Upsizing While WorkAmping

A few year ago, we were unfamiliar with the term ‘workamping’ and now we’re doing it. Basically, you exchange your time for a place to camp and sometimes the assignment includes an hourly or seasonal wage.

We are currently volunteering at the Bonneville Lock and Dam. We work rotating shifts of three days on and three days off. My husband staffs the information desk while I work in the bookstore. In return for our donated hours we receive free camping.

What have we learned: the history of Bonneville Lock and Dam, the life cycle of salmon, the mission of the Army Corp of Engineers,  fact about hydroelectricity, powerhouse I, powerhouse II and options for selling a truck and trailer quickly.

When we purchased our truck (3 1/2 years ago) we knew we wanted to try camping in the future so we made sure our F150 had a tow package, then we rented an 16′ foot camper and headed out for 2 weeks. We learned quickly what we didn’t want – a dorm size refrigerator that refused to stay put, cabinet doors that wouldn’t stay shut, a thin foam bed, and a water heater and furnace without electronic ignition.

So, for the next three years we did a lot of research, walked through hundreds of campers, and completed a mental list of all the things we wanted…a metal frame, a front cap, a walk around bed, etc.

A year ago, we purchased our first trailer (24′ Keystone Springdale) which was the complete opposite of everything we wanted

..Sounds like a romance novel, where the heroine meets the hero and he has none of the qualities she desires or admires – but they live happily…oh no, a couple introduces them to  a 39′ 5th wheel and diesel truck, their hearts beat faster, the larger rigs aren’t exactly what they want…and the timing is all wrong.

But destiny. (actually more like our price range)

So of course, against all the advice on the internet about taking the time to purchase the correct vehicles…we went ahead and in the process became motivated sellers.

We were purchasing from a private party and weren’t able to trade in our current vehicles and because we were already volunteering for the Army Corp of Engineers and needed a place to live we couldn’t sell our truck or camper until we took delivery of the 5th wheel and F350.  So, for a while we ended up owning two of everything.

Of course, once again we knew what we didn’t want – rent storage for our trailer and truck while we tried to sell them. (We did get permission to keep our extra camper and truck on Army Corp property for a week. )We also didn’t want to take out a loan for the entire purchase price when we knew we would have money from the sale of our truck and trailer.

Things we learned as motivated sellers of a bumper pull camper and truck.

  1. Because we are younger than 59 1/2 years old we could not take money from a rollover IRA without occurring a 10% penalty, but we could take an indirect rollover and not pay a penalty if we returned the money within 60 days. Which was another reason we were motivated sellers.
  2. Selling a trailer on commission isn’t always an option. We were disappointed in the lack of response from companies advertising to take trailers on commission. (We  left messages at three companies and no one return our calls.) Maybe if we had a larger or new trailer our experience would have been different, but apparently no one was interested in a small six year old bumper pull trailer.
  3. Selling a trailer online can be an option. For us Craig’s list was a good place to sell our camper. We searched the posted ads for campers which was the exact year, manufacturer and model as our trailer and then listed our trailer for $3000 less.  The trailer sold in less than eight hours and there was a number of parties interested. Maybe we could have asked for more, but our goal was to sell our camper quickly.
  4. For selling our truck we choose not to sell to a private party, but went to CarMax and got a price quote and then went online to Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer and received a larger offer from Auto Pro Buys. They drove out to our location and after a test drive wrote us a check. Twice we have sold vehicles using the Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer and both times we felt we received a fair price.
  5. We also discovered as a resident of Oregon,we don’t have to pay taxes on our purchases and we could keep our orginal licenses plates saving additional money when it came time to transfer the titles.





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