Operation Oxcart AKA Gini's Burden-A Four Wheel Camper story

ETAV8R

Founder of D.E.R.P.
#1
Operation Oxcart AKA Gini's Burden-A Four Wheel Camper story

So with the evolution of builds and meeting people with various types of rigs one develops a sense of what works best in a given configuration. My first brief chance to check out a Four Wheel Camper was at a gathering of friends from the Portal and new faces which would become friends and lead to other adventures in there own right. Jeff Wanamog's awesome FWC Eagle build was inspiring to say the least. He is a skilled craftsman and fabricator. Seeing the ease at which his Tacoma handled the FWC on our trek to Wheeler Crest impressed me. The dream was put forth. Many nights were spent online looking at various builds and modifications to all kinds of pop-up campers.

Wasurf and Overland Hadley both moved into pop-up territory. These two individuals are quite capable in fabricating what will suit their needs. Hadley's Tardis build is more than impressive. Taking a shell model and outfitting it in simple well laid out way got me to thinking more about a clean slate too. This whole time the goal was a well built out Eagle. Preferably new so I could have exactly what I wanted. This is a costly choice. The Tardis build showed that it was quite possible to have enough to camp for long periods with minimal kit and cost. A shell model. Could be the answer.

FWC began offering a new option not too long ago. The Silver Spur. White has been the standard for RV's and campers for at least a couple decades. Before that it was the modern aluminum look which had its roots in aeronautical pursuits. There is a romance of sorts in the history of car camping in the silvery hue of the Airstream. I see the Silver Spur as a look back at those times when silver tubes were towed all over our nation. Not only a shell but a Silver Spur shell.

Along comes PTO with his Silver Spur Finch. Slightly optioned. Unique. Simplistic yet comfortable. Well thought out. This and the Tardis were setting my mind in motion. Some things in life seem meant to be. Another member noticed some posts I made hinting about my want of a FWC. He was interested in a flippac and let me know if I wanted to sell mine to get in touch. Shortly thereafter PTO contacted me to see if I was interested in buying his FWC Finch. Wow! Are these two working together??? In only a couple weeks discussions were made and the deal was on the brink of taking place.

Saturday I headed down to San Diego to finalize the sale of my Flippac. I arrived and the buyer was ready and prepping his truck. Another friend, whom I met at the first Mountain Rendezvous, suggested we just swap our bed rail systems since mine were already drilled for the Flippac. This worked like a charm. After a couple hours at most the flippac was on the new owners truck and he and his wife were already gleaming with thoughts of trips in the future. I've been there too. I sent a text to PTO to see if later in the afternoon would work out for me to pick up the FWC. He was good with that and I shot off to AZ. The trip to the metro area of Phoenix was pretty simple. Some interesting sights along the roadsides of the Arizona.

This was a big weekend for our community with the Overland Exp taking place up near Flagstaff. Since I didn't plan on picking up the FWC on Saturday I didn't bring anything to camp per se. I arrived at PTO's place and he did more than help get the FWC installed on my truck. Thanks for all the help! With the FWC installed I pondered going up to Overland Expo. I was excited to get home and begin loading it up with the basics. The drive home was a long one and I really should have caught more zzzz's up at Chiriaco Summit. I saw the sign for “free dry camping” and drove a short ways back. Saw more of the tanks for the Patton Museum and didn't think to go further. Wish I had. It's even right by the airport. Another destination by land and air! Definitely need to come back and check it out.

Getting further along the way closing in on home I got to the Banning Pass and got hammered by the wind. I'm used to coming down 395 South of the Eastern Sierras and getting blown all over the road. This was a new experience. At first a strong buffeting developed. I slowed slightly. Then the real fun started happening and I heard the vent cover on top of the camper making noise. I pulled over to have a look. It all seemed in order. From there on out I drove at about 50-55. Pretty sad.

Out of the pass I saw something very strange. A row of lights in the sky just slightly above a freeway overpass in the distance. What in the hell? Was I seeing things? It was late and I was tired. Area 51 is quite far away. No it happened again…and again. When I arrived at the spot I pulled over to enjoy watching a night time crop duster doing his patterns above a field. From and aviators point of view it was awesome. With most of the fun over it was time for the inland empire and finally home to Orange County.

