cow hunters

Cow Hunters: 1998 Prevost Marathon “Blue Man”

We’re almost done looking at previously-owned coaches in Holland, MI. To recap: we are looking to possibly trade in our RV COW (condo on wheels), which is a 2007 Country Coach Magna, for an older Prevost or Newell. We’re looking for bigger (and more) windows and a smoother ride. Our budget is $250k (minus the trade-in value of our COW).

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So far, we’ve looked at a 2006 Prevost Country Coach, Goldilocks, priced at $369k, a 2002 Newell, The White House, priced at $139k, and a 2004 Prevost American, CoCo Deux, priced at $300k.

No Slides?!

Our current COW has four slides, two in the front and two in the rear. The slides make the coach feel quite spacious when we are parked. Since we are living full time in our COW, we think four slides are a necessity because they not only give us space, they give us extra storage capacity.

Blue Man is a 1998 Prevost Marathon XL non-slide.

Meet “Blue Man”

On our final day at Panterra Luxury Coaches, my dad eyes a shiny, retro-looking Prevost XL. If it’s “retro,” it’s going to catch Dad’s attention. He loves old things and the promise of renovations. This latest retro “thing” that’s caught his eye is a 1998 Prevost Marathon XL (we love Marathon conversions, they are such high quality!). It is priced at $159,000, well below our $250,000 budget. But it’s much older than we were considering and, most importantly, it has NO SLIDES! Because it’s a Marathon and because it’s an XL (two items on my parents’ long dream list), and because it’s so very cool-looking on the outside, Dad just has to go inside! Mom reluctantly follows. She just keeps saying, “But….but…but…it has NO slides!”

Prevost Marathon
Oh My! It’s a Prevost XL and a Marathon! We love the look of an XL and we appreciate the quality of a Marathon conversion.

The first thing we notice is the classic Marathon emblem outside of the door.

1998 Prevost Marathon
Class of 1998! It’s Vintage!

That’s classic. Both my parents smile in approval.

Then we make our way to the entry. Mom stops cold. It’s much smaller width-wise than our current COW and any of the others we’ve toured. Dad gets out his tape measure. It’s about 23 inches; our current COW entry is about 27 inches. My parents aren’t big people but when you think about carrying in groceries or other items, the entry width, even four inches, can become a regret.

And then there is worn carpeting on the stairs leading into Blue Man. Mom is not liking this even though she knows the carpeting is temporary and underneath is black granite, which would just need to be cleaned up a bit.

Prevost Entryway
The entryway is a bit tight…

We step inside and we’re impressed with the good condition of the seats. And, the tan is a nice, neutral color.

Prevost seats
The driver’s and passenger’s seats look to be in good condition.

Dad takes a closer look at the instrumental panel. He’s not sure a 1998 will have enough of the bells and whistles he’s accustomed to in a 2007 model.

Of course, Blue Man doesn’t have the more sophisticated electronics Dad is looking for. However, some can be added later as part of the remodel/upgrade. He’s okay with what Blue Man has for now.

We look past the seats and into the salon.

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Two full-length couches and updated flooring make Blue Man appealing.

There are two couches (no desk) and a booth dinette. The flooring has been updated to a wood laminate, which looks nice. Mom crinkles her nose at the couches. They look quite dated. But then she sits on one and smiles. It’s comfortable and it’s long!

There is a nice end table between the couch and the driver’s seat. An additional console provides more storage.

Prevost driver seat
It’s nice not having a slide wall behind the driver or the passenger.

My mom is still not convinced she would even consider this COW. But we keep walking…

The ceilings have been updated. They have nice mirrors and clean lines with updated, bright lighting.

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The ceilings have been updated with clean lines and bright lights.

The valences match the couches. Everything is in very good condition. No wear or tear is visible. It’s just not up-to-date, but remodeling is something my parents are used to doing so the thought doesn’t deter them.

Mom finds the navy blue/tan colors acceptable. They’re not garish or too bold. They’re livable.

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The valences match the couch. This can be an easy update.

We make our way past the couches and we realize that having two long couches may not be a bad thing. Mom could have one and Dad the other while relaxing in the evening.

Or Mom could have one and I could have the other while Dad is driving. Hmmm…. I’m liking the two-couch idea!

The couches fold into beds and each has storage drawers.

The television is a 32″, which is about 20″ smaller than the one we have. My parents are quite okay with this. They don’t watch much television and would rather have large windows not blocked by televisions.

