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Old 03-11-2015, 10:08 AM   #1
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Your Camping Saga

I thought it would be fun to share our camping history stories/photos. My husband and I started tent camping and moved to pop-ups then to travel trailers. My husband had never camped in his life before our first camping trip to Colorado in a borrowed tent. I had camped with my mom and dad starting in 1960 in a pop-up my dad built. He copied an Apache. We went to the World's Fair in Seattle, Washington. When we left Kansas, my dad had $400 in his pocket. When we got home, he asked my mom if he should sell the camper. Her reply was, "No Way." We traveled the country in our homemade little camper. Dad would paint the camper base each time he bought a new car (usually a Rambler stationwagon). Great memories that I continued with my family. We now own our retirement RV, A 2013 Sunset Trailer Reserve 26RB. I don't think I could go back to tent camping!
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:53 PM   #2
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When I was a kid my family had a 28' coachmen tt pulled by a '77 ford club wagon van. It had a hide-a-bed across the front that my parents slept on, a small table and tiny kitchen. Along the middle was 4 bunks (2 lengthwise on each side) and then a rear bath. There was no slide and we had 6 of us plus a 70 lb dog staying in there. Mom would kick us out in the morning. We came back for meals eaten outside, and then off to play until dark. We had campfire and then bed. We swam in lakes, rode our bikes, etc. It was fun although dad hated everything about it including the maintenance and towing (wonder why as overloaded as that van was). I still remember getting stuck turning around in a corn field after a recent tornado had downed some trees in our path. He sold it in 1983 after it became infested with carpenter ants.

Fast forward to my late twenties, I met my husband when my college friends and I were going on a white water rafting/tent camping trip. My college roommate brought him along two years in a row. Been together since the second trip.... I blame her.


Back in 2011 my DH finally talked me into getting a tt. We bought a 2011 30' zinger tt (26bl) for our first trailer. We quickly became addicted. In the fall of 2011 we went to our first rally with the mason Dixon group which quickly became one of our favorite trips of the year. As we became more and more addicted to this wonderful camping thing, we ended up trading our tt for a 40' fiver (palomino sabre). Through the past few years we have developed many lifelong friends and given my dd lots of wonderful childhood memories of her own. She still talks about our camping trip to Disney 2 yrs ago and hershey last year. I also swear camping saved our family. We had fallen prey to the separation that tv, computers and technology cause in families. Camping created family time away from that stuff. My dh and I would sit and play cards while my dd napped (now we all play), we took family walks and bike rides etc. It brought us close together as a family again. I really am a big believer in the positive aspects of camping.
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:58 PM   #3
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Great story!
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:19 PM   #4
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Sound like my first camping trip. Boy scout tent on the ground, 14' 1967 TT, 21 2004 Springdale TT, 2004 5th wheel Crossroads, and then 2011 5th wheel almost the best we have had so far.
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:53 PM   #5
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I was never a boy scout but did work a couple summers at a boy scout camp. Continued with back backing trips, canoe float camping, car camping etc. Did a big tent camping trip from FL up and thru the Smokey Mtns into KY Cumberland Falls and Mammoth Cave, on to IL. Had a shell topper on my truck at the time. We put an air mattress in the back of the truck, draped a mosquito net over the lid and stretched a tarp out to some poles for a common area. Put my son in a tent. We had a blast as a family. I remember talking to the wife then how awesome it would be to have a TT. We love it.
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:14 PM   #6
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Richard and Jill,
Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful memory with us. It is nice to read posts such as this that reminds us all of how we got to where we are, and the memories attached to those journeys. And now you make new memories of your new journeys; it is like a never ending story. And that is a good thing, a wonderful thing, and I hope all your new memories are as good as the ones before them. Thanks again for sharing.

Travel well, travel safe,
Jim
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Old 03-12-2015, 06:01 AM   #7
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I had some experience camping with the Boy Scouts "under the stars" as a kid. Later, in the late 1970's, my wife and I were discussing vacation plans (didn't have much money back then), and the subject of camping came up. She had never been camping, but next thing we know we are shopping for a tent, sleeping bags, etc. Took off on a two week camping trip from Alabama to Canada. We had a little excitement on the trip up when we stopped overnight at a private campground, and apparently a fight broke out somewhere in the campground and there was gunfire. We were hugging the ground in our tent.

We stayed in Canadian "National Parks" and I remember one campground that was so rocky we had a hard time getting stakes driven, and it was so cold we about froze. The firewood we had purchased was so green we couldn't get a fire going. Did I mention our camping equipment was "cheap"?

