Across the USA 2013 #3 (Bigfoot)

May 1, 2013

The snow-clogged streets of Denver soon turned the freeways into rivers of brown icy slop. So much for keeping the truck clean. It was nearly 850 miles to St. Louis. That’s more than we like to drive in one day. After over-nighting outside of Topeka, we threaded our way through the labyrinth of freeways into Kansas City, keeping an eye out for Dorothy and Toto, crossed the Missouri River, and headed straight to the comfortable home of Bob and Marilyn Chandler, creators and owners of the Bigfoot Monster Trucks. Having left Denver at a chilly 24°, we had the heater on most of the time. Suddenly Monika realized it was 84° outside, prompting a quick change to air-conditioning.

The next morning we headed over to Midwest Four-Wheel-Drive, home of Bigfoot. Bob helped me lift The Turtle V up on his shop rack. By placing Jack stands under the rear corners of the camper, we took the pressure off the giant pivot bolt in the back of the camper’s three-point suspension.

The master welders and engineers at Midwest Four-Wheel-Drive had redesigned and installed the camper’s suspension over 10 years ago after the miserably designed system by Safari Vehicles in Canada collapsed. With the pressure off the bolt we were able to back it out and check for ware on both the surface of the bolt and the lubeable bronze bushing. No problems could be seen.

After a relaxing couple days in St. Louis, we headed east, crossing the mighty Mississippi at flood stage. Destination Valley City, Ohio.

Midwest Four Wheel Drive is the home of the famous Bigfoot Monster Trucks.

Our Turtles have been in the Midwest Four Wheel Drive shop many times over the years. Gary did the very first story on Bigfoot #1 for Off Road Magazine.

Our Turtles have been in the Midwest Four Wheel Drive shop many times over the years. Gary did the very first story on Bigfoot #1 for Off Road Magazine.

Today’s racing fleet of Bigfoot trucks has a slightly modified suspension.

Today’s racing fleet of Bigfoot trucks has a slightly modified suspension.

The big hydraulic floor lift at Midwest Four Wheel Drive, home of Bigfoot, had no problem lifting The Turtle V.

The big hydraulic floor lift at Midwest Four Wheel Drive, home of Bigfoot, had no problem lifting The Turtle V.

Jack stands under the rear corners of the camper allowed us to take the pressure off the giant pivot bolt in the back of the camper’s three-point suspension.

Jack stands under the rear corners of the camper allowed us to take the pressure off the giant pivot bolt in the back of the camper’s three-point suspension.

Bob Chandler had not lost his knowledge of how to use the shop tools. He had designed and built the Original Monster Truck back in 1974, and it grew from there.

Bob Chandler had not lost his knowledge of how to use the shop tools. He had designed and built the Original Monster Truck back in 1974, and it grew from there.

A giant lubable pivot bolt is the essential component of the Tortuga Expedition Camper’s rear suspension, allowing it to rotate on the frame. You can’t twist a box.

A giant lubeable pivot bolt is the essential component of the Tortuga Expedition Camper’s rear suspension, allowing it to rotate on the frame. You can’t twist a box.

We thoroughly enjoyed our short visit with our old friends Bob and Marilyn Chandler.

We thoroughly enjoyed our short visit with our old friends Bob and Marilyn Chandler.

 

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