Today has been remarkable! I set off to drive the Cerro Gordo Road. http://www.theadventureportal.com/death-valley-national-park/cerro-gordo-road/
I tried to drive this road 11 years ago in a Range Rover. Alas, it kept breaking down, down and I never made it. I am very confident that the Tacoma/Camper combo can make it.
The trail is tough, with many patches of very broken road and steep inclines. The Tacoma does really well and we reach the half way point without too much trouble.
On we go, up and up. I stop the truck to walk up the next stretch to reconnoiter the difficulty. Returning I notice something. There is no longer a camper on the truck! I had felt nothing. She must have slipped off the back very discretely. About half a mile down the road, I find this.
This is very, very bad news. I am truly in the middle of nowhere. 7000 feet up and 20 miles of very narrow broken road before you hit paved highway. To get here you have to have a very capable 4 wheel drive vehicle. I will need crane to lift the camper back onto the truck. How many off-road machines with cranes are there? Oh dear.
Anyway, I managed to drive the truck around the road-blocking camper and set off back to civilization. I am very down. The logistics of getting the camper back on my truck are very daunting. A mega-off/road, crane truck? Maybe they have one somewhere in the States. I cannot leave her there in the middle of the road and I foresee a helicopter lifting her up and dumping her at the side of the road. All options involve thousands of dollars. So much for my dream of bumbling around the U.S. watching birds and sleeping in the camper. I have only owned her for 3 weeks!
I slowly make my way down and meet this.
Twelve of America’s top off-road experts are doing a comparative test of the 2019 models. There is at least $500,000 of truck in a line. Range Rovers, Toyotas, General Motors, Jeep, Ford, the creme de la creme of off road machines. They are writing articles, making videos and recording podcasts. Buy Four Wheeler Magazine. Go to their website: http://www.fourwheeler.com , listen to their podcasts: @truckshowpodcast.
They are equally surprised to see me as I am to see them. We are in a very remote place.
There are 12 guys. ” No problem Neil, we can find a way to get her off the mountain.”
We manage to lift her back on the truck. These guys are very skilled and a major problem becomes a minor hiccup.
So I do interviews for the podcast, a Scot, living in Japan with a disconnected camper on the notorious Cerro Gordo Road is a good story. They shepherd me down the mountain and after effusive thanks, I head back home.
I think I have have mentioned my good luck before. I cannot shake it off. After a disaster, what chances of meeting the 12 most qualified people to help, an hour later, high up on a very lonely mountain? Thank you er Jesus.
Seriously though, I am for ever indebted to Sean, Verne and all the other guys, who I am sure were on a very tight schedule, but dropped everything to help me. People are good.
I fear that Jessica will be disappointed
I dread going back to face her!
As an FWC owner I am very HAPPY for you and the result. You do not mention how it came off. Turnbuckles come loose or break?
Hi Roger, I tightened the turnbuckles before I set off but I guess the jolting and shaking loosened them up quickly. I should have checked again half way up. I am going to get some locknut system as the consequences of these turnbuckles slacking off are catastrophic.
Who’s a lucky boy?! Did the thing really just fit back on? Is it damaged? I wonder how it is actually attached to the vehicle and did those attachment points survive? Maybe several sets of titanium cored or carbon-fibre bungee cords would be a good investment for the rougher trails. Hope it all goes together again OK.
I am proud to say I work with those guys! Glad you’re OK, sir. Continue on with your bird watching, and be safe! KJ Jones, Editor, Diesel Power Magazine
I still can’t believe this actually happened. I am now at 4 Wheel Campers in Woodland and working out the best system to make sure this does not happen again!
I’ve been reading page 91 in the owner’s manual and they do make quite a thing about the turnbuckle tension. Not the easiest things to get at through those floor-level ‘portholes’ and I can easily imagine how checking them every few hours could be overlooked in interesting country. On page 93 (I think) they show large external turnbuckle tie-downs which look just the thing for really bumpy off-road work – perhaps we could all chip in for a set for Christmas!
All of them are heroes! They were generous , so competent, and funny. Please pass on my thanks again if you bump into any of them. Best wishes Neil
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Just read your article in TCM and found it very entertaining. You are certainly blessed. I can say that because I am also blessed and my name is Neil 🙂 We are on our 4th truck camper (after 4 pull-behinds) and having covered 48 states and over 100,000 miles we are now in the downsizing phaze of our travels and now have a small lightweight utilitarian camper similar to yours. I mention this because it too is secured with turnbuckles accessed through the front portholes as yours and also because I found hand tightening them to be futile. I added locknuts to all four and still find it necessary to retighten one every now and then (about every 400 miles of Interstate roads). It’s a great little camper and very unique … I doubt you’ve ever seen one. I have written an article about it because of this and it is scheduled to be published in 10 days (January 14th) if you’re interested in reading about it. It will appear in another online truck camper magazine ….. http://www.truckcamperadventure.com/
Hi Neil, Happy 2019. I am very diligent about checking turnbuckles now! I look forward to reading about your rig.
Very best Neil
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