Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How did you Start RVing-Part 1????

Today I spent a great deal of time researching blogging programs and reading all the reviews for each result. I really wanted to try Live Writer so I gave myself a good talking to and here I am on Rick’s “PC” doing up a blog. Sadly, there is no live writer for my macbook pro.

So what would I blog about so I could try this out…and I came to the conclusion that I would give you all a small glimpse into our lives of RVing.

How did it all start? From having no RV and no time..to retired and almost fulltime!!! I was up early one morning in May of 2002~enjoying the peace and quiet of the still house..enjoying my coffee and reading the newspaper classifieds…why the classifieds I have no idea. I wasn’t in the market to purchase anything~guess I just wanted to see what folks sell in there. There were quite a few RVs…which brought back memories to me.
I need to take you back to 1982 ~we purchased a used new to us 1974 or 75 ‘starcraft’ hardtop camper. And I don’t mean ‘gently’ used. There was no sink, no electrical, no water setup -no fridge (it did have an icebox) and it had a two burner propane cook top, with bright yellow countertops. The curtains were gone but the sleeping area bunks were in good shape. Just what we needed!! …we had five kids and 2 Newfoundland dogs,and a mixed terrier of some sort, not two clues between us but  we had a 1976 dodge van with 2 front seats, and mega miles on it which would pull this camper for us. We were good to go…we had the basics right?

1974 Starcraft popup camper

We jetted off to the junkyard and picked up 2 more seats for the van (now we had four)..and Rick built a couch across the back doors of the van, and we found a zipped together mattress thingy at the KMart which worked great for this sofa/couch which I have to add was hinged and also flipped down into a double size bed. Made with chipboard with the 2” mattress thingy we were styling..we now had four seats (none matched) and a couch: to carry the 7 of us!!! (seatbelts were optional in those days) and just to set the scene for you, we had 3 boys and 2 girls the oldest was 12 and the youngest 4. The Newfoundland dogs were full grown.

Our first trip out was to be the long weekend in May …we were so excited…I had gotten busy and sewed blue and white gingham curtains for the van windows (it was blue) and bright orange curtains for the hardtop bed areas.

Rick had gotten busy too~he installed electrical for us..(it was a long durable extension cord through the side of the camper) we had a light! Chippy the little rescued terrier had also gotten busy and presented us with 6 puppies on Wednesday night. We didn’t even know she was pregnant. We may have realized it on Wednesday when she started acting strange.
On Thursday evening we loaded up the camper and van. We were saving the icebox and coolers till just before we left on Friday. We were booked into a CG about an hour away. We hardly slept Thursday night we were all so excited to be going camping in a real camper. We even had a 6” tv radio combo. I had lists and lists of things to check off..dishpan, dishes, linens, etc and we had 3 or 4 electric car heaters to take along. If you’ve never camped in May on the east coast of Canada after a long hard winter..trust me you don’t want to!

Friday finally came..and right after work we hitched up and we were on our way. The Clampets had nothing on us going down the road. We sang on our way to the campground and just couldn’t wait to arrive. Yes we had chippy and the puppies with us. Nothing was going to make us miss this planned weekend! We had arrived!!! We cranked up the camper, I made up the beds, the kids were running all over the campground..and the momma dog and babies were safe, sound and content in a toy box with wheels on it, I could wheel her and her family around the camper (all 3ft of floor space)
Somehow I managed to get everyone fed (yes I cooked a meal we didn’t have a bbq and I just had to try out that two burner cook top)..we enjoyed a glowing campfire and marshmallow roast then got everyone tucked in for the night. I had lots of sleeping bags, pillows and extra blankets with us. The boys slept in the van two on the homemade couch/bed and one on the floor, with the momma dog and babies and all the electric car heaters to keep the van warm for the babies.

Saturday morning dawned bright and early and it was a frosty one. I was starting to question our decisions..what were we thinking…it was freezing cold~I was trying to cook for my family of 7~while at the same time literally scraping the frost off of the tv screen so the little kids could watch cartoons from the bunk and stay out of my way. The older kids were arguing for a share of the extension cord to play vic20 at the booth area.
Just as I was thinking we were possibly ‘nuts’ the sun reached its peak and it warmed up a bit. We had survived our first night camping!! with five kids, three dogs, and 6 puppies. I’m not 100% sure we were ‘hooked’ after that first night…I likened it to ‘childbirth’- you know you did it - said you’d never do it again ~ but it didn’t seem so bad afterwards, so you kept doing it. Saturday was a great day, the night wasn’t as cold as Friday night...and Sunday we returned home, tired but happy to have experienced the big event.

