Tuesday, June 15, 2010



About 5 or 6 years ago I started thinking about buying an RV and live a couple of months of the year at the coast, a couple in the desert and some in Lake Arrowhead.
Although I loved living in the mountains and Lake Arrowhead was certainly beautiful and much more quiet and peaceful than L.A where I arrived when first coming to America, I missed the Ocean and a break from the snow in the winter at the dessert didn’t seem like a bad idea either.

There would also be the benefit of no mortgage, no property tax, much less insurance, maintenance and, equally attractive on my end, less cleaning! I’d miss my yard, yes, but you have to admit, that’s also a lot of work! It would mean I’d have much more time for reading, be out in nature, exploring and hiking new territory, spinning and knitting, baking and anything else that would tickle my fancy.
It would also mean we could make a start at seeing a little more of America, which we had talked about on more than one occasion but had done very little of.

Well, laid plans……. and all that sort of stuff kind of happened. So about 5 years later, on a New Years eve, we found ourselves still living in Lake Arrowhead, albeit renting and having moved 3 times, but still not traveling very much and the economy down and business slow, when we started talking about this RV-ing concept again.
Maybe the time was now? There was really nothing to tie us down, no children, hey,..we tried, no family close by, no house, our landlady had just informed us she was selling the house so wouldn’t extend our lease and a shaky future with the economy in the pits.
And how often don’t you hear people say they had wished to have done something sooner or when they where younger? Well here we were, young(ish) and still able…
The long and the short of it was that we decided to just do it! I think. Or maybe we gave it a thought for a couple of days but it really wasn’t long thereafter that we started to look for RV’s and figuring out how much we could spent and all that good stuff.

Through the years we had occasionally visited some RV shows and dealers and I had collected a whole truckload of information on brands, types, floor plans, pro’s and con’s,  do’s and don’ts from the numerous websites out there about RV’s and RV-ing. We knew pretty much what we wanted; a large 5th wheel and a big truck to tow it preferably with a lot of storage for James’ tools. For a couple of months I kept a close watch on Craigslist, since we’d like to buy locally and used, just to get a feel for prices and availability. We even called on a few but never really liked the floor plans or the prices.

Than somewhere in April I discovered Copart, an on-line auction site that has ‘lots’ with used cars, trucks, RV’s, boats and motorcycles all over the country. It wasn’t too long after we started looking that James told me he found our RV. Yeah, right! Granted, it was exactly the RV I wanted, a 40’ Hitchhiker Champagne, 10 years old, with a great floor plan.

On the other hand, it had water damage…. !
From what I had read on the ‘boards’ for most people that is a big no-no but James wanted to see if he could fix it and hired an undependable appraiser to go out to the lot (in Fort Worth, Texas, by the way, so far for local) and walk through the RV to give us an idea of how solvable it would be.
It turned out that the inside looked like somebody had started to take it apart and than left the project and thrown everything back in but according to our guy everything seemed to be there and it all looked to be in fine condition. Apart from a panel that had dry rot in the bedroom he couldn’t find anything wrong with it although they had taken all the furniture out. Since we don’t care much for the standard RV furniture that wasn’t a big deal.

So we set everything in motion to be able to bid on it once it would come up for auction a few weeks later and on that morning we sat in front of our computer and waited until ‘our’ RV came up. We knew it would be over in minutes, if at all, and were so nervous I thought I was going to have a heart attack! With a starting bid of $2500 the bidding took of with only 2 people bidding against us, one bailing out at $4000 and the other one… $6500! And there it was….it was ours!!!! We couldn’t believe it! What a deal!

We had an RV!! It took us hours to calm down, all that adrenalin you know and in the evening we were already looking for trucks, since we had to pull this thing with something off course!
Craigslist came through on that one for us because not much later we found this monster of a truck with all the toolboxes on it a man could need and than some, not to far from us for a very decent price.  We moved quickly before anybody would snatch it up and I knew it was a done deal the minute we pulled up and James started salivating. I muttered something like…waaaayyy too big…but I don’t think he ever heard me…. So that was that.

Now we had to go to Texas! Minor detail!

And in the meantime we had to find a hitch for towing, and also make sure the height of the truck bed wouldn’t be a problem, since it looked to be on the high site.
This turned out to be the case, which meant James would have to raise the RV somehow, since it was too low for our truck with hitch. After some surfing on the web and a couple of calls to Nuwa, they provided us with brackets to invert the suspense system.
The hitch we found on Craigslist, and James than proceeded to invent some sort of ‘springs’ for it, to make it more shock-resistant which would make for a ‘smoother’ tow.