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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Theory vs. Practice

Now that I have the topper set up about the way I want it as a camping unit -- think "hard walled tent" -- I decided it was time to test it out. Having been bit in the pASSt, and that's spelled with one A and a double S, I decided not to do the equivalent of jumping off the roof with a bed sheet parachute and left the truck parked behind the store.

I wanted to see if a 4' by 6.5' area was big enough and comfortable enough for a dog and me to spend the night and get a good night's sleep. If it wasn't, I didn't want to be a tormented insomniac forty miles away from a comfortable bed.

I threw a pad and sleeping bag in, coaxed the dog in, crawled in and closed it up. It took a little while for us to get things sorted out but eventually I think we were both quite comfortable.

I hung some black material over the windows so no one would wander in to see what was going on. (one night a couple of years ago, there was a knock on my door. It was the police, and they had found a guy in my truck, sprawled out in the topper and eating a box of chocolate covered cherries I'd been given as a gift. He'd reached up into the cab and helped himself. I wasn't going to press charges till I found out about the cherries . . .)

The reading lights worked -- no matter what position I was laying in I was able to aim them on what I was reading, and aiming one of them at the ceiling lit up the whole interior when I was getting things arranged.

The hanging pouches worked beautifully; space to tuck away my glasses and the contents of my pockets and hang a cup of water.

I am happy with the lights I put on the roof rack -- touch a switch and the area beside and behind the truck lights up quite well. When the watch dog growled it was easy to see what was going on outside.

(I am thinking of installing an air horn now. I read of a man who toured Mexico in a little camper and to prevent vandalism and theft problems he installed a BIG air horn and put a button for it above his bunk. When he woke up one night and heard someone scratching at the storage space hatch, he hit that horn button. Whoever was out there went over backwards and then took off running. Problem solved. Dunno if it would work for an uninvited bear . . .)

Hmmmm. Gives "Blowing your own horn" a whole new context.

The emergency toilet facilities worked well.

/color me pleased. And if you have a set of air horns you don't want, I'll take them. The thrift shops don't seem to get them in.


"Memento mori"



Jim Handcock said...

By the way -- I didn't sleep in the topper cause I'd opened my mouth at the wrong time. I really did it just as a test, and I wasn't in trouble with anyone.

Jean&Vic said...

very practical set up. I should think other folks might be jealous of your good forethought in this regard, having a good 4 wheel drive camper that is ready when you need it and no set up when out in the woods. As for the air horn, I seem to recall seeing them at a spencers store in Cali once, as a gag gift, but have never thought of needing one here. Perhaps wiring the regular horn to a switch in the back? I would only figure it would have to be somewhat out of the way of flailing arms or dog activity lest you get blown out in the middle of a sound nights sleep. At worst a simple whistle might be just as effective to let somebody know you are aware of them.