Calendar Contest Galleries

2013 Truck Camper Magazine Calendar: Behind the Scenes

The 2013 Truck Camper Magazine Calendar is ready!  Even better, we have the stories behind the winning photographs and reveal which photograph made the cover.


Angela was on a story interview for the magazine when our first copy of the 2013 Truck Camper Magazine Calendar showed up at our door this week.  I didn’t dare open it myself, but waited patiently, anxiously, with tremendous and almost unbearable anticipation for Angela to finish her interview.  Then, at long last, Angela and I opened the box and saw the 2013 TCM calendar for the first time.  It’s a beauty!  The winning photographs look fantastic printed in full-color and high-resolution.  You’re going to love it!


COVER: Mike Sullivan


Photo Location: Clay Butte Fire Tower Road, Wyoming
Truck: 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500HD
Camper: 2011 Northstar 8.5 Adventurer

“This photo was taken in July on the road up to the Clay Butte Fire lookout, elevation 9,811 feet.  It’s located off of Highway 212 in Wyoming, also known as the Beartooth Highway.  The lookout has not been in service since 1960 and was closed to visitors at the time this picture was taken.  The drive up the dirt road is spectacular and stops at a locked gate where it’s just a short hike up to the lookout.

The views from the lookout are incredible.  You can see panoramas of the Beartooth Plateau, Absaroka Mountains, lush green valleys, and maybe even catch a moose sighting or an elk herd near Beartooth Lake.  It’s one of our favorite spots to just kick back on a mountainside and relax for a couple of hours while taking in the incredible scenery and wildlife.

Be sure to check under your vehicle and under the hood before driving back down as the marmots love to make a ‘Jungle Gym’ out of your vehicle’s underside.  We found four of them having a good ol’ time under our truck.” – Mike, Maria, and Natalie Sullivan


JANUARY: Philip Welty


Photo Location: Yosemite National Park, California
Truck: 2006 Ford F350
Camper: 2006 Bigfoot 30C10.11SL

“Yosemite National Park is a great destination for winter photography and often the best pictures are a function of timing.  The weather forecast indicated that Yosemite was going to have a major winter event so I prepared the truck for an extended stay in the snow.

As we rolled into the valley, a stream of people were heading out ahead of the pending storm.  Even the rangers were warning us that the weather was going to be a problem as we rolled into the valley.

We were surprised to see that less than ten campsites were occupied, mostly with fellow truck campers.  The snow started falling as the sun set and came down hard all night.  Several times during the night I was woken up by the sound of snow sliding off the front of the camper.

In the morning, the valley was amazing.  Three to four feet of fluffy fresh snow blanketed the park.  I took the picture of my truck as the sun was rising over the park.  You can see the snow line across the front of the camper were the snow broke away and covered the front of the truck cab.  As for the the valley, fresh snow makes Yosemite the most amazing place to photograph.” – Philip Welty


FEBRUARY: Aaron Summers


Photo Location: Buttermilk Hills, Bishop, California
Truck: 2005 Nissan Titan
Camper: 2003 Northstar TC650

“In late October of 2011, me and my dog, Inyo, went on a four day solo trip up Owen’s Valley to explore some back roads and do some boondocking.  A fellow truck camper I met on a previous trip to Alabama Hills had told me about Buttermilk Hills.  So, I decided that would be my first night’s destination for this trip.  I drove as far as I could get into Buttermilk Hills to feel really out there.  The town of Bishop is only a few miles away.

I found this spot with a great close-up view of Mount Tom and Basin Mountain.  A storm moved in thirty minutes after I set camp and dropped about an inch of of snow.  Inyo and I were too excited to stay in the camper, so we hiked around and explored the area in the storm until dark.  The next morning the storm had passed.  It was sunny and beautiful the entire rest of the trip, but I think that first evening was our favorite time of the trip.” – Aaron Summers


MARCH: Chris Janeway


Photo Location: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Truck: 2005 Toyota Tacoma
Camper: 2012 Four Wheel Camper Eagle

“This photo was taken just after we arrived at one of the most unique campgrounds we’ve ever been to.  We could walk right up to the edge of the canyon and hang our feet over with not a single person in sight.  We had the entire campground to ourselves and our two big dogs.

This was the way I had always imagined visiting the Grand Canyon, but it took me years to find such a place.  This particular campground is over sixty miles away from any services and requires a high clearance, short wheelbase, compact vehicle/camper such as a Four Wheel Camper.

This photo was taken inside the Grand Canyon National Park boundary.  However, this is not a place many people visit because it is a difficult place to reach.  Specific GPS coordinates will not be shared as we truly believe that exploring new terrain and finding your own special places is half of the fun.  Happy Camping!” – Chris Janeway


APRIL: Mike and Lisa Johnson


Photo Location: Gros Ventre Wilderness, Wyoming
Truck: 2008 Chevy Silverado 3500HD
Camper: 2008 Eagle Cap 1160

“In preparation for another trip to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, we did a lot of research reading books and browsing on the Internet looking for new, wild, and unique places.

