First camping trip- test run!

The Northstar Arrow 8.5 cabover camper is now securely bolted to the aluminum frame and chassis of the GMC 2500HD.  Welds are in place.  Water and propane tanks are full.  I guess it is time to load up the dogs and humans and take it for a test trip!

We headed out to the nearby patch of muddy desert and claimed a flat space alongside the sister in her behemoth RV!  ready for test run of new frame.JPG

Then before we could settle in to relax, it was time to head out for some rough road testing.  So the two guys took off to try to snap some welds or loosen some bolts. parked-at-camp-first-run  They located a suitably bumpy road and tested the rig thoroughly. she ran up this hill like it was nothing.JPG

test run bouncing.JPGtest run up this hill .JPG

Then they brought it back and we parked it level again.  There we spent two nights sleeping, reading, making coffee and peeing inside.  Okay, that might be TMI for you, dear reader.  But when the desert wind is blowing cold in the night- there is nothing like the convenience of an in-house toilet.  One of the very reasons we started this build in the first place.

parked at camp.JPG

So, what did we learn from this test run?  We learned that the folks at AT Overland made an incredibly strong, agile and functional frame to hold our camper.  We also learned that the frame would require some modification.  The section right above the rear wheel did not offer enough clearance.  The tire  scraped on the frame during the extreme bumps.  But that was the only issue we discovered, and it is an easy fix.  The next photo shows the change in the frame to allow for the full range of motion of the rear wheels.  We consider this test run to be a success!


One short section of aluminum C-frame was cut away. This removes the risk of the tire scraping the frame on bumpy roads. No change to mounting bolts, welds or structural integrity.

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7 thoughts on “First camping trip- test run!

  1. Interesting! Having had two Volkswagen campers (we have a Sportsmobile now), I must say you did very well traveling and living in one for so long. When you had the young man with you . . . whew! It seemed so crowded!
    Terri has not posted in a while, but I know she is busy with her studies and new job. It has been a thrill to follow along with all of you! ;->

    Virtual hugs,


  2. I have an efriend named Terri with the same last name as yours. Any relation? I am having some problem recollecting exactly where I came upon your blog, but I thought it was from a different efriend. Old age, bah!

    Virtual hugs,


  3. Glad to see that the only problem turned out to be a quick fix.Believe me I can understand about peeing in doors in the middle of the night. Good for you guys.

  4. I was wondering what the mod would be of that cross brace I mentioned before. Do you plan on putting in braces off to the sides of the rear tires?
    …and yes…peeing in the inside bathroom is great. lol

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