Adventure Stories

TCM STARS 2011 Part 1

Catch up with TCM Stars Dave Ruane, Gary and Pam Veeder, Mike and Terri Church, Paul Kellagher, John Bull, Dan and Bonnie Forry, and many more. … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …

Truck Camper Magazine Stars 2011 Part 1

Every year, we check in with everyone we have ever done a truck camping lifestyle story with and ask, “What have been up to with your truck camper?”.  Every year we get more and more responses with more and more fun adventure stories and pictures.  It’s so much fun to hear from our past interviewees and even more fun to see what they’ve been doing.  Our truck camping community is truly the best.

This is the first of two TCM STAR catching up stories.  For the first installment we hear from Dave Ruane, Terri and Mike Church, Nancy and Eric Williams, Gary and Pam Veeder, Barbara Hartman, Allan and Yvonne Huntly, John Bull, Paul Kellagher, Jerry and Reta Caldwell, Matt Rivard, Randy and LaWana Smith, Bonnie Belza, Dan and Bonnie Forry, Joei Carlton, Duncan Crawford, Chuck Johnson, and Ron and Michelle Humphress.  Step off the red carpet, here come the TCM STARS!

Dave Ruane
Dave Ruane: The Hunt for Adventure


My trip to Moab, Utah this past year was an amazing adventure.  Inspired in part by Dave Roger’s, a.k.a. Whazoo, truck camper trip reports on the area, I set out to explore the area on a three-day weekend.  It was not enough time to do the Canyonlands National Park like he did, but I did a good feel for Moab.  I’ll definitely be going back for more.  What a wonderful place for exploring and camping.  Moab earned a bumper sticker spot on the back of my Northstar!

I also made my annual camping forays to Missouri for spring turkey hunting, weekend warrior trips to the mountains close to home, and have many trips planned for the remainder of the summer, fall, and early winter.  This coming weekend I will use the truck camper as base camp to climb a Colorado fourteen footer (more than 14,000 foot mountain) called Long’s Peak.  It is best to start the climb at about 3:00 am to ensure you can make it to the top and be done before any afternoon lightning storms come in!  The truck camper will be a great place to sleep until 3:00am and then a good place to relax afterwards.


Terri and Mike Church
Mike Church: Author, Adventurer, and Truck Camper


We are reminded daily why we love and appreciate travel in our Adventurer pick-up camper.  Last year, it effortlessly and economically took us as far north as Prudhoe Bay in Alaska and as far south as Mexico’s southern coast.  We especially value the freedom to affordably hop on a ferry or drive Mexico’s first class toll highways paying only the car rate.  This summer is shaping up to be equally interesting and rewarding as we travel thousands of miles and visit over 1,500 campsites in the six month task of researching the upcoming third edition of our Pacific Northwest Camping Destinations guide.  Although that’s lots of miles on what seems to be virtually every road in Oregon, Washington, and as far north as Dawson City in British Columbia, along the way we’re taking the time to enjoy the many outdoor activities the Pacific Northwest offers, including great hiking and getting our kayaks wet at every opportunity.  The camper is perfect for getting us to those out of the way campsites near trailheads or along the many lake shores.

We invite everyone to follow our travels on our website at where we post a weekly blog as well as updates to our books.  This summer we also launched a new Facebook page, called Rolling Homes Press.  We hope you will “Like” us on Facebook to follow our latest “adventures”.


Nancy and Eric Williams
Eric Williams: An Alaskan Family Tradition


We continue to love our Alaskan Camper!  This spring, we made a trip to Duck Camp in Okanogan, Washington.  It’s always great to see the last snow leave the ground and wild flowers blooming.  Eric’s younger brother Rory, his wife Katy, and daughter Madison joined us at Duck Camp.  Chayce loved seeing his cousin and it was nice to get together with family and enjoy the outdoors.

Chayce was asked to join a select 9U baseball team, the Auburn Cubs, and the Alaskan has come in handy for weekend tournaments.  Even if the tournament is in town, we still bring the Alaskan so we have a kitchen and bathroom available.  For out of town tournaments, having the Alaskan has saved us a ton of money in hotel fees and eating out.  We are more comfortable sleeping in our own beds rather than in a hotel room, and we can stock up our refrigerator for team potlucks.  So not only is the Alaskan great for true off-road adventures, it’s also great for baseball games!

Come September, we’ll be into the grouse hunting season.  And before you know it, it will be October and time to set up Duck Camp again for another season of duck hunting.  We can’t wait!

Gary and Pam Veeder
Gary Veeder: From Key West to the Yukon


We are just finishing up fourteen days in Newfoundland and we have really enjoyed this trip.  We are older, senior citizen, truck campers which has a bearing on this destination.  I would not recommend less than two weeks and if you are of a mind to walk the many trails.

