Out for a walk beside the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading to Nova Scotia around August 1st.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Big news... we bought another motorhome!

Anybody who follows our facebook page already knows this because I posted a photo four days ago and it is probably our most "liked" facebook post ever! But, I didn't provide any details. So here is the whole story...

We had sold our European motorhome Max last August. We're not done with Europe by any means, but Europe is easy to do by motorhome, so our plan is to put that off until we're in our 70's.

And this past winter, we did what we call "senior backpacking" while we traveled central and SE Asia. While we really enjoyed the trip, and we will do those types of trips again in the future, we really missed our favorite style of travel... by motorhome!

And we've been missing Mexico. We haven't been there since Covid began in March of 2020, more than four years ago. We were planning on flying there this fall, but decided to look for a motorhome instead. If we found the right motorhome, we would also take it further south.... into Central America, and if we're still happy with it, we will ship it to South America and explore there for a couple of years.

So, what did we buy?

It's a 1993 Airstream B190, built into a Ford E350 van body and chassis. With a huge 7.5 liter (460 cu in) engine. 19.5' long.

He doesn't have a name yet, but we have some ideas.

We were in England when Kelly from The Bayfield Bunch sent me a FB Marketplace ad for this vehicle. She and Al are always keeping their eyes open for RV's, despite the fact that they are somewhat limited to use one right now. She knew that we were in the market, and asked if I thought this one was a good deal. The asking price was $20,000 CAD ($14,600 USD) and it had 126.000 miles (201,000 kms) on the odometer. The odometer is in miles because this was a U.S. production vehicle originally from Tennessee that had been imported into Canada after the fact.

I was a little bit familiar with the Airstream B190 model since I had already inquired about one that was located in Mexico City. (That deal fell apart). The B190 was produced by Airstream for ten years between 1989-1999. They produced 1,393 of them in total.

Here is the original Airstream B190 brochure for the 1993 model...

They are now considered a sought after classic that has an almost cult like following. In fact, there is a FB group with over 2,000 members where owners and wannabees share fix up ideas.

Since Kelly and Al like to look at motorhomes for sale, it didn't take much to talk them into going to look at this one for us. It was located about an hour drive south from them, near the city of London, Ontario. They are experienced RV'ers, and Al likes to take photos... so they set off to have a look at it for us.

They got back to me with a plethora of detailed photographs... enough that it was almost like me being there to look at it myself! (Great job, thanks guys!)

Only one problem... the van was in generally "rough" condition.

These vans are worth about $25,000 CAD ($18,300 USD) in good shape. This one was not in good shape. It was mechanically sound though, and the body is totally rust free. But the official Ontario safety inspection hadn't been done yet, and she was saying she was selling it "as is". 

But it looked like crap. The woman had done absolutely nothing to clean it up for sale, and the exterior obviously hasn't been washed in the two years she owned it. Pretty sure nothing in the interior had been cleaned during that time either. It was a mess.

A good day spent cleaning would add $1,000 in value right there!

But, there was nothing that scared me off... for the right selling price.

And, her communication was terrible. On June 3rd, I had asked her what it needed for a safety. Never heard back from her until June 12, when she asked if I was still interested in buying it. I told her I had pretty much given up on her. She told me that her mechanic said that it doesn't need anything obvious for the safety. But I told her nobody is going to buy it without the official certificate... there's just too much risk.

So she agreed to get the safety done. Of course all this was happening during our ten day hike, and I was trying to arrange it so that if I made an offer and she accepted it, we could pick it up when we flew into Toronto on the 27th. Our life is a logistical nightmare... LOL.

She got the safety done on the 24th. It needed nothing except some minor wiring repairs for one light. 

So, with that de-risking, I was prepared to make an offer. But it sure as heck wasn't going to be anywhere near her $20,000 asking price.

I offered her $13,000 CAD ($9,500 USD) and explained why. I mean, I think she knew that it wasn't worth $20,000, but I also think that maybe she paid that much when she bought it two years ago during Covid, and was just trying to get her money back. Given the condition, she didn't try very hard! She said she only put 2,000 miles on it during the two years she had it.

She said that she already had an offer of $15,000. I thought she was bluffing (and I wouldn't have gone that high anyhow), and told her that she should take it. I also told her my offer was valid until the 27th, should her supposed $15,000 offer not come together.

The next afternoon, she accepted my offer, saying that the other person had bought something else.

I'm happy with the deal we got. We always had visions of driving something to South America that is in great mechanical condition, but doesn't stand out as being new or fancy. This definitely fits the bill. I've already driven it 700 kms (430 miles) and it drives really nice... like you're sitting on your living room couch.

But, it needs a lot of work, and we haven't even got into checking things like the fridge, hot water heater, oven and stove, propane system. My original thinking was that we might have to put $3,500 plus my time and effort into it to fix it up to the way we want it with solar panels, batteries, etcetera. Now, I'm thinking it can actually be done for less than that. But even if we spend another $3,500, it will still put us well below what I think it will be worth when we're done. It will be an interesting and fun summer project for us!

Our first meal in the new motorhome... Tim Horton's chili takeout!

Of course I'll be sharing all the details of repairs and upgrades as we go through the summer!

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Toshiba 75" TV. Great deal!

And in Canada...

8 comments:

  1. It has a good amount of counter space!

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    1. It does have a a fair bit of counter space, definitely a lot more that what Sherman ever had, I am going to enjoy that.

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  2. Good morning. I m confused . How are you hiking in another country and then on July 3 be sitting in your newly purchased motorhome in Canda? You wrote Al went to look at it in Canada

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    1. I guess you must have missed where Kevin mentioned that we are trying to catch up on our posts from the last couple of weeks. While we were hiking we couldn't post any blogs for 10 or 11 days. Our hike officially ended on Sunday June 23rd and that is when Kevin started to write our backlog of posts. We have been on the move since June 24th as we made our way back to Canada. We arrived in Canada June 27th and picked up the motorhome on June 28th.

      Al is another blog writer that we know and they live in the London area and he and his wife went and checked out this motorhome while we were hiking in Albania and sent us the pictures and their thoughts on the unit. We made the deal with the owner to buy the unit even before we left Albania. There will be more posts to catch everyone up on what has been happening over the past week or so.

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    2. Thanks Ruth. Kevin explaned in email. I know the Bayfield bunch well. congratulations

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  3. I am officially jealous. We have been without a motorhome since covid and as you know nestled into house life. We do talk about getting something next year for a planned trip to Ontario from Alberta and maybe some other future unknown trips. I can definately see the advantage of your unit for the narrow streets of Mexico and beyond. Jeannie and i are looking forward to reading of your future ventures.

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    1. Well hopefully we have given you some inspiration to start looking for something for you both for next year. It would be nice for you both to be able to get away and do a bit of traveling and if you are planning on coming back to Ontario for a visit, having a motorhome is certainly the more economical way to do it, especially now with the pricing of accommodations here.

      We are looking forward to getting back to Mexico as well. We still have a long list of places that we still want to see there and then a whole pile more adventures if we do continue to head further south after that.

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  4. I am so excited for you two and really look forward to seeing the work you put into it as well as more interior photos! Sounds like a really fun plan. We miss Mexico too, and also left there in March of 2020 and haven't been back since. I also miss some aspects of RVing, though I have heard and read that things have changed a lot since the pandemic, at least here in the US (campgrounds much more expensive, hard to get in without reservations, more crowded etc.), which dampens my enthusiasm for getting back into that. Never say never, though! For now, we're enjoying our house, woods, and gardens, but perhaps the travel bug will bite us again at some point. In the meantime, I'll continue enjoying following your many adventures!

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