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The television and other electronic equipment is stored in front of the windshield.

A Crystal Cabinet!

Oh my! Looky here! This is the place where we can store our crystal!

prevost crystal cabinet
A lighted, crystal cabinet is almost expected in high-end COWs such as Prevost, Newell and Country Coach.

The corner, lighted crystal cabinet is almost “standard” in most high-end coaches, including Country Coach, Newell and Prevost. When my parents were first shopping for a COW, they insisted they didn’t want this cabinet and were happy our COW didn’t have it (we have a closed cabinet instead). After being on the road for a few years, however, my parents think they do need a place for just a few of their nicer drink glasses (Dad loves a good old-fashioned!) and perhaps a crystal cabinet isn’t a waste of space after all.

Blue Man has original Marathon-logo crystal glasses (not a full set though!).

Into the Kitchen We Go!

We make our way past the couches and into the kitchen.

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This is the view from the kitchen into the salon.

There is a long dinette table that swivels so you can get into and out of the booth with ease. The booth seats are tan leather and are in good condition.

The floor is a tan and black granite in good condition. The cabinets are a lighter wood and are in great shape. The Corian counter on the table and the counter tops is a bit dated but in good condition. It looks like the Sharp convection oven/microwave and Frigidare dishwasher appear to be originals, which means they’ll need to be replaced soon.

Blue Man has a dishwasher! It’s an older model that takes up more room than the current dish drawer models.

Behind the dinette, there is a large counter with a huge storage space underneath. In the storage space is a Splendide Combo washer-dryer. Hmmm… would we consider a Splendide Combo instead of a stacked washer and dryer?

We keep going. So far, there seems to be plenty of storage. Marathon makes good use of every inch in their coaches, including under couches and booths.

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The kitchen has good storage although it’s probably slightly less than what we currently have.

Since Blue Man has no slides, the walkway is, of course, tighter than our COW walkway when our slides are out. However, Blue Man is quite a bit more spacious when compared to our COW with the slides in. This is probably because of how the interior space is configured. there are less straight lines and more angled lines to allow for efficient use of the walkway. It feels a lot less crowded (maybe because of the big windows?) than our current COW (with the slides in).

A Bathroom Break

We make our way past the kitchen, which has a Jenn-Air residential refrigerator, toward the bathroom.

The pathway takes a jog a bit between the bed/bath and the kitchen.

There is a slight jog in the pathway with a vanity to the left and private bathroom (which has no sink because it is in the vanity outside of the bathroom) to the right.

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The bathroom is small but has the most important element.

Just beyond the bathroom is a hanging closet to the right. The full shower is to the left. It has the “signature” Marathon lighted wildlife scene – this one is a bear. It is on the shower wall and shows through to the bedroom vanity. It lights up blue!

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A classic Marathon lighted wildlife scene!

When we first saw these lighted scenes in older Marathons, we immediately laughed and thought of Las Vegas. Now, however, we think of them as “retro” and wouldn’t dream of replacing them.

And Into the Bedroom

The bedroom begins with a full vanity to the left, behind the shower with the bear scene. The vanity is shaped like a slight kidney bean and the shape allows for a wide entry into the bedroom. It doesn’t feel cramped at all even though this is a non-slide COW.

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The bedroom vanity is tucked away which makes the entry into the bedroom feels spacious.

The bedroom is done in gold lame fabric. When you touch it, it is crunchy. It’s in good condition. However, gold lame is not exactly our style and it’s all over, I mean ALL OVER, the bedroom: the bedspread….

Prevost marathon bed
We love the windows! Especially the one behind the bed!

The curtains…

gold curtains
The crunchy, gold lame fabric will have to be updated.

Even the ceiling…

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There’s even gold fabric on the ceiling (around the mirror)!

Oh my. Nothing that a little cosmetic remodel wouldn’t fix. Everything is in very good shape and condition.

The bed, a queen-size (darn!), is a SleepNumber mattress. We’ve never had one but are intrigued and consider it a positive.

A SleepNumber bed is nice! Lifting the bed to get to the large, under-bed storage area is super easy!

But here’s why the SleepNumber mattress is really a good thing in Blue Man: the bed weighs next to nothing. This is important because there is significant storage under the bed. Lifting the bed with one hand is no problem for my mom.

When we take into account the under-bed storage, the large closets and the deep drawers, we find we have almost as much bedroom and bathroom storage space as we do in our current COW.

