We have always had greater ambitions for Dodgy than just a bed under a truck shell. You don't need a 3500 Dodge Ram truck to go camping in the redwoods. It's impressive. Maybe it might make some guys with the chromed out 1500s feel a little inadequate but that is their business, not ours.
Packing the truck cab is still a work in progress. We are packed and ready to go, but how things are packed will be subject to change over the trip. After a year of frustration whenever we took a tight corner and a loose plastic set of drawers would fall over and spew its contents across the van floor, we have a better, though imperfect solution. The drawers stay, they are handy for organizing all our odds and ends. I have a medicine drawer, a tool drawer, grooming products drawer, a paper products drawer, and such. But now they are in the back seat of a truck cab propped against our cooler with the drawers opening into the car door. That means the drawers only open when we have the car doors open and that is only when the car is stationary. So far, it's a major improvement but means we can only access those items when the car is stationary. Though this can be annoying, something we have learned while traveling is the importance of structure and organization. We have limited space, so it is handy to have a setup that requires us to be methodical with what items we have accessible and which ones are not.
Rolling back the months to when we first moved out of our San Francisco apartment and into Dodgy, we had ambitions, very custom ambitions. We intended to strip Dodgy and turn it into a travel home tailored to our needs. While Dodgy was amazing, with more space than we could have hoped for, we quickly discovered that finding replacement parts and people who would work on Dodgy was an onerous task. So we shifted gears: instead of making Dodgy the end-all-be-all road chalet, Dodgy would be our prototype. We tried different sleeping arrangements, brainstormed on privacy options, tested packing configurations. We bided out time, until we were ready for a more tailored living arrangement. Now, with Dodgy II, we were ready to implement the plans we had been delaying for over a year. To start, it was time to make a bed.
To make the truck bed livable we needed a shell to cover it. We researched lots of covers but found that very few supported a Dodge Ram 3500 and, for some reason, having a dual cab was an issue for fitting a lot of truck bed shells. (Ford F150s were generally the best covered.) Yet, ARE did have a cover that fit the truck. Better yet, we could order it in "electric blueberry" or whatever name Dodge concocted to describe our trucks particular shade of brilliant blue.
As has been alluded to earlier, dear Dodgy has not been at top form. Aside from her preexisting maladies—broken air conditioning, speedometer, temperamental gas gauge, and such—the passenger side window had stopped working. Of course, there is little that duck tape can't "fix," but we didn't want the window fixed in place. Rolling down the window was the only was we could manage the heat. With summer around the corner, we needed a more permanent solution.