Our first RV experience began in the spring of 1977 with my wife and our two children who were ages 5 and 2. As a young couple, with not much money, we thought that camping would be one way to fight the high costs of vacationing and be good for the boys and us to experience. We bought our first piece of equipment used. It was an Apache solid state pop-up camper. My wife refused to camp in a tent on the ground with the bugs.
We left for our first trip to the midwest from the east coast. We had an awning made for the pop-up and I attached it the camper the best that I knew how with brackets on the pop-up. The camper was packed amd away we went.
At our first campground in Pennsylvania, I struggled to level the camper. The tongue was 3 ft. off the ground. At that time, I did not realize that you could request a different site, if that site did not work.
We flipped over the cabinets and then I went out to hook the water and electric up. As I turned on the water, my wife screamed “There is water leaking under the sink”. I quickly turned off the water and upon inspection, the nipple on the bottom of the faucet had broken and repairs were needed. Because the site being unlevel, the camper now had a bow at the door and the door could not close, without slamming. So off I went with the boys to go and get a leveling jack for the pop-up. Finally, dinner was done and the rest of the eveing was uneventful as we sat back and relaxed.
The next day after packing up, we headed down the highway. Everything was fine for a couple of hours. Then as I checked my mirrors, I saw our brand new awning flapping the in the wind. We pulled over to find the awning badly ripped. We removed it and put it in the trunk of the car. No one told us that the awning gets installed at the campgrounds before you raise the pop-up.
Our second night was not without an adventure as well. We were in a campground in Ohio and the weather was blistering hot and muggy. No problem, we will live outside until bedtime, so we though.
Wrong!! To our dismay, the black fly population was huge. We could not do anything without a dozen flies all around us. We had to buy the hanging fly paper and move indoors without air conditioning. We survived the night without much sleep and moved on the next day.
While getting fuel on the Ohio turnpike, the attendant (no self serve in those days), forgot to put the gas cap back on. We had to find an auto parts store fo a new one.
The third day was uneventful until we arrived at our campground. The campground looked beautiful with lots of grass and some new trees. It was on a small pond as well. It only took 4 campsites to find an electric box that I could plug into without getting sparks. Quite the fireworks display on some of them. The shower builing was new and looked in great shap on the outside. Upon inspection, the shower curtains were disgusting and covered in mold. This was unacceptable to us to be camped there for a week to use those showers. As we drove to visit friends, we passed another campground, so we swung in there to check the place out. After checking out the place, we decided to move. Well, as you can guess, after moving we found out all was not as we perceived it to be. The campground was nice, but the problem was the showers again. If you did not one of the first ones in, the drains did not work well and there was 2-3 inches of water to stand in. We dealt with it and stayed the week.
While we were visiting the area, my sister-in-law joined us with her family of three. Imagine sleeping seven people in a pop-up. It was wall to wall bodies.
By the time we arrived home we were very experienced campers. If this trip did not kill our love of camping, we were hooked for life.
We never gave up and we are still RVing after 32 years. We have upgraded through the years to a Class A motorhome. We are now having fun bringing our grandchildren and exposing them to the fun of camping.
We have traveled extensively and have met so many wonderful people and have cherished memories of each trip we take.
Submitted by Art Dery of Deming, NM as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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