The Bird Nest
A long story, about small birds,
and a big Bird
When you have an airplane habit, and go to lots of airshows in your Challengers,
you appreciate a comfortable place to spend nights, so a mobile flight base is
in order, and it's even better if it's a "Bird". A Bluebird Bus
We've been avid RVers for many years, starting with backbacks and climbing
gear, and progressing through worn out truck campers and Winnebagos, and
then on to diesel pushers, and now to our ultimate and probably last coach.
We've found motorhoming at airshows and car races to be a lot of fun, and have
enjoyed our coaches as ground support bases when we fly our Challengers to airshows for a
weekend. They come in handy for chasing trains as well.
We first fell in love with BlueBird Wanderlodges somewhere back in the mid
1980's and have been wanting one ever since. We always planned to get a
mid 80's silver pusher, but never found just the right one, and then deep in the
bowels of a google search ... we found our dream Bird in Nashville the
summer of '07 and set out on a grand adventure to look her over.
Our routing took us through Illinois and near the Challenger factory, so we
stopped into visit the team at Quad City Ultralights in Moline Illinois.
It was really neat to see the factory from which 4,000 Challengers have emerged,
and meet the team that we talk to on the phone so often.
If we look a little
frazzled, it's because it's about 113 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade and we'd
been driving pretty much non-stop, switching each other off in our old coach.
Imagine building airplanes in that heat. The QC team have been doing it
flawlessly for 25 years.
Mike and Tracy at Quad City
We got to Nashville a day or so later, saw the Bird, fell in love with it
(perhaps it was the built-in altimeter?) and started the proceedings. She's a bit
newer, a fair bit longer, and a lot heavier than our old Triple E Empress, and almost
everything runs on air - just like an airplane. We like airplanes, and the BlueBird is a fine machine, built just like a jetliner. 25 tons of stainless from
stem to stern, and a 500 HP Turbo 60 Series Detroit - kind of like a
We had a few days to kill so we toured the country side a bit, saw a
couple of Challengers at a local airstrip (although no one was around flying in
the heat wave) and even got to the Grande Olde Opry where we saw Little Jimmy
Dickens, Porter Wagner, and Loretta Lynn among others.
So, now this Bird, "Maddy", is our home away from home for
fly-ins and vacations. You may see our Bird if we deliver your
Challenger to a far away place, or if Tracy or I are running ground support for
a far away fly-in or airshow. We're likely to play "Up, Up and
Away" through her musical air horns when we deliver a Challenger, so be
sure to warn the neighbours that we're coming.
On the way home home with our new toy, and our awesome old Empress, the "ChallengerWest
Convoy" at Yellowstone Park.
absolutely fascinating. Regulations permitting, we hope to fly over it
in Challengers some day not to far in the future. For those contemplating RVing, we know of no better way to travel with kids than
in a motorhome (of any size).
And just in case anyone is wondering, "No, the
airplane business is not this profitable." We do this for fun. We
have other business interests that subsidize our airplane and RV habits!