It was kind of a crazy Craigslist coincidence that put luck on our side. In the early morning following a rough day at the Ford Dealership that left Leigh and I at odds and put Sunshine on borrowed time, I rolled over and told Leigh, “just list her on Craigslist and see what happens.”
Before we could even pull back the covers to fully get out of bed, the phone was ringing off the hook with people interested in buying our truck, and we already had our eye on an F-150 that was posted that morning as well. So in a wave of chaos, we had vacuums out to clean up Sunshine, phone calls and text messages from interested buyers and title paperwork all juggling and in a matter of hours she was sold! The kid that bought her may not have been the brightest bulb but he understood her issues and was willing to pay my price.
Before the dust settled and the realization set in that Sunshine was gone, we were out the door running errands and on our way to look at the F-150 we found on Craigslist that morning, which believe it or not it was less than 2 miles away. We took her for a drive, spent some time under the hood and talking with the owner, and when it was all said and done, we were proud owners of a great truck that was virtually made to haul our camper! We couldn’t have been happier about our crazy luck. Our troubles from the previous day faded into the excitement of our next chapter. The next day, with the truck in the driveway and the camper on its dolly, it came time to put 1 and 1 together. This proved to be tough and even a bit sketchy.
We had a pair of jacks that were made to lift the camper while you back the truck under it, but because the truck is bigger than the camper and the jacks are intended to fit, the jacks didn’t lift her high enough or provide enough clearance between them to allow the truck to back up. So we had to improvise and make room vertically and horizontally. This was in addition to the fact that just putting the camper into the “naked” truck bed wasn’t going to work, because the dimensions didn’t match. So with the help of Leigh’s dad and way too many trips to various hardware stores, we went to work.
The plan was to modify the bed I had built for Sunshine, and to add side cabinets under the camper’s wings to lift and stabilize the camper while in the truck bed. That seemed like a foolproof plan, but actually getting the camper into the truck was the sketchy part.
So we had the jacks on cinder blocks, and added a few custom extension brackets, which I pieced together with building supplies and bolts from Home Depot. We knew the truck would fit the set up horizontally, but vertically we knew it would come down to fractions of inches. So in unison, Leigh and I cranked up on the jacks as Leigh’s dad monitored our balance on the blocks, and the integrity of our homemade brackets.
By the time the jacks were topped out, the camper would sway a few gut-twisting inches to either side, and in a panic we realized we were short by maybe ¾ of an inch. Nearly defeated we had a stroke of “why didn’t we think of that earlier,” genius: let air out of the rear air bag suspension. With that last minute adjustment, we cleared the camper with barely a ¼ inch to spare.
With the camper on the truck, we went to work securing it and building the side cabinets. By the end I was pretty proud of us. Leigh painted the cabinets after I cut the wood, and Leigh’s dad helped me get the locks in.
So Sunny and the Skamp are now one, but the work is far from over. On the short list: a new faucet and maybe even a shower line running out the side, replacing the roof vent, and new curtains. We have tons of other plans as well so check back!