This is my friend Alice. She will be 40 years young just about the time Joe and I follow her down the rabbit hole; and now you also know why she is named Alice. We were conceited enough to think we could select her name ourselves when we first brought her home, calling her Sugar Pie after Sugar Pie DeSanto, the reigning Queen of West Coast R&B and Soul.
Why would we do that, you ask? Because we bought Alice from Ms. DeSanto’s manager Jim and his lovely wife Lo, who purchased it to use as a tour vehicle. They hadn’t used it much in the last five years, so decided it was time to pass the coach on to someone else. We were not only lucky enough to be adopted by Alice, but gained some wonderful new friends as well. We talked music and the old days of the jazz and blues scene for hours; what a great time! Jim included a copy of Ms. DeSanto’s “Sugar Is Salty” CD in the deal, which we will frame for the wall of the coach. We are firm believers in keeping something of the history of a vehicle with it going forward into the future. We are only the third owners of Alice, with Jim and Lo before us, and a northern California GMC dealership owner (also named Jim) before them. It seems that a lot of these coaches were originally purchased by dealers for their family, which says a lot about the quality of the vehicle.
Gosh, where are my manners? I introduced you to Alice but didn’t give you her stats! She is a svelte 26-8-9 (27.9-2.4-2.7 for our European & Canadian friends). That is, she is 26’ long by 8’ wide at the waist by 9’ high at the top of the rooftop air conditioner. She is a stunning honey blonde, which is to say a warm beige color of Imron (aircraft) paint. Her shell is a two piece (the top half fits over the bottom half and seals at the waist) aluminum and fiberglass for lightweight strength without the leaky roof issues so common with modern coaches. Her interior is also beige, with mahogany stained cabinets (which I am warming up with a thin top coat of red oak stain to bring it more in line with the cherry wall panels we installed in the living room area). Since Joe and I are not really beige people, we will liven her up inside with some wonderful retro orange and lime green accents as an homage to the the era she was designed and produced (1977). Alice rocks a front wheel drive system that allows her to sit low for easy entry and puts on her high heel sneakers (an air-bag suspension) to gain height for travel. She is powered by a 455 Oldsmobile engine and a turbo-hydramatic 425 tranny.
Think of her as a big-boned Toronado with an attitude and a lot of class! The best part is, she averages between 10 and 13 mpg, which is kinda awesome for a motorhome. We are still putting some finishing touches on her, but Alice is lookin’ pretty slick!
Now, about the Rabbit Hole. Those of you who know us know that Joe and I have a tendency to run away and join the circus every now and again. To translate, we tend to do things that everyone tells us won’t work out well for us, but somehow they do. For instance, very few people thought we could make a living photographing short track stock car racing, which we did for 12-plus years. We just prefer to make a living doing something we enjoy and which fulfills us, which usually isn’t the typical 9-5 sort of gig (are you humming that song too? I just can’t help it!). So, we are going to go down the rabbit hole with Alice. And like her famous namesake, we think we know what is down there, but we really have no idea. And so we will begin the grand adventure full of hope and enthusiasm, and secure in the knowledge that life is really all about the experience and not the end result anyhow. Here’s to the experience, for all of us!