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TCM STARS 2012: Part 2

More pictures and truck camping reports from another seventeen Truck Camper Magazine interviewees.  First up, a very, very close encounter with a grizzly bear.  Here come the stars!

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One day we should create a Family Circus style map of the United States and Canada showing everywhere we have all been in our truck campers with dotted lines.  Based on all the articles, reader reports, and fireside truck camper rally chats we’ve had over the years, there probably wouldn’t be a single part of the map still visible when we were done tracing our adventures.  Okay, maybe Kalamazoo, Michigan would still be there, but almost everywhere else would be covered with layers of criss-crossing truck camping adventure lines.

For part two of our 2012 catching up series, we reconnect with Roger and Charlotte Baxter, Lee Johnson and Bonnie McClees, Marianne and Joe Zecca, Jim McCoy, Dan and Linda Hanney, Larry Bluhm, Ralph Goff, Tracy Schuster, Stu and Karla Dekkenga, Tom Watson, Jake and Laurel DeLong, Jerry and Reta Caldwell, Nancy and Eric Williams, Russ and Donna Miller, Pam and Gary Veeder, Michelle Humphress, Paul Kellagher.

 

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“We did a spring loop in Utah including Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Bryce National Park, and Zion National; lots of red rock.   Then we went up to Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories, driving the Deh Cho Route.

There is tons of wildlife in that remote region, but the highlight of the trip was in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta.  We met a grizzly on the Crandel Lake trail.  We were headed north and he was heading south and we were thirty yards apart.  It surprised all three of us as we stopped and looked at each other.

We shouted at him and started to back away.  When he took a few more steps forward I said, “That’s not working like they said”.   So we stopped backing, had the bear spray out and aimed, made even more noise and tried to look much bigger.  After a few tense moments he bounded off.

The ground cover was pretty dense where we were and you could only see a few feet off the trail.  The camper was north so I started walking that way.  Char yelled for me to “Give him room”.  I said, “He’s moving off.  Our truck camper is this way, please try to keep up”.  She did.

The grizzly was big, but he had to be a juvenile male.  There were no cubs and he didn’t eat us.  As we get older that story will get more tense.  In another ten to fifteen years I’ll have smacked him on the nose and told him to scat!” – Roger and Charlotte Baxter

 

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“We continue to put our Ford Ranger and Four Wheel Camper Eagle pop-up through their paces.  On a recent journey from the West Coast to Minnesota, our side trips to Bighorn River Canyon deserve special mention.  This is an out-of-the-way gem, a seventy-two mile stretch of river from the Bighorn Mountains to Yellowtail Dam, complete with looming cliffs, like a variation on the Grand Canyon.

Other than the Bighorn River itself, there is no direct way, and no road, to get from the southern part of the canyon to the northern part and its impressive dam.  We initially approached the canyon from the northern, Montana side, taking a dead-end road (about thirty-two miles) from Hardin to a primitive campground a few miles above the dam, on Crow Indian territory.

A jaunt over to a fine marina, abutting the dam on its south side, provided outstanding kayaking opportunities and views of nests of endangered Peregrine Falcons.  There were fantastic calcium cliffs, made up of innumerable shells from old sea-beds.

On our return from Minnesota, we came up through Sheridan, Wyoming, and took an incredible mountain road (Alternate 14) past horse-mounted basque shepherds at high altitude and the site of the famous Medicine Wheel, on our way to Lovell and another dead-end road north into Bighorn River Canyon.

Locals tell us that trout-fishing is famous on the river and its lake, but we were most impressed by the geological differences between the southern and northern parts of the canyon and its towering cliffs.  As usual, our main delights came on the water in our inflatable kayaks as we drank in the silence and solitude of this grand and remote treasure of nature.” – Lee Johnson and Bonnie McClees

“This past year we attended most of the Northeast Truck Camper events.  Our separate trips involve mostly visiting lakes: Lake George, New York; the Finger Lakes, New York; and best of all Lake Superior.

Lake George is a great village on the border of the Adirondacks.  There is a state campground, Lake George Battlefield, nearby.  You can hike to the village and to Fort William Henry; the operative word here is hike.

We also visited the Finger Lakes.  Watkins Glenn is in that region.  The best trip was Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  We closed out our season with the Northeast Truck Camper group at Recompense Shore Campground in Maine in November.  Now the camper sleeps in the barn until the rally with the Mid-Atlantic truck camper group in April.” – Marianne and Joe Zecca

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“2012 turned out to be a good year for tweaking truck modifications and getting out there.  I put the finishing components in of my KORE-Carli-Thuren hybrid suspension for my truck, and got out there to test it quite a bit.

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