Do you Remember your First Camping trip and what year was it

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Re: Do you Remember your First Camping trip and what year wa

Postby mezmo » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:41 am

My family's first camping trip was in the early summer of 1963.

My aunt and uncle [Mom's sister] had bought a a basic Apache tent
trailer and some basic camping equipment and started camping the
previous year [1962]. My folks had visited them while they were
camping and thought it'd be a fun economical family activity.

So over the winter, Dad scouted out and found a used 1961 13ft
Hi-Lo telescoping TT. All it had was a dinette and gaucho, no
galley, the only storage was under the seats. I remember going
with him and picking it up. He was no stranger to towing trailers
as he was a pipe-liner and had towed our house-trailers from job to
job etc.. I was his right hand man [age 12] when hooking up and
then setting up and tearing down.

We had a 1963 Rambler Cross Country 6 cylinder automatic trans
station wagon, outfitted with an axle mounted equalizing hitch.
This had reclining front seat-backs that folded down into a very
uneven bed surface.

The first trip was to Arrowhead Campground off Rte16 in Western
New York State, with my aunt and uncle and family. It was a nice
privately owned campground. We were woefully under-equipped.
Basically a cheap rectangular sheet metal charcoal grill, a small
cooler, a 5-10 gallon blue porcelain coffee pot and excess pots and
pans and dishes from home, and extra sheets and blankets.

My folks and three sisters slept in the HI-Lo [it also had two pipe
and canvas cot-bunks above the dinette and gaucho]. My two
brothers were small enough then that they slept in the cargo area
of the Rambler and I slept on the uneven seat/bed. We didn't
mind that, as it was sort of 'neat' to be sleeping in the car,and it
also got us out of the chore of emptying the notorious "Pee can"
[large Maxwell House coffee can and lid] that the Hi-Lo sleepers
always seemed to fill to the brim both the nights we were there.
[Too much information? Ha!]

It was a fun weekend for us kids. I suspect it wasn't so much
of a total thrill for my poor Mom. Imagine cooking for a family
of eight on that little sheet metal charcoal grill ! Ha! I remember
that the coffee situation was a total disaster ! No one starved,
as my Mom had a great talent for improvising meals and making
something from 'nothing', great cook that she was.

Lessons were learned on that initial weekend. The next trip
out: Everyone had new sleeping bags! There was a new Coleman
campstove and lantern ! Also a new large Coleman cooler - the
one with the four ss bar handles that'd let you use it upright
like an icebox if you wanted to. As well as camping pots and
pans and dishes etc.. A couple years later, we added a small 24"x30"
galley against the wall opposite the entry door, consisting of a
cabinet topped by a sink and a two burner stove top. I had my
first experience installing ceramic tiles when I did the counter
surface with them at the ripe age of 14. Alas the notorious
"Pee can" ' chore survived for my sisters, until my folks finally
traded the Hi-Lo in on a 19ft Nomad, with a bath, @ 1970.
By that time, they had become seasonal campers at a
private campground @20 miles from where they lived. I went in
the USAF the next year. They later traded the Nomad in on a
nice 26ft Carriage. They remained seasonal campers at the same
campground up until my Dad passed on in 1989.

We had a lot of fun camping trips over the years in Western NY
and PA. They sort of dwindled off for us older kids as we got
into the High School years and we got part-time jobs and all, but
we still made it up to the campground for the campfire often
after that. Mountain pies and s'mores can even draw teens to
the campfire flames.

Cheers,
Norm/mezmo
If you have a house - you have a hobby.
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Re: Do you Remember your First Camping trip and what year wa

Postby skline25 » Wed May 09, 2012 7:35 pm

I guess my first camping trip I remember is with my grand parents to Long Beach Washington and digging razor clams this was the late 1960's or early 1970's. they had an old Ford pickup with a Caveman Camper (made in Grants Pass, Oregon). I also remember several trips with my parents sleeping in an old canvas army tent. One time it was raining real hard and we had rats climbing up and down the wooden tent poles, that was the last time my mom went camping.
I was a Boy Scout (Eagle Rank) and our troop went camping every month, sometimes we went for weeks at a time on "High Adventure" camps. Some of our trips were what we called pioneer camps, where we made our own shelters with black plastic sheeting. As I grew older, I made an occasional trip to Yosemite and backpacked the high sierra for a week or better at a time, being resupplied at the organized camps by mule train. Then I went on to be a wildland firefighter for the Forest Service for 16 years and spend roughly 60 to 90 days a summer fighting wild fires living in tents in almost every state West of the Mississippi River. When I switched careers, I bought a camp trailer, sold it and now have a camper on my half ton short box pickup. I am going to build a tear to pull behind my restored bronco or my wife's explorer.
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