Fri Oct 3
Overlapping Escapee friends
We drive 20 miles north to Orem, UT to meet Escapee friends Mike & Debby “Coldsmoke.” We eat at Joe’s Crab Shack and see movie “The Judge.” Mike & Deb lived for 30 years near Denali, AK, and their kids are still there. After retiring they hit the RV trail in the lower 48. What an exciting life they have lived. Their only problem is the great expense of getting back to see family and grandkids!
Sun Oct 5
The Spectacle of Temple Square, Salt Lake City
We find ourselves parked at the front entrance to the Mormon Temple Square grounds in downtown Salt Lake City at 10 am. The four acre grounds are covered with shade and grass, fountains and beautiful buildings. Hundreds of followers are camped out on blankets, having a fine Sunday morning family outing. They are eating, drinking, and listening to a sermon on the loudspeaker.
While shooting pictures, I am greeted warming by cheerful teenagers working in pairs. I don’t know how they picked me out of the crowd, just because I am the only female wearing shorts on Sunday morning.
They could have resented me for intruding in their world, but instead they chat me up sweetly and gently start to convert me. It’s assertive hospitality and effective marketing. Hey, you old standby religions should take a lesson from this playbook. I am also surprised by the high percentage of Koreans and Hispanics here, many are speaking English as a second language
The Latter Day Saints have two required-attendance General Conference events per year, and we have lucked into one of them. There must be 5000 cars parked in the lots nearby. Dozens of police are taking up positions at street corners to handle the dreadnaught of traffic and pedestrians about to explode out of their gynormous conference center. We are at the ground zero spot on ground zero day of ground zero month. What luck! All the men wear black suits, white shirts and conservative ties. The women are fashionably dressed in long skirts, but many of the younger ones look quite sexy in tight skirts and 4″ heels.
At the moment service lets out we are on the tenth floor viewing area of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, with a stunning view of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center. Attendees are pouring out of a door on the second floor and flowing downward on ramps – S shaped ramps going in two directions. This exodus lasts for fifteen minutes, an unbelievable river of humanity. It was a privilege to see.
Tue Oct 7
Provo Surgical Trick
This morning I have lip surgery for non-serious squamous cell cancer, and this is the reason we came to Provo. It’s very annoying but its good not to be dead. I thought they would cut off a little circle where the scab was. Instead the doctor cuts away my entire bottom lip surface! Then he pulls the inside out and sews it shut to make a new bottom lip. Shocking! I did not sign up for this. I get meds and go home to bed. About 9 pm, an RV blogger named “RV Cruzer” posts his RV for sale on the Tiffin Owner’s Form Classified.
Wed Oct 8
Our life changes
This morning we are discussing where to spend the rest of our warm fall days. We are thinking Yosemite, which has to be less insane after school starts. Steve gets a cup of coffee and opens his laptop to read his favorite blogs. Immediately he discovers Cruzer’s post. It is for our exact dream bus, one we have shopped for five years with no luck. It is very reasonably priced too! We spend an hour wringing our hands and checking our finances. We must make the leap before someone else grabs it, which they surely will. We send an offer by email.
(Why this bus was so hard to find – see additional article that specifies our specific specifications. Haha. Actual title, “Specifications of BessyBus 2 – Our Dream Bus”)
Thu Oct 9
Cruzer calls us back with a counter offer.
We close the sale and make a deposit by credit card.
All our other travel plans are done for. Thus begins our odyssey to take possession of our new home and sell our old one. We make a plan to drive to Yuma first and leave our old bus there because there are more buyers in southern Arizona in the winter. Also, we stayed here before at the modest RiverFront RV Park and know that there is a perfect spot to park (“dry camp’) our old bus until we can sell it. We call ahead and the owner agrees to put our old bus right near our new one and only charge $75 per month until it sold. We will save $30,000 by selling it ourselves instead of trading it in to a dealer. But this way is more scary and complicated, and we will have to get a loan to tide us over.
Today we decide to make one last outing as tourists here. We drive up into the mountains on Nebo Loop Road (FR015) south of Provo, going past 11,929 ft. Mt. Nebo, highest point in the Wasatch range. We are savoring spectacular views, drop-offs, s-curves and Aspens at their peak. We always take lunch with us.
