This is it!

Published at 11:41 PM in , , ,

No, this post has nothing to do with Michael Jackson, despite the name.  This is about how we found the motorhome we decided to buy.

Jim had a doctor's appointment in Dallas (Georgia).  While we were waiting, a woman came in and sat down.  I glanced up and realized I knew her. It was Patricia Stroud, and I had done contract work for her and her husband (Joe) for several years right after Jim and I got married.  So I went over and said hello and we started talking.  She was telling me about how they had shut their business down and were really retired now.  And that they travelled a lot in their motorhome.

So of course, I told her about what we were looking to do, and did they have any advice for us?  She said that was Joe's department and yes he would love to talk about motorhomes with us.   Joe was an excellent source of information.  The very next week, they went out with us to look at one we found on Craigslist.  He inspected the unit for us, drove it for us, and gave his opinion on everything we looked at.  We ultimately didn't buy that particular motorhome.  So we continued looking.

That weekend, Jim stayed with the kids, and I rode with Patricia & Joe all over the northern half of Georgia.  I know we easily put at least 350 miles on their car in that one day.  We went to Gainseville, GA, to let Joe look at and drive another motorhome we came across.  We were really thankful he went with us because it turned out that that unit had a lot of engine problems.  We then drove down to Perry, GA to a dealership.  That unit wasn't even there, and the salesmen didn't know if it was getting the brakes worked on or the transmission. Either way, that one was out!

The day before, Jim found another unit, a diesel, on Craigslist.  He emailed the seller and requested more pictures and a little more information.  This one was located in Griffin, GA.  So once the one in Perry didn't pan out, we tried to get in contact with the owner of the diesel, so that we could maybe stop by on the way home to take a look.  While we waited, we headed home by way of Griffin.

We figured out that the owner was in a little town called Orchard Hill, which is just south of Griffin.  So thanks to Google Maps and my iPhone, we were able to drive right to the town.  However, we still had not heard from the owner.  We pulled into the parking lot of Town Hall in Orchard Hill, and stopped to try and figure out what to do.  We knew we were close, but we certainly couldn't drive around just hoping to see the motorhome.  About that time my phone rang.  It was the owner of the motorhome and she said we were more than welcome to come by and take a look.  As it turned out, when we were sitting in that parking lot, she was down the street at the next corner.  Who knew we would be so close!

So we drove over there and Joe started his standard inspection.  As I walked through, I started taking pictures and texting them to Jim.  I couldn't believe how nice it was!  It is a Monaco Diplomat, one of the nicest brands out there in motorhomes.  It had been very well cared for, too.  Hardwood floors, tile in the kitchen and bath areas, washer/dryer, etc, etc, etc.  The list goes on.  I called Jim and said, "You have got to come see this. This is it! This is the one!"

Joe's advice  - buy it!

Since it was getting dark, Joe didn't want to drive it then.  I also wanted Jim to come and look at it.  We arranged to come back the next day so we could see it better in the daylight and so Joe could drive it.  And that's just what we did. Patricia and Joe met us back down there the next day, and we even brought the kids with us.  They loved it, too.  It drove like a dream - at least that's what Joe said.  All I did was turn a few corners in the Ingles parking lot!  (I tried to convince Joe he just needed to be our professional driver for our big road trip - no such luck, though!)

We made an offer and the owners accepted it.  We gave them a deposit and agreed to come back right after Thanksgiving to do the paperwork and pick it up!

So it's official - we are doing this trip! Can't back out now!

As a side note, the owners we bought it from are a lovely couple named Julian & Francis Jones.  They own a chicken farm and sell their chickens to Chick-Fil-A!  Their property is beautiful and they are the nicest people!


The search continues

Published at 9:47 PM in ,

We started our motorhome search by calling some friends from church that we knew had a motorhome. They live just down the road from us, and were more than happy to let us take a look at theirs so we could get an idea of the size motorhome we would need. 

Ironically, around this same time, we were having lunch with our youngest daughter's preschool teacher and her family.  She happened to mention that her father-in-law was looking to sell his motorhome, and that he was meticulous in caring for his.  So we arranged to go look at his.  It was fabulous! It had everything we were looking for and more.

But ahhhh....the finances.  Tricky subject.  I'll spare you the boring details of our personal finances.  In the end, we couldn't work out an agreement on this particular motorhome.  Although we thought it was perfect for us, we had to acknowledge that it just wasn't meant to be.  We knew that God would lead us to the one He wanted us to have.

So the search went on.  Thankfully, a chance encounter put us on the right path to what God had for us.


In the begininng...

Published at 8:50 PM in , , ,

People always want to know..."What started all of this?"  My grandmother even asked that question.  And a perfectly valid question it is.  What brought us to the point of wanting to buy a motorhome and travel the United States with our children?

It was a process, with several influencing factors.  I guess the very first part was that Jim wanted to get a camper.  His family had one when he was young, and he thought it would be great for us to have one and take our kids camping.  I am not much of a camping person.  I prefer hotels.  With amenities.  Better yet if they are on the beach.  But I digress..

I wondered if I would be able to get him off this 'camper' kick he was on.  But I also started to wonder if we could make it more than a run-of-the-mill camping trip here and there.  I mentioned to him one day, "Wouldn't it be neat if we could take a camper and tour the United States with the kids?"  And really it just snowballed from there.

Once we decided that this was something we were serious about trying to do, we started learning about motorhomes.  Who knew there were so many options??

We realized that a travel trailer or a pop-up camper wouldn't work.  If it had to be towed behind our SUV, then it was out.  We didn't want the kids to be cooped up in a vehicle day after day after day.  It just wouldn't be right.   Also, in those kind of close quarters, they would get on each others nerves - and ours!  We wanted to continue to like one another, so ample room to move about as necessary was essential.

So, we finally decided that a full-size Class A motorhome was what we needed.  But did that truly narrow down our search? Hardly.  There are so many options and factors to consider.  Thankfully, we have several friends who own motorhomes that were more than happy to share their knowledge with us.  They shared their travel experiences with us and gave us so much to think about. 

It was at this point, in late July 2010, that our adventure really began.  Praying, planning, and learning have been the foundation and beginning of this adventure. 

Up next, the search begins...