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For Sale...The Start of a Dream

by Connie O'Donnell

In October of 2001, we spotted a nice looking 1986 Winnebago with a "For Sale" sign in the window, test drove it a bit, exclaimed it was in "great shape" and wrote a check. The seller smiled widely. We should have known then......

The white and brown 1986 Winnebago Le Sharo sat in a grocery store parking lot in Florida with "For Sale" signs taped to every window. We'd been talking about getting one, but didn't want to spend a lot on something we might not use. I hesitated to look inside. Some of the used RVs are a little too avocado green, harvest gold, burnt orange and dark fake wood tones, but this one was not too offensive, so we called the number on the sign. The owner was close by, and came over immediately to give us the grand tour. It looked well kept and the price was So, we took a spin, learned the ins and outs, and were presented with two huge binders which were titled Winnebago "Le Sharo" Repair Manuals #1 and #2. This should have been a clue. They looked a little dog eared and worn. We wrote a check. It was ours. Cool.

The owner dropped it by our place the next day. Tom, my husband, asked how the awning operated and the guy attempted to show him. One can of WD40, a hammer, screwdriver, and 30 minutes later, it was lowered and then back up again, and the former owner drove off...quickly.

We wouldn't have to use the awning, right?

Two days later, the RV outfitted with a new set of nesting pots and pans, plastic dishes and utensils, sleeping bags, etc. etc. etc., we were on our way back to Kentucky. I kept the tapes going in the Jensen cassette player, fetched cold drinks from the cooler between the seats, and read the road map. We made plans for all the wonderful trips we could take, all the scenery we would see, campfires, sunrises... you get the picture.

It began to grow dark. We were just north of Atlanta by then and I located Red Top Mountain State Park on the map and we made that our destination. We found the most remote campsite imaginable, not another human being in sight. Awesome. I got out, motioned Tom back into the gravel parking pad, but not so far that he'd back into the lake. I continued motioning, but he had stopped, and soon he jumped out yelling "it's overheating!" Smoke was pouring out from under the hood. Checking out the situation, all we could do was stand by and watch water and antifreeze pour from the hole in the radiator hose. Not cool.

Thank goodness for cell phones. Walking around among the trees, trying to line himself up with a tower, Tom made a call.

Feeling proud of himself, he said "they are sending a mobile repair truck in the morning, so we'll just leave a little later than planned."

Now, this is a big thing for Tom to say this. Being a Type A personality, schedules are very important to him. I, however, am a Type Z or whatever. So we made dinner, played UNO on our little dinette table/bed, and slept like babies.

The next morning, we walked to the lake, fed the squirrels, read, and it was at least 11 am before Tom began to look at his watch. Finally the mobile truck found us. I kept busy reading, but kept peeking over my book, watching "Buddy" and "Larry" look over the engine, while Tom looked over their shoulders. I could tell that Larry did all the work, because the only tool I saw Buddy touch was the comb he used on his blond ducktail.

Tom walked over to me and said "they have to go back to the shop to get some parts and they'll be back."

14 games of UNO, 5 diet cokes, and 2 bags of chips later (wish we'd stocked the pantry better), Buddy and Larry returned. Larry worked under the hood, and Buddy combed his hair again, and talked to Tom. They handed us the bill, we wrote the check, they drove away, and we were off again.

There was lots of backpatting and high fiving as we were on our way home, problem solved and not too far off our time schedule. be continued (and you know it's not going to be good, right?)

Previous Special Features can be found in the archives.

Connie O'Donnell and her recently retired husband Tom, spend summers in Kentucky in a cabin on the river and winters in sunny Florida. Connie admits that they have become pretty impulsive, and that some of those decisions have "worked" and some...okay...MANY... have not. It's the "have nots" that are the more interesting stories!

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