Hey nralifr - I got a late start on your thread......I knew I was going to enjoy it and saw it being updated a lot, but I ended up sort of leaving it for later. It's been an off and on RV.net summer/fall for me.
But I have to say a couple of things:
1) I nearly had a tear in my eye when I finally saw the picture of the truck and camper in, and then the picture with the truck side-by-side with the camper. I'm very happy for your success!
2) As Sleepy pointed out first (I think) the two garages (3 doors) all lining up at their tops make it really tie together nicely. I bet many visitors at first glimpse might not even notice just how much bigger the lower bay is. Whoever came up with that in your early design really deserves kudos. It looks fantastic.
3) The interior multi-level is just tremendous. I love how you can inspect the TC roof at a glance because that's something at times we go a long time without ever seeing (the TC roof) and wouldn't notice a problem until....well sometime later. I'm curious, if you wanted to, could you back up at an angle, and wedge the camper on the truck up close enough to your "balcony edge" and be able to climb directly onto the roof? That would be handy if you were ever doing a major roof renovation or caulking job. Sure you can climb the ladder, but when I changed my AC I sure got tired of that climb.
4) You said it yourself several times, but the high windows on the lowest wall are great. Makes the TC look so much more snug in there like it is meant to be there, and even camped in perhaps.
Many other thoughts came to mind as I read the whole thing in one shot, but nothing important really. I'm sorry I didn't follow along all summer and fall, but I got to watch you build the whole thing in one day!
Great job, let us know when the TC party is but if not, I'll swing by there sometime next year perhaps. I like your neck of the woods and have camped at Spadra many times visiting a friend's son who went to University of the Ozarks. I think as you said somewhere back there in the thread, everyone deserves (or should be able to) realize their dreams at some point. At this point our dreams are more about full-timing and travelling so things like the ultimate camper garage will be sacrificed :) You could live a couple of years in the camper for what the garage probably cost.... Gotta focus on what works for each of us, but it doesn't keep us from enjoying other people's dreams.
Congrats, and thanks for sharing this whole thing with us.
Buzzcut - great fun, great report. I got to get out again and soon! Snowshoeing is a blast. I bought my first set while living in Indiana while still in high school. back then they cost a lot as they were much less available and I remember thinking "am I am idiot spending all this money on snowshoes while I live in Indiana wishing for more snow? I still have that set of snowshoes....they've been through hell and repaired multiple times with zip ties, shoelaces etc. More than anything else I always loved hiking, and snowshoeing is essentially the same thing. TCLife, just go get some, strap 'em on and start walking like BUzzcut apparently did. Actually, it might be worth renting some first. There are a number of different kinds depending on your goals, but for regular hiking the main thing is the size, which is primarily dependent on your weight, how much load you are carrying and how deep/soft the snow is. I have one giant set for carrying a giant pack and/or downhill skis/boots and/or in deep fluffy snow and another set that is more for going packless or denser snow (like early summer hiking where you run into big dense snowdrifts.) Plus my antiques from high school about 30 years ago.
Great TR buzzcut! 1-2-3 GO!!!!! (and sorry about the injury!)
Dave - thanks for sharing your experience good and bad. Tough heading out alone with your thoughts when they are gloomy to start with....but sometimes that's what you need, or at least have to get through. And way better than hanging in the house alone. Sorry about the menagerie shrinkage. How's your cat handling things? I know our one dog moped as much or more than we did when the first left us.....but not as much as we moped when we lost the second.
Let's see......when was the last time you were painting in 110+ degree heat? There's always something to smile about.
Take care buddy - we're here for you.
I would really try to get all the brake specs....size of caliper, number of pistons & xsectional clamping area, diameter of the rotors etc. My comparison would be poor, since I went from a 97 that was right near the end of the drum brakes and notoriously bad rear brakes on GMC, to a 4500 with unbelievably huge disks all the way around. I weigh around 19,000 pounds, and I can stop faster than I could with my old 97 weighing about 9300 or so. I've had to do panic stops on both. Night and day better brakes, even over the actual weight difference. Hell, they are a lot bigger than the F550's too.
