Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Van Shopping: Strike Two

by Scott

What is it with 1998 Coachmen Starflytes? Soon after our first deal fell through, we found two more Starflytes in Florida, one on ebay and one on AutoTrader. The one on ebay, despite being 13 years old, looked like it just rolled off the showroom floor.

From the start, I had my reservations about Bill, who sells RVs on ebay under the username belmar13. He has excellent feedback, but his personality was that of the stereotypical used car salesman. What concerned me most was his attitude toward my request to have the van checked out by a mechanic. He acted like it was a personal insult, claiming it was the first time anyone had ever requested such a thing. When I insisted that I wouldn't be spending $20k on a sight-unseen vehicle without a mechanical inspection, he relented, but he took it to his mechanic--the guy that does all the work on his RVs before he sells them. Before the mechanic finished inspecting it, somebody hit BuyItNow for $21.9k. The van was gone. Bill called the next morning to tell us that it sold, and that it was out of his control. Fair enough. That was actually kind of classy. Maybe I was wrong about Bill.

We were a little bummed about missing out on the showroom van, but what could we do? We kept searching. Every day, I would search Craigslist for Starflytes. Every day, both ebay and RVTrader would email me with any new Starflyte listings. Imagine my surprise when RVTrader found yet another showroom Starflyte. It was just like the other one. It was in Florida, just like the other one. It had 4 new tires, new brakes, and a new timing belt, just like the other one. The VIN number was 1FDJE30L5VHB78959, just like the other one! It was the same van! But, instead of $21.9k, it was now only $13.8k!

What the hell? Did the mechanic find something catastrophic? Did Bill "buy" his own van to take it off the market? Did Bill sell a lemon that someone else is now willing sell at a $8k loss? If that's the case, why did the ebay buyer gave Bill excellent feedback, "A +++++ Seller - Great RV - Thanks for throwing in a Keylime Pie." Whatever's going on here, I'm soooo glad we're not part of it...though I do like keylime pie.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Carpenter Ants Eat More Than Wood

It took 2 weeks in my parent's barn for our favorite Slingshot Rev kite to get completely destroyed by a colony of carpenter ants.  After a search on Google, I found that they primarily nest in and around wood structures.  Why did they choose our nylon kite and polyurethane bladder?  We spent a couple of hours repairing the massive holes in the nylon and the 20 or so holes in the bladder.  It seems to hold air but we haven't taken it on the water yet.  There were no other ants in the barn, and this is a big barn.  We are completely baffled.  This was a VERY expensive lesson.