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Old 12-11-2019, 07:45 PM   #1
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Bowlus Road Chief- 2020- Art on Wheels

I was emailed that the Bowlus Road Chief could be seen not more than 16 miles from our doorstep. It was true. Nancy and I went to find this trailer that reminded me of the Golden Knights Ice Hockey teams logo... nice and an eye catcher.

Their website www.bowlusroadchief.com can fill in all of the details. I want to describe my impressions of this trailer. If I can call it a trailer. I refer to it as "Retro Art on Wheels". These are Picasso's in aluminum, teak and hardware.

The riveting is artful and structural in the way it is assembled. Not only the front, the rear and the slightly arched top without any attached hardware exposed to air flow while moving.

If it had a prop and wings... maybe even fly. Possibly float.

Nancy is the inside person when looking at a trailer. I am the outside person who sniffs around to find something I do not like or fit. The bottom of the Bowlus has the same craftsmanship as the rest of the exterior. It appears air tight and might even float, if the windows were closed.

The insulation sandwiched between the exterior and interior aluminum is superior to anything I have seen in a trailer. Any trailer... even my Airstream!

The interior is assembled to the same standards as the exterior, which is immaculate. Much like a retro 1930's updated to 2020 standards and hardware. Storage space is at a premium, but designers figure 70% more or less, is not used and hauled as extra weight. I have to admit, we haul more stuff than we ever use. That point was made. Nancy and I both agree that we haul whatever can fit into drawers, cabinets and spaces not intended for storage.

The ingenuity of the interior matches the artful assembly of the exterior. Doors inside open on either side and... swing just close enough not to hit one another. Small details that get our attention as we are looking for redundant and clumsy doors and drawers... and found none.

The cushions are as nice as those in an Airstream. The appliances... seem to be totally from different sources and operate more on access to power, but have Lithiums with enough power for seven days for everything, but the air conditioning system running. Solar is a manual folding system that plugs in and sits outside the trailer. The roof is not designed to attach solar... but you could if one wanted. Not advised, but possible.

I was impressed with the construction. Single axle, 15 inch Goodyear Endurance tires and Dexter axle. I would be motivated for a lift kit and 16 inch tires for true OTG capable travel as our Airstream is well capable. This is a Touring Retro 1930's Art on Wheels. Living and breathing history that is functional to 21st Century technology. And technology that you cannot see... but there.

There is only so much information that one can retain considering the history, the attention to detail and finding a fit of a person's needs and what the Bowlus can provide.

Nancy and I are Off the Grid Boondockers. This trailer is capable, light weight for its size. The lowest point is the water tank and what appeared to be the dump. This was pointed out and said to be no lower than the Airstream's clearance.

Yes, I am short on details as those can be looked up at their website. I do not take notes when crawling under a trailer, nor listening. Not capable. But the photographs and the trailer in person are equally impressive.

For some a Shelby Cobra or a GT40 Ford is a sign of achievement of the best of art and function. The Bowlus Road Chief will be a classic today and forever.
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Old 12-11-2019, 09:43 PM   #2
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Ray - I looked at the Road Chief, but stopped looking when I noticed the coach was configured with a wet bath. Now I see there is a $187K version that includes a separate shower layout. That is a much better design, but a lot of $$$. The art element is like all art. Beauty of art is established by the eye of the beholder. Pat
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Old 12-12-2019, 09:11 AM   #3
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Bowlus versus Airstream? Different markets.

Pat, you are right. The two feet or so longer Road Chief has a separate shower, but similar in design. You are spot on the price. It is also firm. It may include the solar panels and connection to the trailer. This duel solar panel setup was also very well worked out.

This is a masterpiece of metal work and interior design. I would consider it a smart purchase if kept in a family for a long period of time. I am not short sighted. The production numbers are low, price is high... time will tell.

For an Off the Grid Boondocker, as myself, it would be able to handle the roads. To make the conversion from my Airstream in comparison and be practical, the Bowlus is more focused on the traveler who would use facilities with power, etc, and close to a metropolitan RV Park. Estimated seven days lithium power without using the Air Conditioning still is impressive and this trailer could be parked in off the grid locations, but the owner's would not be orientated towards Boondocking, but more Glamping. Airstream Rallies are an example...

The Bowlus is similar to the Shelby Cobra kit car. The Cobra has all the modern power train and technology, in a perfected body and interior. I have been in the Shelby Cobra and a GT40 Ford... and just sitting in one makes you feel very special. After being given a drive up and down a mountain in western Wyoming in a Cobra... next time I will bring my last will and testament in the event of a heart attack.

