Goodbye Camper… Sold to an Ex-Con

Camper RV trailer, the only year Winnebago made bumper pull campers.

About three years ago, we bought our first camper.  A 1979 Winnebago bumper pull, the only year Winnebago made a trailer style camper.  Built extremely stout.  After a little cosmetic TLC inside, it was a delightful starter camper.  We’ve made some awesome memories with it.

Overall, it was just exciting and fun to own a camper… and we were grateful to have found such a cheap one.  But alas, it suffered two critical problems.

  • Waaaay too heavy to be pulled by our Tahoe.
  • The sleeping arrangements left much to be desired.

Every time we pulled that sucker up to our local Grand Mesa, with an elevation of 10,800 feet, my husband would look at me and just shake his head.  “We’ve GOT to stop pulling this heavy camper with the Tahoe.”

And every time he’d wake up cranky the next morning after a restless night spent trying to fit his 6 foot frame on one of the two restrictive sleeping spots, “I’m NOT going to sleep another night in that camper.”

Osh no!  But I love camping!!

With that in mind, and taking into consideration our aversion to loan payments… I came up with a genius plan.  Let’s actually do our taxes this year before the 2nd week in April, and get our refund.  Sell the Winnebago beast.  And combine those funds to buy a different camper!

It will be lighter!  It will have lots of comfy sleeping room!  Woo hoooo… let’s do this!

Vintage Camper for Sale

After stripping wallpaper, painting, and installing all new flooring – our “vintage” camper is actually quite lovely inside.  I figured someone else would be just as thrilled as we were to find it.  There isn’t much to choose from in that low price range.

Meanwhile, I begin shopping the used camper ads for our area.  We start to get a good beat on what price range it will take, to meet our New Camper Goals.  To get a lighter one, we’d need a significantly newer one.

And after carefully considering what’s currently on the market… we decide on a price we need (and felt confident we could get) for our camper:  $3,500.

We list it with some nice photos, and the calls start coming in right away.

One guy offered us a trade of $4,000 in tattoo work.  Tempting.  But, no thank you.

One couple came to see it, loved it, but were concerned about the weight.  Another no go.

The Offer

After a week or so, someone calls and says they will be swinging through town. Could they drop by and check out the camper?  Absolutely!

The down side to selling something like this on Craigslist, is you have to give total strangers your home address to come see the item.   Not ideal.  But my husband was home, and he’s a weightlifter who works security, so I reckon we’ll be ok.  Still, I don’t go outside…. I just let him handle it when a flatbed pickup truck pulls into our driveway.

Five minutes pass, and he comes in with a funny look on his face.  “This guy just got out of prison.  TODAY.  He’s got $2800 cash in his pocket he’s offering for the camper.  He needs it to live in.”

Oh, come on!

My first reaction is all about us.  “Well, I’m sorry for him.  But we can’t sell that camper for $700 less than we need to get our new one!”  And so on, and so forth.  I rant a bit more.   All the reasons why I feel bad for the poor ex-con stranger, but we just can’t sell him our camper for so much less than the asking price.

My kind husband, nicest person in the whole world, just listens quietly.  I can tell he wants to sell it to the guy.

Then comes the kicker, “He actually said he’s got $3,000 in his pocket.  But he was hoping to keep $200 to get some new clothes.”

Oh, Good Lord.

So we sold him the camper.

Could you say no to that?  Seriously.  It was the brutal honesty about that extra $200 he was withholding, and the reason for it, that finally did me in.

The Takeaway

Here’s a guy who needs a break.  Someone who is trying to invest his jail severance pay (or whatever??) wisely, to get himself off to a good start.  He didn’t rush off to go buy drugs, or some other malevolent thing.  You gotta respect that.

Who knows, maybe we totally got played?

But in the grand scheme of things, that deal working out probably made a BIG difference to him.  And selling our camper for less wasn’t the end of the world for us.  The poor guy didn’t even have a car, the pickup was being driven by a friend who had apparently picked him up from prison.  The friend was going to let him park the camper at his place.

Camper RV, our new Sportsmen that is lighter and sleeps 8 people.

Our new, lighter camper! Sleeps 8. I figure that means the 4 of us can each have our own roomy bed.  No more whining!

We’ve since found a nice camper that will work perfectly for our family.  Just have to wait about a month for the title and paperwork to clear, then we can take ownership in time for Spring camping.  Hooray and huzzah!

And meanwhile, somewhere in Southern Colorado an ex-con is enjoying our beloved Winnebago as his new home.   I’d say that’s a pretty happy ending.

*o*     *o*     *o*

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About COMtnMom

Hi, I'm Tami! Writer, Influencer, and mom of two who loves travel, the outdoors, staying active, photography, reading books, and eating desserts. We are pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney World.


  1. I know that you did the right thing! Just think about it, ex-con leaves your home happy and content with your family! #winning

    • COMtnMom says:

      lol… never thought about the alternative. Turning down ex-con who knows where my loved ones live. 😉

      Thanks for swinging by, Tamela! xoxo

  2. Linda Rehm says:

    This was a great post! I even forgot about my coffee and it got cold while I read it….I love that you gave the guy a break and the new camper will be perfect for you. Win/win

    • COMtnMom says:

      Awww… thank you, Linda. Sorry your coffee got cold – lol. 🙂

      It’s funny how I felt uncertain at the time, but now feel good about it with no regrets. Good lesson for our kids, too.

  3. Brandi Dawn says:

    Oh my! I kinda got a little teary…what a beautiful story. I dont think you got played, I definitely have a good feeling about this one. Im so happy for all involved. Congrats on your new camper and have fun making the inside your own personal space! Happy camping!

    • COMtnMom says:

      Loved this comment – thank you, Brandi! 🙂 We get our new camper this Friday. Wooo hooo!!!


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