As I informed you my loyal readers earlier this year, my wife and I bought newer Dodge Ram 2500 and later a monster-sized Arctic Fox camper. We haven’t used it until my stepdaughter asked we let her and the grand kids go on a well-deserved vacation.
In the midst of this pandemic, it’s okay to travel, though highly not recommended. She wanted to leave Thursday until she informed my wife that she wanted to take them all the way to the North California coast for over two weeks. I had assumed she wanted to make this a reasonably local excursion for a few days. Needless to say, I put the brakes on that, telling her no one was ready for this, least of all the entire camper itself.
I had no idea what it takes to have a camper readied ,until now. Needless to say, my eyes are wide open and definitely don’t recommend investing into something like this if aren’t 100 percent prepared for every and all possible contingencies that might arise, because it will as she has found out.
To start with, none of us had clue about this beast’s, which is what I’m calling her, many idiosyncrasies. Did you know there are holding tanks and a water pump and all the faucets and plumbing that goes with it, which if you forget to do one little thing, can destroy the $40,000 unit you just bought?
Luckily for all of us, she has a friend who was a maintenance technician at the Goodwill store they both worked at until this thing hit and everyone was laid off. He also knows his way around campers, and is smart enough, if he doesn’t quite know where something is, he’ll search around until he finds it. When I came home from work Thursday evening, she was there along with her maintenance friend and all of us together, got to work, learning, and finding everything we needed to know about this camper so that she could safely travel down and back.
The hardest part isn’t going to be going forward, though of course one needs to do that in a safe and comfortable manner, it’s backing up and loading the camper onto the truck, then the many steps it takes to remove the beast from the truck. I did it once, flying at the seat of my pants, but relying mostly on my years of experience from the National Guard backing trucks even bigger and badder than the one I have into impossible situations. The number one thing I learned then was to trust your ground guide and patience: lots of patience.
So after many hours of getting everything looked at dumping the water, refilling and dumping again, we also discovered how to run the heater and air-conditioner, turned on burner to the stove and we also realized you have to be either very tall or possession of a stepladder or stool to reach say the knobs to the LP tanks or the overhead vent. After about 9 o’clock, he felt comfortable about leaving us to safely takes the beast down and back.
Monday I will make sure the camper gets licensed and she leaves on Tuesday for the great vacation adventure that awaits her. God willing, everything will work out just fine.