We arrived in Connecticut on May 1, and from that point forward, it felt like our fulltime travel days were done. Our focus immediately turned to transitioning out of Barney and preparing him for sale. Interest rates were on the rise and we wanted to unload him before the inevitable stall in RV sales.

Because the campground we were staying at did not offer full hook-ups, we started showering and doing laundry at my dad’s house (to avoid having to dump the tanks every couple days) and we started moving the things we were keeping over to his house.

Of course, we’d started the process of cleaning out our cabinets and bays several months earlier, but that was the easy stuff.

Like random holiday decorations…

Once we got to Connecticut, the real work began.

The process offered some nice opportunities to meander down memory lane…

Some of the ticket stubs I’ve collected over the years

but also some serious cleaning and rehabbing – like removing these old beat up vinyl tiles and replacing them with the extras that Tiffin gave us when we purchased Barney:

You can see the white scuff marks on the bottom of this one. Those marks are from where the slide would come in and out, or where our office chairs would scratch the tiles. So we just replaced all the ones that had damage.

And yes, Kevin is using a wine bottle to press the new tiles down. You can’t possibly be surprised by these things anymore.

In between rounds of dusting, washing, scrubbing, and polishing, we pulled the remainder of our things from the cabinets…

and from the far reaches under our bed…

and marveled at just how much crap we had carried with us in our tiny home on wheels.

We then scrubbed out the bays, meticulously cleaned things like the window seals and entry steps, and power washed the outside:

After several weeks of dedicated effort, Barney looked – if I do say so myself – freaking amazing.

3 Options to Sell

We had 3 options for turning Barney into cash. Option 1 was to just bring him to a dealership and sell him direct. This would garner us the smallest check, but create zero hassle. Option 2 would be to sell him ourselves. This would garner the biggest check, but come with the potential for significant hassle. Option 3 was to split the baby with consignment.

With consignment, you give your RV to a dealership to sell for you. They take a cut and give you the rest. The standard used to be that their cut would be 5 or 10% of the purchase price. The new standard (at least where we were) is for the dealership to offer the owner a set price, and then sell it for whatever they can. The owner maintains their insurance on the RV while it sits on the lot to cover any damage caused there (think tornado or fire), while the dealership’s insurance covers anything that happens on a test drive.

We quickly ruled out option #1 since we didn’t want to take a bath on the value. We figured we could at least try one of the other methods before settling on the low-return option.

We started to make an attempt at #2 – taking high quality pictures and creating a nice online listing with tons of information, but, as I was setting up an account on RV Trader (the main listing service people use to buy and sell RVs), I had an epiphany.

And that epiphany was that people are a nightmare.

If we listed it on RV Trader, we were gonna get a ton of calls from looky-loos who weren’t serious and were going to waste our time.

And then some guy named Frank would want to come see it. And then Frank was going to want to take it for a test drive. But did Frank know how to drive a 40 foot motorhome? And what would happen if Frank biffed it and caused a bunch of damage? And what if Frank found some issue he wanted us to fix before he’d complete the sale? How would we get it fixed in the middle of the summer while every RV repair shop was booked solid?

And even if Frank was great and didn’t find any issues and wanted the RV, he would need to get financing and what if Frank’s bank balked at the purchase price? Or what if Frank suddenly decided in the eleventh hour that he wanted to undercut our deal? Would we tell Frank to pound sand or would we just give in because we had a flight coming up and we didn’t have time for this crap?

And all the while Frank was jerking us around, we would have to leave Barney at a campground unattended. Once he was empty and clean, we wouldn’t be able to stay there with Hairy Beyonce. So we’d all be staying at my dad’s house while our most valuable possession was sitting unattended at a campground… at the very same time thieves were stealing catalytic converters left and right.

Suddenly, consignment – where a dealership would be responsible for fielding calls, handling test drives, fixing problems, providing financing, and ensuring secure storage sounded like a really great middle of the road option.

