Updated: Feb 23
Take a virtual step inside Retro Injection's new base of operations! After eleven great years of service, the house has been sold. We moved the arcade from New York to Arizona, and we'll be joining it in this vintage Class C motorhome, which my wife Adrienne dubbed "The Bunker." This RV was immaculately cared for by her first owner and received tuneups and replacement parts from the gentleman who sold her to us. Built on a Ford chassis, our Fleetwood camper has a new air conditioner, a fresh fridge and a replaced radiator. The Ralley is leakproof and ready to roll, with over eleven grand worth of improvements between previous owners. (We've got the stack of receipts.) Most impressively, the body is totally rust free! In New York, that's the stuff of legend, because five months of road salt makes Swiss cheese out of new vehicles. Being presentable isn't just a vanity issue, as many RV parks will scrutinize campers over ten years old: If you're an eyesore, you're out of luck, Chuck. Before I go any further, I want to give a huge thanks to my mom and in-laws for their help with this monster.
I have some great '80s memories of hanging out in my grandmother's motorhome. I would join my dad and grandfather on their excursions to Watkins Glen racetrack, where I'd climb up on the roof and take everything in:
Our RV reminded me a lot of those days. Grandma ended up careening the above motorhome into a hedge, after her brakes failed. Another time, she used a chair to pin a home-invader raccoon to the wall, while my uncle called the cops! She was ninety-five at that point.
We scored a great deal on our rolling abode. The seller told us that he had been working on the RV for his ex-wife. No further explanations were necessary. It took a little while to get the knack of starting a vehicle with a carburetor. After my dad showed up to rescue us from an in-town stranding, I learned the gas needed to be held down while turning the ignition. Life-changing stuff, people.
Upon leaving our very first stop after buying the RV (Country Pride Restaurants for the win!), I was met with a horrifying sound followed by a lack of ignition. A guy in a pickup truck pulled up at that very moment, and told me to wait a second. "You either blew your water pump or your radiator's shot," he informed me. I felt sick, and it wasn't from the fish I'd just consumed. Sure enough, I got out and was witness to Coolant Lake. I'm far from Mr. Goodwrench, so I was thankful for the fellow sojourner's help. He spotted the culprit in seconds: a loose hose. I was instructed to go inside and purchase two gallons of antifreeze, and was shown how to "burp" the radiator. He even had the driver to tighten the hose connection! I'm convinced the perfectly-timed encounter was Divine intervention. That two gallons of antifreeze? The TA truck stop gouged me to the tune of forty bucks, but my options were pretty much nonexistent.
My wife decided to give the interior a little love by reupholstering the cushions. Inspired by Pinterest, the seller covered them with plastic tablecloths to be spill-proof. A good idea in theory, but less than ideal in the desert heat, and they would last about three seconds under the wrath of our Persian cat. (We'll also be toting two dwarf hamsters, so it'll be a full house.)
I'm sitting on Adrienne's handiwork as I type in the former arcade. The finished cushions look like they came from a factory, and I'm in awe of her talent. (She also makes a really cute Ghostbuster.) We bought the material from Jo-Ann Fabric at deep discount, which was fortunate because we needed enough to cover a football field.
Here's the complete set of cushions, for the dinette and bed. She banged these out in a few weeks, not bad considering the insanity life has been throwing at us.
My wife also constructed the curtains, a huge upgrade over what were actually pillowcases! (That's how a guy solves a problem.) Her new window treatments are backed with room-darkening curtains, so no one looking in will know how swanky our digs truly are. (Unless they're Retro Injection readers, but I wouldn't take those odds.)
Adrienne came up with an impressive Amazon camper shopping list, only some of which I would have understood without her guidance. Here's a sneak peek at our swag, including exciting gear like sewage tubing.
I found the following WWE Legends M.U.S.C.L.E. figures at Five Below. At least in my mind, their placement has significance.
Macho Man Randy Savage is by the fuel gauge, because when your stomach is empty, you've gotta snap into a Slim Jim. "Rowdy" Roddy Piper is on the "hot" side of the temperature gauge due to his "Hot Rod" shirt, and Andre the Giant is next to the CD player, representing its huge sound! (It would have been nice if the RV had a vintage tape deck, but what can you do?) These guys and the Bluesmobile are attached to the console with 3M sticky tabs.
This vehicle will serve as our temporary home as we explore Arizona. When we were there in May 2019, we almost made the mistake of buying a house out of a combination of convenience and desperation. The place looked great, and so did the surrounding couple of blocks, but when we looked up the address on a police database, there were over eighty violent crimes in that neighborhood in the previous month! No thanks, Realtor lady. We'll now be able to bounce around RV parks and Wal-Marts, while we get a feel for different areas.
I can't look at our Rallye without thinking of Rodimus Prime, a camper G1 Transformer, complete with rooftop AC! ("Autobot Commander.") The figure below is currently in our Arizona storage unit (somewhere). It's comforting to know that we've got a little safety net across the country, even though Adrienne thinks I've got too much stuff.
I can't wait to once again hit those desert highways with my Kymco Like 200i LX scooter! Oh, and eat more In-N-Out burgers. Speaking of burgers, we're doing our part to represent Carl's Jr., known in New York as Hardee's. I've had this antenna topper for about twenty years. It's not like we won't be able to find the RV in a parking lot: Like hipsters, we're being ironic!
We christened the RV with Adrienne's Trim Mac Salad. It's basically a Big Mac, minus the bun and a ton of calories.
We've been getting the feel for the rig by camping in the city, and even on Adrienne's parents' property in the sticks, where she heard the roar of a bear! (I somehow slept through it.)
This camper is my second 1987 Fleetwood (albeit by different companies), joining the custom Cadillac hearse. You could lay down in the hearse's casket, but the RV has a bathroom and kitchen. The Rallye doesn't look very sinister, though, so points to the Undead Sled there. We're towing my wife's 2004 Beetle with the RV, and the hearse will ship to us on a flatbed after we're settled. That'll be a long wait, but by the time we figure things out, northeast roads should be free of salt. In the meantime, the Undead Sled will be stored outdoors under a cover. Yes, there's such a thing as a hearse cover.
Our Predator 3500 generator will enable us to live off the grid, thwarting the best efforts of any Terminator. (The original, hardwired generator was long gone!) After four fruitless trips to our local Harbor Freight, we bit the bullet and made a two-hour round trip to procure this model, the missing link in getting the photo with the hearse. The Harbor Freight employee who helped us load it was another Dave, and had lived in Arizona for ten years. You can't make this stuff up.
Here's what we're going back to claim in Arizona:
We're excited to escape the socialist clutches of New York, which fought admirably to keep our tax dollars. We've got big plans for our life on the road, which of course include more great Retro Injection content. (How about these two incredible arcades in Texas?) Like an RV, you've got to stay tuned! Click that "Get Our Spam!" button at the top of the page. It'll leave you with more free time, versus pummeling refresh.
The trip was not without issues, but we arrived safely and our new life is underway.
PS: This scene from Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives is the only thing I can think of when I'm on the roof of the RV.