Tue Oct 14
Case of the Missing Jalapenos
We can’t leave Provo till my stitches come out. I have an appointment for 1 pm but talk my way into coming at the crack of dawn so we can leave town by 9 am. Or so we thought. Remember those Trappey’s Sweet and Hot Jalapeno’s? We ordered six jars shipped UPS ten days ago from Florida and they’re still not here. We endure a fiasco of phone calls the night before. Amazon is involved, UPS is involved, the shipper is involved, the Elks are involved. One person says they never left Florida, another says en route, a third says “on the truck!” It will cost us $30 to reship these if we don’t connect. At 10 am, we hijack a UPS truck driver in an industrial parking lot and yes, our stinkin’ Trappey’s are on board. Give us our box, sweetie! We are so disgusted we don’t even feel like eating them anymore! But NOW we can leave town! (I am buying these exclamation points! They are twelve for $1!)!!
Tue Oct 14
Provo to Vegas – 380 mi
The temperature has gone from 60 degrees at Pinedale, Wy to 70 at Provo, to 85 at Las Vegas. We make it here by 4 pm and park at the Clark County Shooting Range and RV Park, recommended by Escapee friends Terry and Jeri. This place is so big and fancy it’s dumbfounding. It is built for international competitions and must have a half mile of trap and skeet shoot stations, each with an RV site.
Plus multiple rifle and pistol ranges. We are almost the only ones here. We are looking down on the twinkling lights of downtown Vegas. I am riding my bike like a queen. Steve is in a lawn chair drinking Jamison and talking to friends on his cell.
Wed Oct 15
Las Vegas, Nv to Yuma, Az – 310 mi
I wake up at 3 am thinking about those $500 flights from Yuma to Milwaukee. I check my phone again and find two one way tickets leaving Friday morning for $250 each. Whohoo! I order them on my phone – Oh this modern world!
In the morning we drive south on I-95 through downtown Vegas, past old faithful Binions, past the Stratosphere and new Ferris Wheel, past Sam’s Town on Boulder Highway, and then south out of town. Last chance: Needles, Ca before the endless desert of I-95.
By late afternoon, we reach our old haunts – Parker and Quartzsite, Az, and finally Yuma, last stop before Mexico. We pull in to our old familiar RiverFront RV park, pretty whipped. BessyBus says she is home
While driving, we were also struggling to get our money ducks in a row. We have to get a loan from the Oklahoma state employees Credit Union. We have to sell mutual funds and wire money to our checking account. This is complicated. Some want 48 hours, some want four days. We don’t have much time.
Thu Oct 16
After three days of phone calls and effort, the deal decides to collapse at the last minute! We are about to lose our airline tickets. The Credit Union has given us a loan, but they refuse to release the funds until they have a signed title in their hands by overnight shipping. The seller refuses to release the title until he has the funds in hand. It’s a Mexican standoff! Surely we’re not the first people to buy an RV! At the last minute a third wrench is revealed – there is also a large lien on the bus. The lien holder, Bank of the West, wants THREE WEEKS after payment in full before they will send lien release. This is absurd. More appropriate would be one week. Either way, we can’t take possession.
The seller is using an RV dealer for paperwork only. This dealer has been very neglectful – hasn’t even called us once. This morning the seller gets a new RV dealer involved. At the last minute, Brandy Elliot from Youngblood’s RV Center, Mayfield, Ky., COMES TO OUR RESCUE!
At 2 in the afternoon, after the Mexican standoff, Brandy says “I’ll give you a loan! And I’ll release those funds! And I’ll take the risk that the lien release will eventually be released. What a doll! Brandy takes a loan app from us over the phone in ten short minutes. Within one hour she has a loan for us from a bank!!! It’s 3 pm Mountain time, 4 pm Central, 5 pm Eastern. The banks are closing! That’s how close we came to losing our airline tickets. The loan is with CFSB Bank, Benton, Ky. They even have better interest and longer term than our old credit union!
Brandy overnights a bunch of papers to the seller’s home in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, so it will be there on Sunday morning for us to sign. Then SHE carries the risk that – not only will the lien be released when she pays them off — but the other funds from our checking account will also be wired to her on Monday morning. She has talked to our local banker and knows that those funds aren’t even in our account yet! But our banker vouched for us (Sue at Vision Bank, Shawnee, OK) and Brandy believes her. What fantastic trust. What great people.
We both have grey hairs over this situation but the deal is back on and sealed by 5pm Eastern closing time. We can actually breathe again and pack our bags. We never know what time it is in Yuma because Arizona doesn’t spring forward or back. Mexico wraps around us to the south and northwest (weird!) Also, when we drive due north for groceries, we go through California for one mile and then back into Arizona. If we keep our phones on auto time, springs fly out of them. Also, if you don’t tell ATT to shut off your roaming feature permanently, you will have $2000 per month of international roaming charges.
end of chapter 4
To find Chapter 5, go to top of this page, then click on “Home.”
From Home, scroll down until you come to Chapter 5.