We kept this camper and van for 3 or 4 years, and went almost every weekend during the summer months. We even took a big vacation to Detroit Mi with the camper and kids for 2 whole weeks. The guys at Rick’s work had a betting pool that we couldn’t make it to Mi…but we did with only one flat tire, and pulled into my Aunt’s in Novi after 2 days on the road (now thats a whole other story)..She kept insisting we put the camper in her garage – while I kept insisting no no we were going to sleep in it or at least some of the kids were. It wasn’t until years later I came to the realization maybe she was a wee bit snooty and didn’t want her neighbours to see it…sitting on her beautifully landscaped lawn, beside her big kidney shaped in ground swimming pool.

Stay tuned for Part 2 ~
remember ~~ home is where you park it…
Rick Tucker and Lilly too


  1. That Live Writer seems to have worked fine, although I am still a little amazed that you are still RVing after that first attempt. Stop by on your way to Gibsons and we will show you around Dogpound North.

  2. we all came from somewhere..doesn't seem to matter how we get there as long as we get there!!!
    Are you going to Gibsons, BC???

  3. From www.american-traveler.blogspot.com
    What a great posting Elaine!! LOVE IT!! Guess we were all coming from those more primitive settings, and you know what? Sometimes I miss it. The big comfy Motor Homes removes you a bit from nature and the feel of doing CAMPING as their amenities are just like being home. Now, I still hope you are dropping in on Campobello Island before you are heading south. We have a great Prov.Park w.campground here or you might simply park on the lower end of our property (7ac). We are looking forward to the next part of your story.

  4. Wow! I guess you have come a long way! I can't imagine doing that. You're made of great Canadian stuff girl!

    By the way, you know your MacBook Pro (as long as it's an Intel Mac) can be set up to run Windows too. You have to install it though. Mine is an MacBook with Intel installed and I run both although I rarely use Windows.

  5. JB-I guess its in the blood now :)
    Sue and Doug-yes we all have to start somewhere-we have a son in Gibsons and plan to travel out that way
    Peter would love to visit sometime for sure
    Laurie and George-yes we've climbed that RV ladder over the years
    Sandra-I had the parallel thingy on my mac but I was afraid of it so dumped it...maybe will try that again sometime when I'm not so intimidated by it

    yall notice when I don't understand something I call it a thingy :)

  6. What a great story thanks for sharing it with us.

  7. I think many folks start that way. Obviously, the idea stuck and I think you will find it only gets better with time. We have been full time for almost five years and still love it.

  8. Great story! I was raised in a camping family (back in the 50's and 60's) and have many similar stories that include the old, heavy canvas tents (and bears) and pop-up campers (detaching from the hitch in transit). In my 20's/30's, I did considerable travel in a tricked out VW van (including a trip to Alaska when the Cassiar Hwy was a gravel/dirt logging road). Nothing like CAMPING for ADVENTURE and great memories.

    Now we live in our motorhome. Definitely NOT camping, though we do approach it from time to time when we visit state/national parks during off season. It's OK with me - at age 60, I want my comfortable mattress to be off the ground, the rain to stay outdoors, and my climate- and insect-controlled bathroom to be nearby.

    Looking forward to part 2!

  9. Laurie and Odel-sounds like you have a few good stories under your belt also...adventure now to me is boon-docking the odd time..I also like the comforts of the motorhome...my idea now of roughing it is setting the clock on the microwave upon arrival at our destination :)

  10. Elaine, you guys were NUTS! Mind you after saying that we would probably have done much the same thing if we were in your shoes. We did go camping from Ontario to Newfoundland in a tent for two weeks with two kids that were 6 and almost 8. Not quite the same but still pretty crazy.

    Kevin and Ruth

  11. 5 kids, 2 newfies, a mom with 6 puppies and frost, you are simply amazing. Your kids must have thought you were the greatest parents.

  12. Nawww not amazing Contessa we were nuts like Ruth said...lol....but the whole family enjoyed it....Ruth I never did the tent thing well maybe just once...I think thats how I got pregnant with the last child..so we sure got rid of that tent fast...lol