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Navajo National Monument
Rare Sights, and a New Wrinkle
I've been roaming through the Navajo Nation, enjoying the free
campsites, hoping to meet a Hopi, and I've been coming across campers
that are seldom seen. These include a very short Burro, perhaps 10
feet long, and a couple of Scamp 5th wheels. One fellow from the
Texas panhandle said he bought the Scamp fiver after selling his
Itasca motorhome for the crime of being an unrepentant gasaholic. He
claimed the Scamp had more storage room than the MH. Plus he gets 16
mph while hauling it with a 4WD Ford Ranger.
Fortunately both he and his wife are under 6 feet tall, and thus able
to stand up in the thing.
While at Chinle, I saw a small motorhome called a Tiger, based on an
Astro van. The whole top popped up to allow headroom, much like those
low-profile truck campers that crank up to expose canvas sides. They
slept in the resulting overhead above the driver's seat. This little
van was complete with toilet, shower, kitchen, couch, etc. It looked
like a regular Class B that had accidentally been put through the hot
Don't you hate it when that happens?
And here at the Navajo National Monument, there's Jake Jacobson from
New Hampshire. Jake's a Harley biker, a former construction worker,
and hauls a 25 foot Aerolite standard trailer. But what he pulls it
with is an "express van" with an 8X12 box, just like you may have
rented from U-haul. I think it's about 6 and a half feet tall inside.
Jake especially likes the slide out ramp, which allows him to ride the
bike right up into the back. Enormous storage, a 350 V-8, 1 ton
dually, comfortable seats, 10 mph, and an inside door into the back -
makes an impressively versatile package. And he claims he bought it
brand new in 1999 for $22,500. I had no idea panel vans could be had
so cheap. That's less than many a pickup.
Jake's been traveling 4 years now, long enough to grow his hair out as
long as his beard, which makes him resemble a somewhat raggedy
dandelion in a mild breeze. If you can imagine a dandelion with a
For someone who wants to haul multiple bikes, a short boat, a
workshop, etc, this in combination with any trailer is a pretty good
alternative to a toy hauler. The whole back opens up with the
standard overhead door. The only problem he's had is that the
Aerolite is only 7 feet wide, the van is 8 feet, and it's hard to see
the rear of the trailer when backing up.
Bump. O, was that your cat? You want it back?
If you don't want the trailer, the van still might be a good start on
a small home-made motorhome. His rig is standard, with a 350 auto,
but these trucks can be had with a variety of engines and
transmissions at extra cost.
And if you paint it dark brown you can park it right in the middle of
the street in almost any town from coast to coast!! :o)
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