So, we checked with two different local dealerships, sent photos of the interior and exterior, and were offered the same consignment price by each. We chose the dealership we thought would be best and, on July 25th, headed their way.

Barney took one last dump…

Kevin took one last “you’re really gonna take a picture of this?” picture…

And then he got to do what he’d been waiting to do for 6 long years…

And then, we left our little Barney at the dealership.

Sad.

But, because our little Barney never let us down, a little over a week after we dropped him off, we learned he had a potential buyer!!

But then the dealership jerked us around for six FREAKEN weeks and wouldn’t pay us.

Mad.

So mad.

Ugggghhhhhhhhh.

It’s a long story, but basically, the new buyer hired an independent RV inspector to come to the dealership and check everything out before closing the deal. And the inspector found a couple items that the buyer wanted repaired – the most significant of which was a rock chip in the windshield. The rock chip dated back to 2017. After we got hit, we reported it to our insurance and they sent out Safelite to repair it. The Safelite tech filled the chip, and it remained stable for the next five years, but it was very visible and we could totally understand why the buyer didn’t want to rely on it.

When we initially handed Barney over to the dealership and signed the consignment contract, the sales manager implied that as soon as they had a buyer, they would have us come in and sign the title over and hand us a check. However, now, he told us they could not pay us until the actual sale and transfer to the new buyer was completed – which meant fixing the few items and replacing the windshield.

The change was annoying, but we figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. They had every incentive to close the deal and move the unit off their lot, and the buyer would have every incentive to take possession. It was a big dealership, part of a nationwide network, and we had no reason to believe they would screw around.

But, that’s exactly what they did.

For the next six weeks, the motorhome sat on their lot and not only did they not pay us, but they wouldn’t keep us informed as to what was happening.

Basically, they were having a hard time getting a replacement windshield in. But instead of just saying that, the sales manager kept going silent.

Like, “Oh, let me check with the service manager to find out what’s going on with your rig and I’ll call you right back…” followed by silence.

Followed by not returning our calls.

Followed by not returning our e-mails.

Week after week.

It quickly went from being mildly annoying to extremely concerning.

They had our motorhome. They had the title. They had our money. And they were refusing to pick up their phone.

We honestly started to wonder if they were trying to defraud us and started looking into our legal options.

Glamour shot of Barney to break up this wall of text

As the clock ticked down and we were supposed to be getting on a plane to leave the country, we really started to panic that this was going to require return trips (which we could only do once under the terms of our initial residency visa).

So, a couple days before our flights, we just showed up at the dealership with the express purpose of cracking some skulls.

The sales manager wasn’t there, but the dealership manager was, and when we told him why we were there, he was – appropriately – mortified. According to him, he thought we’d already been paid weeks before.

“No, you clueless dunderhead, we haven’t been paid!! That’s why we keep calling and emailing your store asking what’s happening. It’s not like we just want to keep in touch for old time sake, you jerk!”

(I didn’t actually say that.)

So, while we were sitting there, he called the corporate office and tried to get them to issue us a check – because, at this dealership, it’s still 1964 and they can’t just wire money like any other big, modern company would.

But of course, the corporate office couldn’t issue a check because it was Friday afternoon, and no one can issue a check on a Friday afternoon. Obvs.

Meanwhile, Kevin was leaving Monday and I was leaving Tuesday.

So corporate would issue the check on Monday, overnight it to the CT dealership and it would arrive on Tuesday as I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight.

At which point the manager helpfully suggested that I could just drive from New Jersey back to Connecticut (a 2 hour drive), pick up the check, bring it to my bank, then drive back to New Jersey (another 2 hour drive), drop off our rental car, grab our bags, and make it to the airport in plenty of time for my flight.

“What??? No… just no. That’s…. no. No.”

Realizing his idea was not a winning one, the manager then offered to take the check to our bank for us – which, apparently, you can do if it’s just for deposit.

So… we all crossed our fingers and, the day after I arrived in Portugal, an employee of the dealership brought the check to our bank and requested that it be deposited into our account.

And the bank said “no problem!”

