Since we have made our way to a new chapter at 12mph.com, it’s time to change the photo in our header to reflect our home base. Here is the photo that we’re now using:
I made this photo at the top of Steptoe Butte on July 1, 2020, which was Steve’s birthday last year. We packed a lunch that included peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and drove to the parking lot at the top of the butte. We sat in the truck and soaked up these magnificent views. It was a VERY windy day and chilly for mid-summer. The clouds were brooding as one can see in the photo. The mountains in the distance are the beginning of the Rocky Mountains of Idaho. These are located in the Clearwater National Forest. A popular one for us is Moscow Mountain, which is a 25 minute drive from our home in Pullman.
The Palouse (pronounced Pa-Loos) Hills Region of the Northwest encompasses parts of Southeastern Washington, North Central Idaho, and Northeastern Oregon. Beneath the rolling hills that one sees is basalt rock . The area is known for its agriculture, which includes wheat, barley, chickpeas, and other legumes. The soil is of loess (pronounce lus like the “u” in luck).
In our short experience of just a year of residing here, each season on the Palouse provides a unique patchwork quilt appearance. In spring we have brilliant greens of new crops growing and yellows from blooming rapeseed. By summer, we move into a variety of greens depending on the crop variety and the blonde of winter wheat ready to be harvested. By late summer harvest is in full swing (although this year, the drought and excessive heat brought harvest earlier), so the patchwork has many tans, gold, and browns. Over winter, textures seem to take precedence with stubble and pronounced parallel lines of crop furrows left from harvest providing interest as well as occasional snow blanketing the hills and valleys. Of course, clouds and wildfire smoke can make for a moodier looking landscape.
We have been blessed with living in the Midwest, along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies, and now embracing the Palouse Region of the Inland Northwest.
May you have beauty wherever you live or hang your hat!
More “Cha-cha-cha-changes”! Let’s talk about the truck in this post. While the RV dealer in Lewiston offered a good price within the NADA value range, the timing was off. We didn’t have a second car, making it awkward to sell without a trade-in.
One thing we did know was that our 2016 Ford F-350 a.k.a. “AZ IF the Truck” was filthy and not how we would like to present it for sale or trade-in. Three days after we sold the trailer, Steve had set out all the supplies to clean the exterior of the truck. This 2016 Ford F-350 never saw an automatic car wash due to its size. Steve had committed to a process that worked. Last Tuesday, we went to the manual car wash in Pullman and spent two hours cleaning the exterior and vacuuming the carpet. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, we spent nine hours of added detailing: waxing, spot cleaning a few spots on the carpet, treating the leather upholstery, and cleaning the truck bed, wheels, and tires.
Determining Selling and Buying Strategy
Like we did with the trailer, we went to NADA and for vehicles, CarFax, to determine the value range for the truck. Pre-owned heavy duty trucks are in high demand due to low supply. Thankfully, this would work to our advantage. Plus, for a truck that was nearly six years old, it had 57,400 miles, making it a nice selling feature. Having a King Ranch model with a higher SnugTop topper and Rhino Linings bed liner added more selling attributes.
On the buyer side of the scenario, we researched towing capacity on various sizes of SUVs. We also wanted the SUV to have a towing package instead of adding it later. We’ve followed Auto Trader and searched dealer websites for SUVs. The local dealerships are Toyota, Ford/Lincoln, Chevy/GMC, and Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep. We’ve had Jess Ford in Pullman service the truck on several occasions as well as our first truck when we were visiting Jeremy and Michelle in 2018. Because we’ve been acquainted with Toyota the longest, we first went to Toyota of Pullman to test drive a new Highlander. Next we went to Jess Ford to drive a pre-owned Explorer. They had no new ones available. Admittedly, both dealers were quite low on inventory; and, we knew that inventory challenges were everywhere. As we weighed our options, we decided to negotiate on a trade-in with Toyota. We were pleased with the resulting price that reflected the NADA range for a trade-in.
On Friday, August 27, we bid the truck farewell and drove away in a 2021 Toyota Highlander that had just 10 miles on the odometer. We are pleased to own Toyota again. The Highlander is our 11th Toyota over a 41-year time span. (Our first was a 1974 Toyota Corolla that we bought in 1977. Our most recent was a 2016 Toyota Rav4, purchased in 2013). Once home, we reorganized the garage so it fits into the garage. We’ve not had a vehicle in a garage since our first home in Denver.
Needless to say, it’s been a head-spinning three weeks following three months of a pace that practically gave us whiplash between looking for our next home to rent, needing to leave the condo on short notice due to mold, taking refuge in the trailer, road tripping to visit family and friends, moving into the townhouse, selling the trailer, and trading in the truck!
All in all, we are beyond grateful that we had a trusty Ford F-350 that really was a workhorse and towed the Nash 26N without effort up mountain passes. This truck was our second one and purchased when we were stranded in Richfield, Utah. It’s given us nearly 20,000 miles since then. The timing worked out wonderfully for it to become an important part of our full-time RVing and our primary vehicle after those adventures. Now we will enjoy an SUV, riding lower to the ground, and finding it much easier to get in and out of it.
NOTE: The frequency of posts to 12mph.com will likely slow. I really wanted to get our experiences this summer “journaled” onto our blog.
