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Old 06-18-2003, 08:57 PM   #1
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"Our First Camping Trip"

Our First Camping Experience

The first time we went out camping in our new (new to us) RV was about twenty something years ago. We had a 19' (SOB) camper and after replacing the floor in the bathroom, thought it was pretty nice.

We went to a State Resort Park and got a nice spot near the corner with tall pines and adequate shade. We were somewhat naive about camping - after all this was our first time going anywhere camping as a family. However, we soon learned about the do's and don’ts of grey water and such, and learned that just because a camper was set up so that it drained out onto the ground, it just wasn’t the proper way to dispose of such things.

With each new camping trip, we learned quicker and easier ways to do things. It wasn't very long until hooking up and going camping had become an effortless art in itself.

I worked a rotating shift at that time and only had one weekend off a month so we decided to have a “go” at camping in an actual state park. I was finishing night shift on Friday morning and chose to take the camper out and set it up. I often stayed up on Friday mornings to get turned around for the next week’s day shift. After arriving at the park, setting up, and entertaining visiting friends until about 11:00 p.m. that night, I was ready to crash. My whole family was ready for bed and needless to say, after being up more than 24 hours, I was ready for some sleep.

During that evening three girls had set up camp next to us in a tent. They were fairly quiet and didn’t say much while they were setting up. We were sleeping peacefully and nothing outside the camper woke us during the night. The next morning a park ranger approached us asking if we were disturbed any during the night. We were unaware that he had come and escorted the girls out of the park in the middle of the night. He just couldn’t fathom the fact that we weren’t woke up since we were so close to where they were camping. Some other people camping in a tent further away than us had felt somewhat threatened by the girls because they apparently had been getting in and out of their car a lot. The people in the tents were disturbed by the back up lights on the girls’ car coming on a lot and they didn't know if they were going to be run over or not. Well, someone had called the ranger and after he got there he must have felt that they needed to be somewhere else. I tried to explain to the ranger that after staying up for more than 24 hours I was “out of it” that night. My wife did say she heard a car door during the night but didn't think anything of it.

We didn’t hear anymore about the outcome of their dilemma but we just figured that they must have been a little “plastered” so to speak. Overall we had a very good weekend on our first trip camping. We enjoyed the park and have been back several times during our camping years – of course, now it’s in an AIRSTREAM. This camping trip is one we won’t soon forget!

Tell us about your first camping trip!

Bill
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Old 06-18-2003, 09:39 PM   #2
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First trip

My first trip in an actual RV was to out glider field in a tiny one-ended Starcraft popup. I bought the used popup so that I wouldn't have to drive the 100+ round trip home Saturday night if I wanted to fly both weekend days.

The first thing I discovered was that because we had chosen the glider field site because of the persistent thermals, those thermals popped the canvas in and out all night. The whole trailer would rock each time a thermal rolled by. It was impossible to get any sleep.

The only good thing about being awake on that bright moonlight night was the procession of wildlife that wandered by ... a big herd of deer, a possum, and a pair of skunks.

I later found that I could set up in the hanger and get some sleep. I used that little popup for 2 soaring seasons.
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Old 06-18-2003, 11:54 PM   #3
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"Our First Camping Trip"

My first introduction to camping was courtesy of friends of my family. I was five years old and they had just purchased a new 1964 Airstream Overlander - - I was invited to go along on one of their expeditions to a nearby State Park. That trip must have sparked my interest in Airstream as it was the only RV that I had any interest in when I purchased my first new rig - - unfortunately, Airstream was beyond my means at the time and the trailer was a Nomad. After a series of less than satisfactory Brand X ownership experiences including two pop-ups (Montgomery Ward and Coleman), and the Nomad; I finally purchased an Airstream via a blind classified ad (in 1995) - - it was (or so I thought) a trailer very similar to the one from my first camping trip - - 1964 Overlander International Center Twin with the remnants of the hammock bunks over the center twins. A few months after purchasing the trailer I was visiting with a relative of the friends who had taken me on my first camping trip when the remark was made that the drapes were the ones that my family's friends had made just prior to selling the coach in 1982 - - so I am now camping in the same coach that I remembered from my first trip (at least when I am not using my recently acquired Argosy Minuet).