And with that, we finally exhaled and closed the door on our fulltime RV life.

Thanks for the memories, Barney.
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44 COMMENTS

  1. Well, at least you didn’t have anything else going on. Like moving overseas! I can imagine your stress level was pretty high throughout this process. Good thing you came across that manager!

    Looking forward to reading about the next leg of your adventure.

    • Yeah, we definitely went through a fair number of peaks and valleys during the visa process. We never knew if everything was going to come together or it was all going to be a giant mess. It’s nice to have that part of things behind us.

  2. I’m impressed with the detail you did with repairing and cleaning Barney. The new owners got a good deal. No wonder it sold so quickly.

    When we were selling our boat we tried by owner and then went with an agent. I’m not sure which was worse – probably with the agent but we just didn’t want to have to stick around and deal with selling the boat. But we had to hound him. And because I still had it listed by owner we were still getting calls. When I told people to call the agent they would tell me they did that but that he wouldn’t call them back. It was very frustrating. But soon it was all over and in the past.

    Super glad everything went ok with the bank.

    Looking forward to hearing about your adventures in Portugal.

    • Thanks, Duwan.

      It is so crazy to me how hard it is to get good help with these kinds of things. You would think these brokers/dealers would be falling all over themselves to close deals and get their cuts, but alas, it seems like you’re somehow doing them a favor by sending them all this relatively easy business. Weird, weird, weird.

  3. Isn’t it amazing how much stuff fits into all the cubbies and other storage spots in an RV? When we returned from our trip this summer I discovered that we carry more food (dry goods like cans, rice, beans, pasta, etc.) in our Airstream than I usually keep in the house with its ginormous pantry. I guess you never know what you might need on the road, so it makes sense to have plenty of food, clothes, tools, spare parts, and other gear. Congratulations on getting all that stuff sorted and reduced to just a few pieces of luggage! It stinks that you had to deal with stress about getting paid your proceeds, but I think you are right that it would have been even more stressful to handle the entire sales process yourselves. All’s well that ends well!

    • No question, we were carrying more than we realized. And the best part was finding stuff we’d completely forgotten about! Some items led to lengthy discussions – “where did THAT come from??” LOL.

      Don’t be too impressed with out minimalist ways, either; we left a bunch of stuff at my dad’s house to sort out later. Once we decide whether we’re staying in Europe or not, we’ll make calls on that stuff and either bring it over here or use it to establish a home base back in the U.S. All still TBD…

  4. Sniff, sniff!! It is the end of an era 🙁 but an amazing new start, too!! Sorry it was such a cluster to sell, but glad it worked out in the end. Whenever you think you have a lot of stuff, just think of our clothes closet 😊

    • LOL… yes, I’m pretty sure you currently own more clothes than I’ve ever owned in my entire life.

      End of an era, indeed. It was fun while it lasted, but we’re excited about our new start!

  5. OMG! What a pain you’ve outlined so well. We will all have to sell our RVs at some point. Yikes not sure if thee is perfect way!
    Glad you were able to finally get it done, despite the not-so-upfront-and-honest sales agent.

    • Thanks, Jeff. Honestly, if I had the ability to safely store the RV on my property while taking my time to screen buyers, I would try to sell it myself. You can definitely get the most money and avoid some of these shady folks that way. But, it’s not an option for everyone, and once you start in with off-site storage or other major deadlines, things get a lot more complicated.

  6. Barney looked great, you did a super job of getting him ready for a new family. What a run around but I’m glad it finally worked out and I can only imagine how sad it must have been to say goodbye.

    • Yeah, it was definitely sad to leave him at that dealership after signing the papers. Up until that point, you can always change your mind, but at some moment, it becomes real, and that was it for us. I’m glad someone else quickly scooped him up and will keep him on the road where he belongs.

  7. As you were dealing with the inept dealership I kept seeing the scene in Terms of Endearment when Shirley McLaine went ballistic on the hospital staff. That dealership clearly deserved that level demand…and how you kept your cool I’ll never know.
    But…as your fans above stated, Barney looked fabulous and is on to other adventures…just like you, Kevin and Thor.
    And we’re lucky enough to get to “ride” along.
    Onward!

