I found 'Bertha' off eBay, in another state, and sight unseen when I bought her. I had never driven a bigger class A model RV in my life. It was an 80's model Pace Arrow. A huge piece of metal. Had that shag carpet and fake bamboo-ish looking blinds and everything. It was exactly like the meth lab RV in Breaking Bad.
(Hey, here's a Breaking Bad funny (for those who are fans): At the time of going to get big Bertha, I was actually driving that same color Pontiac Aztec as Walter White. No lie. I actually had one of those! I kinda dug it, cause it was different. Fuck people! I think the writers stole some of my life history for the writing of that show.)
So anyways, it was really a white-knuckled trip.. navigating through Wichita, Kansas in a huge piece of metal you weren't sure about mechanically and being the biggest thing you've ever driven in your entire life!! No sweat. haha. Okay, lots of sweat. The dash heat didn't work, but we had the sellers turn on the generator to run the furnace fan to keep it warm for us. That is, until I had to stop for gas, I turned off the generator cause I didn't really know the rules with it running and pumping gas. And then I couldn't get the generator started back up again. I realized later on the furnace blower would have ran off the house battery, but I was a newbie. So the rest of the 5 hour trip my daughter and I pretty much froze.
It got a little hairy about 30 minutes from home when the windshield decided to fog up. Since we had no dash heat, had no way to defrost it, either. It was dark and hard to see, but we made it safely in.
I took Bertha a few times to work with me. I worked over an hour away in a tiny hospital. My job consisted of working all day Monday, taking call Monday night, working half a day Tuesday and then going home. I would repeat that for Thursday and Friday. Only, the hospital was so tiny, there sometimes wasn't a place for me to sleep there at the hospital. So I decided, in my infinite wisdom, to just drive my damn bedroom to work. I had a bed, bathroom, and movies I could watch. The church behind the hospital was nice enough to let me park in their lot and let me plug in to their electricity.
So it was on some of those trips the fun with Bertha began. One time, I was driving down the back roads and going through a small town. Can you believe a stupid little kid on a bike just flew out on the road in front of me? Uhhh.. little kid... big huge monster metal thing coming your way.. hello?? Screeching brakes and me white knuckled, I stopped in time. That jerk of a kid just looked at me like I was the idiot. Omg! I really wanted to stop and go to the house he belonged to and give his parents a piece of my mind. But, I didn't have time.
Another incident, same road to work, different day.. I was low on gas and needed to stop and fill up. I had noticed people looking at me on the road but just attributed it to a huge behemoth monster piece of metal that made up Bertha and didn't think anything of it. Pulled in to a place that would accommodate her height. But when I went to open the side door something was hanging it up. Apparently, one side of the awning decided to come loose and it was hanging out, making my door opening impossible. How embarrassing!! Like Bertha was trying to fly or something. So, rolled her back in and I fixed that sucker with duct tape. Yep.
Bertha had her bad things, but she also had her good things. I have never felt before or since a more comfortable jackknife couch-bed in my life! The layout of her was that there was a couch and two barrel chairs making up the living area, kitchen past that, two bunk bed type sleeping areas with an aisle through it and bathroom at the back. Even with your own sleeping bunks, we preferred sleeping on that sofa, it just was that comfy!!
One of my fondest memories of Bertha is freezing our butts off, parked across town at the local lake that provided free electricity, us curled up under covers on the sofa bed, watching Armageddon on the built in tv between the driving and passenger chair (cause.. that's what you DO when you go camping in and RV and it's almost bed time, Armageddon was a must!) and little doggy curled up under the covers near your feet. At one point we had to make sure little doggy, Chevy, was still alive. We kept poking her and moving her to make sure she was alive, started calling her "Limp noodle". She was just so happy under those covers she didn't move at all. We had to keep checking to make sure she was breathing, haha.
Fun times, fun times...