Buying a Used Motorhome

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How I got to where I am today.

The Beginning

69 ford van murals

This is my story about how I went from camping in a tent, to camping in a 40 ft Diesel RV.

When I was in my early 20s, my wife’s brothers and sisters all used to go tent camping in National Parks. I had grown up as a pretty spoiled child and had spent my summers at a cottage on a Lake in a place called Muskoka in Canada. The kids all slept in buildings called Bunkies, with real beds, and blankets, while the adults all slept in the main cottage. To me, this was roughing it.

When my wife mentioned going camping, sleeping in a tent on the ground, with no electricity and cooking on an open fire, my initial answer was no way. When I eventually saw the pictures of her family having a great time on these trips I decided that I should at least try it once. So off we went with a borrowed tent, sleeping bags, and enough food for a long weekend. Arriving at a beautiful Park on a Friday afternoon, we set up our tent and set out to find firewood and check out the trails around the lake. I was starting to think this wasn’t going to be so bad.

I had been coming down with a cold but it wasn’t bad enough to stay home, so I had gone anyway. That night I got hit with the full fledged flu. I was sleeping on an uneven ground in a tent and I started to feel every last bump, stone or twig beneath me. I was hot, then I was cold, then I was really cold, too cold to get up. It was a long and very uncomfortable night. I hung in there with the idea that we would sleep in the car for the next couple of nights.

After moving in to the car, the rest of the weekend went pretty well. I did enjoy the outdoors, the hiking, and the nightly campfires. If I wanted to continue this kind of recreation, I needed to come up with a plan. This was the beginning of how I eventually ended up buying a used motorhome.

My Plan

69 ford van

I wanted to continue the Camping experience, but do it in such a way that I would not be sleeping on the cold ground in a tent. This was in the 1970s and there was a new trend catching on with people converting Vans into customized vehicles that got the name Shaggin-Wagons. This could be my answer. A vehicle I would drive every day and sleep in when I wasn’t at home.

I started looking and I found an older 1969 Ford Econoline Van that had a foam bed in the back. The interior was covered in fake fur and it had a giant heart shaped cut out you had to climb through to get in to the back bed area. It wasn’t much but I saw potential and I bought it for $800.00 and drove it home. This would be my new tent and I would sleep on the ground no longer.

The Shaggin-Wagon idea was great. The only problem was that I was never happy with what I had. I completely customized the Ford Van with Captains chairs, a fold down bed, Floor to ceiling shelves with a fridge, and even a chemical toilet. It even had murals on the outside.

Awhile later I was offered a job 2200 klms away and wanted to drive the Van out to it. A week before I left I purchased a damaged new car and put the engine and transmission from that into the Van. With out much time to test it, I headed off on that new life adventure in my Van. It made the trip and served its purpose but needed constant repairs. I grew tired of it being unreliable and a few years later I decided I wanted something more modern.

The next Van

86 chev vanI found a 1978 Chevy Van that was partly customized and was more reliable.  It was customized inside and out. I left that job out west and was heading back home, so I decided to take a Van vacation on the way back.

I began from Central Canada, west through the Rocky Mountains into the Okanagan Valley and on to the Pacific Ocean. Upon entering the U.S.A. I drove past the just erupted, Mt. St Helens to California and Mexico. Then drove across the U.S. to New Orleans, then to Florida. After going to the Florida Keys I headed up the East Coast and back to Canada.

I had slept in the Van most nights for free, but I paid to stay in a campground or cheap hotel when I wanted to shower and clean up. This had been the trip of a lifetime. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I loved that Van, but after finding out we were starting a family, it was just not going to be big enough. As the story goes, or this story anyways, I was going to need something bigger or better.

On to the next one

conversion vanAs my children were growing up, there didn’t seem to be as much time for camping and fun vehicles. Weekends were Jr. Hockey and Girls Dance Classes Going to the Cottage on the lake seemed to be the thing to do whenever we had time. As life flew by, we were blessed with a Grandson who lived with us and became a huge part of our lives. We took him everywhere with us.

