By Bob Alonzo
My wife, Binki, and I had been married 10 years and, like so many other couples, often dreamed of chucking it all and traveling the country in a recreational vehicle. The chance to go on the road came up when we sold our home in Kanab, Utah, and rented a house in Santa Rosa, Calif. We were looking into buying a house but were stunned at the price of California real estate. Then one day while house hunting, we passed an RV dealership named Rainbow’s End. They had a travel trailer on display that caught our attention. The whole rear wall lowered into a ramp. Say what? A trailer I could get my power chair into? We pulled in to investigate.
They called it a toy hauler–a travel trailer developed by southern California dirt bikers so they could haul their toys to the desert. The unit was 21 feet long and could hold a couple of motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles. It could sleep four people and had most of the comforts of home–air conditioning, heater, stove, microwave, refrigerator, and a sink with hot/cold running water. There was also a tiny bathroom with a shower–big luxuries from what we were used to. We had been camping early in our marriage and did two winters camping out of a tent and the back of an ’85 Ford Econoline van on the beaches of Baja California. That was fun–and we had a lot of adventures–but I was a 43-year-old C5 quad now, with 24 years in the chair. We still loved traveling, but hardcore camping was losing its charm. But this toy hauler was a brand new ballgame. Heck, there was enough open space in that trailer to host a wheelchair basketball tournament.
We bought it … told ourselves we’d take a three-month break from house hunting. It didn’t quite work out that way. We were having such a good time that we didn’t come “home” for the next five years.
RV in tow, we left Santa Rosa in May 1990. We’d traded Binki’s Jeep Wr