As a map connoisseur, I’m always studying maps for interesting locations.  I found images similar to this one on the website, Panoramio;

At the time, we didn’t have any calendar quality photos and needed to find a few good photos for the Truck Camper Magazine contest.  With limited time to travel this year, the pressure was on.

Near the Tetons, we drove up Gros Ventre Road (pronounced, “grow vaunt” and means big belly in French) to a predetermined spot.  As it turned out, the location for this image was selected to within 100 yards from over 2,200 miles away.  It took a little jockeying to find the perfect spot and the image was frozen forever.” – Mike and Lisa Johnson


MAY: Jim and Bonnie Hartley


Photo Location: Gerstle River, Black Memorial Bridge, Alaska, Milepost 1392.7
Truck: 2010 Chevy Silverado 2500HD
Camper: 2003 Bigfoot 25C 8.11

“This photo is one of many from our 18,200 kilometer trip from Woodstock, Ontario, Canada to the Arctic Circle north of Fairbanks, Alaska, and back.  We left May 14th and returned July 13, 2012.

The photo was taken on the morning of June 17, 2012, at Gerstle River Black Memorial Bridge, Alaska, Milepost 1392.7.  That morning we had begun the return leg of the journey setting out from Delta Junction, Alaska on our way to Dawson City via Chicken and the Top of the World Highway.

We were using the Milepost Alaska Travel Planner which details what you will see along the way and noted the listing for the bridge.  Built in 1944, it was given the designation as Black Veterans Memorial Bridge in 1993 to commemorate the 3,695 black soldiers of the US Army Corps of Engineers for their contribution to the construction of the Alcan Highway.

The bridge spans the Gerstle River, one of many braided rivers that have large gravel beds created by retreating glaciers.  We had also noticed the beautiful purple flowers growing wild in the gravel along the way.  When we reached the bridge, the river flats were filled with them; a perfect photo opportunity with our Pentax Optio 180 sport camera.  We noted several other truck campers boondocking on the shore.

The trip was a truly memorable experience; an amazing combination of history and natural wonders.  This was the first of hopefully many long trips in our Bigfoot camper.  Thanks to all the people who voted for our entry and congratulations to the other winners.  There were some fabulous shots submitted.” – Jim and Bonnie Hartley


JUNE: Larry Routt


Photo Location: Echo Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado<
Truck: 2005 Ford F350
Camper: 2004 Lance 820

“Each year, my wife and I usually hop in our truck camper and leave for two to three months to escape the Atlanta area heat and humidity.  This year we decided to concentrate on Northern New Mexico and Colorado.  In mid-September, we made a brief foray into Utah to meet some friends at Flaming Gorge.  From there we stopped at the Utah side of Dinosaur National Monument to see the fossils and camped at their beautiful Green River Campground.

When we left there, we went to the Colorado side of the Monument.  The main road goes about thirty-four miles to Harpers Corner Overlook with incredible views of the canyons formed by the Green and Yampa Rivers about 1,500 feet below.  The only campground on the Colorado side of the Monument is at Echo Park, which is on a road that drops from near this overlook to the confluence of the Green and Yampa Rivers.

The first mile of the road is pretty rough and steep, but after that, the remaining twelve miles were comparatively easy.  The campground at Echo Park is spectacular with towering canyon cliffs on all sides.  While we were there, a family of desert mountain sheep went right through our camp.

This picture was taken just outside the campground with Steamboat Rock in the background.  The Green and Yampa Rivers meet at the base of Steamboat Rock.  This was one of the favorite spots of our entire trip.” – Larry Routt


JULY: Meg and Jed Wolfrom


Photo Location: Semuc Champay, Guatemala
Truck: 1998 Toyota Tacoma
Camper: 2011 Phoenix 6′ pop-up camper

“This photo was taken on the final leg of a long day’s journey along winding dirt roads in the Guatemalan Highland’s wilderness.  We were crossing the river towards the entrance to the Semuc Champay National Park, which is one of the most spectacular places that Jed and I have been to since we set out on our journey driving through Central and South America six months ago.

When we came across this old bridge, I hopped out of the truck.  At first, it was to help direct Jed through his five-point turn he had to make to get under the cable holding the bridge, but I also went with camera in hand as I knew this was perfect photo opportunity.

Looking back on it now, the photo represents to us not only the beauty of Semuc Champay in particular, but the also the beauty of living life on the road less traveled.” – Meg Wolfrom


AUGUST: Pete Mather and Jean Clarkson


Photo Location: SE Orcacoke Island, North Carolina
Truck: 1999 Ford F250
Camper: 1998 Northstar 8.5 Adventurer

“On March 11, 2012, we were on southeast Ocracoke Island watching the sun go down on Portsmouth Island.  We were boondocking the Outer Banks from Kill Devil Hills on night one, then Hatteras night two, and hopped on the ferry to Orcacoke Island for night three.  Then we took the ferry to Swan Quarter.  We were blessed with seventy degree weather and the water was like glass when we were on the ferries.” – Pete Mather


SEPTEMBER: Cheryl and Ted White


Photo Location: Hell’s Canyon, Idaho
Truck: 2003 Ford F350
Camper: 2005 Arctic Fox 1150

“This picture was taken in Hell’s Canyon on the Idaho side of the Snake River on June 18th, 2012.  It was our fifth month on the road, and we were steadily knocking off bucket list locations.  Hell’s Canyon had long been on this list.

