Our first RV was a camper shell on the back of my dad's farm pick-up (1970 Chevy) with a butane tank in back; this would have been in 1971. My wife & I drove from Harlingen, TX to Las Cruces, NM for a job interview. We bought the camper shell for the trip. We had two fold up cots (old army style, canvas, take apart to fold), a borrowed Coleman camp stove. The camp stove's leather pump was dry, therefore we had a time getting it to work. Corn oil on the leather to get it going. First time to sleep in it was a KOA in Las Cruces. Got the job, found a small house to rent, spent another night at the KOA. Went to Carlsbad. Can't remember others stops. No real problem. Fell in love with RVing & New Mexico and have been at it for 38 years.
After getting back home, we bought a '71 Chevy Pickup for the camper shell. After moving to NM, I added build in bunks, storage, a spot for a Coleman ice chest and a wooden floor over the metal bed with indoor/outdoor carpet. It was a neat set up for us. It even had a little seat, so you could have a place to put on shoes, etc in the back close to the door. The camper shell had a solid back, with a door & windows
on both sides. I took the tail gate off. It had 3 tiers, tallest in the rear, of course. It was great for boon docking & dispersed camping. We also got a port-a-potty.
We also bought a new Coleman stove in Las Cruces before we left. Ha!
In '75, at least I believe it was '75. Traded this set-up on a '75 Scout II 4x4, slept in the back with the tailgate down with a sheet over the back to keep out bugs, or in a tent.
A few years later, around '83 or 4, I got an old '60 something Holiday Rambler Truck Camper for the old '70 pick up, after I got it from my mom. It had roof leaks
, water leaks
if on city, smelled bad until got to cooking in it each trip. I took the mattress out & burned it (living out on a small, 5 acre farm at the time). It fit a long bed pick-up.
Bought a TT in '86 (a 20' 1983 Komfort Lite Bunkhouse with a head & shower, Wow!) which we took on a trip to Yellowstone, Glacier, Baniff in Canada to Victoria, BC then down the west coast to SoCal & back home towed with the 16 year old '70 Chevy farm truck without a butane tank & a low shell.
After several new to us tows through the years, we went to a '96 Coachman Catalina C-class 22' MH in '97. We went to Canada again for our first trip with it. This time to LA area then up the west coast to Victoria, BC area to Jasper, to Baniff, Watertown, Glacier, then back home via American Falls area of Idaho & Heron Lake. After getting a Fish & Sky Boat, we often towed our Jeep CJ-7 & the boat behind the C-class going up to Elephant Butte State Park.
We down sized to the 16' Scamp
We enjoyed each and everyone of them.
Only once did we do any Stealth Camping, back in the early '70s. We pulled off the viewing road by the Grand Canyon South onto a forest pull over and into a forest track of a road. Parked behind some small trees & brushes. No knock on the door in the middle of the night. Only time we disperse camped where I felt as if I was stealthing.
We have had all kinds of things break or not work over the years but nothing to ruin a trip or to keep us from keeping on.
You may have heard of South Padre Island
. It was where I first got a taste for camping in the mid-'60s. Very dispearsed camping back then, a '46 Jeep CJ, a tarp for shade, a cot to keep off the sand & away from the sand crabs, a summer weight
sleeping bag and food & water. Had a blast, would drive down the beach until no one else were around. Maybe 10 miles from the entry point. My first trip was with a FFA outing to the island.
But my first campout was at Boca Chica
with my parents. My dad & his brother fashioned a large open at one end shelter, like a "lean to shed", between two cars on the beach. It had a roof, back wall and a floor using one large tarp as I remember it. They were both farmers. This would have been in the early '50s. I still remember the tarp smell. No a plastic tarp, but a cotton duck treated to be water proof & bug proof as well, I assume.
At that time, you had to take a boat ferry to Padre Island, then get a ride on an old Army Half Track to get to the beach on the island. I belive we only went once, but man did I enjoy the Half Track ride. I was very young.
When my mom was a teen, to get across to the island, they could wade across, before the InterCoastal channel was cut. They also had to cross by row boat to get to Matamoros
. Port Isabel was called Point Isabel http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation...sabel-texas.htm
then as well, but the Lighthouse
was there. Old even then. Ha! The school distract is Point Isabel still today. http://www.pi-isd.net/
After building the causeway & bridges to the island, it was a toll road for many years. Most of this old causeway & bridges are just fishing piers or gone today. It had a lift on one bridge to allow ship to pass under, which caused long lines waiting for it to open.