My First RV Trip began in 1945 when my brave parents bought a trailer. This adventure started when I was 9 months old, with the winter in Florida and spring in Mississippi, to check out this type of lifestyle – being new parents. Since we seemed to enjoy this lifestyle, the decision was made to see the country. So, my parents, my grandmother and I, all of 20 months old, headed west. As I came to understand it, the few campgrounds available were very primitive; so water had to be carried, dish water thrown out the door– like tent camping; there were no coach batteries or propane to maintain the refrigerator, so blocks of ice had to be purchased frequently. There were no TV, AC, holding tanks, showers, or washer/dryers. I had a special crib my father made, which hung from the ceiling at night and clamped up out of the way during the day.
A 1942 Plymouth car pulled the trailer. Two lane Federal Highways were the roads of choice as the Interstate Highway System had not been developed. Stopping at night or for several days at a gas station, some farmers’ field or a home driveway was commonplace. Conversations lasted well into the night between my parents and property owners, some of whom even did our laundry, showed my father the best places to buy a bushel of oysters and other local favorites. The four of us spent about two years full time going to such wonderful places as San Antonio, Phoenix, Tucson, Mexico, the Painted Desert, Santa Monica Beach, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon with a Park Fee of 50 cents a month. We had the luxury of time and could go wherever and for as long as we wished. Meal times consisted of picnics as our small trailer was not conducive to sit down meals.
After two years on the road, we became some of the original snow birds, hauling the trailer to Florida each fall and back north each spring. There still was no Interstate system, just Route 1 & 301 with small motels, local restaurants and Stuckey stores lining the highway. Each winter, we stayed at the same campground, as I had to go to school, splitting my school year between New York and Florida.
I got the travel bug rather early and continue the “Trip of a Lifetime” with many more conveniences, but still taking Federal Highways to better see this country and observe the culture and structure of America. As I travel these highways, some of which I have been taking for over 60 years, I wish I had asked more questions of my family about how they actually managed full timing in the 1940’s. My Memories of the first segment of this Trip, are from stories told, pictures taken and journals written. Taken all together it was quite an experience and a story of some very brave and adventuresome folks, out to see this wonderful country we live in, the USA!
Submitted by Ellen Storer of Bluffton, SC as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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