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On the road again (but not yet)

Holly Spangler Nathan Spangler (right), Aaron Taflinger (left) and JD Runyan (center) with their RV
ROAD TRIP: In a story that I absolutely could not make up, my 17-year-old son, Nathan (right), and his two best pals, Aaron Taflinger (left) and JD Runyan (center), are planning an epic road trip with a $2,250 RV. They’ve named her Bessy.
What happens when three teenage boys have a dream, an RV and a lot of hope? We’re about to find out.

“OK, Mom, so we’ve got this idea.”

That was my 17-year-old son, to me and my husband, about a month ago. Anyone who’s raised a 17-year-old boy knows this is the time to pay attention. Closely. And brace up.

“Me, JD and Aaron found this RV, and we wanna buy it and fix it up and take it on a road trip after graduation, and then we’ll sell it and make money!”

[blinking]

“It’s $2,500! It’s a 1991 RV!”

When we stopped laughing, we realized he was serious. These boys are best pals since birth who’ve had more than their fair share of scrapes together, including but not limited to a life flight from our pasture. And last year, they were in the CEO program together, which teaches entrepreneurship. So we told them to put together a business plan and pitch it to the parents.

They pitched like they were on the TV show “Shark Tank,” laying out their financial plan, and answering questions on insurance, licensing, mileage and more. Their repair estimates could best be described as aspirational (“$750 to fix it up”), but they absorbed our advice, and they’ve got a decent set of combined skills, including auto repair. And they’re paying for everything.

The next day, they went to look at the RV. Negotiated to $2,250. Brought it home. Literally jumped up and down. One of the moms said they were swooning like they’d met the girl of their dreams.

The RV, to be clear, will need more than $750 to become road-ready. Someone repainted parts of the outside, and not well. Three out of six tires are bad. But nobody’s more optimistic than these three boys.

JD, the mechanic, told his mom, “We couldn’t believe how good it drives. It only smells like poop a little when you go around a turn.”

And later: “I think the only thing we’re gonna do inside is rip up the carpet. There’s a blood stain on it.”

Will this make for the best stories of their lives? Absolutely.

A cautionary tale? Possibly.

Solid reality show video? Definitely.

Time will tell which version rises to the top. Stay tuned.

Comments? Road trip advice?! Email holly.spangler@farmprogress.com.

TAGS: Farm Life
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