The Airstream Tour is Over!
The Airstream Tour is Over! It feels like the end of an era... at least a great chapter in our lives. Over the past two years we have traveled to 41 states and put on over 60,000 miles. In doing so, we realized how much we enjoyed traveling together. We also realized that with our growing family, we needed something that was bigger and more worthy of putting on long, hard miles. We needed a tour bus.
We have listed the Airstream on ebay at least 4 times with no success. Each time we visited home, we listed it - a couple of weeks in May, a couple of weeks in December, etc. We hoped that if we had money from the sale, we could move into a bus. We got a lot of watchers and a few phone calls, but no offers to speak of. Michael had the grand idea to list the Airstream while were were in Florida instead of when we were home in Illinois. People are actually thinking about RVs in Florida in January, unlike Illinois.
He was right, we saw a lot more movement. Someone sent to Ken Griffey Jr. to look at it (that made for a great story). We showed it to another family that was hoping to live mortgage free. We had our heart jump when it sold on ebay for full asking price. Just a few seconds later, the buyer contacted me to say that the purchase was an accident. After waiting a week for ebay to cancel the purchase, we were able to list it again - for a 5th time.
We decided that with or without the sale, we needed to move forward into a bus. The bus would be valuable for our March and April tours which will cover a lot of miles. We looked at the MC-9 that we had picked out and then looked at converting our own. We debated about the cost and time of doing our own conversion. Just then, the owner of the MC-9 texted and said that he wanted to support our ministry and would offer us a discount. With our savings, a generous donor, and our tax return in hand, we put down a deposit and schedule a purchase date. It would be a stretch, but it would be worth it during the long travel days in our future.
I continued to field phone calls and questions about our Airstream. We had calls from all over the country. Buying an RV site unseen can be a little unsettling, I understand - because I did it. I had a buyer ready to put a deposit down, but she wanted to have it professionally inspected. After having to go through the ebay cancellation process the previous week, I advised her to have the inspection in had before she bid. We would schedule it on Monday. That was a Saturday night.
On Sunday morning I woke up and saw that the Airstream had sold through the "buy it now" option. I told Michael, and we withheld our excitement, saying "We'll wait until we see the money, first!" Then Michael picked up his phone and saw an e-mail from Paypal showing the deposit paid just minutes after the purchase. We started to get hopeful. It was Sunday morning and we were off to church to make announcements at all the morning Masses. I sent an e-mail to the buyer to let him know that we were leaving Florida the same week and that we should arrange pick-up or delivery. He responded immediately to say that he was interested in having us deliver it. WOO HOO! This was for REAL!
I called the lady who was scheduling the inspection and let her know what happened. She was understanding. Michael and I started making plans for delivery to Virginia. The tricky part about selling the Airstream in Florida was that it was full of our stuff! We needed to move quickly. I had 6 large blue IKEA bags on hand and I started loading them up. We had talked about renting a small u-haul trailer or getting a cargo carrier for our hitch. Since we were delivering the Airstream, we needed to use the hitch to pull it. I had the kids fill their backpack with a few days clothes. I tossed out what I could. We crammed our belongings into every nook and cranny in our van. The kids all sat "criss-cross." This would have to do until after the delivery. We drove North 751 miles to Virginia. It had snowed 5 inches and was -4 degrees. We only had our spring-time jackets. This was insane travel (even for us), but we were all so excited that nobody complained!
When we arrived, the Airstream's new family was waiting for us- Dad, Mom, 4 girls (ages 2-9), and a dog. We knew that they were equally as excited as were when we pulled up and saw them holding their phone out the window videotaping the moment. They will be living in the Airstream while they build a new farmhouse this spring. The kids played in the snow a bit and we had to decide if we were brave enough to navigate the long lane in the snow. We all went back into our vehicles to warm up. After we chased some cattle out of our path and had a tractor plow us a parking space we got the Airstream snug into it's spot. We gave the tour and signed the paperwork.
The new owners shared with us some of their story and plans. It is so exciting to see how God has worked in this transition. First of all, it is neat to see the similarities in the families. They have 4 girls, some of which are the same ages as our girls. They gave us a CD of their music - a fun vocal Jazz album. Through their Christian community, they were blessed with a great opportunity to take over a farm and the Airstream plays an important part in that puzzle piece. They were equally as excited and ambitious as we were when we bought the Airstream on ebay just 2 1/2 years ago. We pray for them that the Airstream can be a place of peace and blessings.
The sale of the Airstream is a HUGE stress relief moving into the bus. Waiting has encouraged us to be patient and save money. We will now have an emergency fund when we move into the bus which is important because bus maintenance and repairs are much more costly than a van. Just when we started to get restless and look at other options, the owner of the MC-9 contacted us - which helped keep us on track. God rocked our world!
I want to thank everyone for the prayers and support through this transition. Things have really fallen into place. In the meantime, we are homeless - and we have never been so excited! We are scheduled to pick up the bus on March 2nd. We continue to pray (and ask for prayers) that our new bus is a place of peace for our family.