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Old 12-08-2006, 03:47 PM   #43
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A looooong time ago we used to "canoe camp". Pack a bed roll, cooler, 2 man mountaineering tent and a couple of back packs into an 18' canoe and head off to remote lakes in the Adirondacks. After our son got too big and made three in a two-man tent, we gave up camping, sold the canoe but still have the tent, backpacks and other stuff in the closet. In 2000 (son long out on his own), we bought a 25' Searay and used it as a floating RV on Lake Champlain spending many summer weekends onboard on various coves and anchorages. Soon we became tired of the maintenance and expense of using the boat (15 gallons/hr.), plus marina fees and storage fees. We bought a Coleman Caravan to try out Land RVing and soon realized that we liked the concept just fine. There were problems though as we still liked to get out on the water and the Coleman did not live up to our standards of quality equipment. We ended up trading in the Searay on our Classic 25, gave to Coleman to our son, and purchased a small trailerable boat. Now, when we choose venture to areas not too far from home that have water access, I tow the AS and my wife tows the boat -best of both worlds! Loving the Airstream and what using it offers, and love the little boat (15.5') for exploring small bodies of water/rivers, etc.

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Old 12-08-2006, 04:12 PM   #44
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Another V-Dub Camper

Started out in pre-interstate days being dragged around the country by my parents. First using a tent and then for many years in an Apache pop up. First just by itself, and then, with an added zippered on screen room.
Of course I dragged my own kids around in a pair of VW Campers. I had a canoe on a small trailer filled with tents, sleeping bags and all the usual gear. My first taste of towing streamlined aluminum. I inherited the pop up and towed that around for about 6 years with Ford vans.
The first hard top was a 15 foot Serro-Scotty Sportsman "canned ham". Had that about 3 years until it was wrecked up in the UP.
Bought the GlobeTrotter the next spring. Literally pulling it out from behind a barn 40 miles from here.
Whats next? Anyone got a spare Safari or Tradewind laying around that you would like to donate to a grizzled old road rat?


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Old 12-08-2006, 05:00 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Sugarfoot
I've known nothing but tents for camping from the time I was child. Oh yes, I saw the shiny bright silver Airstreams in the tourist camps and trailer parks in Florida while growing up. "Daddy, can't we have one of those, PLEEEEEZE!"
oh Sugarfoot same here, way back in 1967 our family of 6 hit the road for two weeks, no airconditioning and three lovely younger bothers (I didn't misspell that! in the back seat with me) all of us in a Canvas tent/ pop up combo (anyone remember that smell eau de canvas, with or without mildew?) looking out at the rain I asked my dad if it wouldn't be nice to have one of those shiny trailers that all went past us in Florida...

We did tents for a long time, folks had a motorhome later in life, then they got an Airstream. So we had to follow our elders great example and get one for ourselves....that's just good home training. Our first Airstream was a vintage 79 Ambassador. Currently a 1996 excella with dinette in progress!! Closest I get to tenting again is the little outdoor screen room around the picnic table
got a real attitude don't I?
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I Hockeytown USA!!
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Old 12-08-2006, 05:17 PM   #46
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all of us in a Canvas tent/ pop up combo (anyone remember that smell eau de canvas, with or without mildew?)
Wow, you just made me flash back about 40 years! I can remember the smell of our old green army surplus tent like it was last week.
But then, I can't always remember last week...
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Old 12-08-2006, 05:20 PM   #47
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We went from tent camping durectly to Airstreaming.
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Old 12-08-2006, 06:30 PM   #48
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Tent-camped in the yard as kids, but my dad said he'd spent enough time in tents in the Army, and that was that. Years later, I camped with my Civil Air Patrol unit in Athens, GA, mostly at state parks and a few times up in the mountains. One trip into the mountains one February night got me and the Athens crew off the ground, into the back of my pickup, and huddled around the Kerosun. That went on for a few years, and then I got the Argosy. That was in 1992. I can't imagine sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag in the winter now.

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Old 12-08-2006, 06:58 PM   #49
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We never went camping. Two years ago our neighbor introduced us to Airstream. For years we were invited to camp...a friend's cottage on a Lake.
Later we purchased a cottage on the Lake. And for many years we would go to camp. Did we get the Airstream Fever? Yes. We spent two years trying to locate one in New York State. In July 2006 we located a 1967 Globetrotter. Months restoring,repairing and looking forward to Spring Travel.
The GT is Winterized and awaiting Spring and short trips. And yes, we will still go to our Cottage on the Lake. Some Airstream...Some Cottage.
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Old 12-08-2006, 07:04 PM   #50
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This on is just right

  • In the 60ís tent camping with the Boy Scouts
  • In the early 70ís Easters in Uncle Edís AVION [Trailer Village MESA AZ]
  • The next 20 years tents, tents and more tents [Then one day the ground got to HARD or I got too SOFT!!!]
  • 2001 we got our first trailer a new 13ft SCAMP [Right size to tow]
  • 2003 we got a 1989 29ft Airstream Excella to use as a cottage. [Too BIG to tow]
  • 2004 we sold the SCAMP [Too small, not comfortable]
  • 2004 we bought a 1976 24 Argosy [Right size to tow J now that I have towing experience]
  • 2006 sold the Argosy [Too small, not comfortable]
  • 2006 started towing the Excella [Right size, easy to tow, comfortable]

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Old 12-08-2006, 07:16 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by moosetags
We went from tent camping durectly to Airstreaming.
Wow, that is an excellent way to approach it. Why dillydally, let's just go from starter mode to the full meal deal in one jump. Good for you guys. Wish I'd of thought of that but I've never been accused of being a fast learner......

