Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Our First Trip in our New (to us) Lance Truck Camper!

Our much anticipated maiden voyage in our truck camper was fast approaching and Barb was spending the day before our adventure getting it ready. Bedding, food, you name it. I on the other hand worked in the house and basically stayed out of her way, something I learned is for the best when she is in this mode.

I woke up with a slight sore throat but attributed it sleeping with the window open in the cool wet weather. The next morning I again woke up with a sore throat and some congestion….oh oh. But off we went….. first stop one of our favorite campgrounds and fishing spots Ditch Creek Campground near Deerfield Lake.  
Away we go!
This campground was a pretty much annual stop for us prior to our land purchase and we were looking forward to staying here like reuniting with an old friend. Another reason we were looking forward to visiting this campground was the fact that our friends Guy and Sue were also there! Yes, that Guy and Sue who had left our property a couple of weeks ago with plans to head north to Medora and beyond. But they loved this area so much they decided to stay for not only a few more weeks but it looks like they may be here for a few more months!
After lunch the four of us jumped in our Jeep and went to check out another campground/fishing area. It rained pretty much the entire time as we made our way to Castle Peak campground. It is a very secluded campground requiring high clearance vehicles as it is several miles down a rather rough road.
We met these guys on our way to the campground.....
… and pushed them for about a mile before it was wide enough for them to get off the road
Definitely not big rig friendly but a great campground for a pick up or tent campers. We did not get any pictures due to the rain but we did fish for about 30 minutes. No luck.

The next morning Guy and I were up bright and early to head to our favorite fishing hole. It did not disappoint and I was able to land several nice size rainbows but Guy took the trophy with a nice rainbow around 17”s!



 After lunch and an hours rest we were ready for our next adventure which was  a combo ATV/Jeep ride. Guy and Sue in their buggie while Barb and I were in the Jeep.
We were in search of the infamous “Ice Cave” known to be in the area. It took some hunting and pecking but we eventually found the cave.


Here it is mid-June and this cave still had ice in it!
This picture was of the roof of the cave
Still ice on the floor of the cave as well
You just never know what you are going to find hidden in the hills......

The next day it was time for us to move on to our next location but as we were packing up I noticed it...…. a flat tire. Ugh! Not a fun thing on a normal day but having the camper on the truck added another element. I pumped it up enough with our portable air compressor so we could move to a more level site then we had to take the camper off so I could access the crank to lower the spare from under the truck. Once that was done, I loosened the lug nuts and jacked up the truck.
The next challenge was that the old tire would not come off! Pry, pull and pound I could not get the duallys to separate! I have a big pry bar in our big rig but not on this trip. 20 minutes later Barb walked over to another camper to see if they have anything that would help and she comes back with a wedge for splitting wood. I put it between the two tires, pound it a few times and finally they come apart. I quickly (ok, maybe not so quickly) change the tire and we are back on the road. 

Since Barb did not get out fishing yet we stopped by Ditch Creek for an hour so Barb could catch a few trout.
Our next destination is a boondocking spot 70 miles up the road down Spearfish Canyon. There were two spots that Barb had her eye on and when we got there one of them was open so we slid in and set up for the night. I spent the day in the camper while Barb walked around the area with the dogs looking for potential fishing areas for the future. There are dozens of sites like this scattered throughout the National Forest in the hills.

Still not feeling we and Barb getting tired of being cooped up with me in the camper we decided to cut our trip short. But not before stopping by the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery. We love stopping by hatcheries, besides the fact that it is interesting to see how different hatcheries operate, we love seeing big trout!



Me and one of our grandaughters one day......
Since we were already near Rapid City and needed to get some materials for the house we decided to spent the next night in the Cabela's parking lot and get to Menards early the next morning. We did of course go in and walk through the store where I was able to show Barb the spotting scope that she could buy me any day now.....

