Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nana Discovers Craig's List Isn't Just Scams and Prostitution

The spouse and I have been looking for an RV for almost a year. Since we haven't won the lottery yet, we've been searching for the illusive gently used, low mileage, like new but cheap RV. We've looked at vehicles that give the impression they'll collapse in the first stiff wind and others that have served as mold incubation labs. We've met some interesting first thought being "Would you buy a used car from this person? Would you sleep in a bed this person owned?" My nose has been assaulted by unrecognizable, unpleasant odors and my eyes burned by viewing so many orange and brown color schemes with chunky shag carpet. I had begun to think that we would never find a reasonably priced clean RV.

I read the want ads, searched the Nickel Ads every week, and surfed the Internet. Every evening I checked Craig’s List for new RV postings. Numerous times I found what I thought was going to be the perfect RV, only to find that both words and pictures don’t tell the whole truth. When searching for an RV, it would be very helpful if Craig’s List had a smell-o-vision feature.

I had several opportunities to be scammed. Early in the search I found a low mileage, fairly recent vintage RV for a very good price. There was no phone number listed, but an email address. I responded to the ad and asked the seller to call me because I was interested in seeing the RV. I got an email back that told me the seller had be transferred overseas and that the RV was at a shipping facility and we could buy it through Pay Pal and have it shipped. SCAM! Several weeks later I saw the same picture of the RV on another ad on a Craig’s List listing in another city. There are a lot of opportunities to be scammed on Craig’s List. I was leery of every ad that sounded like a good deal, especially when they didn’t include a phone number for a supposed local listing.

I found our RV on Craig’s List and the ad didn’t include a phone number. I almost didn’t respond because it sounded too perfect. I was pleasantly surprised when we drove to Walla Walla to see it that it was as nice as advertised. A few minor scratches, but it smells good! It has only 24,000 miles on the engine and only 40 hours on the generator. It’s relatively small, only 24 feet. Our search for the perfect RV is over.

The seller of our “new” RV was the son of the owner. His father had purchased it new when he retired. He had intended to travel with his wife. His wife got ill and never recovered enough to travel. After she died he took a few trips by himself. Recently he moved into an assisted living facility.

When I pay attention I find lessons everywhere. The RV was a great deal for us, but when we use it, I will think about its former owner who didn’t have the time to enjoy his retirement. My plan is to have many years to explore in our RV, but none of us know how many good years we will have. That’s an important lesson to remember.


  1. It's a real beauty, Jann! Congratulations on being persistent, and I do hope you will use it in good health. And that you will take LOTS of pictures to share with me!

    Craigslist is good if you are smart and realize that some people hope you will just be a good little mark, rather than a smart shopper!

  2. Hurray for your RV find! We had good luck on Craigslist with a dryer and a scam with a late model used car.

    When people comment on our taking 13 trips in a year, I'll remember your comment that none of us know how many good years we'll have.

    Come to Seattle and we can round up other bloggers in this area!

  3. Good for you. You made me laugh with your observations, but they were quite valid and good ones to remember. It appears persistence and being savvy paid off. I'm sorry the former owner didn't get to enjoy it more, but am hoping you two will have many years of great trips in it.

    Actually, I'm also a bit envious. I really want an RV also, but my husband is just not interested. Maybe I will just start really searching for one anyway.

  4. Enjoy it, and get yourself on the road asap.

  5. What a great find (and a great story). I look forward to stories of your travel adventures, which I think will be enhanced by your knowledge of the former owner.

  6. Congrats on find and buying your RV!
    I had to laugh about your "smells good" comment. While we were looking (over a year), the first thing I ever did when climbing into one was take a slow and deep sniff of it. Now that we have one, I try to keep it from ever having that "smell." (that nasty black water tank smell). I hope you are enjoy your RV so far!

  7. My goodness! What a find! I am new to your blog and was very happy to see you mention the RV as this has been a dream of mine for years. I have 8-10 years before I can retire but am so anxious to begin our adventure and your post really rang a bell with me!


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