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Old 12-08-2006, 07:19 PM   #52
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I remember that...

"There were seven of us kids and dad didn't make a lot of money so we camped - biggest Ted Williams tent made, bunked cots, Coleman three-burner white gas stove - had a BLAST."

Dad would take us camping on a friend gravel bar along a local creek...five of us kids in the back of the pickup w/ the dog, coolers, bags, etc. Mom, dad & baby sister int he one in seats didn;t even exist yet.
Did I mention we all fit in that Sears pop-up...Mom, Dad & baby bro' on one side, three older sisters on other side, me & little sister in the bunkbed cots had to sleep outside under the front step! Man those were the days!!!

Then dad got tired of packing or never getting sleep and bought an old 40's silver & rounded trailer and gutted it... built in sleeping bunks, benches and table, even a wood burning stove. Took it to some acreage he bought in the Missouri Ozarks and put it up on we were living large! Went there every weekend for most of the years between being 8 & running water, no electric...but a hard shell above. Nothing like the sound of rain on a tin roof...remember laying there on cold nights listening to radio shows or Dad's radio that tuned to TV stations.

On warm nights, I'd lay out by the fire...looking for shooting stars or satelites passing overhead.

I need to go campin'
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Old 12-08-2006, 08:44 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
Wow, you just made me flash back about 40 years! I can remember the smell of our old green army surplus tent like it was last week.
But then, I can't always remember last week...
Yes Steph & Dave -- I remember that smell from Boy Scout days. But I'd also get stuffed into the surplus canvas tent when I went camping with Susie & her family -- nothing unusual and I loved it anyway, paddling with my intended through the water lilies of western Wisconsin. Must be some message in there...

I recall some lean years back about '88 when we went tent camping in da U.P. of northern Michigan. In a remote bear-bitten site north of Munising (Pictured Rocks Nat'l Seashore) Susie & I tried to linger alongside the damp smoldering fire. Our daughter Kirsten stuck her head from under the tent door and told us, "No kissing, no hugging, no patting!" We were to get to bed under no uncertain terms! We did sleep just as sound on various pads in the days before Thermarests.

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Old 12-08-2006, 08:46 PM   #54
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Post Tramp Streamer

What a great idea for a thread,
It's so interesting to read about how we all got here.
Here is how I got here;

At 8 or 9 years of age my younger brother and I and would sneak out of the house on warm summer nights to go camping in the back yard. Our parent's finaly recognized our affliction, and stopped dragging our pleading little bodies back into the house. Latter I joined the Boy Scouts, to heck with merit badges, I just wanna go camping. In my early teens I got a hold of Colin Fletcher's "The Complete Camper" and never turned back.

In my Teens, found a camping bud, and right after work on Friday you could find me hitch-hiking on the Cross Island Parkway, a shopping bag packed with an army surplus wool blanket, a space blanket, and a few large safety pins. Food consisted of Dinty Mor beef stew, a loaf of Italian bread, some extra sharp provolone, a nice piece of pepperoni and some cheap red wine. Water was where you found it, and most times we would just tell our ride to stop along the New York State Thruway and let us out, from along the thruway we would trot into the woods with our two-tone platform shoes and "Camp."

Latter came the official "Gear" from Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) and REI.
Kept at it and started into winter camping, which lead to winter mountaineering, which lead to winter expeditions and guide work. Expedition leader for an alpine assault of Denali, in Alaska, and Mount Robson, in BC, high altitude mountain studies on Mount Rainier, in Washington state, along with lots of solo back wood cross country trips.

All the woman in my life have been outdoors types, or at least did a convincing job at faking it (best leave that one alone!)

The knees started to go, but I never stopped my love affair with the outdoors, always pouring over topo maps for the next back-country trip.

As an adult, my parents picked up a little Toyota Micro Mini Class C, and every summer the family would all come together for a camping trip. All us kids dragging along girlfriends, boyfriends and strays, which eventually became wives and husbands. My parents class C got a little bigger, (a 26 foot Georgie Boy) I think, and my brother and sister added grandchildren and a Colman popup to the caravan. Of course I was still in my sports car faze.
As more grandchildren appeared, the Class C gave way to a park model in PA.

