One phone call in late September changed just about every direction that I thought I was going to go. LOL My mom called late one evening, can't remember exactly when, just before we were taking off for Niagara Falls for a fall foilage tour. She finally decided she wanted to move back to Lea County, specifically into the house with us.
Whoa, whoa, nellie. The house ain't ready for that. You see we have been living in a little over 800 sq ft of our approximately 3000 sq ft house. Way back, 'bout 1999, I remodeled part of this house that we're presently living in but never finished the complete remodel. We always had good intentions of finishing the house, remodel the main kitchen, the other bathroom, office and other bedroom, but we never really put it on the top of our list of things to do, sooo.....it didn't get done. We really like working outside or in the shop, or greenhouse (whichever the case may be) much more than we like working in or on the house.
We have another house, a really nice little house across the alley from us that Patsi's mom and dad used to live in. Patsi has been using it for her Stampin' Up classes. I asked mom if she wanted to live there but she didn't think she did. Then it dawned on me that she probably didn't remember what it looked like, so I took a lot of pictures and Patsi and I took a trip to Comanche, Tx to show her what it looked like. Sure enough, she had our old office pictured in her mind. And the old office sure didn't appeal to her since it was basically an efficiency type apartment...which is not even livable at the moment.
After she saw the pictures of the house, she thought that might be a pretty good deal. We did have to move quite a bit of stuff out of the house. Some of Patsi's mom and dad's furniture and various odds and ends. Most of it ended up in my newly cleaned and straightened shop. BooHoo!
We did make the trip to Niagara Falls and it was really nice. The falls were fantastic but what was really, really nice was the fall colors when we came back through NE Ohio. I've never seen such beautiful colors. I'll post some pictures later, since I left my mac in Lubbock a couple of weeks ago, so I'm using an old computer to write this.
We upgraded the cabinets in mom's house and put down some new flooring in the hall and bathroom. Made it a little nicer and user friendly since the old drawers were pretty hard to get open. Most of this all happened the very last of November and the 1st week of December.
A buddy of mine has this nice 44' race car trailer that he let me borrow. Now that was a life saver. We were able to get all of her stuff into the trailer including her car. It was packed to the top and it pulled really nice. BIG THANK You to Bill.
Another perk that we had when we went to Comanche was Patsi's cousin Donna and her husband Kirk had just resigned their positions as assistant managers at an assisted living place in Arlington, Tx and were headed west. They called Tuesday, Dec. 11 and said they wanted to stop by Lovington. Well, I was headed east the next morning to move mom, so I wouldn't be here when they got to Lovington. They decided they'd just detour a little and spend the night in Brownwood (they had there camper with them) and then come to Comanche to help me pack mom up. Now that's some troopers....someone that will volunteer to help move.
Anyway, I got to Comanche on 12/12/12 about 12:00pm. Kirk and Donna met me and we proceeded to pack everything up. We were just about finished by 6pm. We had some turkey soup of dinner when my sister Karen got there about 8:30pm. She was pretty surprised that we were nearly through packing. Kirk and Donna were whirlwinds with the boxes and goods.
The next morning we got up and had breakfast. Kirk and Donna headed out for Phoenix. Karen and I finished packing the last few boxes. We hit the road about 10:00am CST. We made it to Lovington just before it started getting dark. We still had to unload some of the trailer to set up mom's bed and get some essentials in the house. It was a very busy weekend and the next week didn't seem like it was much slower even though we didn't work quite as hard.
Karen came back over the next weekend and helped mom get a lot of her things unpacked and set up. She doesn't have quite as much room here as she had in her old house but things are gradually taking shape. We got her a new cell phone. Pretty much like her old one but a little different. Different enough that it's a little confusing for her. But she is learning, figuring things out and doing really well.
Karen got her an appointment with a doc in Lubbock for a checkup. We were worried that she might have some sort of deficiency which in turn was causing her memory problems. We went over to Lubbock December 27 for the appointment on the 28th. We were going to go over on Christmas but Lubbock got some snow and ice so we decided to stay in Lovington and just have a Christmas dinner with mom at her new house. Anyway the doc looked her over, drew some blood for blood tests. Doc said she was in good health for her age. Blood test results will come back after the holidays.
Mom has trouble traveling due to not having a bathroom nearby. So when she has to travel she won't drink or eat much of anything which leads to dehydration, which ain't good. Because of the travel distance to Lubbock for the doctors, dentist and other places we might have to get her to, I decided it would be very helpful for her if we had a motorhome. I've had camper trailers and 5th wheels and even a truck camper once, but never even thought about having a motorhome.