Since July of 2010 Pam and I have traveled quite a bit.  Our first trip was in late July when we traveled to Newfoundland and spent two to three weeks enjoying the most friendly people we have had the pleasure to visit with and share memories. 

We then attended the Mid-Atlantic Truck Camper Rally in Virginia.  It was our first rally and we really enjoyed it.  I would like to host a rally in New York state.  Just to let you all know that New York is more than skyscrapers and blacktop.  Time will tell.

Next was a fourteen day trip to Maine enjoying our granddaughters and the ocean.  We stayed in a campground south of Bath, Maine.  I enjoyed picking the old Banjo and having granddaughter, Cosette, who is ten years old, join in with her fiddle.

We spent twelve days at the Dutchess County fair camping and enjoying the granddaughters with their sheep and 4H activities.

We delayed our usual trip to Key West this year.  It a combination of severe weather in the northeast, fuel prices, one child moving, and general confusion.  I will state uncategorically that we really missed a month or so of snowless winters in the south.

It was a short season for us, however we are still traveling in the 1997 Ford F-250HD diesel with 123,000 miles and the same 2002 Northern Lite camper ten-2000 .

Barbara Hartman
Ladies’ Week Part 2: The Adventures of Barbara Hartman


I took my eighty-two year old mother on a November truck camping trip to Florida.  We stayed at some very nice Georgia State Park campgrounds and with friends in Florida.

On the drive down we camped at Red Top Mountain State Park while visiting Atlanta and the aquarium.  The second day at Stone Mountain my mother made the climb to the top and back.

In Florida we stayed with friends in Webster, home to a very large flea market.  Our friends took us to visit the Homasassa Wildlife Park which has a large collection of native Florida wildlife.  We went canoeing on a local river with the gators and then to the Crystal River where we had a close encounter with the manatees.  Before returning north, mom and I drove over to spend the day at the Kennedy Space Center.

We camped at Skidaway Island State Park while visiting Savannah.  We did the bus and walking tour, visited a haunted house, went to Paula Dean’s Restaurant, and enjoyed walking through the many squares.  Mom now wants me to take her on a trip to Maine and Nova Scotia.

Allan and Yvonne Huntly
Allan Huntly: Truck Camping Over Scotland


Hi from Scotland!  Since last July the Huntly clan has tried to use the truck camper as much as possible, with several trips up to our favorite West coast.  More recently we went on a trip to the Americana festival held in Newark Notinghamshire.  Americana is a tremendous event.  It’s four days of live country, rock and roll, and rockabilly bands with a huge American car, truck, and RV show.  We now know that there are at least four truck campers in the United Kingdom!  We are not alone.

East End Campers set up the truck with the ability to tow behind the camper.  The plan is to tow my micro light when we head up North.  The whole set set up was spot on towing the trike some 500 miles with no drama at all.  We are continuing to thoroughly enjoy the whole set up and are looking forward to next summer’s big trip to France.

John Bull
John Bull: From Emergency to Adventure


Last fall we built a new pad for the camper and it makes a huge difference.  Now I can use my truck for hauling.

In January we headed Southwest, stopping at Hueco Tanks near El Paso to camp and take a tour of their petroglyphs.  At Tombstone we barely made it out alive.  We avoided the shootout at the OK Corral and the ice cream was great.  We spent the night at Kartchner Caverns nearby and took the tour.  My wife wouldn’t go into the hole in the ground.  We made our way to Quartzsite to camp on BLM land for a week and visit the flea markets in town.  From there we headed to Joshua Tree and San Diego where we took the Trolley Tour.  We returned to Arizona via Yuma, where we visited a Camel Farm and a Date Farm.  If you have never had a “date shake”, you are in for a treat.  Traveling back to Quartzsite on a Sunday we came upon a Chapel in the middle of nowhere.  We stopped for some reflection there.  Leaving Arizona via Willcox, we visited the Rex Allen museum.

Meanwhile back in Kansas they had two feet of snow.  TGFMTC (Thank Goodness For My TC)!

Paul Kellagher
Paul Kellagher: Truck Camping in Ireland


Since I last wrote in Truck Camper Magazine we have continued to explore the more remote parts of Ireland and beyond.  Last summer we headed to Europe for three weeks.  Getting to Europe from Ireland generally involves more than one boat.  After sailing to Scotland we followed the historic route of Hadrian’s wall across northern England to Newcastle.  The overnight boat took us to Ijmauden port in Holland.  Following the Rhine we crossed the bridge at Arnhem where many allied forces laid down their lives during World War II.  Crossing into Germany we explored ancient castles along the Rhine.

