The very positive response to the Facebook post I did about the little Happier Camper trailer one could pull with a Subaru reminded me of the day I said “No” to the Beaver. It went like this…
One day, I found Karyn perusing travel trailers and motor homes on line. She thought that with my retirement, it would be “fun” to travel around to the many cool places in this country one or both of us have yet to see. For one trip, she wanted to show me the Grand Canyon. I wanted to show her the Pacific Northwest and western Canada. We both wanted to travel the length of the East coast. And we wanted to do so without having to worry about hotels that take a dog, motels that are creepy and Bed & Breakfasts that are long on charm and short on privacy.
But the over-riding reason was that we were too old for homesteading in some exotic place like Joshua Tree (cheap land, artist and artistes, half hour from Palm Springs–oh and tons of desert, very little water, awfully big bugs and anti-social rattlesnakes–I’d be too old for that at any age!) So, Karyn was all revved up for self-sufficiency WITH adventure. I leaned more toward just the self-sufficiency but there were no bus axles or monster tires involved. And at this point, a little adventure goes a long way!LOL
She looked at these contraptions on wheels for weeks. It was clear there are the ones you pull, probably with your SUV, and the ones that pull you. There’s Class A, B and C, but I never got that far in my research to determine the difference. I’d been in a Mercedes Sprinter, of course, because I worked for a Mercedes franchise for 16 years. Some of the upfits (jargon for making it look like your living room, bedroom, etc. etc). were appealing, in that miniature me kind of way. But the big 5th-wheelers and the motorhomes? Finally, I said, “I don’t think I’ve actually ever been inside one.”
Within an hour, we drove to our local RV lot. Their RVs were used but in very good condition, it was close, and I knew the owner (always have to keep “the deal” in mind).
It didn’t take long before the salesman got tired of us when we said we had to see every one on the lot because we were “new at this.” He found another customer who was not so new at it and had some cash to burn.
I was done looking after a half hour. So done, really. But from somewhere on the lot, I heard, “I found it! I found it!” I knew that voice, so I braced myself and went in search of the enthusiasm I already did not share.
Karyn had found a Beaver. And she liked it. I did not. I mean, sure, for a decorated Greyhound bus, it was marvelous. But I couldn’t see actually driving that thing down the freeway, never mind single-lane country roads that wrapped around some 4000-foot high mountain ridge.
I took some pictures, we played around with imagining ourselves heading for The Grand Canyon or the Canadian border, and then we went to have a nice, civilized lunch at a restaurant that offered valet parking.
“Couldn’t do this with the Beav,” I whispered, as the waiter approached.
She looked at me suspiciously. “Is that a ‘No?’” she said to me—“Shrimp Scampi and Crispy Straw Potatoes,” she said to him.
I inclined my head a bit, perused the menu, glanced at the nice waitperson, took a deep breath and said, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
“Oh, have something different, so I can taste it!”
“Risotto with wild mushrooms?”
“Perfect, but it won’t taste like the Risotto di Gho (seafood risotto) we had in at Trattoria da Romano in Murano.”
Thought to self: Well, no it won’t. But, for the money we spend on the Beaver, not that we’re going to buy it, we could maybe go to Italy again. ::Saves thought in back of brain for JUST the right moment:: I mean if we’re doing fantasy, hey, I write fiction!
As soon as the waiter left the table, we laughed. It was a total ‘No’ to the Beaver, and we both knew it. First, we couldn’t really afford it. They wanted about $75,000, and that meant financing it, and no because: Fixed Income Retirement Up Ahead–Proceed With Caution, Objects and Price Tags in Side-Mirror Seem Smaller Than They Actually Are and uh, no!
“It’s OK,” she said with a sheepish smile, “I was just testing you. And teasing you.”
Uh huh. Trust me, we were this close to owning a Beaver. Thank God, I put my foot down.
So, why, I ask myself, do I keep looking at things on wheels that one pulls with a car or things that have their own engines and sleeps two or 10? I love the Mercedes Sprinter with the Airstream upfit, for instance. But the one I want costs over $100,000. Couldn’t I buy a small atoll somewhere for that? Or two wonderful cottages in some unpopular but lovely place for that? Besides my own circumstances, I cannot in good conscience, even if I could afford these things, buy one with so many people homeless, so many Seniors without basic needs, so many women and children out in the world alone with diminishing resources. Not to get all dead serious about it, because I understand why we want these things. I’m just thinking we all need to rethink this big is better and more is better stuff. I could maybe see it if it’s your only dwelling…then again, for that kind of money, what about a nice apartment, a mobile or manufactured home, going in with a few people for a piece of land and some tiny or smallish pre-made houses? Even that sweet cottage is available, if you’re willing to go to an area that caters to Seniors or isn’t a big tourist destination. There ARE alternatives….and things to think about.
It must be some innate human wanderlust in the DNA…we like to go places, see new things, have new experiences. But as I said in the prior post, the “thrill of inconvenience” never really appealed to me. I want my internet. I want my bed. I want my shower. I want my bathroom.
But I did, finally, find the perfect vehicle for me. It has everything I want and less!!! It’s a concept car! That means it doesn’t exist, it won’t cost me anything, it seats five (or two adults, a Pug and a Ragdoll, plus luggage!) and it’s a heck of an idea whose time will no doubt come. I’ll let you know how it doesn’t drive!