Last summer, Heather and I borrowed a RV from a close friend and headed west for a little adventure. The Rialta is built on a Eurovan chassis and, at 22 feet, is a small, nimble vehicle, perfect for first timers. So, we left Beaufort, Heather and I and Wallace the terrier, on a two-week journey to the Great Lakes. We figured either we’d kill each other or we’d love the RV life.
Well, we’re all still alive and the trip was amazing. We visited the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the UP of Michigan and the Quincy Mine (where my grandfather taught mining classes for Michigan Tech), and even fit in a stop at New River Gorge for some hiking on the way home. Most of all, we loved the people we met RVing. You would be hard pressed to find better folks than RV’ers. Everyone we met had stories of their first RV trips, how they caught the RV bug, their favorite campgrounds, and more.
We returned to Beaufort and batted around the idea of buying a RV, starting by looking at Rialtas, but the prices, even on a twenty year old vehicle, were just too much for our budget. So, we started combing eBay and other websites, looking for something we liked that was in our budget. We began to toss around the idea of a vintage motorhome, something with a retro look and, maybe more importantly, within our limited budget.
Fast forward a few months and I came across two vintage RVs in Beaufort, just off the bike trail I frequently use. Heather and I made a trip out one Saturday to find out some details about the rigs and if, just maybe, they were for sale. Well, a quick trip turned into an hour and a half lesson on the GMC Motorhome. We met Paul, a retired aircraft mechanic who was restoring one of the RVs. He was more than happy to show us around the rig, though it wasn’t for sale, and give us a ton of tips on finding the right GMC. Remember what I said about RV people being kind? Paul was no exception.
Before we even pulled out of the parking lot, it was clear that if we bought an RV, it was going to be a GMC.
We had a few false starts, including a trip to Tallahassee to see a beautiful GMC, though it required too much work to be the right one.
On the way home from that trip, we discovered a great GMC close to Nashville, where Heather’s parents live. With a trip coming up, we made plans to see the Nashville rig.
I didn’t get more than halfway down my checklist before I realized we would be hard pressed to find a better deal. A quick trip to the bank to get some cash, a few signatures, and Heather and I were the proud owners of “The Pickle”:
We have a few problems to sort out, including a permanent solution to a transmission fluid leak that I developed on the way home from Nashville. The previous owner was transparent about the issues the vehicle has, including a nonfunctional furnace, broken dash AC, some issues with the air suspension, and a few other smaller problems. We’re planning on heading off for a “shakedown cruise” in the next few weeks, as soon as the weather is a bit better and we have some free time. I’m sure the list of repairs will only grow…