Friday, April 13, 2012

Bumgarner Camping Center Gives Aliner It’s Annual Inspection

Well! Bumgarner Camping Center in Lenoir, North Carolina, has a new home. Look at that! They’ve moved into a huge former Chrysler dealership right on Route 321. No longer on that side-street in Hudson you couldn’t find without directions from two long-time residents and a patrolman.

Same folks, though. Shannon and Angel Bumgarner. That’s Buddy you see behind the counter. With Chad Bumgarner, Jerry Sawyer, and their solid support crew handling pre-sale preps, service, repairs, and even the sort of general “wellness checks” I drive up for each year.

This is a wonderful RV dealership. I was surprised to see a few big Class A motorhomes on their lot. So I asked if they’d changed their line of business. No, those rigs are in on consignment, they assured me.

Bumgarners is still primarily a travel trailer dealership. One that knows, sells, and services travel trailers. Large and small. You won’t be treated like a second- or third-class citizen here just because you don’t plan to spend a few hundred thousand dollars on one of those rigs large enough to have its own zip code.

They have more room now, and therefore stock more of the parts and supplies that we all need. And some we don’t really need, but can’t resist when we see them on the shelf, or hear Buddy describe their virtues.

They also have a lot more room to service our trailers under cover. Four seasons out of the year. Space was a real problem over in Hudson. Not here!

I learned that Bumgarners no longer sells new Aliners. But they’ve replaced them with the Rockwood brand of folding hard-sided camper you see above.

These look a lot like Aliners, though they seemed to me to be better made. With a better selection of appliances. And even a lower price. When my beloved Mobile Studio finally passes on, its successor will be one of these Rockwoods. [Yes …. Buddy is a most persuasive person …. But still…. Look for yourself!]

I drive clear from Columbia, South Carolina, to do business with the Bumgarners, and am glad to do it. They provide a level of price, service, and reliability that reminds me of how business used to be conducted. Oh, and just in case the thought crossed your mind, I pay exactly the same prices at Bumgarners that you will pay. Special price breaks or payments don’t explain the enthusiasm of my assessment. They’re just great folks to do business with.

When you visit Bumgarners out on Route 321, be sure to ask to see the Vintage 1972 Cox camper set up in the showroom. This camper is a significant piece of RV history.

As Buddy explained, the Cox Company in Grafton was North Carolina’s only RV manufacturer. They’re no longer in business, unfortunately, but they produced a fine product in their time.

This is the smaller of their two models: the Cadet 220. It weighed only 415 pounds fully loaded, and could be pulled along behind most any car.

The Cox Company also made a somewhat larger model that accommodated a couple more people. In addition to the dinette table it came with an ice box and a stove for outside use. Top of the line!

After accepting this camper in trade last year they were persuaded to keep it for display by its near-perfect condition. Everything you see here is original. From the old-style canvas to the bedding. Cox added a single electrical receptacle inside, adequate to power a light or even a small fan. Oh, and the stabilizer jacks on all four corners were standard equipment.

So, be sure to have a look at this 1972 Cox when your travels take you in or near Lenoir, North Carolina on Route 321.