I first got the idea of living in an RV full time in the winter of '09 when I was kind of at the end of my rope with my situation. Actually, I was trying to wrap my head around the idea of converting my mini-van into a camper-van and living in it full time. You can read about that time in my life here. It was a pretty low point for me in that season of no work and no money. But the seed of an idea that really appealed to me was planted - namely, living full time in an RV and being able to go wherever I felt like going whenever I wanted to, and always having a place to live.
Since that time, I have moved in with a good friend who gave me a large room for a very good monthly rent. It allows me to have a place for things I need to have with me (and the rest is in 74 - yes SEVENTY FOUR boxes in another friend's crawl space) as well as afforded me the opportunity to save up for much needed dental work and a trip to the BVI (also much needed, for my sanity's sake. I have nearly driven myself mad for two years with longing to go back).
I have known that the living situation with my friend was not permanent as she has a big family of adult kids that keep coming home as well as wanting to renovate her basement, where my room is. Add to that a commute in horrendous traffic for an hour and a half every day into my job as a script supervisor on a children's TV series (and up to another an hour home) which is more than I can face for another year or more. When I saw, last season, that two crew members had brought motor homes to live on the studio lot, the seed of the idea began to bloom. How very much time and money (in gas) I would save if I could buy a motor home and do the same. And when not filming the show, in the summer months I could take it up to Kelowna to visit my friends and daughter, and in the winter I could head south to get out of the weather I hate so much in Vancouver. And most attractive of all, I would always have a place to live, even when there was long stretches of no work. It seemed like the perfect solution to my situation and inherent longing for adventure.
I decided that should the show go to a second season and should I be asked to come back, I was going to buy a motor home. I would have to scrimp and save for the first three or four months of the show, but I know I can do that. And once in a motor home - I would not only save on gas but on rent. To me it seemed like a total win situation. So I started to look online for motor homes for sale to figure out what sort of rigs fell into my price range.
I figured that $10,000 - $15,000 was my range, with the high being a bit of a stretch because it would put me into a motor home rather late in the shooting season, and would take a lot of my income for the entire second season (and I need to consider the fact that I must to save up to get the rest of my dental work done). I decided on 'C' class RV's because - although large 'A' class models are roomier and have lots of storage, are often comparable to the smaller 'C' class models in price for the same year, AND tend to have lower mileage because people just drive them to a pad and then park them for years - the thoughts of driving what amounts to a bus is daunting to me. I quickly discovered that I wasn't going to get anything newer than about a '95 for my range. I also found that there are quite a few 'C' classes available with low mileage for either the same reason that 'A' classes are so low, or people only use them two weeks out of the year to drive to a destination they will stay at the entire time.
What I realized over a three month period of checking adverts was, there's lots of choices out there and there wouldn't be any trouble finding something I would be happy with once I had the cash to pay for it. So - no need to get anxious or stress out about losing out on a good deal, I would get back to work in July, save like mad and buy something in September or October.
All of that changed yesterday.
First of all, when I got back from Kelowna, my friend told me that she needs me to move out soon because she is going ahead with plans to renovate the basement and she needs to put one of her daughters in my room. We talked about it and she is agreeable to me not moving out until our hiatus in October, so that gives me time to save but no time to fart around. I had been toying with saving for the dentist first and getting that over and done with in October but now it has to be the motor home that comes first. I also have to get serious about paring down, yet again, my belongings so that I can fit my stuff comfortably into the motor home I buy.
Secondly I started searching again for what is out there in my price range. As I looked, I found one or two that I really like and so wrote to the owners to try to set up times to go see them so that I can get a good idea of how much storage there will be, the condition I can expect the unit to be in - that sort of thing. Then, as I continued to look, I found one that made my heart skip more than a few beats.
I know I can't buy something I am going to be truly happy to live in full time for the price I can afford. But my thinking is, if I buy a decent one with low miles and then we go to a third season on the show, I could probably sell it for what I paid for it and then trade up. If we went to season four and five, I could do it again - twice - and end up with something really nice; newer, with push-out's, roadworthy (because I am not entirely confident that I can get something right off the bat that I would feel confident driving to, say, Arizona in). I could end up with something like I found yesterday - the one that made my hear skip beats.
As I read the very short ad, I felt there had to be a mistake. The only two pictures in the ad were of the exterior of the vehicle showed a beautiful 'C' class RV with a truck cab. The description: 2006. Diesel engine. Three slide outs. No leaks, no rust, no dents, no accidents, no smokers or pets ever inside. $14,500. I have looked at enough RV ads by now to know that has to be a typo. So I email the owner and ask if the price is actually FOURTEEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Today I get a reply. That is the price. I hardly dare breathe.
I write back and asked why it is that price, what the mileage is, and does she have more photos. She writes back to say that she has moved to London, England and just wants it sold. It only has 65,700km on it. It is in the Yukon and the price includes delivery to my door! She wants to sell it using eBay Vehicle Motor Purchase Protection - which I look up and is a fabulous way to go as it protects both the buyer and the seller. She includes about 30 pictures of both the outside and inside and it is honestly the Cadillac of RV's.
I then do a search online for the same make and model. What I find leves me stunned; this motor home sells anywhere from $65K - $99K. It was $150K brand new. I read a few RV sites where people sing the praises of how it handles, how much storage there is, how well designed the interior is, how it comes with everything you can think of... on and on. The only negative thing I read is that upgrading the shocks will improve the drive at higher speeds and that installing 'air bags' will improve the low riding rear end.
I write back and tell her I want this RV. I tell her that I need two days to go to my bank and see if they will give me a loan for it. She says she will hold it until she hears back from me.
So now I am driving myself mental with anxiety wondering if the bank will give me a loan. Having declared bankruptcy two years ago is not going to be hugely in my favour but I read an article that said it's not necessarily going to hinder me either. I figure that the RV is worth so much more than the loan that it is a good risk. Also I can prove my earning income and they can see from my deposits and savings last season that I can save a LOT of money when I want to. I can have the loan paid off by January for sure. I have a good friend that is a bank manager and I need to talk to her today to see what she thinks my chances are.
Oh, please, please, PLEASE let this work out. It would be AMAZING if it did.
I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.
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Here's my Amazon Store called Sandra's Selections, full of my favourite things and constantly updating it as I discover more fav's. It's more for fun than anything as I've never made a cent off of it.