Who we are

We are Clarke and Elaine

We first met in college in 1967, and were married the summer of 1971.  We raised five children to adulthood (Chris, Meredith, Katharine, Sharon and Tim).  I was a property and casualty insurance broker for 42 years before retiring in 2011.  Elaine was a sales and marketing rep for 20 years before retiring in 2011.  

Around 2004 we bought our first motorhome.....it was a 1987 Fleetwood Tioga 26' Class C. Our oldest son had purchased a travel trailer a couple of years before and was encouraging us to buy some sort of RV, so instead of buying something brand new and then finding we didn't like the lifestyle we went the 'previously owned' route.  We fell in love with being weekend RVers almost immediately, and by 2007 we had decided we would become full timers when we retired, but we also decided we would need a bigger motorhome, so the search began.

We wanted a late model Class A diesel pusher under 38 feet in length with no slides, and I wanted it to be 'low tech'.....by that I mean I wanted to be able to work on everything myself, if possible.  After looking at a lot of 10 year old Class A's that seemed to be 'threadbare' after just a decade of occasional use we were getting discouraged.  Then one morning I found this really interesting 1982 Newell Classic on Craigslist located out in Palm Desert.  I had never heard of Newells previously, and was a little put off by the age (26 years old at that time).  Having just spent a lot of money over several years on a vintage Class C I was wary, but still intrigued by the pictures the owner had attached to the ad.

This was the original picture used in the Craigslist ad

As it turned out we were attending a wedding of a friend down in Indio that very weekend, so Elaine suggested I at least call the gentleman who was advertising this motorhome and see if we could see it while we were down in the area that weekend.  As it turned out we were the first to call (but not the last), and Fred (the owner) agreed to meet us at the storage facility where the Newell was stored that Saturday morning.

Elaine was the first to climb the entry stairs into the Newell, and by the time I arrived in the 'salon' area of this beautiful coach she had already made her mind up, and I was playing 'catch up'.  Fred gave us a tour of every nook and cranny of the coach, ran the generator, started the Detroit Diesel 6V92 up, etc.  At the end of an hour and a half I was very interested too.  I called my ex-brother-in-law as I knew he was a Bluebird fanatic, and asked if he knew about Newells......he replied he did, and then went on to tell me they were one of the best motorhomes made.  He sent me some links via e-mail about Newells, about Detroit Diesel 2 strokes, and I began my research.

By Sunday afternoon both Elaine and I were leaning heavily in favor of buying the Newell, but we had to pull the money together.  I agreed to meet up with Fred again later in the week to bring a deposit, and to do an actual test drive of the coach.  While we sat and talked Fred had the generator running to power the A/C, which worked wonderfully, and to power the other systems.  We then took a test drive and it was then that I was completely sold 'hook, line and sinker'.  For a 26 year old coach it was soooo quiet.  A thorough examination of the ceiling revealed no prior leaks, and to this day there still have been no leaks.

Newell Corporation has been manufacturing custom built motor coaches since 1967 in Miami, OK.  They build their own chassis from the ground up.  All of the framing above the chassis is aluminum, and all of exterior is covered in riveted aircraft aluminum.    In 1982 our specific coach cost the original buyer over $300,000.  Today's Newells are up to 46 feet long, have four slides providing close to 700 square feet of living space, and cost upwards of $2.1 million to buy.

We completed our purchase of our 36 foot 1982 Newell Classic on March 1st, 2008, and have never looked back since that day.  When we took delivery of the Newell it had exactly 103,500 miles on her, and we now have over 183,000 miles on her.  Over the 80,000 miles we have driven her we have had two major repairs....the water pump, which I wrote about here.  I removed and replaced the water pump myself.  In September of 2020 our Leece-Nevell gear driven alternator bit the dust, so we had her rebuilt, and all is good again....I wrote about that here.  Other than that it has been a matter of changing the oil and various filters (oil, tranny, fuel) on a periodic basis, and replacing the tires every 7-8 years.  In April of 2023 we put new Michelins on her.

Our Newell is equipped, currently, with two 150 watt solar panels, and two 160 watt panels installed by A.M. Solar out of Springfield, OR.  Shortly after we bought the coach we installed wooden floors, and have made minor modifications in the interior (flat screen TV's, recliners, new Dometic absorption fridge, and new Norcold basement fridge/freezer) since that date, and now have vinyl faux wood plank flooring.

We began living full time in the Newell on February 1, 2011, and began to travel full time February 1, 2012 after spending a year in a local SoCal county RV park getting used to living in a small space with each other.  We are still at it, and loving each and every day as if it were our first.


  1. I dont know if Ive ever met you but Evelyn was my Grandmother, Leisa is my mother. Nice to see other relatives

  2. Can you identify yourself? Elaine has an aunt named Evelyn.

  3. Hi folks,have enjoyed your blog for a long time.A 95 Monaco Dynasty I had went through a similar electrical failure ,however I replaced the lights with units that were exact replicas but were led - made a big difference on the electrical load.All the best

  4. Greetings WhatsNewell folks,
    I recently read a post from you folks from 2016 where you were extolling Newells and the number of used ones for sale. Do you know, are there Newell clubs or organizations that have classified listings? After having a nice 39' Navigator diesel pusher motorhome for many years and changing to a 52', 3 bedroom, 5 slide 5th wheel due to additions to the family, we would like to return to the motorhome lifestyle. This will better accommodate my wife's various medical issues. We do prefer a high quality coach without slides. Would you folks have an interest in helping us begin our search?
    Thank you for your consideration,
    Jim Shaum
    Ontario, Ohio

    1. I would be happy to. Contact me at chockwald@gmail.com


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