Well, we’ve hit the road, moved on, and I’m sitting in a new location just south of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We found ourselves a pretty little spot with lovely views and a quaint little pond; perfect for a two night stay.
As I sit outside in my chair watching the clouds roll over, I reflect on my first couple of weeks as
homeless a full-timer. So far, there hasn’t been much down time, which I know will change in the coming weeks. Mind you, I am not complaining.
Once the house closed, we took a two-hour drive north to the town of Golden, located just west of Denver, Colorado. I love this small town nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We spent a week in this area last year and I immediately fell in love. What’s not to love about a town that installs a cross walk specifically for deer and elk?
Last year we played tourist and took the scenic drive up to visit Buffalo Bill’s Grave and Museum. Click here to read about it. It was a pretty drive complete with Paragliders. Last year the skies were dotted with several Paragliders throughout the day…..fascinating. During this visit, we didn’t see any possibly due to the extreme heat.
Al and I enjoyed strolling Golden’s downtown more than once. Coors Brewery sits in the background and is available for brewery tours. Been there, done that…..pass. However, we won’t pass on the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market. We knew we wanted to return for some fresh veggies, flowers, and lunch at one of the unique food trucks. Daughter joined us at the Farmers Market, which made it even more special. Al, Ashton, and I each ordered food from different vendors and had fun sampling each other’s tasty morsels.If I didn’t have this itch to move on, I could easily make Golden, Colorado home. The new light rail transit system also makes it very convenient to attend a Rockies Game or enjoy some night life in Denver’s LoDo District and not worry about parking a car. Oh yes, attending my first ever professional sporting event; a Rockies Game, was a memorable experience. What a great way to start off this new RV adventure.
So let’s recap the first couple of weeks of our new chapter: Rockies Game, Farmer’s Market, Denver’s LoDo District, Red Rocks Park, Mt. Evans, exploring Golden, meeting new full-timers at the campground, checking out Cherry Creek State Park, visiting daughter at work and having lunch with her and a co-worker, shopping with daughter, dinner with daughter and roomy, test driving some new cars with daughter, researching our next location, more time with daughter……. daughter the best part about our stay in Golden.
I had so much fun spending time with our daughter, aside from our memorable Mt. Evans day was the day we went car shopping. Since I didn’t take photos of the car shopping experience, I’ll intersperse random photos taken this week.
Ashton is still driving the VW Passat we gave her when she was 16. It’s at a stage where it needs a lot more attention and repair than a young gal wants to deal with. Later this year, she’d like to buy another car….new or gently used, but she is unsure of what kind of vehicle she’d like other than something with good gas mileage. Ashton and I have always enjoyed shopping together. Thus, we decide to go car shopping and try on a few….kind of like shoe shopping. Our little excursion turned into an interesting experience for Ashton; one she was glad her mother accompanied her on. The abridged version:
Our first stop was a Honda dealership with a “no haggle” style. The salesman was experienced, nice, and very informative. The prices were clearly marked and not negotiable…..just like buying a pair of shoes. Ashton couldn’t figure out why Al and I have told her not to buy a car without one of us along to help. This stop turned into a pleasant experience for her.
Side note; I’ve spent most of my working years in a “commission” based compensation scenario. As we visited the dealerships, my first comment was, “We just want a quick test drive and an idea on pricing. We will NOT be buying today and will not take up too much of your time.” I am always sure to take AND keep business cards for future referral. I respect folks who work on commission….. time is money.
