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Old 12-17-2014, 03:30 PM   #1
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I have to select various threads and have some sympathy for those who are roughing it and barely able to survive without running water, plugged into 30 to 50 amp service and sewer hookups. I said, "some sympathy".

Before I became old at a young 65, needing all of the amenities of living in a comfortable home with more possessions than an individual requires... I was able to survive out in the western wilderness, with only enough that my "camping vehicle" could carry.

A 1956 Volkswagen with the 900 cc engine, barely any heat, no Air Conditioning, no power nothing... except headlights and vacuum wind shield wipers for the Four Season camping in June above 3500 feet elevation in the West.

Two fossil collectors, myself 16 and fellow hunter 17. One week to ten days camped on the edge of the Nebraska Badlands on a Ranch in Sioux County, Nebraska. We had a US Army surplus pup tent. A small container for water. A watermelon. Small ice chest good for three days and it became drinking water. Canned food, crackers, soda pop, hard candy, sleeping bags, hopefully bringing our pillows without forgetting, maps, rock hammers, carrying pouches, paper towels and sacks to wrap up fossil skulls, turtles and broken jaw bones. Maybe a transistor radio that could receive the 1960's radio AM station in Rapid City, SD. Other than some spare clothes, hats and a Levi jacket in case it turned cold... not much at today standards.

My first trip was with a Driver's Leaner's permit and a friend who turned 18 in Missouri... all that was required to... "learn to drive across the plains into the Rocky Mountains". The VW was able to go anywhere... but slowly. You would drive with the gas peddle floored to, maybe, reach the speed limit in Kansas on the Highway 24/40 two lane in the 1965/1966 pre Interstate 70 days. Nine gallons of fuel at 25 to 39 cents a gallon and ONE gallon reserve in the event you arrived after sunset in western Nebraska or Kansas, needing to camp out at the Service Station. (Some old farts among us might recall these stations opened at sunrise and closed at sunset... unless the owners lived upstairs or behind the shop!)

I understand there are many Airstream Owners today that think roughing it is on battery power at WalMart. The kids are bored. No television. Just cannot take it more than one more day of... roughing it. The parking lot is noisy. No privacy. No picnic table. Just... nothing to do and the beds are just not as comfortable as home. And blah, blah and blah...

Being a "contrary" to many of the Threads on the Forum... I just have to wonder what has happened to Americans? The whining, the wimping for any minor inconvenience, no capability to repair a flash light... or know how to operate a tire pressure gauge that is not electronic... At 65 years of experience on my life odometer... I have found the average person in the USA can barely survive a two day snow storm without running out of food and are ready to open up dog/cat food or eating dry pet food soon.

This is not a run for a popularity contest on the Forum. But, folks... an Airstream is a HOME on wheels. If you cannot figure out how to get to a campground and feel "in danger of the elements" you should not even leave the city limits. You are a danger to yourself and anyone else with you.

I had a girlfriend who live with a younger sister and parents in a house trailer smaller than our first 23 foot trailer. This was in High School. Both sisters attended High School looking as if they lived in the mansion on the hill. I was impressed. This chance meeting caused me to remind myself that I DID NOT NEED ALL OF THESE TRAPPINGS WE CALL CIVILIZATION. There were negatives. Many. It made modern people... weak. Helpless. Less resourceful. ... and then this all persists in a 16 foot, 25 foot, 34 foot Airstream.

I am sorry. What has happened in this great Country that had people who could take care of themselves? Is everyone becoming Helpless?

My wife and I helped an Airstreamer who could not remove a flat tire and wheel from their trailer as the lug nuts were on so tight, it broke their... SOCKET. They were afraid of the wheels coming off the trailer... with all of the warnings about "tighten those lugs nuts" every stop, every 200 miles or you will lose a wheel or two. The flat tire was probably due to these remote pressure units screwed to the exterior valves and broke the stem... but that is another story.

Common Sense? Being prepared? My family did not have two quarter dollars to rub together in the mid 1950's, but we had clothes, food and lacked NOTHING. I wish we had our current Airstream then, and... 12 volt power and propane to heat the interior. Even if this is my last post before being driven off this Forum for appearing to promote Self Awareness and being prepared for the unexpected... it does get to my sense of being responsible for myself.

Watching the clueless fools protesting on the streets... If I ever had that kind of time when I was their age to waste. I was busting my posterior to get out of what to most would be proverty to many. It was comfortable living in a log cabin in Western Montana off the grid. Today... I might be spoiled, but I have not forgotten how easily wealth can be taken from you. The one thing that cannot be taken from my wife or myself... is our INDEPENDENCE and ability to survive with the most minimal trappings of civilization... which... today is our Airstream which is OUR home away from home once we pull out of the driveway and close the gates to the entrance.

