Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Story of Walter

One of my brother firefighters is a great guy named Ted. Ted got this sweet Winnebago from his wife's grandma in Grangeville. She last used it in 1991. Then it got parked in a barn or something. This thing was covered in mouse poop, all the matresses & cusions had been chewed up & didn't run very well, but was otherwise okay. They had a new carburator installed and got their Haz-Mat gear on & decontaminated the whole thing from the mouse infestation, pulled up some of the carpet, and did some general cleaning. They drove it down to Boise with high hopes.

In Boise it was parked over at a friends house. Time & money were both in short supply, so not much happened to it for about a year. Oh, they used to call it "Sacajawea"

Meanwhile in Simpsonville we went boating at Farewell bend with our friends Joe & Heather Solberg. They have this great class C motorhome named Betsy. I've always been a happy tent camper. A little bit proud that we can make do with less & still have a great time. We'll it turns out that in the evenings at Farewell Bend the wind blows. I mean it BLOWs. We all piled into Betsy to hang visit & play a game. It was so fun! The a/c was keeping us all cool & the wind was no problem at all. It was great!

I was still a very content camper, but my eyes were opened to the world of RVs just a little bit.

Then one day at work, just chit-chatting back & forth, Ted happened to mention that he wanted to get rid of this old Winnebago that he got from Amee's grandma. I asked a little bit about it & then went to take a look. When he took me over to see it, I was stoked. I loved the classic Winnebago styling with the angry eyebrows & the round nose. All in all the exterior seemed to be in good shape. No significant body damage. A wrinkle in one bumper & one corner of the body. Neither of them significant issues. The tires we're a little weather checked & were going to need replaced. Ted said all the systems worked when it was put in the barn in '91, but hadn't been fired up since then, so who knows what works. The main concern was the roof. When I climbed up & took a look there were two spots which were dished, creating large puddles & leaking to the interior. It was obvious that the roof was going to need some serious attention.

I wasn't sure that this was a project that was worth taking on. I really liked the looks of the rig, but the roof had me a bit rattled. I had no idea what kind of can of worms I might be opening with that thing. Thank goodness for the internet. Can you believe it? I actually found a guy who had done exactly the roof replacement that i was considering. Suddenly this all seemed very doable & within reach. I already had all of the tools that it might take. Most of the materials were HomeDepot type stuff. No problem right?

We'll still was a little on the fence when I talked to Ted next. He was asking $800, and that seemed like a fair price, but there was a LOT of work that was going to need to happen, prior to ever being able to use this thing. I wasn't going to dicker with Ted, because $800 seemed like a fair price for all the potential that was there, but as I listed off some of my concerns & reservations about taking on the project Ted said "would you feel better if it was $650?" Well that sealed the deal. The Simpson's were gonna own a Winnebago.

Maria had seen the Winnebago & was on board for getting it, but it was apparent that it was going to need to be closer to usable before she was going to get too excited about it. The kids are another story all together. By now they've had a couple encounters with Solberg's Betsy and they are completely sold on the idea of having an RV. They even seem to appreciate the retro-cool of the classic Winnebago look. Tucker said he can't wait to take it up to Bogus on Friday afternoons to ski all night & then again Saturday after sleeping in the motorhome.

We did the deal & brought the Winnebago home. Now we needed a name for it. "Sacajawea" wasn't going to work. We were going to be hanging out with Betsy in this rig so we needed a comparable name. A boys name seemed appropriate. After trying a couple different ones out, we all settled on "Walter". Walter the Winnebago. Or Walterbago. Welcome to the family Walter!

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