The misadventures of Commander Merlin and the crew of RV-103
Friday October 31st 2014

09-20-09 Picking up RV-103

Gypsy found a 2004 Coachman Santara 37 ft long for sale in TN.  She found it through the RV Dreams site which connects you with private sellers.  The price was right, the downpayment was right, and the terms right.  What was left was knowing if the RV was right or not.  It was and is.

An elderly couple were the sole owners of the RV and had kept good care of it.  He is 80 and she is 75 and the “bus” was starting to be too much for them to handle.  They were eager to sell and we were eager to buy.

After a few email inquiries, we decided to take the chance and make an offer.  They accepted and the deal was shortly sealed.  On 09-20-09, my brother Tristan and I left to pick up the RV.

It was a trip run by the keystone cops.  We flew out of Tampa to Atlanta and was to make a connection to Chattanooga.  We got off a hour late due to weather up north.  Once we arrived, we found out that US airways had overbooked the connecting flight.  Why airlines would do such an asinine thing is beyond me, but they sure ticked off a lot of customers that would never use them again.  Many of us got “bumped” off the connecting flight including a young couple with a baby.  The attendant was rude and felt it was “ok” to bump people and not assist them.  All she would give us was the US Airway number to call for refunds or to reschedule.  Since the rescheduled flight was not flying until the next day and was already overbooked, we were forced to find another way to complete the journey.

Thankfully, there as an attendant from a rival airline that tipped us off to a van service that would transport us to TN.  We boarded the van for the nearly 3 hour trip crammed in so tight that we nearly were sitting on each other laps.  Upon arrival to the van home base in TN, we had to hire a cab to complete the journey.

Upon seeing the RV, I can’t describe how beautiful it was.  The seller spent evening in the pouring rain showing us the systems onboard.  He and his wife then took us out for dinner.  We found them to be wonderful hosts and enjoyed their company very much.  To be alive and so vibrant at that age is something we would all envy and they had it in spades.  Good people and good hosts.

We were going to find a hotel to stay in for the night, but they insisted we stay in the RV.  We watched TV and later fell asleep to the sound of rain on the rooftop.

In the morning they treated us to a home cooked breakfast with home canned jams that beat anything you ever find in a store.  We then took the RV down to the bank, completed the paperwork, and parted ways.

My brother and I started the long 9 hr drive back to Clearwater in the pouring rain.  It had been raining buckets for over 24 hours and local flooding has caused schools to be cancelled.  As we got closer to Atlanta, the rain was coming down as hard as what you would experience in a hurricane without the wind.   Interstate traffic was slowed down to about 20 mph for over 30 miles due to the rain.  The amazing thing was that the GA state troopers were out in this vertical flood still writing tickets.  Now that is job dedication!

This trip was my first occasion to fill the 75 gallon gas tank.  As I watched the numbers on the pump whiz by at light speed, I felt my bottom lip quiver uncontrollably and tears start to well up as the price quickly passed $150.  Safety tip:  Have tissues handy when you fill up or you will find yourself sobbing into the shirt of some poor schmuck next to you trying to fill up the family car.

We arrived in Clearwater late that evening and picked up Gypsy on our way to the storage yard.  We had a bottle of champaign and christened her RV-103 Discovery.  Now the real work would begin….making her our home.

Coachman Santara
Coachman Santara

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