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Lifestyle Stories

TCM STARS 2012: Part 1

Thousands of miles and hundreds of destinations later, seventeen Truck Camper Magazine past interviewees share their 2012 truck camping adventure stories and photographs.  Here’s go anywhere, 2012 style.


When Angela and I were first developing the concept of what would become Truck Camper Magazine, there was a core belief that the magazine should be for and about the truck camper users.  We would cover truck camper products and accessories better than had ever been done before, but the heart and soul of the magazine would always be focused on the average truck camper owner, and their real life adventure stories.

Almost six years later, that core belief is stronger than ever.  Truck Camper Magazine is nothing if it isn’t a direct reflection of the vibrant truck camping community it serves, and what that community wants and needs it to be.

Getting back to those early conversations about what TCM should be, one of our initial ideas was to interview people about their truck camping, and then check in on them now and then to see what they’ve been up to.  To our delight, this simple idea has worked out beautifully and we have been able to interview and keep up with many of our interviewees.

For part one of our 2012 Catching Up series, we reconnect with Dan and Bonnie Forry, Don and Lucy Seijas, Jerry and Judy Funk, Bob Whitney, Jim Jeffries, John Bull, Gary and Rose Kindon, Randy and LaWana Smith, Ed and Sandra Krech, Duncan Crawford, Paul and Terry Beddows, Barbara Linsley, Joei Carlton, Bill Tex, Jack and Joann Purdy, Chuck Johnson, and David Wilson.


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“Our camping adventures began in March as Bonnie and I went to Nebraska to see the Sandhill Crane migration.  In May, I officially retired from my thirty years as Park Ranger and we took the camper to visit our son and family in Plymouth Minnesota, camping in their parking lot.  The next week I camped at my sister’s home about seventy-five miles away and went trout fishing for two days.

In July, we camped at Waubonsie State Park in southwest Iowa and also camped at a tractor show in Minnesota.  August included camping at two more tractor shows.

In October, we headed for Utah via Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, traveling 4,000 miles in eleven days.  We visited Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Oklahoma City National Memorial Site, Red Rock Canyon State Park in Oklahoma, Tent Rocks, Bandelier and Angels Peak National Monuments in New Mexico, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon North Rim, Monument Valley in Arizona and Kodachome Basin State Park and Bryce Canyon in Utah.

I also went trout fishing again before winterizing our camper.  What a great time, and every time we went truck camping!” – Dan and Bonnie Forry


“Our rally here in Florida this past October was great.  We filled the campground this year!  The rally was the highlight of the year for us.

In August we discovered Long Point County Park on the East coast of Florida near Sebastion with some other camping friends.  It’s a great park right on the water.  You can launch your kayak or keep your boat right behind your site.

While setting up our site, the neighbor next door mentioned to us that there were some spare parts for one of those pop-up canopies over in the dumpster.  I was polite and said thanks and thought to myself, “I have enough stuff that I don’t need and I’m not going dumpster diving for more”.

Two days later, Lucy and I went to the beach in the afternoon to try getting a little beach fishing and relaxing time in.  Well, it was all of about twenty minutes and the sky turned black and a severe storm blew up.  We grabbed all our stuff and ran to the truck.  On the way back to camp we knew it wasn’t good when we saw a power line down on the access road to the campground.

When we got to our site, everyone told us how they risked their lives to keep our new Coleman canopy from going airborne in the mini tornado that just blew through.  Well, you know what I needed now.  Yup, you guessed it, those spare parts in the dumpster.” – Don and Lucy Seijas


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“We bought our Lance 1181 last November and have been in it almost every day since then.  We spent last winter in the southwest, revisiting a lot of places we’ve been to before like Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Big Bend National Park in Texas, Quartzsite, Imperial Dam, Salvation Mountain, and the Slabs in Arizona and California.  We also went to the Native American World Hoop Dance Championships in Phoenix.

In June, I had major Cochlear Implant surgery on my right ear in Austin, Texas.  We parked the camper next to the front door of the hospital and stayed in nearby parks for my recovery period.  The camper made this a piece of cake.  While there, we toured the state capitol and visited Lyndon Johnson’s homestead and Presidential Library.  We also helped Princess Craft Campers move to their new location in Round Rock, Texas.

We are now camp hosting in Illinois near our kids.  We will start this winter boondocking in the desert southwest and head to Baja, Mexico for beach camping, kayaking and snorkeling in February and March.