Kevin
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Old 06-19-2003, 01:06 AM   #4
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Our first trip was about 4 years ago. A friend had bought a popup and said we, my wife and then 10 year old son, could use their tent.

I really had no idea what to expect but commanded the family to go and have fun

We went 8+ hours away to the coast/redwoods in CA.

The friends tent was a small little thing that had us stepping all over each other. Also it was freezing 40 degree temps in the tent with condinsation water drops dripping on us with every move.

My wife wanted to go home the next morning

Meanwhile our friends were nice and dry and had lots of room in their coleman popup. We were quite jealous.

We decided to go to the nearest walmart and buy the biggest tent they had. Upon setting it up we promptly ripped it trying to drag the dogs cage inside so he could sleep with us in the tent.

We ended up having fun trips durring the day. The beach, Trees of Mystery, drive through trees, etc...

When we got home three days later we returned the tent at our local walmart for a refund as we never wanted to camp in a tent again.

We decided to skip the popup and go right for something with a toilet We purchased the '71 Safari the next spring and spent the rest of that summer off and on working on it.

I choose the Safari because we only camped once and did not know if we would really keep doing it. I felt if we did not use it, I could sell it and get most of my money back.

We finally used the Airstream twice last year. Once to Lake Tahoe and again at Yosemite.

First trip in the Airstream was a LOT of work for me trying to justify it to the family, read wife. We had a few problems such as trying to do too much in one day, and keep our new 6 month old baby girl on her schedule. Had trouble with the water heater. Had to mircowave water for the babys bath.

We since learned to stay in one campground for the duration and get back in plenty of time to make dinner, clean up and such.


Still working on it all the time. Our first trip of the season is planned and we are heading toward Gilroy, CA to Bonfante Gardens and Monterey.

Still haven't decided if we like to camp or not, but we will keep doing it until we do
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Old 06-19-2003, 06:40 AM   #5
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I still remember the first trip I took with my mom and dad some 40 years ago. We had five of us kids along in a 15 and 1/2 foot SOB with a funny looking "cow catcher" bunk attached to the top front of the trailer.

We were headed for California from Jamestown, NY with a 1962 Rambler station wagon sporting a new-fangled push-button automatic transmission and an anemic straight six engine as the tow vehicle. Somewhere, I think it was in Wyoming, we attempted to cross through the Rocky mountains using the Bighorn Pass. Within sight of the top, the little Rambler was gasping for breath and finally came to a complete stop. Mom and all five of us kids got out and walked the next 100 yards. It was just enough for the Rambler to make it over the top.

What an exciting trip this was for me as a thirteen year old who had been assigned the important job of navigator. I liked this job soooo much, I could not stand for us to stop at a road-side rest for lunch. I just wanted to keep on making tracks on the map. Seemed like forever before we would be back on the road again.

Now, at 53 years old, I still get a thrill of excitement at the thought of leaving on a trip early the next morning, even if it's just a week-ender.

Stephen & Miriam ... wanderers forever.
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Old 06-19-2003, 10:35 AM   #6
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My first camping trip was to the Pocono Mountains in Eastern Pennsylvania when I was 12 or 13. My father had rented an Winnebago motor home for the week, and my mother and brother followed in the 1966 Chevelle. We had a wonderful time at a campground in Scotrun, PA. (I wonder if it still exists?)

Over the years I continued to camp, mostly in tents, throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania, frequently in the Kinzua Dam area, and Berlin Reservoir in Ohio, and at the yacht club where my boat was docked on the Grand River.

A most memorable trip was to the Kinzua Dam, where we arrived late in the day and had to pull over and camp on the shore of the reservoir. My soon to be wife woke us all up and we watched two racoons trying to figure out how to get into our boat. They kept tugging on the anchor line trying to get the boat closer to shore, so they could board it. They gave up after about 20 minutes. Oh, to have a video camera back then.
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Old 06-19-2003, 12:09 PM   #7
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Small World, Pick!

My first camping experience was also at Scotrun Lake in the late 60's. It's in French Creek State Park, and yes, it's still there!

Dad bought a big canvas tent, and the six of us spent a week in the rain. I think it stopped raining once, for about 15 minutes. The highlight of the week was a tour of the Amish pretzel factory. We went home, and dad promptly sold the tent. We never camped again as a family. (Not yet, anyway!)

