60 Years of Winnebago Memories
RVs have changed a lot over the last 60 years, with new technological advancements, fancy upgrades, and unique options coming out each year. But one thing has remained the same, RVing is still a great way to connect with loved ones, see places from a unique perspective, and make lasting memories. It makes you resilient, adventurous, and a great story teller. While social media has allowed those stories to be told more easily and to a wider audience, Winnebago owners have been collecting epic tales and heart-warming moments long before Instagram came into existence.
So, in celebration of Winnebago's 60th anniversary, we asked current and previous owners to share their favorite stories of their Winnebago travels. While some shared how their RV facilitated visits to epic bucket-list destinations, many shared a sweet story of a trip with family or a happy move-in day. Surprisingly, a few even favor the mishaps when they look back on years of RV travel. But for all of these GoLifers, it is clear that their Winnebago represents cherished memories and endless possibilities for future adventures. We hope this fun mix of stories puts a smile on your face, and that it inspires you to take some time to reminisce on your own RVing adventures and dream of what the future may hold.
Thanks for a great 60 years, Winnebago family! And a very special thanks to everyone who shared their wonderful stories with us for this article.
The Beginning of a Great Adventure
By: Bill Lafleur
In 2006 we started looking for our next RV. After looking at dozens of ads and visiting shows from San Diego to Quartzsite, we honed in on the Class C Winnebago Minnie Winne 27 P. It had some of the great features of a Class A, plenty of power and great storage. We looked at four or five and made an offer to a private party for one that was only one year new, with 3,100 miles. However, the owner wanted almost $10,000 more than we thought it was worth ... so we parted ways. We kept looking, but never found one comparable. We liked the cherry wood interior, entertainment center and roominess provided from the two slides.
About five months after we made the offer, the owner called and asked if we were still interested and accepted our price. He needed to sell and realized his price was too high. We were thrilled!! It was the perfect fit for our family of three, plus our three furry kids.
Over the next 11 years, we used it for housing at Agility Trials, to tow our boat to a number of lakes and rivers, dry camped at Quartzsite and picturesque mountain sites. My daughter also used it to trek to the Stagecoach Festival with five of her cowgirl friends. When it was time to upgrade, we sold it privately to the first couple who came to look. We never had any serious problems. It was a great rig that served us well and held its value. We believed Winnebago was the best choice back then and also now. We upgraded to a Vista LX 35 F and plan to full-time it now that I'm retired.
By: Rick Dorce
My favorite Winnebago memory is the first time I picked up my grandson from school in my 2016 Winnebago Vista. Just the big smile on his face was priceless and he was so excited he was jumping. I had been telling him for more then a year that we were going to get a motorhome, but I am so picky it took me a long time to find the right one.
Move-In Day with Dad
By: John T.
This year, we moved into our first Winnebago with my wife's Dad helping us. We had a trip to South Padre planned with him and ended up trading in our previous motorhome. So, instead of vacation, he helped us move. But we still made it to the island and just had a shorter vacation. My wife said that her memories of our Winnebago Journey (Joy) will always include her 80 years young father helping us move in.
Stopping for BBQ on the first RV trip with Dad!
Crawdads and Crazy Winds
By: John M.
We were travelling west on I-10 through Louisiana in our 2009 Winnebago Adventurer 34' diesel pusher. As we passed by all the crawdad farms, we thought of all the delicious meals we had in Baton Rouge. Travelling at 65 mph, we could feel wind gusts hitting us, slowing us down like I had tapped the brakes. Then, there was this noise of scraping on the roof of the coach. What could be making such a noise? We were making guesses and maybe letting our imaginations go wild. Then I saw in the rear-view mirror what looked like most of a white box falling from high, towards the highway. Wow, what an explosion of white particles. I think I know what that was! Too late, I was hearing the scratching, scraping noises again. Oh no, there was another explosion of white particles. Had we lost both of our air conditioner covers?
