Tonight, on a rainy Monday evening in downtown Boston, we sold our beloved van, Ranger.
Ranger was made for adventure. He is a true camper van. He carried us over 8,000 miles, from Florida to Texas, throughout New Mexico, up to Colorado, into Wyoming, across Montana, home to Massachusetts, and back and forth to Maine. He did it all with no complaints, with only a flat tire and a cracked oil pan. Amazing, considering he is a 15 year-old car with 166,000 miles.
As we spent more time out West, it became more and more apparent that our current location (Florida) makes it very difficult to camp as we did this summer. Most campgrounds are expensive and reservation-only. The Everglades are too far to visit frequently. To leave the state, we have to drive four hours north. Shipping the van is cost-prohibitive. Although Ranger never gave us cause to worry, we knew repairs are inevitable. It was also sad to think of Ranger just sitting in our garage, unused.
After a lot of thought and deliberation, we listed him online on a VW classified site called The Samba. They focus on older specialized VWs. We had waited a couple of weeks without responses, so we had decided to drive Ranger back to Florida and go from there.
However, last Wednesday we received an email from an interested party. We told him that we had planned to leave for Florida soon, so he came and test drove on Wednesday. He said he had other vans to see and would be in touch. On Friday he made an offer but later said he couldn’t make a decision. We were disappointed, but decided to resume our plans to drive home. However, on Friday evening during the HMA Summer Party (as Tim was eating a lobster), we received a call. He was back in and willing to pay for an inspection at VW the next day. We met him at VW and waited for an hour while the service team inspected the van.
One hour later, the service manager appeared. He called the buyer over, but we were in earshot. “Well,” said the manager, “This is always the tough part.”
We leaned over to hear the report, feeling a little nervous. What would they say? We had just had a look-over in Billings, but who knows?
He continued, “Good news for you though, because there is nothing wrong with this van. If you brought it in for an oil change I would not be able to find anything wrong with it. It is in great condition. Great tires, work has recently been done, the body is in great shape, this is a great van!”
What a glowing review! From a dealer, no less! We were proud of Ranger, and proud of ourselves for negotiating the repairs at time of purchase and doing the appropriate repairs at Billings. We were leaving Ranger better than we found him, and that felt good.
We also sold some of our camping equipment, which was a win-win for the buyer and for us. He gets high quality gear researched for Ranger, and we don’t have to ship it home to Florida (we are flying home later in the week).
Ranger will be heading back West on a three-month road trip to various music venues throughout the country. We are happy for his new buyer. As we signed the paperwork tonight, he said, “I am so excited. This is a kick-ass van.”
Yes it is.
Some favorite photos of Ranger are below:
Readying Ranger for departure in early May (with my homemade screens and curtains!)
Ranger in Artesia, New Mexico
Ranger at White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Naptime in Ranger at Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico
Ranger in Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico
Ranger atop the Río Grande del Norte National Monument, New Mexico
Ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Ranger at Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming
Driving Ranger home, Montana
It may seem a little silly to be sad about selling a car, but Ranger is special. We would not have been able to do this trip without him. He was the perfect car for us–not too big, not too fancy, just right. The decision was hard, but it was the right one. We are excited for his next adventures, and for ours. Thank you for the memories and for keeping us safe, Ranger!
Thank you all for following along this summer. We hope you enjoyed our journey. Your support means a lot to us. We will write a retrospective entry with things we learned and would recommend to others. We will also be checking in here from time to time, especially when we are traveling. Stay tuned!
Ali and Tim