Our AR Camper journey started exactly 4 years ago. Man, what a ride it has been. Crazy truck breakdowns, allowing Siri and the GPS to take us down the wrong path, falling out of tow trucks and falling out of the back door of the camper. Just a few of the memorable times Michelle, the dogs, and I have had. No boring trips!
This past week, we were finally able to take a real trip! 7 days with everything being fully operational in the camper. On the few trips we took prior to completing the camper restoration, we endured the ordeal without a working refrigerator, plumbing/potty, and made do with a limited supply of 12VDC power. This time, we had it all, baby! Woohoo!
Plus the truck now has a 12,000# rated winch on front, in case we get into a pickle.
Other than running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, the week went off without a hitch. We did have one crazy experience which is almost laughable, now. Looking for a gas station in northern NM proved to be quite a challenge. After spending 3 days at the lower Lagunitas campground. we arrived back at Tres Piedras, NM, only to discover no gas station. In addition, our intended route to head west towards Hopewell Lake was closed due to road construction. No sweat. We’ll just head to Navajo Lake State park, instead, by way of Antonito, CO. Guess what? Gas station out of business. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, we did all we could do. Let’s head west and hope we can make it to Chama, NM. We climbed to the top of some pass in Colorado heading towards Chama. I swear, I didn’t think we’d ever get to the top. I’m the meantime I’m sweating bullets watching the gas gauge needle bounce off the E, not unlike a cartoon. We reach the summit and the truck says, see ya. I’m done, with one or two last lurches and chugs. And that was that. The incredible thing was that we got to the top before running out of gas. Believe it or not, we were able to coast all the way to the town of Chama. It had to have been 5? Miles. Talk about sweaty palms. All the while , Michelle was blowing on the windshield for that extra push. We coasted to a wide spot in the road, and I started walking to find a gas station. I won’t bore you with the details, but with the help of some really nice people, we got fueled up and were once again tearing up the highway in our 44 year old beast.
Also new to the camper was the addition of a 160W solar panel and 2 deep cycle batteries. We had more than enough power to run out furnace, lights, water pump, stereo, etc. made a believer out of us. Between this and the awesome Dometic refrigerator, we were set for the week.
For some specific highlights of our fun ride, please take a peek at the pictures below!
Happy trails, y’all!
Tony, Michelle, and the magnificent 7 travelin’ terriers
After 40+ years, a lot of our parts are showing their age! (I am referring to our trucks, here! What I wouldn’t give to be 40 again!) Anyway!
Nearly impossible to find SUPER CAMPER SPECIAL fender emblems are back! Mark Helmberger of www.onceuponapart.com has beautifully recreated the super rare fender emblems used on all 1973-1976 F350 140″ w/b pickups. He offers them is all three configurations. Super Camper Special, Super CAMPER, and Super HAULER.
I have seen these first hand, and they are beautiful. They are also affordable, especially if you’ve seen what NOS emblems sell for on eBay, (if you can even find them). Although dimensionally identical, there are a few minor differences from the originals. They are chrome plated plastic, as opposed to pot metal (which means they won’t pit, oxidize, rust, or stain). The insert isn’t embossed, and they’re held on by 3M emblem tape rather than studs (which also has its advantages). None of this is obvious once installed and I think even the most hardcore enthusiast should love these! Unless you’re striving for a 100 point show truck, these slight changes shouldn’t make a difference. It certainly doesn’t to me, and if I may risk sounding like a snob, I think our red/black truck looks pretty darned good. And it IS sportin’ a pair of Mark’s emblems. Just swapping out our originals with these (and ours weren’t all that bad, like the one shown at the top) made a dramatic difference. It really helped make our truck look like it did in 1973.
You can order a PAIR of these for a mere $59.99 + $5.99 priority S&H anywhere in the US. That’s only $30 apiece! Original emblems on eBay typically sell for $125+, EACH! Order a pair from Mark today. You wont be disappointed. He also has many other emblems available. check out his website below:
It’s been a productive week. The camper is starting to take shape. Most of the decayed structure has now been rebuilt. We’re now going back together with the rear floor area. The right and left side support areas are mostly back together. We still have a few more studs to replace and then fiberglass all of the areas where it’s required. Once we get to that point, we’ll address the inherently weak lifting points and beef it up with additional steel reinforcements. Stay tuned! Thanks for following along while we learn as we go. This really is a fun adventure! Really!
Tony & Michelle
The picture featured at the top shows Saturday’s progress. Still a long way to go, but it feels good to see the nasty, rotten wood, being replaced with new. The new panel shown in the feature photo at the top, is almost ready to be permanently glued, stapled, screwed, and fiberglassed to the shell. But before that can happen, the missing vertical studs and appliance framing needs to be created. Stay tuned!
Thank you for following along as we learn how to save our camper (and have an adventure before the real adventure begins!). Yeah, it might be easier to buy a new one, but what fun would THAT be?
’til next time,
Michelle & Tony