Our Family's Last Tent Camping Trip

Our goal was to reach Campbridge MD in time for a Meredith Family Reunion. Money was saved for gas and incidentals (no credit cards back then), and lot of planning was done.

We planned our route, bought a campsite book that listed every campground between Oxnard CA and our destination. I planned the menu for every single day and purchased the non-perishables needed for each day and put them in a sack marked with the day. Yes, I was that organized.

We drove a VW van and pulled a homemade trailer with all our equipment--took our youngest 3 kids and our clothes for the trip--and yes, I planned to do laundry along the way.

Things began okay, but quickly fell apart. 

Our old bus barely made it over the first mountain. To start the bus, we (me and the kids) had to push it, didn't take much effort even with the loaded trailer.

We had planned to tent camp on the mountain before going into Denver, but it snowed. We didn't have gear to stay in a tent in the snow. We had to find a motel--big bite out of a tight budget.

It took1 hour to set up camp (old tents weren't easy to set up) and 1 hour to break down before we left. This included cooking and eating.

From there on, we did okay with campsites--we stayed in the free country and state campground for 2 or 3 nights, then a KOA or other that we had to pay for so we could do laundry.

We saw a lot of the country from the bus--but had no time to stop for real sight seeing. 

We always had to put up the tent because no matter how pretty the day was, it rained almost every night.

Because it always took longer to get places, sometimes we couldn't get to the campground we wanted and had to beg to stay in private campgrounds--fortunately the owners took pity on this rag-tag group.

We were one day late to the reunion and everyone had left. We still got to see a lot of relatives. We put the bus into the shop to see if we could get the problem of it not starting repaired. We paid for the repairs, but once back on the road, it wouldn't start again.

We came home a different way, more southern, but we were still plagued by rain everywhere---except New Mexico where everyone's tent blew down except ours. (Hubby was diligent about make our tent secure.)

When we finally arrived home, I vowed never to tent camp again. Our next trips were made in a camper.

Marilyn


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