Very similar to the 1930's Bowlus, but to 2020 standards and beyond. This trailer is focused on the individual who wants something that is unique. But specifically tied more to civilization than 90% of Airstream owners, who can live well at the Beach in California, or in the remote locations for a month in Wyoming.

If an Airstream and Bowlus are parked next to one another... that will clearly demonstrate the EyeS of the Beholder. Myself... the construction and assembly is to perfection of the Road Chief. Would the Road Chief be on my 'bucket list' just to cruise and park... why not?

Airstream would have no concern about the Bowlus overtaking their market. A Shelby Cobra will not take over the Corvette market, but had I the choice for $50,000 the Cobra is a moving piece of fantastic art and function.

I am not an investor or have any interest in Bowlus. If curiosity can Kill the Cat... bury me in a Bowlus. I will be leaving in style.
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Old 12-12-2019, 11:20 AM   #4
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Ray - The best heirlooms are produced through memories. The most dinged and dented AS can be a coveted heirloom for a family that has shared adventures in it through the years. Pat
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Old 12-12-2019, 12:05 PM   #5
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Ray - The best heirlooms are produced through memories. The most dinged and dented AS can be a coveted heirloom for a family that has shared adventures in it through the years. Pat
******

When the owner sells, the memories remain with the owner and those who traveled with the trailer. The trailer is just part of the process of getting the dings and dents over time.

We are practical. The buyer's were happy. When we sold our previous trailers, we waved. The kids, grown, were not interested. You can pick your trailer for your tastes, good or bad. Times change. No one I know kept their Corvair for the memories, good or bad.

A dinged and dented Bowlus... Nancy and I would probably had been waving at a Family Member riding off into the Sunset. My funeral would have been short.
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Old 12-12-2019, 12:16 PM   #6
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Thanks for the post, Ray. The Bowlus are certainly beautiful trailers which I have greatly admired for years. Happy that craftsmanship to this level still exists. Though a Bowlus is not a trailer I would purchase I would love to see one in-person one day.

I’m curious why you say the Airstream is superior in terms of its boondocking abilities when the Bowlus is equipped from purchase to go 7 days without shore power.

Thanks again for your insight.

Chris
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Old 12-12-2019, 12:42 PM   #7
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OTG Boondocking Supplies and Equipment

Chris... my wife knew immediately.

Storage Space.

For our kind of camping, we need excess clothing for all seasons, dog food, dog pillows, pet porters, extra water capacity, pantry to last weeks, fishing poles, shovels, pick axe, maybe a chain saw... those kind of exceeding the 50% we may never need, but when we need it... and not have it... we are in a pinch. (The F350 diesel 4x4 also helps! )

Wyoming. Spring, Summer and Winter clothing in 48 hours. Wet, Dry. Did I mention waste waders to get in close to the trout swells????

Nebraska. Monsoon drenched August gumbo road and had to sit it out until the Sun baked the surface and most of what gumbo was still beneath firms up.

New Mexico. Gila Wilderness. Camp two weeks, cannot tow trailer into town with tow vehicle to top off the tank and drive back 35 miles to our Base Camp site.

We had a very interesting discussion with the Founder. One sharp woman who understands that her market is a small sliver of the trailer market. This trailer has everything picked, not by keeping the price low, but to the highest standards I have seen.

If we had the room to park the two foot longer Bowlus Road Chief in our RV Garage and were sociable Glampers... we would buy one in a heart beat. Lucky for Nancy... I am not the most sociable person when it comes to status conscious people and do not mind other similar personalities on camping adventures. One Forum Member woman says Nancy is nice. Ray is 'Crusty'. Wyoming Cowboy attitude showing!

I purchase what WE like. I could buy a SOB box trailer for half the price of an Airstream... but that is what WE like. The Bowlus... would suit us fine but not yet...

Look at it this way... I love Hank Williams and the 1940's to 1970's western music. Sure Rap is popular... but not for me. I pick up pennies in a parking lot and Nancy uses coupons. Do we need the extra pennies? Probably not, but we do not owe anyone a cent and anything we save... well, can buy a Bowlus some day. Who knows. Crazy as a Fox syndrome. Yeee Haw I say.
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Old 12-12-2019, 01:17 PM   #8
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Chris... my wife knew immediately.

Storage Space.

For our kind of camping, we need excess clothing for all seasons, dog food, dog pillows, pet porters, extra water capacity, pantry to last weeks, fishing poles, shovels, pick axe, maybe a chain saw... those kind of exceeding the 50% we may never need, but when we need it... and not have it... we are in a pinch. (The F350 diesel 4x4 also helps! )

Wyoming. Spring, Summer and Winter clothing in 48 hours. Wet, Dry. Did I mention waste waders to get in close to the trout swells????