In the spring, we plan to visit some National Parks in Utah and Glacier National Park in Montana before heading back to host again in Illinois.  We plan to see you both again next fall at the North-East Truck Camper Rally.  Give Harley a scratch behind the ears for us!” – Jerry and Judy Funk


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“My latest adventure was a six week trip through the states of Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, California and Oregon.  Earlier we took a two week trip on British Columbia and Hyder, Alaska.

Truck camping is still for the birds, plus all the other living beings we share this beautifully amazing planet with.  Gabriella, the young Brittany who shares her life with me, is my traveling companion. We have now traveled together in the Hallmark since the time she turned three months old.

While in Tetons, I had the pleasure of seeing and acquiring images of three Great Gray Owls, with a few nice flight images.  In late September, after a day of heavy rain, the mud on the road made for an interesting twelve mile drive out of Dinosaur National Monument.  My Dodge truck with four wheel drive and thirty-five inch tires was indispensable and did not get mired down in the mud.

It was a great year for travel and imagery for me.  You just can’t beat truck camping for the ease of travel and the flexibility of going all the remote places I like to go.  I love it.” – Bob Whitney


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“We had three short truck camping trips in 2012.  March began with our annual trip to Indian Wells, California, for a tennis tournament.  That always includes a few nights in Anza Borrego Desert State Park.  With the little rain the last couple of years, there were no spring wildflowers, but it is always fun to be there.

In May we spent a weekend in Portal, Arizona, at the Cave Creek campground.  There, five inch hummingbirds, blue-throated and magnificent, aren’t shy about coming to feeders hung just feet from your chair.

September brought a trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  We enjoyed the hot springs and found a beautiful campground on Williams Reservoir.  The campground is accessed by twenty miles on an excellent dirt road.

We had just set up camp, when we noticed a large family gathering nearby.  It appeared their campfire and lots of visitors would go on well into the night.  It was wonderful for them, but we decided to move two miles up the road to another campground.

With the camper top popped-up, we slowly drove to the Cimarrona campground and enjoyed the solitude and beauty that Fall in the San Juan’s brings.” – Jim Jeffries


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“We have been so busy that we haven’t used the camper much this year.  We did manage to take our granddaughter, Sidney, to a nearby State Park to camp with a group from church.  We had a scavenger hunt, cooked hot dogs on a campfire, and made S’mores.  Early the next morning, Sidney and I went for a hike along the lake and she found deer and coyote tracks.  We also saw beautiful white pelicans circling overhead to gain altitude in a thermal.

On our way back to the camper, Sidney picked a bouquet of flowers for her grandma, who had our breakfast ready.  Sidney slept overnight on the dinette bed and told me that she was tempted to tickle my feet that were sticking out from under the covers over her head.  Sure glad she didn’t do that.

After we left the campground, we went to the Louisburg Cider Festival a short drive away.  Sidney got to ride a horse and we all enjoyed some cider doughnuts and listened to some Bluegrass music.  We had no trouble in the packed parking area with our camper.  We just parked with the rest of the cars.  Thank goodness for my truck camper.” – John Bull


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“We were out on the road only twice in 2012.  We spent ten days mid-summer with family in Maryland’s Assateague State Park.  Since we overflowed our truck camper, we pitched a tent to complete our campsite which was a short walk over a dune to the ocean.  We were joined often by the famous wild ponies who roam there freely.

On Labor Day weekend, we began a month-long, 7,000 mile trip through the southwest.  We stayed in some beautiful state parks and ended up in Grand Canyon National Park.

A big change for us was spending time in private campgrounds in cities like Phoenix and San Antonio where we took a bus or rode our bikes into the center of town.  While we will always choose state or federal parks over private, we were happy for the convenience.

If you recall, we lost our first camper to an accident, so imagine how we felt when we stepped off the bus after sightseeing in San Antonio to find a fire truck in front of our camper.  They were responding to an incident elsewhere, but, for a moment, we had deja vu.  The trip combined outdoor activities with some cultural and we had a great time.” – Gary and Rose Kindon


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“Freedom is the miracle of our country.  Our truck camper allows us a unique ability to have freedoms usually unavailable to travelers.  We can choose to spend the night at a campground, or in a friend’s driveway, or in a parking spot, or by the side of the road, or in the middle of nowhere.  It is lovely to have your home with you wherever you go.

We went to San Francisco, California for one son’s wedding, to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit with another son and his newborn baby, and to Flower Mound, Texas to visit with yet another son and his family.  Since we have six sons, three daughters, four grandchildren, and four more on the way, and they live throughout the United States, you can imagine how convenient it is for us to have a truck camper.

