Our Experience Selling A Used Camper

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that we love to camp.  We spend about 25 nights per year camping.  We’ve only done Michigan state campgrounds.  Luckily they are pretty great places to camp.  Well, after seven seasons of camping in our old camper, we decided to upgrade!  This all actually took place last year, but I wanted to wait to tell the stories.  Why? Well, it seemed more exciting to talk about selling our used camper and buying a new one at the start of a new season rather than at the end of an old one.

I’ll talk about our new camper in an upcoming post.  For now, here’s the highs and lows that came with selling our camper.

Deciding To Sell

We bought our previous camper at the end of 2011.  We didn’t use it until 2012.  The first year definitely had some learning curves.  But we learned a lot and fell in love with camping.  We kept it for seven years and had some great times.  However, we started talking seriously last year about upgrading.  Why?

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When Other People Make It Look Easy

Fairly soon, we’ll be heading on our third camping trip of the season.  I’m a little bit nervous because we are going to the same campground where the big awning blowoff of 2012 took place, and I’m definitely a little skittish about returning to the scene of the crime.   But, it’s a great campground and I’m hoping this time is a little less adventuresome.  We’ll see.

I had to share a story about our last trip, which took place earlier this month.  We stayed at another one of our favorite campgrounds, this being our fourth visit (two before we bought the camper, and one last year).  We had a great time but what stuck out were the people on either side of me.

They both blew me away!  So much so that after the trip was done, I commented to Mrs. Beagle that I was sure glad that these people hadn’t been my neighbors on my first trip, for they made things look amazing easy!

On our left

The people to the left of us arrived a day or so after we did.  We were out so we didn’t see the setup, but we returned to our campsite to find that they were all setup, with a big camper and a boat on top of it.  As the week unfolded, I was absolutely astonished.  The campers consisted of a dad and his three young children (7,5, and 3).  I had a conversation with him and he did reference his wife, but she wasn’t there.

These kids were so well behaved you barely heard a peep out of them (the 3 year old got picked on a few times and would cry, but that was it!).

He took the kids out on the boat for the entire day multiple times, and would return to take care of dinner.  The kids would sleep in (or at least stay in the camper) until past 10 in the morning.

For us, we had two adults and we only had two kids, yet it always feels a little more frantic….and there’s no way I could have handled a boat on top of everything.  This guy made it look easy.

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Why It’s Very Often Important To Follow A Routine

I wrote a few posts last year about various misadventures we had when it came to our new (to us) camper, and the first season of camping.

I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that we already had our first misadventure, and it was a full month before our first scheduled trip!  Yikes.

One of the things that I found is important with the camper is to follow my checklist.  I have a checklist that I created and modified which has a step-by-step walkthrough.  It’s on two sides of a piece of paper, one side for when we ‘arrive’ at a campsite and one for when we ‘leave’.  The list applies not just at campsites, but pretty much anywhere we would arrive or leave with the camper.

Including our driveway.

The checklist is great, and my mother-in-law printed it out for us with two sides, on a piece of bright yellow paper which she then laminated.  And gave me an extra copy, which has come in handy as I’ve misplaced a copy more than once (though the missing copy has always turned up).

At the end of April, we decided to pull it out from winter storage (next to my in-laws house), and take it to our house, where I then went through de-winterizing, washing, and waxing, while my wife cleaned the interior, the dishes, bedding, and all that.  It pretty much got us ready for our first trip.

When I brought it home, I got it backed into the driveway almost flawlessly.  Last years first attempt was quite lively, with me taking at least ten tries to get it into the driveway, cars in the vicinity, all while a special needs neighbor kid was having a meltdown on a nearby front yard.  This year, backing in was much less eventful and there were no complications, except for the fact that it was raining.

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Reviewing Our Major To Do Items From 2012

Last year I wrote about the major things we wanted to get done around the house, and just recently stumbled across it, so I thought it would be a good idea to check in on how things fell for last year’s list, and spell out a few of the things I want to get done this year.

