My first campint rip is ethed in my memory – Dec. 26, 1971. Before I continue, let me tell you a little background leading up to that trip.
My husband, Tom, enjoyed Thanksgiving weekend on a eer huntng trip with his buddies for many years. During that timeframe, he would say to me-‘we should go camping’. I certainly was not a person who wanted to be a camper. Sleeping in a tent just didn’t seem like enjoyment to me. Plus dealing with 3 young children would only make it miserable. Give ma a cozy room at a hotel with a pool, room service and restaurant.
When he left on his 1971 trip something happened inside of me that I never felt before. I got a very strange ‘bug’ that I just couldn’t explain. It’s called the ‘RV Bug’. So the kids and I went looking at RVs while he was gone. Tom had always said “I never want to pull one of those big trailer”. I began my mission looking at pop-ups. I gathered numerous pamphlets of different manufacturers. The next move had to be strategist because it would be a big expense for our very limited budget. I put the pamphlets in my drawer and wondered how I was going to present them to him. I even said a prayer asking God to let me know”when” is the right time.
Tom came home from that trip with a deer so he was full of stories. As I was listening to all the action of the hunt and he finally stopped to take a breath,I jumped in and quickly asked about camping in the tent. He said, “we pitched the tent in a nice clearing when we got there Wednesday. On Thursday we cooked Thanksgiving dinner and right after we ate, it started raining and rained all night. We didn’t realized we had pitched the tent in a low spot and the tent flooded… (right there, in the middle of his sentence, I thought – thank you God, this is ‘when’) … and we had to move it in the rain”. I immediately got the pamphlets to show them to him. Within 2 weeks, we purchased an Apache pp-up trailer as a Christmas gift for the family. We were so proud of our new addition and very anxious to use it. So, on December 26, all 5 of us took off on our first experience camping. We drove 1 1/2 hrs. to Fountainbeau State Park. As we drove around the campground looking for the perfect site, I decided we should show off our brand ne camper. I laughted and told Tom “lets park next to that old camper, it doesn’t even have paint on it”. Little did I know the value of an Airstream.
The next day we met the cuple in that Airstream. We learned they were “full-timers”. A term we had nver heard of before now. They told us how they live in their trailer and of their excursions around the U.S. We were fascinated.
Since that first memorable trip we have had many other RVs. Now we have downsized to a 30′-5th wheel (and yes, Tom pulls it with the tow vehicle). “No” we never did ‘go full-time’ but we have traveled in every state in the U.S. and most of Canada in a RV and loved every trip. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Submitted by Patricia Ohlsen as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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