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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Go-anywhere RV: One man's gift to his child

Bran Ferren: Engineer, designer, former R&D man for Disney's celebrated Imagineering Department – and when in his late 50s, father to his first child.

View from the cabin
What does a man with a background like this want to give to his new daughter? Something to widen her world: How about a custom-designed, go just-about-anywhere RV? Since the little girl's name is Kira, why not call this marvelous travel machine the KiraVan?

Lounge area
Bran's gift to his little girl has cost – well, literally millions. And a few photos will spell out just how such a production could run that kind of money. By the way, if you'd like a specialized, all terrain mobile of your own, Bran Ferren can build you one.

Incinerating toilet, too
Ferren doesn't roll these out mass-production style. Each unit is specifically designed to match the needs of the customer, be it a "family exploration" mobile as he has built for his own family; or a rig specifically built for a scientific exploration team. His own rig is filled with high-tech communications gear, safety equipment, and the stuff that would make Marco Polo weep.

The KiraVan is tractored by a modified Mercedes-Benz Unimog U500NA with a Mercedes Benz 6-cylinder  in-line 260HP high-efficiency intercooled turbo-diesel engine providing 700ft-lb of torque. At low speeds and on unsure ground, the trailer wheels themselves come on-line via hydraulics to provide additional traction to continue to move the rig. Should something seriously bad happen -- say the unit topples over, an automatic beacon system fires up to call for assistance.

Check out Bran Ferren's website for more details -- and to start your own designer juices flowing.

All photos:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Have motorhome. Bring hula skirt!

Thanks to our readers, we can always depend on getting something a bit out-of-phase in the mail. From Richard Pawlowski comes this classic Polynesian motorhome. We're expecting the next frame to show Bugs Bunny coming out the door with Mai Tais in hand, straight out of the Warner Brothers' classic, Wackiki Wabbit. Richard especially appreciates the roof-top patio. Great – provided there aren't any low bridges nearby!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Have you seen these weird road signs?

Cruising the open road always presents an opportunity for a few laughs. "Oh the places you'll go, oh the sights you'll see!" Well, some of the funnier sights are road signs -- many meant to be serious, but often turning into side-slappers. We wish we could claim to have shot these, but hey, we'll share them with you anyway. And by the way, if you've got any funny signs in your photo album, send 'em along for future publishing! russ at rvtravel dot com.

Consider yourself warned: 

Griffin, Georgia  josephleenovak on

Copyright Phil Evans, Creative Commons License

Animals? What animals?

Copyright Phil Evans, Creative Commons License

rumpleteaser on  


Roads with names that speak for themselves

Ben Garney on

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And those oddball place names

Clearly Ambiguous on

BoringORSign_fxwb.jpg" ". Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons by Elf

And a few that are -- well -- they're just the way they are

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That's Norwegian for speed bumps ahead. Boulanger.IE on

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Oldest motorhome in U.S." hits the market

If you're in the market for what is "probably the oldest motorhome in the United States," you may have just found it. What was called at the time a house car, this 1917 recreational vehicle was built on a Packard base. The current owner found the old rig in California back in 1981; he moved it to Oklahoma and has since done restoration work. The original owner was a family named Pickwick from Los Angeles. The family owned and operated a bus company that later merged with Greyhound.

Want to get a closer look? You'll need to head on over to Afton, Oklahoma, where the vintage vehicle is presently located – and up for sale, for a tad less than $100,000. But think what 100 grand will get you:

Twin six engine in good running condition, coupled with a three-speed manual transmission. The rear bedroom sleeps two comfortably. In the morning you can rise and fix breakfast on the two-burner gasoline cooktop up front in the galley, that also features a genuine icebox and sink.

Here's a link to the advertisement and connections to the seller.

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