Jim Hammill: Who Inspires Me?

Hi there Roadtreking folks, welcome to my new spot here on Roadtreking.com where, with Mike and several other avid Roadtrekers, I’ll regularly be talking about the Roadtreking lifestyle made possible by the motorhomes we all love.

Summer is upon us, and the weather has been going up and down, but it sure is nice not being cold.

hammills

Mr. and Mrs. Campskunk (center) at the Hammill’s dinner table

I’ve had a great week,  spending time with some good friends — Campskunk and his lovely better half Sharon, whom many of you know well as one of the full timing couples who own and reside permanently in a highly developed, technologically advanced Roadtrek.

(You can see a video interview of Campskunk from a post Mike did a few months ago by clicking here.)

These are wonderful people, whom we welcome into our home anytime. In fact, we did!!  Our children enjoyed their company, and my dog Daisy just loves Campskunk.  We had a great BBQ dinner, and then we shared stories and experiences for many hours.    Daisy probably likes him so much, because he smells like a possible snack, namely Fiona, their trusty steed (cat), who travels the continent with them on the road.

See for those of you that don’t know, these folks have no static home.  They have a Roadtrek, and they love it.

campskunkCampskunk and his lovely wife Sharon embody the spirit and  lifestyle we are seeking to facilitate at Roadtrek and through the way we live our life.  They are spontaneous, and so are we.  They want to be free of the trappings and ties of society, but have comfort and enjoyment in their retirements.   That’s what we want for them (and you) as well.   They do it 365 days a year, and you might do it 90 days a year, but it is the same spirit!!!

I can tell you this.  Campskunk himself is one of the biggest personal inspirations for us at Roadtrek.  He is a paradigm of a man.  He is one of the most intelligent, and well-rounded men I have ever met.  He can have an electrical engineering discussion one minute, and be discussing history, and nature the next.  And he is thought provoking, and pleasant, and has no ego.  He is self-deprecating, and frankly, inspiring.

onanJH

The Onan generator – out of there

From a technical side, we spent some time this week collaborating, and talking, and engineering solutions to areas of the Roadtrek 190 Popular that this couple lives in full time.  We eased some of the use issues that make long term boondocking easier, and simpler possible.    It was a spontaneous plan.  We just rolled with the ideas as they flowed, and we engineering, fabricated and installed.    It was one of those fantastic moments in life where you get ten times more done in a short period, because you mesh so well with each other.   Rare times, indeed.

generatorJH

New propane tank

We eliminated the ONAN generator, and installed an engine generator, which is almost silent, and reduces charging time dramatically.  We returned the spare tire under the coach, shortening the Roadtrek by 15 inches.    We redesigned and rebuilt the large storage box that they carry the communication systems in, for use on the road.  Namely satellite tripods, and dishes, and cables.    We lightened the Roadtrek by several hundred lbs.  We improved fuel economy in two big ways.  They use far less gas for the generator (gone), and they are much lighter, so they save lots of fuel driving.  And this is a couple that puts 20K a year on that van.  They budget 500 dollars a month for fuel, and we wanted to take 100 bucks out of that.  We will see how we did, as they measure the dollars versus the mileage.

tireJH

The spare tire was removed from the back and put underneath

We also lessened the pollution, by eliminating an appliance that had little pollution control.   We improved the ride of the van.  Sharon was excited to feel the sway of the springs again, and Campskunk had to let air out of the rear airbags.  We took 1000 watts out of his older microwave, which will save power needs, fuel, and lighten the charging load.  Batteries will last much longer now.

It was a sincere pleasure, and you can bet, I will be chasing these folks on their wandering paths back out to the west, where they have years worth of things to see.    I will write more about them in the future, but I have a special lady I am going to write about next column, which should be in a week or so.

I am so excited to be inspired by you Roadtrekkers.  It is a great life, and who would want to do anything but build things to make people happier?

See ya on the Road…..




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  • William ” Bill” Browne

    Interesting blog about some mods you did.

  • Stu Kratz

    Always interested in getting your take in our Roadtrek world. Thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us.

  • Bob Haimerl

    Interesting to learn some of what was done to Campskunk’s unit. Can’t wait for more of your insightful posts in the future!

  • Ron W.

    I have been reading roadtreking.com for several months now and feel I know Mike and Jennifer quite well. Now I am looking forward to knowing Jim and the other guest bloggers as well. A Roadtrek is in our dreams when I retire in a few years. Reading all the great adventures here is making us quite impatient to join you all on the road. Meantime, I applaud you all for this excellent website and blog. It just gets better and better!

  • Cheryl Gregorie

    I, too, look forward to your blog. RoadTrek is such a wonderful product and hearing about your innovations is so exciting. I wish I had been a fly on the wall to watch and hear you and Campskunk! I’m so happy Daisy didn’t have Fiona for a snack!

  • Jim Diepenbruck

    Jim, thanks for taking on another task. It’s not like you have a lot of extra time on your hands but happy that you’ll be giving us a few nuggets of Roadtrek information from time to time.

  • Lisa

    Jim, thanks for accepting this mission! We’ll be enlightened and entertained by your stories.

  • harry salit

    What is an engine generator?

  • hI Harry, and engine generator is a device like an alternator – installed by Roadtrek, that uses the chassis engine as its power source. it eliminates the ONAN generator, and produces power at less cost, and with pollution controls. it is an exceptionally consistent, clean power source. We are able to use these as a result of being a small motorhome, and the fuel economy is excellent. The output of the Engine generator is more consistent than any portable generator.

  • Ginny Evans

    Nice post! Having spent 5 days with these beautiful people I agree. They are an unpretentious couple perfectly suited to each other and anyone who is lucky enough to spend time with them. Fiona, on the other hand is a tease to my babies. One just wants to play the other one wants her for lunch!

  • Thanks for the interesting story about a meeting of great minds. You two are blazing a trail that I hope to follow.

  • Good one. I look forward to more articles!

  • Nice to see Sharon, beautiful woman Campskunk!

  • would it be possible to install an engine generator on a 2001 Roadtrek Versatile?

  • Some interesting stuff there. Glad to see that there is some customization and updating of technology available.

  • E.Bean

    Mr. Jim Hammill I don’t have a Roadtrek yet, but l’m looking forward to getting one soon. After my other son graduate in five years. I’ve been reading, watching videos, and talking about The Roadtrek a lot. My family and friends think I’m crazy. One thing that makes them think I’m crazy because I’m African American. A lot of us don’t camp or even full-time. I’m interested in doing it all. I sometimes see an Roadtrek here and there. Not only is it kinda small its just right for us. But there is a but. At this moment my better half is a 6ft 3in and a big guy. I’m a little worried that he may not fit in the bathroom. I like the Roadtrek more than the other kinds of rvs. Maybe I’ll get to meet you and the others. Keep up the great work at Roadtrek!!!! 🙂