"With courage and perseverance, relying on teamwork and scientific process, what they achieved changed our world forever."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Looking For A Ride

When we started this RV adventure all we had was an '84 Subaru powered VW  Vanagon Westfalia camper, that's pretty close to a blank slate.  We had a lot of options. You have to keep in mind that we are talking about getting  a used RV, this is not a big budget project.  Get a class "A" or a class "C" RV and tow the VW, sell the VW & get a truck to pull a 5th wheel camper or a travel trailer, or get a Suburban or a Tahoe to tow a travel trailer.

We looked at a lot of rigs and the 5th wheel made a lot of sense but I am a VW bus guy and I REALLY wanted to bring it along... The plan was that when we found the 'living quarters' that we really liked, that fit our 'perceived' needs and was within the budget we'd go that way. If it was a 5th wheel or a travel trailer we'd sell the bus if it was a "C" or an "A" we'd get a tow bar, a Brake Buddy & bring the bus.
We did a lot of RV shopping, we actually spent more than one night in the VW when we were RV shopping at some distance. We saw a wide variety... After awhile they all start to look the same, but different, we'd talk later and we started having troubles remembering which was which. We were learning.

We went to a lot of RV lots looking at used rigs and I had forgotten about "used car salesmen", they are still out there and many are selling used RVs. There was a lot close to our home that we looked at often, the sales guy would walk out and say hello, we'd tell him we are still just looking, he'd say "help yourself", we'd say "thank you" & he'd go back to his office.  One day he came out when we arrived and we got talking and I mentioned a dollar amount and asked him what that could get us on his lot, he laughed and said "maybe a down payment". I liked the place, the guy had been helpful in the past and the amount I mentioned was a good starting point for many of the rigs they had if you compared them with private party sales on craigslist. His "maybe a down payment" remark did the trick, that was the last time we stopped there. We ended up spending a little over twice the figure I mentioned to the guy... At different lot...

We spent more time looking at class "A"s than anything else, there were a lot of them out there, they had the room & I could keep my VW bus. We found a class "A" that had what we wanted & bought it. Then I got the towbar, Brake Buddy, lights, tow brackets for the VW and we set out with our bus in tow! It turned out that VW was too much for the RV on good sized hills, turned out we didn't do a lot of camping where we needed the camper part of the Vanagon. We sold the VW camper.

Looking back a 5th wheel & a truck would have been a better idea, we should have bought a 5th wheel when we started this.

A January Sunrise In Arizona- What kind of entry would this be with a photo?

We are now in Iowa for 6 months of work, a bike is '"ok" at best because of the weather, the roads & the distances. So I'm looking for a ride.

I have lived in the upper mid-west before, I understand about rust & cars up here. When we went back to the west coast in 2003 (from Minnesota) I noticed the mountains but my kids noticed that none of the cars were rusted out at the bottom!  I'm in rust country looking for a ride around town, not an investment.
VW buses are in short supply out here .... there was one 400 miles from here but that's a long ways to go for a VW the guy can't show me any pictures of...
The VW camper we sold was in the 5,000+ lb range, the '87 regular Vanagon I'd had before that cleared the scales at less than 3,000 pounds, I'd be willing to try towing an empty VW again, so I'm looking.

I'm probably not going to find a VW bus, so I'm looking at everything. From a 3/4 ton full sized van to an older S10 pickup to a Ford Taurus I'm looking at them all! It doesn't have to be towable by this class "A", it has to be cheap, run and something I'd like to drive. If I could find someone to trade a suitable 5th wheel or travel trailer for this class "A"  a truck or Suburban to pull that would be in order.
This looking is actually fun.

The wild card is my spouse, trying to figure out what she 'wants' before I buy something <g>... I just want to be able to drive to Aldis or any grocery store other than Walmart (what a poor selection in Walmart these days), maybe drive to a movie theater or a lake for fishing.

We should have bought a 5th wheel when we started, we didn't so I'm in Iowa looking for a ride and craigslist is (once again) my friend.


  1. At least you know what you want now...but why isn't the wife on board about a 5th wheel?

    I have always loved VW Vanagons and used to follow several blogs of people travelling in them.

    Thanks for the write up...I like to know how the journey began for the blogs I follow.

  2. Sorry I wasn't clear on that, my wife has not been against a 5th or any of my harebrained ideas.
    I suspect that when I buy ANY $1000 car from this 'rust area' she is going to be not really happy with it... she pointed out a 2007 Suburban on a used car lot the other day. My idea of "a ride" and her idea of it seem to be a little different :-)