Our First Test Drive


Our new Hallmark camper has been installed soundly on the Dodge Ram and they are getting along swimmingly.  Our trip to pick up the camper went really well…for me.  I flew to Denver with Indigo where we met Okan. Okan had spent the previous 3 days driving from Vancouver to Denver through horrible snow storms, over several mountain passes.  With cars and big rigs scattered on either side of the road in the snow, it was quite a nerve racking trip.  But he made it safely, albeit stressed and exhausted, and spent a day at Hallmark watching the camper get installed the day before I arrived.

Snow storm

Okan received some good news on our interior fabric choice when he arrived at Hallmark.  The fabric we chose was only available by the roll.  Since it took us an ungodly amount of time to make this choice, we decided to buy the entire roll, instead of choosing another fabric.  (Hopefully the rough time we had on this decision will not be indicative of future decisions while traveling).  We were going to haul leftover fabric home with us, and started making up all sorts of sewing projects (including reupholstering the seats in the truck) that we have no business attempting.  So I was happy to hear that the crew at Hallmark loved our interior choices, and offered to refund our money, and keep our leftover fabric for future customers!

While in Denver, Okan also got a safety film applied to the truck windows, another item I thought was probably overkill, until I saw the demo of how much protection the film actually provides.  For $150, I couldn’t argue that wasn’t worth it and am quite happy we have it.  See the demo here.

Okan then headed to the airport to pick me up to start our first family travel adventure on four wheels.  I had a mental list of the things I wanted to test on this mini-adventure:  1) Can I drive the rig and switch lanes without freaking? 2) can I setup the camper without Okan? 3) Can we all sleep in the bed without Indigo kicking us in the face? 4) Can I cope with a cassette toilet and no shower, after enjoying everyone having their own bathroom in our current house? and 5) How will Indigo, with the queasy tummy, handle the drive? (Indigo can throw up by simply jumping around too much in the living room, and has proven himself a reliable puker when driving on any curvy road).

Indigo in the Truck

Nothing on my list was tested, with the exception of Indigo’s queasy tummy.  Looks like the new forward facing seat has done the trick.  Okan’s order for solar panels was being delivered in WA, and he arranged to buy a rock guard also in WA at the last minute.  This meant we needed to drive straight through.  Okan did not want to risk not finding a place to set up the camper after long days of driving in the snow and cold, so we stopped at motels along the way.  Although I was scowling at each missed camping opportunity, I must admit it was nice to have a warm shower, and watch Indigo go ballistic with joy while jumping on the hotel beds.

Okan had a completely different list of things to monitor on the trip, and seemed quite happy with the results. Our gas mileage, braking power, iPad navigation setup, all passed with flying colors. The camper installation settled the bumpy ride the truck had before they were coupled, and there is no noticeable swaying or lack of control when driving at all.  Okan reports he can feel a difference on the gas peddle, and parking has gotten a bit more difficult, but that’s about it.

We’re now home with the latest addition to our family.  It is hard to believe that Okan and I are motorcycle and “small car” people with this huge truck/camper parked in front of our house.  My Miata and Okan’s VW GTI are ancient history now.  The only hint of our former driving style is the motorcycle in the garage anxiously waiting warmer weather.  Next up on the agenda, is planning where to wander locally for some long weekends in our new “apartment on a truck”.

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