A couple times a year we would drive the 1400 klms. to the East Coast to visit my wife’s parents. The Minivans were great for that but we missed the freedom and space of a full sized Van. I searched around and found myself a used cheap Conversion Van. It had a raised roof, a fold down bed, four Captains Chairs, a TV, and lots of room. I loved it. I started to drive it every day. Eventually though, I thought I wanted something more modern, so I sold it and bought a newer one. I missed the old one so much I ended up buying it back and I still have it today.

They Keep Getting Bigger

Old class cI had always thought about owning an RV but just could never justify it financially. We had sold the cottage and bought a large boat, big enough to travel in. That was a lot of fun but very expensive to operate and it seemed we were always going to the same places. My In-laws were getting older and their health was not as good as it once was, so we were driving the 1400 klm. to visit them more and more. The idea of doing this drive in the luxury and comfort of my very own Motorhome was too much for me not to act on.

I found an old Class C RV for sale that had been loved at one time, but was showing its age and needed some TLC. I bought it and proceeded to fix it up. Since my Grandson was still traveling with us, it had to be safe and reliable. This was always a dream of mine, I loved having it, but I think I loved the idea of having it more than I loved that particular unit. It was just too old. You can fix up a lot of things but the RV was still not modern. With technology going at a rapid pace, the Plain Jane RV just didn’t make me happy. I loved never unpacking and sleeping in my own bed, but I would love it more in a newer, bigger, more modern Coach. So off I went on a search for the perfect Class A RV.

The first Class A

Our Class A GasI was driving in the country one weekend and needed to buy gas. Sitting at the side of the parking lot was a nice looking Class A with a For Sale sign on it. I didn’t know that much about Class A’s except that they were big, comfortable, and usually came with all the bells and whistles. This one had lots of basement storage, big windows, a built in generator, full size fridge, a big bedroom, and felt huge inside.

This was a long time ago and it was built before slide outs, but I just felt like I could live in there for long periods of time and be comfortable. I drove it once and was hooked. It was so different from the Class C. The windshield was huge and you sat up so high. It was like you were looking over the traffic in front of you. I liked it so much I just bought it without having it checked out. The owner was a retired Policeman who said it had become too big for him as he grew older and he wanted something smaller and easier to drive. He showed me receipts for work he had done and said he did a lot of maintenance himself. I found out later that not all he told me was quite accurate.

I was so excited to have a Class A that I completely skipped my own advice and just believed whatever I was told. This RV turned out to be a money pit. With-in weeks I had to replace all the tires. The alignment was off so that had to be straightened. The house batteries would only hold a very short charge so I had to replace those. In the first two years I had replaced the gas tank. welded up the frame and trailer hitch, replaced the exhaust, and had to replace the whole roof and ceiling. I felt defeated. We used to go to the Nascar Races all the time but since I couldn’t trust my RV, I gave up my tickets and stopped going. If nothing else, this RV gave me a great education about what to look out for when buying another one.

The Next Move, A Class A Diesel

Our Class A DieselWith that experience behind me, I decided I wanted another boat, only bigger this time. We enjoyed the marine lifestyle for a few years and even lived on the boat for a while. My wife’s Mother had passed away and her Father was ill so she wanted to go back home and move in with him to help out. The boat was put in storage and costing us a fortune to just sit there. I decided I would try to trade it for another, more reliable, RV.

Sure enough, as luck would have it, we were made an offer and we became the owners of a 40 ft. Class A Diesel Pusher. To me, the ultimate RV for the average guy. I love this RV. It’s not for everyone. It is big, it is high, it does have systems that I knew nothing about, but it is now my home away from home on wheels.

