Archive for January, 2009

A new vidiot box

January 28th, 2009

Yep, in spite of knowing I shouldn’t be watching a lot of TV, I do miss some of the PBS type programming from time to time. In addition, we might watch an hour or so of random network television before the commercial overload kicks in and ruins the viewing experience. Our initial plan was to get a USB dongle and connect to one of the laptops whenever we felt like watching a bit of TV, but up until the end of the year, we never got around to it.

Well, I bought us a Avertv Hybrid Volar Max for Christmas. We’ve only just been using it the past few days, but I’ve got to say I’m quite happy with the functionality. I really expected HDTV to be much less reliable for us compared to analog TV as we’re often out in the middle of nowhere.

Continue Reading »

Life in the back of a truck (part 2)

January 25th, 2009

This is part of an ongoing series on what it’s like to live in a truck camper fulltime. You may read other articles here:

  1. Part One – The fulltime lifestyle
  2. Part Two – Why a truck camper?
  3. Part Three – Weights & Dealing with them
  4. Part Four – Boondocking resource conservation

Why a truck camper when you could have something much larger?

True, a bus conversion or a 5th wheel would give quite a bit more space than a truck camper, but if you can deal with the smaller size, a truck camper has a lot going for it. For starters, you can take it places that just aren’t practical in most rigs that are suitable for fulltiming. Sure, a popup trailer or an especially small travel trailer might make it down a particular nasty stretch of dirt road, but even those are going to have issues if it turns out backing out is required. A smallish Class C is as manueverable as a truck camper, but they’re awfully hard to find in 4 wheel drive models with the kind of clearance you get from a full size truck.

Another bonus to truck campers is that you don’t really need to tow along a second vehicle for running around. Many Class A owners tow a dinghy vehicle for sightseeing in order to avoid moving their RV once its parked. While, we also haul around a scooter for short trips, we often just move the entire truck and camper if the trip requires it. Better yet, if we’re going to be somewhere more than a few days and know we’ll need to run around in the truck a lot, we can just drop the camper and have a separate vehicle to drive. It takes a bit more effort than dropping or loading a trailer, but the truck can easily be loaded or unloaded in around 30 minutes.

A final reason we really like the truck camper option is that the camper and drivetrain are not married as they are in Class A’s or C’s. If you decide you’d prefer a different floorplan or the truck experiences catastrophic failure, you can always change truck or camper with a minimum of hassle and keep the one you’re still happy with. For that matter, you can dump the camping lifestyle altogether and keep the truck. Not having the RV and truck married is what allows you to have a 4wd, diesel RV with good clearance at a reasonable price. It’s also an excellent choice for anyone that would like to pull a boat. Many states prohibit double towing, and I can’t imagine it being particularly fun even in those that allow it.

But, isn’t a truck camper way too small to live in fulltime?

I guess that depends on your lifestyle and what you want and need out of life. There are probably more people living in vans than truck campers by an order of magnitude. I can stand up fully, stretch out fully and have considerably more room to move around than any van I’ve ever seen except perhaps the shuttle buses, which I imagine would make a nice little rolling house with some work.

Personally, I find there is plenty of living space, but I’ve always liked living in smaller spaces. They prevent me from accumulating too much junk and I can usually find things I’ve mislaid without much trouble. Jenn and I as well as two cats have been living in the camper for 12 of the last 14 months and I feel much more comfortable to be back in our camper than I felt while we had the run of her parent’s place the past couple of months.

The one real constriction I feel about living in something the size of a truck camper is making a concious effort not to accumulate too much junk and finding a place to store the things we need. Anytime you consider picking up a new item, you have to think about just how often you’re going to use it, whether or not you can get along without it and where you’re going to store it. On top of that, you should consider whether it will be able to replace something you already have or if you already have something that can do the same thing. This problem actually helps me to save money by not buying things just because they’re shiny!

Sorry about that butt shaped divot in your couch!

January 24th, 2009

After two months sitting around in a house and sinking further and further into the couch, we’re finally back on the road. Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time with Jenn’s aunt, uncle, cousins and the grand kids, but we made the mistake of hooking up the idiot box. Now, I can pretty easily sit in front of the tube all day if there are enough movie channels to keep me interested. I KNOW it’s dumb and not the best way to spend my time and have spent most of the last ten years without TV or without cable at the least. Still, when it’s available, I think ‘well, it’s temporary, so I can indulge’.

Somehow, we finally got motivated and winterized the house, moved stuff back to the camper and hit the road. However, we’d lost some hobo mojo and things went wrong the moment we tried to leave. First we got enough snow to make driving a bit hazardous for two days, then we developed a leak in the camper (probably from the thaw/ice cycle of the snowfall), broke a PVC pipe while disconnecting the house water and the camper fridge went on the fritz.

Continue Reading »

Hitek Has-Beens

January 11th, 2009

Well, its not breaking news as it has been over a week since it was posted, but we made it into two more Truck Camper Magazine articles.

Gorden wrapped up the year with “Best of 2008: A Year In Pictures” and “Best of 2008: The Most Amazing TCM Moments of the Year“. In case you missed the first run of the article about us, not sure how that would be possible but just in case, here it is.

Shortly after TC Magazine made us a household name, Jim and Rene posted an article, featuring us, about choosing this alternative lifestyle.

Fleeting fame… ah, it sure was fun at the top.

Can’t wait to see what 2009 holds.

Work Camping Opportunity

January 10th, 2009

If you are planning to be in Kentucky this March, you can take part in this opportunity. On the weekend of the 21st and 22nd, Carter Caves State Park will be preforming its 3rd annual Cave Restoration Weekend.

For your participation, you will receive free camping during the event, an official T-shirt, a guided cave tour, new friends, and a fuzzy warm feeling that comes from making a difference.

Work will include the following:

  • Formation Repair and Cleaning

  • Visual Work to Camouflage Man-Made Features

  • Vandalism / Graffiti Work

  • Clean-Up of Trails and Commercial Areas

  • and Much Much More!

More information can be found on the website. Please ignore the 2008 date. It is a typo.

You can also contact them @ 606-286-4411.

The event will be held at:

Carter Caves State Park
344 Caveland Drive
Olive Hill, Kentucky 41164

Johnny and I had a great time in this park. It is where we worked on the bat gate. There is a ton of wildlife in the area. We saw deer every day for most of the day. We also saw a fox and a number of skunks. Its a very nice park with a lot of caves in it.

Next »