Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the tag “Camper”

Problems Solved!

Problem Solved

My good bud Matt sent me this photo as a tongue-in-cheek solution to the Defiant’s issues with getting into the rough stuff. After all, who needs a cramped truck camper when a truck and luxo-camper fix is so easily available? I’m Googling for tires, wheels and lift kits right now…

The Three-Pound Bag

The wide lens shot tends to exaggerate space. Stand in the back doorway and keel forward, and you'll solidly kiss that tabletop!

The wide lens shot tends to exaggerate space. Stand in the back doorway and keel forward, and you’ll solidly kiss that tabletop!

Truck campers may be among the most space-efficient forms of RV, but once you get into the rough-terrain, compact pop-ups, even amazing efficiency doesn’t make up for not having much space to work with. I mean, the Four Wheel Grandby’s floor from front to back is a half-foot shorter than the Defiant’s width!

As I’ve mentioned earlier, since this pop-up folds down to just 56-1/2 inches to the roof, you can forget about stowing stuff in nonexistent overhead cabinets, or throwing things on top of the bed – the roof folds down to rest right on top of it. What you do with that firm pillow is your business. You can also forget about under-bed storage, where you lever up the mattress edge to reveal a flat but expansive storage tray suitable for clothing and fairly flat items. In the hard-tack world of no-compromises overlanding, where the priority challenges are from the terrain and not from within, creating such an under-bed space would compromise the Four Wheel’s extraordinarily low stowed roof height. Remember that earlier photo of a downtown overpass in Billings, Montana? It works the same for trees and overhanging rock and sometimes, inches make the difference. They especially make a difference when you’ve decided to jack up your truck’s suspension to improve its ground clearance and/or improve its muy macho aura.

Help one thing, hurt another.

Help one thing, hurt another. Two Happy Campers is a blog I recommend that you read.

In many ways, Four Wheel’s no-nonsense approach to be able to get a durable camping shelter from one obscure point on the terrain map to another is overkill for me. I mean, this is serious hardware, as such campers go. I’m not leading an expedition, goring the doors of the Super Duty on jagged rocks along the edge of a 500-foot drop, or fording rivers, or winching out of foot-deep goo, or filming a mini-documentary of a perilous journey. These campers are not built Read more…

The Other End of the Spectrum

Stock shot liberated from The Four Wheel camper website. I doubt that they will mind. They'd probably prefer me to use a half-dozen more.

Stock shot liberated from The Four Wheel camper website. I doubt that they will mind. They’d probably prefer me to use a half-dozen more.

In the first part of this series, I pulled out a partial laundry list of traveling issues presented by the travel trailer Defiant, a tired 1994 Gulf Stream Innsbruck 26-footer. While evaluating what to do to make my travels less of of a physical ordeal, less stressful, and better able to place a living space in the most desirable (to me) locations, I had to mull over more questions about myself than about technical RV rig choices. After all, any given rig can be vouched for as being “better”, but better for whom? RV Spartans follow one rigid ideology, while “he who dies with the most toys wins” RVers follow another. Regardless of the pressures either way, it’s your life, your wallet, and your rig, and you’re the one who’s going to have to live with it. No one will be apologizing for steering you the wrong way for you.

So, the questions returned to the basic starting point. What did I want to be able to do that I’m not doing now? Since I am already on the road, what did I want to be able to stop doing?

The stopping part was easy. Hauling around the uber-comfortable Defiant dictates a certain mode of living. I wanted to stop Read more…

Staying “Home”

Front yard o' the day.

Front yard o’ the day.

This post is simply about going no further than a quarter mile from camp, and taking a zillion snaps of my campsite. Ugh, sounds horribly boring, doesn’t it? See, I intended to go out for a walk day before yesterday, got out there a ways, and then noticed some rain heading my way. Couldn’t be sure of the timing though, because here above Green River, Wyoming, you can clearly see stuff that might be twenty or more miles away. So, I walked this way and that about the camp in order to Read more…

Setting a New Course, Mateys!

Camped near the Bonneville Salt Flats to watch some land speed record attempts. They were there for a week, I stayed for about 2 and a half months, to see other events too.

Camped near the Bonneville Salt Flats to watch some land speed record attempts. They were there for a week, I stayed for about two and a half months, to see other events too. This was last year, and this is what the Defiant does best.

When it comes to RVs, or living mobile, I think one of the reasons that I harp so insistently on figuring out what you want to be doing in what kinds of places ahead of time is because that level of self-awareness is not all that easy when the span of those activities or kinds of places begin to go Jekyll/Hyde on you. RV rigs each come with inherent things that they do well, and things that they don’t. Thanks to the Internet, such limitations can be perceived ahead of time – mostly, anyway. My time to mull things over and reflect was very limited, as was my camping experience. But, I knew I’d rather be living out there than renting a room someplace. It’s kinda like life, I suppose. You do the best you can with what you’ve got, and start doing course corrections when you find that it’s necessary. Having gotten some full-timing experience under my belt since 2012, it appears to be that time now.

