Wandering deeply south

Tweet others like you want to be tweeted. — signage in front of a church, Hwy 17, Georgia

We‘re just back from two months of wandering deeply in the south. This was our maiden voyage in the Hymer which now clocks 14,000 km on the odometer. It didn’t take us long to ‘move in’ and inhabit the new campervan. We were comfortable from the get-go. In all kinds of weather. We love being able to stand up inside without popping up. Having a toilet in the van is the biggest game changer of all – no more waking up in the night and wandering out into the darkness, cold, rain, sleet, or mosquitoes to pee. And running water, warm running water, woah! LUXURY! The verdict: we like it. 

If you’ve been following us since the beginning you know we inhabited the VW in much the same way and it too felt like home, albeit without the above luxuries. You also know that we finally, after four and half years, tired of repairing and paying for ongoing mechanical problems. Knowing that the Hymer had a six-year transferrable warranty and the Promaster chassis a three-year warranty were HUGE factors in our decision to buy it! And sooooo….. you will appreciate the irony when we tell you that Hymer North America and RoadTrek went into receivership just as we departed on our first trip in the new van. Yep. Nine hundred people lost their jobs in Kitchener. And that doesn’t include the offshoot companies that are affected too. Chalk it up to corporate greed, specifically that of US giant, Thor, and apparently, the Hymer family. Thor’s plan for world domination of the RV market needed to include the European Market (they chose to follow through with their purchase of Hymer Europe) and decimating Hymer North America and Roadtrek (a popular Canadian RV manufacturer with a long and profitable history) was necessary because these brands are strong competitors to brands they already own. Sadly company history and longevity no longer matter. We have learned this the hard way in the past few years. The company that we hired to move us out of the house we sold in 2014 and paid to store our belongings had been in business at that point for 46 years so we felt confident entrusting them with our belongings and paying them in advance to move those belongings to our next home. We were most certainly surprised to receive a call while climbing a mountain in Alberta (a month after handing over twelve post-dated cheques) and being told that we had a month to move our belongings out of their storage unit because they decided to close the business. We were not reimbursed for the future move for which we had prepaid and ended up paying double for storage after that. When we chose this company we did so, in part, because of their long and dependable history. This will no longer be a factor in our decision making.

Fortunately the Ram Promaster warranty is intact – important because the VW problems were ALWAYS mechanical. As for the Hymer, there is a big friendly community of owners out there willing to help fix and troubleshoot problems, all in the same boat as us. And we do have five years of problem-solving VW chutzpa under our belts which can only help. 

Of course, we of all people understand that change is constant and as entrepreneurs we have always known nothing is guaranteed. In the life of the self-employed there are so many more unknowns than knowns. Perhaps the last thirty years have been good training for this new world order: take nothing for granted and be ready for anything. Oh, and be light on your feet. Or wheels!