At 21, I worked for the Forest Service in Alaska, and went camping with just a jockstrap, a knife, and fish hooks. We made fun of RVers.

At 25, I bought a dome tent, and made fun of RVers.

At 30, I got married, bought a bigger tent, and made fun of RVers.

At 35, I bought a bigger tent and some air mattresses. Thought Rvers might be entitled to their own opinion.

At 43, I bought my first RV. "It's a vintage Airstream, and it's for the kids," I rationalized.

All I can say is, in about 10 years, you people are going to have to give me a lot more room on the road, I think.

Tom

PS- I recall Kinzua Dam in PA, too, Pick. They had these huge carp that would swarm like bees if you threw popcorn in the water. They actually sold popcorn so you could feed the fish. I'm sure you'd need an Environmental Impact Statement to do that now!
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Old 06-19-2003, 01:05 PM   #8
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63, the carp are still there! You can feed them. I have some 35MM slides of Diane feeding them hotdogs The come up out of the water and grab them, just like a dog would.
You can also go to the spillway in Linesville, PA and feed the carp bread. I will post some pictures later. I was just there a few weekends ago.
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Old 06-19-2003, 01:27 PM   #9
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Hotdog-eating carp! Sounds like the ending to a bad Grey-Poupon commercial.

"Pardon me.....blub,blub..."

Look forward to the pics!
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Old 06-19-2003, 01:31 PM   #10
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Carp

Reminds me of the huge carp in Hershey Park when I was a kid. Each year, we would have a church picnic there and it was a real big thing for us kids to feed the carp.

Last time I was there was in about 1956, just before my dad died. I flew up to Washington on Friday night in a T-33 and the folks came to Washington to pick me up. Saturday, We went to Hershey Park. The carp were still there. I remember that I beat my dad on the strength machine which was a surprise. Little did we know that he had just a short while before a nigcancer took him.
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Old 06-19-2003, 04:05 PM   #11
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Most of the people I know still have a hard time believing I like to camp. When I was a kid, we did not have much money, but my dad liked to travel. We went to Gettysburg, DC, Harpers Farrey, Florida. All with a small tent and a chevy LUV. We boys rode in the back. I had a constant headache, I attributed it to riding backwards, now I think it may have been monoxide. Then when I was in HS, we lived in a 14 foot SOB while we remodled a house. I had a real aversion to anything called "Camping" Then my wifes grandparents were getting rid of stuff, you know how it goes when you get to a certian age. They had a 4 door 3/4 ton with a camper shell. My wife wanted it, because it was the truck our first daughter rode home from the hospital in, on her first trip. I never really expected to use it. Her granpa had spent years building in several systems to make camping extremely comfortable. Some of them I am still learning about, I donot remove anything unless I am sure I know what it is for. Well, then we figured out that a camper shell was too small for 5 people, not matter how nice it is. We bought a 16 foot SOB for the kids. OOOOPs, worked well until we daytripped, all the kids stuff was back at the camper, we had our stuff but did not need it, (clothes, toys, ect) So then we started to discuss what we would repalce it with. First we wanted AS quality, single bed, and it should be a 1979 to match our pickup. Believe it or not, there was one not a mile from our house. I happened to be talking to the guy one day, told him he should saddle up and go. He said they had not used it in so long that the should sell it. Not wanting to be to obvious, I made a mental note of the serial #, and figured out what it was. That was a long few months, not wanting to be too pushy, and screw up the deal, but at the same time knowing that it was exactly what we wanted. It did work out in the end, and now I would hate to have my wife chose between me and the AS. She cant drive the rig, but I am afraid she could learn, which leaves me redundant.
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Old 06-19-2003, 10:34 PM   #12
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our first camping trip ---not counting Boy Scouts, army, etc was almost in Pick's backyard. Orginally from Napoleon, Ohio.We went to the lake impoundment areas of southeastern Ohio. A wonderful area--at least it was in the 60's. Had a small tent, small child, & a large amount of rain. Pulled into the campground at some late hour & tried to put up the tent in a driving rain, with no lights. We were at that young & foolish age. Might say ---wet behind the ears. Thought I'd lost the wife for good, either from drowning or disgust, on the first trip. Like the good wife she is, she endured & stayed with it. Over the years we moved to the Land of 10,000 Lakes & have had tent trailers, larger tents, more kids & more rain. Finally went with a SOB hard shell shortly after a large black bear (note---they are all large at 10'--)came wondering thru the camp site, while we were eating. From my early age of reading Outdoor Life, etc, my heart has always been with an A/S. Now we have the A/S , no kids, they were replaced with an overly spoiled dog ( Mr. Turbo ). One of the first things we put in The Rig, was yes--- RAINCOATS. Rain or shine, the wife is now more agreeable to go camping, if you can call it that, the dog doesn't sulk, argue, or bite, unless I make him sleep on the floor and yes, the rain continues. Matter of fact we just returned from Door Co. Wisc & it was rain, rain ,rain. When we left Door Co, they were loading the Ark 2 by 2. The wife wanted to board, but I convinced her to stay & give it another try. We both agree on one thing & that's the rain sounds MUCH better on the A/S roof instead of canvas. O, the good memories of years gone by. Hardy but, foolish things we did.
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Old 06-24-2003, 02:31 PM   #13
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I am age 54 and have been camping.....