We headed down Route 95 after getting tips from a couple in Cottonwood, Idaho.  In an incredible black sky rainstorm, we headed up over White Bird Hill (more like a mountain), then down through the canyon, through the little hamlet of White Bird, and up into the foothills on the appropriately named Deer Creek Road.

At first it was paved, then it was not as we passed into the Nez Perce National Forest.  Traveling through Hell’s Canyon National Recreational Area on the way to Pittsburg Landing, the rain had made the gravel road a slick silver ribbon as the sun and double rainbows appeared.  As we rounded the last curve at the top, we looked into Hell’s Canyon.  There we saw layer upon layer of mountains and valleys, clouds, and wild skies.  Through it all, the silver ribbon wound its way downward, switchback after switchback.

We had many pounds of thick mud covering our rig upon arrival at a totally empty campground and wondered why we were the only ones there.  We chose a site and had this glorious place to ourselves for a whole day before any other campers arrived.  The temperature was in the sixties on arrival, and gradually heated up to 104 by the time we left.  Snakes and heat!?  Perhaps this is why it is Hell’s Canyon!  But the hiking and exploring were magical and well worth the trip.” – Cheryl and Ted White


OCTOBER: Barry Andrews


Photo Location: Wildhorse Point, Utah
Truck: 2010 Dodge Ram Power Wagon
Camper: 2010 Four Wheel Camper Hawk

“A friend and I made the trek to Wild Horse Point based upon a tip from another photographer.  We had spent the day photographing the rock formations overlooking Lake Powell.

After sunset we made camp on a rocky shelf and stayed inside as the wind built into a pulsing roar.  Late in the evening the wind died and I stepped out to stretch my legs.  The clouds had cleared, the moon was low on the horizon, and the stars were brilliant against the inky blue sky.

As I turned around I realized my best photo of the day was right before me.  My truck and camper was illuminated by the moon and the red interior lights complemented the deep blue sky.  I ran back to the truck and grabbed my camera to take this picture.  I’ve gone back to the point several times since then but the magic combination of light has never been duplicated.” – Barry Andrews


NOVEMBER: Gary and Ariana Love


Photo Location: Lone Pine, California
Truck: 2007 Ford F550
Camper: 2007 Okanagan 116ULT

“This was a trip on our way back to Southern California after exploring the Oregon coast and was one of our last couple of nights to enjoy the outdoors.  Driving around this area is a lot of fun and is visually so striking with Mount Whitney in the distance and all the boulders in the foreground.  Of course more movies and commercials have been filmed here than I could possibly list.

After exploring the area, we decided we wanted to be higher up for a more impressive view.  I locked the hubs, put the truck in four wheel drive, and climbed to the top of this hill.  It had just snowed the night before and this was in the morning so it really couldn’t get more picturesque.

We’ve been fortunate to see all the lower forty-eight states and many beautiful locations, but the sunrise on this day was one of the best ever, if not the best.” – Gary and Ariana Love


DECEMBER: Brad Swann


Photo Location: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Truck: 2005 Dodge 3500
Camper: 2010 Arctic Fox 1150

“On a cold Friday morning in February, Karla and I decided to go camping in Grand Teton National Park for the weekend.  Earlier in the week, I had called the park rangers and learned that the only place for an overnight stay with an RV during the winter season in Grand Teton National Park is at the Colter Bay Visitor Center at Jackson Lake.

We set up camp along the side of the road near Jackson Lake just after sunset Friday evening.  I knew a storm was coming but I had hoped to get up early enough Saturday to get some sunrise pictures of the Tetons.  Unfortunately, the storm arrived overnight and I never got the mountain views I was hoping for.

The storm grew stronger throughout the day and the wind was howling as the snow was piling up.  We stayed warm and dry inside the truck camper venturing out occasionally to explore the area and take some photos of the storm.  The overnight temperatures dropped to near zero degrees Fahrenheit and daytime warmed to the high teens to low 20s.  The Arctic Fox kept us very comfortable.

Sunday morning I woke to the sound of the snow plow opening up the road.  I peeked out the window to a beautiful day, so I grabbed my camera and went outside for some photos. The mountains were still covered by clouds, but I got several nice pictures of our campsite along the side of the road and the lake shore.

This photograph was taken on Sunday morning after the storm had passed.  When we returned home, I learned the storm was so severe they closed all the roads in the park due to blizzard conditions on Saturday.  160 travelers were stranded and provided emergency food and shelter at Signal Mountain Lodge, Flagg Ranch, and Moran Elementary School.

With our amazing truck camper rig, we were blissfully unaware we had became stranded as we enjoyed the weekend camping all alone in the peaceful solitude the blizzard had provided us.  Being able to comfortably go camping anytime of the year in extreme conditions is one of the things I love most about my truck camper.  Happy camping everyone!” – Brad Swann


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