Next stop was a Chevrolet dealership. They were advertising “Employee pricing”. We’re on the car lot looking at some vehicles when a young salesman approaches Ashton and me. He proceeds to inform us how lucky we are because it’s the 4th of July weekend, and they are having a special sale; offering the public the very same prices and break that employees get. “Ah, yes…this will be fun”, I ponder! We take a vehicle for a test drive. As we return to the lot, Ashton barely gets the car in park when the salesman attempts to go in for “the close”. “Is this the one? Let’s see what kind of deal I can get you on it”, he comments. We go inside and sit at the desk. The young kid tries to get us ‘on paper’. He wants us to make an offer. I very politely say, “Since this is employee pricing, tell me the price”. Now in my book, this should be pretty cut and dry, but of course it’s not. He wants us to make an offer…… Ah, the proverbial “first pencil”. Ashton sits next to me totally perplexed….. this is so NOT like buying a pair of shoes.
I’m not sporting this gray hair for fashion. It’s called experience and this ain’t my first rodeo (I kind of feel sorry for the kid). Here goes…. “If this is employee pricing than you should know what the MSRP is and deduct the employee discount and voila – my price. What seems to be the problem?” “I’ll need to check with my manager”, he says as he leaves his desk. I bend toward Ashton and say, “Now the desk guy will come over and try to work us. He’ll tell us he wants us to be happy and will give us the best price he can”. He’s our friend, ya know! Yep, that’s exactly the next turn of events. So now HE tries to get us to make the first move, “What kind of payment are you comfortable with? Did you like the color? What about the features?” blah, blah, blah…..
As the desk guy finally pauses, Ashton looks at me and says, “Mom, I don’t understand…. what’s going on? They said Employee pricing. Don’t they know the price of the car?” I respond, “Ashton, you have a Business-Marketing degree. This is called ‘Marketing’. Ashton’s eyes light up, “Oh, I get it. The Employee pricing ad is bullshit to get us to come in the door”. I respond to her while looking at the two guys, the young salesman and the desk dude, “That’s right honey. It’s their job to get us to make the first move so they can bump us above that figure and push us to the limit. They want us to get emotional about the purchase and get as much out of us as possible. AND the advertised sales are usually bullshit to instill a sense of urgency”. Ashton looks at me, then at the guys. The guys have no rebuttal. I think they were a little taken aback by the conversation. Ashton’s final comment, “Mom, I don’t think I like doing business this way….this sucks.” With a huge smile on my face, I say, “No, problem. Let’s go. You boys have a great day”. On that note, we got up and left leaving the two sales guys with their mouths open. And to think, they thought they were the ones going to have fun with these two chicky-poos.
When we got into Ashton’s car, she started laughing and said, “Did you see the look on those guys faces? They were still wondering what the heck just happened. And, mom…..I won’t ever buy a car without you or dad next to me.”
I totally understand the guys were just doing their job and need to make a living. However, this was not a pleasant car buying experience or the experience Ashton was expecting. Fortunately for her, it was exactly what I expected. It’s kind of the norm in car sales. With my guidance, she hopefully won’t be taken advantage of due to ignorance when it comes time for her to purchase a new vehicle. She now understands it’s a process and a game. If you know the system, it can be quite fun especially for someone like myself who doesn’t get emotional over purchases like cars or houses. It’s business. If the numbers work fine, if they don’t…. next.
She still isn’t sure what kind of vehicle she’d like, but now she has the confidence to walk onto a car lot and test drive a few more cars…..after all, you can’t just buy the first pair of shoes – you have to test drive a few. Of course, there was a lot more explaining / teaching on purchasing a car and the negotiation process as well as the ‘backend’…..another way for the dealerships to make money once they get you in the finance department…. a lot of information. It was an overwhelming day for Ashton, one that called for Mexican food and Margaritas in the end.
Ok I’m back to me sitting outside looking at the ducks on the pond. Yes, indeed a pretty little spot. As I reviewed all the things we accomplished in a short amount of time, I realized it’s been a fun filled, eventful start to our journey. Hmm, this afternoon I think we’ll run into Aspen. It’s been 25 years since our last visit to this well-known ski town in Colorado. I wonder, “Will I be every bit in awe as I was all those years ago…. a flatlander from Illinois?” I guess we’ll find out!
On that note, I’ll leave you with a few more images of Mt. Evans……