Nebraska. Monsoon drenched August gumbo road and had to sit it out until the Sun baked the surface and most of what gumbo was still beneath firms up.

New Mexico. Gila Wilderness. Camp two weeks, cannot tow trailer into town with tow vehicle to top off the tank and drive back 35 miles to our Base Camp site.

We had a very interesting discussion with the Founder. One sharp woman who understands that her market is a small sliver of the trailer market. This trailer has everything picked, not by keeping the price low, but to the highest standards I have seen.

If we had the room to park the two foot longer Bowlus Road Chief in our RV Garage and were sociable Glampers... we would buy one in a heart beat. Lucky for Nancy... I am not the most sociable person when it comes to status conscious people and do not mind other similar personalities on camping adventures. One Forum Member woman says Nancy is nice. Ray is 'Crusty'. Wyoming Cowboy attitude showing!

I purchase what WE like. I could buy a SOB box trailer for half the price of an Airstream... but that is what WE like. The Bowlus... would suit us fine but not yet...

Look at it this way... I love Hank Williams and the 1940's to 1970's western music. Sure Rap is popular... but not for me. I pick up pennies in a parking lot and Nancy uses coupons. Do we need the extra pennies? Probably not, but we do not owe anyone a cent and anything we save... well, can buy a Bowlus some day. Who knows. Crazy as a Fox syndrome. Yeee Haw I say.


You are so very funny, Ray. Your sense of humor “cracks me up”!

Storage space. Gotcha. Well, if you ever find yourself desiring a Bowlus more than life itself perhaps you could fit all the required gear you mentioned in the back of your beautiful pickup truck beneath the canopy cover.

Thanks for all of your thoughts on the Bowlus and your reply. Happy for you and your wife that you are able to continue getting out into the wilderness to enjoy this beautiful planet.

Chris
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Old 12-12-2019, 01:27 PM   #9
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ONE improvement possible on the Bowlus

OK... Nancy is the inside person. I am the outside person.

The original Bowlus in the 1930's would have had steel wheels, maybe hub caps, standard lug nuts without the solid tops.

The Retro Bowlus 2020 had what appeared to me as Sendel aluminum wheels and 15 inch Goodyear Endurance tires. No spare, but from what I was told, AAA carries a Goodyear Endurance tire for trailer flats on their service vehicles.

These simple lug nuts may be used to keep the wheels appearing vintage. The lug nuts on the aluminum wheels were those without the solid top as used on Airstreams. I am not a 'lug nut man' so there may be a name for those. Also, the dexter axle center bearing hub did not have the metal decorative cap like our Airstreams. Maybe they would rattle like these caps on the Airstream wheels, but not an issue for us.

Replace the simple lug nuts and put the aluminum/steel center hub covers onto the wheels. There may be a reason with the Fender Well Skirt that says 'Road Chief' minimizing clearance, but not from what I noticed.

OK. There was ONE thing I noticed and mentioned. Lug Nuts and center Cap cover.
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Old 12-12-2019, 02:09 PM   #10
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-- snip -- No one I know kept their Corvair for the memories, good or bad. -- snip -- .
Well, that's cause a Corvair is a Chevy. Now, if it was a Mustang ....... .

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Old 12-12-2019, 03:47 PM   #11
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Yep, we looked at a Bowlus a year or two ago when we went through Henderson, NV, where they have a small showroom. It was gorgeous, and appeared to be beautifully designed and built. Let's just say that if money were no object, we'd have bought one immediately.
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Old 12-12-2019, 05:45 PM   #12
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Well, that's cause a Corvair is a Chevy. Now, if it was a Mustang ....... .

Pat
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Pat... you have that right.

Those years if you waxed your car, you could push through the paint where the body rusted out. Most vehicles then, like the Ford Bronco, are hard to find today, when the only thing holding them together is the paint over the rust.

A short tale. A 'friend' knew I was looking for a car at 15 years old in 1965. He would sell me his Corvair for $95. Anyone who owned one probably remembers the heating system would draw exhaust fumes into the interior. Bought a 1956 VW instead.

Mustangs were for... rich people and movie stars.
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Old 12-12-2019, 10:46 PM   #13
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Ray - great stories. Keep them coming. The study of Art is a valuable engagement of the senses. It gets even better when the medium is bright and shinning aluminum formed by skilled hands to provide beauty and shelter. Pat
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