I'm much more of a mountains/woods guy. The beach is fun once or twice a year and unless you're in South Beach the women usually aren't that great to look at. Mountains have so much variety. You can spend a lifetime getting lost (in Colorado alone) and never see the same place twice if you don't want to. Different trail, hike, ski area, camp site, swimming hole, fishing spot etc. every time you go. There is so much to offer and its all unique, interesting and beautiful. To me the beach is the beach is the beach. Plus as the permafrost continues to melt you all will be underwater and Ill be on top of the mountain.
Thanks for the compliments guys.
Well it has been a while since Ive posted but I have been super busy, camping a bunch and also I took a week off for a family wedding/major renovation of the camper! Ill be adding a bunch of pictures soon.
A few weeks ago my buddy drove in from Chicago and wanted to ride his MTB/camp so we headed to Winter Park. We camped one night and he rode Trestle MTB park the next day. The spot was amazing, you could see the city lights of Winter Park at night. We were also treated to a double rainbow the next morning. Short but sweet trip. He also has a 3rd gen Ram and loved my camper so much he drove back to the midwest, scoured craigslist and bought one for himself a week later!
My buddies FJ60 with a Howling Moon rooftop tent.
The rainbow we were treated to!!! :Wow1:
The two dodges together.
More of the FJ and Howling Moon tent.
After that camping trip I decided the weather was getting cold and it was now or never for a major overhaul! I started by painting the exterior of the Hawk. I cleaned/sanded the exterior and taped off the windows/door. Painted the frames black and the panels white. It looks slightly odd, almost like a police issue camper hahaha. I will change something about the exterior but Im not sure what yet. Maybe Ill get some reproduction stickers to match the old factory ones. I will also replace the rubber trim moulding which should help a little.
Before and after.
All Panda everything lately for me.
Then I went buckwild. Took a week off work and completely gutted her! Stove, sink, propane tank, bench seat...everything was gone eventually!!! :Wow1:
Stripped down to the frame and floors. Removed all the fiberglass batt insulation most of which was half missing or collapsed. Removed every screw, staple, all the wiring, water and gas piping, rotten wood, panelling etc.
Found some blown out corners and some dry rot in the floor so... Floor was removed as was the cabover "wood" that had been replaced with pressboard that was moldy rotten and expanding/cracking/sagging. I did not originally plan to replace the floor but decided there was no better time. I know Ill be MUCH happier in the long run having a brand new floor.
I installed 1" closed cell foam insulation. Its rated R6 and Id guess the old fiberglass batt was lucky to be working at an R2. Luckily I have worked with this foam board before so I know the secret to cutting clean edges! It already feels WAY more insulated inside. Im getting pretty excited.
I painted the underside of the floor and both sides of the cabover wood with some crazy goopy paint I got at HD that is supposed to be good at filling cracks and very waterproof because its made for boat docks and things like that. It was about $40 a gallon and seemed to do well on the new 3/4" birch ply I used. I decided not to spring for the $200 a gallon two part epoxy though I wish I would have.
Then I caulked every seem inside with paintable non-silicone and primered 3 coats on nearly the whole interior with good old fashioned Kilz oil based original. I also added a second layer of 3/4" ply on top of the drivers side cabinetry area. There were a few holes from the water system and a small bit of dry rot that I wanted to reinforce.
I wound up pulling almost all the wiring and ditching the entire water system and stove top. Im not sure what I can and can't do with the propane so I need someone to look at it that actually knows about propane heat systems before I fire it up. I ditched the Y in the line that split the stove piping and heater piping and ran a line directly from the tank to the heater. I don't know if this is ok because Ive read that the stove may act as a vent for the system. If anyone can chime in here it will be appreciated.
This is as far as I got last week except for cutting a piece of the old counter to cover the propane tank box and icebox and setting them in place to see what it looks like. I hope to finish most of the interior this week. Up next is sanding and painting the vertical laminate surfaces and reinstalling the bench seat.
I also went on another camping trip before I ripped apart the the camper. Forgot to post the pics first though, too excited about the remodel!
This is the trail up to Bill Moore Lake. Leaves already started turning a couple weeks ago. Breck got a dusting of snow last weekend, gonna be a good year!
Bill Moore Lake
Aptly named "poser rock"
Nearly completed camper.
OK, you guys have been patient.
Note #1. It was really warm in Denver for the last few weeks and I wound up spending some of the truck budget on another bike! The front range trails have been dry and empty so Ive been riding when in town instead of working on the truck. I managed to get my hands on a pretty rare Gary Fisher Ferrous. True Temper OX Platinum, King headset, DT Swiss wheels, XTR SS cranks etc. Those of you in the know will know what this means. For the rest of you its just another mountain bike.
