October has come an gone, and fall is upon us. We have worked and planned on leaving this fall. We’ve steadily made progress toward that end…but the lame housing market has hindered our progress. We’ve got lease purchase agreements on two of our rentals now. Deferred gratification…but it’s a commitment none the less. At the very least, our mortgages are covered and there will be a financial penalty should the prospective “buyers” back out. We plan on simply leasing our primary residence for at least a year to see how the real estate market spins out before we attempt to sell. We had hoped to use the cash from a house “sale” to purchase the pick up and RV, but clearly, that isn’t in the cards at this point in time. “Plan B” involves using some of our investment assets in order to make these purchases sooner then later. It’s nice to have “options”.
It’s time to move on a one ton pickup and the Heartland Cyclone fifth wheel. Things began to fall into place. We found RV Wholesalers in Ohio who was willing to provide the best price for what we wanted. The new 2011 model was only $1,500 dollars cheaper then the 2012 model and we could special order the amenities that we wanted. The difference in price between buying on the West Coast and the Michigan/Ohio area amounted to $30,000 dollars. The best price we could find locally for the same unit was a difference of $10, 000 dollars. We decided to make a commitment for the rig in Ohio. Once this was set into motion…we had just two weeks to figure out how we were going to tow it back to Washington State and get to Ohio.
We found a low mileage 2005 Ford F-550 diesel pickup on eBay with no reserve. The pickup was just outside of Chicago, so we figured we would buy the truck, fly to Chicago, pick up the truck and drive four hours to pick up the RV. Over the course of a week, we jumped into the bidding that went down to the last few seconds…we missed the bid. We now had one week to find a pickup that would tow our fifth wheel. Over the past ten months, we narrowed down what we needed to buy. We were looking for a one ton minimum, dualie, low mileage (under 75K) great condition with as many “bells and whistles” as we could find for $25-30K or less.
When the ebay thing went through the crack, I went back online to “Northwest Motor Sports”…a dealership that I found in the Tacoma area that had a huge inventory and dealt exclusively in trucks. I found a couple of well priced low mileage pickups that appealed to me, so we decided to take the three hour trip to look at them. As fate would have it, my sister-in-law decided to buy our Prius. She lives close to Tacoma, so we drove both the Prius and the half ton pickup over to the west side with the intention of using the 94 half ton pickup as a trade-in if we found the “right” truck, and deliver the car to my wife’s sister.
The pickup we found was PERFECT. It was a 2006 Ford F-350 Lariat. A diesel dualie that had 32K miles with all the bells and whistles and it was immaculate. The people at Northwest Motor Sports were wonderful to work with and we were able to strike a deal that worked for both of us. By all measurements…it was a virtually NEW truck for under $28K…and it was a gun bolt gray! The PERFECT color that matched the gray HD Cyclone we had purchased and waiting to be picked up in just SEVEN DAYS. We calculated the drive would take five days which meant we had just TWO days to prepare to leave!!!
The truck was new to me, so in order to be prepared…I had the Ford dealership go through the truck to find out if there were any problems or outstanding warranty work. It checked out perfectly. I had all the filters changed, the oil changed, the transmission flushed and refilled, and the differential fluid drained and changed. This had the net effect of “draining” our reserves…but at least I felt comfortable with where the truck was at mechanically before embarking on our 2,200 mile cross country trip. I didn’t want any “surprises” along the way…well thaa almost worked.