It’s been more than a century since the idea of the recreation vehicle, or RV, was born. That’s not counting the four-horse-powered Conestoga Wagons that brought settlers west long before that. At first modern RVs were called caravans and still are in some parts of the world like Australia and in much of Europe. We accept both terms here at Eldorado RV.
Even famous folk got into the act. Author John Steinbeck traveled the back roads with his poodle Charlie back in 1960. His RV, a 1960 GMC with a custom designed camper shell now takes center stage at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California. His journey resulted in the 1962 best seller “Travels With Charley.”
No one knows if stories like this inspired Peter Liegl to create the Forest River brand back in 1996. Perhaps it was the wanderlust spirit, but it was also a desire to create a quality recreational vehicle so that others would get the chance to wander in comfort and safety.
Forest River started out by producing pop-up tent trailers, compact, easily towable RVs. The firm still produces these units today under the Flagstaff and Rockwood labels. Nowadays these tent campers come in both soft and hard-sided varieties, with some models having slide-outs, kitchens and small bathrooms.
As the company grew, so did the inventory. Now Forest River produces, along with those pop-top campers, travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers and motorhomes of various sizes. Toy haulers are a relatively new invention, at least for consumer use. Racecar and motorcycle teams have used this combination of living quarters/garage for years to travel from one track to another. Forest River produces toy haulers in both travel trailer and fifth wheel varieties.
As far as the motorhomes, the Sunseeker Class C is one of the most popular lines, easy to drive with well-crafted creature comforts. In the Class A variety, the top-end Berkshire even offers an electric fireplace and a stackable washer/dryer. Slide outs, flat screen TVs and well-defined living spaces make this model and the rest of the Class A line-up true homes-on-wheels.
Forest River was producing such a quality product and seeing such success that in 2005 the firm caught the attention of Warren Buffett, entrepreneur, investor and owner of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffet bought the firm in August of that year and left Liegl to manage the company.
Today Forest River has 60 production plants. Most are found in the Midwest of the USA, but others are located in Texas, California, Oregon, Florida and Georgia. The bottom line is still quality, with a nod to convenience, comfort and the latest in RV fashion and innovation.