It was a challenge to drive in cities and tight spaces, but I soon got over that and knew where to go and what to avoid. I have an RV GPS that warns me of roads to avoid and gives me plenty of time for lane changes before an exit. Since the engine is in the back, it is so quiet while you are driving it. When we use it, I feel like it is my little house on wheels. It has wood floors, Corian counters, ceramic tile and toilet, beautiful wood trim, ducted air conditioning, slide out and on and on. I take it to our local Drag Races and park right beside the track. We can watch the races right from our seats or sit up on the roof. At the end of the day we go to bed and do it all over again the next day.

We are now hoping to take a 3-month vacation to the southern U.S. and then follow around a friend of mine who races down there. It is living the dream, if we can make it all happen. I’m not getting any younger and there are so many places to see and so much to do. This RV can make that happen.


I hope you didn’t mind my personal story of how I got interested in RV’s and how they played a big part in my life. I love to tell stories about things I have seen and done. I worked for the old newspapers from the time I was 17 until I was 50 yrs old and really enjoy writing about things that I enjoy. This post could easily have been 5,000 words or more but I thought it was best to keep it simple.

I will be writing more about owning an RV, including all the newest things available to make your experience better. There will be information on how to camp for free or the costs of the different kinds of campgrounds or RV parks available. Come back from time to time and check out my own personal experience’s, as well as research on new innovative products available to the modern RV owner. Thanks again for reading my Post and please let me know what you think.


  1. Dapoach Posted on March 23, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    Buying a Used Motorhome could be very helpful. Thanks for sharing with us your true life experience of how you got to where you are today, sharing your beginnings, the plans you took  and so on. Getting to read about other peoples achievement through their personal experiences serves as the greatest source of inspiration. Your simple article was very explicit, impactful and helpful. Thanks a lot. Cheers!

    1. Dick Wright Posted on March 23, 2019 at 6:10 pm

      Hello Dapoach…. Thanks for your positive feedback on my post. You are very kind. It makes it easier to compose stories about your life when you get kind remarks. Thank you very much.

  2. ajibola40 Posted on March 23, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    thanks for writing this article.i must commend you for a job well done for taking your time to write this article and also your personal experience you share about each and every motorhouse you have use. It really interesting seriously and I wish to read more and more about. The way you move from small motorhouse to bigger ones is really cool and I like that. I don’t own a motorhouse yet but reading this article I really find a need for it

    1. admin Posted on March 23, 2019 at 6:07 pm

      Hi Ajibola….Thank you so much for your kind remarks. I love telling stories about life while trying to educate about things. It seems to make it more fun to learn from others mistakes. I will be writing more stories so drop by from time to time to see what’s new if you’d like. Thanks again for being so kind.

  3. Adamu2 Posted on March 23, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    I absolutely love what I read in this insightful article because it is full of great information. This is fascinating and interesting to me. I love camping and your article has embrace me to have a plan for easy camping with my partner. Getting an RV  van can help my camp Alot more than sleeping on the ground. Thanks for the camping review. Best regards 

    1. Dick Wright Posted on March 23, 2019 at 3:06 pm

      Thank you Adamu…. I am so glad you enjoyed my story. I hope you do try a more comfortable way to camp and it leads you to the RV life some day. Come back from time to time and check out more stories and information. Thanks again.

  4. Sammynathaniels Posted on March 23, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    You seems to be a man of adventure. Believe me when I say I’ve never slept in a motor home before. I closest I got was sleeping in my father’s saloon car when our car broke down in the middle of the road and there was no help around. 

    I’m beginning to consider getting a motor home. I want to experience the fun in it. 

    1. admin Posted on March 23, 2019 at 3:02 pm

      Hi Sammy…. Thank you for your upbeat comments. I hope you do try the RV life some day. It is definitely a blast. I love it. We meet new friends wherever we go and stay in the most beautiful places. Thanks again.

  5. Olalekan Taliat Posted on March 23, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    At a early age of 23 I own a RV which as given to me by my uncle ho was relocating. But a home couldn’t afford at that tender age.  I later realised its of no use owning a rv and still be paying for a condo. Its a good thing to know how to buy a motorhome if you are not lucky to have an uncle like mine. And for that this article is very useful. Thanks for this educative post.

