Why trade the Toyhauler for a Tag Axle motorhome?
The Gulfsteam Bounty Hunter was a unique motorized toyhauler, a pretty cool arrangement where we could actually carry the little 4WD Chevy Tracker automobile onboard in the garage and tow the sailboat behind. In concept that seemed ideal, but had its definite limitations in application.
First of all the Bounty Hunter was the ONLY production motorhome ever made that could carry a small 4WD on board in its 12' garage... and the ONLY small 4WD that fit the bill was the 1980-87 Chevy Tracker (or Suzuki Sidekick) which comes in under 12' in length. Everything else is just too long. And since the newest Tracker you could buy that small was 20 years old (ours was almost 30), we were stuck driving a very old car around with all the attendant headaches. Furthermore, while it could pull the sailboat out of the water in 4WD low range just fine, it was too small, too light and too underpowered to tow the boat on the highway. So we had to deliver the boat to the marinas with the 40' Bounty Hunter, and then launch it with the Tracker. Doable but could be a real hassle sometimes.
Also, the Bounty Hunter made certain compromises in order to have a 12' garage in the back. We had to climb a staircase to crawl into the loft kingsize bed. And even though we bought a deluxe Tempurpedic mattress for the loft to make it as comfortable yet low profile as possible, there was still only 30" of headroom up there and so it was a bit confining. Plus climbing up and down those stairs, especially in the middle of the night required a level of acrobatics which begins to wane as one approaches senior citizenhood.
Add to this the fact that the Bounty Hunter was just NOT the deluxe rig our subsequent Country Coach or the new Allegro Bus is. It had only one slide, so not nearly as roomy, and the fit and finish of the interior was not up to the deluxe land yacht standards of today... more basic, although not uncomfortable. I still actually have the original webpage up for it, but I also updated the webpage for historical interest.
But due to the fact that it had the garage in the rear, the Bounty Hunter was not a diesel pusher. It was what is called FRED... FRont Engine Diesel on a Freightliner chassis. And the garage also meant no room for a tag axle, which anyone who owns one will tell you makes a great deal of difference tracking down the highway in one of these behemoths. And it lacked independent front suspension and 4 wheel air suspension so the ride and handling was a bit more like a truck than a luxury motorhome. The Bounty Hunter was a decent enough road warrior, but not like the big diesel pushers we got later. Our new Allegro Bus drives like our Suburban and more comfortable at that. It is just a dream to drive. You just have to have your wits about you in town negotiating corners and such but that is true of ANY large vehicle.
Anyhow, there were other compromises as well... in many ways the Bounty Hunter was more like the Lance Camper we had replaced when we bought it, than like the big 4 slide diesel pushers which came after. Still we had fun, we learned a great deal and it paved the way for life on the road. As I described in my chronicles, driving a larger, more luxurious motorhome, ideal for extended travels, would mean we would have to drive a separate car. But after much discussion, we decided it was worth the tradeoff, so we sold the Bounty Hunter and purchased the Country Coach and moved on up with the big boys. We plan to ship the sailboat to extended destinations... we did this in 2013 when we had it towed to California... and in the winter of 2014/15 we would have it transported to Florida so we could drive across country together, in the Bus and towing the Suburban. But beyond that, most of our hops in the next couple years will be shorter and so driving two vehicles is not such a big compromise when you weigh it against all the benefits.
I have also provided a detailed explanation of the reasoning for the upgrade from the Country Coach to the Allegro Bus. Now as we tour the country, we hope to serve as an example to others who are waiting for the right time to live their dream. For us the time is now. As has often been said, 'Tis more fun to give than to receive. We really enjoy introducing others to the delights and freedom of Motorhome travel in the later years and also to the joy of sailing. I LOVE taking newbies out sailing and teaching them to man the tiller and trim the sails... especially children. It is one of life's greatest joys.