We moved on into the Swiss Bernese oberland spending a week there walking and climbing. We returned home via Chamonix in the French Alps, Fontainebleau and Paris. We tried to stay on Aires or Stelplaz as often as possible these are French and German overnight halting places and generally costing 5 to 6 Euro per night. They provide basic facilities, fresh water and toilet and grey water disposal. These are generally located on the edge of small villages providing opportunities for local shopping and exploring. Switzerland is an expensive country, camping costing 28 Euro per night! Central Europe is much to populated to provide much in the way of wild camping opportunities.

I had a nasty climbing fall in January which has slowed the pace for a while but hope to get back to exploring soon.

Jerry and Reta Caldwell
Jerry and Reta Caldwell: Leaving the Class A Behind


We started our truck camping this year with a trip to south Florida.  We went as far south as Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys with most of our time spent in the Everglades.

Our main trip this year was from Tennessee to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and then on to the North Shore of Lake Superior north of Duluth, Minnesota.  As I write this, we are on that trip and currently at Fort Wilkins State Park in Copper Harbor, Michigan on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

I try to make an improvement each year in our truck camper or truck.  This year I added the See Level tank monitor to the truck camper.  It has been a great improvement.  It tells in the levels in the tanks within three percent.  Thanks go to Phil Patterson, another truck camper and TCM reader, for telling me about the See Level.

On this trip, we have had several people show interest in our truck camper.  This continues to amaze me.  We have had several types of RVs over the years and there was no interest shown in them.  This has always been a very positive experience and sometimes allows creating a long-term friendship with the people inquiring.  It also allows me to share the word about Truck Camper Magazine.

Matt Rivard
Matt Rivard: The Redneck Express


2011 has been a fairly empty year for the poor Redneck Express and I.  While I’ve had six months of free time, I haven’t had enough income to do much traveling with. 

So far, our only journey together this year was participating in the annual Hoodstock Jamboree in Hood River, Oregon with the Northwest Campers.  Ironically, this was also the very last time the Express traveled as a single rear wheeled truck.  This was my first time joining the Northwest Campers for their annual event, and ironically, it was also the first year of horrible weather for the event.  Mudstock Jamboree would have been a more apt name. 

Since the rally, I’ve been working on and off on swapping in the donor motorhome axle, an old Spicer 70B, which is converting my truck into a happy dually one-ton.  The body work is finally done, though I still have some extra clearance lights to install and I have to track down a set of Yosemite Sam “Back Off!” mudflaps to complete the Redneck image. 

Hopefully, work will come around in time for us to do the Fall Jamboree with Northwest Campers and the Fall Colors Rally with NATCOA.  The hitch-itch is getting really bad!

Randy and LaWana Smith
Randy and LaWana Smith: Northstar On a Roll


We continue to camp locally at the Cottonwoods near Navajo State Park here in the Four Corners area as well as in West Delores campground in Colorado in the colder months.  We haven’t felt as free this year to travel back east to New York where two of our daughters live, as we have in the past, with the rise in gas prices.

The highlight for us this year was the celebration of our fortieth wedding anniversary with all nine of our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren.  It had been seventeen years since we were together with all nine of them at the same time.  The kids sponsored a family camp out at Balsam Campground near Springville, Utah.  We were the first ones there and it was raining when Randy and I set up camp, but soon became dry for the five days we were there.  Our children either drove or flew into Salt Lake City.  They came from Washington, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas, Texas, and New York.  They planned all the meals and entertainment.  We had our truck camper, a motorhome, about eight tents and occupied four sites.  We’ve camped as a family since the 1970s when we lived in Anchorage, Alaska and are happy to report that everyone still loves to do it.

Thank you for the opportunity to share our experiences.

Bonnie Belza
Bonnie Belza: BLM Wisdom As Good As Gold


We haven’t done as much truck camping as I’d like; the cost of gas being a big factor.

Late last summer Mike used the truck camper to camp out in Stanton, Arizona while he was prospecting for gold in the area.  It’s over seventy-five miles from home so it was easier to camp out there during the week.

This year we took a long weekend to San Diego in May and stayed at the Yuma Proving Grounds on the way and the Admiral Baker Campground, an RV park for military and retired military in San Diego.  We rented a car for getting around to see the sites and didn’t have to take the truck off of the truck.  ABC is in the center of everything near the stadium and tramway and even has a golf course!

Our big adventure was removing a thirty year old Jacaranda tree in June that was invading the patio to make a nice space for the truck.


