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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Thar's Gold in Them Thar Hills!

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seldomseensmith

Flagstaff, AZ

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Posted: 04/28/07 12:46pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

O.K., here’s a little story….
It really is about truck campers, but it is also a travelogue, so please bear with me. The outfit I work for is planning a new Jeep tour, and last week we took a trip to scope out the route. It basically travels along the old Overland Trail from Williams, Arizona to Jerome, a really interesting (cool, neat, fun) old mining town clinging to the slopes of Mingus Mountain in the north central part of the state. It is very close to the red rock areas of Sedona, and offers sweeping, panoramic views of the Verde Valley. Anyway, I took lots of pictures along the way, which you can see here if you are interested.

Jerome was a mining town of the boom and bust variety, with copper ore being the largest mineral body, along with significant quantities of gold and silver. The United Verde mine closed for good in 1953, and the population (over 12,000 during the glory years) eventually dwindled to about 50. Thanks in part to artists and other folks seeking alternative lifestyles in the 70’s and 80’s, Jerome has undergone a resurgence of sorts, and today is alive and well, thanks to the many visitors who come to visit shops and galleries located in the historic district. Anyone visiting Arizona wanting to see a classic western mining town should definitely plan on stopping in.

Now our destination was a quick stop in Jerome, but more importantly we went to see the old Gold King Mine, which defies easy descriptions. Located at the site of a played out gold mine, the proprietor, a fellow named Don, has amassed a collection of old machinery, cars, trucks, heck you name it. We spent about an hour wandering through the property, and I can tell you it would have been just as easy to stay for the day. There is no rhyme or reason to what he has, although it seems he likes old Dodge trucks, heavy equipment, and machinery built to last. I won’t even try to describe the man himself – better if you just visit and get to know him in person.

Anyway, I promised this post would be about truck campers (or something like a truck camper), and at the mine I came across these interesting specimens:

[image]

I guess this is a class C, although I never heard of using a VW bus as the chassis

[image]

[image]

This truck camper is a DRW, almost a hybrid class C, but I never saw one with a sliding glass door!

[image]

[image]

This fuel tanker truck is really interesting, and what qualifies it for the TC forum is the unique sleeper compartment located in the rear – No smoking in bed, please!

So, the bottom line is next time you visit Arizona, make plans to spend some time poking around the scenic areas of Sedona and Jerome. You’ll be glad you did!

Steve_in_29

St Johns, AZ (SEMPER FI)

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Posted: 04/28/07 01:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have one of the chassis mount campers just like (sliding glass door and all) that here locally. Or at least we did, since the last time I saw it there was a for sale sign on it.

Lots of fun stuff to find when you explore off the beaten path.


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sirdrakejr

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Posted: 04/28/07 02:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Maybe after going up the hill to Jerome, they thought the safest thing to do was just leave them up there. The skinny switchbacks going back down are enough to make a guy drink! But then, the skinny roads THROUGH town aren't much better.
Frank


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JoeChiOhki

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Posted: 04/29/07 03:54am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So did big bertha really run? Or was that just a remanent from another time?


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seldomseensmith

Flagstaff, AZ

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Posted: 04/29/07 10:13am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

So did big bertha really run? Or was that just a remanent from another time?


Does she ever! For a modest fee ($10.00) Don will get 'er going....

First, he starts up the old tractor, which uses the PTO to run a compressor to build up enough air pressure to get the big pistons going - The flywheel weighs 13,000 lbs! Then he introduces propane into the cylinders, and the ignition sequence begins. There is a platform where you can stand and watch the valves going up and down - each one is bigger than the largest piston on your truck engine. The fun begins when he starts messing with the timing.... each of the 3 exhaust ports has a straight pipe, and the backfire is the LOUDEST I have ever been priveleged to hear. Don says it is the reason he never has to worry about development encroaching into his little slice of heaven [emoticon]

JumboJet

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Posted: 04/30/07 07:29am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Did you stop at The Spirit Room while in Jerome?

Neverhappy

Europe

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Posted: 04/30/07 02:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here in Europe , I saw a one hour TV program with Don & Bertha, most interesting, thanks for sharing the pics.


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