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Old 01-14-2021, 07:45 AM   #1
jsb5717
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Humble beginnings...Where it all began

Seems like most of us on the forum have been hauling trailers for many, many years. I just retired and was reminiscing about life back in the day and was curious about some of our stories about when we first started trailering.

DW and I have been married 39 years. Right after we tied the knot she informed me that her idea of roughing it was Motel 6. We both grew up tent camping but she wasn't having any more of that. We didn't have a lot of money and our first towable was a disreputable, ancient, tent trailer. It was old and ugly but we used it for 2 seasons. About year 3 of marriage we bought our first TT. It was a 23' 1977 Layton. It wasn't fancy but we were delighted to have it. It served our young family well and made many great memories. We used that thing for 10 years and sold it for what we paid for it. Not bad. Our next rig was a 5er and we've been pulling 5ers ever since.

We have loved trailering since that first TT and look forward to more of it since we have both retired.

Anyone else? How did it all begin?
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Old 01-14-2021, 10:13 AM   #2
Canonman
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I had always been a "dirt camper". Sometimes a tent was used and sometimes a tarp. The DW had grown up hard-side camping. She; "I'm not camping in the dirt". Me; "I'm not pulling a motel room behind me". She won of course and we bought a used travel trailer, "just to try it out". Our first real trip that year was 5 days dry camping in the San Juan mountains near Ridgeway, Colorado. It was late fall and we had rain, snow and hail every day. The trailer had hot and cold running water, thermostat controlled heat and a queen sized bed. I was SOLD!! No more cold, wet, sleeping on the ground and cooking in a storm for me.
3 years later we upgraded to the Cougar. It's a little bigger than I wanted but the DW says "it's just right". Who am I to argue
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Old 01-15-2021, 07:29 AM   #3
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We started camping on my Honda motorcycle. Two sleeping bags on the fender, a 2 man backpacking tent, and some food and cooking stuff in a pack hanging on the sissy bar - that's all we needed. My only regret is not having captured a photo of that first "rig". Shortly after, we moved up to a hard sided rig - talk about "hog heaven" - we were IN!

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Old 01-15-2021, 05:59 PM   #4
dutchmensport
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Motorcycle and a sleeping bag. Nothing else except a hand operated can opener and a fork and spoon. I would open a can of Pork n Beans, put it in a fire, warm it it, and eat right from the can. The can served as a cooking pot and a dinner plate all in one. I also carried a cloths hanger wire I could use for a hotdog stick. I had a lot of fun back then, but that ground sure did get cold sometimes!

You know, there's an old saying you can tell how happy a motorcycle rider is by the amount of bugs on his teeth! I had a lot of bugs on my teeth, face, cloths, knees, ......
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Old 01-15-2021, 06:30 PM   #5
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Motorcycle and a sleeping bag. Nothing else except a hand operated can opener and a fork and spoon. I would open a can of Pork n Beans, put it in a fire, warm it it, and eat right from the can. The can served as a cooking pot and a dinner plate all in one. I also carried a cloths hanger wire I could use for a hotdog stick. I had a lot of fun back then, but that ground sure did get cold sometimes!

You know, there's an old saying you can tell how happy a motorcycle rider is by the amount of bugs on his teeth! I had a lot of bugs on my teeth, face, cloths, knees, ......

DW and I had some wonderful times on our bikes in the 60s/early 70s. That comment about bugs in the teeth etc.....which we heard back then, sort of morphed on a trip we were taking across the OK panhandle into the mountains of NM. Cruising along, having a blast, old style helmet, no shield; turned around to yell something at DW, turned around and a big beetle hit me in the corner of my eye and embedded there - stuck! Bikes were fun, and I loved them.....but I wore a shield from then on.
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Old 01-15-2021, 07:18 PM   #6
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I swore when I exited the Army in 1972 I'd never live eat or sleep on the dirt, be in the bush or battle insects.... I also swore I'd never stand in line to eat...hence no buffet restaurants.. over the years I did try some much larger tents and learned to live with buffet restaurants..
Fast forward to 2018 when I borrowed my friends travel trailer and took a long weekend at a campground... I and my DW of 40 years enjoyed ourselves immensely.. It was the next year when we made the move to get our TT....
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Old 01-16-2021, 03:54 AM   #7
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DW and I bought a Sears canvass tent at a yard sale for $15 in 1989. Married for one year with little money. She cut the awning off and used it to patch some huge holes in the roof with a repair kit that cost about $5. It was about 18 feet long. 3 separate rooms. Stayed at the national park campground near Oregon Inlet, NC for $10 a night. 11 days at the beach for $100.
Next a backpacker special. 2 sleeping bags, 2 air mattresses, and 2 person nylon tent. Started backpacking and sleeping on the trail.
Some years later a friend gave us a 1965 Airstream he used only for sleeping and cooking as a hunt camp. Lots of work later and we were on the road. Now on our 5th TT and finally able to get away several times a year.
Good memories. Thanks for starting the thread.
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Old 01-16-2021, 07:55 AM   #8
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The DW and I started dating in 1975. I had a '73 Dodge van that I had fixed up with paneling, shag carpet, bed and a Sony quadraphonic 8 track.