Next year we took another extended trip out west, Grand Canyon, etc. still in a tent. Eventually we got a small pop-up, no A/C. On a trip down in Brownsville, Texas, we happened to be there in a heat wave. One of the locals said it was the hottest summer in 10 years. We traded that pop-up for one a bit larger, and with an A/C. Later we upgraded again to an even larger pop-up with a shower. .

When I lost my job the pop-up sat unused for 15 years, but we had always made sure it was clean and dry before storing, and when I opened it up it was like new. I used it for a couple more years pulling it from Georgia to Texas and camping at a music festival, and eventually got my wife interested in camping again. Sold it and bought a Hybrid that we used for about 3 years, and then as we neared retirement, I bought our current Sunset Trail. Fun to remember the camping saga.
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:58 AM   #8
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Thanks to everyone sharing your stories. I love them! I love this forum and enjoy reading some of the technical stuff and have received a lot of help from the expertise of its members. I do, however, love the fun side of rv'ing and enjoy these stories!
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Old 03-12-2015, 09:25 AM   #9
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I think we all have fun, wonderful stories of tent camping. We were camped one time in Glacier National Park. We caught some trout and I cooked them under the tent awning on our camp stove. Later that evening, we went to a ranger campfire program. The entire show was about bear attacks. Of course, I had changed out of my clothes and we had no food in the tent, but I still worried all night because I figured there were cooking odors on the tent awning. About 3 am, some of the dogs in the campground started barking. I just knew we were going to be bear food! The next night, we camped in Waterton Lakes. We were close to a stream and the biting flies were horrible. We were camping with my mom and dad. I did cook away from the tent but my dad informed me the next morning, that he looked out and there was a bear on our picnic table. Anothe reason I'm glad we now have a hard-sided camper!
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Old 03-12-2015, 10:09 AM   #10
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I'll share

I grew up camping, both family and in Scouts. My parents had a '78 Starcraft fold down, then a 20' Shasta, and finally a 26' Nomad. We weekended alot, and every year we took a 2-week family vacation.

The RV vacations are priceless, and I long to start taking them more. I've been to Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and everywhere in between there and NE Ohio.

My immediate family started when my boss upgraded to a toy hauler. Scored a great deal on his 2003 Rockwood pop-up after some convincing of the DW. We had it for 4 years, sold it, and purchased our 2011 Zinger at the RV show. We immediately went seasonal, with a few trips taken in the 2011 (including a factory tour).

The bug for more space lead to the 2014 Zinger 32QB. We use it every weekend from April until October, and stay for a week here and there. I am impatiently waiting to buy a truck so we can hit the road again!

I've also always had a bug for RV's. I know way more about them then the average person should, and can't stand the salesmen as they blow smoke (Yes, I know it has DSI and I know how this works). It also helps that my dad is a retired RV service technician...but I learned a lot before he started that gig.