As a vehicle to actually live in, with no home or secret rented storage space(s) somewhere to keep overflow in, the travel trailer USS Defiant did and still does work very well. At 26 feet, it just plain works wherever it is, in any weather short of temperature extremes or very high winds. It is a home which can be moved from place to place, which is what I had envisioned. I enjoy getting out to quiet, solitary areas, but have no particular interest in having to battle flies and bees while I’m attempting to cook every meal, having my meal choices depend on what the weather is like, huddling bored inside a cold, dark box or tarp to escape bad weather, moving because of biting gnats, or cleansing my digestive system behind a bush, day or night. “Camping” or “outdoor living” is refreshing for me – for a day or two.

As a permanent lifestyle, that’s not for me. I’m just not an outdoorsy person. I like going outside when it’s nice, just to be outside for awhile. Go see things, feel the sun’s warmth on a cool day, bike around, walk around. I like staying inside when it’s not nice, or when I’ve had enough of the sun, wind, cold or heat, or when I have something to get done. When push comes to shove, Read more…

Unicell Aerocell SRW

Trade van turned camper.

Trade van turned camper.

While I was getting propane last week in Quartzsite, a cargo van rolled into a Family Dollar across the street. With an add-on body that was both bulbous and sleek, I’d never seen anything like it and was impatient to get out and across there to check it out before it left. No need to fret, since the owner promptly climbed back in, came over, and got into line for propane too!

With its rounded, bulging sides and roof, this add-on to a Chevy cutaway van presents an oddly organic profile. It struck me as a promising way to boost usable space and get Read more…

Standing Pat

An unnecessarily elaborate way to camp, but a wonderfully convenient and enjoyable way to live.

An unnecessarily elaborate way to camp, but a wonderfully convenient and enjoyable way to live.

Having purged tanks at the LTVA dump station Thursday, and stocked up with fresh food on a run to Parker Friday, I’m now ready to get back in the groove and see how long I can leave the Mighty Furd unused in camp. That should be awhile, perhaps longer than it should sit unstarted. I’ll be wiring in a little 10-watt solar panel to keep its battery topped up and desulfated, if only I can track down the special and now spare solar controller reserved for that task. See, I tucked it away someplace safe while it was at the Ford dealer, and now the challenge is to figure out once more where that safe place was. Ever do that? I have to conduct such searches every now and then. It’s here somewhere!

Although the Defiant is decently leveled out nearly a football field away from my nearest neighbor here at the LTVA in Quartzsite, it was necessary to use one of two long boards that I keep specifically for that job. Getting the trailer level is necessary since the fridge/freezer depends on it for efficiency, and the various cabinet doors as well as the bathroom door will want to swing this way or that if it isn’t close to perfect. Using boards under the tires can become a nuisance to set up as well as store however, and one cracked in half Read more…

Roll-Down Trailer Windows

The window. Fixed.

The window. Fixed.

Just before a major trip to town yesterday, I discovered that the window on the trailer door had somehow slipped down about an inch, opening an impromptu 1/4″x12″ fresh air slot at the top of the window. That explained the draft during the cold, high wind here the day before. Repairs would have to wait though, since a combination laundry and grocery run would prevent taking the time to disassemble the thing and figure out what would be needed to fix it.

So today, I removed the screws squeezing the inner and outer plastic window frames together. Ugh. Small pins molded into both frames that retain the edges of the glass had sheared off at the bottom, letting the glass slowly slide down from its own weight. I’m not sure why, though the door has had an unhappy existence in terms of sag, and takes some shoving now

Read more…

Refitting for Battle

Am I not merciful?

Am I not merciful?

Sometimes, life is simplified down to its basic components. In order for one thing to live, something else must die. Sometimes, in order for one thing to be able to sleep, something else must die. I’m the one thing. Mice are the something else. That’s the way I prefer it, anyway.

Rodent infestations aren’t talked about much on RVing blogs, because it’s mundane and reduces the glamour of the lifestyle. Seldom do you read, “We saw the magnificent Grand Canyon today! But we were all so tired from a couple of sleepless nights from all the mice in the trailer that we were too tired to really enjoy it. Merla’s concerned we’re going to catch that Hantavirus if we can’t get rid of them.”

Once inside, mice are quite noisy at night, and basically treat the Defiant as their playground as they search for stray food remnants. Plus, they poop and pee all over creation. Chewing on everything, running along or inside metal enclosures or ductwork, or just doing sprints up and down the kitchen linoleum, they easily wake me even from a sound sleep. Then I wonder, “What are they destroying now?” In the ancient days, when I was Read more…

The Return of Spartan Luxury

At one time, The American Dream was being free to live in the way you wanted to, rather than being the opportunity to go from rags to riches.

At one time, The American Dream was being free to live in the way you wanted to, rather than having the opportunity to go from rags to riches.

You asked for it, and here it is: the sequel to Spartan Luxury and Update to Spartan Luxury, with additional detail provided from interviewing Charles, the owner of this surprising little rig that’s built to boondock in more remote areas. I have to admit, I figured that this quirky little trailer, being not much over six feet square, would be akin to a broom closet inside, as far as living space goes. I figured that a converted cargo van would be a mansion in comparison.

I initially thought it must be too small to do any more than weekend in.

I initially thought it must be too small to do any more than weekend in.

Wrong again. It’s quite the other way around. Yep, the exterior has a kind of ramshackle practicality that doesn’t build much expectation for the interior. Yet once the door to the inside is opened, the aura of Read more…

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