Very few Airstreamers might recall a childhood like mine, but it was the rocket that propelled me to success. Nothing was given to me. My wife worked for everything she owned. Kids are provided for... but not like many today. It just makes me impatient with our coming desert Southwest camping coming in mid January.

When Christmas presents are opened next week... just consider next Christmas that there could be a couple kids you know that would appreciate being taken on one of those trips... off the grid and turn them loose with a walkie talkie, a walking stick and a dog. Your time is better than any Christmas Gift... Get with it Folks. OK. I am done. Thank you for reading this and maybe you will find some use of my unedited and soul felt disappointment where we have become as a people. We need Change alright.

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Old 12-17-2014, 03:51 PM   #2
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Why on earth, after working 50 years and finally retiring with a Airstream, would I want to "rough it"?

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Old 12-17-2014, 04:52 PM   #3
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No, you missed the point Bill M..

Many consider BEING in an AIRSTREAM as roughing it. You must be kidding me.

I plan to be out on my own as long as I can put my shirt on properly. Even then... I do not care if it matches my pants, if I put them on.

Working for fifty years or ten years should make anyone want to try to experience something new. Not sitting on your sofa at home for 50 years or retire, and find yourself in your 25 foot Excella sitting on your sofa. Was that 50 years worth it... looking out of your Airstream's window to see the RV next to you on both sides. Sweet...

Why on Earth? Because after fifty years of working, looking, possibly to retire with you health... why not? I know. Change of routine. Comfort level. Fine, I understand that. An Airstream trailer has wheels for one reason... to go places. If RV Parks are your life time ambition... I have no quarrel.

There are some on this Forum who do have ambition at any age to do what they have never felt comfortable. Finally being dependent on themselves. Be independent. Find a reason to experience what only a few have the confidence to test and learn something not in their weekend options.

Some spent their entire lives wanting things that really are not very important in the scheme of life. Having the option of doing something, especially with family, away from what is outside their comfort level will be remembered, good or poorly, but remembered in any kind of trailer. Time is fleeting.

I never worked. I was paid for work I found challenging and interesting. It was like a paid hobby. In the process I could not work for fifty years for... as a goal? I could not wait to find out what was going to happen the next day! I worked... for myself. Work only grinds your soul into compliance and conformity. I still work... when we are not on the road. I will never be bored, nor resist trying something I have not.

This Thread was an impulse. I actually reconsidered that I should "temper" the thought a bit and work it over, much like this post. Dressed in a suit sipping wine at an RV Park is not our idea of living the life... although that is what many find most appealing. My intent is to reach those who just have NOT tried to find themselves where it is foreign, different than what the stereotype of an Airstream Life should also experience.

I see too many helpless retired people in my neighborhood. I certainly have no need to be parked next to any, anywhere. This is an attempt to coerce one, maybe a couple people with energetic kids needing something to do. Getting that trailer hooked up and just pick a spot on the map and go... If you are always living for tomorrow, next summer, next year... you and your couch is probably a great place to stay... at home or a trailer.

Those of you who have "considerd" to spend, even one day, two at a National Forest Campground posted on the Boondocking Forum... DO IT. If you can survive camped at a RV Park... that is the toughest Boondocking you will survive and what did you experience? Nothing better than camped for the evening at a WalMart or spending a weekend camped at the RV Storage...
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Old 12-17-2014, 04:58 PM   #4
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Ray, a lot of us came from life experiences such as yours. And a lot of folks today are still experiencing it.

As for us we have enjoyed moving from 50 years of VW Campers and tents in the middle of nowhere. We now travel the country often, wide and far, and enjoy the sense of good community and fine people we find everywhere.
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:11 PM   #5
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I could not have said it better myself.
Hope this helps someone just to say. "Let's go for it"
Some of the best trips I have ever taken are those that weren't planned.
The back seat of a '54 Chevy sedan, with our feet in the trunk was the place. Spent the entire summer of '63 in that old car traveling from Kansas to Montana. Finding work wherever I could. I was 18 back then.
While I wouldn't want to sleep on the ground today. I do enjoy the backwoods much more than RV parks. I have travelled virtually every paved road west of I25 in Colorado and 90 % of the back roads in that state.
This is a great country. Go out and enjoy it.

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Old 12-17-2014, 05:23 PM   #6
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Glad to meet you, Ray Eklund. I do believe you and I have a lot in common.

I thorouly enjoyed your one sided discussion, and wonder about the same things, myself.

Yes, we camp in splendid luxury these days. We do so because we can, and we have earned it. My old bones would not be very happy sleeping on the cold ground these days. But, I could survive if it came to that.