The next day was quite fun. The camper was home. Time to take the jacks off and start packing it with what I had in the Flippac. I knew it couldn't hold everything. I was surprised when only two items weren't included. One being an old sleeping bag I kept in the truck just in case I needed it. The other is my three legged camp toilet. I've decided to go with a 5 gal bucket anyhow. After I had it all dialed in I took it to Long Beach Airport and took the usual photographs.

What I have planned at this stage is an airfoil/dam up front to help with air flow around the camper. Kodachrome has a huge wing in the front which is quite simple of design and looks to be a winner even though it is ginormous. I am also looking at the Lagun table. A second battery system is in order as well. I bought the fridge PTO had in the camper. It seems to be a perfect fit. A second battery system will also allow for use of the lights in the camper. Why have them if you can't use them. I never hooked up the light in the flippac and we made due quite well. Nothing like a Snowpeak Hozuki lantern and headlamps.

Now quite a few may be scratching their heads as to the name. I liked how Overland Hadley found a name for his FWC. I kept wondering what I would come up with. Oxcart aka Gini's Burden. The name Oxcart was used by Kelly Johnson to describe the A-12. Predecessor to the SR-71. In Kelly's mind it was the furthest thing from an actual description of the capability of the A-12. After many years most aviation enthusiasts found out about Oxcart and the humor behind the name. The name Oxcart immediately brought the image of the A-12 and not of a lumbering beast of burden. Well now I may use it to relate to my slower going pseudo titanium goose.

Ah the burden. My truck is named Gini after a nickname my cousin gave my mother Virginia. Well now the Gini has more of a burden to bear. The burden is also a benefit as it provides shelter. I think she would get a chuckle out of it.

So I'm really not sure what to name it for sure. I do know as of now I'm happy with what fate seems to have made happen. As far as I know I am the first to have a dark gray truck with the Silver Spur color. I think it works quite well.
Enjoy the journey.

With Flippac, nothing in the bed


No flippac...suspension is ready for some weight to bring it back down.


A happy new Flippac'r


Out on the 8


Why does this place look familiar? Ah yes I'm just south of the campsite for Desert Rendezvous 2


Right past those mountains.


More weird stuff out in the middle of nowwhere


What's with the funky space stuff?






Oh they are gonna land at the Gila Bend Airport




Not too much going on here


AZ has some interesting art on their freeways


and a funky church where I stealth napped


Twins. Can only guess they were coming from Overland Expo


And onto the good stuff...Finally The Oxcart/Gini's Burden













Don't mind the cushion...only temporary. My hi-lift is wrapped in the gray blanket. Fits perfect for now.


Picked up one of these reliance 6gal cans thinking it would fit right here. It does like a charm.


My recovery gear, compressor, and tools all fit here perfectly


Hope you enjoy. More to come. I put up the camo curtains today that were in my Flippac. Looking forward to getting out on the trail ASAP.


Future goals:
Wind Fairing
Lagun Table Bracket
Solar Power
Camper Power outlets for 12V and USB
Insulation-for camper and truck cab
 
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ExpoMike

American Adventurist
#3
Nice swap. You'll love the FWC. We love ours.

BTW, I have stayed in that BW Space Age Lodge and eaten a few times in the resturant. LOL I think the heat does weird things to people... :)
 
#4
Congrats on the new-to-you FWC Eric!
Looks pretty sharp on your truck. I'll be on the alert to see where you take it from here...:lurk:

Walt
 

ETAV8R

Founder of D.E.R.P.
#6
Congrats on the new-to-you FWC Eric!
Looks pretty sharp on your truck. I'll be on the alert to see where you take it from here...:lurk:

Walt
Thanks Walt. It is gonna be great not having to worry about a rainfly. That was one of the biggest issues I had with the Flippac.

Congrats! How much heavier is the FWC vs. the FlipPac? It looks like it can sleep more than the FlipPac?

