It was Alaska, it was early May ( 1972 ) and it was my families first RVing experience.
We had been assigned to a US Army base just north of Anchorage and most of my time was spent in the “field”… away from my family and so we decided that when I was at home, we would spend that time doing family things in a “camper”.
Our first RV was a fifteen foot Scotty travel trailer that we pulled with an International Travelall. The Scotty was used, but it had all a young family of five needed: a two burner stove, a three-way refrigerator, a porta-podi storage area and it “sort of” slept five. The water tank held, if I remember correctly, fifteen gallons of water and was dispersed from a pump faucet in the kitchen sink.
Prior to our first outing, the family scrubbed the Scotty from top to bottom and I took care of cleaning the water system by filling and dumping the water tank a few times (through a pet-cock beneath the camper). Once it was cleaned to our satisfaction, we filled it with food, clothes, water and kids and we were on our way to adventures in the wilds of Alaska.
Since we were new to the camping scene, we decided not to travel too far away from our home base, just in case we had a problem, and picked a very RUSTIC, electric only campground about an hour away. What a beautiful site we chose…it looked out over a lake, had a stream running close to it, was quiet and we felt it was the perfect site for our inaugural trip.
What a great start !… BUT… when my wife went to get a glass of water….there was none! I had forgotten to close the water drain pet-cock and all of our water had drained out on the way to our campsite.
My oldest son, then ten years old, was very disappointed because he thought we would have to return to the base to fill up with water and thereby cut his adventure time down. That’s when my old survival skills kicked in…since we were parked adjacent to a beautiful crystal clear stream and since, on our camp-out check list we had included a bucket, the choice was simple…we would trace the stream up the mountain and fetch our own water !
So I got the gang together, buckets and water carrying equipment in tow and after making my ten year old the “trail boss”… off we went, possibly retracing the steps that maybe the early settlers had made….finding hidden treasures along the way for the eight and four year old. The result…? Water was gathered, meals were cooked and our first RVing experience was a huge success and a trip to remember…here it is thirty-eight years later and I still remember it.
Submitted by Thomas Pearcy of Bella Vista, AR as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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