It can be hard to find the time to do what we enjoy. There always seems to be housework, family obligations, and just day-to-day life stuff that needs to be taken care of. Grocery shopping again? We are running low on food. Mow the lawn? The grass is getting tall. Take the truck to the dealer? That warning light won’t take care of itself.
And yet, those things are not what life is really about. None of us will say, “I’m so glad I went grocery shopping” as our last and final words. These endless to-dos are just the the flow of the tide of normal life. They are what’s done before we go have fun.
If you’re reading this, part of having fun probably means going truck camping, and doing whatever it is that brought you to truck camping in the first place. These are the passions, pastimes, obsessions and hobbies that pump excitement through our veins and propel us to living life to the fullest. In your last breath, you might say, “You’re damn right I went fishing in Alaska ten years straight.”
So what can we do to stay on the road enjoying what we love? We put this question to Truck Camper Magazine’s readership this week, and got some excellent solutions to some unexpected challenges. Goat herds? 17 cats and 3 dogs? Holy cow!
As a bonus, we have two highly recommended articles with even more strategies to keep you out longer; “Sending and Receiving Mail On the Road” and, “30 Ways To Prep Your Home for a Long-Term Trip”.
This week’s Question of the Week was, “What have you done to extend your truck camping adventure time?”
“I installed a security system at my house that is monitored. I am not scheduling our trips around the stinking lawn. I use a landscaper to mow my lawn when we travel. Unless there is a wedding involving a close family member, we don’t go back. As far as bills and taxes, we have that scheduled.” – George Visconti, GMC Sierra 3500HD, 2016 Arctic Fox 990
“We are new to extended time away from home, but have been going out for one month, then back for a couple months, and then out for another month.
We have made a deal with our mail person to hold our mail. There is no lawn and only a few plants. The taxes are done by mail.
Our house is checked on by friends, along with having an alarm and cameras. We also take a car trailer and a Chevy Volt hybrid to save gas and take in the sights without moving the camper.” – Richard Alves, 2013 Chevy 3500HD, 2006 Lance 1181
“Being one of those not yet retired folks, our camping time is controlled by how long we can pay a critter sitter as much as us having to work.
We have done dog and cat rescue for years. At times it can be hard finding someone reasonably priced to watch over 17 cats and 3 dogs, even for a few days. However, we are very fortunate to have a great veterinarian with young helpers who frees us up some for short breaks.
We do look forward to a smaller family one day. Then we’ll all comfortably retire and make longer than week-long trips.” – Jim T., 2013 Ford F350, 2013 Host Shasta 9.5
“Our major move was to move into a townhouse and leave the maintenance to someone else. We can now leave when we want and be away for as long as we want, with no worries about home and yard upkeep.
We moved to a city where one of our sons lives so that we have someone to check on our place from time to time. We can also be involved with the kids and grandkids.
So far, the longest we have been gone is two months at a time, but that is by choice. From April to November we are camping somewhere. We used to go south for the winter, but decided that was not for us because we enjoy our winter activities and family.” – Richard Jones, 2005 Chevrolet 2500HD, 2013 Wolf Creek
“We have RFD (Rural Free Delivery) mail service. Fortunately, my sister-in-law drives past our house a few times a week and picks up the mail.
When we are staying somewhere for at least a week – whether it be Galveston, Tucson or wherever – she boxes it up and sends it General Delivery to a local post office. That’s usually about once a month.
We have done various things regarding taxes; returned home, worked through the mail and phone, and filed for extensions. One of the kids checks the house occasionally.
When we were working we had to get home. Now that we’re retired we usually stay out for at least five months. Last year we left on December 18th and got back May 12th. That was a 10,966 mile trip.
This works well for us, but it’s not always perfect. Last year our mail delivery got delayed ten days because of the ice storm in Louisiana and Texas. ” – Frank and Polly Foley, 2016 Ford F-350, 2016 Northstar 8.5 Arrow U
“The things that bring us back are work and cats!
How do we deal with work? A cell phone extender. A major part of my job is administrative, so a lot of that can be done remotely.
Instead of hunting down good cell coverage, we find a spot we like, make sure I have a decent signal, and then set up for days at a time. It’s not perfect since many times I’m working for hours at a time while my husband is out playing.
