Our Rig

When we first started tossing around the tiny home idea, we looked into costs. We quickly realized that we could not afford to build a home from scratch and that it was much too costly to buy one. Then we found a few blogs and article about people who had renovated school busses to be tiny homes. This appealed to us, but also seemed like a lot of work. Our goal is to be out of our current house by April 20th, so we also wanted a project that wouldn't take quite as long.

I began browsing Craigslist for 5th wheels or RVs that we could use as the base for your tiny home. Again, I felt discouraged. Anything big enough was way out of price range or totally falling apart. 

Late one night I was up with Abram and decided to do a quick CL browse before heading to bed. I found this 1989 40 foot Safari. It was out of price range (listed for $8,500) but the post said OBO. I knew I could talk them down.

The rig was at a dealership 45 minutes away, I called the moment the opened the next day to ask a few questions about it. The man who I spoke with was very kind, and a little too honest. He said the RV was awful inside. I asked "Awful because it's outdated and old? Or moldy and disgusting?" He hesitated. "The latter". I decided we'd like to see it anyway and asked my parents to come along to take a look too since I knew they'd have some good advice about it.

We got to the lot and wandered among the $200,000, 2016 fancy pants RVs while we waiting for the salesman to get to us. "We'd like to see the 1989 Safari!" we said, excitedly. "Oh. That ones on the other lot". The one that's miles from the road, where no one can see, where RVs go to die. We followed him over there and there, hidden behind a few older 5th wheels, was our home.

I could see the potential immediately. Yes, it smelled like mildew. Yes, there was water actively leaking onto the couch, mold in the fridge, kitchen cabinet doors broken off, chipped flooring, dust on everything and it refused to start. BUT, we loved it! Again, the salesman tried to discourage us, he really felt like it needed too much work and worried that we wouldn't be happy with it. 

We felt otherwise and made an offer for less than half of their asking price that evening,

The next day, we waited on pins and needles to hear back about our offer. We planned and dreamed and imagined what we could do with it. Finally they responded at 6pm - our offer was accepted! We headed straight there the next morning to give it one final look over and sign the papers. 

Now we just had to figure out how to get it home. 

The guys at the dealership were able to start it and drive it around the lot, but the lights, wipers and gauges didn't work. They offered to fix it there, but we were hesitant to spend money on repairs when we felt we could do them cheaper ourselves and really we only needed to drive it home. Austin was willing to drive it, but dreaded it. We decided to ask our brother in law, Aaron to drive it. He was more confident driving large vehicles and was happy to help. 

So Austin and Aaron set out a few days later to bring our new home to my parents' house, where we'll renovate it. Aaron drove the RV and Austin drove behind.  

I sat at home and bit my fingernails, hoping and praying they'd make the 45 minute drive without and issues! 


Thankfully, Aaron knew I'd be anxious and kindly sent me updates along the way. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I knew they were safe and sound. The RV drove like a dream, the guys in the shop recommended we scrap the RV and sell the engine and transmission for more than we bought the whole thing for....