Dan and Bonnie Forry
Dan Forry: Ranger Out West


It hardly seems possible a year has past since the last update!   We have been busy with our camper.  Last September we headed west, taking in Theodore Rosevelt National Park.  We went through the Mandan Fort where Lewis and Clark spent their first winter on their adventure.  We camped at Glacier, watched mountain goats, and saw bear.  We hit Crater Lake National Park.  What a beautiful place!  We camped among the Redwoods in California, Lassen National Park, Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, and stopped at Yellowstone on the way back to Iowa. 

In February we went to Florida to see the Daytona 500 and camped at a nearby state park.  We rode the airboats near the Everglades and took a tour there. Then, we camped on Sanibel Island on the West coast of Florida for a couple of nights.  We were very fortunate to see a lot of birds that we don’t have in these parts.  We had a fabulous time and attended another Tractor show at Fort Mead Florida before coming home.  We traveled about 9,000 miles in the last year with the camper.  Of course you guys know that truck campers rock!  Hope to see you on the trail!


Joei Carlton
Author, Speaker Joei Carlton


There is absolutely no rest for the wicked and I am enjoying every minute of it.  I loved my sixth year teaching and being the entertainment on Sunday night at the RV Owners Lifestyle Conference in Kelowna, British Columbia.  Now I’m back in Smithers for a second summer, writing, lecturing, and book signing.  I’m currently working on a project that combines my photography with bead work and I’m having trouble keeping up with the demand.  Okay, so I’m bragging.

I spent my first winter in Yuma, Arizona and absolutely fell in love with the place.  I made some wonderful new friends, met up with old friends, worked at three or four craft shows every week, and drove up to Quartzsite twice just for the beads.  Talk about being in bead heaven!

I’m just finishing my latest mini read on Greece that is still untitled and waiting for my second request to publish from Chicken Soup for the Soul for a book to be published November first called, “Oh Canada”.  Keep your fingers crossed for me; that’s a biggie.

Joei Carlton Hossack at


Duncan Crawford
Duncan Crawford: Off the Ground, Off the Grid, and On the Trail


Since last July we’ve had a mixed selection of shorter trips, mostly constrained by the life events that catch up when you’re retired and your relatives are even older.  However, we did get out to Ely, Minnesota last summer to pick up a new canoe and managed to christen it in the Boundary Waters before heading further west.  My first stop was the Soudan iron mine outside Ely, where we toured the old mine that closed mid-1980s and the Fermilab neutrino experiment down at the 2,300 foot level.  From there it was out to Crater Lake, Oregon for hiking, up to Portland to visit my youngest daughter and family, and a day hike on the Pacific Crest Trail near Mt. Hood.  We then headed back south, hiking in Zion, Bryce, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon Kaibab Trail, and then on to Arches National Park before heading home.  Almost all of our camping on that trip was dispersed in national forests.  We reluctantly stayed home last winter.  We have just returned from a couple of weeks hiking and canoeing in Acadia National Park and points north in Maine while waiting on the latest grandson to “arrive” in Massachusetts.

Photo captions: At Arches the shots were taken on the ‘primitive’ trail in Devil’s Garden at the back end of the park drive.  The Crater Lake view from Mt. Scott shows the camper way down in the right-hand corner, about six miles away by trail.


Chuck Johnson
Chuck Johnson: Truck Camping the Alaskan Wilderness


Our end of the season camping last fall was in August and September.  We made several trips south of here into the Alaska Mountain Range for four-wheeling and hiking.  We use the four wheelers to get from the camper to the area we want to hike.  As you can see we are camped on the edge of a glacial moraine in front of the Canwell Glacier.  This is one of our favorite places to go.

Our first trip this past spring was a few miles further down the road to Summit Lake for spring snowmobiling and skiing.  We are setup on the south end of the lake at Bed and Breakfast called Water’s Edge.  From there we can head into the mountains with our snowmobile or skies.  This trip was the third weekend in April, and it’s an annual event for us.


Ron and Michelle Humphress
Ron Humphress: Assateague Island Dreaming


As far as catching up with us, we have been camping just about every weekend since the Mid-Atlantic truck camper rally.  We spent time at Shad Landing state park in Pocomoke for the Easter weekend.  That was great!  We caught a lot of small pan fish and had one heck of a fish fry.  We did spend a few weekends on the beach in early spring and did pretty well with the striper run.  Then, we spent Father’s day weekend over at Tall Pines and had a great time with the boat and many other activities with the kids.  Once again we did great as far as fishing goes. After Father’s day weekend we did a long stretch of constant weekend trips back to Assateague.  You can’t beat the price of $150 dollars for a year round campsite.  That brings us up to the current date.  We’re going to the beach once again this weekend and it’s probably gonna be hot, but we have a Honda and plenty of gasoline.  We will just have to keep cool as best we can.  See ya in the sand!

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