Questions and Answers with John Thompson
Time at Marathon: 21 years, started June of 1995.
When wanderlust strikes, Marathon Coach team member John Thompson hits the road. From motorcycle adventures in his own backyard to racing cars, he knows how to rev things up.
What is your favorite thing about working at Marathon?
I really enjoy the people here. I’ve cultivated many friendships. However, for several years I did the racing thing. That’s my favorite thing of the whole deal. I enjoy working on the coaches, but when they approached me to do the historic racing thing, I said, “You’ll pay me to do this?” That’s one of those things you’d almost do for free. The fact they paid me and that I was able to bring my family along sometimes, that to me was the best thing about being here. I’ve been here 21 years now, but that was the pinnacle.
• Drove: Jeff Gordon Lumina stock car as well as Charlie Meyers’ STP Pontiac.
Who would play you in a movie of your life?
I kind of like to think Steve McQueen might play me because we have very similar interests.
What do you think people should know about Marathon?
That we build the finest motorcoaches in the world. If you’re the king of Saudi Arabia and you want a “camper,” we will take care of you.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Camping with my parents, and hiking and climbing South Sister with my father.
What is your favorite free time activity?
Riding motorcycles. I got my motorcycle endorsement in 1978 and I’ve been riding ever since. That’s always been one of my loves, something to do since graduating from high school. I started doing the Sunday morning ride to Fifth Street Market when I was young and that has blossomed into all kinds of different motorcycles, as well as riding some of the most incredible roads we have in the country, right in our own backyard. I have a reputation that when it’s sunny, I get out. Getting out into the woods, my wife likes to call it meditation in motion, and that’s really what it is for us.
What do you do at Marathon?
When I first started I was a service tech and basically did more of the mechanical part of service. Now I’m in production, and I concentrate almost entirely on electrical.
Who was your favorite singer/band in high school?
The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.
Who is your favorite singer/band now?
Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Oregon Ducks or Oregon Beavers?
What has been your most memorable vacation?
My most memorable vacation involved a little bit of racing. We were able to stay in a coach at Laguna Seca in Monterey three or four days, just my wife and me. It mostly involved work-related things just because that gave me the opportunity to see and experience things I never would have. We went to the aquarium and went sea kayaking: We had a great time.
What has been your most memorable camping trip?
It’s a different kind of camping trip, but when we rode motorcycles to the races at Laguna, we would camp on the way down, three nights, and then we camped on the way back. Those were some of the most memorable ones I’ve taken.
What sets Marathon apart from other luxury RVs?
The fact that we’re handmade — we have old-world craftspeople, which are hard to find anymore.
Where was the most interesting place you camped as a kid?
The headwaters of the Rogue River in Southern Oregon.
Watch sports or play sports?
I watch a lot of sports and play a little sports. We are huge Blazer fans and we don’t miss a game.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, who would you want with you?
Where do you most want to travel but have never been?
I would love to travel to Europe (my wife has family there), as well as Australia and the Far East.
What is your favorite memory?
Work related, my favorite memory is when we won the first San Jose Grand Prix with the cars and got to stay at the hotel. The race track was around the hotel, so we’d wake up in the morning with Indie cars running in front of the place. It was pretty spectacular.
How would your friends describe you?
Easygoing, I hope.
Which of your parents are you most like?
What has been your best birthday?
When I turned 16, I got my driver’s license.
What is your favorite song?
“Anyhow” by Susan Tedeschi.
Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why?
They were all really good. I always enjoyed school, especially grade school. I’d have to say in high school, the auto shop teacher, Mr. Schneider, was one of my favorites.
Who was your first celebrity crush?