We soon realized there were really strong wind gusts hitting us. Then, there was a loud bang against the side of our coach. Now what? I couldn't see out the windows on the right side of the coach due to a big piece of material which was flapping wildly. This isn't good, I had to pull over, but the shoulder was three-feet wide and then sloped down to a crawdad farm pond. We exited the coach gently, so we didn't slide down and into the pond. Then looked and saw that the awning roller was hanging about two feet from the coach in the front. The awning material was all unraveled. We couldn't travel like this, the awning had to be taken off. I took a butcher knife up on the roof and started slicing. The material started flapping in the breeze. We didn't want it to blow away, so my wife grabbed one end and I grabbed the other end of the flapping awning. It was hard not to be popped by it. Well, my wife tried to hang on, but the wind was too strong. The undulating awning flipped her over backwards and sent her sliding downhill towards the, hopefully not hungry, crawdads. When she stopped sliding, she immediately looked for any crawdads that might have attached to her. Whew, there were no attached critters! We gathered up cloth and metal, threw it in the coach and headed for the closest RV repair shop.
We pulled into the service lane and prepared to go to sleep. It was 7:30 p.m. and we were tired. The next morning the service adviser saw the shreds of awning hanging from the top of the coach and told us, "That's not right!" Then he climbed a ladder and looked on top of the coach, again he said, "That's not right! The air conditioner should have a cover." He looked at the other air conditioner. You got it ... "That's not right!" We learned we were doing 65 mph and we hit a 60 mph wind gust almost head on. The awning and air conditioning covers couldn't take 125 mph wind. Never underestimate the power of nature!
Enjoying a more relaxing, crawdad-free day of RVing.
Bonding as a New Family
By: Sarai Patterson (www.myminnielife.com)
I've loved every moment of the last 10 months. We adopted our daughter's best friend and we use our Winnebago to bond our new family of four together by traveling and camping frequently! We have made ourselves a family with the help of the Flying W!
Checking Off the Bucket List in a SUPER Way!
By: Alan J.
I haven't been to an NFL game in close to 30 years and never to a Super Bowl, even though I'm a New England Patriots fan. Last year, when the Patriots won the AFC championship, I decided I wanted to go see Tom Brady play in the big game. However, I wasn't willing to go through the hassle of trying to make all the flight and hotel arrangements. So, I started calling RV parks in Houston to see if I could reserve a site for Super Bowl week. I thought that it would be a long shot, but eventually came across a new park that had open spots for the week and immediately booked it even though I had no tickets to the game!
Luckily, my nephew had friends who worked for ESPN and thought he might be able to get some tickets through that connection. In the meantime, I kept my eye on the NFL authorized ticket sites and watched as the prices fluctuated wildly, but never came anywhere near face value of the ticket. After speaking to my nephew, I convinced him to come to Houston for the game and stay in my RV with me. Even if we couldn't get tickets to the game, it would be a fun experience. Finally, on the Thursday before the game he was able to get tickets through his buddy at face value! Everything was now in place for a bucket-list event.
Because of my Winnebago View, I was able to travel with my nephew and dog down to the game in comfort and style. Without the RV, I would have paid exorbitant hotel and meal fees and would have had to board my senior dog for too long to make that kind of trip practical. Needless to say, I saw the best Super Bowl ever, when the Patriots came back to beat Atlanta! I love my View!
Boondocking and Brush Strokes
By: Chrys D.
Now that I have lived and traveled in my Travato for three years, starting at age 70, I have been doing watercolor paintings in most locations. One of my favorites was boondocking on BLM land on the Notom-Bullfrog Road near Capitol Reef National Park, UT. I had a 360-degree view and paintings and photos of the stunning views. My Travato has taken me from Florida to Newfoundland to the Gulf Coast, north through the Rockies to Jasper National Park in Canada, and all the way down to Organ Pipe National Park in Arizona, and so many places in between. It has been a wonderful journey!
That First Taste of Life on the Road
By: David (www.RVJedeye.com)
My favorite Winnebago memory was with my very first RV… my very first Winnebago, a 2004 Itasca Spirit. I had done a couple of quick, “local” RV trips, all within a couple of miles of my home. Then, in September of 2016, I took my first “Big Trip.” Five stops, 11 days, 854 miles. It gave me the taste of what it might be like to live full-time in an RV – exploring the world, and I absolutely loved it! That memory of seeing different parts of Florida, meeting new people at each stop, and seeing the state up close and personal locked me in for life when it comes to the RV life.
