Monday, March 20, 2017

Craigslist RV shopping - the Good, the Bad, and the Seriously Ugly

We started getting serious about RV shopping this week, and cash in hand and expectations high, set out on a series of viewing appointments yesterday.

Lance is still wearing a cast so I'm doing all of the driving and all of the roof-top scrabbling and hopping around. We put about 350 miles on yesterday between the three appointments.

The first one was in the high desert - 130 miles from our home. It was a stretch for us as it was at the top of our budget, leaving no room at all for improvements, repairs or upgrades. And it was in excellent shape, having been owned most recently by a very meticulous diesel mechanic. But it was almost 20 years old and almost 5 feet longer than we wanted.

The second one was in a different part of the high desert, also quite far away. We really liked the layout and the price was right, but quickly discovered the photos hid a lot of the faults. Outside the stickers were peeling and the poor thing hadn't seen a coat of wax in years. Inside there was grime an inch thick on every interior surface, on every doorknob, in every drawer amongst their piles of personal crap which they hadn't even bothered to remove.  And, I kid you not, crusty pee in the carpet all around the toilet. I ran out of it retching. At least the seller was a nice guy, for a gross pig. We fled that scene rather quickly, and it took me a while to get my stomach under control again.

The third one was very clean and empty, but the dude showing it to us was quite squirrely.  He made it clear he didn't want to take it out of storage to show it to any "tire kickers".  We assured him we were serious buyers and finally persuaded him to show us the RV. Something felt off about it immediately and the more I opened cabinets, lifted the mattress, and generally inspected the nooks and crannies he more sullen he became.  I discovered the "new" mattress didn't fit properly, and it was in fact oversized to look good to the casual observer but there wasn't any actual support underneath of the outer 12" or so, and it also blocked the bedroom cabinets from opening. It was probably placed there to replace the factory one which was likely water-stained from a leaky window and roof, which I went looking for after I figured out what the mattress deceit was all about.  The swivel chair behind the passenger chair hid a series of cobbled together pieces of carpet and a hole in the floor with some bulky mis-matched bolts, probably meant to hold on the original swivel seat, and this cheap after-market chair was not bolted down and surely would have attacked me on the first abrupt stop. The passenger window had a huge crack in it from top to bottom (window damage was not mentioned on the ad and cleverly not visible in any of the sales pictures). This visit ended up with us thanking him politely for his time and walking away, later he followed up with a series of very nasty text messages about how we wasted his time, each one more ridiculous  and curse-filled than the last.

The fourth one was on the edge of outer space - we drove another hour and a half to see it and although the bones were good and the owner a reasonable guy it was just obviously worn out.  The stains on the ceiling and the buckled area on the floor tell the story of leaks in previous years and although the roof repairs appear to be holding solid for now, those stains were rather eye-catching, one piece of many in the evidence of an RV ready to retire permanently.

I know Lance is getting frustrated, this is the one he came up with this morning and has been pitching hard. Fortunately it's all the way out in Vegas so we aren't going to see it... if it was closer I just might find myself living in a Mack truck.

We may have to adjust our expectations.

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