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 »

Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2008

I hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas.

Here is my present to all!

FreeCampsites.net

A database of free and inexpensive RV compatible campsites and boondocking locations. It is completely user driven. RVers like you and I input the location and the data. I know its a bit sparse at the moment… so you should get busy :).

I know, there are a few of these out there already. But, many of the ones that I saw are missing some basic features that I have included, and their interfaces are a bit difficult to work with. I am sure there are some things that I need to work on too. I am open to suggestions.

Many thanks to The Dead One and Cyberhobo for their plugins and patience.

A few family recipes

November 27th, 2008

This will probably be our last week in Tennessee before we head out for warmer climes sometime next week. Jenn’s aunt and uncle have invited us to Thanksgiving dinner, and there’s no way we can refuse, considering the spread they put out. In the spirit of traditional Thanksgivings, we figured we’d share a few more homemade recipes: my grandmother’s chocolate pie recipe and Jenn’s uncle’s recipe for limoncello.

Grandma’s Chocolate Pie

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 6 teaspoons of cocoa
  • 1/2 cup of corn starch
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1 stick of butter (or margarine if you insist)
  • dash of salt
  • 1 8 ounce container of Cool Whip (thawed)
  • 2 baked pie crusts
  • Grab a medium sized pot and toss in everything but the pie crusts (duh!), Cool Whip and butter. Set your stove to medium or medium high heat and begin mixing it together. Once the mixture seems to be warming up a bit, toss the stick of butter in and keep stirring. You’re going to do a lot of stirring. Basically, you want to keep stirring until it achieves the consistency of a thick pudding. I recommend a whisk for this… or even a small hand mixer if you can keep it from splashing all over.

    Once the mixture thickens up, remove it from heat and pour into a couple of pie shells. Personally, I like Oreo or graham cracker pie crusts, but it’s pretty hard to ruin this pie by picking the wrong crust. Next, I like to leave the pies sitting out under a paper towel so that the steam doesn’t form condensation and make the crust soggy. About an hour should do it. Once they’ve cooled a bit, toss them in the fridge or freezer to cool further. Before serving, cover them with Cool Whip and grab your own fork and plate so as to be sure of getting a slice.

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    La Dolce Vita

    November 22nd, 2008

    As we make our way south and west to avoid the bitter cold, Johnny and I are stopping at places we wont be seeing for a long time. We have stopped at GSP, at Winchester, VA, and now we are sitting at my parent’s place. Its our familiar last stop before we hit the great unknown again.

    While we are here, we have been doing some caving. Our good friend David visited us and we headed over to Camp’s Gulf Cave. We had a great adventure. Either Johnny or myself will post about it as soon as we get the pictures . Hopefully he, Pam and Chaos will join us for some more caving fun before we head off once again. We are surely going to miss them when we leave this side of the country. Its not often that you find good people who are great company and are willing to meet up in various places to do the things you like to do. We really lucked out when we met them. We would have probably left the east coast sooner if our paths had never crossed.

    For some reason, when I get to my parent’s place, I turn even more domestic than usual. Tonight, for instance, I decided to make a batch of pasta. It was my first time, and I would have to say it turned out well. While it smelled just like the stuff in the box, it wasn’t quite like it. The best way to describe it would be to say that it was much more hearty – not so much thicker, but more… wholesome. I have to say that I prefer it to the boxed stuff. Not only is it more hearty, it is better tasting and I know exactly what is in it. Which is a major plus for me. I hate turning over a container and seeing 3425437 ingredients in an item that I know should only have 5. Not only that, but now I know that I can make it, too. Continue Reading »

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