David Woodworth really likes old things The Californian’s nearly two-week trip concludes on Sunday back where he started — the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.
He collects mouse traps, old outboard motors, even broken down old RVs, according to the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune.
Currently on an RV tour promoting the 100th year of RVing, Woodworth, an RV historian, is touring the country with two RVs, a 1916 Telescoping RV, which is towed with a 2010 Fleetwood Discovery.
“It’s been excellent,” said Woodworth, who has taken similar tours for 17 years but has been RVing for more than 30.
The contrast in the two RVs is amazing.
“The truth of the matter is 17 years ago when I started traveling in new RVs, I never thought that they could improve upon them,” Woodworth said.
“And every year they get nicer.”
It’s hard to imagine anything much nicer than the Discovery.
Besides bathroom, shower and sleeping quarters it also includes four TVs, two reclining chairs, a stainless steel refrigerator, a washer and dryer, automatic leveling jacks and even an automatic awning.
“Anything it does, it does automatically with the push of a button,” he said.
Contrast that with the 1916 telescoping model which was built on the Model T automobile.
It really was not too bad either for the times.
The entire living quarters of the Telescoping RV could fit in the living room of the Discovery, Woodworth said.
But it did offer a sleeping area length of 6-feet, 4-inches, drawers on one side for clothes, a stove and kitchen area which opens to the great outdoors.
All of it folds into half its size for travel.
“It really had outstanding technology for the period,” Woodworth said.
On his tour which has included stops in New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, among other spots, half the people come to see the old one, and the other half to see the new one, Woodworth said.
What he found interesting is that at least one of the reasons for using an RV remains the same.
“People in 1916 did it because they could just pull off the road wherever they were and stop whenever they wanted,” he said. “That’s the same reason that they do it today.”
Surprisingly some of the old campgrounds are just as good as today’s.
“Here’s a campground for you,” Woodworth said. “When you pull in it’s on a river, has 800 camp sites, a movie theater, a dance hall, a campers lounge, a restaurant, a hair salon, soda fountain, a billiards table, eight electric washing machines with electric irons and a 9-hole golf course
“That’s Denver’s Overland Park in 1922,” Woodworth said. Now, it’s been turned into an 18-hole golf course, he said.
Today, some campgrounds are better, some worse.
“The thing about campgrounds, they run the spectrum from really just simple mom and pop ones to resorts with golf courses with water running through them and restaurants and a masseuse on site.”
The tour has definitely generated interest, Woodworth said.
But the vibe he gets from the people he speaks to is maybe the most important thing for the RV world.
“The bulk of the people are saying I think next year when I retire we are going to get an RV and do this,” he said