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Old 01-25-2016, 09:11 PM   #1
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How this whole thing started!

I thought I take a few minutes to share how this whole RV/camping this started for us. Please be forewarned its long and boring.

As a kid, we never camped. My parents were not the camping type. With 6 kids in the family growing up in the 60's, camping was just something I was never exposed to. For family vacations, my parents would rent a house for a month on the RI shore. Usually two, three or more of my mothers seven sisters and families would go the same weeks. There were easily between 20-30 cousins all around. My uncle Jack owned two houses down in Bonnet Shores RI. My parents would rent one of the houses from uncle Jack. He and his wife and 10, yes 10 kids would all be there. Uncle Jack would take about 20 of us at a time out on the 'Mary Joe' an old wooden cabin cruiser to go fishing or claming,etc...

I had camped once or twice as an older teen with my buddies. We'd set up tents and have a ball! As an adult I never camped.

For the last 25 years since I've been married, the wife and I would usually rent a house down the cape. The last several years in a quaint little cape cod town called Brewster. Brewster is located right at the elbow of the cape on the bay side. We had always driven by a place called shady knoll campground right on route 6A just 1/4 mile from the beach.

This past summer, early June, I just happened to stumble upon a Craigslist add for a camper for sale at shady knoll. Well, I mentioned it to the wife and we both agreed we should go take a look. Well one thing led to another and we rented our usual house in Brewster that we've been renting every 4th of July for the last 8/10 years. During our week there, we totally forgot all about the camper that I had seen on Craigslist. It wasn't until we got home the next week when the wife said, "What ever happened to that trailer we were going to look at?" I looked on CL and the add was still there. I contacted the owner and next thing you know, I owned a trailer on a seasonal site down in Brewster. The fact that we were able to keep it on site was the reason we went for it. Nice cape cod seasonal spots are hard to come by. In fact about 15 years ago when my daughter, now 23, was about 8, we had thought about a sea side camper but couldn't find a site.

On August 1st of 2015, we took possession of our 2005 Sunnybrook Solanta 3310. A nice 'bunkhouse' trailer in great condition. We enjoyed it immensely for the rest of the season until Columbus Day in October when the season ended.
One thing we both agreed on was that a bunkhouse style trailer was not the ideal design for us at our age (50ish) with no little kids anymore. The bunkhouse, which takes up about a third of the rig was not being used. Even when my daughter would come down, she'd sleep on the pullout sofa rather than the bunk room. I began to research TT's with two queen bedrooms. Then I thought, why would I want another bedroom that would be empty 90% of the time. That's when I discovered 'living room' models. Some that would give us the living space we wanted, yet could be converted to sleeping quarters for the occasional guest or 2.

I looked a keystone, coachman, crossroads, etc. I didn't like the quality I was seeing in the price (mid to upper thirty's) range I was looking for. Then I saw the Jay flight 38fdds. We decided it would be perfect for what we wanted. Our little summer time beach bungalow down the cape. After seeing the model first hand while in Florida on vacation, we ordered one when we returned and the rest is history! Lol!

So as you now know, 6 months ago I didn't know a converter from an inverter. A water heater bypass from a black flush.

I've learned a lot from being a member here and my knowledge base is just starting. For that I owe a debt of gratitude to all you knowledgeable folks on here. I'm thankful.

Ok, enough about me. What's your story?
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Old 01-25-2016, 09:17 PM   #2
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Very nice. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-26-2016, 07:07 AM   #3
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Thanks for sharing. Shady Knoll is a great location - Benny several times but never camped there
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Old 01-26-2016, 07:24 AM   #4
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Better late than never... Welcome to the camping life. It's great. At 65 years of age,
i've been camping for as long as I can remember. Mom, Dad and us three kids. I was also a Cub and Boy Scout. Wife and I married early Aug 70 and borrowed a buddies pop-up and spent a week camping on our Honeymoon..Purchased a pop-up in 75 and been camping/towing every since. You make a lot of great memories with family when camping. You'll love it.
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Old 01-26-2016, 09:20 AM   #5
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Thanks for the warning about being long and boring. But I disagree It may have been long and maybe not long enough. BUT it was far from boring. Was very enjoyable reading.
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Old 01-26-2016, 09:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bedrck46 View Post
Thanks for the warning about being long and boring. But I disagree It may have been long and maybe not long enough. BUT it was far from boring. Was very enjoyable reading.
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Old 01-26-2016, 11:31 AM   #7
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Great story. Here is how it started for us...

As kid I loved camping, but my family didn't, so as a Boy Scout I did a lot of backpacking and tent camping. In high school and college friends and I did a fair amount of car camping, sleeping in tents or under the stars.

When I finished school and got my first "real" job, camping lost its priority. Once I got married and started making a decent living all vacations were resort type hotels and frequently involved flights. We had a great time and continued this type of vacation as we started to have a family.

When my daughter was 5, and number two was 2 without a thought of a 3rd kid, the 5 y/o started asking if we could go camping since her friends in school would talk about their camping trips. DW and I were in disbelief because we had just returned from 10 days in Hawaii for the second time in 18 months. However we gave in.

Bought a large multi-room tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, other camping gear and booked a site along the California Coast. The first day it sprinkled for about an hour and we huddled in the tent till it stopped. I noticed as we were in the tent that RVers stayed comfortably inside on a couch while we had nowhere really to sit and relax out of the rain.

That first night was cold, the kids didn't notice but DW and I certainly did. To add insult I could hear the furnaces in the RVs cycling as they stayed nice and warm.