The Test Drive

My parents are impressed enough that they want to take Blue Man for a test drive. They think they will lose a small amount of storage space if we buy Blue Man but not enough to deter us from considering a non-slide.

Electronics (or Lack Thereof): the Biggest Issue

My dad is really concerned about not having the sophisticated electronics he has in our current COW. For example, he has a monitor by the steering wheel that provides constant measures of tire pressure, inverter status, generator status, coolant temperature, engine temperature, oil pressure and tank levels. Blue Man doesn’t do this. But our salesman assures us Blue Man has a back-up camera, which is a minimal requirement my dad has.


Uh-oh. It seems the back-up camera or monitor is not working.

We decide to take Blue Man for a spin anyway. Blue Man rides like a Prevost: smooth sailing. Mom loves the comfortable couches, the huge windows and the open floor plan. She and Dad can talk while she is on the couch and he is driving, without having to raise their voices and there is no slide blocking them from seeing each other. It is light and bright.

However, Dad is not impressed with the driver’s seat. He said the cushioning is not enough and the seat will need to be replaced. Additionally, he’s not crazy about the skinny steering wheel and the lack of electronic monitoring on the dashboard. He says it reminds him of the buses he drove for the U.S. Army many years ago. Upgrading the dash with current electronics will be very expensive.

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My Dad isn’t crazy about the skinny steering wheel, uncomfortable seat, small driver’s side window and outdated control panel in Blue Man.

The driver’s side window is small and Dad feels cramped in the space. He also notices a lot of rattles as he’s driving, which he considers “normal” for a bus of this age.

Dad says the long wheel base, tag axle and heavy weight help to make this ride quite smooth and pleasant to drive.

But, the headlights are the original style and will need to be upgraded since we do drive at night.

Meanwhile, Mom is enjoying the smooth ride as a passenger and finds it easy to move around the COW as it’s going down the road. She is surprised she likes having two long couches and doesn’t miss a desk.

Blue Man Specs

  • 1998 Prevost Marathon XL Non-Slide
  • 159,500 miles
  • Engine: Detroit Series 60
  • Generator: PowerTech 20KW with 3,000 hours
  • Antenna: Winegard
  • Satellite: New Road Trip T-4
  • Tires: Michelin 315’s – all have been replaced between 2014-2016

Will It Be Blue Man?

Well. What a surprise Blue Man was! It completely opened our eyes to the possibility of having a non-slide. The storage seems to be comparable but you never really know until you actually move things into place.

We’re also surprised we like the idea of having two long couches instead of a couch and a desk. And, we would consider a combo washer/dryer instead of a stacked washer/dryer.

Blue Man is $159,000, which is significantly under our budget, allowing us some room for updates and upgrades. This is the oldest COW we’ve looked at. We’ve learned a lot: for example, we’re not sure we’re ready to step down significantly in terms of electronic monitoring equipment, side cameras, and assisted (versus totally manual) sewer equipment. However, at the right base price, anything and everything can be updated. The only thing you can’t update is the ride itself but Blue Man has a nice ride but does have a lot of rattles.

Next Up… Which One Do We Like Best and What’s Our Trade Worth?

We’ve looked at four very nice COWs, ranging in price from $369k to $139k; from a 2006 to a 1998; from a Prevost to a Newell. Whew. That’s a lot of COWS! And we learned a lot in the process.

Now we need to know what our trade-in is worth… we have a good idea based on what we were told by our Country Coach broker a few months ago but will it be enough to make us jump into a new-to-us COW? Read the COW POW post to find out!

Do you have an older COW?

Tell me about your COW… how have you updated it? What was the update that made you happiest?

And, be sure to subscribe so you never miss a post!

Woof Out!

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  1. Will you consider 2008 Country Coach Affinity? It has the large windows, King size bed, big desk, big couch with queen size air matress, Silverleaf 400 vehicle monitoring system, 48 inch 4k curved Samsung TV, heated tile floors throughout, gourmet kitchen with 3 burner stove top, solid Hickory interior, and a wine rack! All this for an asking price of $ 230,000. I’ll consider a trade and financing is available for the couch and any updates you may want to include. I’d be happy to send you pictures.

    1. This 2008 Country Coach Affinity, Stag Leap, came new from Holland motorhome in MI. IT IS IN YOUR PRICE RANGE!

  2. You Have a beautiful Coach why trade down. If you have a 2007 Country Coach Magna then just update what you have. I love my 2005 Allure.

Can’t wait to see what you say! Woof!