While thinking of him, I continued to read Truck Camper Magazine articles until I couldn’t take it any more. In early 2012, based largely on the research I did while reading Truck Camper Magazine, I purchased a 2012 Camplite 8.5 truck camper and a 2012 Dodge 2500, 4×4, diesel truck. Since the purchase, we have had much to learn because neither me, my wife, nor our two teenage children had ever been camping before. We were newbies in every sense of the word.
We made up for our lack of experience with enthusiasm. I purchased the camper this past February and my children spent the next two nights camped in our driveway. In early March, the entire family spent spring break camping off-the-grid on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. We had never been there prior to taking the truck camper.
Above: Taking the camper on the Ocracoke ferry in North Carolina
Even though my kids were both stunned that the ocean is cold in March (they had only been to the beach in the summer prior to this trip), we had a great time exploring the beaches and the nearby small beach-front towns. I clearly remember a comment that my daughter made to herself as the family ate dinner on our first night. As she looked out the window at the sand dunes and listened to the wind blowing across the camper she quietly said, “I always hoped it’d be like this”. I couldn’t help but think the same thing.
Since that first trip, we have spent additional weeks on the North Carolina Outer Banks, taken several trips to the Appalachian Mountains, and made assorted shorter trips to beaches in North and South Carolina.
The camper has also been extremely convenient for sporting events my children have participated in. Having cooked food and access to a toilet and shower at a wrestling tournament or cross country meet is priceless. Now we can also avoid inconveniencing the relatives we visit.
Above: Taking in the view at Wolf Laurel, North Carolina
As I sit and think of all the uses for my camper and what the truck camper means to me, I repeatedly think back to a trip I took last summer. At the time, my son was enrolled in a sports camp at a university located hours from our home. For some reason I felt particularly uncomfortable about this camp.
Unlike many parents who are forced to bite the bullet and hope for the best when sending a youngster off to a distant camp, I could do something about it. I took the week off and went truck camping with my daughter in the mountains near the university. There we camped, hiked, and enjoyed each other’s company in the truck camper.
Late at night on the third day of camp, I got a call from an ambulance driver who told me that my son was being transported to a local hospital because he had collapsed in the dorm. I immediately got out of bed and was able to arrive at the hospital within minutes of my son’s arrival in the ambulance. Although he looked small and scared as I approached, the relief in his eyes when he saw me there will always be etched in my memory. Being by his side to comfort him and to make his medical decisions instead of having them made by a coach that he barely knew was very important to me.
Above: The truck and camper enjoy covered storage at Andy’s house
I have many stories and experiences that I would not have had if it were not for the urging of my Grandfather and the insight provided by Truck Camper Magazine. My only truck camper regret is that I didn’t start truck camping sooner so that I could have camped with my grandfather.
|ANDY ELLIOTT’S TRUCK CAMPER RIG|
|Truck: 2012 Dodge Ram 2500, quad cab, single rear wheel, short bed, 4×4, diesel|
|Camper: 2012 Livin Lite 8.5|
|Tie-downs and Turnbuckles: Happijac|
|Suspension Enhancements: Hellwig Big Wig sway bar, Firestone Airbags, Torklift StableLoads|
|Gear: 9200 Coleman Mach Air Conditioner was installed to accommodate a Honda 2000 Generator which is used for power, all interior lighting has been changed to LED to conserve power|