Time’s getting short.
Wednesday morning at 2 a.m. we start the final leg of our quest to find a Travco. Flying to Wisconsin we meet Kay Cummins and her husband, who handpicked us to re-home her late father’s 1974 Travco 270.
It’s been quite a journey. It all started a year and a half ago when I graduated from a year’s study in post graduate Public Relations. My husband and I agreed to sell our C class RV the year before to fund my education. Now, we wanted to get back into camping. I had used my journalism background to write for KOA Kampgrounds two years prior and found I enjoyed this type of work. The idea of vintage campers particularly intrigued me.
The first Travco I met was in the long grass of a farmer’s field. Someone had brush-painted it black and added cheap flame stickers to the sides, which had long since peeled away. It was a project vehicle, far beyond what I was willing to tackle.
The second one turned out to be our biggest mistake. This 1975 270 ran, but after spending significant money on upgrades, it was still uncertifiable to drive on Canadian roads. My husband encouraged me to give up at this point. I, however, saw this as a mission.
Then out of the blue I was contacted by two Travco owners interested in selling! Both of these Travco 270s were in the Muskokas near Gravenhurst, Ontario. We took a weekend and met one of the owners at the site the two Travcos were stored at. The idea was we would purchase the 1969 270, allowing him to purchase the other 270.
After expressing our interest, the 1969’s owner wanted to think about the deal for a couple days. By the end of the week he had changed his mind, and the other one was unsuitable for our needs. Strike out number three and four.
Number five was a diesel conversion in Sudbury. Now cautious, I arranged to have this one towed to a garage and have a professional look it over. It had a lot of issues. The examination cost $600, but in the end it saved me a ton of heartache and wasted travel time.
Number six’s owner assured me this Travco 320 was in excellent, drivable condition and would make the long trip from Charleston, South Carolina to the Canadian border without a shudder. He had so much confidence in “Old Blue” he assured us he would pick us up at the airport in her and escort us around the city.
He didn’t meet us at the airport. We spent several days in Charleston waiting for good news. Finally Old Blue’s 440 engine came to life. As we eased her out onto the main road Old Blue coughed, trembled and died in the middle of the street. The smell of burnt wires emanated from the engine compartment.
Not wanting to be trapped on the wrong side of the lone exit door, we grabbed our bags and leaped from Old Blue. As far as I know, the 320 never moved under her own power again. That mistake cost another few thousand dollars in travel and a week in time.
My husband was done with Travcos. Convinced they were jinxed, he had me agreeing with him. For one day.
The day after we arrived at home, I received a message from Kay Cummins in Wisconsin. Kay had been following my published reports of woe, and had an offer for us. Her father, an accomplished vintage hot rod enthusiast and mechanic, had passed away earlier this year, leaving several vehicles in his estate including a completely renovated 1974 Travco 270. Were we interested?
It took some convincing, but finally my husband and I agreed to give a Travco one more try. We arrive in Wisconsin on Wednesday noon, and Kay and her husband will drive us to our latest Travco.
Of course we regret the wasted expenditure on our Travco quest, but we don’t regret for a minute the people we have met along the way. Whether in person or on the phone everyone we’ve met has been passionate in their respect for and love of the Dodge Travco brand.
The first things Kay wanted to know was what we’d name this Travco. When – not if – we get it across the border and home, we’re christening her “Lucky 7”.