The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Harley takes his role as navigator seriously!

On the Road with Serendipity

Thursday morning we had breakfast with Gary. Joan was already at work. Then we said our goodbyes and headed off down the road. Working the Rand McNally Navigation system was the first challenge. I've been a long time Garmin user.  Fortunately, I had my phone with Google maps as a backup. You will never guess who jumped in the driver's seat? And guess who hogged the driver's seat the whole trip home? Right, it wasn't me.

After driving for several hours, we stopped at a Walmart where I bought enough clothes to get home and we picked up a few other supplies. Let's just say that DH doesn't travel like an RVer. He wants to get in and just keep going.  Need to go to the bathroom.....there is one in the back. About 6:30PM somewhere around Effingham, I saw a sign for a Cracker Barrel. "Look, we can have dinner and we can even spend the night." You can do that? says my non-RVing DH. Yes, most of them have RV parking places in back and they don't mind if you spend the night. We parked and headed in where we had a great dinner. Back in the RV, I fired up the generator to warm up the RV....we were still north and there was no one else around us. We were all set to watch a little TV. I programmed it and tried everything I could think of but got no channels. I stated to worry that when the satellite receiver was taken out, some moving around of connections might be necessary. We finally gave up and went to bed. I woke up during the night and ran the genny again for a while to heat the RV up.....still no one around us.

Next morning, we were up fairly early and went in for breakfast. DH was thrilled because the "Uncle Hershal" breakfast comes with an 8 ounce hamburger steak as well as hashbrowns, eggs, biscuits, and grits. He walked out with two hamburger biscuit sandwiches for a snack. On the road all day again. DH's idea of a stop is a gas fill up where you can also grab lunch if you don't have his hamburger biscuits, lol.

My plan was to spend the second night at an RV park on the river in North Little Rock. It is Passport America and I have stayed there before. You have a great view of the river traffic, the bridge that lights up at night, and the Clinton Library. I called and had to leave a message at 3:30PM, I got a call back by 4:00PM but the news wasn't good. They were completely full. DH was okay with that as he really wanted to drive further anyway. So we drove several more hours and guess what? We found another Cracker Barrel.

This time it was a bit warmer and we had parking lot entertainment.  A huge truck with outriggers was in the field next to Cracker Barrel to replace the lights on a really, really tall billboard sign. He had the lights replaced but he was really stuck. A big tow truck was trying to pull him out but it was a huge job. They finally managed it but I imagine someone will have a bill for the damage to the ground around the sign and the big divots in the parking lot where the outriggers on the tow truck sunk in. It was still not back outside so we played checkers on the porch after dinner. we even took a walk around the immediate area. Back at the TV I finally managed to get one channel.....not something we would watch. I talked to Gary and he called Phoenix Cruiser to ask about the wiring. I was supposed to call them but the guy I needed to talk to comes in at 5:30AM and leaves at 1:30PM eastern time so that wasn't working. The second night, I realized that I could turn the inverter on and run the furnace. It worked great.

Next morning, another Cracker Barrel breakfast and back on the road. A few more pictures of Serenity....


View from the front to the back.

The pantry

The bedroom

The bathroom

We took three days to drive home. It was so nice to return to the warmth of Texas.

On the Road to Serendipity

It all started a couple of weeks ago.....well actually longer ago than that. My son Steve kept saying I needed to consider getting a new RV, a small motorhome that I could hop in and go. I looked occasionally but was in no hurry because I love Pholly, my 31' 5th wheel. She is very spacious and rolls along behind my big F250 diesel, Moby Dick, like she isn't even there. I think Steve and his Dad must have been talking because one day Dave said, if you want to get a motorhome, just make sure it is a good one so it doesn't need trips to the RV repair shop all the time. Months later he said, you know, you won't ever find one if you don't look. I mentioned that Phoenix Cruiser makes a good one as my friend Mary Jane and I toured the factory a year and a half ago. They don't crank them out by the thousands or even by the hundreds and they sell direct from orders to the factory. Occasionally you will find a used one for sale but people tend to keep them. I have several friends who have one and they love them. So I looked a little more.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a couple of used ones online. One was in Florida, a 2016, and one was up north, a 2017. Even used Phoenix Cruisers don't come cheap as they start out higher and hold their value longer than many others. The 2017 came with full body paint in brown, gold, and cream, two A/Cs, solar, and a host of other upgrades. The 2016 had the half body paint style with white on top and brown on the lower half with a host of other upgrades and a couple thousand more miles on it although both were low mileage. I corresponded with both offerors and asked lots of questions. Dave came up with an offer price for me on the 2017 which I made after talking to the seller. he wasn't ready to reduce his price that much. Two A/Cs wasn't that big a draw for me as Pholly has always been cool with one and her Polar Bear package. I wasn't too disappointed as it was quite a bit more and I kept thinking the RV with more white was probably going to be cooler in the summer and going to Florida to pick up an RV was more appealing this time of year than going way up north. Anyway, I made an offer on the 2016 which the man said he wanted to talk over with his wife. We emailed back and forth for a week on various questions. He said he was having new batteries put in at the shop. I emailed a few days later and he said they were waiting on a piece of weather stripping to come from the factory. All this back and forth was very friendly and led me to believe he was accepting our offer. After a week, I got an email that said "Our RV should be sold tomorrow."  What??? He never declined our offer, never countered it, nothing but friendly conversation leading me to believe he was accepting it. I was pretty disappointed both with not getting the RV but even more so with the way we were treated. Just decline, counteroffer, or something....not lead someone on.  I know, I know, just business but it also says something about the person.

