Saw this sub-forum and thought I should share.
Last month DW and I decided to buy our first RV. At first we thought a Class B would be fine, but after researching on forums like this (and thinking about full timing) we decided to look for a Class A. We had a modest budget and did not want to make any payments for a new one, so we looked at mostly mid 90's gas coaches and early 90's diesel pushers. We started looking early July, and must have looked at maybe 2 dozen motor homes and drove about a thousand miles throughout Southern California. Never saw so much junk in all my life! I scoured Craigslist, newspapers and classified ads to no avail.
We started to get discouraged by the end of July and thought it may take quite some time to find something we liked. Then Friday, July 30th DW got a call from her sister in Washington, there was a crisis and she wanted to fly out to help her. I knew this meant using at least 2k of our motor home budget. DW said "I wish we already had an RV so we could go stay at her property and help her". I quickly reviewed all my previous notes to see if I could find something suitable, but nothing I saw was near road ready.
Later that day I saw a new post on Craigslist for a '98 Gulfstream 32.5' with a super slide. DW agreed to wait one more day to book her reservations. As usual it looked good in the ad, but we had been disappointed so many times before, we knew not to get too excited.
We scheduled an appointment July 31st Saturday morning to see the motor home. We arrived at the sellers house (in my home town) at 9:00am. I did a quick walk around the outside of the RV before the seller came out and I thought to myself "wow the outside looks nice" then the owner came out and showed me the coach. It was super nice inside and out! He then showed me the service history, all fluids changed last month, new batteries, new tires last year, just smogged and tagged last month. Everything Looks great for a 12 year old, 50k mile rig.
I performed my rigorous inspection, thanks to the nice check sheet I downloaded from the net. A few hours later I had not found anything wrong!
The only problem now was the price, it was over budget.
After befriending the seller and promising to send photos of our future escapades, we agreed on a price within our budget. At 12:00 noon I ran to the bank, got cash, ran back to the seller, and picked up the title. Now seller informs me he must have his handi-capped license plate back. Now it's 1:00pm have to run to Auto Club on a Saturday
(they close at 2:00pm) just made it in time to transfer title, get new plates and pay a reasonable amount of sales tax and transfer fee's.
I drove back to pick up the RV and the seller asked me "are you going to take her on a shake down cruise?" I replied "Yes, we are going on a 1200 mile trip tomorrow to Tacoma WA" He looked at me as if I was crazy
(and rightfully so)
I drove the coach a few miles home and pulled it into the driveway. DW and I started packing our personal effects and loaded up the RV. Now it's getting late, so I started looking for motor home insurance, I found it is very hard to get RV insurance after 9:00pm on a Saturday. Then DW pulls through at 12:00 midnight and finds a 24 hour RV insurance company on the web. I called and spoke to a live agent, 20 minutes later I printed out our proof of insurance. We're good to go!
We slept lightly that night then got up to start our journey. Our heads were still spinning as we looked at each other and said "We must be crazy".
We left SoCali Sunday afternoon, three days later we arrived at our destination with only minor incidence. A drive belt pulley bearing was noisy. I replaced it the next day, fortunately It was an easy fix.
Now we are in Graham Washington, crisis averted and counting our blessings. We should be ready to go home within a few days and are hoping the trip back goes as well or better than the trip here.