Beep, Beep…here I come.
No, not really. I’m actually not Forklift Jen, Tork lift Jen, Torquelift Jen or even Dorklift Jen.
It’s a common mistake when you have an easily rhyming name, and I don’t take it personally.
With all of the new ways I am learning to get around here at Torklift, I hope I eventually have the opportunity to master the forklift mode of transport, too.
There’s a lot of hard work, skilled craftsmanship and innovation that goes on here. It’s inspiring to be part of the team and get to see products start from raw metal and then fabricated into the functional art they become. They are invented, made, boxed and shipped from right here at the factory to all over the world.
I should really get back to work now. Torklift Jen will not be taking on any new job titles until mastering the F-350 and camper first.
See why I’m so proud to work here:
Torklift International Wins First Place in Seattle Business Magazine’s 2013 Best Company to Work For
Looking back to my humble beginnings of truck camping there were many learning opportunities and tips that I should have picked-up on in regard to all this truck camping stuff.
I am reminded that all I really needed to know about truck camping, I learned in kindergarten.
Like coloring, stay between the lines on the highway and go a little crazy when you’re off road.
Don’t run with scissors, but it’s okay to run up a sturdy set of scissor steps.
If you got bad suspension you were in some heavy-duty trouble and you were going to be in a world of hurt when you got home from school. Now with good suspension you can carry a heavy load home and not feel a thing.
Kissing a toad will not result in a prince charming and will result in me looking very silly kissing my little tow behind car.
I learned that if you tie your toy truck bumper to a string attached to your bike and take off down the driveway, the bumper will get pulled off the truck and the part will end up in your baby brother’s mouth and then you’re in a heap of trouble from mom. The worst! Frame-mounted tie downs are always best.
Pick up your toys and someday your toys will be pickups.
Training wheels are not for babies. They were just good practice for driving my dually Ford F350.
Time-out is a good thing if you’re prepared with your best toys and can sit and enjoy the quiet.
I think I’ve got all these new concepts down now and can put them to good use as I grow into “Torklift Jen”.
True Frame-Mounted Tie Downs- Stay snug to your foundation.
I’m making a splash … literally.
I put myself on assignment this weekend and hauled some boating stuff up to the lake. In my mind, this was a professional outing, so I geared-up and had hyped myself into being a rather important researcher.
Then I learned the real meaning of “splash.”
With all my enthusiasm I jumped into the little kayak, both feet first.
I learned the cold hard truth.
The kayak had flipped me out into the cold lake water. I was a human slingshot and I went an impressive distance.
I struggled to drag the boat to shore as it filled with water and became impossible to bail out. I was fully clothed, wearing boots and a life jacket, but now I know what it’s like to be on the wrong side of the mob wearing cement shoes and facing an East River demise.
I concluded that balance is crucial to all things in towing, hauling, suspension, mind and body. And getting into a boat.
Gear of Choice: SuperTruss Extension
The squiggle indicator off: Check.
No explosion upon starting the engine and the Everest parts are off: Check. Phew! I think I can do this.
The rest of the test drive went smoothly. Really!
I was impressed by the handling of the truck, especially with such a big camper. I felt no lack of power going up steep hills, good stopping distance and it handled well over rough, un-even roads and railroad tracks.
I am used to driving a stiff suspension little car. It is nice to feel high and mighty on the road. It feels like I’m going places, making it big, and climbing the corporate ladder even if that ladder looks more like a tree…, I’m loving it.
Imagine my surprise as I made shave-ice out of the sidewalk on my first turn onto the main street in the Ford F-350. I’m thinking they are going to need a “Don’t Trip” sign over that nice etching.
This is a continuation of my first trip in the dually, time elapsed now less than 30 seconds.
There was just one oversight in my pre-flight check list, I had forgotten to remove the SuperHitch Everest weight distribution shank and head. Oops.
I had to consider if that awful sound was normal. I opted to turn around and head back to the plant, but not before getting to perfect my 20-point turn into oncoming traffic. This truck and camper amounts to a huge road block at times.
At this point I had to wonder if “Torklift Jen” would be scrapped for her weight in metal when she returned.
I was warned by my manager at Torklift, “If you see the light on and you start the engine too soon you will blow those bulbs out and the bulbs are $600 each.”
Those are very expensive bulbs I thought!
Later I was told it was engine parts that were the concern not the bulbs! :)
I was already nervous enough about getting to drive that behemoth of a truck, so this was just one more thing to make my teeth clatter.
Also, I was unaware if my guinea pig status included an expense and incidentals account, let alone hazard pay.
The squiggle light of death ended up being not so scary.
The diesel engine started right up with a mighty roar and that comforting rattle that reminded me of riding in an elementary school bus, which felt about the same size, by the way.
“These are my feet and those are the pedals,” I thought to myself.
This was my first observation upon getting into the driver’s seat of the Ford F-350. If you could call it a driver’s seat. It’s more like a king’s throne that requires a ladder to get in.
There was going to be a problem if this is as far as the seat goes.
With some major adjustments and what seemed like a ridiculously long time inching forward in the automated seat. I crossed the great divide between my feet and the pedals.
Without having to opt for a high-heeled hiking boot to reach the gas pedal, I was able to get into position for the next challenge ahead.
I experiment with Torklift products and take them out in the real world with a uniquely “Torklift Jen” perspective. Some people say I’m like an action figure All I need is a cape!
What is the “Torklift Jen” perspective you ask?
Well, I get lots of advice during my work week on what to do, and most importantly what NOT to do by some of the best in the industry. I look forward to sharing what I learn and passing on what I find about new products, engineering information and technical advice.
Just as a preview, you’ll find out what it’s like for little ole’ me to drive a giant truck!
I will check-in from the roads traveled with the people I meet while wearing my “Torklift Jen” hat.
Let me know if you have any great ideas and what makes your off time work for you.
When I told my team at Torklift International that I had never truck camped, the room went silent. I could tell that this was a serious offense. At that moment, I was dubbed an experiment, a newbie … a truck camper.
Since that day, it has become my job to truck camp and document my experiences.
I used to drive a Hyundai. Now I drive a Ford F-350. This truck and the Torklift products installed on it will endure the test of ultimate user friendliness, my active recreational use and performance with grace-under-fire.
Let’s hope not literally.
My job is clear. I am an experiment and the mad scientist is Torklift International.
And to start, a good question for a new guinea pig should always be: “What happened to the old guinea pig?”
I think she probably became an expert!
Join me on my trials as I form a hypothesis on what this truck camping thing is all about.