    • Thanks, Lisa. We were definitely freaking out about all this, but we never told them we were leaving the country (until we were dealing with the dealership manager at the end.) I don’t know if that helped or hurt, but since we didn’t know why they were being so shady, we didn’t want to let on that we were leaving. So, we kinda had to act cool about things. but we were not feeling cool at all. Anyway, we are very happy to have all of that behind us now and can look forward to this new chapter!

      Hope you’re doing well!

  8. Wow, Barney did look amazing!!! Kinda sad.. won’t lie to you. No more beers with you two in some random place that our paths crossed… wahhhh!!!

    I will wallow in my self pity!

    Okay, I am glad it finally worked out as it seems all RV dealerships are staffed with incompetent idiots. Talk about down to the wire.

    PS.. your killing me with pictures of those delicious pastéis de nata.

    • I know… I’m sad too. Sad that we’re done with RV life, sad that we aren’t going to be seeing our RV friends as much, but we’ll be back in the U.S. multiples times each year and I hope our friends will visit us here in Europe, too. And in the meantime, we all get to keep up with one another on Facebook/Instagram, etc. Even if my posts do slowly kill you. 🙂

  9. Well, if you hadn’t decided to move to Portugal…

    We already know we’ll be handing Essie off to consignment when the time comes, for the very reasons you outlined. I’m not sure if I’ll have the energy or patience to detail her the way you guys did, but I suppose I’d better gird my loins for that whole process. I’m glad the frustrating and nerve-racking process is behind you, and you were able to fly off with that load off your minds!

    • Generally, I think consignment is a good way to go as long as you’re in no rush. They will handle it all and you will get paid when you get paid. It was only a stressful experience for us because we had a very loud clock ticking in our ears. Hopefully things will go much smoother for you guys.

  10. Dear Laura–

    I’ve loved your posts but had not read your last couple until your Barney post today. I so enjoy the way you write and was very happy to read about your good fortune meeting the American expats who are renovating their new apartment who will let you move into their old rental. Perfect!
    Coincidentally, yesterday I saw an International Living online ad about retiring in Portugal. I’m sure your choice will be so worth it.

    Congratulations!!!

    Laurent and Candis Perron
    2017 Newmar Ventana 3709

    • Thank you, Laurent. International Living has been talking about Portugal a LOT recently and it’s been driving a ton of interest here. It’s interesting how quickly these places become popular and then, just as quickly, lose their luster in favor of some newer destination. But for right now, Kevin and I have managed to stumble into the “it” place for international moves. It’s all complicated, but so far, so good. I hope things are going well for you too!

  11. I love that Kevin is using a wine bottle as a roller on the tile! Too funny, but practical.
    Selling an RV is no fun as you can attest. We were super lucky when we sold our gasser. Scott posted on Craigslist and it was sold within hours to the first person that called. It was just what he wanted! The hard part for us was transitioning from the old to the new. Lots of work involved there! Plus our buyer showed up early and just wanted to chat. We just wanted to finish the transaction and get the hell out of there!
    Anyway, I’m glad it worked out for you guys and look forward to your new European posts.

    • Wow! You guys really did well if you were able to find a serious buyer that quickly. Most people we know who’ve sold an RV have had some sort of aggravation during the process – buyers who wouldn’t commit, deals that fell through, consignment folks who just didn’t put in any effort, etc. You really did well. I remember you telling us about trying to figure out where everything would go in your new rig. It’s amazing how many oddly sized spaces these things have. Perfect for some item, but unusable for others. Ah well, it keeps things interesting!

    • Necessity is the mother of invention, right? I mean, the alternative would have been to go buy a proper tool at Home Depot, but then we’d just have to get rid of it!

