Motorhome purchased on Craigslist explodes

In recent posts I reported that four small dogs died and an RV was destroyed in a fire caused by a propane space heater, space heaters destroyed pets and RVs in two separate fires, and six other RV fires resulted in two deaths.

buyer_bewareAir Force veteran Thomas Graley was driving a newly purchased motorhome through Phoenix when flames started shooting through the floor.

“I was coming down the road and the engine just caught on fire,” Graley told
“All of the sudden flames just started coming out of the pedals,” added Graley’s wife, Candy.

The Graleys have been down on their luck. Air Force veteran Thomas Graley lost his job when the cellphone company he worked for merged with another company. They bought the motorhome so they would have a place to live as well as a vehicle.

“They foreclosed on my house and repoed my car so we bought this so I would have someplace to live,” he said with tears in his eyes.

Today, the Air Force veteran was able to sift through the rubble of the vehicle to salvage a few personal belongings, but nearly everything he owned was destroyed in the fire, reports.

The Graleys found the motorhome listed on Craigslist.

“It seemed like a good vehicle for the price,” Thomas Graley said.

The couple excitedly handed over their life savings of $1,000 to the Craigslist seller to purchase the motorhome so they could drive to Ohio to visit their daughter, who is due to give birth in February.

fraudPrevention“He said that it ran good and that it was road worthy and would make it to Ohio,” Candy Graley said.

Instead, the motorhome made it just a few miles before catching fire.

The Graleys have attempted to contact the seller numerous times with no response. 3TV went to the address listed for the Craigslist seller, but no one answered the door.

Unfortunately, the Graleys probably do not have much legal recourse, according to Phoenix attorney Brent Kleinman.

“Most likely he won’t be able to get any of his money back,” Kleinman said.

Kleinman said because the transaction occurred between two private parties, the seller did not have a duty to find defects in the motorhome.

“You’re buying that vehicle as is,” Kleinman said.

“The only recourse you have is if they try to intentionally deceive you.”

Thomas Graley said because the motorhome was brand new, it was not insured yet. So he believes he will be out his home, his vehicle, and the money he spent to purchase the motorhome.

“It was a thousand dollars,” he said.

“To other people it may seem like a small amount, but to us it was everything we had.”

Buyer Beware

The following core rules for using Craigslist are courtesy

Beware of the many scams that users may try. The Craigslist domain is known for counterfeit money orders, bad checks, stolen merchandise, and damaged goods.

Used is a keyword for stolen on Craigslist. Many people have located items stolen from them on the site.

rvThere are criminals who use Craigslist. Since criminals use Craigslist always meet in safe places to mitigate the chances of being victimized.

Follow your instincts when using Craigslist. Sometimes things just, “feel right” and sometimes things feel, “all wrong”. When using the Craigslist domain there are often warning signs that make a user, ‘feel’ like something is wrong before they discover they have been scammed.

If you do not feel totally comfortable with a transaction, wait one day. If the buyer or seller cannot wait it’s probably a bad deal.

Do not accept personal checks or money orders from Craigslist users. Craigslist has alerts about the check fraud that happens in the domain. Do not accept personal checks because of the risk of fraud. Many users make fake checks and money orders or forge blank ones to commit their scams.

Use similar caution when buying or selling on eBay.

Worth Pondering…

Travel safely…and stay away from road-gaiters and orange barrels.

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Vintage Trailer Transformed into Art Museum

Three artists based in Methow Valley, Washington, that span three generations are working together to revitalize their once-thriving logging community.

Reclaimed vintage Spartan travel trailer a new home for local Methow Valley artists. (Photo credit: Don Nelson)
Reclaimed vintage Spartan travel trailer a new home for local Methow Valley artists. (Photo credit: Don Nelson)

One of their projects involves restoring a 1951 Spartan Imperial Mansion travel trailer to display unique and experimental work from local, regional, and national artists.

The project started, as many ideas do, with some people sitting around talking and wondering if there might be a way to find some space with low or no overhead “an empty room somewhere” to display local artists’ work, free and open to the public on an “honor system” basis, according to a news release.

The artists—Matt Armbrust, Jeff Winslow, and Steve Ward—recalled hearing about an Airstream travel trailer that had been converted to a mobile art display.

Ward, an admitted Craigslist prowler, knew where to find it. Online browsing led him to Malaga, near Wenatchee where a 36-foot 1951 Spartan Imperial Mansion travel trailer was available. A top-of-the-line Spartan like this once cost about $6,000 new. This deteriorated hulk was going for $800.

Ward and Armbrust drove down to take a look. On first inspection, it didn’t look like much of a bargain.

Artists Jeff Winslow, left, Steve Ward and Matt Armbrust in the gutted interior of the Spartan travel trailer they are turning into a mobile art gallery. (Photo credit: Don Nelson)
Artists Jeff Winslow, left, Steve Ward and Matt Armbrust in the gutted interior of the Spartan travel trailer they are turning into a mobile art gallery. (Photo credit: Don Nelson)

“It was pretty grim,” Armbrust recalls.

“I looked at it and said, ‘no way.’ Then we got obsessed with it.”

Spartan Aircraft All-Aluminum Trailercoaches, which resemble Airstream trailers because of their smooth, shiny exterior, were manufactured from 1946 to 1960 by Spartan Aircraft Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma. At that time, the company was owned by legendary industrialist J. Paul Getty. Spartans were high-end travel trailers noted for their quality.

