The Beginning


Years ago we talked about traveling when we retired. Maybe buying an RV to do it. Still a few years away when we thought a motorhome (MH) was the way to do it. Technology, styles etc. change all the time so we didn't actively start looking for one. I had already retired on a medical disability. Kay was going to keep working for a few more years. In 1999 our lives took a drastic turn. My close friend from high school days (also Kay's boss--she was his office manager) passed away. He kept working and was going to retire in a few years also. Well, he didn't get to do the things he wanted to do after retirement. After his estate was sold off and settled there was no office left to manage. Kay was out of a job. THE HELL WITH IT!!! Let's start traveling now. Who knows how much time any of us has left.

We started our search for the right MH. We visited a couple of dealers but theirs is always the best. BS! In this wonderful age of electronics, the computer was the next thing we turned to for research. Found a lot of RVing pages and personal pages of RVers. Gleaned lots of info from them. In order to get the MH we thought would suit us we had to search for a used one. New ones with what we wanted were out of our price range. We started scanning internet want ads. After a few months we had figured what we wanted. More searching to get ideas of prices. During this process I had come across a web page that was interesting reading. There names were Susan & Dave--fulltimers. I followed their story for awhile and one time they posted that they were going to buy some property in Ukiah, Ca. and build a home. They were going to sell their MH. and eventually buy a smaller one for short trips. As we read all the info we thought----"This is the one". One example: they had taken out the couches and put in recliners----exactly what we had decided to do. Lots of other similarities to our picture of the 'perfect' MH.

We had at one time lived 20 miles from Ukiah in Upper Lake, Ca. I had a trusted friend in Ukiah that is very mechanically inclined. He went over and looked at it, called me and said it was very clean and nice. Looked well taken care of. We called Susan & Dave and felt immediately, over the phone, that these are people we could trust and deal with. We made arrangements for financing (hadn't even put our house for sale yet), flew out to Ca. in Aug. '99, (it took a couple of Xanax) met Susan & Dave and knew our initial impression was correct. Very nice people. Looked over the MH, test drove it (I think I scared Dave--drove it like I do my cars) and asked to spend the night in it. We spent that evening reading the manuals, checking things out and just enjoying it. Next morning we closed the deal. Drove it 20 miles to Upper Lake, stayed a couple of days visiting family & friends and showing off our new 'home'. A '98 Holiday Rambler Endeavor, 37 foot, 275 Hp Turbo Diesel with a slideout, solar panels, 7500W diesel generator. Had backed the MH into a tight spot at my Aunt's house and thought---this is OK!

We left there for Merced, Ca. to visit some friends. On the way driving on I-5 thru Stockton, a car pulled alongside and held up a sign---your awning is loose. So thats what that noise was. Pulled over and had our first experience rolling up an awning, in high speed winds, along an interstate, during rush hour. Completed that and took off again. It happened 2 more times. We had no tools with us or duct tape (the RVers friend), just the clothes we carried on the plane. The last time it happened the wind was so high that we had to stand there holding the awning, waiting for the wind to die down. Kay had a shift dress on and the wind would lift her right up off the ground giving the commuters a good show. After a few failed attempts the wind died down enough to roll it up. We crept to the next exit and bought some duct tape and solved the problem. It turned out to be a bad spring. Kay said it was a good thing it didn't happen during the test drive or we would have been flying back to Illinois. I just grunted. Rest of trip was to Merced was uneventful. After a few days there we headed back to Il. Susan was thoughtful enough to give us a set of sheets and a couple of towels for us to use on our way home. Trip home was uneventful. Kay drove the MH between 2 rest areas. We got back to Il. and thought---NOW WHAT?