Our Trip Across America-Part 2

17 Oct

Last week BIll began a series, Our Trip Across America. He picks up this week with his transition from tent camping to a pop up trailer. Onisha

A Slice of Life

  Bill Lites

The camper was an older 6’x10’ unit I bought from a friend at work.  He told me it was in good shape, but had been sitting in his driveway for a long time.  This was a very basic house shaped square box camper with gas for a stove but no electricity. We had to use Coleman lanterns for lighting and we took a small three burner Coleman stove in case we had a gas stove problem or needed to cook outside for some reason. The camper had a small fresh water tank, but the water had to be pumped into the sink with a hand pump.

Everything had to fit within the camper footprint as the tent portion opened straight up to a peak running fore and aft.  The small gas stove, sink and counter top were on one side, with an office size “ice box” (remember, no electricity) under the counter.  On the other side was a small fold down table with bench seats for four people.   My wife slept on the twin bed that ran across the front with storage under it, and I slept in the other twin bed that ran across the rear with more storage underneath.  A swing-away bunk bed was pinned into each of the fore and aft upright tent supports and that was where the kids slept.  It was a very compact arrangement.  When folded down, everything was flush with the top sides of the camper and a canvas cover over the top, was secured in place with ropes.  This did not allow anything to be carried on top of the camper, so all our clothes and personal items needed for the trip had to fit inside the camper.

I spent many hours on maintenance on the camper and on our 1968 Ford 10-passenger station wagon to make sure all went well during our trip.  Knowing we would be traveling over some mountainous roads, I had installed a transmission cooler for the engine. I had packed tools, spare oil, transmission fluid, and fan belts for the car, and extra jacks and spare wheel bearings for the camper in case we had any emergencies.  The two seats in what we called “the back-back” of the station wagon faced each other, so I built a small wooden table to fit in that space where the kids could sit and read or play games when they got bored with the scenery.






My wife loaded the camper with all the creature comforts we could think of, including our fresh water tank filled with the best drinking water anywhere.  Finally, all was ready, so we arranged for a neighbor boy to take care of our dog and off we went.




2 Responses to “Our Trip Across America-Part 2”

  1. DiVoran Lites October 17, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    I mean compact camping, but I suppose compat could be considered compatible?


  2. DiVoran Lites October 17, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    Compat camping at its best.


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