But with all the styles and options for campers, we were torn as to what type to purchase. We needed something large to accommodate our family of 5 and our pound puppy.
A driving camper would be great, but we doubted we could afford one without a loan. And our goal is to get out of debt, not go further in. Neither of our vehicles were really equipped to pull a large travel trailer or a 5th wheel, and we weren't in the position financially to upgrade. That means we'd need to hire a company to move our camper when needed or we were stuck.
We began window shopping, visiting dealerships and RV shows, touring the displays and finding many units that looked like they'd be perfect. Judging by the price tags, it was clear a used model was in our future. But even at that, we needed to be frugal.
When it looked like finding something to fit our budget was impossible, I ran across a dealership that advertised a camper that we thought might work. It cost more than the cash we had on hand, but we were hopeful we could deal with them a bit. Though the unit drove well and appeared in great shape, there were a few issues that should have been glaring problems from the onset.
- The camper was only 24 ft. long, not a lot of space, huh?
- The 'bathroom' was not a separate room, rather there was a curtain that could be pulled closed around the commode when in use
- Everything was in that one room. Can you say, NO PRIVACY???
We reasoned that with it being relatively small as far as campers go, it wouldn't require as much gas to go places. Besides, we were planning on being outside most of the time anyway, right?
We made an offer to our salesman who tried hard not to laugh and took our piddly offer to the manager, who politely declined. However, and this was the part that scared me, they did have ONE camper that had just happened to arrive that was in our price range. They had no idea what condition it was in, it would be sold AS IS and they needed to know immediately if we wanted it. I don't know about you, but deals like that never work out for us. And yet, we were unable to run...
In desperation we couldn't resist taking a peak at what they were offering. When the salesman directed us outside to the back lot and pointed out the camper, I couldn't look. I waited for my husband to look and when he sounded pleasantly surprised, only then did I dare to peer across the lot to a large Class A motor home. It certainly looked better than the other, but looks are deceiving. So we had a peak inside. There were certainly a few obvious benefits to this new camper.
- It was 31 ft. long, doesn't sound like a lot but believe me 7 feet can make a huge difference!
- It had a bathroom; with a door
- It had a separate bedroom with a door
I was beginning to become hopeful. Maybe this was the camper the Lord had planned for us after all. My husband and I were beginning to get a bit excited and decided it wouldn't hurt to take it for a test drive. It seemed perfect but even at that, we were cautious. We told the salesman we'd think about it. He gave us a day.
We prayed about it, talked to friends that gave us pointers of what to look for and decided to go back for a thorough look through. We decided if everything worked, well ... if the air conditioning at least worked, we'd take it. After all, we'd been visiting in our home state of Ohio and were planning to leave in two days. We did not want to go back to a hotel room!
In the end, we decided the camper was a huge blessing. We wrote a check, packed what belongings were essential to life on the road and away we went, back to Alabama. And this time not to a hotel, but to a perfect mountain top campground- just in time for spring showers.
We had embarked on a new adventure. And it would take a bit of getting used to.