I firmly believe that brakes are the unsung heroes of the camper carrying truck.....I'd work hard at tracking down the brake specs for the two models you are considering. (and then I'd STILL want to get the 2500...... :) )
I had great luck with my old 97 GMC 2500.....I did all those front end parts sometime around 150K miles as preventative maintenance......my 2005 Kodiak has run 110K now with only one steering part replaced (the link from the steering box and I am not even sure I wasn't "sold" that by an out-of-town place that wanted to find something else to do on it.) Seems like they must have cheapened the front-end parts in the regular pickup truck line in the 2000's?
You might ask them for a Tens unit. I use one when my back starts screaming at me and it really helps relieve the pain. Of course mine is muscle damage so it may not work for you. But certainly worth asking about.
That's not a bad idea. They do work on the muscles surrounding the spine, but, one of the big problems can be that the muscles end up "guarding" the spine and get all tight and tensed because of the bone and arthritis. The stim unit is especially useful after wrenching it or setbacks in PT as the muscles go back to "guarding".
DJ, I actually have one of those crazy-expensive units that I haven't used in some time. If you talk with your docs and/or PT's and they think it would help.....and your insurance or VA won't pay it.....let me know. I'd be happy to loan it to you. All you have to buy are the little disposable pads for the electrodes. I got mine through the PT, not the doc, so the PT's know about them and can help guide you in its use.
Good luck regardless, we want to see you back on your dirt bike someday too!
So what is everyone's view point of ''All Season'' qualified campers?
Perhaps a good comparison would be "all season" tires. You can use them all year. But for snow and ice winter tires work better.
That's a very good comparison. And at least half of that is "marketing".
Best spot we have found close to Denver is Cherry Creek Note that you need a daily pass in addition to the camping fee.
Some other options in the southwest metro area:
To throw in a few others, Golden Gate Canyon State Park up in the foothills just a bit has camping and is pretty nice. There's a private campground on Golden Gate Canyon Road near the intersection with 119. There's also a couple of NFS campgrounds up there on highway 119. Pickle Gulch (which may be a group site only) and at least one other. There's a big campground above Central City also....and a hot spring in Idaho Springs (Indian Springs) that has a motel and campground associated with it. These are all a bit further from Denver proper though. If the focus is on visiting Denver, then you would probably be better served at Chatfield, Bear Creek or Cherry Creek SP's as noted above.
Like the others above, I'd only make reservations at "hard points' on your trip where you are sure you will be there on a certain date or, for the particular spot you know will be crowded for some reason. Otherwise, only call the day of when you know you'll be there. calling in the morning is often all you need to do and can make the difference between getting it or not getting it if you just pull in at 5 and hope. By far I prefer letting the choices come during the trip instead of planning it all out ahead of time.
Good luck, you'll have a great time I am sure. If you get in a bind in Denver, let me know. We are pretty close to Golden Gate Canyon State Park.
So you guys with duallies, it is really that much easier to just do the outsides only? I have still not bought chains for mine, but I like the "concept" of having both tires chained on the rear....it seems like with the alternating cross links it would make the ride smoother, and it doesn't SEEM like putting a dual set on (especially these new ones with good cams for tightening etc.) would be that much harder. Especially using a block to roll up onto. I know everyone seems to always say outside dually tire only....but I'm curious how many have actually done it both ways (and lived to tell the tale.....)
What I'm adding:
That's more or less the same suspension I have on my Kodiak rear end. There are a few things I'd still like to change on it (like replace the factory springs!) but I've been pretty happy with it.
In theory, you "shouldn't" have to make additional improvements, but in practice, you probably do. Or at least I think every camper tends to have a weak spot or two, weather it be a single line that runs too close to the side, or a pocket somewhere that doesn't get any real air-flow, or a wide open gap somewhere to the outside. It only takes one little mistake in assembly to cause a problem. I've been cutting into my camper all over the place for the last 4-5 years to be able to see and access everything as much as possible, and be able to correct things, or at least access things in the case of a problem. I listed my basement work and HVAC/Insulation changes as the most important "mod" I've done on the camper and still feel that way. Not too "sexy" a mod, but effective? You bet! If you are going to be serious about winter camping in a large TC I think it is a very very important step to take.