We camped in that for many years and pulled the Honda 750 around on a trailer or drove the bike to a location and stayed in cheap hotels.

After a couple of kids we purchased a Coleman 2 room cabin tent and family camped in that until the kids were 10 & 11.

We bought a Starcraft pop-up trailer and drug it allover, until some guy rang my door bell and asked if I want to sell it. By that time the kids were too cool to camp with mom and dad and were camping with friends, so we did not do much camping until we bought our current camper in 2015.

Our current rig is just perfect for the 2 of us and the 70 pound dog.

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Old 01-16-2021, 08:04 AM   #9
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As a young boy, my parents had canvas tents. We used those on hunting trips. We had several family members who lived or had beach property on Oregon coast. So camping was during big game hunting seasons.
As a teenager they got a pop up trailer and we used that maybe 10 years. With that we visited more of the Oregon and Washington coastal areas. Still used tents and the trailer while hunting. When 15 and I had only a driver permit, Dad let me drive part way home from Eastern Oregon. Those trips took maybe 6 hours each way. At some point while still in Eastern Or. on a 2 lane narrow road. I drove through a curve and a group of mule deer where standing all over the road. No way drive around them and they were not moving. I braked hard and steered to keep control and on the road. That was the 1st time pulling a trailer and 1st time I experienced driving while trying to keep control while hard braking and having a trailer push the tow vehicle all over the road.
When they got the 1st hard sided travel trailer, I was out on my own. In my mid twenties I purchased my families 1st travel trailer. I have owned 5 TTs,3 truck campers and 1 40 ft park trailer. Barrowed a 5th wheel and pickup for a weekend to try before buy. I did not buy them. Barrowed Dads largest MH a 34 fter for a 2 week trip on the Oregon coast and Crater Lake. That was a fun trip, but we did not have a dingy so, no sight seeing outside of the campgrounds. I still have had canvas tents for the more rugged places I sometimes go to hunt elk. Places that no RV should be pulled. A canvas tent with a wood stove burning, sleeping on cots is not to bad.
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Old 01-17-2021, 06:58 PM   #10
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Growing up, my family’s camping was done in motels. Hubby’s family camped his whole life growing up. When hubby and I got married 26 years ago, we did tent camping around Laramie, WY on the weekends sometimes so we could fish for fun while in college. And then the one weekend - thunderstorm came through at 11pm, and hubby was packing up a tent in the rain while I huddled in the car because I’m a chicken when it comes to thunder (lightning doesn’t scare me, the thunder does - go figure ).

After that, we would camp occasionally with his parents in the mountains while work/ kids/ life took over.

Fast forward to 2014. Hubby wants to go look for a TT so he could go fishing in SE MN (trout area) and we would be comfy with him if storms came up. Looked at TTs and I wasn’t impressed. Took one step into our Cougar X-Lite and it was the one. No ifs, ands, or buts. We now have a seasonal site down in SE MN that we stay at most weekends except if we head out west, and have taken the camper to NY state and out west back to MT and WY more times than I can count. We love the camper/ camping and I wish we would have gotten back into it much sooner when the kids were younger.
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Old 01-17-2021, 07:16 PM   #11
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Having grown up open and tent camping in the 60's and 70's you would have never convinced me that we would one day spend over $60K on a camper and another $60K on a truck to pull it..... Yet here we are.
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:48 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Canonman View Post
I had always been a "dirt camper". Sometimes a tent was used and sometimes a tarp. The DW had grown up hard-side camping. She; "I'm not camping in the dirt". Me; "I'm not pulling a motel room behind me". She won of course and we bought a used travel trailer, "just to try it out". Our first real trip that year was 5 days dry camping in the San Juan mountains near Ridgeway, Colorado. It was late fall and we had rain, snow and hail every day. The trailer had hot and cold running water, thermostat controlled heat and a queen sized bed. I was SOLD!! No more cold, wet, sleeping on the ground and cooking in a storm for me.
3 years later we upgraded to the Cougar. It's a little bigger than I wanted but the DW says "it's just right". Who am I to argue
Where are these photos?? That is beautiful!!
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Old 01-21-2021, 10:01 AM   #13
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When we 1st started camping we camped in a tent and a screened in room at Devil's Lake Wisconsin. DW and I in the tent with the baby, and the older 2 in the Screened in room on air mattresses.

Got up the 1st morning and my head was the size of VW bus (I think the beer must have been bad ) , and it took us forever to get the fire hot enough to make coffee and get breakfast.

