I made it home this afternoon. Minnesota gave me a warm welcome with my first taste of weather on the trip, a light snow storm.
The truck is making noises from the rear differential area. I have a feeling it’s pretty well shot and will need a complete replacement. I suspect the previous owners never bothered replacing the fluid in it, and when that’s combined with towing a large trailer a couple of thousand miles, I think it’s done for. Sometime soon I’ll have my mechanic take a look at it. For right now, it’s still moving.
The plan at this point is to focus on work as much as I possibly can over the next few months. I need to build up a good sized cash reserve so I can spend it all on the next purchase, a bigger truck.
I’m really considering a F350 Dually. I rather like the idea of a vehicle that’s designed for increased payload and better stability when towing. I don’t really mind the cost of a couple extra tires when it needs tires, and I don’t think the MPG difference between a single rear wheel (SRW) and dual rear wheel (DRW) version is going to be that much. The dually also sits a bit lower (by a couple inches), which will help with center-of-gravity issues. The dually also has a few other upgrades or modifications that are pointed out in this video.
I’ve had this idea of adding a truck camper into the mix as well. Something as light as I can get it yet still have some of the basic concepts like insulation, heat, bed, some kind of sink, and perhaps even a wet bath/shower. Most of the complaints about truck campers is how they raise the center of gravity on trucks and excessively weigh them down. If I get a dually, and a lighter camper, the dual wheels plus the extra cargo capacity would make a lightweight camper a much more reasonable addition to the truck and wouldn’t overwhelm it.
The camper would be great for day/weekend type trips where mobility is strongly favored over luxury. The trailer I’m building will basically be a fully functional house, and although it’s mobile, it’s nowhere near as mobile as a truck camper. The Lake Havasu balloon festival would have been even easier to attend and live comfortably at if I had the truck camper. Just a few thoughts I’m playing with. No matter what, I need a bigger truck. My poor old F150 just isn’t going to last that much longer, and I definitely don’t want to tow the trailer with it unless I absolutely have to.
It is nice to be back to a place that has central heat, unlimited hot and cold running water, refrigeration, and quiet. There’s lots of positives to a house in the ‘burbs, so it’s nice to visit.