Well, how about a dose of reality in 'dealing' with the cold. RV anti-freeze is hard to use for cleanouts, when it is so cold it is already slush! Somehow, I don't think it would have worked trying to pump it through the lines as opposed to using air. Yes, I should probably have had a jug INSIDE the camper instead of several in the cold boxes, and several in my cold garage. It's good to be prepared to use EITHER method as you always want a back-up!
Doh! The camper performed well this week, spending a couple of days outside the transmission shop running the heat and waiting to be brought inside for service, and then being dumped in sub-zero weather, and finally being brought home and fully winterized late on Friday night in, well, very cold temps.
It was nice to have all the vehicles and "stuff" finally at home together after a really long fall being spread all over the place due to fires, floods, and even freeze-ups of Clear Creek which caused this weekend's evacuation of the campground we had for two months this fall. I'm waiting for famine and locusts to come next.
Nice....reminds me of home next door in Indiana. I love those little towns on old state highways. The old courthouses and churches......
That river might not be good to fish in (though you might be surprised) but it does look "canoeable".
That's a pretty slick idea rbertalotto. Certainly eases the removal process. Do you put a 4x4 across the front to help spread the load? Does the "thin box" you have slide out to access all the stuff (so it is a 'drawer'?)
It isn't really an option for a camper that drops down after the 8' box part though.....there is very little clearance before it drops down on ours so stuffing stuff in there doesn't work. I have to put my side spacer boards in before I back under the camper unfortunately, and I can't slip any extra pieces longer than about 14" out there at the edges when the camper is loaded.
But it IS a shame to waste all that space. You could certainly use the space for a storage tank for water as well. Weld it up with stainless or aluminum? Think about this, a 4' x 8' x 3" volume is equal to 60 gallons of water! I've thought about doing that for my wasted space, but I'm hoping to lower my bed at some point and have a much bigger space to use (the camper still has to stay high to clear the cab of course.) Not sure exactly for what though :)
One other idea........if/when you sell your TC, would you be getting another RV? Is your new mattress nice enough to keep and move to your next camper? If so, you could keep the old mattress so you can put it back in when you sell. I have removed a number of things from our Lance (like the over dinette bunk because it blocked the view and cut down the headroom, the mirrored sliding doors for the closet etc.) and I've kept all that junk just in case a new buyer would want it. On the other hand, if you move it to a new RV, you'd have ANOTHER spare that you could move back to the TC.
DutchmenSport - great idea. We used to sleep out on our deck under the stars fairly often but dragging the heavy futon out there got to be a chore. It isn't covered so we can't leave it. But if we had a covered porch/deck, we'd have something similar setup in the summer. Love sleeping out like that.......
Great trip report! And it's great to see the Avion back in action! Just think, 180+ pages ago, you were pulling the Avion out of the river! Much nicer seeing it in use!
I haven't followed that epic thread in a long time; I had forgotten that was the same camper that was nearly more refuse floating down a flooded river. My hats off to you 67Avion, both for the volunteer work you do, and for restoring that camper to beyond it's original glory after a dunking and near "total" disaster.
There was another thread here recently, but I also used pink foam board (2") covered only with the horse stall matts. I used to have 3" of plywood carriage bolted through my flatbed. After 100K miles of riding on the flatbed, that plywood kept moisture soaked in enough that the bed was fairly rusty when I took it out. If you take the camper off all the time and remove the plywood, it probably wouldn't be an issue, but I like the lighter weight, better insulating, non-moisture absorbing foam + rubber matt idea the best. At least for now....we'll see how it goes for the next 100K miles.
congrats boatycall! All's well that end's well. The high overall tag as mkirsch pointed out would have been my comment as well. Those high dollar amounts start pushing people towards dealers and takes a lot longer to sell I think. Get down to the 10K range or so and I think things go a lot easier and probably match bluebook value better. I bought my used S&S from a dealer for a hair over bluebook, and I sold it 4 years later for also around bluebook.
DiploStrat, I bet our recently returned and sorely missed resident axle expert (SoCalDesertRider) will comment at some point again. But if I had to guess, when RedSky said "axles" he might have meant the combined GAWR of the two axles. That would perhaps be about right. My old gimmy was 6086 rear and maybe 4K+ front. And I think those ALCOAS I bought were either 3400 or 3600 rated. Can't help you with suggestions though....I have 6 19.5's with a total tire capacity of nearly 27,000 pounds!