Saturday, February 7, 2015

Buying Alfa

It was June 2003. A year earlier when we started talking about retirement, both of our sons were living with us. We announced our intent to sell the house, so they began thinking about other living arrangements. Our youngest, Christopher was attending the University of Houston at the time and felt that he needed to be involved in the battle against the terrorists who had attacked the United States. At the end of the semester, Christopher opted for the Marines and our oldest, AJ decided to move to San Francisco which is beautiful, has great weather and good public transportation to assist him in getting around with his limited eyesight.

After retirement circumstances caused us to have second thoughts about buying a motorhome. Then we took our trip to the Grand Canyon. After three weeks of hauling bedding around the country to load and unload continuously, I decided I was ready to sell the house and buy the motorhome. We went to Lone Star RV on I-45 north of Houston and started the paperwork rolling to purchase the Alfa RV we had been sitting in on weekends for almost a year.

On July 31, 2003, we got Kathi’s stepfather to take us to Lone Star and drop us off. We signed all the paperwork and the salesperson took us to the shop for one of the mechanics to give us a walk through and explain how everything worked. Our Alfa was in their shop to add a mud flap behind the rear tires. When the work was completed the mechanic pulled the RV out of their shop and asked me if I had driven an RV before. I confessed that I had not so he told me to get in the driver’s seat and got Kathi positioned in the passenger seat and he sat behind me to look over my shoulder while I drove an RV for the first time.

I drove around a few streets in the neighborhood without incident and told him I was ready to solo. He agreed, so I started making a U-turn on a neighborhood street with an esplanade between opposing traffic lanes. The RV was too long to make the turn without backing up and there was some traffic coming from both directions and in the middle of the turn I was having second thoughts. The mechanic told me to go ahead and back up and complete my U-turn, while assuring me the other cars would wait for me. I did and they did, so we headed back to the shop with me full of self-confidence.

There was a fifth wheel on my side of the driveway when I got to the dealership, so I pulled around it. Before I got past it I looked in the rear view mirror and my RV was against the left rear corner of the fifth wheel. I panicked, I confessed and I backed up. The mechanic got out to check the damage and I had scraped the paint on our RV and did minor trim damage to the fifth wheel trailer. I drove back to the door of their shop and he took our brand new Alfa in to buff out the scratches I had made in the paint on my first day of ownership.

That was completed successfully, so Kathi and I hit the road headed back to our home in Deer Park. It took less than an hour of white-knuckled driving on Houston Freeways to get the RV into the driveway of our old home. It filled the driveway with only a little hanging out in the street, so I parked our car at the edge of the driveway to provide a buffer for the RV.

Next time we move our clothing and traveling supplies into our new home and sell our house.

Our Alfa in 2014

I parked it in the sloping driveway behind the Chevrolet pickup.

Another view of our house from the front

The back yard of he house we sold

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