Picking up the camper
As the cat is outta’ the bag, we will continue with the camper story. A purchase agreement has been reached and the camper is awaiting us in Grants Pass, Oregon. We are in Clarkdale, Arizona! Time for a road tip in the new truck.
We left on a sunny day and drove across dry, dusty Nevada. One night in a hotel along the way and we arrived in Grants Pass just before the dealer closed. Our first glimpse of the camper was love at first site!
We spent and evening in a wonderful little hotel in town. The Buona Sera Inn Buona Sera Inn offered rates that were half of what the big chains were charging and they had no pet fee! We excitedly ate a local pizza dinner and tried to sleep, awaiting the camper loading for the morning.
The next day began early, as the truck had to go to the shop to have airbags and Torklifts installed. While that was happening, we went to the dealership to begin learning about our camper.
The folks at Jim Clark’s Consignment Country spent hours with us. Not just hours. They spent many HOURS, going over the camper in detail. Checking every system. Making suggestions for maintenance and modifications. Advising us on what to carry for spares and emergencies. It was amazing! Jeremy was knowledgeable on every possible aspect of campers and RV’s. Chris was kind and helpful. His daughter (secretly a hippie) and father (the original Jim Clark) were friendly and warm to work with. We took notes and photos on every piece of advice they shared.
We have received no fiscal payback, no actual benefit from these folks. They were just good people to work with. But I want to offer a comparison here for a moment. We looked at a bunch of campers at Tom’s Camperland in Arizona. Their used units were priced above book and in rough condition. They price them “as is” and put them on the sales lot to turn over quickly. If you believe you need more info or want the camper checked out before you drive away with it, they charge an additional fee for that. For about$300 they will check over the camper systems with you and then they charge shop rate for any repairs that are deemed necessary. By comparison, the folks at Jim Clark’s spent about 6 hours checking over the camper with us. And when they found issues that needed attention, they fixed them for no charge. We could not have left with any part of that camper malfunctioning or misunderstood; they would make sure of it. And that was included in our purchase price. This was perhaps one of the best business transactions I have ever engaged in!
When our lessons were over we went to lunch and then we picked up the truck from the suspension work. We were more excited than ever. We returned to the lot and loaded the camper onto the truck. If you have never backed a pick up under a huge camper standing on 4 little poles – you haven’t missed much. It is nerve-wracking. But Mike was outstanding and the Northstar Arrow was buckled down and ready to go. Grandpa Jim was hurrying us along, as a storm was expected in the mountain passes nearby and he wanted us to avoid it.
We drove away in the late afternoon and headed South down the highway, around Mt. Shasta and on into Northern California. Mike was really getting the hang of driving this big rig through the corners, mountains and windy areas. It handled very differently than before, but it felt safe and secure. He was white-knuckling it as he learned the characteristics of the new weight and center of gravity.
We made it into the Lassen National Forest and found a side road to park for the night. It rained off and on, but the heater worked perfectly and we were cozy inside our new camper. After a windy, rainy night we awoke ready to hit the road and get back to Arizona.
But apparently we had not driven far enough to avoid the storm that Grandpa Jim had warned us about. First we noticed a few flakes. Then we realized that there was no one else on the road. Soon we were in a complete blizzard. No cell service. No radio stations. No other vehicles! While we had been sleeping down that forest road, they had closed the highway! And we had no choice but to push on through.
I won’t go into detail, but Mike earned his captains wings for piloting that big truck camper through a bad storm on snowy roads that day. But we made it back to Clarkdale safely. And now the custom modifications will begin!
Keep watching for more details on the fabrication of frame mounts and custom interior and exterior modifications of this truck/camper rig!