That was last summer. The Spartan is now on display—far from finished, but looking much better.

Deciding to buy it and getting it to the Methow Valley were separate challenges. That was resolved when valley resident Steve Morse agreed to tow the trailer back to the Methow, rolling on temporary tires Ward removed from a truck he owns.

So far, they have gutted the interior, stripped the paint, replaced the sub-flooring, and purchased an actual floor. They also reclaimed kiln slats that were once used for drying lumber and have invested a good deal of their own funding thus far.

Their home base is on the TwispWorks campus, a former U.S. Forest Service Ranger Station commissioned during the Great Depression and built by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

Located in downtown Twisp, TwispWorks is a community-driven project with the entire site comprising 17-buildings over 6.5-acres. Its board of directors has systematically restored and revitalized this historic area into spaces for artist studios, nonprofit organizations, and local businesses.

“We view this 36-foot classic camper as both an inspiring and challenging space for art installations,” they said in a news release.

“We want the Spartan to be a platform for experimental art, and a space for artists to take chances. From the viewer’s perspective, we want to engender excitement about art and engage them on a new level. ”

Despite numerous skilled artists in their region, show space for experimental/edgy art is limited and there are few ways for local artists to take their work on the road.

“We feel this is a crucial niche for engaging people in art and for encouraging artists to create works outside of a traditional gallery setting. We want to fill this gap through the creation of the Spartan Art Project,” they added.

Spartan Art Project (Photo credit: Don Nelson)
Spartan Art Project (Photo credit: Don Nelson)

In order to bring the Spartan up to form, the artists need to wire the interior, replace the windows, patch aluminum, install walls, put in a solar lighting system, and make a few upgrades that will make the Spartan officially roadworthy.

“We are working hard to use reclaimed, local products and accepting the donated time of the Methow Valley’s very skilled and generous community to finish the Spartan Art Project by spring 2013,” they added.

Worth Pondering…

Hold fast to your dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.

—Langston Hughes

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How to Sell Your Used RV in Two Weeks

Knowing how to sell your used RV effectively is very important in order to have a successful sale.

For Sale by Owner (horse NOT included)

If you know how to plan and advertise your recreational vehicle the right way, you can sell your RV in as little as two weeks, according to an news release.

Buying an RV is one of the most expensive investments that people make after purchasing their own home.

Previously owned RVs typically cost between $30,000 and $150,000. Some new RVs can cost more than half a million.

When you decide to sell your RV, you’ll want to sell it as quickly as possible.

The faster you can sell your RV, the more you’re going to be able to sell it for. If your RV is worth $100,000, it could drop in price by as much as $1,000 per month.

To sell your RV in two weeks or less, you need a minimum of five places to advertise.

Also, ensure it is professionally detailed and priced competitively.

5 Great Places to Advertise Your RV

The five best places to advertise your RV locally are as follows:

1. Craigslist – Since it’s FREE, you’ll like Craigslist. Usually you’ll find more RVs advertised on Craigslist than in your local newspaper. Even though people who call from Craigslist may be a somewhat more flaky than people who call from the newspaper, it is still a great way to attract buyers, and many of them do end up buying. The reason we rank it number one is because it has considerable inventory, and because it is a free place for you to list your RV for sale.

2. This is the second best place to advertise your RV. Like Craigslist it is also free. People who find this site online are typically those who are searching for an RV to buy. It is a great place to list your RV and it is also free.

3. Your Local Newspaper – This can be a great place to advertise. There are a lot of older people who still use the newspapers on a regular basis. The typical cost for listing your RV for sale in a newspaper is around $50-$70, but it varies by location.

4. The Cheap Classifieds –   These are not really newspapers because they don’t contain any news. They are just cheap classified places where you can list ads. Ironically listing an RV for sale in cheap classifieds works well for both expensive and inexpensive RVs.

5. A classified newspaper dedicated to RVs and boats. Most major cities have a classified magazine dedicated to selling boats and RVs. In a smaller city, you may want to also try one that is dedicated to selling cars. This is a great way to help people know that you have an RV for sale.

Don’t underestimate the value of putting a “For Sale by Owner” sign on your recreational vehicle. If you choose to, you can also park it next to a busy intersection for two weekends. You’ll be surprised at how much interest it generates for your RV, especially during the heavy months of RV buying which is in the early spring and during the fall.

Have Your RV Professionally Detailed

Detailing your RV by a professional will only cost about $200 to $300. This can make a big difference in how many times you have to show it in order for it to sell. It might even enable you to get more for it when it does sell. You should be able to get 5 to 10 percent more for your RV if it looks like it is in great condition.

Choosing a Competitive Price

For assistance in selecting a competitive price refer to an online value guides such as the NADA or the Kelly Blue Book. These resources will help you determine approximate values. If you price it just under what you think it is worth, you have a better chance of attracting more buyers and being able to sell it quicker.

Details is dedicated to helping you sell your RV faster.

The site also offers free information on buying and selling RVs.


Worth Pondering…

I hope you dance because…


Time is a wheel.

Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along.

Tell me, who wants to look back on their years and wonder where their years have gone.

—Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers, I Hope You Dance

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