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2008 Trip Reports - The end of the Tilton Hilton

Tiltin' Hilton ,  R.I.P.

By Neal Johns

My poor old pop-top slide-in camper (less than affectionately known as Tiltin'  Hilton) has finally gone back to dust. It was born in 1999 near Denver and came  to Lytle Creek soon after. It was the runt of the litter, purposely bought for  that reason. The narrow body was ten inches narrower than any other camper but  one. This saved many a tree while winding through two track roads in the forest.  It was the cheap line from Phoenix Campers and had no insulation at all. The  entire body was constructed of ¾ inch plywood. If the weather was cold, you just  pulled up an extra Husky. Life was good. If it got hot, you opened the extra  window in the canvas and hoped for a breeze that never came. Old Tiltin' was put  together with staples not much different from those holding paper together.

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Now….what do you get when you put a camper in the hands of a poor Little Old  Lady Schoolteacher? Does she drive it like the proverbial LOLS? Noooo! She  drives it like in the game Grand Theft Auto! And what does the camper do? It  gets mad and spits staples at her! And a few screws that have been put in over  the years to hold it together a little longer fly through the air.

Then there was Bump Day. BD started off just fine, we woke up in Tiltin', looked  out the window to see bright sunlight on a wilderness vista and tried to  remember where we were. After a hot cocoa, we came to agreement that this was  Utah. Off we went to the next scenic destination. Bump! Uh oh, she didn't see  that one coming! Inspection revealed that the whole rear wall of the camper was  loosened and we had better get on pavement and head home (which we did, dropping  staples like pigeon feed). At home, we decided (Marian said "We're getting a new  camper") that Tiltin' deserved retirement for the long hard service she had  given us (after all, Tiltin' couldn't even see – her pass through window had  long been planked over with plywood).

A few dollars changed hands and the Nameless One entered out lives. Made by  Northstar, it has real walls with insulation between them like a proper camper,  and together it is screwed and glued. Two of our friends have them and have  followed us around with no problems.

Time to fix it up for the maiden voyage! Let's see, our heads go at the end of  the bed where the counter space/medicine cabinet is – oops, the reading light is  over our knees. Got to put another light in. Only room for one small battery?  Got to put another battery somewhere. Less room for the kitchen stuff? "Throw  the sugar out", says the Boss, "I use Splenda". Our old tiedowns didn't use  springs? Got to buy HappiJak's with springs inside. The old camper slid from  side to side. Got to put in blocks to center the camper. The old comforter is  the wrong color to match the new Earthworm Brown motif? "I'm going to the store"  says Guess Who? The list goes on. Will we ever travel again? Stay tuned.