But, when things change....things change. We have been looking quite hard for a nice motorhome that we could afford.
Last year when we were out in Arizona at Quartzite, we looked at some really swanky, nice coaches. I'm sure these weren't the very top of the line but they were very, very nice in the $200,000 range. Not something that we could afford to buy. A few years ago I drove an activity bus for the schools here in Lovington. Most of them were Bluebird buses. Right before I went back into the oilfields we made a trip to Fort Valley, Ga to pick up some new school buses and drive them back to Lovington. While there we got to go through the Bluebird Wanderlodge factory. This was around 2003 or 04. I had never seen such luxurious motor coaches and these babies went for anywhere from $500K to $1M. Definitely out of my range, especially at that time.
Ok, back to my story.....I'm looking for a motorhome. I happened to see a listing on ebay for a vintage Bluebird (a 1987, I think) and the bid on it was for somewhere around $20K. Wow, I thought, I might be able to swing something like this if I could find one that was in good shape and still had a lot of life left in it. I knew they were definitely built like a tank....that means really good and tough. I started looking everywhere on the net that I could find.
I found this great forum http://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.com/forums/ and started reading, looking for used birds, trying to figure out what we could afford and what we could operate. There's not many around this part of the country. I found that most of them are in the southeast and northeast. I guess that is because of the proximity of the factory??? Anyway, I did find one that was listed on one of the sales websites in Weatherford, Tx. It just so happened that Patsi and I had to make a trip to Comanche to pick up a few more of mom's things that we had left. We really hadn't planned on going back to get them but after unloading her things we realized she really related to some of the stuff we left.
So it all worked out. Patsi and I got to look at a Bluebird in the flesh and mom got her antique magazines. The Bluebird was a 1994 Wanderlodge Widebody. Here's a few pics of what one looks like.
So, as you can see, these are some very nice coaches. This one is the wide body series and they are a beautiful coach. This one had a 500hp 8v92 Detroit Diesel engine. Bluebird built what they call an FC which is a forward control, which means that engine is in the front and they came with CAT 3208 engines. Some, the later models, were turbo charged, while the earlier models were NA or naturally aspirated. From all my reading the early CATs were kind of sluggish and slow. The Detroit Diesels had plenty of power but they were 2 stroke engines and I know nothing about those. Talking with all my diesel buddies and everything I read, I was a little apprehensive in trying to purchase one with a DD 8v92 2-stroke engine.
So, if that's the case, I either had to look at other types of coaches or find a Bluebird BMC (bluebird motor coach) which was only produced for a few years. I think 94-97.
They were more of an entry type coach and not quite as expensive and luxurious as the others, but they had a Cummins 8.3L engine. It has the same P pump as the 5.9L engine in my old '94 Dodge, so I can figure out how to get a little more power out of the motor if need be.
Like I said, there isn't too many of these lying around for sale. I did find a couple tho. One was in Jacksonville, Fl. and the other was near Fort Worth. Turns out the one near Fort Worth was kind of on the weird side. Advertised for $1 on Craigslist. Then on ebay but it was a RV dealer's lot, supposedly on consignment. One of the forum members from Weatherford went by to look at the coach but wasn't told much about it. Most of these Bluebird owners keep meticulous records of what they do to the coach, so if records are missing or non-existent, the coach probably hasn't been cared for very well.
The other coach was listed on http://www.buybyebluebird.com/ with Randy Dupree, the owner of the forum. He knows Bluebirds, owns & drives Bluebirds and is very knowledgeable. I looked at nearly every coach he had on his site plus many on other sites. We came really close to making an offer on a 1988 FC 35' coach but decided the BMC was better for us. So we dealt with Randy and made a deal with Randy today, 12/8/13 on a 1994 Bluebird BMC.
So, we have to fly out to Jacksonville to pick it up. Mom will have a nice way to travel to the doc when she needs to go, plus she can keep a full set of clothes, toiletries etc in the coach so all she has to do when we decide to go somewhere is be dressed and step into the coach.
She says she'd like to go with us when we go on trips, so.....if she really likes it, we'll take her to places she has never been able to go to.
The year has taken off with a BANG!!! We still have lots to do, my shop looks like a tornado hit it. Lots of organizing, straightening up and re-arranging. Still have projects to work on and trips to go on. We hope to go to Alaska this year but don't know if that will happen or not. We'll see.
So.....until next time.....