I'd be interested, I have a brand new fridge that I need to break in :)
From FRP's Site the Flippac weights 290. This specific FWC is 575. It is a lot more than a topper which is what the Flippac is. I think this can sleep less than the Flippac. In mine I could sleep 2-3 up top(one in the hammock if small) and 2 down below. This FWC can sleep 2 up top and with the fridge removed I could maybe do 3 short people but they would be cramped and no one would be getting up to use the facilities at night.
 

Jeff Wanamog

Off Road Camper Guy
#7
I am so proud of you. (said with a tear in my eye).
And now the fun begins.
If you are ever interested, I kept the air bag set up I made from the All Pro flip kit.

It made leveling out in camp real easy.

Jeff
 

ETAV8R

Founder of D.E.R.P.
#8
Thanks Jeff. I'll keep the bags in mind. What leaf pack is in that pic? Looks crazy.
I'd really like to either buy or fab a fairing for the front of the camper. I know you had one on yours. Did it help with wind buffeting? Any improvement with MPGs?
 

Jeff Wanamog

Off Road Camper Guy
#9
Thanks Jeff. I'll keep the bags in mind. What leaf pack is in that pic? Looks crazy.
I'd really like to either buy or fab a fairing for the front of the camper. I know you had one on yours. Did it help with wind buffeting? Any improvement with MPGs?
Those leafs were All Pro Off Road Expo Springs. Even I did not have enough weight for them to ride nice. Sold them in one month. I don't think that my fairing made any difference in MPG, but it definitely made a difference in the buffeting. Especially when I added the rack under cab for the two Rotopax.

Jeff
 
#10
So happy that everything has worked out so well for you! The Silver camper looks really nice on your truck, very classy.

Thanks for the kind words. :eek: Glad I could be of help. Let me know if I can help with any more info.

Did you get the Lagun table bracket that was mentioned on WtW?
 

ETAV8R

Founder of D.E.R.P.
#11
So happy that everything has worked out so well for you! The Silver camper looks really nice on your truck, very classy.

Thanks for the kind words. :eek: Glad I could be of help. Let me know if I can help with any more info.

Did you get the Lagun table bracket that was mentioned on WtW?
Will do. I sent one person a PM about the Lagun table but WTW is cricket town. I may just get one new. I would like to place the bracket where I have the 6gal water container. I think yours is placed there too. I'll wait a few more days to hopefully get a response to the PM I sent.

I just looked again at your clothesline. So simple. Can't believe I didn't make mental note of it previously. Will definitely use that one too. Have you had any progress on your wind fairing?
 
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#12
I just looked again at your clothesline. So simple. Can't believe I didn't make mental note of it previously. Will definitely use that one too.
Yeah, that was a "hey this works, duh" moment with the clothes line. I guess I also have a new clothes hanging location with the my new shower inclosure, awning project that is in progress. :)

Have you had any progress on your wind fairing?
When I read about your struggle with a headwind I felt your pain. (I will say that the FWC is not worse than my old topper and Thule box setup.)

I have decided that with the mounting of the MaxTrax under the cabover I am going to use a Thule wind fairing mounted to a load-bar on the truck cab. I almost got it mounted before I left this last week, but ran out of time.

While driving and watching the Scangauge the drop in mpg when faced with a headwind was very noticeable. I am hoping that a wind fairing will help even it out.
 

ETAV8R

Founder of D.E.R.P.
#15
Since I didn't go out to Mojave this weekend as originally planned I went to a local area with a view. Really wanted to get a sense of the camper. I am more than pleased. I popped the top, put the table together and opened some windows, vents and the door. I had some work to do and the table is a good size. Hopefully a Lagun table mount is in the works. Waiting on a PM/email from a member on WTW. I also checked the passenger side turnbuckles(drivers side storage area is packed) and tightened the forward one a bit.
Here are a couple cell phone pics. Gotta love the panoramic feature of the Samsung G4...










I really like the proximity to the storage cubbies when the bed is extended. I can put my headlamp, glasses, water, etc within close reach. Also nice having the window right by my head. Not as great a view as the Flippac but still pretty good.
 
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