Is This Our New Home?

Barely 12 hours back in the U.S. and we’re off to view our first motorhome prospects. I’ll admit, there aren’t a lot of exciting options in the Pacific Northwest at the moment, at least not online. But we’re crossing our fingers that one of the rigs we’ll view in the next few days will have some potential.

Noe joined us on the hunt while Riley hung out back at the house with Grammy, Grampy, Aunt Shirley and Uncle John. Having the attention of four adults all for himself is practically a dream come true.

Noe was equally excited to finally get to see what we’ve been talking about for the past five months.

Early on in our planning we decided that a Class C motorhome would be our best option. Ideally something in the 23-foot to 25-foot range.

After driving Baja this past summer, and exploring Nayarit, Jalisco, and the Yucatan previously, we knew we didn’t want to deal with anything longer, or bigger like a Class A.

And with two energetic boys, the space and versatility of a mid-size Class C was more attractive to us than trying to cram ourselves and our gear into a Class B (Sprinter Camper Van). Not to mention that, Class B’s are pretty darn expensive for what you get.

While being able to disconnect from our home and go explore certainly has its appeal, towing a trailer or fifth wheel all the way down to Oaxaca, Chiapas, Yucatan, or on to Belize didn’t appeal to me at all. So there’s that as well.

Our working plan has been to find something a bit older, but not too old. Something that won’t require too big of an upfront investment, but that won’t be a money pit, either.

It needs to be mechanically reliable with low-ish miles and all the bigger appliances and systems (such as fridge, generator, plumbing and electrical systems) need to work as intended (or require an easy fix).

It’s the middle of winter and we don’t want to spend the next few months gutting the rig or replacing key systems. We also want to be able to easily sell it when come to the end of our journey, where ever that may be.

On the docket this particular day were two rigs to view (a 1996 and a 1999) with hopefully more tomorrow and later in the week.

The first option we viewed was a 1996 by a private owner out in the middle of nowhere. To say this thing was rough is an understatement. Water leaks, mildew, rust, black smoke, generator broken, you name it. Oh, and three previous buyers had backed out due to problems with getting it registered. Yep, that’s a pass.

We made a 180 degree turn towards Oregon City, to an RV dealer out in the middle of nowhere (again). The 1999 we viewed ticked nearly all the boxes, but there were some serious signs of leaking. While the rig had fairly low miles, it was definitely starting to show its age.

I took a step back to look at the frontend again and was thinking, “Oh boy, what have we gotten ourselves into this time.”

There were three other [shinier and much newer] Class Cs parked in a row next to this one, making the 1999 look even older. “Those look nice…” I thought.

I asked the guy if he could tell me a bit about the other three. Two of them were only a few years old and over $70,000. No thanks.

But the middle one was a 2010 Winnebago with low miles, new tires, and recently fully serviced. The asking price was 50% more than what we had budgeted, but after this morning, we were willing to reconsider newer vehicles.

I took both the 1999 and 2010 for a test drive (which, out here, meant very narrow, winding country roads—not ideal for one’s first time driving a motorhome, but great practice for Mexico). The 1999 was squishy and sounded like a jet getting ready to take off. The 2010 rode like a dream.

But it was only Day #1 and we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Still, I wondered if we’d find anything better. In the depths of winter here in Oregon, however, we were sure we wouldn’t have to worry about someone buying it from under our noses.

On our drive to Roseburg the next day, we stopped off in Coburg to step into our first Camping World and to view a couple more prospects.

Of course, Noe had to make a special stop at the water fountain for his ceremonial First Tap Water Drink in the U.S. This has become something of a tradition every time we visit the U.S.

We viewed a nice 2011 Tahoe and loaded late model Winnebago View diesel (which of course was Noe’s favorite). A 20+ mpg RV is enticing, but unless we plan on spending $20,000 in gas in the next year or two (spoiler alert: we’re not), the price tag was hard to justify.

Back at Grammy and Grampy’s house, we reviewed our other options in the region and mulled over the 2010. We’ll wait until after our trip to Tacoma to make any decisions, just in case any other options come up.

In the meantime, we’ll enjoy our time in the “frigid” north with family and friends.

Not a lot changes in Roseburg between our visits. This time around, the biggest hubbub is around the opening of the new WinCo with its dozen aisles of bulk foods. Yep, that’s an entire aisle dedicated to bulk candy. I thought I’d have to call security to help restrain Lori, but she somehow managed her addiction in the face of unparalleled temptation.

Noe’s been really into coins lately. Grammy gave him a book all about coin collecting some time ago, but all of the coins in the book are U.S. coins. That’s a bit of a bummer when you live in Mexico.

So when Noe found out that his Poppi collects coins, practically all he wanted to do the entire visit was see the collection and search for potential rare finds in Nanny and Poppi’s big penny jar.

Being in Oregon in the depths of winter is a novelty for these guys. Until now, they’ve never been in the U.S. between January and May.

They’re getting a kick out of living in clothes that were previously reserved for only the chilliest evenings and mornings in La Paz.

And, of course, they’re hoping for snow. Sorry boys, it rarely snows in Roseburg. But we will see if we can do a quick trip up to the snow line a couple hours out of town if we’re here long enough.

Last summer, we didn’t make it up to Washington to see Uncle [Tio] Dan and Aunt [Tia] Lauren. With some time on our hands, this unexpected visit to the PacNW seemed like a good time. So, after just two days in Roseburg, we headed back up north for an extended weekend to spend with Lori’s brother and wife.

Lori and I went to the LeMay car museum years ago before kids. It’s one of the best collections of vintage and exotic cars in the country and our boys love cars. So, naturally, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Noe soaked up every last bit like it was the last car museum on Earth, pleading with me to read the informational placards on every one of the 250 cars on display. I may have been more exasperated if it weren’t for the fact that the next time we do something like this he probably won’t need dear old dad’s help reading the information signs any more.

It was fun to see some cars I’ve even owned in the past, like a Porsche 944, Triumph Spitfire, and MGB. The boys, however, seemed less than enthused. We’ll try again next time.

Watch out, world. Here come the Baxter boys.

Noe was really interested in Tia Lauren’s Tin Tin books. So much, in fact, that he somehow talked Lauren into the herculean task of reading the graphic novel to him in English (from the original French). While Tia’s skills were indeed up to the task, she was more than ready for the hard beverage awaiting her at the end of her marathon translation story time session.

Did a lion escape the Point Defiance Zoo, or did Tio Dan lend his fuzzy hat to his ferocious nephew? You decide.

If you’re curious where we got Riley’s awesome pink and purple jacket, it’s cousin Rose’s courtesy of my sister who took it upon herself to make sure our boys were properly equipped for the frigid North.

Driving back south from Tacoma, it’s clear we likely won’t find a more suitable RV than the ones we’ve already viewed. Lori and I have agreed we can justify the cost of the 2010 Winnebago if the rig passes a 3rd party inspection with flying colors. The inspection isn’t cheap, but we’re looking for something rock solid, given the difficulty sourcing parts in Mexico. Plus, we figure any deficiencies found in the inspection we can use to negotiate with.

We’ve put in an offer and are now waiting to see what they come back with. If we can agree on a figure, the inspection will go ahead on Thursday and we’ll see what they dig up. Fingers crossed.

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