Taking the Long Way Home

Everything happens for a reason they say, and our path to finding our home was no exception. We spent the last few weeks trying to find the 5th wheel toyhauler that was just right for us. No matter which one we looked at, nothing felt right. Either Mitch kinda liked it and I didn’t or I kinda liked it and he didn’t. Papa being his easy going self was supportive of whatever.

easy going and full of fun

Finally, we found one that we all thought could work for us and we made an offer, but they wouldn’t go down in price and no deal was made. That night we were so perplexed about things not working out. I was frustrated with the idea of paying a large amount of money for something that didn’t have the things we were looking for, and just settling.  It was to the point that if we had to settle we would just get a darn camper and make it work. At that moment in the conversation, when Mitch mentioned a camper a lightbulb shinned a spotlight onto the answer to our prayers. Go a different way, if plan A didn’t work, plan B isn’t right, go to plan C, get a camper and a travel trailer! We thanked God for the deal not working with the 5th wheel and experienced a surge of renewed excitement and confidence. This is our path!  Papa can live in the camper and the dogs and us can live in the travel trailer!! The best of both worlds. Now dad can nap at noon, go to bed at 7:30 and wake up at 4:30. We won’t have to tip toe around each others sleeping habits, still have two bathrooms, it costs less and we can have our own space! Yippeee! It seemed as if the options would be endless when we decide this new direction. Until we started looking. There were things to take into consideration, the weight, having a short bed truck, and towing the trailer with the camper on the truck. Finding a camper was more challenging than expected but in a few days we knew exactly what we wanted. None were to be found within a 200 mile radius, the closest one was apache camping in Everett. Don made the process simple,  emailed us a purchase order and is holding the camper for us. We will be picking it up on July 30th.

Papa’s fancy new home

It’s a livinlite camplite camper.  It’s made of all aluminum and weighs 1670 lbs,  plus it matches the truck and won’t hang over the bed. Onto our trailer… We looked at every dealership at least twice, and a couple we began to know the layout better than those that worked there. Still nothing that met our needs. Again, would we have to settle? Then last week on craigslist we saw one that had a few of the things we wanted from a private seller and figured why not check it out. We didn’t have our hopes too high when we went and looked, but it was everything we wanted and more! It has great closet space, kitchen counter space, plenty of cupboards, storage and the best part, wait for it…. Two bathroom sinks!! Who would have thought that we would finally get our two sinks in a travel trailer.

Home sweet home
Home sweet home

It’s a 2012 Rockwood signature ultra lite 32 ft. Excellent condition, and great colors for the interior. the search is finally over. The couple we bought it from are wonderful people, they are going to give us a complete walk through on Wednesday and since the truck is in the shop they are going to haul it out to our place afterwards. So grateful to be back on track. It’s been a long few months, with some trying times but it has all worth it.

Keep on keepin on

I was hoping to write this post with relief and joy beings that we bought a truck, and traded in the banana and the CRV.

2006 Dodge Mega Cab 3500
2006 Dodge Mega Cab 3500

Yippeee! Right? I mean we are now in the right direction, after changing directions. We went to a small dealership, they were super nice, very fair with our trades and we met a great guy by the name of Kelly, who also lives the good rv life.  After 3 days of having the truck, white smoke began to billow out from under the truck… We thought, well that can’t be good. The next day we took it to a diesel mechanic. Cue music–du du du… “Engine’s bad, you have excessive blow by” he says, “take it back.”  With this newest wrinkle in the prom dress of life all we could do, was laugh. Seriously, we both laughed, i mean what are the odds? And then we were dumbfounded, frustrated, sad and sick to our stomachs when we heard the possible price to get it fixed. It’s funny,  when I was younger, before houses, and all the grown up stuff, thousands of dollars seemed unimaginable to have or to owe. Now as an adult it’s all around, 5 thousand for this, 20 for that, a 100 plus  for a house. Oh, Simpler times, But not as many options then either, guess that’s the trade offs in life.

A beautiful trade off for the responsibilities of adulthood

We did take it back to the dealership, the owner was very nice and understanding, said he knew nothing about the engine being bad, eased my mind by divulging how much he got it in on trade, and is willing to work with us. Now if we can get him to meet us halfway on the bill it would at least soften the blow.  By the way, when buying from a dealership if its not new, or certified used, you should have a mechanic check it over? Didn’t know that! do now.  Ugh, the lessons that we learn the hard way. I am beginning to think that this blog of ours will become the guide of what not to do when trying to go full timing.  Well, I guess if it is, then there is a purpose served.  While waiting to get get the truck into the shop and being quite hesitant to know all the work that needs to be done (a/c only works when the truck is moving and I think we have a clunk now .. Transmission anyone?)  We are still searching for the right 5th wheel toy hauler. We are both more than a bit gun shy about which one to get,  especially since our track record is looking pretty shoddy. We are really considering new just so if things go wrong it will at least be covered for a while.  I thought long and hard how to write this post in hopes that it wouldn’t come across as negative, or poor (literally, haha) us. I just have to put the truth out there and acknowledge that nothing worthwhile is ever easy, and with challenges comes growth, knowledge and wisdom.

Hopefully we’ll come out smelling like a rose. They say, mess with the rose, get the thorn. oh wait, that’s bull.

I am beginning to think that all this research and trying to make the best choices with crummy results is ruining all the fun. But hey, we got love, a dream, our health, blue skies, singing birds and blooming flowers, so life’s good.



NADA good time, feeling Blue?

