Here at Truck Camper Magazine, we bought our first truck camper from a private seller about two hours from our house. About three weeks prior we had bought a brand new 2005 Chevy Silverado 3500. It was a bare bones work truck with dual rear wheels, extended cab, two wheel drive, and the smallest gas engine available; a real payload champion. I guess we were the weight police, in training.
I remember the feeling driving home with that truck. We were actually going to do this. We were actually going to hit the road and go truck camping. We were both excited beyond measure. It was like a whole new world had opened up, and we couldn’t wait to explore it.
Steve Cilenti’s story brought us right back to that moment. The feeling of anticipation and excitement in Steve’s words is palpable and something most of us can probably relate to. Thank you for emailing us your story Steve. And congratulations on your new truck camper. We hope to hear about many truck camping adventures down the road.
Arctic Fox Anticipation
by Steve Cilenti
As I begin to write this story, I am in my brand new, never been used, my very own, 2012 Arctic Fox 990 camper. I picked it up on March 29th, from Thunder RV in La Grande, Oregon. But this is actually where the story of buying my new camper ended. The story actually began in Idaho in 2011.
Every year, a group of us trek to Idaho for a month to enjoy the high desert, fishing, sight seeing, and mule deer hunting.
Each of us brings our campers that we essentially use only for sleeping. Most days and evenings are spent around the campfire. Then we each retire to our respective campers as the evening wears on.
Each year I have admired the two Arctic Fox truck campers that were a part of our group. This past year I decided that I would like to replace my 1996 camper and get a few new features including dual batteries and a slide-out.
My decision was made for me when my daughter, Rebecca, sent me an email stating she was considering buying a camper to go on the F-250 truck that I had given to her a few years ago. As the saying goes, I made her an offer she could not refuse on my 1996 camper. Now I was definitely in the market for a new camper.
My 1996 camper had served me well in the mountains of Northern California and throughout Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho. I really enjoyed finding a place in among the trees and spending the weekend in solitude, hiking, and fishing in the mountain streams. I love to do weekend boondocking. I always brought along the boat for fishing in nearby lakes every chance I get.
The path to my new camper started with an email to Ray Melson, a member of our hunting group. I remembered Ray talking about a dealer he had worked with when he bought his Arctic Fox. I got the information from Ray but still looked online at various truck campers to see what was on the market. Throughout my research, I kept going back to the Arctic Fox.
In November 2011, I sent an email to Thunder RV in La Grande, Oregon inquiring about an Arctic Fox 990. Ray had given me Caleb’s name at the dealership. I told Caleb I was interested in the 990 and asked him about the available options. I also sent a couple of emails to Ray asking for his input about the options. Of course, I studied the Northwood Manufacturing website page (www.northwoodmfg.com) for every tiny detail.
For the next couple of months, I was consumed with reviewing and re-reviewing the options and considerations for my 990 to the point of weariness; not mine of course, just everybody else that I talked to.
In January 2012, I finally emailed Caleb and told him that I was ready to place my order. I gave him my list of camper options. My extras included thermal-pane windows, upgrading to group 31 batteries, air conditioning, solar panels, generator, and, of course, the new Fox Landing. I had read about the Fox landing in the December 16th 2011 issue of Truck Camper Magazine and was impressed.
With the mailing of a deposit check, and a confirmation call to Caleb to make sure the check arrived, I knew that I was going to get a new camper. I’ve had a couple of truck campers over the years but this would be my first factory new camper. Naturally, I checked my email every day to hear back from Caleb. It seemed longer, but a few days later Caleb sent me an email saying that the camper would be delivered to Thunder RV around March 20, 2012.
My camper was being built for me from the frame up. It wasn’t off the dealer lot. I knew that it would take a bit of time to start and complete the build. Now that I had a target delivery date, I emailed Caleb that I would anticipate arriving at Thunder RV on March 30, 2012 to take delivery. I picked that day because the courts would be closed that Friday and my office would be closed as well. Yes, I’m an attorney and retired law enforcement, but I’m still a nice guy.
Over the next couple of months, I continued re-read everything I could find about the Arctic Fox 990. From time to time, I would look up things such as external generators since I had ordered my camper without a mounted generator. I had put a lot of thought into this before I had placed my 990 order and I was confident of my decision to buy a pair of linked 2 KW Honda generators. These generators would produce more power than the factory 2.5KW generator and I would not be packing a built-in generator around as extra weight when I didn’t plan on using a generator. Although I had a built-in generator on the S&S, I rarely used it favoring my small 1KW Honda Generator. I always brought the Honda with me on my boondocking weekends and to Idaho.
Over the following weeks, I mostly just waited for the email from Caleb letting me know the camper had arrived at Thunder RV. I had already mapped out my travel route to La Grande. While I waited, I occupied my non-working time going back to the Northwood website a few more times to take a look at the 990 advertisements. I also watched a YouTube video on the new Arctic Fox Landing, and everything else I could find.
At long last, the email arrived from Caleb saying my camper had arrived. Up to this point, I hadn’t been anxious about the camper at all. Just doing my daily work and going on with life. But Caleb’s email changed that. Just knowing that my camper was sitting there waiting for me to arrive. I tried hard not to think about the camper every second of the day and night. The nights were the worst.
As the date of my departure approached, it became more difficult for me not to be distracted at the office and at home. On March 26th, it finally hit me with full force that the date was finally here. I didn’t sleep but 2 hours that night. I think I must have mentally re-run all of the videos I had seen and re-read all of the brochures through my mind that night. Fortunately, I was so tired on the 27th from the lack of sleep that I was able to sleep that night. When I woke up on the morning of the 28th, I was ready to go.