The Big Kahuna Has Been Sold!

As we mentioned in our To The Keys post and December Report we accepted an offer and received a deposit from a potential buyer on the last day of 2016.  Having been down this road before with our first motorhome, we didn’t feel the sale was in the bag until the full payment was received, and so a few days into January I flew up to Central Florida to meet the buyer and finalize the sale.  Dad picked me up at the Orlando airport, and shortly there after I was pulling Kahuna out of his storage site and maneuvering him into a tight, full hook up spot within Wekiva Falls RV Resort, the task made rather difficult since it was dark, the park employee took me in the wrong direction, and the back up camera, like much of the 12 volt system, is not working until new house batteries are installed.

Hooking Kahuna up the night before meeting the buyer would allow me to go through the systems and make sure there were no surprises, as well as allow the potential buyer to see the rig connected.  I could walk him through everything so he would not just having to take my word for it that what I claimed worked did, in fact, do so.  Plus, I could spend one last night in the bus that had started us on our full time RV adventure.

The next morning I continued checking the systems and cleaning up while I awaited the arrival of the buyer, James, who was driving down all the way from Tallahassee with his dad.  Shortly before noon they made it in, and I conducted a two hour show and tell for them, including a test drive around the RV park.  While James does not have truck or old diesel experience, he is in construction and seems a bit more suited to taking on Kahuna than I was, and his dad seemed pretty knowledgeable about mechanics.

I have tried to be as honest as possible with all of The Big Kahuna’s potential buyers about the problems that still exist with the rig, wanting someone to go into the purchase with eyes wide open and prepared to deal with the challenges of owning a 54 year old bus; with something this old and complicated there will always be surprises.  But after our two hour walk through, James confirmed he wanted to make the purchase and called his bank to execute the transfer of money.  A few minutes later, and after handling some paperwork, he was off for the five hour drive back to the panhandle.  And so that’s it, right?  Sale complete, new owner starting his adventures, everyone is happy.

Of course not.  This is, after all, The Big Kahuna, and it wouldn’t be fun without drama. Within half an hour the new owner was texting about the brake lights, which didn’t seem to be working.  That was a new one on me, but I recommended he try them with the headlights on and he continued towards home, his dad following behind.  Two hours later the texts were of a much more excited, even panicky tone, as he couldn’t get Kahuna into top gear.  This one we had gone over, how the transmission gearing had been changed out by the previous owner, and now it was too “tall,” i.e., it had higher top end speed but sacrificed torque and power, and often had trouble getting into top gear if you were not on a downhill.  Our perceptions of grade are not nearly as accurate as we like to think; often it is very tough to see if you were really on a mild down or uphill run, but The Big Kahuna would let you know.  We exchanged a series of texts, but he was highly agitated about the transmission, and though I suspected it was the usual problem, it had me worried as well since it has just been rebuilt at great expense.

And frankly, we have been in his shoes, struggling to get the bus to a destination, light fading fast, and out of our depth.  I did my best to walk him through everything I knew, including that he had a set of less tall gears in the spare parts bins under the bus, and hoping that after he got home safe he would have a chance to decompress and accept the challenges he faced with renewed vigor.  Sure enough, a few hours later I got a text that was more optimistic in tone, though cautiously so.  I promised I would not disappear, and was standing by to provide any information I could via text, email or phone call.  Since then we have exchanged a few more texts, and he seems to have a handle on things.  We wish James the best of luck in continuing to improve The Big Kahuna, and taking his family on many adventures in him.

24 Months Fulltiming: December 2016 Report

We seem to finally be at the point where we stay mostly caught up on this blog; this is two months in a row in which the end of month report is only a week after the last day.  With our lengthy stay in Key West just started, we anticipate being up to day for at least the rest of the winter.

The Distance: 791 miles, which is pretty substantial considering we stayed in one state!  But bouncing around Florida from the southern Gulf Coast to Central Florida and then all the way down to Key West tends to put some mileage on the odometer.  We finished 2016 with an interesting 9,999 miles, barely missing 10K.

The Places:  We ran a jagged upside down “U” (Ohm? Omega?) across the state, starting with our last couple of days at Periwinkle RV Campground on Sanibel Island.  We backtracked south to Club Naples RV Resort to attend two more markets in Naples, then headed up the coast to drop Serenity off at Campbell RV in Sarasota for repairs to the electrical system while we stayed with Gloria and Bill in Venice.  Then it was a night in Oscar Scherer State Park before moving north and inland for a full week stay at one of our favorites, Trimble County Park near Mount Dora.  Unable to extend in Trimble, we moved a few miles down the road to Kelly Park near Rock Springs Run for five days before celebrating Christmas week in Wekiva Falls RV Resort with my dad and step mom.  Then we bolted south, stopping for a night below Miami before continuing on to Sigsbee RV Campground on the Key West Naval Air Station.

We had full hook ups for 12 days, electric/water connections for 13, dry camped for 4 (ending a four month streak of no dry camping,) and stayed with relatives for 2.   and stayed in relatives houses for 8.  We were in private campgrounds for 12 days, public parks for 13 (12 county, 1 state), military facilities for 3, a parking lot for 1, and with the aforementioned relatives for 2.

The Budget:   We squeaked under our monthly budget by 1/2 a percent!  With the large number of unusual expenses that came due for us in December (medical bills, Serenity’s repair bill, our annual mail forwarding service renewal, etc) combined with Christmas shopping and higher than average campground fees, we were only able to get under budget because of our robust farmers market schedule.  And while only five of the seven events at which we sold were successful, it was enough to keep us on track, and resulted in us being almost exactly on budget for the year as well.

The Drama:  Nothing really substantial, other than a loosening right front windshield seal that will need some proper attention beyond the temporary tape solution if we want to keep the water out.

The Improvements:  Our 12 volt and 50 amp shore power problems were fixed by Campbell RV, who also rewound our awning spring, charged up our AC, and unstuck our water filter housing.  We anticipate another round of (hopefully) minor repairs once we leave Key West in March.  Oh yeah, we have a buyer for The Big Kahuna, and have received a deposit.  I hope to report on a successful transaction in the coming days.

Next post we will sum up our 2016 RV adventures, with bests and worsts in several categories, and of course, more stats.

All of our monthly reports, as well as our first full year report, 2015 in Review, are linked below.

2016 Reports:

2015 in Review