Monday, August 15, 2011

Monitor Pass & the Sierra East Side - August 2011

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Barking Spider’s Maiden Voyage

I’m sure this has happened to many of us. Our friends see how much fun we have with our camper travels and the versatility of the pop-up and they get to thinking about getting one also. We know three couples who are thinking along these lines.

This story concerns a good friend who lives close by. I will call him Barking Spider.

Mr. Spider had seen and helped with the remodeling and repair we did with our old Ranger II. He wanted a more current model that would fit his Tundra and not be a fixer upper.

I had sent him links to used FWC Hawks on craigslist including the 2002 unit close to home that went to the first caller for the asking price of $10,000. 10,000 bucks, that’s a scary amount of money. Barking Spider didn’t even get a chance to look at it. It was almost next door. I thought at least he and his wife could climb around in it and see if they really like a Hawk; didn’t happen.

Fast forward to Monday, July 11.

Spider shows up here around noon. “I’m serious about getting a camper. The wife says we’re getting one. I have the money. I’ll even go as high as $10,000 like that one in town here if it’s a good one. Find me one!” He was determined.
“Well I haven’t seen any good ones on craigslist for a while that would suit you. I’ll check again when I take a break this afternoon”, I answered.
He stopped by again around three. “Find one?”
“Nothing on craigslist or eBay,” I replied. “But, since you’re here let’s take a look on Look here’s a 2006 for $12,000”
“Hold it, hold it, hold it, look at this! 2004 Hawk with many options, asking price of $8500, and it’s in Truckee less than two hours away. I don’t know why this is still for sale. It must have just been listed or folks just haven’t been looking for listings here. Call him.”

That evening it was set for the Lady and me to travel with the Spiders to see this camper the next evening. Could this really be happening so fast?

Barking stopped by the next day. “Do you think he will deal?”
“You know these things sell in a day for the asking price. But, let’s not jump ahead. First thing is to look at it, check it out, see if it needs anything, and then it’s time to haggle if it’s a camper you two would want to buy. I’d suggest the only way to deal is to have cash and be prepared to take the camper home with you. The seller will get cash and his selling efforts will be over.”
“I’m going to the bank.”

This was going to be an adventure.

The very nice gentleman in Truckee was the original owner. The camper checked out, was in very good shape, a deal was struck for $8,000 cash, and we loaded it up.

Pretty remarkable to go from firm decision to get a camper and have a nice used unit on the truck the next day.

The Lady and I took off for the Idaho Wilderness and Barking got to work on his shopping list for getting the truck ready. Many thanks to friends Ted and Lighthawk for their help with Tundra specific information and recommendations. Ted even offered his set of extra eye bolts.

One long Saturday took care of installing air bags, eye bolts, truck electrical and getting the camper back properly mounted on the Tundra.

You bet they were anxious to get this thing out into the woods. So were we! What a nice opportunity to share in good friend’s entry into the pop-up world and share in a maiden voyage.

The Lady suggested a quick weekend getaway over to the east side of the Sierra Nevada. She had always wanted to camp on the top of Monitor Pass. We took off right after work and had found a nice out of the way spot by sunset. The light was incredible and a great good omen for the voyage.

The first evening in the camper.

From our camp spot we could see the distant lights of Gardnerville, Nevada.

The almost full moon rose right after sunset.

The next morning the Lady and I woke before dawn and walked the rolling terrain of the summit and watched first light on the Sierra Crest.

And the first rays streaming into the Carson Valley.

The sun was up and it was time to see how our fellow wanderers were doing.

Saturday morning we packed up and hit some of the east side sights including Travertine Hot Springs and the Jolly Cone in Bridgeport.

We headed up Dunderberg Meadow Road looking for a campsite up high. We wanted another on top of the world experience.

And we got it! The full moon rose and the Spider’s daughter was ready with her telescope and information from her college astronomy class. It was fun way to spend an evening. As we were viewing, the International Space Station went over.

It was a great place to watch a big bright moon.

We watched the world go dark, popped up some jiffy pop popcorn and called it a night.

Up early the next morning we watched the full moon set over our campsite.

Our high vantage point was great for the wide open expanse around us.

First light on Dunderberg Peak.

We packed up and headed into Virginia Lakes for the morning. We watched a bald eagle over the lakes and  we headed into the Hoover Wilderness to stretch the legs some.

Too soon it was time to head home. It had been a great maiden voyage for our friends and for us too. Truck and camper worked well and they are excited about future travels and fun. It was wonderful for us to be able to share in this adventure.

This camper has found a good home.

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