October 18 - The Truck Camper Story

The other half of our not-so-secret lifestyle change is our new truck camper. During the last year or so as we were deliberating the evolution of our traveling life, much of the discussion revolved around a new rig. We had done six years in the 40' class A motorhome which we found very comfortable... so comfortable in fact that it would easy to continue as we have, for maybe another 6 years.

But life marches on... we're not getting any younger... and the long-term prognosis for continued good health and relatively robust physical condition is NOT good. If one in our position harbors any inkling or desire to do something unconventional (even more unconventional than living in a bushouse for 6 years full time)... something that pushes the boundaries of good sense and the extremes of what gentile folk consider reasonable... well, you'd best be getting on with it before you can't. To hell with what others think.

What we desire in this evolved lifestyle is simplicity, freedom, and spontaneity. We want to spend less mental energy on the tools of our lifestyle and more on the experiences. We feel a need to be more organic with our travels... to live in the moment, the present, and meld the process of exploration with our location... where we happen to be.

I don't know if I'm making my thought clear. But in contrast I felt that in the last 6 years there was too much time spent on the past and the future... and not as much on the now. "Yesterday we moved the bushouse and parked it at the RV park. Today we're exploring. Tomorrow we plan to move again." That sort of thing. Too much planning and not enough living in the moment.

Well anyway, after a long process we settled on a TC, with a converted Sprinter class B high-top van in close second. We want something small and nimble. And we don't want to tow anything... no car, no trailer. I'll admit that this is still a work in process, and success is certainly not assured. But unless we try how will we know?

About a month ago we took deliver of our Northstar Arrow [ R.C. Willett Co. of Cedar Falls, Iowa.] It's a hard-side truck camper with a "wet bath" (shower and toilet in one space). It has an abundance of headroom (I'm over 6 feet), a full queen-sized bed (spend 8 hrs a day here... should be comfortable), a cook top, fresh water system including water heater, more storage space than we need, and relatively simple and accessible systems.

As with all things RV, there are compromises all around. In my idealistic dreams I craved a light-weight pop-top camper that would weigh a thousand pounds... one that could be loaded onto a half-ton pickup that can get reasonable fuel efficiency. But perhaps that would be too far out there. Would the flexible vinyl soft-sides of a pop-top camper be able to meet our need for warmth as we skirted the higher latitudes we think we'd like to explore during Winter? Would a pop-top feel too much like a tent? Could we manage living in it for a month or two at a time? Hmmm.

Thus we settled on a hard-side unit and a larger truck than the dream. And we'll all see together where this will go. Stay tuned.

That's my truck camper story and I'm sticking with it.
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