Later that day, Dave said, let's make another offer on the first RV. It has been over a week, it's winter up north, and it's been for sale for a while. So we upped our price and made the offer. The offeror said he would talk to his wife and get back to me in the morning.  Hmmm, not again. Well, the next morning, I had an email saying they would be happy to accept our offer. He said that we should wait for a good window in the weather to travel to pick it up so our next question was how much did he want to hold it as that seemed fair. He said he was willing to trust me which surprised my husband.

We kept an eye on the weather as there was ice and snow up north. I was thinking about renting a car so we could bring some things with us to allow us to fully use the RV on the way home. Gary said he would pick us up at the airport as it was only a half hour from his house. In the meantime, I checked on car rentals....$550 for three days one way.  Wow, way more expensive than a plane ticket. So I checked on plane ticket prices and availability knowing I wouldn't have 21 days in advance. In the meantime, I saw the RV still online. Gary said he considered it sold and wasn't considering any other offers but it should say "Sale pending" online. Once burned you know the saying. Later that day, the ad showed "Sale Pending" so I guess there was a time delay before the advertiser put that up.

A few days later, it looked like the weather up north was going to break by the end of the week. I asked Dave if I was buying one ticket or two as he had been saying he would stay home with the dogs and I could check it out and pick it up. I knew my son would take care of the dogs as I often take care of Angus. Dave surprised me when he changed his mind and said get two tickets. Keep in mind, I am the RVer, he is not. Gary said the offer to pick us up was still good and the snow and ice should be melted in a few days. A day or so later, he asked if 6:50 on the calendar was PM or AM.  AM of was the shortest flying time and got us there about noon, other flights were just as early or didn't arrive until nighttime.

I packed my clothes and medicine in a black carryon bag. I also packed a larger red suitcase with a couple comforters, sheets, etc., to use in the RV on the way home. Dave took a backpack and a larger canvas military bag. Flying Southwest, a suitcase and a carryon for each of us was free. Then Dave said it was silly to haul a suitcase with RV bedding and we would just stop at Walmart since thhe beds were a different size anyway so leave the red suitcase home. Wednesday morning arrived. Dave was up at 4:30AM, I got up at 5AM (women take longer to get ready, right?), lol. I carried my black bag and Dave's canvas bag downstairs as Dave had already taken his backpack down. lHelen arrived five minutes early at 5:25AM just as I was feeding Willy and Harley. Dave was hollering at me to hurry up...he said he already took care of the bags. Helen was dropping us off at the airport on her way to work as it was on the way. We pulled up at the Departures entry and out come the bags. Dave's canvas bag and backpack......and the red suitcase. He turned to go in and I said "Where is my black bag?"  He said he thought the red bag was mine so he went back upstairs to get it and his canvas bag. I was about to explode as all my clothes and medicine were in the black bag and I had brought the bags downstairs. Deep breath.....he doesn't like to travel anyway and we couldn't miss the plane. I tried calling Steve to see if he could get it there before we had to board but he was at the gym and didn't get the call. Off we go. We had a very short layover in Nashville where we changed planes. It was easy as they were only two gates away. I grabbed a couple of coffees for us.....turned out to be the worst coffee I've had in years and I threw mine out. Dave will drink any coffee.

We arrived at our destination, got our bags, and Gary was there 10 minutes later. Thank goodness I wore my leather jacket even though it was warm in San Antonio because it was freezing up north. We stopped for lunch on the way to Gary's house. And then we got our first look at our RV.

We took it for a test drive, I drove. Dave said he didn't need to as I would be the one using it. We went through the systems. After 50 years around different kinds of RVs, only a few things were different for me so we concentrated on those...the solar, the inverter, the generator, and the leveling system. It also has a satellite dish but I probably won't use that since I don't full time and we don't have satellite at home. Gary wanted to keep the receiver since it matches their home system which was okay. He insisted that we shouldn't leave until morning and offered us their guest room.  Of course, I wanted to sleep in the RV especially since I didn't have any extra clothes, lol. We dewinterized it....Gary was a little worried since it was going to freeze but I figured that was just a good test for it and we unhooked the water hose once we had water in the tank. We offered to take Gary and his wife out for dinner but Joan said she already planned to fix dinner. It was delicious and we got to meet one of their daughters who came for dinner.

"Serendipity" just seemed to fit as a perfect name for our new to us RV as the road to getting her was serendipitous.