    1. Dick Wright Posted on March 23, 2019 at 2:58 pm

      Thank you Olalekan…..Owning an RV is not for everyone. I have learned from a lot of mistakes and thought that maybe it would be helpful to share them. I have also had some great times and want to share them as well. Thank you for reading my story and commenting on my post.

  6. Gracen Posted on March 23, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Hi, that was quite an interesting story. As I was reading through the article, I couldn’t help but noticed how you chronologically gave a detailed explanation of your experience with your first camping and what led to you wanting a better sleeping place at your camping.

    Your experience with your First Class A is a lesson not only to you but to others, evaluation is very important when it comes to buying any form of automobile, I guess the saying that experience is the best teacher is actually true. I bet you learnt your lesson with that singularly experience.

    Great article, I enjoyed myself reading a little bit about you, your inlaws and your family.

    1. Dick Wright Posted on March 23, 2019 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Gracen…. Thank you for your very kind comments. You are absolutely right about experience being a good teacher. If I had known back then what I know now I could have avoided some not so great experiences. But, we have to go there to get here, so no regrets. Thanks again for reading and commenting on my post.

  7. Glen Posted on March 23, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed your story about moving on up! I did a lot of backpacking and camping when I was younger. But those days are long gone. I thought about buying a trailer or 5th wheel. And even thought about an RV to cruise the highways and byways to see the parts of the country I haven’t seen. I figure why not. The kids will inherit what’s left over if anything when my wife and I pass on.

    1. Dick Wright Posted on March 23, 2019 at 2:44 pm

      Hello Glen….Thanks for your positive comments. I have to agree with you. We only live once, lets have the best life possible. When my day comes, I’m not going to have any regrets. Thank you so much for reading my story.

  8. Tolu Posted on March 23, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    Sincerely, I enjoyed every bit of this story. It is quite inspiring. You have a dream, and despite some challenges, you never give up until you got it. hearing of your story from a van owner to a proud owner of a 40 ft class A diesel pusher is quite encouraging.  I have heard of the RV and its many fascinating features. it is strong, roomy,  fuel economical and the parts as I was told are available. I wish you all the best. 

    1. Dick Wright Posted on March 23, 2019 at 2:33 pm

      Hello Tolu…Thank you for reading my story. Your comments make it all worth while. I hope to write more personal stories about my travels and life in the future. I hope you come back and check it out. Thanks again

  9. Chidiking88 Posted on March 23, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Wow! Beautiful story about your Motohome  adventures with your family. Your story is inspiring. 

    Aside camping purposes, a person, couple or family spending days on an endless road trip must consider getting a motorhome. I always nurtured the dream of buying a little camper, and get to wake up every morning with a gorgeous view which is amazing, every day, and save a ton of money like having not to worry about homeowners or renters insurance. You don’t have to pay utility bills, property taxes, or the upkeep that goes along with homeownership.

    However, the major challenge I see here is that if one is not careful enough in planning the Motohome thing, your fuel bill may increase and without careful planning you might have to spend more nights at an RV campground, whose fees are much higher than state parks.

    I will always come back from time to time to check out on your new personal experiences and research on new innovative products available to the modern RV owner.

    1. Dick Wright Posted on March 23, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      Hi…I am so happy you enjoyed my story. There is a new way of life taking hold in North America called RV Nomads. These adventurous people live full time in their Rv’s and follow the warm weather around while visiting the sites. They stay on Government land for almost free and create Tribes of these homes on wheels to travel and stay with. You can follow them on Utube and decide if that lifestyle might be for you. Thanks again for your kind remarks.

  10. Steph Posted on March 25, 2019 at 10:03 pm

    Great story! Love the personal touch while still providing good information. I look forward to your next post!

    1. admin Posted on March 28, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks again for your kind words Steph

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