Recently we traveled to Colorado to enjoy the changing colors of the fall foliage.  Most camping time was spent closer to home in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico as we are fortunate to have lots of places to visit right here.

We had considered buying a bigger camper, but decided against it.  Instead we have put more into our Northstar T650.  We installed satellite radio, made a simpler shower, replaced the inverter, put in new steps, put in an Australian table, relocated the rear view camera for better reception, modified a mattress to be either used above or below (depending upon whether the top was up or down); installed an additional rear view window with a fish eye lens for better back up, and sewed two camper boots together (due to Ford’s unique bed size) to connect the camper and truck windows.  We also installed Timbrens and the Torklift StableLoads which came in handy for the rough winds while traveling through Texas.

Our usual camping spots have become quite busy as many people, unfortunately, have been forced to live in their rigs because of the current economy.  It is our hope that, in the near future, things will turn around and that there will continue to be the opportunity for everyone to travel this great land of ours.  Here’s to a great next year!” – Randy and LaWana Smith


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“The past year, I have used my camper volunteering on five different disasters.  This summer, my lovely bride of almost fifty-one years and I went to eight different states in the West to do some trout fishing.  We experienced extremes of cold weather to very hot and our Outfitter did the job.

This year we have also used our trips to visit all of the places we have lived since getting married, and visit with friends from years past.  Nothing humorous, just total enjoyment being with someone who I love dearly and we enjoy doing things together.” – Ed and Sandra Krech


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“We’ve been close to home the past couple of years, but managed a two week trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks this summer.  We got to the Tetons on July 2nd, hiking about twenty-five miles over four days.

We also got our canoe and went a couple of times to check out the wildlife a bit further from the crowds.  Then we went north to Yellowstone.  While waiting a couple of days for good canoeing weather, we hiked and drove the Yellowstone loop, watching volcanic features, bears, bison, and birds.

We finally paddled up to Shoshone Lake.  We lined the canoe up Lewis Channel for a couple of miles, then paddled.  Shoshone Lake is huge.  It’s the biggest Lake in the lower forty-eight backcountry, and well worth the visit.  You really need to plan a few days of camping there.  For that, reserve six months ahead and plan to get your feet wet on the way in.

Heading home we stopped in Cody, Wyoming and saw our first rodeo with some pretty wild rides.  We’ll definitely go back to Yellowstone.  Take your truck camper.  Big rigs and fifth wheels don’t fit well in the good spots.” – Duncan Crawford


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“Well, it’s been a busy year for me.  We spent four months in Mexico, as usual, traveling with three other truck campers this year.  Next, we went to England and Spain for over two months.  In that time we saw only one single truck camper.  There were plenty of travel trailers on the roads, however.

Since August, I have been assisting a Mexican company, Caravanas de Mexico, with organizing an escorted commercial RV Caravan down the west coast of Mexico for Spring 2013 with all RV Types.  It is geared to retirees, as it is seventy-one days long.  There is still plenty of room, and it is priced about half the going rate, as it is year one.  See, if you are interested.

I substituted for Mike and Terri Church, who write Mexican RVing guides, at this year’s West Coast RV show in the Vancouver area.  Mike and Terri are in Australia writing a book on RVing down there.  They also have a truck camper.  I gave four seminars on RVing in Mexico over four days to a few hundred people, plus manning a booth.  It was grueling.

I have had three articles published in RV Snowbirds Magazine on RVing in Mexico this year, with two more coming out next Spring.  I will be once again traveling to Mexico in the truck camper, and once again putting our five year old granddaughter into school in Melaque.  This year we purchased an ATV to carry in our cargo trailer which should be  a lot of fun on the beaches down there.” – Paul and Terry Beddows


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“My summer travels got off to a later than usual start this summer because I was waiting for a friend to join me.  Kiera came to join me for a summer of roaming when she turned six weeks old.  Four days later, when she was old enough to have her first round of puppy vaccines, we hit the road right after leaving the vet’s office.

Kiera and my elder dog, Sami, headed across the breadbasket states, sharing the air conditioning in the front seat.  Along the Mississippi we fought heat, so we swerved north into a thunderstorm in Minnesota.  Across South Dakota, it was in the triple digits, so we found a mountain meadow to spend a few days.  Kiera discovered playing with a plastic bottle.

We went all the way to the Pacific, wandering and taking long walks.  I visited a cousin and friend in Oregon and Washington and then turned back, crossing back through Idaho and spending several days in Montana and North Dakota.  We saw bison and prairie dogs in North Dakota and bears in Minnesota.