As you know we are still in the process of selling the blue banana. Nobody has snatched her up yet. While waiting we are doing tons of research on trucks and let me tell you! It’s dog eat dog in the dealership world, and we are the prey (with some dealerships).  I am so grateful to have the Internet on my phone! Here is a list of things that I recommend you do before you dare step foot into a dealership.

1. Read confessions of a used car salesman.

2. Download KBB, NADA and especially Edmunds TMV apps.

3. Research the type of vehicle you want; the good, bad and ugh.. everyone’s opinion. You will see patterns that can enlighten your choices.

4. Don’t compromise on what you want, be patient. (We’ve settled and it lead to making other poor choices.)

5. If at anytime you don’t feel completely right with the process…. Leave. Don’t sign anything and just leave. Sleep on it. Do more research. Or realize it’s for sure what you want, and go back.

6. Look at the big picture, value of vehicle, not what you can afford. They will change it from talking about the price (value) to what payments you afford in a second.

7. When at a dealership think of your future self, get out of the moment. You can buy something in a day but to sell it can take weeks, or months and you may not get back what you paid. Especially if you trade it in!

It’s usually less costly to buy from a private party, but ensure they have maintenance documents, and pay to have it inspected.
Here’s a little story, in spokane diesel dually’s prices are high! Really high! I found a dealer that was advertising one $300 below KBB. I began wondering if they use KBB info for trade in’s as well, or NADA (values  vehicles at a lower price). So I called, saying I was thinking about trading in my CRV and wanted to know what they used to value my car. Can you guess which one? Yep. NADA. Can you say shady, shady, shady.I was appalled! What kind of system is this? Use any means necessary to make as much money as possible! Not to mention how they have some magic black book that we don’t have access to and trade ins are at times based on auction prices.

you know you wanna give me your money!
you know you wanna give me your money!

I want to set up a new way to value vehicles, let’s call it the Simple System. It goes like this, the first year 10% is knocked off the initial standard asking price cuz it’s no longer new. After that every year 5% the remaining value is taken off and based on a scale of 0-4, zero being excellent and 4 being shoddy $500 x whatever number it is,then taken that off for purchase. That is in effect for 10 years. From 11-30 years 2.5 % is taken off from the current value until it becomes a classic ( which then the process would go in reverse) or people just buy and sell vehicles for around $500. If you trade it in you take off 10% more so dealers can make some money. See, I just fixed the whole system and no more secret books! So, now to get it implemented. Hmmmm. I wonder if it would really work. Anyway. There has got to be some way as the people, who work hard for the money, have a way to only pay what the true value is. Not these stinking numbers games and how much money can be made off of one person. Just ain’t right!

my milkshake brings all the money to the yard!
my milkshake brings all the money to the yard!

That being said, we have been out and about test driving some trucks, with no luck. just haven’t found what we are looking for…yet.  Oh my Ford, can somebody Chevy some light on this Dodge-gone conundrum of when prices got so absurd?

Flower Power!

To become a flower, you may have to go through the poo.

Really, that might have poop on it?!
Ewww, that might have poop on it?!
What should you do when you dig yourself a hole? I say plant those seeds of knowledge, work through the crap and come out the other side, blossoming into a better version of who you were when you started.
Springtime showers and pretty red flowers.
Use tulips to say no, when you don’t know
After weeks of beating myself up, I really only have a bruised ego, and a bucket of regrets for not listening to my gut about the banana. You would think that after praying for a sign, having to go to three different banks and saying, ” I think this is a sign” we would have taken a step back. Nope, we just powered through. Now that We’ve festered in this feeling long enough, Let’s hope we have the wisdom to make better choices when faced with uncertainty, and listen to those signs!
A bleeding heart for our RV sorrows
A bleeding heart for our RV sorrows
If you can’t tell, we’re still not happy with the RV. For different reasons than you would think.  The Blue Banana has taught us many things in the short time we have had it, most importantly, we’ve realized that a class A is not the right rig for us. We have decided on a 5th wheel and here’s our reasons why.
-More stuff for the bucks
-More room
-still have place to sleep if truck needs repair
-Feels more like a home
-easier to back up
-we can have 2 toilets!
-if we got a toy hauler and papa needs to use his walker, we have a ramp
Why didn’t we figure this out before? Maybe we weren’t meant to? Thank the good Lord we figured it out before we hit the road! Maybe because I read that class A’s are easier to just hop in and drive off. Or that they are used by many full-timers. Also that we wanted to see the country through that huge front window. But We weren’t  thinking about the overall experience and what would be best for us. We thought about the driving, making sandwiches on the road and being able to go to the bathroom without stopping every hour for me. I wanted to do what was the norm. How silly to think we should do what is the norm! That’s what this journey is about, going your own way, not conforming.
Dude, you're going the wrong way! Jump up Johnny!
You go your own way, Johnny jump around!
Sometimes ya gotta go the wrong way to find your own way.  So, lets hope that this is more of an emotional lesson than a financial one! Maybe someone will fall in love with the Blue Banana.
Just to update you on the list of frustrations with the banana. R&R looked the whole RV over, no mold was found (common in older RV’s), the engine is solid (huge plus),the generator they said take to cummins (ugh), but that clunking…there were no nuts holding the bolts in the sway bar! Seriously!
Awww man, sway it isn't so!
Awww man, sway it isn’t so.
The mechanic, Steve, who is awesome, was amazed that the thing didn’t fall apart on us when we drove it home from Portland. In response I said, ” that’s called the hand of God. ”  Even when we don’t listen to him, he keeps us safe!