MOBILE HOME ARTICLES
Have Home, Will Travel: to Robert
Pendarvis, the Prevost Royale is the King of the Motor
Coaches, a Luxury Condo on Wheels
Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, August 16, 2005
by Steve Clark
For some, home is on the road.
In Robert Pendarvis' case, that's close to being literal.
500-horsepower, stainless-steel Prevost Royale luxury
motor coach is nothing less than a rolling condominium,
and a very poshly appointed one at that.
Not your father's camper. Still, dad's camper did have
something to do with it.
"I grew up with motor homes," says Pendarvis,
owner of B & D Electric Co. "My dad had motor
homes when we were coming up. Nothing the magnitude of
what you see on the road today, but back then I was fortunate
and blessed enough to be able to camp and do those things."
Maybe he didn't know it then, but the road had seeped
into Pendarvis' bloodstream. He bought his own recreational
vehicle, a 28-foot Winnebago, in the early '80s. His wife,
Ella, was skeptical at first but "fell in love"
with the experience, Pendarvis says.
Since then, he's traded up regularly. He broke into serious
Class A RVing when he bought a Bluebird in 1990.
The Bluebird, he explains, is a fine RV. Pendarvis has
owned three of them, most recently the '99 43-foot Bluebird
LX1 that he traded in just last May for the Prevost.
"We love Bluebirds," Pendarvis says. "But
Prevost is kind of the top of the mountain."
Here's his take: A Cadillac is a fine machine. Nothing
rides better than a Cadillac--except a Rolls. The Bluebird,
likewise, is a fine machine. Nothing rides better than
a Bluebird--except a Prevost.
Indeed, the "Ultimate Class" is how the coach
maker--the Prevost Car Co., a Quebec firm that started
building passenger buses in 1915--refers to its coaches.
The Prevost is made for heavy cruising and lasting a long
time. The engine, a massive Detroit Diesel Series 60,
is designed to go at least a million miles before rebuild.
Same with the driveline.
The exterior is impressive enough: When one of these gleaming
steel behemoths steams past on the interstate, you take
notice. You probably even wonder which celebrity lurks
behind the midnight-tinted windows.
Of course, it might just be the Pendarvises, with Robert
behind the wheel, loving every mile, nodding his head
to the bluegrass music thumping from the coach's Bose
sound system. He'll be sitting comfortably, since the
leather pilot's chair adjusts the air pressure of the
seat to the weight of whoever happens to be sitting in
The cargo area underneath the passenger cabin contains
a water purification system, exterior shower head and
sink, a 20-kilowatt diesel generator to sustain the Prevost's
all-electric systems when hookups aren't available, and
seemingly enough stowage to park a Mini Cooper.
Then there's the inside.
Pendarvis' interior was done up by Royale Coach by Monaco,
one of the country's premiere coach conversion companies,
based in Elkhart, Ind. Royale converts just 24 coaches
Black marble tile extends from the cockpit back to the
master bedroom, which is carpeted. Wall sconces, tasteful
wallpaper, a comfortable sofa and beige leather chairs
complement the cherry wood paneling and cabinetry.
Stooping isn't necessary; even so, bow-to-stern ceiling-mirrors
contribute the illusion of even more headroom than there
is. A large plasma screen can play DVDs, videocassettes
or programs via the dual-receiver moveable satellite dish
mounted on the roof.
Then there's the large sink in the galley, along with
a full-size residential refrigerator behind a cherry wood
facade. Just aft of the galley is the stacked washer and
dryer and the double-vanity bathroom with a private toilet
and a shower stall.
Finally comes the bedroom itself, which sports a plasma
screen perched at prime viewing level.
So aren't these things expensive? Customized coaches like
the Prevost Royale go for nearly $1 million new, though
Pendarvis bought his, a 2001, for a good deal less.
Obviously it's the ultimate tailgating machine, though
for Pendarvis a motor coach, especially a Prevost, is
the best way to get to some of their favorite spots--the
Smokies, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky and Colorado.
This fall the Royale is scheduled to make stops in the
Amish country of Ohio and at Niagara Falls and the Adirondack
"We like the mountains more than the beach,"
Pendarvis says. "I really want to go to the Wyoming/Montana
area. I've never been out there in a motor home."
Pendarvis, who concedes his motor homes choose him more
often than the other way around, has a word of advice
for someone who wants an RV but avoids it because they
are expensive; Don't get behind the wheel.
"If you like RVing and you like driving, as I like
driving--if you don't want to get hooked and don't want
to have to come up with the money to buy a Prevost--then
don't drive one," he says. "It's that good."
STEVE CLARK covers health care, higher education, environment
and transportation. Reach him at email@example.com.
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