It was a dark, warm, and starry night in the skies over the suburbs of San Francisco, California, as is uncommon for the majority of a calendar year, as 2020 was quite uncommon in itself. You see, our story finds us in a pandemic, a plague of sorts, that no one saw coming, yet our lives, along with the weather pattern, changed us into homebodies who left the house only for certain needs.
The mature married couple, distinguished in looks, yet playful in attitude and humor, abundant in grandchildren, and celebrating their empty-nest syndrome (after 34 years of marriage), were contemplating all the vacation time that Sean, the tall, grey haired, used-to-be well-dressed human resources employee for the big financial institution who was now assigned to work remotely and miss out on traveling at company expense the vast majority of the year, had accumulated and not yet used. His employer's directive was that he could only carry over 40 hours into 2021 (at this time, he had 135 hours yet to use.) Marie, the exceedingly beautiful, talented, charming, red haired wife who truly looks younger than she is, chimed in as to what they should do to try and make their annual trip to the Chicago area, especially in the midst of the pandemic. Normally, there would be flights between SFO and ORD airports, plus a rental car and hotels, but with the pandemic, this lovely couple decided that a long road trip was in order to visit family not seen in over two years.
"Honey, let's buy a travel trailer!" Marie said, remembering days gone by when her parents owned campers, trailers, and motorhomes of various sizes. Sean, already on the same page as Marie, chimed in with, "Yes, we should, as our SUV already has a tow hitch and two electrical ports installed. All we need is the ball that goes into the hitch." "How much does that cost?" Marie asked. "About $50, more or less." "That seems expensive. Maybe we can find it cheaper elsewhere than where you've seen," Marie said. As a smile came across both of their faces, Sean's fingers started walking through the yellow pages of the internet searching for travel trailers near their home in the east San Francisco Bay area.
After inputting the search terms, at least two dozen dealerships within a 75 miles radius allowed this utterly cute couple the opportunity to shop for a travel trailer online, all from the comfort of their home and in quite casual attire. My gosh, the varieties of brands and sizes and prices were overwhelming, to the point that the dealer websites were running too slow for Sean's fast-moving/one-finger typing skills on his Android keypad. His frustration grew as he had to clear his cache and cookies every time a site ran slow and then restart his phone.
After what seemed like an eternity (which in internet terms was less than 5 minutes), Sean was finally able to check out several websites where he input the following parameters:
Travel Trailers, $5,000 to $20,000, Used. What he came to find was disappointment, which he shared with Marie, as most dealers had anywhere from 0 to 4 trailers in that price range. Even worse, majority were marked as "pending sale."
So with a leap of faith, along with lightning fast one-finger typing skills, he decided to change "Used" to "New" and hit "Search." It was as though the various RV dealer websites mocked him, as zero results was all that showed.
"Sweetie, it appears I'm going to have to change parameters and look upwards towards $30,000." Marie responded, "Oh my, that seems like a lot! Do your best." Besides, we could afford $30,000, especially since financing was available for up to 180 months (15 years, in more simplified terms), which would make the payments similar to that of our luxury SUV.
After many nights of looking at dealers, going through Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and OfferUp, we found a new travel trailer in our price range (under $20,000), and it was 80 miles south of us. We looked at the dealership's website every night, as we found it on a Monday. Checking every night, ensuring it was the one we wanted, until Marie piped up with the biggest decision-making statement that would determine if we bought the trailer -- "What's the inside height, as you've got to be able to stand inside?"
My heart sank when I read the specifications for inside height -- 6'3". That will not do, as I'm 6'4". Ugh! To walk around crooknecked inside of a travel trailer that we'd be paying on for 15 years was not seeming like a good idea, yet the unit was affordable and had the amenities we wanted.
"Let's sleep on it, pray about it, and then decide. After all, it's Wednesday now and based on where that dealership is located, I doubt the trailer will sell prior to Saturday when we plan on going down to see it." Yet Saturday was not far off and every night, we checked online -- it was still there.
Saturday morning came and we decided this trailer would be the one. Besides, having already lost 2 inches in height just after turning 50 several years prior, chances are strong that I'll lose another inch or two and could stand without craning my neck to stand straight. After getting ourselves decontaminated in the master bathroom and getting dressed for the day, I checked the dealership's website and found the trailer was gone!
"You have got to be kidding!" came the words from my mouth. "How in the world did we miss out on this?! There is no way that unit could have sold during the week, especially in this pandemic." We were both disappointed, yet couldn't tell which of the two of us was moreso.
"It appears that God didn't want us to have that trailer, dear," Marie said. "Chances are there's another one out there with our name on it, so we'll just have to keep looking." I told her, "That will teach me to be indecisive in my decision making."