Our Live/Work Quarters And It's Roots


Even though at the time most didn't go this far to cut back on their usage of fuels and to cut back on emissions, I chose to do this many years ago. Along with the mobility I saw it as investing in the future by using less; today it's becoming more popular and they call it a small footprint. At any-rate I did it at the time, at least in part, on behalf of the innocent and unborn.

From the beginning I used the camper on one truck or trailer or another to travel and live in. Some of living aboard was done just for the travels and some while working in the logging, road building and oil industries. Later on I traveled around to find a location for my heritage farm with it; another story which can be found on our stories page.

After I left the heritage farm in 1996 I met Shelly and we started a small business. We used the truck/trailer pictured on the website home page and lower in this story. It worked out great. There were just two of us and we don't need a lot of room, nor do we want to be tied to a land base. Our work was that of a mobile small business consultant/coach; going to the smaller client or the client with remote needs and working on site; it worked out very well.

After closing the business we used it to live in while we worked in various communities and at different jobs. One of these was operating a store in the wilds of the Yukon where our customers were wild mushroom pickers. The term wild can be taken more ways than one! The last job we held before we moved onto our boats was the Golden Ears Bridge. It crosses the Fraser River between Langley and Maple Ridge BC Canada. To tell this story I focused mostly on the camper which I built in 1969. I want to show you the story in reverse from where it is now through its changes and back to where it started. I'll include the trucks and trailers it was on.

What Was
The last truck our home was on is a 1980 GMC Astro cabover 5 ton model, powered by a V692 high torque GMC diesel engine. It had tool and storage boxes as well as a gas powered welder on board, all positioned under the deck along the sides.

The camper (living quarter’s part) was built like a traditional house from plywood and lumber and is very well insulated. It is comfortable in -40C weather conditions, although slippered feet are a priority when it's that cold. It measures 5.8M or 19ft long and 2.3 or 7.5ft wide overall, that works out to about 12.5 sq. M or 135 sq. ft. inside. When we last used it in 2010, it housed our cooking, eating, sleeping, bathroom and two office areas. The truck and trailer have since found new homes and we use the camper for storage on the shore. You may want to go to our stories page and read the Train Wreck Averted story to read about and view photos of the last move to where it is now.

For the most part everything was carried in and out of the camper by hand, in a bag or box, or in a bucket. The exception is that at some locations a cold water hose had been rigged to the sink. That small amount of gray water was let go on the ground or into a pump out container. The heating, cooking and refrigeration was done using propane. The electric wiring is 110volt AC (regular house power). It was supplied by either plugging into a power outlet or though the 12volt solar power system. The 12volt power was supplied by four 100watt solar panels routed through 4000 amp hours’ worth of deep cycle batteries. That's good power when it's sunny but still we needed to watch our power use and use a generator at times to charge the batteries.

Behind the truck we pulled an 8M or 27 ft. reefer trailer with the refrigerator unit removed and a man door built where it was removed from. The trailer was the basement for lack of a better way to explain it. In it was the deep freeze, plenty of storage, work bench and sewing table, as well as the 12volt power batteries and a 3000 watt generator.

What It Looked Like
When first built in 1969 the camper was put onto a 1951 Ford 3 ton truck (picture below), and then in the early 1970s it became a 5th wheeler. Just think about that, before they were popular I had one, oh the potential I missed there! In those days I was fairly young and I must have been in touch with my feminine side because I "just wanted to have fun". Enough said that's many more stories!

There was a period of time from the mid 1980s till 1996 during which the camper sat idle for the most part. I lived on my heritage farm then and to help you get interested in reading the heritage farm story on our stories page I'll tell you this. It was farmed with horses and other homestead period equipment. It was off the grid and electricity was supplied by solar energy. On with the story, since I left there and met Shelly (my wife) we have been living in this big rig unit and enjoying it. When the occasion called for it, we moved, usually from one client, contract or job to another but for boats too.

The rest of this story I'll tell with more pictures and less words... enjoy!

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Here the camper is being placed on a cribbing of wood quite high off the ground. It rests here now, as a storage unit.

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This is why it's high off the ground. On occasion the river freshet covers the driveway a little.

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The trailer is off to a new home at a neighbors place nearby.

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The truck sits and awaits her new owner.

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These fellows came and the one on the right took her to her new home on Vancouver Island BC Canada.

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This photo was taken on our way to Yellowknife NWT at a roadside gravel pit we stopped at for the night.

Truck and trailer on a road in Alberta
Stopped for a break on a road in Alberta 2004

Truck right side with addition
One parking site in the summer 2002
This is when we built the addition of 2.3M or 7.5 ft. on the back of the camper behind the door.
It was used for more office space and another closet.

Building The Addition

Building the addition Another building addition picture
While building the addition.

Inside Pictures Of The Addition

looking into the new addition
Looking back into the addition

This is my desk in the new addition
This was my desk area - I wrote and posted the original of this page from there.
In 2014 I rewrote this story into the past tense and added some information.

This is the kitchen counter and table area
This was the kitchen counter and table area

This is the front showing the head, bunk, office and the side walls
This was the front showing the head, bunk, office and the side walls

This is the closets, stove, fridge, water cooler/fridge
This was the closets, stove, fridge, water cooler/fridge

This is the bedroom head end
This was the bedroom head end

This is the bedroom foot end
This was the bedroom foot end

Other parking Sites

The yard in the summer 2002
The yard in the summer of 2001. Note there is no addition on the back in these pictures

Truck is a GMC Astro 1980 single axle, cabover, power is V692 GMC diesel
Parked in another yard.

Our truck and camper before we painted the cab
The truck and camper before we painted the cab of the truck but after the camper face lift.

The First Inside Reno’s For This Camper

During the face lift
During the face lift inside, this is the back.

Face lift for the cupboards
Face lifting the cupboards came with a warning, something about not taking this picture, and now I've posted it!

Painting the doors
A break in the sun while painting the doors.

Room for plants as well.
Room for a few plants as well.

When Company Comes

When company comes
When company comes we head out-side usually. This was the wind down of our wedding day July 4 1998.

A Blast Into The Past

These photos show the transitions the core of this camper has made, the different trucks used to haul it and the trailer changes.

A 2004 picture of truck and trailer in yard.
A resent picture

Before any of the face lifts.
The truck and camper before we gave them the outside face lift or the addition.

Truck and camper on a 5th wheel trailer 1970s
A 1966 GMC 1 Ton Truck pulling the camper on a 5th wheel trailer in the early 1970s. This was a 5th wheeler before they were popular!
If I would have went into building those how would my life have been different?
Note the different shape of the bunk from what it is today. ()

Original truck and camper 1969
Original truck and camper in 1969. Note the addition of the extra room where the truck cab used to be, it has served as a child's bed room and storage, and as an office and storage. Note the original shape of the bunk.

The first trailer, seen here, hauled a storage room on the front with a deep freeze in it. Also, on the back you can see a complete 144sq ft. prefab building; it could be set-up in just a couple of hours. If the group I traveled with at the time stayed in one place a while, it was set up as a living room.

Over the years our travels in this camper have provided many adventures and changes in lifestyle, oh the stories it could tell!

We may write some of them so come back again to our stories page and check. If you thought this page was interesting, share it and let us know.

Shelly and I leave you this wish.... May the best you plan for be the least you experience

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