On our way to the RV show at the Colorado Convention Center on April 1, my partner and I planned how we were going to play the biggest April Fool joke ever on our five adult kids. They knew that we’d been toying with the idea of getting an RV since the pandemic, and more specifically, a Class B van. We went only as far as subscribing to several van life YouTube channels. Not that we wanted to live in a van, but wouldn’t it be cool to camp in one whenever we felt like it? That said, we agreed it’d be another five or so years before we’d take the leap and buy one, but we also thought it would be fun to just look at a few vans in real life. Where’s the harm in that?
The trick would be convincing a dealer to let us hold up a fake sold sign next to a camper van. We were sure the kids would freak out when we showed them the photo, and then we’d exclaim: April Fools!
The joke’s on us
As we toured one van after another looking for the perfect fake purchase, we began chatting about what we liked and didn’t like about each one. Toilet closet: Yes. Pop-up roof bed: Nope. We circled back to revisit those that had stood out to us until we narrowed it down to our favorite.
The dealer had seen us pass through his corner of the convention center more than once, always offering to answer any questions. Our last time through, neither one of us asked the agreed upon: will you take a picture of us holding a fake sold sign by this one? Instead, we practically stumbled over each other asking him what kind of a deal he’d give us to buy this one. And it was a big if. Until it wasn’t.
True, we both have a weakness for making spontaneous decisions. That’s how we ended up in Maui earlier in the year. That’s why we have a dog (the best boy ever). And that’s why we have never married. That last one takes planning. But 10+ years into this relationship, we’ve never done anything we’ve regretted – individually, yes, but as a couple, no.
Within hours of securing the deal we wanted, we paid the deposit and signed our names in blood. Or maybe it was red ink. Nonetheless, we’d gone and done it. While we couldn’t drive our no-joke van off the convention room floor, we did get to stand in front of it with a sold sign as the dealer snapped our photo.
The big reveal
Later, we met up with our local kids at a restaurant and Facetimed the others to show them the picture. Every one of them laughed and said they weren’t fooled, but good try! We didn’t argue and let them think we were just being silly.
A week later, we invited the local kids to dinner at our house where the van was prominently parked out front, all shiny silver with temporary plates attached. We Facetimed the others, smiling as we watched their eyebrows rise when they realized our photo had not been a joke. Had we finally lost our minds?
I think they thought we should be old enough to know better when it comes to acting on impulse; we see aging as even more reason to sometimes just go for it and live life to the fullest. And camping in a van is truly living fully because there isn’t a lot of space inside for two people and a large dog to move about.
About the dog
We told them he was the deciding factor because he could come with us instead of boarding him while we traveled. Strangely, this didn’t ease their concern. Undeniably, it is a lot of money to spend for a dog’s companionship, but we told them, he’d do the same for us if he could. Our kids shook their heads in unison, perplexed that their parents were acting like this made any sense at all.
We didn’t invite them to dinner or Facetime with anyone the following weekend. Not because we were upset with any of them, but we were on our first camping adventure in the mountains and there was no room for them around the little table inside the van, plus there was no Wi-Fi.
On that first night, our dog snuggled on the bed in the back of the van that he assumed was his alone. Boy, was he ever surprised when we joined him in it. But he adjusted, just as our kids have accepted that we’ll be gone every weekend checking out as many camping spots as possible. In fact, they sometimes ask us to send pictures of our latest adventures and cheer us on to have more. No joke. RV