for about..let's see...54 years! My parents motto was "the kids came into our lives; we didn't come into theirs." Thus, where goeth the parents goeth the child, and my parents loved to camp. They would go off into the Sangre de Christo mountains of Northern New Mexico for a week or two at a time. This was before established state parks and official campgrounds. We had a big military-issue tent originally. A second one of smaller size provided a kitchen/mess hall/rec room. A slit trench out through the trees became the latrine. The little trout stream was the sink/bath/faucet. In 1959 my father won an electrical contract on a grade school construction site in Fairbanks, Alaska. He had the great idea of taking the entire family, which included three kids under the age of 12. He figured the time we missed from school getting there would be more than made up for by the experience. He was right. He bought a 28' Spartan. Anyone remember those? Riveted aluminum metal, just like an Airstream, but more of a square configuration. Anyway, it took 24 days from Tucumcari, New Mexico, to Fairbanks, Alaska. The Alcan highway in March. We were the first to fish Muncho Lake, British Columbia, that spring as we were there when the ice broke. What a "camping trip" it was to us kids. The real irony is that my parent's marriage survived it as well. While the folks and the Spartan are long gone, it is still a great memory for my two sisters and me. I've never lost the desire to camp, although I certainly enjoy the comforts a good RV provides over tents and sleeping on the ground. 20+ years in the Army provided one bivouac too many.
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Old 06-24-2003, 04:54 PM   #14
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I have been camping longer than I can remeber. My folks camped long before I was born. They rode motor cyles in the 60's. They would go to races and camp and go out with the club the were with (Highway Men Detroit).

I know one of my early camping trips was about 67 (I was born 66). My folks owned a Sunbeam Imp and went to Niagra falls with me. In 68 my folks bought a 68 VW Square back to replace the Imp.
In 70 my sister was Born. in 71 my dad went to monkey wards and bought a SMALL pop up.

We always took two 2 week camping trips a year after that. One when we got out of school for the summer and one just before school started. In 73 the Square back was replaced by a 73 VW 412 wagon. That carried us all over. We were bassed out of Try Michigan till 79. We went to FL, AZ, CO at least once a year (is Lone Duck campground still there?), MO, up and down the east coast all the way down to Key West You name it we went there east of the four corners.

In 79 we moved to Atlanta.

In 81 the 412 was replaced with a VW Vanaggon. What an improvement!

Lost my dad in 84. By that time I was old enough to drive. I inherited a very rusty 73 412. Mom sold the pop up so I went tent camping on occasion.

In 91 I married a crazy woman. Camping diding go will with her. We divorced in 92. Camped with friends.

Got remarried 8 years ago and a 2 year old girl was part of the package. Did a little camping. Became heavily involved in offroading. Camp a fair amount with the club we run with. 2 years ago our youngest was born. Wife didn't want to camp with her that young. I was tired of waking up went on a flat air matress and built a camper out of a 5x8ft trailer and a long bed camper shell. Throw a spare twin matress off the oldest kids trundle bed. Feel bad for all my buddies in tents when it rains and turn the osolating 12v fan on to dround out the rain and keep cool. Wake up dry and find wet people under my cannopee all the time LOL.