This is our 2012 In Review

  • Tree Removal in the backyardDONE – I had this taken care of in March last year, right after a spell of warm weather that made it easy enough to do.  The tree had to come down in pieces, as it was hanging over the deck and there was no clear path anywhere else that wouldn’t have put houses, play structures, or other trees (that belonged to the neighbors) at risk.  I also had three other trees on the smaller side taken out, as I wanted a big open area where the kids could play.  We also had the stumps ground, and I took it upon myself to level off the areas, backfill them, and seed them.  It turned out great.  It also had the side benefit of giving the yard a lot more sun, so the grass back there thrived, so much that it used to get to the point where I could skip most of the backyard every other cut, but this past year the backyard produced the most clippings of anywhere on our property.  And, we still have over 30 trees back there, so we still have plenty of trees (and leaves to rake in the fall).
  • MulchingDONE –  I didn’t have this on the list but I realized it needed to be done. The benefit was that the tree trimmer used his chipper to turn our cut-down trees into mulch.  Usually the mulch I need costs a couple of hundred dollars, so although the tree trimming was pretty expensive, having the cost of mulch offset was a nice benefit.
  • Replace the dishwasherNOT DONE – Our dishwasher developed a small leak that I was alerted to by a beeping water sensor I’d place underneath for that purpose.  I figured that meant the end of the dishwasher, but I instead found that the leak is very small (probably less than a quarter cup during each cycle) and has not gotten any worse since discovering it over a year ago.  I slid the lid of an unused storage bin on the floor.  This catches the water, and the fact that it’s such a small amount plus the heat generated from a normal load, combines to evaporate the leak very quickly.  It’s a patch, for sure, but to look at it from the front, you’d never know there was anything wrong.
  • Re-landscape the area between the front of the garage and the front walkway DONE – We have a side entrance garage so there were overgrown bushes between the front of the house and the walkway to the front porch.  They made the pathway smaller and smaller, even with regular trimmings, and in the winter they got caked in snow, which would later fall right onto the sidewalk.  I hated the bushes and wanted them gone.  I actually had the guy that trimmed the trees rip them out of the ground for an extra few bucks.  The area stayed bare most of the year, but in my mind that even looked better than the ugly bushes.  Finally, at the end of fall, I had someone come and do some tasteful decorations.  A small batch of ornamental grass is on one end.  There are two juniper bushes which flank a few little rose bushes n the middle.  We haven’t seen it yet for a full season, but it should hopefully look good and last a long time.
  • Re-paint the deckDID NOT DO – We put it off another year.
  • Replace the kitchen sinkDID NOT DO – We’re still using the same, cruddy, chipped white porcelain sink.

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Camping Misadventures 2012 The Final Chapter And Wrapup

After all the various adventures in the first and second posts about our adventures in owning a camper (actually, a trailer), I wasn’t sure how many more adventures we could take.

Luckily, things by and large settled down after that.  We did a couple of more trips, but everything went….smooth.

A little too smooth.

So, I knew there would be a big bomb at some point, and there was.  Just turns out it was a bomb to the pocketbook.

Having never had it looked at professionally, I wanted to take it in to get winteriezed, and also asked them to check everything over to make sure that there were no glaring problems that I would miss but that the pros would catch.

I had a hunch about one of the items that I worry about anyways: The roof.  The roof is pretty much the first thing to go in most campers, because its the point where water can get in, and water is pretty much the death knell for campers.  Every time it rains, a little piece of me wonders what is going on with our camper, and wondering if there’s dripping going on anywhere.

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Camping Misadventures 2012 Part One

We bought ourselves a camper last fall, but didn’t use it until this year, as it was past the time where camping usually takes place.  Still, getting it in the fall allowed us to get it a little cheaper and also meant we didn’t fight with others interested in purchasing it since demand was low in the off-season.

It’s been an adventure learning all the ins and outs of our camper (or technically, a trailer, since it’s a 23′ travel trailer).

Hooking Up

I remember when we were purchasing the camper, my father-in-law was helping (in other words, doing everything) and I was watching all the steps involved with hooking it up and thought I’ll never be able to do this.  Well, after a couple of tries with everything I got it right.  Now, I have a checklist that I work from but from hitch to hooking up the brakes, it works.

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We Did It! We Bought A Camper!

Last month (I can’t believe it’s been almost a month already) I revealed that we were thinking about buying a camper.

I’m proud to say that we finally did!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures because we basically got it and parked it for the winter, but I am sure that I’ll have lots of pictures to share once we start going on trips next year.

We had initially considered purchasing a pop-up camper simply because it looked like it would afford us a good camper at a good price.  One of those was definitely in our price range, but when we started thinking about it, we ended up going a different direction.

We ended up going with a travel trailer.  It’s a 23 foot Jayco Feather, from 2004.  The camper itself was in impeccible condition.  Everything looked new and the mechanics all seemed to be in order.  Jayco is built very sturdy so we had pretty much narrowed it down to wanting one of those.

Read moreWe Did It! We Bought A Camper!