"Live a good life, and in the end, it's not the years in the life, it's the life in the years."

All it takes is vision… and convincing a spouse

By on April 27, 2020 in Columnist with 0 Comments
Mike Cassidy

By Mike Cassidy


Coming over White Pass — the prettiest route to Western Washington, if time is not of the essence — I came upon a Million Dollar Idea.

My wife was driving and we were just a little west of the small town of Packwood when I spotted in an overgrown field a classic RV from what must have been the 1960s.

The front was curved like a bubble, peppered with windows; the slick sides lead to the bubble-shaped backend, also bespeckled with windows. If the word “retro” means anything, then this RV was Retro Cool with a capital R.

I should mention my wife likes to binge watch HGTV, the home of house flippers, and I have seen everything from fallen-from-grace mansions rehabbed and flipped to tiny homes spruced up and resold for a profit.

RVs, along with trailers and fifth-wheels, are the original tiny homes, right? They have everything — bedrooms, baths, kitchen, living space, sometimes even a pantry and washers and dryers all packed into a few hundred square feet.

If you drive around almost anywhere — not just over White Pass but here in the Wenatchee Valley, too — you will see RVs and trailers that appear to have sat idle for years in side yards and fields. Sometimes covered with a tattered tarp, sometimes mossy with age, these tiny homes have been mentally abandoned by their owners.

“I bet we could buy some of these old RVs for pennies, fix them up and flip them,” I enthused to my wife while pointing out the Retro RV.

“What? It’s out in the field because it’s broken down. We don’t know anything about repairing engines or transmissions. How would we even get it to a place where we could work on it?”

It’s true that sometimes, my wife doesn’t immediately see the upside to my great ideas, so I wasn’t exactly disheartened by her objections. Yet, she kind of had a point. So, I filed the idea away for another day.

That day came when I started reading Kelly Rollen’s Facebook posts this past winter on how she and her husband Roger bought a junker trailer, ripped out the insides, redid the walls, brought in new furnishings and created a bright, cute tiny home.

I was impressed with Kelly’s vision for this dark, dingy trailer. And, truth be told, I was also impressed with Kelly’s ability to convince her spouse to buy into her ideas involving work. Because, after all, they were vacationing in the southland, where this trailer was.

I asked Kelly to write a story and to share before and after photos. She agreed. Check out her story on page 16.

And wouldn’t you know it, but a week after I had Kelly’s story, occasional contributor Lief Carlsen sent us a story of how he and his wife Mary — while snowbirding in Arizona — bought a $24,000 house and began rehabbing it.

Which involved wheelbarrowing rocks a quarter of a mile to fill in the backyard. That’s Lief for you — not a man to take a project lightly.

We’re publishing both stories this issue. If we can’t work this month due to the coronavirus quarantine, at least we can read about other people working.

One man’s decaying RV can be another’s road to riches. Keep dreaming and enjoy The Good Life.

— Mike

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