Before and after work and during breaks, I’m out adventuring with him. Since he’s semi-retired and I’m not, it helps us to get out together.
Cats are a tougher issue. We have a good cat sitter for our oldest. A tracking radio collar is on our youngest in case he gets out while we’re gone. It keeps my mind a bit calmer and I’m less worried about him in the camper.” – Julia Veir, 2004 F-250, 2017 Hallmark Everest
“I retired, downsized, and reevaluated my time.” – Daniel Yochum, 2003 Dodge 2500, 2008 Host McKinley
“We started by moving into a condo. The condos are more like small duplexes near everything our heart desires to do. All of our neighbors worship with us and our awesome daughter lives just a few miles away. I am very good to her because I know she might be choosing my nursing home some day.
My neighbor and daughter get my mail. Since my daughter can write checks for me, she can do that and most things are drafted. If there is something we need, we get them to FedEx it overnight to us and we take care of it.
I started getting my few medications from Walmart so I can get refills easily at any other Walmart. Since I am on the Pro Staff of TroutMagnet.com, I have the company send me samples wherever we are near FedEx. After two to three months I have to head home.” – Ed Krech, 2006 Dodge 3500, 2011 Northern Lite 8-11
“When we’re away, we have a daughter move into our house to take care of the mail, the bills, caring for pets, and watching the house.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050
“We sold our house. Two years after retiring, we hit the road in our camper. We went to a fifth wheel for a year or so, but switched back to a truck camper last summer.
We have family and friends we like to visit every year or two, but that is about the limit to our obligations. We get our mail through Escapees and our banking and bills are all online.” – Paul Neumann, 2013 Ram 3500, 2018 Cirrus 920
“We put a double wide up on the edge of one of our hay fields for our granddaughter. When we travel she cares for the goat herd.” – Jerry Bonneau, 1995 Ford F350, 2002 Lance 1061
“A year ago we were gone for four months and had to get a family member to check the mail for bills and then email us with the amounts.
Since that time I have taken new steps of getting all home bills to be automatically paid monthly so that I do not have to worry about bills in the mail. I will still have a few postal bills throughout the year.
I pay other bills as they arrive through my electronic banking and this can be done remotely as long as I have access to internet for a few minutes.
I arranged to have my lawn cut by a neighbor’s son. I have provided his dad with money for four months so that his son can be paid weekly. That has worked out very well. I have a monthly bill form that we use to validate that we have paid all of our bills.” – Donald Fox, 2015 Ford F-450, 2018 Arctic Fox 990
“We have taken a three-week trip every year in pretty much the same time frame for the last twenty-years. Nothing interferes with this trip; not work nor family. I schedule a lawn service to mow the lawn every week and put a hold on the mail and newspaper.” – Henry Nelsen, 2007 Toyota Tundra, 2012 Northstar Liberty
“I leave early to beat the snowstorms. I say goodbye to my wife and head out early for a vacation down to Florida. It might take two weeks to get there. There is lots to see in USA.” – Neil Steirer, 2017 Ford F-350, 2014 Lance 1172
“Before heading off on an extended trip to Alaska, we opened an account with US Global Mail. Since the post office limits mail holds to 30-days we found the best option was to forward the mail to a service.
US Global Mail scans and emails you a copy of each piece of mail for your review. For a further charge they will open and scan selected pieces of mail and email it to you. It has worked out well for us.
Another option they offer is to bundle up mail and FedEx it to you at another location. We didn’t need that, but it is available. The watching the house and mowing the lawn part was handled by neighbors.” – Bill Elwell, 2016 Ram 2500 CTD, 2016 Four Wheel Camper Flatbed Hawk
“I live in Memphis, Tennessee. However, for many years I lived in eastern Tennessee and Colorado. Eastern Tennessee can be a seven-hour haul on I-40 and I-81. With the truck camper we just break up the trip with many state parks.
I can also fly the family in for weekend during the school year. Or I can leave them camping with friends and family during summer break and fly home to work Monday through Thursday evening. That conserves vacation time.
We are going to drive out and spend a couple weeks in Colorado this summer. We bought round trip tickets to fly from Denver to Memphis and return later in the summer, leaving the camper with friends and ensuring we have a vehicle out there for another week without making two 15-plus hour drives.” – Chad Riggs, 2011 Silverado, Travel Lite 690FD