Learning a little about me and my background may help you to understand why I undertook this project. It also may bestow a bit of confidence in what I have to say about MotorHomes.
I began my journey into the RV world in 1971. That was when I moved my family, lock, stock and barrel, to Alaska. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we left for Alaska my family, my mother, my step-dad and I spent one hot and sticky night camping in a tent. Well, we didn’t really spend the whole night. You see it was in Oklahoma in August and it was miserable. So, very early in the morning we got up, fought our way through the mosquitoes, and headed back home. That was my first and last tenting experience. I decided I might want to camp in Alaska where it was cooler, but I wanted something other than a tent.
So I went looking for a pickup camper. I shopped around Altus, Oklahoma, and found an 8 foot cab-over custom made pickup camper. I told the salesman after I bought the camper that I was going to have to go find me a truck. Nothing like putting the cart before the horse! Anyway, I went searching for a truck to tote my camper. And, what a truck I found. The only one I could afford was a 1969 Ford F-100. (See where this is heading?) At the time I had a car, a family/race car of sorts, a 1966 Comet Cyclone GT. Although I loved that car, I also wanted to camp in comfort and didn’t have the bucks for both. I happily traded my prize possession Cyclone in on the truck and made my way to the camper dealer. They loaded the camper onto the truck and after a good bit of settling, and a little groaning. the truck finally sat still looking real sharp. I had no idea of pickup capacities, camper weights in relation to those capacities and I couldn’t find anyone with the experience or know how to ask. . . not even the truck or camper dealers. They said, “That truck ought to handle it just fine.” They made the sale and I began my long and continuing learning process about Recreation Vehicles.
Heck, I made the trip to Alaska just fine, over 1200 miles of gravel road without so much as a flat tire. Not until after I got to the asphalt inside Alaska did I experience a flat. My exuberance with being on asphalt after all that gravel led to a little bit more speed than I should have used and a tire went flat after coming down pretty hard from a frost heave in the road. When I had the tire repaired in Fairbanks the repairman asked if I wanted all the tubes replaced. I was pretty smart before I left Oklahoma. Not only did I put on tires with 6 plies, instead of 4, but I also had tubes put in them. The guy said the tubes were those with blue circles around the middle of them. Anyone know what that means?
I put split wheels on the F-100 after learning a few things from the Alaska tire guy like I was grossly overloaded. For example, the camper itself weighed 1200 pounds and once I got the family and all their things plus all the tools a guy might need, my little pickup was probably hauling close to 2500 pounds. As it turned out I didn’t need any of the tools I carried. I sold the truck, with camper, for a “profit” to a mechanic. The engine was pinging like crazy. The mechanic enlightened me as to why this was going on after I told him about my trip and after he took a good look at the innards of the truck. Any ideas as to what all was going on internal to the engine?
That pickup and camper was a really good learning experience for me. With my “profit” I bought a 1971 Ford F-250 Camper Special. This thing had everything a guy needs to haul a camper. So, what a guy needs to do now is go and buy himself a real “studly” camper. Right? I did at least that. I ended up with two eleven foot cab over campers, a Dreamer and a Lark brand. The Lark was bought at a kind of distress sale. It had a side entrance so I figured I had arrived at the apogee of pickup camper ownership. So, I sold the Dreamer for a $300 “profit” and kept the Lark. The Lark was a nice camper except that we used an awful lot of propane and never were really warm while camping in it. You got it. It wasn’t built for the conditions it was used in.
There are literally hundreds of “little things” like this about which the novice camper, RV owner, potential owner has no idea. There were other trucks and campers that I owned before my first MotorHome. I have had three MotorHomes since, the last two being high line diesel pushers. I absolutely love the one I have now. There were a lot of growing pains getting here. I have suffered through a lot of things you will go through if you are not armed with years of experience and information. I have devoted thousands of hours to researching Motorhomes and their chassis, engines, and peripherals. I would have paid a fair amount of money and would have saved countless hours of frustration and money if only I had had someone I could ask or someone that would share their knowledge with me. I am not a salesman nor do I have any vested interest in any particular RV industry entity. My wife and I travel 12-14,000 miles a year in our MotorHome and love it. And, we both work full time in jobs not related to RVing. In our travels we found it is just a way of life for MotorHomers to be inquisitive and to want to share their experiences with each other. Many enjoy my sharing of information and have said I should find a way to get the information I have to others. All agree that they wish they would have had someone to talk with before buying or even after the purchase as a point of information.