Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans

By: Peta Stavelli


Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans
Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans
Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans
Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans
Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans
Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans
Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans Blast from the past: White Water Retro Riverside caravans

Peta Stavelli called into BOP RV to see two classically styled caravans which not only look great, but also have a fantastic back story. Introducing the White Water Retro Riverside 166/177 caravans.

Bay of Plenty RV specialises in vehicles imported from the United States of America. The family business is run by keen RVers whose love of RV travel led them on an excursion through the USA. This in turn introduced Joan and John Blair to a range of vehicles not previously seen in New Zealand – and BOP RV was born.

On the day of my visit, Nick Blair and his mother Joan (who was the first to be intrigued by the Riverside RV brand) were there to greet me, and talk me through their latest acquisitions: retro-styled caravans made in the USA state of Indiana.

There’s nothing too unusual about either retro styling or USA imports, you might think; but these stunning new ‘vintage’ ’vans are made by an Amish–run business. And yes, the craftsmen (and women) coach builders arrive at their place of work in typical Amish style – by horse and buggy and wearing traditional clothing. Once their horses are hitched, they set about their day’s work building old style caravans with contemporary amenities which neither they, nor their families who live by traditional Amish standards, will ever use.

"The whole area is pristine, with every lawn painted carefully maintained, and every fence painted white. The Amish have a very good ethos. They work hard, and take great pride in their work. And while the factory is quite small, it turns out really good quality vehicles," says Joan.

I was surprised to hear that traditional Amish families were employed creating products which belong to a different world from their own, so I did some research and found that there are many Amish businesses throughout the USA. Each has its own unique set of guidelines. Some spurn the use of electricity, while others use it. Some travel by vehicle to their workplace but few, if any, own motorised vehicles, with the majority still using the time-honoured tradition of horse and buggy transport.

It was also surprising to hear that Amish women were employed in a traditionally all-male occupation. It all seemed unexpectedly worldly for women dressed in neck to ankle garments worn with ‘kerchief head scarves to be up ladders using tools.

So what does the Kiwi buyer actually receive when they buy a White Water Retro?

There are two models available from BOP RV: the 15’11" 166, or the 19’6" 177. With 10 floor plans to choose from, flexibility is easily catered for. Each aluminium-framed and clad caravan comes complete with a generous double bed – either transverse (east/west) or island; and a king single which can made from the dinette. The galley comprises a two-way (gas/electric) fridge; gas cooker with range-hood and microwave.

I loved the generous sink and thought the bench space provided a compact but workable kitchen. The toilet/shower is small, although it is all you would need, even if you decided to go off grid. Gas bottles are housed in an attractive and practical, protective casing set in front of the rock guard aluminium cladding.

The Riverside White Water Retro is light enough to be towed by a wide variety of standard vehicles and has a range of optional extras. It is modestly priced at $38,500 for the 166 and $45,000 for the 177.

Read the full article in issue #138 of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations magazine (on sale now!). Subscribe here.

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