Well, here it is, our RV! It's one of a kind, and over the years Bill and Nancy have added many additional items to it.
Bill and Nancy have planned things well, they are both perfectionist, but not to the point of being, what's the word, perfectionist. What I mean to say is that they plan things out and the things they do to the truck, camper, trailer or boat are done just right; the way that they feel is the best for them.
Bill and Nancy had planned out their perfect rig for full time RVing several years before they retired. They had gone to many RV shows gathering information about the type of trailer, truck and camper that they wanted. This all happened back in the late 70's when their plans started to come together.
They knew that at least one year before retiring they wanted to get their one ton truck ordered, before any changes happened resulting from the gasoline crunch. Rumors back then was that the big 460 cubic inch motors would be restricted, and other changes to the trucks would take place due to the gasoline problems.
They ordered a 1979 1 ton Ford truck with all the options that they felt they needed, because who wants to add things later that could have been done at the factory. It included the tow package and posi-traction to mention a few. They decided to get posi-traction on the truck since they planned to use it during the winter for their snow ski trips. They got delivery of their truck a year before retiring so that they could have it when it came time to get a camper of their choice. They went to several camper dealers to try to find the right camper, with plenty of storage and space to store a 25 horsepower Johnson outboard motor. But, as you can imagine it was hard to find, so Bill being a civil engineer and Nancy being a draftsman, oops! a draftsperson, they decided to design their own camper. Pretty clever of them!
Anyway, after measuring up the truck bed and drawing the plans for a 8 foot cab over camper that would support a 300 pound car top boat, a collapsible boat trailer, a long shaft motor, gas tank, battery and other boat and fishing gear items to take with them, they came up with the perfect camper. They found a local RV shop only 10 miles from home and gave him their plans. He told them that it will take awhile, probably 6 to 8 months to finish the job. Bill and Nancy allowed a year before retirement for this project.
How do you find space to store a boat motor? Well I told you that Bill and Nancy are clever people, they carefully measured up the boat motor and figured that if the motor were to lay down on its side that the width of the truck bed would still be wide enough for a compartment on the right side, a rear door in the center, and another compartment on the left side for a propane tank and above that, another compartment that would carry the boat gas tank. They decided to raise the floor on the right side where the dinette was to go, so that when the motor slides into the compartment the long shaft is under the raised floor. Above this same compartment is a shelf that stores the boat battery and all the boat gear that they need, and then another compartment that is 8 feet long can store fishing poles, sunshade poles and yes, four pairs of snow skis and poles. You must remember that when they sell their house everything has to go with them in their RV.
As the camper was being built, Bill and Nancy proceeded to make storage compartments and mount them along the inside of the truck bed, so that when the camper was installed the cabinet doors inside the camper would line up with these compartments to make a weatherproof seal and good storage. They also added to the truck a 12 gallon grey water holding tank for the camper along with a 8 gallon water tank for a veriflow system. Now days most people don't know about a veriflow system, but back in the 70's and 80's with poor fuel, you could inject metered water through a small jet mounted in the carburetor to prevent pinging. They used water injection for many years, but now find that they don't need it, and so this is an extra water tank for the camper. They also added another 30 gallon holding tank on the right side of the truck where a spare tire was located. This tank will be used to pump out the trailer holding tanks with a macerator pump. Back in the 70's most RVer's did not know what a macerator pump did or how to install them. This pump is used mostly in boats to pump out their holding tanks, but Bill and Nancy decided that this is what they needed to pump out the trailer holding tanks into the 30 gallon tank that was mounted on the truck. This way they would not have to hookup the trailer and move it just to empty the tanks. Pretty clever!
While the camper was being built, Bill and Nancy started to look for the perfect boat. They went to the boat shows and boat dealers to find the right aluminum boat for their needs. After several months, they decided on a 15 foot Gregor H-51 model boat. They added a 20" transom, a splash well, locking bow compartment, sunshade, a center steering console and swivel seats. As the boat was being ordered and fitted up with the extra items, they also had to decide how to lift such a large boat up over 8 feet onto the camper roof. Again, after research they decided on an automatic Edie boat loader. This uses a 12 volt motor with ropes and roller bars to lift and drag the boat up and onto the camper roof and when the ropes are tight the boat is there to stay.
As I mention earlier the gasoline crunch was happening so, Bill and Nancy decided to add two 30 gallon propane tanks under the truck frame to run the truck on either gasoline or propane fuel which sold then for 0.25 cents a gallon! They said, "Nothing will keep them from their dream of traveling and nothing did!" They also got rid of the spare tire and changed the two front tires of the truck to match the rear tires so that they would only have to carry one spare. The tires that they have been using for the last 20 years have been made by Goodyear and are the 12x16.5 - 12 ply tires. They have performed well, and they have never had a blow out or a flat tire, pretty good considering all the places the truck has been.
As the months passed by everything was coming together, the camper was completed in time and was installed on the truck, then over to the boat shop where they installed the Edie boat loader and we then loaded the car top boat on the roof of the camper. During this time Bill and Nancy went to more RV shows looking for the perfect trailer, since this would be their home on wheels for a long time, they wanted a trailer that was well built with lots of storage. At the RV shows, Bill and Nancy took there pad and pencil and a tape measure and measured trailer after trailer to see which one would give them the most storage. After careful consideration they chose a 34 foot Silver Streak trailer, with a sofa in the front and a built-in television cabinet, then a side kitchen, side double bed and a large rear bathroom.
They put their order in and again added all the options that they thought that they needed. One thing that worked out well, was that at that time Silver Streak was in El Monte, California which was about 30 minutes from home, so as the trailer was being built, Bill and Nancy would go over to the factory to add items to the trailer. Bill bought speaker wire and a burglar alarm system and helped wire these special items on the trailer. They also wanted a generator to be installed on the trailer, but at that time most trailer manufactures did not have that option. Again, Bill and Nancy researched this and found a company that made a 3500 watt propane generator. They had Silver Streak make a soundproof cabinet and wired a remote control unit for the generator during the construction of the trailer. All was going well, just like Bill and Nancy had planned!
Well retirement day finally came that was 20 years ago, and they have been on the road since with the same rig, they say they would not change a thing, to them and for their needs they do have the "perfect rig." As the years passed they have added more features to the camper and trailer, such as, 5 Arco solar panels, 4 Trojan 6-volt golf cart batteries, a 600 watt inverter and a 1000 watt inverter/charger by Heart Interface.
During the time of their earlier travels they saw the need for better television reception, so they found a small portable satellite antenna that folded up like an umbrella call a Toki dish. It was made out of a fine mesh cloth used in space travel. It was small and compact and stored under the sofa in the trailer and only took about 30 minutes to put together, and there was perfect television reception! But, several years later they decided to sell the small Toki and buy an A & E Travel-Sat satellite dish. They installed the 6 1/2 foot dish themselves, Bill making out of 3/16" aluminum angle a complete frame on top of the trailer to support the 80 pound dish. Again, they traveled throughout the country and had excellent reception.
But wait, another change to take place. As the years passed they decided to change over to the new DSS dish, so Bill and Nancy called Travel-Sat and ordered a 2 foot retrofit dish that would work with the old motors and control box, they took off the 6 1/2 foot dish and sold it and installed the smaller DSS dish and it has been working great for over 5 years. Well, as you can see they have spent many years adding and making changes to their RV and so far it has all been for the better! As I said earlier, I do tend to ramble, but there is so much to tell you about our RV and our lifestyle.