Overall, although the trip did not go exactly as hoped but we did learn a few things about the camper:
It does not have vent covers so you need to close the vents in case it rains when you are out to   dinner (guess how we learned that one!)
  • It does not look like having the two dogs will be an issue as Dakota found a home under the dining table and just lays there
  • It is no fun not feeling well in such tight quarters
  • The freezer holds ice cream! (our big rig freezer does not)
  • There is a lot more storage than we expected
  • We need to put carpet on the outside stairs as Dakota got a paw nail stuck in one of the holes
Dakota's spot under the table
Now back home, we will be back in building mode as Kevin and Cheryl come out in a week and our son Forrest comes out the following week to help us wire the building! 

26 comments:

  1. Ugggh...nothing worse than a flat tire on top of not feeling well, Jim. Here’s hoping for warmer weather!

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  2. Great Pics! Bet it felt good to get away from building for awhile. What a pain having to offload the camper to change a tire.

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    1. It is one of those things you don't think about right away. I thought "Well I will just put the spare on". Then it dawned on me that I could not get to the spare without taking the camper off!

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  3. It's not fun being sick in a big rig either! Sounds like a good shake down trip. I would still be there waiting for a tow truck to fix the tire. And you have a slide out!!!!! That's VERY cool!!

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    1. We did not set out to get a camper with a slide out but that's the way it worked out. The area under the table is a great area for Dakota to lay out of the way and she seems to enjoy it.

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  4. Hope you are feeling better now that you are back to building.
    Good Shake Down trip even if it included a few of the bad things. Time can fix most of that. When heading to Alaska will you be taking Two vehicles or One?
    Be Safe and Enjoy the warmer weather.

    It's about time.

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    1. We are just taking the one vehicle. We did buy and extended hitch so we could haul the ATV trailer but will not be taking that on our Alaska adventure.

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    2. Glad your "new to you" camper worked out for you guys. Hope you are feeling better Jim. We also had some "learning or re-learning" about things in the MH after it has been sitting for 18 months. lol A few things will have to be fixed, leaking faucet, toilet seal etc. But all in all a great trip.

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    3. Speaking of faucets, the bathroom faucet it on my list as well. I can barely get my hands under it.

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  5. Sorry you were not feeling well on your first trip in the new to you unit. Looks like it wall worked out in the end with the dogs finding their spots and you have more storage. Definitely you will need to fix those stairs for Dakota, ouch!

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    1. We already took care of the stairs we put carpet on them so all the holes are now covered. She is still limping around, I think it might take a couple weeks to fully heal.

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  6. The day I brought dad home from Rehab, that night I got a sore throat, and the gargle with original, terrible tasting Listerine did not stop it from becoming a chest cold...and I am still coughing up stuff now and then. Put me down for 2-3 days! Blahhhhhh As for the camper, shouldn't cost too much getting into travel shape.

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    1. You are now the 4th person who had this crud this past week, it must be going around.

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  7. Sounds like quite the adventure.

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  8. Hope you are now feeling a little better. Colds don't stop you but they sure do wear you out quickly. Glad the truck camper worked out. The dogs look quite comfy with lots of room under the table.

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    1. It did not stop us but it did zap my ambition and energy for a few days.

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  9. Not too bad for a shakedown trip with a new camper and technically, your only big issue was not with the camper!!! Hope you are feeling better!!

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    1. Very true, we are looking forward to our next adventure, 4-6 weeks in Ontario!

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  10. Ugh, both of us just got sick on our way across the country. While there is no good time to get sick, travel days are definitely the worst. Glad you got through it and had a good shakedown trip!

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  11. Sorry. We have been out of cell service. How do you like the slide in your camper. Makes a big difference room wise I bet. Looks like it all went well.

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    1. The slide really opens it up which is necessary with Dakota in the camper.

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  12. I know what it's like to be sick, but being in a small camper could be different. Perhaps the shake down was a good break from construction. Using it for the first time also has given you a whole list of things to fix or modify. As if you are not busy with the other project.
    Oh well this is life in retirement is all about. Otherwise it would be boring just sitting around.

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    1. You are right, but sitting around is certainly not an option!

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