Then we went on across Wisconsin to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, one of my favorite areas to wander.  I stayed five days with my brother near Traverse City, and then headed home.  At three months old, Kiera had been to sixteen states, the Pacific Ocean, and played in the headwaters of the Mississippi River and four of the Great Lakes.” – Barbara Linsley

“I feel like I’m in Cheers where everyone knows my name.  Even though I stayed home most of this summer because of two family functions, I was super busy.  One librarian passed my name on to another librarian and I received an invitation to lecture about my travels and two separate invitations to speak at Rotary Clubs.

Like a snail with my home on my back, I went to Kelowna, British Columbia and taught Travel Writing and Solo RVing at the RV Owners Lifestyle Conference.  I also lectured about my trip to Morocco at the conference.

I attended the RVing Women camping rally in Skagit County, Washington and hosted (with much help from the other ladies) at their rally in Fort Langley, British Columbia.  I had my first experience Dragon Boating in False Creek, British Columbia and had two stories published about my adventures on an on-line Travel Site called

With the weather turning to rain, mud and mush I am preparing to head south, departing November 17th for California and ending up in Yuma, Arizona for the winter.” – Joei Carlton

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“Well, this year has seen us stay a bit closer to home versus our National Park tour last year.  We did camp all around New England though.  We went to the White Mountains several times to hike the 4,000 footers, the beach for a couple of weeks, and the camper saw plenty of duty as a BSSV (Boy Scout Support Vehicle).

We started the year ski-camping which is always fun.  Another particularly memorable trip this year was white water rafting on the Deerfield River in Massachusetts with close friends.  All in all, it was a good year with plenty of camping.  Now it’s time to get ready for winter ski camping!  We did get the FEV ready when hurricane Sandy was on the way!” – Bill Tex

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“Our first camper trip this year was a spur of the moment decision to boondock at the Trona Pinnacles National Natural Landmark.  It was going to be a full moon and as many times as we had been past there, we had never driven in to see them.

The first night the moon was full, it was completely silent, and we were the only ones there.  The pinnacles were casting moon shadows.  It was truly an unearthly experience.  At sunrise and sunset the colors were beautiful.

Our highlight this year was winning Torklift’s Treasure Hunt Contest and truck camping in British Columbia.  During the summer, I also took our camper up to Tehachapi Mountain Park to escape the desert heat.

We may have another spur of the moment trip this fall or winter.  It seems like when we plan a trip, something always comes up to spoil it.” – Jack and Joann Purdy

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“We started out in early May on a planned tour of southeastern Alaska.  We were going to drive to Haines, take the ferry to Juneau, and then island hop to Prince Rupert, British Columbia.  Then we were going to drive up the Cassier and take the Alaska Highway home.

This plan all came to a halt when the customs guy at the Alaska border thirty miles out of Haines noticed we were leaking transmission fluid.  While it stopped when we got to Haines, we cancelled the rest of the trip and headed home.  It hasn’t leaked since and we haven’t the slightest idea where it came from.

Since then we have been across the Denali Highway twice and have been wheeling and hiking on it several times.  We also have been camping, hiking and wheeling in The White Mountain National Recreation Area near our home here in Fairbanks.  We have also been to our favorite spot at the Canwell and Gulkana Glaciers on the Richardson Highway in the Alaska Range.

Our final trip a week ago was to Denali State Park, south of Denali National Park, and to Chugach State Park near Anchorage.  We now have snow and it’s near time to break out the skis.” – Chuck Johnson

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“My family hit the road this past summer in a new to us Fleetwood Caribou truck camper with a slide.  We spent most of our time in Colorado where I rode the entire Colorado Trail on my mountain bike in four days and twenty-one hours.  Jen did some select races on her single speed bike winning her category at the Leadville Silver Rush 50 and the six day Breck Epic Stage Race.

Returning to a truck camper after a summer in a fifth wheel was refreshing.  Jen appreciated the maneuverability during her solo drive across the state to pick me up after my big ride.  Our son is now two and was able to maneuver his way in and out of the camper.  By the end of the summer was climbing up into our bed and onto the dinette bed (his play area) on his own.

Our favorite spots this summer included Hartman Rocks in Gunnison and the Brush Creek Meadow in Crested Butte.  Both spots are excellent for boondocking.  We paid for nine nights of camping, five of which were at the Breck Epic Stage Race.

Not all was amazing and fun as we had to put our dog Luna down when we were in Denver on the day I was supposed to start the Colorado Trail.  She had been with us for all eight of our summer travels.” – David Wilson

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American RV Dealership Grand Rapids, Michigan

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