Test Drive

Whenever I’ve thought about having a camper in the past, I’ve always thought about putting it on a Toyota. I’ve had experience with Toyota trucks and their reliability and figured that was the way to go. The limitation of Toyota Tacomas is that they are small and can only accommodate a small camper.

However, when I met Mike at VMI Offroad at the NW Offroad Rally, he introduced me to the idea of getting a bigger truck and a bigger camper. He explained that if you want to live in a camper, bigger is better. He explained that the best camper truck, for all around versatility, reliability, longevity and power was a Ram 2500 or 3500 with a Cummins diesel engine. The Cummins engine is supposed to be good for 1,000,000 miles.

I liked the idea of a Cummins engine, a name familiar to me from growing up in the argicultural Central Valley of California. And I loved the idea of an engine good for a million miles. That’s my idea of reliability.

What worried me, however, is that a Ram is a big truck and I’m a small person and I wondered if I’d be comfortable driving something that big. So last Sunday, I called the local Dodge dealer to see if they had a Ram 3500 truck I could test drive.

IĀ talked to Bunny, an enthusiastic and knowledgeable Sikh. He said he had a 3500 Diesel that I could drive and I said I’d be down in an hour. When I got to the dealership, a large, all black Ram 3500 was sitting out front, ramping and ready to go. Bunny, sporting a beautifully wrapped blue turban, was waiting with the truck.

We exchanged introductions, I gave him my drivers license and we were off. As we drove, he explained the features of the truck: the engine, the onboard technology, the safety features, the comforts. I paid half attention to him and half to feeling the drive which I found very comfortable. I was surprised how easy the truck was to drive, except for the fact that it was difficult to gauge just where the truck ended and other objects began. He said a back up camera was standard and a front end camera was optional.

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