Back in 1970 when I was 7 years old I can remember my Dad coming home from work and telling the family we were going to pick up a truck after dinner. We ended up going to one of my Dad’s friend’s house and my Dad purchased a Blue over White 1968 Ford F250 Camper Special pickup truck from him. I got to ride in the bed of the truck on the way home. The next day Dad took the truck and came back home with a brand new camper on the truck. I cannot recall the brand name of the camper, but it had a bed over the truck cap and it extended about three feet past the rear bumper. I had never been in a camper or trailer at that point of my life. The camper had three beds, a queen size over the cab, the dinner table folded down to become a double bed, and a double bed rested on the dinner table head rest. It also had a double sink, stove, oven, and even a toilet.
Dad soon packed the family up (four kids and dog) and we headed North out of Illinois towards the Northern woods of Wisconsin. Our first stop was at my Dad’s sister’s house in Rothchester, Wisconsin. I spent my first night in the camper in my Aunt’s driveway, which does not sound exciting, but to me it was like camping out in some remote wilderness. Mom and Dad got the bed over the cab, my two sisters got the table bed, and my brother and I got the bunk bed. What was remaining of the floor my dog Tippy got. Everyone was a bit cozy. That was the first in many Wisconsin vacation trips that we took in the camper, and just about used the camper every weekend to go fishing in, usually leaving immediately when Dad got home from work, and coming home on Sunday night. We even took it during the winter to go ice fishing, Dad would drive the camper right out on the ice.
In 2007, my Dad passed away and Mom asked me to help go through some of my Dad’s stuff, one was the camper. Even though the truck was rusting and 39 years old, it still started up, but the brakes were gone (lines rusted through). The camper part was in pretty bad shape, it was 37 years old and sat for the last 10 years and the roof had been leaking. We ended up selling the truck to a guy down the block and the camper was beyond saving, a friend took it to the junk yard for us.
About a year later in 2008, I purchased a 1990 Toyota Odyssey, a 22 foot class C motorhome. It pretty much had the same floor plan as my Dad’s camper truck, even about the same length. It only had two beds, one over the cab, and the couch pulled out. There is five of us (three boys, wife, and I), and our dog Scout. After our first trip in it, which was two weeks after we brought it, we did a two week road trip to the Grand Canyon. One thing we quickly realized is that we needed a third bed. On the way home from the trip I stopped by to see my friend that helped with my Dad’s camper, to show him the Toyota. As we talked about it, I stated that I was planning on making a bunk bed to go over the couch, I just needed to figure out how to build the frame.
My friend stated for me to follow him into his garage, where he presented me with a double bed aluminum frame, and stated that it came out of my Dad’s truck. It was the same one that my brother and I slept on as kids. The frame was the correct length, but about 18 inches wider than I could use. I ended up cutting the frame at one of the supports and it gave me the width that I needed. I cleaned up the frame, put on new plywood, got a foam pad, and only had to install two bolts in the Toyota and had a nice removable custom fitted bunk bed. Even though the old truck camper is gone, every time we take the Toyota out I see the bunk bed and it brings back old memories.
Submitted by Dennis Booth of Carmel, IN as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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