Rainy day… came our way…

July 25th, 2010

We’re back on the move again and slowly making our way through Texas in what can only be described as damn hot weather. More importantly though, the household has expanded. While we were at Caverns of Sonora, the ranch manager’s dog had a litter of puppies. After much hemming and hawing over whether or not we could care for a dog in this lifestyle, we finally decided that if we didn’t have the time for a dog now, then we never would.

Rain enjoying homemade hail on a hot day.
Rain enjoying a cool ice ball on a hot day.

So, making her Internet debut, we present Rain. Her parents are both working dogs that have worked cattle, sheep and goats in all sorts of weather ranging from snow and ice to hotter than hell southern Texas. Casey, her mother, is a blue heeler and her father is Slick, a border collie. Odds are pretty good that she’s too smart for either one of us, but with a little luck and a lot of treats, maybe she’ll tell us what we’re doing wrong.

The first few days, there was a lot of tension between her and the cats, but they are slowly getting used to her and only hissing when she gets seriously into their personal space. I’d rather not talk about my scars when she met Hunter the first time, though. Rain seems to be adjusting to a nomadic lifestyle much better than she liked the first couple of weeks while we were still working. Rather than spending so much time locked up to stay safe from the cats, she gets to go where we go and do what we do. In less than a week since we left the cave, she is already a different dog, and apparently, much happier!

Oh, if you were wondering, she’s currently 8 1/2 weeks old and her birthday is 5/25 if you want to send her presents.

Two Years of Two People and Two Cats in Two Hundred Square Feet

December 5th, 2009

As of December 1st, we have been living in our truck camper for 2 years. I can’t believe I almost let it slip by nor can I believe that it has been that long. It just seems so natural anymore. Its home no matter where it is parked. And, regardless of where that is, we are in a much better place than we were on Nov 30, 2007.

Back then, we were in soul sucking, yet somewhat prestigious jobs and running the middle class treadmill. Well, I guess that by then we were only walking on it. We had already purchased the truck and camper. We had gotten rid of most everything we owned. We had had the camper for a couple of days and were moving what little of our stuff that remained into it. We were still working but only because we wanted to earn some additional money. At the very least, I wanted to make sure that I made the difference between what my Xterra sold for and what my truck cost back before we left.

Where our desks lived.
The building we used to work in.
The place we used to work. Our desks and the building.

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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!

Home Improvement

October 1st, 2008

I posted back in April about our table upgrade that has saved my sanity, but I figure it’s time to cover a few more minor modifications that have improved our enjoyment of the camper. Also, we’re about to be engaged slinging fried chicken for a couple of weeks and we’ll probably be rather quiet in the blogosphere.

I’ve really got to say I’m still very happy with our choice of camper and options. We’ve looked at quite a few both before and after we made a decision and I still haven’t seen one (yeah, I know Paul will tell me to look at his Snowriver) that I would be happier with for fulltiming.

Added shelving to main closet

We had a couple of things customized on the camper that have made life a lot easier. One was getting a wet bath instead of a dry bath. For starters, it’s very easy to clean a wet bath. The only thing you really sacrifice is having a dry place to store towels and toilet paper. It’s also a good idea to buy a squeegie to swamp out the bathroom after your shower. But what we got in return for a dry bath is a wardrobe that’s two and a half feet deep, three full length drawers and a shoe cabinet.

After we quit work, I found I didn’t need hanging clothes anymore and built a cubbyhole system inside the wardrobe. Now, I have four shelves for clothes, a liquor cabinet and a handy place to store our bows which we previously had to squeeze behind the backseat of the truck. Rene has been asking me, for months now, where we hide the booze and I finally have a good answer. With some wiggling, I can get roughly eighteen liters of booze in the liquor cabinet. Just right for a couple of unemployed, homeless folks, right?
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Karst-O-Rama 2008

July 23rd, 2008

korsrs6

We made it back from Karst-O-Rama alive! We met some really amazing folks that were happy to bring along complete novices, loan equipment to complete strangers and give lots of advice. Jenn’s parents and her nephew came along in her parents’ Class A. The road getting in and out of the Great Saltpetre Preserve was… interesting… for the 35′ motor home, but we made it without any mishaps.

The general format of Karst-O-Rama is caving all day and partying all night. The electric sites are smack in the middle of the party camp, where there are no quiet hours as there are in the family camping area. It was awfully hot, hitting the 90’s every day and we were glad to be underground during the heat of the day.

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