1984 Dodge Ram Roadtrek II – $4500

I bought this Roadtrek II, “the motorhome that drives like a van,” from a private seller (I want to say his name was Dan) three years ago. As transportation and sometime residence, the Roadtrek II has performed yeomanly. It is only because my mental health seems to be calling with some urgency for full-time non-vehicular lodging that I’m selling her at such an act-now price. I paid seven thousand dollars, cash on the barrelhead, for the Roadtrek II, on 7 April 2004. I can’t at present access Kelley’s blue book or a similar authority (Kelley’s website only estimates values for cars and trucks dated from ’87 to the current year, and Edmunds, though in command of a richer sense of history, appears to discriminate against motorhomes), but I think my (slightly negotiable) asking price fairly reflects standard motorhome depreciation, as well as the fact that the Roadtrek II’s water pump has of late been behaving in a way that might seem to controvert its manufacturer’s name (SHURflo). Also the stove, possibly, is discharging non-alarming quantities of gas. I’ve been getting mild headaches that seem inhalation-related, though I haven’t consulted a doctor about these (mild, as was said) headaches and can’t speak with any real conviction about their etiology. I’ve been having trouble distinguishing faces as well. Features—particularly eyes (and their brows), but also noses, mouths, chins, dimples—seem indistinct, washed out not only when I try to recall them at a later time (e.g.: orig. envisaging: 02/09/07; failed facial recall: 02/21/07), but also when I stare anxiously into eyes or onto faces. Has this ever happened to you?

In general the Roadtrek II’s interior could use some TLC. Surely it’s not unique in that respect (:>).

To pay for the motorhome, manufactured collaboratively by Ontario’s Home and Park and Michigan’s Chrysler Corporation, Dodge division, I used seven-tenths of an inheritance I received upon the death by ischemic heart disease of my mother, Leotine. The wisdom of the purchase was questioned by my vaulting younger brother, Shane, on whom more later, but I suffered no buyer’s remorse. In many respects I have “babied” the Roadtrek II. The metaphor is inapt in my case since I don’t like babies, but let it stand. In 2005 and early 2006, I was able to have the Roadtrek II’s toilet patched, replace its timing belt, and approve some two or three other tweaks to its Herculean V-eight engine, using money earned as a part-time—to the extent that thirty-five hours per week (give or take, mostly give) is part time—flooring installer for the Green House Effect, a Minneapolis seller of eco-friendly building supplies, and my benefit-withholding employer till six months ago, when the emotional hurdles I indicated above began to impede my ability to remove and install floor coverings with sufficient reliability or friendliness.

During my stint with the Green House Effect, I spent much time laying cork or bamboo flooring and recycled-glass tile, to make way for which I’d have to rip up and discard perfectly good carpet, linoleum, or Pergo. The other, increasingly fuzzy installer didn’t speak much English, so I was the one forced to deal with the customers, mainly dishrags. Had I been in Kevin’s shoes (New Balance), probably I would have fired me, too.

As you will see, for the purposes of this notice I forbid my camera access to the Roadtrek II’s penetralia. I have never been much of a housekeeper. My mother could testify to that, were she not dead. When you come to inspect the Roadtrek II, however, you will see that she (the pronoun now refers to the motorhome) is only messy and dirty, and, to repeat, in general need of some TLC, rather than damaged in any serious/prohibitive way. I may as well point out here that the blood on the Roadtrek II’s not excessively punishing queen-sized stern bed is mine and commemorates no stageable drama (nosebleed, 12/19/06). To my rare good fortune (“If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all”), my nose hasn’t hemorrhaged in four and a half months, though lately my skin has answered with raised, reddish marks to all but the most feathery touch or scratch. Any thoughts on this last malady? My Googling was inconclusive.

I explain the bloodstain because I’m aware that long-term van habitation is a cliché of failure, and that single men in such situations are closely associated with creepiness. As it happens, thanks to the “kindness of strangers,” some of whom were not technically strangers, or, ultimately, kind, I have never really lived full-time in the Roadtrek II. (But try explaining that to the folks at Match.com.) (I haven’t, but you get my drift.) I mulled diligently over these stigmas before purchasing the Roadtrek II, from a Wisconsin rustic named, if memory serves, Dave, a Dave of the sort who says, “Hang on a sec; I gotta take a piss” before he even says hello. When you and I meet, at a spot of your choosing (if you’re stumped for an idea, one humbly suggested rendezvous is pictured directly below), I think you’ll find straightaway that I don’t fit the type.

I am only kidding. We can negotiate the sale in a more public place. I have the title and an extra set of keys in the glove box (latch broken). The transaction could easily be accomplished on your lunch break, should you be granted such a thing. For many employers, a lunch break needn’t afford time for proper digestion, much less an efficient test ride.

