Sunday, March 30, 2014

Whoa, Nellie!

I wrote last month about looking at motorhomes and attempting to put an offer in to purchase one and have it bought out from under us. Well, the first offer fell through and we were offered first dibs on the motorhome. So, we dove right in and purchased the 40ft. diesel pusher bunkhouse we now affectionately call "Nellie".

Nellie resided in Florida, Matt drove from Ocala to Tampa when he and Chloe were in Florida for Chloe's kart race in February. He first saw her in a downpour and she hadn't been cleaned or serviced. The original owners were just moving their stuff out and into their new motorhome.

We had looked at enough RV's at this point to narrow it down to what we wanted--a bunkhouse for the kids--and we had narrowed it down to the Winnebago brand after walking through many of their motorhomes.

Nellie fit the bill nicely. But, in the time that Matt left the RV dealer and talked with me on the phone about the motorhome, someone else swooped in and made an offer. Used, diesel bunkhouse motorhomes are hard to come by (that's one reason why we were looking in Florida), especially when you rule out one of the manufacturers who build bunkhouse models because we didn't like their floor plan/layout.

It was back to square one. Maybe we would wait another year.

Then, a week later we get a message from the dealership that the deal wasn't going to go through and did we want to buy Nellie?

We sure did!

We made the deal and officially purchased Nellie at the end of February. Since we were all planning on going to Chloe's next race in Florida, we made arrangements to fly to Tampa, take possession of Nellie and go through all the training and then drive her from Tampa to Orlando and camp in Nellie at the track for the race and then drive her back to NY.

The two weeks between closing on Nellie and actually taking possession had us excited but also worried that we hoped she was as nice as Matt thought she was. He had after all seen the motorhome when she was dirty and in the pouring rain. Ugh, we might have made a very large mistake with this very large purchase.

The 15th of March was Matt's birthday, we celebrated at home with the kids and then with a date night. Three days later, all five of us were on a plane headed to pick up Matt's birthday present, Nellie!
Chloe wrapping one of Matt's smaller birthday presents.

We landed, had to wait for the airline to tell us they forgot to put Emma Claire's car seat on the flight (thanks Un*ited for helping us feel like we made the right choice in buying a motorhome so we could lessen the amount we fly)  and wait for them to dig out a car seat we could use in the meantime (It took them 2 days after we arrived to get our car seat to us from NJ to Florida--two days. I feel sorry for the two guys whose golf clubs got misplaced with our car seat). We picked up our rental car and headed straight for Nellie.

The RV dealership we purchased her from is enormous. They sell a massive amount of RVs and motorhomes. The place is so large you have to travel by golf cart to see all the RVs and motorhomes in stock.
Going to get Nellie.

Oliver, Matt and Chloe riding out to where Nellie was parked. Emma Claire and I followed in the rental car.
Since the paperwork had already been done, we just had to inspect Nellie and go through our training. Our trainer took us out to where Nellie was parked, in the customer campground. And there she was....

She was clean, serviced and pretty impressive.

Matt made a good choice. She was nice.

Nellie at the service bays.

The kids claimed their bunks, we had our training on all the mechanicals and maintenance. We did our walk-thru for any items that needed to be fixed (there were a couple) and then we went to lunch while the minor repairs were made.
The kids love the bunkbeds with drop down TVs. Nellie has 5 TVs inside and one TV on the outside. I think that will do.

After lunch, the repairs and the tank was filled we hit the road for Orlando. Oliver, Chloe and Matt were in Nellie and I followed in the rental car with Emma Claire.

We set up camp at the Orlando track and headed out to grocery shop for the week and buy some Nellie necessities, like bedding, towels and toilet paper.

We spent 5 nights camping in Nellie at the track and we really enjoyed the experience and are looking forward to all the trips we will have with Nellie.
The kids on the drive back home.
Kicking my feet up and looking out Nellie's large windscreen at the Florida highway. I was actually the hostess on the trip, serving coffee, cereal, snacks and dinner.

After the race weekend came to a close on Sunday, we headed out of town to make our way back to NY. The kids were fully entertained and fed on the 19 hour drive back. Matt did the majority of the driving (17 hours) and I took over for two hours (maybe I made Matt a little nervous driving Nellie, she is a BIG girl). We stopped in NC overnight to sleep and made it back home on Monday evening.

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