Chapter One: The Decision


My wife, our three kids and I have been living with my elderly mother for close to ten months. And while it has been good at times, it has also been explosively bad, and so for the last several months we have been trying to find a place to live, with no luck. Our rental history has not been as good as it used to be due mainly to my former long-term battle with chronic pain. In any case, we were pretty depressed about the prospects of finding a place to live, when it dawned on me — what about an RV? I ran the idea by Brook (my wife) and she was all for it. Her mother had set aside a good chunk of money for us to get a place, and she also approved our idea for an rv, so we started looking for (initially) a fifth-wheel to buy. 

Well, after several false-starts and dead-ends brought about by a rare Southern Oregon snowstorm, we ended up driving to Eugene to look at a 30′ 1988 Gulfstream Sun Sport RV. It was out of our price range but we asked about financing and Tony, the dealer, gave us a chance and worked with us. We left the lot blown away by how fast it had ended up happening. Two days later we drove back up to pick it up. That’s when the adventure really began.


I have never driven an RV before. Driving down 7th Avenue in Eugene during rush hour traffic was a white-knuckle experience to say the least. Then, as I was merging into I-5, a big truck up ahead cut someone off and all of a sudden traffic came to a screeching halt. As I was merging. I knew there was no way in hell I was going to be able to stop this behemoth in time, so I had to make serious eveasive maneuvers into the fast lane, cutting in front of an SUV in order to do so. I was shaking after that,

Then we pulled into the gas station. I shut it off and the thing lets off the loudest backfire I have ever heard in my life. People yelled they were so startled. This was off to a rough start, It was only going to get worse.

As we headed south on the interstate, I started noticing that I wasn’t able to see the road very well, but it was foggy and dark and I thought maybe I just wasn’t used to the RV yet. Nope. Pretty soon I noticed that even if I turned the lights on and off real quick that there was no difference. Right after that I lost power, and I had to pull off to the side of the road. I turned it off and it wouldn’t start again. Brook and the kids had been following me in the car and by the time I went to talk to her, she was already on the phone with Tony.


I ended up using the auxiliary power to get it restarted and the lights came back on and it seemed to be okay again. I told Tony I would try to get it to get it to Rice Hill, the nearest town, and we ended up making it there with no issues. Anyway, to make a long story a little less long, we decided to try and make it to Roseburg, and did, although I had to use auxiliary power a lot in order to keep the lights on. We ended up parking it in front of my Mom’s house until Tony could come down and replace the alternator (later we found out that the parts company had given him a truck alternator instead of an RV alternator.) 


We are still parked in front of my Mom’s house, basically because we needed to make a few more minor repairs to it, but we have spent every night in it so far and absolutely love it! It is 25 years old but has 65,000 original miles and is in great condition. There are, like any home, boat or RV, minor issues to be fixed. Tonight we will be pulling up anchor and heading to an RV park in Sutherlin.

We have our own home now. We have downsized and culled a lot of material baggage from our lives in order to make this move, but already we feel lighter for it. This feels like the beginning of an exciting adventure. 

More to come…