Collectors have their Holy Grails, the objects of their greatest desire like elusive artworks, rare gems, ancient maps. For Mike Johnson, it was a swaggering four-wheel-drive recreational vehicle known as the Chummer.
The Yakima Herald reported that its name comes from its brand, Chinook RV, and its vehicle, a Hummer. Gary Lukehart, RV inventor and longtime president of Chinook RV and its production plant in Union Gap, designed it as a kind of concept car in 2005 after considering his own Hummer and what it would look like as a Chinook Raja.
“It was the only one they ever produced,” Lukehart said as admirers clustered around the Chummer during the West Coast Chinook RV Club Rally, which began Friday in Nachez, Wash., and ends Sunday at Lukehart’s Running Springs Ranch.
Owners from as far as Missouri parked their 30 Chinook RVs around the big red “party barn,” an event venue and museum documenting the personal life of Lukehart, wife Mary and their family, along with his many business and civic ventures.
After a few years of talking about it and six months of “night-and-day searching,” Johnson learned the owner lived in Minneapolis. Johnson didn’t have a phone number or address, so he hired a private investigator to find the man. The investigator knocked on the owner’s door and gave him Johnson’s contact information.
“He thought about it for a month and called me. He had been thinking about letting it go,” said Johnson, of Yakima. He happily added the Chummer to his collection of “unique stuff” and relishes its pristine exterior, plush interior and connection to Lukehart, his friend.
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