We’re “Living Retirement Life at the Speed of Sanity” taking walks around Pullman, sipping coffee in coffee shop courtyards, and binging on TV series.
Okay, I’m really not trying to confuse everyone! Some may wonder, “What’s with all of the recent posts?” My time has been spent elsewhere, except for writing notes, I’ve not had time to actually sit down and finalize several posts.
As we approached our one-year milepost in Pullman back in May of this year, we were already having conversations about whether we saw ourselves full-time RVing. We absolutely LOVED our full-time travels, yet we were leaning more towards not resuming them. Our discussion points included:
The size of both the truck and trailer.
The expense of a large diesel truck, which as our only vehicle, basically was used around town or on a few jaunts.
The potential of camping several weeks to a couple of months instead of full-time does sound fun since we have a home base.
A large truck and trailer make it difficult to quickly load and go.
A smaller vehicle that could tow up to 5,000 pounds might be the route to go. There are lighter and smaller travel trailers that might fit the bill.
On our July 21-22 round-trip to Portland, Oregon to get our IKEA furniture, we created more of a viable strategy based on late summer and the traditional camping season approaching its end.
There has been a very strong demand for RVs since the pandemic began in spring of 2020. Pre-owned supply of RVs is in high demand. How could we step into the pre-owned market as sellers? We were quickly approaching August and it was time to have regular servicing of the trailer. Plus, some surface rust had formed on the trailer tongue that was visually distracting.
The strategy unfolded. Our 2018 Nash 26N was built by Northwood Manufacturing in LeGrande, Oregon. We knew that their products have a strong market in the Pacific Northwest and that their products tend to hold their value. Using Northwood’s website, I searched for Northwood dealers near us. (We had purchased the Nash at D&D RV Center in Helena, Montana, but due to the distance, it was too far to consider). Travelland RV in Lewiston, Idaho is about 45 minutes from Pullman. I scheduled regular service with them, which included packing the wheel bearings and a thorough inspection of all the trailer systems, appliances, chassis, roof, seams, and axles. The thought was perhaps being a Northwood dealer, they may be interested in purchasing our Nash. RV dealers, like auto dealers, have busy service departments, so an appointment was three weeks away.
The Trailer’s Tongue Project “Went Without a Hitch”
In the meantime, we began researching how to clean up the surface rust and apply a rust protector on the tongue. Fortunately, a dear friend works for Rusto-leum and had given us some suggestions. With YouTube, Steve found a good process for tackling the tongue project that didn’t require a Hazmat outfit or extraordinary expense. We supported Pullman Building Supply by purchasing all of the needed sprays, a mouse-pad sander, and various supplies. Keeping an eye on the air quality and high temperature forecasts, we arranged with son Jeremy and daughter-in-love Michelle to pull the trailer onto their driveway for three days. While Steve worked on the tongue project, I tackled some easy projects inside the trailer and finished removing shelf liners.
In the end, the tongue looked like new and provided such a nice first appearance. It’s a bit like the curb-appeal that realtor’s highlight when selling a home. As Steve’s runner, on one of my trips to Pullman Building Supply, I picked up two For Sale signs. My plan included taping them on the inside back window and one side window. We thought even in RV storage, someone might see the For Sale signs and give us a call.
Here was the process for addressing the surface rust.
Nash Servicing Day Arrives
On August 17, we pulled the trailer to Travelland RV in Lewiston. As we were getting it checked in for service to be done on the 18th, a staff member mentioned that he noticed it was For Sale. He suggested that we request to meet with the Sales Manager when we returned for the trailer. You betcha! The For Sale sign strategy worked!
We’d been following pre-owned RV sales over the summer. Using NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) website, we established the value range of our Nash. (This is similar to what one does when valuing a truck or car). When we returned on Thursday, August 19, to get the trailer, we met with the Sales Manager. He was very enthusiastic about a Nash trailer and the great condition. He admitted that there was a demand for Nash and yet he had no supply. Then, when we mentioned that we needed to sell the trailer before we could sell the truck, he really perked up. He was out the door in a minute to also check out the truck. We were to look for a text or call the next morning as he would put together a quote for the trailer and also for the trailer and truck as a duo.
Off to Pullman we went. We tucked Tranquility the Trailer back into its spot in RV storage, looked at each other, and wondered if this would be the last time to have it in Pullman. I drove it to Pullman as potentially my last time to tow it.
It’s Decision Time
By 10am on Friday, Steve received the text that we’d been promised. We sat down and reviewed the NADA, our notes from other Nash sales, etc. The decision was pretty easy to make, although we’d appreciate a bit more for the trailer. Steve called the Sales Manager and negotiated on a higher sales price on the Nash. We opted to not sell the truck to Travelland RV. We were good to go. Off to RV storage we went. With Steve behind the driver’s wheel this time, we took our 2018 Nash 26N back to Lewiston.
It was a bittersweet drive as Steve towed Tranquility the Trailer to Lewiston. We reminisced and will continue doing so because it’s been an extraordinary adventure! Indeed we are thankful for the 29 states through which Tranquility traveled with us and the 33,000 miles that it provided an abode-on-wheels.
Stay tuned for Part 2, which includes more Cha-cha-cha-changes!