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Old 12-17-2014, 05:30 PM   #7
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I believe that Mr. Eklund makes some good points. We have become "soft" as a society. Yesterday's luxuries are today's necessities.
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:33 PM   #8
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Let's see about perspective. This is a forum about a brand of machine. One that not only enables independence from utilities, but can moved as often as the owner desires so long as a road is present. For a few days before re-supply to a few weeks. Eventually we'll all run out of fresh water and food, though there will be those prepared for that as well.

So let's say a couple of weeks for those still employed full time. The length of paid time off. One can go to a place that feels deeply removed from ones ordinary life and not have to drive or shop or participate in the inane. And isn't that the point?

A well-designed TT such as these can be the accompaniment to ones entire adult life. Built that well. A trusted tool. Children and spouses may come and go, dogs age and die, cars wear out. But the trailer remains, such that one can end ones life in old age without other accommodations.

And stay warm and dry no matter the weather. Well fed and clothed. Safe from insects and other vermin. A place to recuperate from illness and injury. A way to retain ones dignity in the face of natural or man-made calamity. A way to move on when the neighbors cook fire smoke can be seen.

How well this is done is what the dull term "lifestyle". That somehow all choices are good no matter how impractical, ignorant, foolish or benighted they may be (is how I read the OP). Not being prepared to take care of ones self to the greatest extent possible is a reasonable criticism. The icing on the cake is the idea of boredom. My own fault my grandmother would say, and she was right.

But we now live in a country with less time off and are working for half the wages we once used to receive as our share. And it goes downhill from there. I would add that illiteracy even among the college educated is now the norm where once a high school grad was better read and better company. And more willing to learn.

It is my hope that not all pleasure is touring in regards these machines, but that new skills and insights on how to live are part of it.

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Old 12-17-2014, 07:49 PM   #9
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I feel that my sentiments are not a lone wolf crying in the forest.

My point on any of my posts on the Forum is to attempt to just stick your big toe into a real camping experience without fearing it. There are many who have posted great locations down to the direction the front of the trailer should point for the best views. It may only be on the wish list of 10% of any trailer owner but that number is decreasing quickly. It does leave plenty of open space for those wanting to explore West of the 105th Meridian at no or little fee and live the life better than 18th century Royalty.

I spent 6 years at two Universities to understand Geology, discovering more questions resulted without answers. I spent a life time applying what I learned to explore and understand. It cannot be done in a laboratory or a museum easily. The "back yonder" is where some of us belong. This does not diminish those who prefer the luxury of a RV Park. There is no intent for anyone to be offended by someone who "promotes" getting off the well traveled paths.

Camping, as the 55 and older Forum members recall... was really a challenge, but well worth the effort and on the job education. Buying our first Airstream trailer in 2006 was really a reward for blowing up air mattresses and trying to set up a tent when the wind was blowing 45mph at night in an unknown field in Western Kansas or Western Nebraska waiting for the sun to rise to get our... bearings. Even with rolled up US Geological Survey maps... many details as to roads were lacking.

Many on this Forum will scratch their forehead and wonder "What is wrong with these people?" These wonderful people as they are, will never understand a mind set versus a comfort set. Our Airstream offered not a couple days in the field exploring but a week, two weeks or all the time we wanted on the road. Everything needed was stored safely in the trailer and tow vehicle. When a pair of tweezers are needed to pull a prickly pear needle from my "paw" or one of the Blue Heeler's paw... we had it on board. No Hotel saying... NO PETS... buzz off. Or an extra $50 to sanitize the room charge.

The Airstream offers the same options as any other brand of trailer, but with that special reward for those people who recognize a good thing when they see it. Literally... see IT.

Everyone we have had follow us out to the ends of the... Earth... for the first time were surprised at the convenience of finding a campsite and access. The unknown was now known not to be as big a deal as thought. Why, there are even other like minded people willing to eat some dust and bumpy road to find these unknown "little Grand Canyons" and "little Works of Nature without a name" requiring a Park Ranger to hold your hand for security. There are MORE interesting sites that have unknown names that are just as remarkable as those with names and... a gate entrance with a hand out brochure.

In the summers in Montana during the mid 1950's, I would be out after breakfast and explored until I became hungry or tired. My brother was not much... better. No one asked where we were or called the County Sheriff's office to send out a search team... we always returned. Even at 7 years old carrying a 1901 Remington 22 rifle that I still own and cherish... without being accused of being an outlaw or a threat from anyone we know in the forest. We have given up those freedoms today to feel... safe. Well, you are not safer because some youth that hunted rabbits or squirrel are looked upon today as... odd and even a menace to society.

Trailer camping at one time was used to actually get away from the towns and city. Now it merely beats sleeping in a motel or hotel as you shop. Times have not changed... people have changed.

