaway chassis is going to have the capacity to do the job, after restoring the charge from a startup, if you are running long enough. Other loads are insignificant compared to 100-160 amp alternator outputs.
I don't expect the alternator to recharge my house batteries after sitting for months, because my campsite is 15 miles from my house, barely enough run to take care of the starting battery. So I recharge, after storage, in my driveway before a trip. But most RVers travel a lot farther?
You can get a Golf TDI here, though by European standards it is not a small car, as there are two smaller sizes from most manufacturers. Manual transmission is available, if you want to tow it, though VW says no.
Beetle on same platform also comes as a diesel.
Jetta on stretched Golf platform comes as a diesel, but we get only the sedan, no wagon.
Mid-size Passat comes as a diesel, again we get only the sedan.
I think you might find VW also puts the diesel in some of their Audi models here, but we do not get any small Audis, the A3 is platform share with mid-size Passat.
There is just not really enough of a market for small diesel cars (or small cars at all) for manufacturers to go through the certification and import them. The big market for diesel engines in Europe is historically driven by a substantially lower motor fuel tax for diesel, in several countries. We put a higher tax on diesel than on gas, and in any case our motor fuel taxes are so low that there is not enough room for incentives to manipulate our vehicle choices.
Marinas usually do pump-outs, since boats are not in a position to dump.
If you are not going to be hooked up, the RV will likely not be warm enough to use the plumbing facilities, so for that part of the year the dumping issue would be moot.
You need to find someone who is already RV camping on the streets in NYC, learn what they do to get around the limitations of modern RV equipment. What we had in the 1960s could do fairly well without electricity, and travel trailers of this vintage are often placed in fields and woodlots in rural areas to be used as hunting camps.
But if you get too modern, everything depends on maintaining an electrical supply, which might mean charging 4-8 hours a day to keep a furnace running overnight, or pumping water.