To create the extra tank, David began by cutting the floor underneath the third seat. Then, after measuring, he fashioned with cardboard a model of what he wanted the tank to look like. He took the cardboard mock-up to a local shop that created an exact replica from aluminum. After the tank was installed, David cut the fill door next to the original one, ran the 3⁄8-inch fuel line, and wired the tank-changing switch to the dash. Each tank functions independently, and David switches between the two from the dash. There's only one fuel gauge, and it resets to read the appropriate tank when he switches over. The new tank holds 33 gallons, and the two combined carry 56 gallons.
In the summer of 1993, the Monaco was back together and once again hauling the family trailer into the woods; although David was a lot more careful with it then. But by 1998, the children had grown up and away, and David and Peggy turned their attention to touring the United States. They have visited more than 40 states, hitting every Mopar show and American landmark they can along the way. They also took the Monaco to Canada for the Moparfest in Ontario. "We really enjoyed Yellowstone, Colonial Williamsburg, Cooter's Garage, which was close to [Williamsburg]," David says. "Crater Lake [Oregon] and the giant Sequoias in Northern California were impressive also. We want to take it down to the Southeast next. Our goal is to hit every state."
However, David had to put those plans on hold when, just before Spring Fling 2003, he was run off the road and into a road marker while making a trip to the corner for gas. He was not injured, but the Monaco was. The original windshield was destroyed, the hood was damaged, and the fiberglass between the hood and grille was cracked. "I pretty much threw my summer calendar in the trash after that," David says.
Alas, such battle scars are the price we pay for driving our Mopars regularly, as we should. Few of us, however, drive them as much as David does, and he will no doubt have his camel hoofin' across the country again soon.
Common Name: Bactrian camel
Scientific Name: Camelus bactrianus
1. Extremely adapted to withstand wide variations in temperature-from freezing cold to blistering heat.
2. Stores fuel (fat) in twin humps.
3. Has the remarkable ability to go without water for months at a time, but when water is available, it may drink up to 57 liters at once.
4. Speeds of up to 40 mph have been recorded.
5. As pack animals, they are virtually unsurpassed, able to carry 375-600 pounds at a rate of 29 miles per day.
Common Name: '72 Dodge Monaco
Scientific Name: Dodgicus Monaconus
Family: Station wagon
1. Adaptable to all North American climates, from the East Coast, to the Southwest, to Canada.
2. Stores fuel in twin gas tanks.
3. Can travel 600 miles without refueling, but when gas is available, can hold up to 56 gallons at a time.
4. Speeds of up to 90 mph (16-second e.t.) have been recorded in the quarter-mile.
5. Weighing in at 6,000 pounds and 19 feet in length, the Monaco can safely hold up to nine passengers.