Rotel = Red, Rolling Hotel
October 21, 2005 6:04 AM   Subscribe

Rotel (German) is a way to travel the world and go off the beaten track without leaving the comfort of your... bus. Some of the buses are in two parts, so the accommodation trailer can be left behind for day trips, and some are four-wheel drive, to go off-road. More pics: Algeria, Mongolia, Argentina, Serengeti. Those goofy buses remind me of the Red Couch. More inside.
posted by Turtle (12 comments total)
Even more Rotel pics: Blue Cliffs, Morocco, Australia, Karakorum Highway, China, Baja California, Sahara, Akbar's Tomb, India, Argentina, Belur, India, Benin, Peru, India, Syria, Vietnam, Morocco, Dali, China.

The Red Couch, A Portrait of America, by Kevin Clarke (Flash gallery, ick, images are here), Horst Wackerbarth (gallery), and William Least Heat Moon. Special exhibition edition. Two pics with excerpts from text: 1, 2. Previous Mefi mention (but link is broken).

Other motor homes discussed here: Australian off-road motorhome, Handmade House Trucks and House Buses (just the images), Rolling Homes - the book.

Miscellaneous: there's a Rotel Inn, without wheels, in the shape of a resting man. A 1935 hotel train. Eric Clapton had His Rolling Hotel. The bus was invented by Carl Benz in 1895.
posted by Turtle at 6:05 AM on October 21, 2005

posted by Turtle

But of course! Who else?

Nice job, thanks.
posted by Floydd at 6:15 AM on October 21, 2005

Don't forget good old Green Tortoise
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 7:10 AM on October 21, 2005

I stayed at the Rotel Botel in Passau Germany some years ago. Essentially it was a Rotel hotel built on a boat. The rooms were ridiculous. You could hardly roll over in bed, there wasn't room for any of our baggage (we traveled as a band with our istruments.) It was cheap for the promoter who put us upo there, but jeeeebus... it sucked.

If you want to see the world, carry a pillow and take the train.
posted by zaelic at 7:13 AM on October 21, 2005

Mystery revealed! I saw these in Alaska when I was there in August, but not knowing German, I couldn't get an explanation. They had German license plates; I wonder how they get to the US.
posted by fletcher at 7:24 AM on October 21, 2005

Not to be confused with this.
posted by drinkcoffee at 7:36 AM on October 21, 2005

zaelic, my sympathies, though it looks like the Rotel botel doesn't exist anymore. A German friend of a friend went on their Alaska tour (fletcher: coincidence! it might be the tour you saw), where I suspect there aren't a lot of trains. I think you could only access your baggage once a day. But she was pretty happy with it, since it was affordable.

Many of the people on her tour were on the older side (she's 65). I suspect that's an advantage of the bus compared to any other means of transportation: it's a cheap way for people who aren't very mobile to really get off the beaten track.
posted by Turtle at 8:23 AM on October 21, 2005

Not to be confused with this.

Or this.
posted by grateful at 8:42 AM on October 21, 2005

At least it has seats that face forward. I remember bieng in Tanzania and coming across several groups of travellers on trucks with two rows of seats facing towards each other. After a couple of months of only being able to see - say - the Ngorongoro Crater by peering past their sweaty fellow passengers they looked fairly pissed off.
posted by rongorongo at 8:55 AM on October 21, 2005

What an amazing collection of links thanks Turtle. I own a copy of the Rolling Homes (1979) great book. There is another one like that for house boats built in the 70s of similar geewiz'ness.

German have always been in the lead when it comes to large custom expedition vehicles. This is the first I've seen of numbers of people being carried in a commercial venture, usually its a private party of 3 or 4.

It's psychologically part of the German character fostered in the national romantic Völkerwanderung's of Germanys age of heroes. Tribes of Germans of the move. At least they are just sightseeing and not invading Russia.
posted by stbalbach at 9:53 AM on October 21, 2005

You forgot Poland.
posted by loquacious at 10:58 AM on October 21, 2005

Ach! I think perhaps you joke, yes? But I give you Poland, peacefully, in 2 weeks, for €60 a day. Russia will take you 3 weeks at €75/day. Or you could swing by Königsberg, I mean, Kaliningrad.

The trips available in each of the five continents are listed here.
posted by Turtle at 4:41 PM on October 21, 2005

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