Note #2. I found out yesterday that I will be moving to Chicago this June. My fiancé was chosen for a residency at a hospital in Chicago so we will be moving there after she graduates this May. I grew up in Chicago and have been trying to live in Colorado permanently since 2000. This will be the 7th time I have moved between Colorado and Illinois. Im getting quite sick of the back and forth and will truly miss Colorado but I make the best of everything so I just sold my R32 two weeks ago and it will be really hard for me to keep the truck and not buy a Porsche or some other ridiculous car in a futile attempt to make up for leaving the mountains. I figure spending time/money on the truck will force me to keep it...maybe.
On to the truck.
I had much bigger plans for this weekend but as usual things don't pan out. Wah waaah...sorry. I got talked out of a particular front bumper/winch that I was going to snag simply due to how good of a deal I can get. Apparently its quite ugly and does not follow the high clearance goals I have for the truck. Back to the drawing board there, I need to find someone to make something custom for me. What I did wind up with is a set of Bilstein shocks, Powerstop brakes(which Ive had for a while as you probably know) and a programmer to fix a few things with the truck.
Today I got around to installing the Bilsteins. 5160s in the front and 5100s in the rear. The fronts are slightly longer than the shocks I pulled off the truck which is good because more droop. The crappy white body shocks I pulled off actually turned out to be Rancho 5000's which are halfway decent. Ill probably clean them up and throw them on CL tomorrow. Also changed my oil because my local oreillys has Rotella T6 on sale for $13 a gallon which I couldn't pass up.
These pictures are dusk-time and make the truck look like it has a lot of rust. Its actually very minimal but I plan on cleaning it up a little. Id also like to ditch the spacers for some new coils but Im having a very hard time finding a coil that will net me 3" of lift. Apparently nobody mods regular cab gasser 3rd Gen Dodge 3/4 ton trucks.
Shocks final resting place.
Tomorrow Im hopefully going to get the brakes and the programmer installed. It just snowed a sh*tload here so it will be hard to not ski/ride and make myself work on the truck. I can't wait to finally have an accurate speedometer and get rid of the TPMS light though. Oh also, Ive been shopping for new campers.
Last edited by Atl-Atl; 03-20-2016 at 10:16 PM.
I know y'all been just dyin for tidbits. Cliffs notes: got a new camper and moved to Chicago.
Here are some pictures of the new camper. I can't believe the incredible deal I got. The jacks alone are worth what I paid for the whole thing! I hate to say I stole it, but for $600...I stole it. I had emailed the guy about it 45 minutes after the ad was listed. He told me it sold within 20 minutes. I told him to let me know if the sale falls through. Through some act of nature it did and I got an email from him a week later. I immediately went and picked it up. When we were loading it into my truck another guy pulled up with a trailer asking if it sold! Close one.
Its a 1985 Four Seasons. I don't know what model it is but it does still have the serial tag on it so that might help. It was narrowed by a previous owner who did a very good job, it almost looks factory. They actually narrowed both sides 3 inches instead of doing just one side. This is really nice because my old Hawk used to sit about five inches farther out over the drivers side. It has no leaks, no mold or nastiness anywhere, everything works, guy even gave me a propane tank and 3 nearly new looking Titan jacks with it. It definitely spent the vast majority of its life in a garage or some kind of nicer storage facility.
It has an icebox, 3 burner stove, furnace, sink, water tank, carbon monoxide and propane gas detectors etc. I likely won't use the sink and water tank but since the cabinetry is in such good shape its all staying put for now. The table spins so you can almost treat the bench as a dinette which is good because I really like dinettes and can probably get away without any reconfiguring which makes me really happy. There is only one minor issue I have found so far. The plastic windows have shrunk so much that the velcro doesn't line up anymore. Haven't figured out how I will fix this yet but Im sure there is a solution somewhere on this site! Ill have to take care of that before I camp in case it rains. It is wired for shore power but the plug looks like it is not compatible with todays electrical connections. I compared it to my buddys sunlite and its a totally different plug.
Future short list plans are;
- thorough cleaning
- get a house battery
- wire up an isolator setup for the truck
- replace the interior lights with LED fixtures
- figure out a fix for the plastic windows
- new window coverings
- reseal a few spots on the exterior
Future long list plans are;
- nicer flooring and possibly some other interior updates
- maybe a fridge
- some kind of "cold weather pack"
My reg cab with my newly acquired four seasons and my buddies quad cab with his SunLite.
22lb cat for scale
More like unexpectedly-awesome-local-midweek-onenight-beautiful-camping-firstnightinthecamper-hiking-trip-time!