    • Yeah, the RV sale added a lot of stress to an already stressful process. If I could give one piece of advice it would be to not do everything at once. Managing all the deadlines made things a lot more difficult than they would have been had we finished one project before moving on to the next one. On the other hand, we were trying to manage expenses and moving things along quickly, got rid of a lot of several additional costs.

  12. Oh my god – you had me on pins and needles til the very end, so I can’t imagine how you must have been feeling in real life. I’m guessing one of the first Portuguese words you’ve memorized is STRESS! Or maybe DUNDERHEADS.

    • Confession: I went looking for a good insulting word that wasn’t too mean. And dunderhead popped up and I knew it was perfect!

      I have no idea what I would do without my trusty thesaurus.

      Probably overuse the word ‘moron’, that’s what. 🙂

  13. I’m doing breathing exercises here after reading this! Glad it all worked out. Reminds me of the time I had to threaten to file a false pretenses charge against a Honda dealership in the fine city we worked in after they still hadn’t paid me for my trade-in. Do you still have any old CA cards hanging around? They come in handy! 😉

    • Yep… false pretenses… that is exactly what I was looking up in Connecticut criminal law while Kevin was researching the potential civil remedies we would have at our disposal. Sounds like you had the exact same issue and went through the exact same thought process. And no, sadly, I don’t have cards anymore, but I do have my badge mounted on that plaque and you know I would totally waltz that thing right into a dealership and be all “Yo! You see this? Yeah… Don’t make me break the glass and start waving it around.”

      That should do the trick, yeah?

      🙂

  14. You have far more patience than I do! I would have been pounding on the dealership managers door at the beginning of week 2!! Too bad the salesman probably got his commission when the buyer picked up Barney. If he had been waiting, like you, I’ll bet you would have gotten paid faster! You are also lucky you have a good bank. Our bank will not allow other people to deposit checks into our account. It makes no sense to me, but it’s their policy 🙁

    Barney looked amazing when you were done. If we ever sell Waldo, I’ll fly you guys back for the clean out!

    • Yep, if I knew then what I know now, we would have marched into that dealership as soon as things got weird, rather than endlessly giving them the benefit of the doubt. Clearly, the sales manager was a yahoo and we should have gone over his head from the beginning, but usually, people at that level know what they’re talking about. The whole thing was just odd.

      As for the bank, I had no idea any bank would deposit a check that hadn’t been endorsed. I assumed they had to see a signature, but I guess it really does just depend on which bank.

      And yes of course, we’ll be happy to help you get Waldo all dolled up for the big dance. As long as you don’t suddenly decide to adopt a German Shepherd. If you do, you’re on your own. I’m never fighting through that much dog hair again. 🙂

  15. I’m so glad your saga with that whacko sales manager turned out fine in the end. But how insanely stressful for you, in the middle of such a complex and stressful time! Even knowing that there might be another crazy sales manager lurking out there waiting for us, we’re still going the same route as you did and will leave our trailer somewhere on consignment in January. I’ve been thinking about putting a map on our rig for 8 years, and I guess it’s a good thing I never got around to it, LOL. There are benefits to procrastination!

    You gave Barney a fitting send-off for all the years he served you. He looked brand spanking new!! Someone got a sweet deal. And they probably have a dog, hahahahahaha.

    • Even after our weird experience, I still think consignment is the best way to go -especially if you don’t have space or time to sell it yourself. With all that you guys will have going on, it’s just better to let someone else handle it. The thing I would do differently would be to go there, in person, when there was an issue. It’s just too easy for people to blow you off when you call or email. Hopefully you won’t run into any issues with your sale. Given how popular your brand is and how good its condition is, I bet it will go quickly.

  16. Great job on getting Barney so spiffy! I’m sure it was fun finding all those things you hadn’t seen for years, hidden in the depths of the cabinets or under the bed. I’m disgusted with your salesperson, and I didn’t even have to deal with his ineptness! I’m glad it all worked out for you before you headed overseas. I just looked at some of your Portugal photos on Instagram. Very nice! After we get through the holidays, and our trip to Antarctica and South America, I will have to refocus on planning our trip over there. Looks like a great place for photography. And….I want some of those custard tarts! Looking forward to your future posts and Instagram pics.

