Travels with Papillon




The Narrative




A Motorhome named Papillon

A Winnebago View model 23H

An Aitch named Papillon

Papillon is French for "butterfly" and it symbolizes the spirit of our adventure.  The flight and route of the butterfly is influenced by the winds, the scents and the whims of the creature.  Our route and timing will be influenced by the events of the day and the passage of the road.  We have no fixed route, nor a set schedule, we are as free as the butterfly.  (Yes, of course, we have a general direction and a list of things we want to see and do, but no preconceived rigid timetable nor routing.)


Papillon is a 2006 Winnebago View 23H built on a 2005 Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis.  It is 23.5 feet long (7 meters), 7.5 feet wide (2.3 meters) and 10 feet 9 inches high (3.3 meters).  For an American rig, it is considered small.  In the European market it would be one of the larger units on the road.  However the Germans are starting to build 8 meter plus rigs.  With the small slide out engaged it's width becomes nine feet and provides a "living room" space.


We selected this make and model especially for this journey because, in our opinion, for our needs and travel style it best suited our requirements.  Certainly we would have liked a bigger unit with separate bedroom etc.  However we prefer to travel the back roads - often one lane roads, to areas less visited and that is not always possible in a big rig.  And considering that roads in the "old country" are often torturous, narrow and filled with weight and height restrictions, this became a better choice for us.  Additionally, the Mercedes brand will have thousands of service locations, AND the 19 miles per gallon of lower cost diesel fuel is also a big plus.

Additional information is available at the Winnebago Industries website.  Moreover, in our case we added the following enhancements:  Swivel passenger seat, Maxx Air vent cover in the rear, steel valve stems, upgraded sway bar, additional side mirrors, steel safe welded to the frame, better kitchen faucet, aluminum turbo resonator (a long ugly story to the shame of Mercedes and Dodge Corp.), a macerator, a 220V to 110V converter, European fittings for LPG, electric and water, a Scangauge to monitor engine performance, GPS and mapping software, and a Mil-Spec rated laptop to withstand the shakes, vibrations and spills associated with long term travel.


We have placed the word "butterfly" in 28 languages on Papillon's sides and back.  Our hope is that when the locals see the word in their language they will approach and we can meet.



Arabic                          Croatian

Hungarian                       Finnish





Dutch                                                        Danish/Norwegian

Lithuanian                                                Romanian

Polish                         Spanish                  Ukrainian



Maltese                         Turkish

Swedish                          Slovene







Judy and Mr. Cheeseburger prepare to dine.



See Shipping Papillon for his adventures to Europe  (Yes, in French, Papillon is masculine)