I haven't been completely lazy over the last 3 or 4 weeks (or however long its been) since moving back to Illinois. Today I passed the Illinois real estate brokers licensing exam, first try by the way. In the last 10 days I did that, went camping at Starved Rock State Park, hiked and saw some incredible waterfalls at the lesser known Matthiesson State Park, rode my road bike in Illinois, rode my mountain bike in Wisconsin, went running in Illinois, went to a wedding in Missouri and did a bunch of other honey-do stuff we all have/get to do! Halleluyah Holy Sh*t...wheres the Tylenol :sombrero:
Anyway I have some updates on the camper! I went out on a limb after minimal research and tried a Duracell Platinum AGM battery from Batteries Plus. I like that its made right in my backyard(Wisconsin, its an Illinois joke for the uninformed) and I got a discount for buying it online and picking it up in store. I think it was about $193.04 after tax. 78AH for less than $200 with a 30 month warranty? Yes, please and thank you. Then I went and got the propane tank that came with the camper topped off at a local RV place. When I got home I hooked up the battery and nothing but crickets...
I checked the + cable and the fuse is blown. Its a 20amp fuse, no prob the guy I bought the camper from gave me 3 extra 20amp fuses. They're all blown. Is this a sign of the times? Now Im kinda like "whats going on" am I not going to get this thing powered up? I throw a 25amp spare in and voila she powered up!!! Im ecstatic! All the lights work, propane gas detector and CO detector light up and test. Kill switch engage, all systems go. Im getting quite excited for our trip. (Still slightly concerned about the fuse situation though)
Last thing to do is check tire pressure before the trip, especially since I have D rated 37s on my truck that I normally run at 35F 32R. Lightweight for a 3/4 ton truck, sorry I guess. A few psi can be the difference between 70mph comfortably or 55mph white knuckle. As Im filling the right rear tire I hear a hiss. There is a nail or screw right at the shoulder. NOOOOOOOO the whole trip is a failure, these tires aren't made anymore(pro comp x ats (also knows as egg-terrains)), we cant go on the trip, I need a new set of tires, nobody has 37s in Illinois, a bunch of nancies live here, yes I have a patch kit but I don't want to risk it, we both have to take a test in a few days, I don't even have a job, what am I doing, waaaaaaaaaaaambulance.
I have a full size spare and everything went swimmingly. Starved Rock State Park is along the Illinois river only 2 hours from Chicago and its an incredible place. We camped at the actual park camp grounds. We bought fire wood from the local "Jacks camp store" and we hiked at Matthiesson State Park at the suggestion of the informative, albeit talkative park ranger. What an incredible experience. If you google "starved rock state park" ALL of the pictures you see are actually from down the street at Matthiesson State Park. All the big waterfalls, canyons, arches, bridges, riverbeds etc. Hopefully Im not making any locals mad but don't waste your time hiking Starved Rock, go to Matthiesson. Midsummer is a tropical paradise just outside of Chicago Illinois, believe it or not. There were minimal bugs, perfect humidity and ~70 degree temps in the woods at 1pm! Im getting lost in words. If you read all of this bless you and here are some pics for proof/your enjoyment!
I dont know the actual measurements of these waterfalls but a couple of them have to be at least 50 feet tall and some of the canyons have to be 100 feet plus.
Sorry about the crooked pic.
She loves hiking almost as much as she loves playing fetch.
Pooped out dog loves the camper!
Pack it in for the night
And cleaning up after the trip.
Now you guys are slacking!
So Ive been researching awnings for a few weeks now. I saw a build someone did on here where they spent about $100 and that got me thinking. I either need to buy a smittybilt for $200 or make my own and figure out how to do it cheaper than the other homemade one I saw. After coming across batwings and foxwings and getting all hot and bothered about a ridiculously awesome awning I decided I need to just get one done. I have some mountain bike races coming up and hopefully lots of camping beyond that. What better day than July 4th to work on the truck and the camper right! Especially since my party and fireworks happened last night and Im not really up for anything more than tinkering today.
I had been perusing harbor freight looking at tarps and saw they had some pretty decently priced items. Like an 8' x 10' mess panel with grommets. So I headed over and grabbed a heavy duty 8x11 tarp and 8x10 mesh panel as well as some tent stakes and a grommet tool just incase. Then I went to home depot in search of parts to make my ideas a reality.
What I wound up with is two sticks of galvanized pipe that are capped and have a bolt sticking through on either end. One to sink into the ground for traction and the other to stick through the grommet up top. The pipe only came in 10' sections so I had them cut down to 7' and rethreaded the cut end. Then I got 4 caps and 4 nut-bolt-washers. When I got home I simply drilled a 5/16" hole in each cap, threaded the bolt through and then threaded the caps onto the pipes. There are tabs on the roof of my camper that a previous owner installed that are at the back corner and then 4, 8 and 11 feet. The mesh panel fits exactly onto the 8 foot apart tabs, no modification necessary, just use a threaded d ring to secure it. stand the uprights and tie them off. The tarp had to get some new grommets added but this was simple. I will likely have to cut down the tarp and hem the cut edge but for now it still works perfectly.
I had a 25% off coupon for harbor freight so all said and done, including both a tarp and a mesh panel, Im in it for about $70.