It does seem fair to say, speaking experientially and with no wish to impute unbecoming thoughts to other motorhomeowners, that certain distressing yet provably normal male heterosexual fantasies can yield increased anxiety when they enter the mind of a man in the driver’s seat of a disorderly (“garbage-y,” I’ve been told) twenty-three-year-old Class B motorhome. One worries that the Roadtrek II, serving as a conduit of bachelor-van-dweller mythology, is encouraging profligate /lawless ideations/behavior in its owner that might not otherwise surface. For instance, in the parking lot of a Chicagoland Jewel-Osco, I spotted and was palpitated by two milky-skinned, strangely spectral young women, women most likely in advance of legal maturity, probable girls would be another way to put it, and it is true that I fantasized, with traces of serious intent, about offering them 400 dollars to perform (really quite routine) sexual acts on and around the Roadtrek II’s handsome central table and surrounding quartet of comfy swivel chairs (minor upholstery wear and tear). This fantasy, no cinch to dislodge, never occurred to me in the precise form described above (in scant detail; I am no pornographer) when I owned Ford’s Aspire, teal with pink brands and accents. Granted, the Aspire didn’t offer much privacy or room to stretch out in creative positions, such as the “Moravian pony,” but then again, when I owned the Aspire I was living in a proper home, pictured below, where an assignation might have been played out with somewhat greater civility.

Probably I should depart from this line of my sales pitch. Early in life I became convinced of the salutary effects of relaxed self-censorship, but the practice has gotten me nowhere.

The above photograph no doubt reveals that the proper home I spoke of three sentences ago was not Hearst Castle, nor was it “proper” in the sense of belonging to me through a rental, mortgaging, or gentlemen’s agreement. And talk about cold! Still, prior to my mother’s passing and my consequent flushness, the white country home was about as good a home
as I could imagine mustering, though it’s true that my imagination has frequently been self-sabotaging or at least self-limiting. I did a good amount of thinking and reading in the white country home, and for a while was happy there, till various mental and physical ailments recrudesced or emerged, most distressingly the aforementioned problem with faces, which at first were blurry only sporadically and only in memory (though including short-term memory), but then, as explained above, became more and more amorphous even in the present. This condition, incidentally, can obstruct gender determinations, especially during winter, when people around here are bundled in form-concealing clothes, excepting some young people who make a display of underdressing, as I myself once did, refusing as a teen to wear winter caps, regularly emerging from the shower just minutes before having to hotfoot it to the bus stop (you will find that I have since come to value punctuality), so that my wet, gelled hair would often freeze en route to the corner and compel my bus-stop-mate Melinda to pat my hardened “do” in a way that I later (too late) realized was flirtatious.

Interestingly, photographs of faces are clearer to me than actual faces. See, for instance, my portrait, below, of my brother Shane,
whose downtown St. Paul apartment, where I am at this moment,

is quite elegant (“Oh for fancy!” my mother might have said), as you might conclude from my admittedly evasive photographic composition. Shane works in product development at General Mills (or, in the unaccountable and unfunny Frito Bandito accent he affects for the name, “Mjels Xenerál”), for whom he spearheaded the “underpublicized” (per Shane) 2006 makeover of the Boo Berry mascot. Shane was always the achiever of the family, always the one to secure an extra letter of recommendation or deliver the more tasteful (dishonest, omissive, sentimental, unctuous) filial encomium at certain sparsely attended Twin Cities funerals. He was patronizing me before he was out of knee pants. If there was a time when he looked up to me in the usual fashion of younger siblings, it must have been during my prehistory. It will do to say that little love or even comprehension is lost or even misplaced between Shane and me, and that it was only after a traumatizing incident at the Minneapolis central library’s computer hive that I reluctantly petitioned to use his apartment as command post for the composition and design of this classified ad.

I will also be here, over the lunch hour, while Shane is at work, responding to what I expect will be a Noachian inundation of queries regarding the Roadtrek II, which already I have begun to miss. I am nearly weeping. Under different medical and financial circumstances, I would happily be the one to add the expected 112,648 miles to her current 187,352 actual miles and 360 intangible (though recorded) miles. Sorry to confuse you with that last bit; in confusion we are united. I don’t mean to say that the Roadtrek II’s fully functional odometer (fuel gauge broken, by the way) has been jiggered. (Why would I set the thing back a measly 360 miles?) What I mean is that I once went to sleep—get this—in the passenger-side single bed of the Roadtrek II, parked at a rest area in western Wisconsin, and woke up to gray-tentacled dawn in the driver’s-side single bed of the Roadtrek II, stationed friendlessly and bewilderingly in the “Coyote” section of a shopping-mall parking lot in Schaumburg, Illinois. I wonder if you’ve ever experienced anything like this before.

My schedule permits responses only to the obviously sincere among you. I will try to answer your questions by e-mail, but bear in mind that I am here for only part of each day. It might be best to simply arrange to take a look at the Roadtrek II. When we meet, I’ll want to begin by asking you to pose for a Polaroid headshot. I’ll return the photo to you at the end of our transaction/meeting. I have an immediate opportunity to sublet a reasonably priced if felinely scented room from an unaffiliated fraternity of Hamline University, and I could use the money for the deposit and some basic furnishings, and so, in hopes of hastening a sale, the Roadtrek II’s price, as I said, is (slightly to somewhat) negotiable. Let us talk further soon.

This item has been posted by-owner.
Location: arrange meeting place with seller
it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 428675309

Dylan Hicks’s fiction, criticism, journalism, and hack work have appeared in several dozen publications, including the Village Voice, The New York Times, City Pages, and the website Pindeldyboz. His previous short story for The Rake was anthologized in Da Capo’s Best Music Writing 2007.