Anyway - that is about me. Our 11 and 13 year old boys love it, and I can't put a value on the family time spent, even though we are currently only seasonal (no TV ).
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Old 03-12-2015, 03:52 PM   #11
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This is a good thread. I remember once we where tent camping and we had set up a tarp over the picnic table due to rain. Could not get a fire started due to the rain and wet/green wood. Broke out the portable grill and was going to do hotdogs. We were next to a beautiful TT (don't remember what brand). Next thing I know they come over with a big platter of fried walleye! Of course I tried to say no thank you but we took a couple pieces a piece and they said "oh no, we brought this whole platter for you". It was really great! I have always thought that campers, whether tent or TT are some of the best and most helpful people.
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Old 03-12-2015, 04:33 PM   #12
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My father and I started camping in an old 70's Dodge pick up with a camper topper. We had plywood on top off the bed and my dad would take my two twin mattresses and place them on top. From there we moved to a pop up and finally to a 1986 27' Allegro class A. Now as an adult my wife and I went from tent camping to borrowing a pop up. In 2009 we bought a used 28ft trail lite to start camping with our girls, they were 5 and 3 years old at the time. Now we have our 2014 32STBH. Our best family trips have always been camping. My daughters would rather go camping than skiing. The places we've been to and the people we meet are amazing. We are blessed to be able to experience this great nation in our TT. Come on Powerball so we can do this full time.
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Old 03-12-2015, 06:54 PM   #13
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Wonderful, wonderful stories. I love reading them.
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Old 03-13-2015, 11:29 AM   #14
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My grandfather started my love of camping. Back in the 70s, we camped around in different state parks in tents and his old truck with a camper top. He bought a van camper in the early 80s and one of my favorite trips was spending a month traveling throughout the western U.S. camping and sightseeing. I spent two nights sleeping on a picnic table in the Badlands because he snored so loudly. That place gets cold at night even in the summer! Good times. I'm glad to get to pass those memories down to my kids. Maybe they, too, will enjoy it with their families one day.
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:44 PM   #15
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I spent my youth growing up in the heart of San Diego, California. The wildest, or the most natural thing we saw were vacant lots, and the beach; which we didn't really appreciate as kids. When we in the 5th, or 6th, grade, we our entire class went on a week camping trip up in the mountains. As I remember, we stayed in heated cabins, but it was the first time I'd ever been in snow, and I was NOT impressed. If anything could go wrong, it did. The bus driver even slid off the road, and we spent several hours flapping our arms and running in circles trying to stay warm, and we were absolutely certain the either a Cougar or a bear, or a squirrel...something was going to drag us off into the woods and eat us alive. I swore by all that's Holy that I'd never set foot in the woods, nor would I ever go camping as long as I lived.
Fast forward fifty years, (wow), and we can't wait for the camping season to begin each year. I have to admit though, that "roughing it" for us is when we can't get cable, or hit a cell tower! We've made some really good memories with the kid's, and now we're making them with the Grandkids. Come to think of it, we're still making good, and quiet, memories when we go it alone. Thanks for giving my wife and me the nudge to recall good times.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:07 PM   #16
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Thanks everyone for your wonderful stories. I have truly enjoyed all of them. I found a few slides of the camper my dad built to take us to the World's Fair in Seattle Washington in the 1960s. This was my first camping experience at age 12. He copied an Apache that my aunt and uncle owned. These photos were from another trip from Kansas to Florida through Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. We were camped next to Lake Pontchartrain. I remember the little sand fleas came right through the netting and we all itched for several days! The box on top of the Rambler was a camp kitchen my dad also built. The two tops of the camper had legs and served as tables.
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:17 PM   #17
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Love the pictures of the Nash Rambler...I'm a little partial to Nash cars...

Years ago my Dad rented a TT for Him my Mom, sister, and brother to go to Expo 69 in Canada...He loved it but never got a camper...I think because we lived in the city and there were no storage places back then, and living in a row home, there was no place to park it...I think him wanting to camp, but not being able to, is what started me and my wife in camping...I keep a picture of my Mom and Dad in our camper, so when we go camping they go camping also...Sounds a little hokey, but that's my story and I'm sticken to it...
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Old 03-22-2015, 06:42 AM   #18
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Thank you jlongsta for starting this great thread. I only have one childhood camping story. We never owned a camper, or even a tent. But I remember as a small boy the times that my mom would pack up us three boys in the 55 Chevy (what I would give to still have that ). She would wake us up in the middle of the night and off we would go to the factory where my dad worked second shift. After a little while all of the dads with their black metal lunch boxes would start to file out. My brothers and I would have our faces plastered to the windows, watching. Watching. Our little breaths would fog the windows until all the dads were hazy and we could not know which dad was ours. When he got to the car we would make the hour long drive to Galveston where Mom would put out pallets in the sand and we would sleep under the open stars right on the beach. I remember parking quite a ways from the water, but waking up with it near the car. I never knew how it got closer and I never could figure out how it knew to stop before it got to us and washed the cars away. I still remember the sand in my ears...and in our clothes...and in the food. I remember walking with mom to find sea shells. And I can see the tiny, multi-colored live clams wriggling their way back into the sand after a breaker revealed them to our sight. And I remember riding on my dad's shoulders into the waves that came up to his chest and almost knocked us down. And I remember him teaching me to listen for the ocean in the larger shells. I still do that. And as I write this I think of him and miss him. He passed away last October. Is there a power in camping? I think so.
Anyway, I did not do any other camping until recently. I only ever even spent one night in a tent in the Army, and that was during the Viet Nam war.
Finally, about 2 years ago, my wife and I bought a FR Rpod to see if we might like camping. We loved it and in November we traded in the Rpod for a Cruiser Aire 27RL. Currently we only take about 6-7 trips a year for 5 days each. But I will retire later this year and we hope to take some longer ones.
Thank you to all of you who took time to share your experiences. It strengthens my belief in what a wonderful lifestyle camping can be.
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:21 AM   #19
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Rhizoo..wonderful, heartwarming story.
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Old 03-22-2015, 09:52 AM   #20
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I would also like to thank you for starting this thread...It was very cathartic reading not only your post but all the other posts on this thread...

I would also like to say that most of the nicest people we know (DW & I) are campers. Wether we have camped with them or befriended them on this forum...
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