Our Truck & Camper

First the truck/pick-up:
our vehicle is a 94 model FORD F250 with a powerful 7.3 litre V8 Turbo Diesel engine, a manual 5-speed transmission, extended cab and long bed (8 feet). It also comes with four-wheel-drive, for which we were grateful on several bad roads in Central America, and a so-called "Off Road" package, which basically includes manual hubs on the front wheels (as opposed to weaker self-locking hubs), a limited slip rear diff, and several under-body guards.
After much research Jürgen thought to get a pre-computerised truck in the hope it could be more easily repaired by any mechanic in Latin America; [correction: even though our truck is not labelled as a "Powerstroke" only later in the trip did we learn that our model has a computer, just a slightly different type to the "Powerstroke" - read our report about engine repairs in Colombia. Only the non-"Turbo" 93/94 models come without computer.]. We bought this vehicle on ebay before we left Australia. As it has turned out the truck has needed a fair bit more work than initially anticipated...
On the plus side it handles the weight of the camper rather well, and has enough "guts" to pull up-hill, even to overtake other RVs and trucks on up-hill sections.

Our house - the camper:
is a Bigfoot 1500 9.5, probably one of the lightest and best insulated so-called "slide-in campers" on the American market. It's made (in Canada) from two fibreglass shells, similar to boat hulls, which are joined along the window lines. It is also well insulated and has double-glazed windows. The inside offers a good amount of storage space and a comfortable "north-south" bed (a bed where both sleep with their feet towards the step down / most campers have beds which are placed across the width of the alcove, so one person has to climb over the other). It even has a tiny full-fibreglass bathroom with toilet and shower (not comfortable, but it serves us well when "roughing it" away from facilities at campgrounds or hotels).
It's not really "roomy", but certainly better than a camper van... With some tasks like cooking and doing dishes we have to be well organized or we keep bumping into each other.
During our trip we made a few improvements to the camper. First we had the kitchen sink changed from a plastic version to stainless steel, then we installed a solar powered roof vent (boating supplies) above the bed, and finally, the best find, we changed several light bulb fittings to LED; this enables us to "dry-camp" (w/o facilities) for much longer periods without worrying about the state of our battery (or getting the generator out).

revised 3rd of May 2008

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