At 0530 my camping neighbor, also in a tent, woke me up as he attempted to quietly split wood to start a fire. I went out to speak with him, since I could not fall back asleep, and learned he was starting a fire to boil water to heat a bottle for his 10mth old before she woke up. I offered use of my Coleman stove, but he said he loved to do it this way. No problem from me and we just talked for a couple hours till everyone woke up.

I then noticed the RVer's coming out all showered and clean with hot coffee -- that is when my head started spinning.

We truly enjoyed the that trip and the kids had a great time so we booked another weekend a couple months (Sept) later in the mountains.

For the second trip we had more stuff - EZ ups in case it rained, better camping chairs, table clothes etc. we learned a lot on the first trip. This weekend was hot, and the tent was like a sauna at night. This time instead of furnaces cycling I heard ACs on the RVs. The next morning I saw the same thing with freshly showered campers drinking hot coffee as I struggled to make coffee and was filthy from the day before.

Enough was enough, on the way home we stopped by an RV rental facility to learn about renting a trailer. Renting was the plan, until a couple miles down the road I noticed a dealership so we stopped in just to see the inside of a trailer. It was amazing, in many respects nicer than my home. In talking to the salesman I learned these things aren't as terribly expensive as I imagined. A couple resort vacations with flights were about what a new TT cost.

I spent the next several weeks dreaming and researching on the Internet. We bought our first Jayco in Novemeber of that year and never looked back. It's been 5 years now and we are hooked.

We still enjoy the resort type vacation occasionally, and now as a family of 5 it's even more expensive, so instead of once or twice a year jetting away to some tropical location we do it once every 3-4 years. It's the best of both worlds for us and now I am able to expose my kids to a lot more than I was ever exposed too.
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Old 01-26-2016, 01:41 PM   #8
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Never really camped as a kid, but my wife camped all over the country as a kid and hit all 48 states. Wife and I tent camped around Michigan until kids came. Around that time my grandmother passed away and left us a little bit of inheritance. Grandma liked to take trips and explore, so we figured that we could honor her and the inheritance with a camper.

Coming from tents, we looked at a pop up. I wasn't too keen on the idea of packing up a pop up in the rain, so we went from looking at pop ups to looking at 30' fifth wheels (already had the truck). We bought a 33' entry level bunk house (emphasis on entry level) that we spent the last 9 years dragging all over the country. It really has taken is some great places and made great memories. But, I learned that I didn't keep up on maintenance enough and we have some issues. And the floor plan doesn't work that well anymore. Kids complain the bunks are too small and won't sleep in them anymore.

We set out late last year looking for a replacement. Had it down to the rig we ordered and a class C Greyhawk bunk house, but ended up ordering the 29.5 BHDS fifth wheel in December. The full bunks alleviate the sleeping concerns and still give the kids a bedroom and a place for their clothes and stuff. Plus the wife is in love with the outside kitchen!! And we can get a leveling system!! And now I find myself looking into solar for worry free stays at National Parks without hookups!

This should last us until kids are gone and then we can adjust again. We already have plans to go to Glacier this year and are working on a "bucket list" of places to hit before the kids are too old, too busy, or too whatever to go with us anymore. Daughter is turning 13 this week and son will be 11 in May. While we are still in prime time, the last 9 years have gone by too quickly!

The kids will complain when they see their friends going up north to the cottage every weekend and hearing stories of their fun. But we've never took a trip that they didn't mostly enjoy it. They get to see and do stuff that their friends have not. And even better, when they talk about different things and places in school, our kids have a good chance of having been there or seen it. I know they don't fully appreciate it yet, but I know that they'll look back at it with fond memories and a smile. I know I will, and do!! Hopefully grandma is smiling too!!
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Old 01-26-2016, 02:30 PM   #9
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Those are some great stories! Let's keep them coming!
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Old 01-26-2016, 07:31 PM   #10
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Grandpa managed a railroad baggage dept. Anything in "lost & found" was up for grabs after it had been there for a year. One year a Scout Troup left a dozen old tents and he brought one home for me. As a pre-teen my buddies and I (and sometimes Dad) camped in the back yard. Mom would not go in it because it had no floor and she was afraid of snakes at night.

When I was 15 Dad bought a big new 4-door car to replace the old VW. Mom agreed, so we got a big canvas Hettrick tent with zippers and a floor. Summer came and we made plans, but Mom chickened out at the last minute. Dad & I went on a few fishing / camping trips when I was in High School, and later my buddies and I did the same.

After marriage we always stayed in a motel on vacation. When our youngest was just out of diapers we got the old Hettrick from Dad and used it for many years. Then we graduated into a nice lightweight Eureka, which served us well for quite a few years. Our last year we were out in a near gale and the tent ripped. The DW said we'll go back to a motel next year. By this time the boys were out on their own and they continued tenting, in the State Park a mile from our motel. Mom likes the air conditioning and cable TV in the motel....LOL.

As a parallel to the story, about half way thru it we came across an awesome deal on some wooded land. At $125 an acre we turned our 50 acres into a beautiful mountaintop retreat. It was to be a hunting camp for me and the boys. After the driveway, site leveling etc, we still has $800 to spare and were able to pick up a 23 year old "basic" TT. The DW came with us a few times, and soon got hooked. It was no longer a hunting camp, but the family retreat. We later added 2 more driveways and our boys set up their own private sites. Our 1/2 acre pond is the centerpiece jewel.

After 27 years sitting in one place, and when the old trailer just turned 50, we moved her up the hill a bit and bought our new 2015 Jayco 195RB.

We still spend a week each year at the waterfront motel, but the bulk of our vacation time is spent on a beautiful mountaintop in SE New York State.
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