Our Chalet Truck Camper

Our Chalet Truck Camper

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Headed to Alaska - the long slow way

How do you get reservations in a camp or chalet in Alaska? Simple - you drive one there. Here’s our new Chalet – a 2011 Chalet double slide truck camper with rear dry bath and center island. We traded the Host double slide for this beauty on April 2 and spent a frantic week transferring gear and setting it up for a hoped for trip to Alaska via who knows where. Bill Penny at Truck Camper Warehouse in NH did a great fast turnaround for us on getting the camper ready. Here it is almost ready to roll.

On April 9th we left Maine headed for the Mid Atlantic TC rally. We stayed with TC friends in PA overnight having been greeted with surprise at the new rig. We were trying to keep it a secret until the rally which was really hard to do. First up was a three day stay in the bayside loop at Assateague National Seashore.

Assateague is always a treat even with a lot of fog and pretty nippy weather. We met up with fellow TCers Ron and Toni (TinCanSailor) and did day trips to Berlin and to the pig iron museum at Snow Hill. Both these small towns have managed to retain the charm and look of towns I remember growing up in in the south.

The rally at Tall Pines Harbor Campground was huge this year with around 170 rigs attending – 400 some people. I think every one of them came through the Chalet to take a look both inside and out (smile). It was fun showing folks through and we got lots of good feedback on storage and layout use. Joe’s really happy with all the outside storage and the ease of getting to the propane tanks, water inlets and dump valves. As usual, between the events that Ron and Michelle had planned, we did a lot of socializing.

Didn’t matter if you were from the cold north or the warmer south, we all enjoyed standing outside and catching up on the last year. We met a lot of new campers and shared tales of places to see. Wazoo is quite famous but most of us agreed that we would live vicariously through his photos and not take the bigger rigs where he ventures.

Saturday night was pretty scary with huge thunderstorms and a deluge of Noah’s Ark proportions. We were lucky and did not have the tornados that so many nearby did. The bay water was driven into the campground, the rain was pouring and pine cones were dropping like grenades. Many TCs lost power but there was no serious damage to anyone. In the morning, we found that the water level around the camper was an actual measured 8” up on the tires. It took a while to sort out the firewood, folding chairs, door mats, dog bowls, etc. etc. that had floated around. It looked like an inland sea for a while. Ron Humphries held the raffle after Sunday breakfast as he had to cancel it Saturday night – way too dangerous to be out in the storm in a big tent.

We traded campers for several reasons, the biggest one of which can be seen here.

Side entry seems cleaner to get to, no slides have to go out to get to the bathroom, and the steps on the Chalet are extremely sturdy. We also wanted an on board generator instead of having to set up the Honda 2000 when we stopped on the road. We weren’t sure how we’d like the center island but were frankly shocked at how much room there is to move around it.

I still have empty cabinet and drawer space and Joe has room in his outside space. We’ll leave that empty for those items you pick up on travels. Yes it is a heavy camper but the F-350 dually diesel is handling it fine with an extra leaf spring. Diesel mileage has gone from 11.2 with the Host to 10.9 with the Chalet but the truck just turned 8,000 miles so we may gain a bit. The ease of use and space gained is worth the mileage.

After crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge we travelled on down to New Bern, NC and are camped with Lance845 by the Neuse River. Beautiful evening, we’re all super tired from the travel and rally. Tomorrow will be a rest day and then onwards. Our plan is to go to the Atlanta Aquarium, Vicksburg, Meteor Crater, Hoover Dam, Death Valley and then head north towards Alaska. Many other places to see in between and who knows if we will make it all the way to Alaska but we’re on the way.

The rear of our camper – paint not quite dry. If you see us on the road, flag us down and share tips on those special places where you live.

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