My wifes dad bought a used 59 Caravanner in 1980 when she was 9. He was an avid hunter and took it out several times a year. Around 92 he parked the 59 at a Campground in North GA and used it on weekends on a regular basis.

Feb 2003 My Father-in-law passed and we inherrited the 59.

Need to do some floor repair before she's road worthy. With some luck we may make a maiden voyage in the 59 at the end of summer. Somewhere close. Probably the top of GA Airstream park. Next year we plan to hit St George Island state park for a week in June and hope to make CO in August. Maybe hit Phonix AZ at fall school break and visit with my Wifes aunt and one of my grandmothers.

Get these memories going for these two girls of mine.
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Old 06-24-2003, 05:20 PM   #15
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Another AS becomes a family heirloom!!
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Old 07-26-2003, 12:42 PM   #16
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Great Stories...

Ok Guys I read with GREAT interest ALL Yr here postings, I thank U all 4 sharing 'em with us all...
So how many of U tried 2 Re- create that " Days gone by " theme, when the A/S was hitched 2 the Station Wagon, the pup, football, soda, ( and BUCKET ) were all loaded into the rear...Dad made final checks on the vehicular fluids...and as soon as U left the DRIVE...U were on VACATION..heading for the place U dreamed of PARADISE... .......
Only this time U r the DAD, and U tried 2 get it right, but somehow it all turned out a BIG let-down an as far as U r concerned NEVER AGN...Chris.....
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Old 10-01-2003, 07:52 PM   #17
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"I must be out of my mind!"

Our first camping trip was with a Starcraft popup camper. We had decided to try camping, my wife had never camped before. The first trip was almost the way you hear it advertised, sunny warm days, cool breezy nights, peace and quiet, etc, etc...
Then we decided the first trip had been such a success, we should do it again. That was our first mistake.
We arrived at the camprground early evening, in a very light drizzle. Set up the camper with no trouble, just a little grumbling about getting wet.
We stepped into the camper, turned on a light, and the deluge started. It rained for three days straight, 24 hours a day. When it didn't rain, it poured. We had record rainfall for that weekend.
By the time we left, we were reduced to huddling in the exact center of the camper, with rain pouring through the canvas almost everywhere. Sometime on day two, I remember thinking that I must have lost my mind. We decided maybe we should put pontoons under the camper, and make it a houseboat.
We got back into town Sunday night, Monday morning I was looking at our current trailer, an Argosy.
We have had several more short trips in the Argosy since, and we have learned that rain around here is an excellent way to make new friends, especially when you have a dry trailer, and the people on both sides of you are in tents...
Terry
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Old 10-01-2003, 08:35 PM   #18
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Growing up, my family always, without fail, camped over the fourth of July with member families of our church. Four or five families would caravan up to the Iowa Great Lakes and take over one of the loops in a campground. Each family had an SOB and a station wagon or pickup with camper shell. At first light, I was up and out of there to go fishing. I would walk around the lake looking for fish to catch. I'd spent the week before catching nightcrawlers by flashlight in our yard after dark. I was a fishing fool. These memories go back as far as I can remember. One spring, my aunt and uncle took me along to the Black Hills of South Dakota and I was amazed at the geography, clear lakes and streams, and these strange looking fish with the beautiful colors (trout). After moving away from home in '75, there were very few camping trips until I moved to Arizona. This is a great state for getting out and seeing the sights. Most of the early trips here were with friends and I slept in the back of my truck in a sleeping bag. After I got married in '93 we decided we wanted to go camping but my wife thought that camping meant a bathroom with shower, cooked meals, and a full size bed. I had other ideas. We met half way and borrowed a friend's pop-up. Sure, we can pull that with a Dodge Caravan, two kids, a dog and more stuff that we'd ever need. The temp. gauge never left the red during the whole trip. On the way home, coming out of the Salt River Canyon (10 miles down, 10 miles back out) the transmission had had enough.

We decided we still liked camping but needed other vehicles, on both sides of the hitch. Some time later, I went on a fishing trip with a friend in his '60 Trade Wind and I was the one that got caught. From then on, all I could think about was owning a vintage gleaming Airstream. My wife and I love camping in it and I will always have one parked out front.

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