    • Thanks, Kelly. Speaking of photography – if you have the time, in addition to seeing Lisbon, I would highly suggest a trip up to Porto. We were just there and it is gorgeous. It’s a quick and easy 3 hour train ride from Lisbon, so very simple and I’m telling you, you’ll have a field day photographing it! Plus, the Douro Valley is right there and it is supposedly stunning as well. We didn’t visit because it was pouring rain, but we have every intention of going back there in nicer weather. Other cities I hear great photography-friendly things about are Braga and Aveiro. I hope you have an opportunity to explore some of them on your visit.

      In the meantime, I am waiting on pins and needles here for some penguin pics! Can’t wait!

  17. I would have been going nuts with the lack of communication. I was also amazed how much stuff we managed to fit into our motorhome. They really do carry a lot. I don’t understand why more companies don’t do wire transfers. And why couldn’t the dealership issue the check?!?!?

    • The inability to send a simple wire was the icing on the poop-cake for this whole transaction. It’s utterly ridiculous that a huge modern company that handles millions of dollars in sales every year can’t do a simple wire transfer. And the fact that they wouldn’t make an exception and get it done given the whole mess their dealership had created? Just nuts…

  18. Thanks for sharing Barney’s story. We will keep a lookout for him. Seems like everything happens just under the wire these days, selling Barney, Thor’s flight, securing your apartment. Capturing camping sites in desirable is also a series of close-calls these days. The game musical chairs comes to mind.

    Send more food photos!

    Safe & Happy Travels!

    Carmen

    • You are exactly right. Everything about this process has been – and continues to be – seat of the pants/down to the last minute/lots of stress, etc. We are kindof always hoping for the best and just running with things and hoping it works out. I’ll be honest – it’s exhausting. Not surprising, but exhausting. But… hope springs eternal that things will settle down at some point.

      In the meantime, we have been eating all the things and if I ever get this blog caught up, I promise you will be impressed and appalled by just how much food we’ve consumed. 🙂

  19. Wow. A big ordeal getting the rig ready tos sell – this was to be expected. You both did a great job making Barney sparkly clean. Although I only saw photos of Kevin at work! 🙂 Haha. I know. It’s the same here when only the woman and blog author ever takes photographs.

    We use a wine bottle to roll pizza dough out, whenever we have the use of an oven. I can’t believe you actually had a washing machine! You two RV’d in luxury. But it’s easier for us to pull into our friends’ driveways to prep and work on the rig. 🙂

    And, wow, I can’t believe your experience with the dealership – not to be expected. Jeez. Talk about stress and worries. It seems like nothing goes according to plan when big changes and moves happen in our lives. Wait until I finally write about our current struggle to get our camper shipped to us here in Colombia. It surely fits in the “you’ll never believe this” category. But I can’t vent yet as I can’t upset the wrong person, which could cause me to never see Thirsty Bella again (on this continent).

    But I’m glad you finally received the money for your dear Barney and it was another item checked off that crazy prep list.

    • You are 100% right. Nothing goes according to plan in these big moves and changes. We’ve had plenty of aggravation over here, too. But when I think back to the early days of our RV travels, those were difficult as well. Its just part of the process and it makes things even better when the bumps finally smooth out. You just gotta keep pushing forward.

      As for cleaning the RV, I bet plenty of people reading this blog think I’m just sitting around with a martini while Kevin does all the work. HA! So ridiculous. But alas, he has like 200 pictures on his entire phone and they’re basically all of the dog. I, on the other hand, take about 200 pictures a week. So unfair….

      Anyway, I hope things smooth out for you guys. You’ve definitely had a tough run. Onward!

  20. I know the feeling and it’s a big relief once the deed is done. But we did not do as much cleaning as you guys did.
    Now you can focus on getting to know your new country, new people, new environment, new everything. By the time we see you next December, you already know everything 🙂

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