Passing on the RVing Gene
By: Dale & Ellie Tomlinson
Our first Winnebago was purchased in 1975. We are now on our 8th Winnebago, a 2017 Winnebago Cambria 30J. Our first was a 1975 Brave 21 which our three kids literally grew up in traveling around the country. Our youngest daughter is now traveling with her family in a Winnebago Vista. After 43 years in Winnebagos of all sizes, we feel in our 70s that our Cambria 30J is perfect for us now.
Left: The Tomlinsons with their family in 1975 in front of their Winnebago Brave. Right: Dale with his daughter's family in front of her Winnebago Vista.
Finding Love on the Open Road
By: Ila D.
My Winnebago memories just started. My boyfriend bought a camper in early spring of 2018 and we're in the middle of our first season in it. Our first trip, though, was amazing. We picked it up in Ohio and drove it 2,400 miles home to Seattle. It took eight days. We rolled through 11 states, and saw classic western spots like Mount Rushmore and Wall Drug. I, a life-long PNW girl, saw my first lightning storm in South Dakota. We brought our View to her birthplace in Forest City, went golfing in the middle of Billings and dodged a flood in Missoula. We barely saw Idaho through the fog on top of the mountain. We laughed and joked and bought a million tiny things we didn't know we needed. I saw parts of the country I'd never seen before, and I fell more in love with this guy and this life than I ever thought I could. Those few days will stay with me forever in the best way.
An Unforgettable Tow Out of the Arctic
By: Paula & Nelson DiGennaro
We had the trip of a lifetime by RVing to the Eskimo Village of Inuvik, NWT, Canada in our Winnebago Chieftain via the Dempster Highway (not a real highway by a long shot). In 1989, as we drove north to Dawson, in Canada's Yukon Territory, we saw the Dempster Highway intersecting with the Klondike Highway. What intrigued us was that there was a huge sign at the entry stating: "No medical facilities for the next 450 miles. Travel at your own risk." We earmarked a trip up the Dempster as our next challenge. So in 1998, we loaded up our Winnebago Chieftain (no tow car), toy poodle, caged love bird and headed north from Dayton, Ohio. The Dempster Highway was very rugged travel with the road made of shale and like a washboard. We had to ferry over two large rivers that are ice roads in the winter season.
Traveling in late August to early September, we ran into the start of their winter. And while returning to the Klondike Highway, due to the slick road conditions we began sliding off the highway - no traction! They coat the roads up there with calcium chloride to keep the dust down, but when wet, it's very slick. Oh! Did we mention we were 75 miles north of the Arctic Circle at the time??? Yes, we had to be towed off the Dempster Highway. What happened from there is very involved, but needless to say it's our favorite Winnebago memory. (Side note: Five Winnebagos and 20 years later, we have retired, sold our home and are full-time RVers in our Winnebago Itasca Meridian Class A diesel. Home is where our wheels roll!)
Treasured Memories of Long Ago
By: Dan K.
In 1974, I was assigned to Kenner Army Hospital in Petersburg, VA. My parents owned a new Minnie Winnie (24') and came to Virginia to pick up my wife and I to head to New England and on into Canada. Although my parents have long ago passed away, that trip in the Minnie Winnie has been a family treasure. It had every convenience we needed, having recently graduated up from a pickup truck and slide-in camper. The Dodge chassis and small V8 was plenty powerful to carry us over the White Mountains and into Vermont/New Hampshire. We went in the fall and enjoyed the warmth of the Winnie's insulation and heating system. We went through two provinces of Canada and back through Upper New York's beautiful farm land. The best memories were of the little home away from home that was so dependable and useful. It could be driven in small towns and parked without difficulties. The Minnie Winnie allowed us to travel the back roads and experience people living their normal lives with no "tourist" fronts. We could stop where we pleased, no schedule, and stay wherever we could find a wide place to accommodate us. What a joyful memory. Although that was almost 44 years ago, the memories are still clear in my mind.
From first-time RVers, to life-long lovers of RV travel and everyone in between, we love hearing about where your Winnebago takes you! Please continue to share your stories with us in the comments and on social media. #WinnebagoLife