We had a bucket list of places in the world my wife and I wanted to visit... and DID. We made no reservations, except for one Island where we did not know what to expect, so preferred the comfort of what facilities Easter Island had to offer. It would have been great to have camped at either of the two beaches that had NO Body at them! But this was just an end of a long journey in Chile and Peru that required... people who knew what was needed. But I wander.

Please... do not be offended if you do know know a philips from a straight edge screwdriver... yet. You will learn soon enough with a trailer in tow. But make every opportunity to test the limits of your imagination. Even we do not mind spending a week at the Sam's Town RV Park in Las Vegas... as it is in a perfect location to explore... the Strip and Lake Meade, Boulder Dam and the desert. I am sure when we are in our mid 80's, we might even want to spend MORE time at a RV Park... but would still be resisting to do so.

Ask questions. Read the posts that make more sense than my rambling sentences that use a paragraph just to take a breath. Camping in an AS can be an adventure no matter where you find yourself. I like WalMart and Costco back lot camping on the way to somewhere to nowhere. I like Santa Fe, NM and having a RV Park to stay awhile and explore the Downtown Square. But... my heart is into the unknown places that I sometimes make available on this Forum. Not because I would like to have trailers bumper to bumper at my finest camping spots... but I can rely on the fact that maybe one or two of you will actually take me up on it! Otherwise, I would want all of you to stay in the parking lot at the Sandia Casino north of Albuquerque, NM where the idling buses cannot go where your home on wheels CAN... the Airstream.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:09 PM   #10
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It is almost time to play our evening pinochle card game at 7PM, but felt I needed to add just a... little... but more.

Camping in much of the USA is like being stuck in the timber in Northwest Montana. The view... trunks of lodgepole pine for ever. Our exploring the Appalachians were pullouts where the trees were cut down so you could see fifty miles of MORE trees. They were beautiful... for trees, but I like to see what might be underneath them.

This is where the deserts of the western US is so captivating. You can see 50 miles. Maybe 100 miles before a Basin and Range blocks your view. Snow capped mountains in the heat of July. Frost on your windshield on the 4th of July and Air Conditioning while in town on the 5th.

Central Kansas as you pass Hays... the trees show up along the wet creeks. Once you make it to Topeka... the grasslands are now corn field OR TREES and humidity. It is time then, for us to head to Wakeeney, Kansas and head west.

The air begins to "pop" on your mirrors at 3,000 to 3,500 feet elevation as the humidity is dropping and keeps dropping until your lips are dry for the first time in years. Welcome to the WEST Boondockers territory. At 6,000 feet the evenings are cool and the days are warm, and even hot in the sun. Northwest of Yellowstone is high and dry with forests... but with enough open spaces to camp along a creek at will, without anyone to bother you. Pan for sapphires. Quartz crystals washing out of the ground. Fly fishing non stop.

That is why I post as WEST. Not West Virginia but above 3,000 feet elevation where not only the climate changes... but so will your attitude towards those of us that keep tempting you to come. Come and see what changes elevation does in two hours travel. You do not need to go to Argentina to experience what you can do right here at your back door. And, you know something? You just might read someone's post on a camping spot, drive 800 miles to get there... and decide you like it so much... you move and can make wild posts on the Forum.

See you out here this Summer and bring a pole for fishing, a shovel to dig yourself out of trouble and bring some hummingbird feeders along... they are here to greet you as well.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:41 PM   #11
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Ray, an interesting thread and topic. Just don't invite the hordes to my little part of the west.��
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:42 PM   #12
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I read this article and wonder what Frances would think of my Airstream. I dont even use either of the tv's that are in there. Im to busy being outside, reading or "using my imagination" like mommy told me to!

Chk out Frances here:
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:23 PM   #13
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My wife and I camped out for weeks from the back of a Volvo station wagon with three kids aboard, youngest was 10 months old. We slept on the ground in a leaky tent that took hours to set up, cooked our own food, and saw some stunningly beautiful countryside.

We moved up to a van conversion that I built with my own hands, and kept camping in beautiful places, almost always without anything other than what we brought with us.

True, now that we are older and. But creaky, we have an airstream. We still are heading to interesting places. We see amazing mountains and forests, actually get put in the weather, and remember the places we went in tougher times camping. Yeah, it's a bit easier now, but we still enjoy the journey as well as the destination. We have not yet been to a rally or mass campouts yet, and probably will not. We enjoy the freedom to go as we please when we please. That is the crux of the adventure of freedom. I see what this thread is looking at and I agree--it's the freedom to explore, to travel independently and share experiences as a family. I'm cool with all this.

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Old 12-17-2014, 09:54 PM   #14
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Good thread

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