Time passes as it does, careers, deaths, divorces, fast forward 1999.
I sell my home, and buy a 36 foot ClassA, with a Saturn wagon in tow and hit the road.
Then, in 2003, I press my nose against the vistaview window of a 32 foot Sovereign and I fall in love. As my art work became larger, 6' x 8' canvases, I started growing out of the Class A, which was now towing a Safari Van. In the spring of 2003, while visiting friends in WI, I stuck a for sale sign on the 36 footer as a trial balloon, within 2 days I had a buyer. 4 days latter, with all my possessions in my friends barn, I am traveling the country in the Safari van hunting for an Airstream and Tow vehicle. I found the 98, F350 PSD, Box truck at a Rider Van Lot in Missouri, and a week later I find my 28 foot, 1995 Classic in Florida.

That was 80,000 miles ago, now I'm just a Tramp Streamer livin the Airstream life!

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Old 12-08-2006, 09:06 PM   #55
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Before I Airstreamed...

In a way, it could be said that my camping experiences went full-circle.

My first camping experience of any kind was at 5 years of age when friends of our family invited me to join them for a camping weekend in their brand new Airstream Overlander International -- it was pure fascination for a 5-year-old -- the hammock bunks were a must have experience that I still remember.

I am not quite sure how event transpired, but the next camping experience was a few years later with my family in a 1967 Montgomery Ward tent camper -- a little single-axle, aluminum box with fold-out aluminum-covered plywood wings upon which one erected a VERY complicated tent (we never were able to get setup time to less than two-hours).

The next year it was a vacation with a Coleman Minute-Man tent trailer. This had to be one of the smoothest tent trailers built -- just flip the top of the trailer over and the tent automatically unfurled -- no ameneties, but plenty of sleeping room up off of the ground.

The next season was what might be considered a giant step forward -- a brand new Chevrolet C20 pickup was ordered with heavy duty trailering equipment; and a trip was made to Elkhart, IN to order a new Sun Way truck camper with the intention of taking a family vacation to California to visit family. A photo of this unit is below:

The truck was not well-suited to long-distrance travel, so the trip to California never materialized, and its lack of long-distance comfort meant that it sat unused for long periods of time -- it disappeared in 1971 and was replaced by a wonderful 1971 Buick Sportwagon in Fern Mist Metallic that we kept until 1979 and had it not been for the energy crisis, I would likely still have that car.

From 1971 through 1980 each summer featured some type of vacation with a tent-camping experience. Some were shorter than others. The vacation in 1978 was the longest at six weeks of tent camping without a single night in a motel -- and only one night where we had rain the entire trip. The hassles of dealing with the tent on that trip forced the conclusion that a travel trailer would be the next step.

After shopping during 1979, an order was placed with a nearby dealer for a brand new Nomad Light Weight Special 1780 trailer (17'). It appeared to be the ideal -- a large, comfy rear bathroom with accommodation to sleep up to 4 with a floorplan very similar to my current Minuet. The trailer was delivered in the spring of 1980, and is pictured with my '65 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible towing (I still have the car, but the trailer is long-gone).

The trailer was poorly thought-out -- or conversely was designed for rapid obsolescence -- it was falling apart before it was five years old. At lestt than a year of age, the plexiglass windows were refusing to stay in their tracks, and by the beginning of the third season, one of its leaf springs failed causing a sping in the middle of a state highway -- the tow vehicle was undamaged, but the trailer was nearly totaled -- for some reason, the sincurance company deiced to repair the trailer. The trailer was sold a few months later, and it would be a little more than a decade before the RV bug struck again.

In 1995, I decided that it was time to get a real RV and buy an Airstream. While I considered a new trailer, I couldn't abide by any of the side-bath floor plans that were available so I began looking at used coaches. Initially, I focused upon newer coaches less than 10 years old, but not finding what I wante, I continually pushed the earliest acceptable model year back. Finally, I was about ready to give up on finding exactly what I wanted -- then I responded to an advertisement in a shopper publication for a 28' Airstream from 1964 -- it was 15 years older than what I was looking for, but decided to take a chance and drive the 200 miles to see the coach -- it "spoke" to me and I was towing it home less than three days later. I learned about six months later that this was the SAME coach that had been owned by friends of my family and that I had taken my first camping trip over 30 years before.

So in a way my camping experiences came full circle.

Kevin D. Allen
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Old 12-08-2006, 09:20 PM   #56
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Tin Sista, you got several witnesses!

Originally Posted by tin sista
. . . anyone remember that smell eau de canvas, with or without mildew? . .
Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
Wow, you just made me flash back about 40 years! I can remember the smell of our old green army surplus tent like it was last week.
. . .
Originally Posted by Canoe stream
Yes Steph & Dave -- I remember that smell from Boy Scout days. . . .
Yeah, Tin Sista, you really hit on an ancient olfactory memory. Those old canvas tents have an odor like no other. And heavy! It would take half of us kids to drag it out of the trunk. And all my little friends, we would cram in like cord wood next to each other; but would we sleep? NOOOOoooo! Giggles and teehee's punctuated by "SSHHHHHsssh" from the adult tent.

Its interesting how the VW bus keeps coming up. My family had a mid 60's model, with cruise control . . . . lay a brick on the accelerator and it would top out at a continuous 57 mph.

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life with a 1956 Sovereign of the Road
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