Sunday, November 23, 2014

On the Road Again: The Search for the Perfect Motorhome, Part Two

So many choices. A trailer? (Photo by Simone Cannon)

I kicked the rear tire on the 24th RV that we had looked at that month. “How many miles did you say it has on it?” I asked the owner.
“175,000. I've owned it for a year.”
“A year? How did you put so many miles on it? ”
“Oh, it wasn't me; it was the previous owner. He was a competitive fisherman and he used the RV to drive to all the national competitions. He cleaned and stored the fish he caught in the shower stall." 
“Well, that would explain the extensive fish odor.”
“I guess.”
I glanced at Luis, who mimicking slashing his own throat, which roughly translated to “If you think that I’m going to spend the next year in what essentially amounts to an ex-lobster tank, you’ve gone temporarily insane.”
“Um…we’ll call you.”

I sighed. Not only had we looked at every RV from Tacoma to Bellingham, we’d visited countless RV shows, followed dozens of potential, yet ultimately fruitless, leads and had an owner-by-owner crash course in RV maintenance, how to avoid potential disasters and a running narrative of the seemingly endless challenges of life on the road. We were exhausted, in a state of information overload and still no closer to finding our perfect motorhome than when we’d started the search three months earlier.

Perhaps an A-Liner? (Photo by Simone Cannon)

Nothing seemed right for us:  too small, too large, too many miles, too expensive, too old, too damaged, weirdly configured (one motorhome had the bathroom in the middle of the living area), too many crucial things missing (one had no ladder to the roof; another, no generator or refrigerator) or the owners were a tad, to put it kindly, shady. One set of fast-talking brothers swore that their motorhome had been owned by their grandfather who only drove it to church on Sundays. When we asked to test drive it and have it checked by a local RV mechanic, they balked and immediately dropped the price to less than half of the original. We later learned from an RV dealership in the neighborhood that they were known locally as “the gypsies” and were rumored to have at least 26 grandfathers who all purportedly treated their vehicles with kid gloves.

A converted bus seems a bit much... (Photo by Simone Cannon)

But just when all hope was fading, a ray of light…our friend who lives In West Seattle messaged me to tell me that her neighbors had listed a motorhome less than an hour ago that seemed exactly what we were looking for and that we should probably high-tail it over there, which we promptly did. She was right; the RV was perfect: excellent condition, 21 feet long, ten years old with only 22K miles on it, a bathroom including a separate shower stall, a kitchen with an oven, a  fridge, freezer and microwave…we made them an offer on the spot. Only one black cloud: a neighbor had already shown interest. As we drove away, we steeled ourselves for disappointment, but only a few minutes later, the owners called us to accept our offer. We beamed...luck and the kindness of the owners were on our side and we were on our way, finally!

   If all else fails, a yurt (Photo by Simone Cannon)