Wondering about wild grapes

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wondering about my first RV

When I was 16, my uncle took me on a two and a half month trip in his Airstream Travel Trailer. We left Pennsylvania and went first to the Wally Byam Caravan Club rally at Colorado Springs. Then we toured the north west, went north to the border of British Columbia and Alberta, and came home to western Pennsylvania by way of Niagara Falls. That was my first taste of the RV life and I have been hooked on it ever since.

It was back around 1976 that we first started thinking of an RV of some type. We figured with two kids and a dog that a camping trailer of some sort was the way to go. Tenting was fun, but we knew that we would do a lot more camping if it were a little more convenient. We decided on a pop-up type camper with the tent type sides and ends. This would give us the best of both worlds, kind of combining a tent with a travel trailer. Purchased it in the Spring of 1977 and owned this unit for many years up until a tornado flipped it end for end and completely destroyed it when we lived up north of Fort Worth, TX.

Here is a picture of our two boys back in May of 1977. They had built a two-seater cart of some kind. In the background, you can see our camper sitting under our carport.

This is a picture of the boys, the dog, me, and the camper set up at Goddard State Park in Pennsylvania.

One of the closest places we would go was Bear Run park located on Lake Arthur near Moraine State Park. My boys liked to catch bass there, and had plenty of room to run and play. Everyone seemed to have a good time, even our Basset Hound.

I pulled this unit with a 1977 Plymouth Trail-Duster. It is identical to the Dodge Ram Charger, but they just put different decals on them. It was a short wheel base 4x4 and an excellent tow vehicle. I had traded a Chevy Blazer in on it. I have always tried to own a 4x4 vehicle at all times.

The tent trailer had a 12 foot box, and when it was open it was about 20 feet long. We had all the conveniences, just hard to get into when it was folded down for traveling.
Here is picture of the boys and the interior of the camper:

And a picture of our oldest boy and our basset hound:

And one of me relaxing:

This camper went a lot of places, and not only in Pennsylvania. We spent vacations in at the beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it went with us when we moved to Michigan, and when I first moved to Texas, it came with me and I lived in it for awhile until I found a place to live. Then, when I purchased my first piece of property, we lived it until I could get home put on it.

It helped the same way when I moved to a piece of property near Justin, just north of Fort Worth. That is where it met its tragic end.

I have a lot of happy memories using it, along with a couple of not so happy ones. I did like it and it sure did serve its purpose and got lots of use. Since then, I had a travel trailer and now a class-C motor-home.

Now tell me about your first RV.


  1. Was that a Starcraft popup? Sure looks like the one I had.

  2. Still a committed tenter Dizzy. My wife thinks it's terribly romantic, and who am I to argue with that? Just as well we stuck to tents, as now I can pull the boat.

    Looks like you had a good time in yours. We went camping with the kids all the time. Sometimes still do, but now they have their kids too.

  3. My first RV was an 8FT cab over mounted on a 1976 Chevy PU with 283 V8 and 4 sp manual . Brother and I removed the entire top and put in better roof joist and more insulation. Took out the propane gas light in side and rewired it totally.
    used it for 3 years I think, Good ole unit

  4. Ben, it was a Viking. I am not sure who owned that company name.

    Sixbears, there is nothing like tenting, love it. But the wife even thinks our motor-home is roughing it (grin). She just does not like to travel that much.

    Ben, I got one of them from a friend here in Texas. I was working on it when the cable to the jack broke and it put a hole thourh the side and roof. Tore it up pretty bad. I was lucky that I was under the cab over part when it came down.

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  6. Years ago we went camping in our tent too,later we had an rv,but I always enjoyed the tent more, don't know why. Maybe because our daughter was still little, and loved camping back then. I don't remember what type of rv it was. Blessings jane

  7. Sissy, Glad you liked the book. I was very impressed with it. It sure gave a good description of life back in early times in the south west.

  8. Jane, I always loved tent camping. You feel so much closer to nature that way. My son would head off with a a backpack into the mountains of Colorado or Montanna and get way out in the middle of nowhere. No people, only bears, etc. Tent camping in bear country gives a little more pazaz to it. . .

  9. I just bought a suitcase with wheels and a towing handle for my Kx1 radio. Its a very small radio that you can hold in your hand while you use a Morse code key.

    Periphereal gear is another matter. Antenna, Sling shot to get the wire up into a tree, and on and on it goes.

    The old tote bag was too small. I bought a bigger one but I didn't realize just how big in was until it arrived.

    My first thought was,"If I ever want to go back on the road, I can tow this suitcase behind the truck and use it as a camper."

    OK, that was a slight exaggeration!

  10. Thanks for sharing those great memories with us. I've only had tents my whole life but used to go with my grandparents traveling around the USA back in the 60's in a popup camper. I have some great photos and memories much like yours. Now, my big Bluebird bus will be my new camper :o)

  11. Ernest, I guess since you sold your Airstream, that bag with wheels will have to do. (grin)

    Ezrablu, I have a lot of memeories, too, from back in 1959 when I was 16 and toured the west with my Aunt, Uncle, and cousin. Before that, most of my camping was done at a camp. May bluebirds always sing to you while you are in your Bluebird Bus.

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