We got home from that trip, and bought a new Pop-up. We dragged that thing all around the country. Disney, Black Hills, Cape Cod to name a few. From there to a TT, and the rest is history. Never had a 5th wheel. Been at it for 35 years.
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Old 01-21-2021, 10:04 AM   #14
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My parents started with my sister and me back in the 80s. First was a Chevrolet van with shag carpet, a hand pump sink, and a porta-potty. Then went through a Dodge class C with equally ugly interior...all brown. Then was a slightly newer (probably a 1987) GMC class C with all new brown and ORANGE paint and interior... We then stepped up to a 30' Prowler 5th wheel, then a 35' Copper Canyon 5th. I had grown up and gotten married a couple years ago bought my own 32' Cougar travel trailer and was enjoying going to vacations with my parents in their 35' Class A gas burner. It was my dads dream for a diesel pusher however and last year they made it happen with a Astoria freightliner chasis. They used it 3 times and my dad passed away from COVID complications this past October. He taught me so much about RVs and everything in general. Gosh, we have such great memories in the RVs though. I'm almost 42 now and my family (along with my mom for as long as we can) will continue to make more.
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Old 01-21-2021, 10:35 AM   #15
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...It was my dads dream for a diesel pusher however and last year they made it happen with a Astoria freightliner chasis. They used it 3 times and my dad passed away from COVID complications this past October. He taught me so much about RVs and everything in general. Gosh, we have such great memories in the RVs though. I'm almost 42 now and my family (along with my mom for as long as we can) will continue to make more.
So sorry to hear about your dad. That's a huge loss. I'm so glad you found your way to this forum. Your age bracket is definitely in the minority here so it's great to have you.

One common theme seems to be that our camping accommodations go mostly one direction...bigger. That's certainly been our experience. Over the years each RV was bigger than the last.
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Old 01-21-2021, 10:37 AM   #16
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My wife and I grew up tent camping, so when we tied the knot (1984), we ventured out (with a dog) for a couple years under the cover of a tent. The the natural progression began. Wife wanted “off the ground”, so we ended up in a Coleman pop-up. Spent a good 10 years, added our son and moved into a hybrid Aerolite TT. Then a Trailcruiser hard side, we made it to our first 5th wheel 8 years ago, a 30’ Signature Ultralite by Forest River. Both of us always enjoy seeing what the RV shows are offering and we were always impressed with the Cougar. Timing was right and joined the Cougar family in 2019. Happy Trails!
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Old 01-21-2021, 11:20 AM   #17
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Wow how time moves! I grew up camping in a Wheel Camper pop up in the state campground near my house, a hand pump for water and an outdoor bath, no power, with my dad and mom and sisters, after marriage it was backpacking and fishing with friends then my son joined the cub scouts in first grade so it was more tent camping with him through his senior year in HS, he became an Eagle Scout then off to college so camping stopped, fast forward to 2012 when I bought the first TT, a Casita , then a grandson came along and that was his playhouse, then another grandson and a need for a bigger TT, a 1750RK crossfire then another grandson has come along so hopefully my last TT purchase, a 2021 243bhs Bullet, looking forward to many adventures with the family!
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Old 01-21-2021, 05:12 PM   #18
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Wow, great thread bringing back so many memories.
First camping experience, age 6 with family, my dad borrowed a 6 man tent from a neighbor. Loved it. Then in school my buddies and I would spend most of the summer fishing, hiking and sleeping under the stars at the nearby lakes.
Then there was the times I bivouaced in the Black Forest with my uncle Sam.
Fast forward a few years, married with kids and DW says "let's go camping", I say "I don't want to sleep on the ground anymore". I bought a Sears popup from a co-worker for $150. Dry camped at the local State park. No hook ups, no matter the camper had nothing to hook up, only beds and space in between. Decided we like camping so gave that one to our church for the youth group to use and we upgraded to a larger pop up with a sink, stove and ice box. Several more pops till the kids were all out of the house. Now just DW and I so we bought a used 19' Coachman TT which carried us till retirement. Two of our children had moved to the south so we bought a 5th wheel and became snow birds. We live in a resort area of upstate NY so summers we stay home but come snow and we head south. Couple years ago we went for our first "new" 5er and became Montana owners.
49 years of marriage, we have come a long way and are still loving it.
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Old 01-21-2021, 06:16 PM   #19
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We always tent camped with our sons. In fact, a trailer wouldn't have worked. They insisted that they each had their own small tent.
After the boys moved out, I bought an old 12' single axle for a deer hunt camper. When I got it home, I found it had a lot of wood rot. I was ready to haul it to the scrapper, but my Sweetie had fallen in love with it and said we should fix it. She named it "Love Shack" and even made a painting of a cabin for the front rain shield.
It has a hand water pump, solar charger, a flat screen TV, microwave, a three burner stove & oven. It also has a lot of storage space for such a small camper.

We've traveled all over the country with it and a couple trips into Canada too.
The only issue is it has no toilet or shower. We do carry a port-a-potty just in case we cant get into an equipped campground. (My Sweetie is a really good sport!)

We just bought a new self contained trailer and truck, but still use our little "Love Shack" for camping in the smaller state park camp spots.
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Old 01-21-2021, 06:35 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by LewisB View Post
We started camping on my Honda motorcycle. Two sleeping bags on the fender, a 2 man backpacking tent, and some food and cooking stuff in a pack hanging on the sissy bar - that's all we needed. My only regret is not having captured a photo of that first "rig". Shortly after, we moved up to a hard sided rig - talk about "hog heaven" - we were IN!

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Great stories.
What car is towing the little camper?
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