1996 F250 Ford XLT Heavy Duty

Way back in 1996 I was running a business. We were in the tile, marble, and flooring business doing commercial projects throughout the Eastern United States. There was a lot of traveling involved. Some months my American Express Card was up $10,000.00 for miscellaneous supplies and for hotel costs. We had a lot of guys with us. We were mostly installing floors for a company called May Department Stores. We did a lot of stores each year for the little company that we were.

Anyway, I ended up buying a new truck that year. It was a 1996 Ford F250 XLT Regular Cab with a 351 cu.in. W block V8. It had two fuel tanks with a switch over from one to the other tank. The mileage was awful – about 10-12 miles to the gallon. It was jet black with a brushed chrome cover on the tailgate. It had a front chrome bumper and grille. I installed a chrome diamond plate saddle box made by Weatherguard in the eight foot box behind the rear window. The tires were tall and I think they were 10 ply and built to support a heavy load. They had a sort of spinner design full hubcaps on the wheels. There were heavy duty suspensions parts too, but other than stiff springs and shocks I don’t know what was added.

I just loved that truck. It wasn’t super comfortable over washboard roads, but you really felt solid while driving it. The engine was torquey and powerful. I thought the truck looked great.

I really miss having the independent vent windows this truck had. It was the last time any of my trucks had vent windows.  There was nothing better on a warm summer night than having the windows open and the vent windows breaking the rush of air and allowing just the right amount of air flow into the cab. Dropping these was a mistake. 

Because there was always extra materials leftover from the jobs that the customer was throwing away, I was renting trailers that we filled with the overruns. I should mention that we didn’t buy this carpet and materials. The customer bought it and we installed it. So these rolls of carpet were simply free to us. Ultimately, I purchased a Hallmark Motorcycle Trailer that was big enough to take those extra rolls of carpet and that we used to bring our job boxes and tools to the projects. That trailer was matched to my 1996 F250. It was black with diamond plate rock guards and fenders. When hitched to the truck they were a black and chrome, diamond plated, vision. They were also well matched mechanically and pulled well. The trailer had electrical brakes and was good with the heavy weights we were towing.

Ultimately we ended up putting over a quarter million miles on that truck. It had several minor accidents. Once a boat being towed ahead of our truck had the boat windshield fly off and dropped onto the hood of the truck at freeway speeds. It put several punctures into the hood, which we fixed. Another time a woman came along and tore off the driver side door in a parking lot. There were other accidents as well. That truck took a beating, but was ready to work all the time.

In the end I had the truck repainted and had the dents and dings knocked out. I gave it to my son and he drove it for several more years.

Best truck I ever owned!

Florida RV SuperShow

A great opportunity to see it all in one place – just a couple weeks to go!

We are really looking forward to this show. It’s only a half day of travel for us and we are bringing our trailer to stay right at the fairgrounds. There aren’t any hookups available for electric or water, but we’ll rough it. Should be fun.

This is a big show.

“This show is recognized as the greatest RV show in the country. Campers welcome, daily seminars, over 450 vendor booths and more than 1550 RVs covering 26 acres – it is a site to see!”

Fun Finder X – Getting Ready

This was our first trailer. It was in bad shape when we bought it, but we removed rust and painted the frame. We replaced the awning fabric and installed a fresh marine battery, a new microwave, and a new 12v 15 inch TV. This video also shows that we were working on removing fading and peeling graphics, and we were polishing off years of sun damage, and waxing the exterior.

We had a good time with this little trailer. It was just what we needed to start out. It served us well on many trips, including one to The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and up through Montana, The Little Bighorn Battle Field, Mt. Rushmore and other places along the way.

We have a newer and more spacious camper now, and we like it, but this little guy has a fond spot in our hearts.

More luxury, space, state of art doesn’t necessarily mean more fun. A little elbow grease and a modest budget may be just fine to get involved with trailer/truck camping. Smaller units are easier to maneuver and fit in older state campgrounds. They are lighter weight and can be towed by half-ton trucks.

I believe in getting the sleeping arrangement right, getting a good mattress, or combination of mattress and pad. A comfortable night, safe and secure, with the rain and cold (or heat) on the outside, while you are sleeping can’t be beaten. Add a short trip to the bathroom at night to the list. Life is good!

Winnebago Micro Minnie Fifth Wheel – New for 2019

Winnebago Micro Minnie line fits very well with a half ton pickup. The weight and sizing makes a lot of sense and keeps the costs down too. This particular unit is interesting. It has a lot of room and being a Fifth Wheel, it ought to handle well and be a little easier to back in as compared to a comparable travel trailer.

I’m all for modest sizes in travel trailers and I’ll write about that in depth in a future post. This seems like a reasonable compromise for the person who just feels better with more interior space.