The 1950s was an era of adventure and exploration, where families embarked on memorable road trips to discover new horizons. In those days, my Father was a pioneer, towing our beloved 20′ pop-top camper with our ’73 Country Sedan. It all started when he bought the camper in February, daringly before even acquiring a suitable vehicle. Undeterred, he later installed a hitch on our trusted ’69 Country Squire, and not long after, on the newly acquired Country Sedan. Ah, but the road to adventure is never without its challenges!
A Hitch in the Plan
As fate would have it, just before our much-anticipated first long camping trip, my Dad took the car in for routine maintenance. To his dismay, the mechanics discovered delamination on the Firestone 500 radials, with barely 500 miles on them. Thankfully, the tires were swiftly replaced, ensuring our journey wouldn’t be interrupted. Those radials were all the rage back then, even my Dad had them on his ’68 Renault R10, a car he bought brand new five years earlier.
An Unforgettable Journey
As a newly licensed driver, I had the privilege of taking the wheel at times during our adventurous road trip. Even with the pop-top camper in tow, driving was made easier with the help of specially-installed mirrors. We removed the mirrors when the camper was safely parked in our backyard, nestled by the apple trees. It became a familiar sight, driving the car in a circular motion around one of the trees and skillfully maneuvering the camper along the neighbor’s fence for storage.
From Camper to Home
Our camping escapades closely mirrored my journey through life. In the late 1960s, we started with renting a pop-top camper, undoubtedly igniting our wanderlust. The following year, my Father decided to invest in a car-top camper, which served us well until my youngest sister arrived, requiring more space. Eventually, my Father acquired a spacious pop-top camper, perfectly accommodating our growing family. However, as time went on and circumstances changed, our camping adventures became less frequent. In 1982, when my parents relocated to Texas, they decided to part ways with the camper, as the sweltering heat made camping a challenge without air conditioning.
Mastering the Camper
We became experts in setting up and taking down the camper, as if engaged in a well-choreographed military drill. With precision and efficiency, we leveled the camper and swiftly attached the ingenious spring-loaded tarp, eliminating the need for cumbersome guide wires. The camper itself was ingeniously designed, with individual chest of drawers for each family member to store their clothes. Additionally, a fold-down wardrobe provided ample space for coats, alleviating the need for suitcases or bags. It was a well-organized system that worked seamlessly, effortlessly accommodating our needs.
Our faithful Ranch Wagon, a 6-passenger model without the dual rear seat, was skillfully packed by my Dad, allowing my younger sisters to comfortably sleep in the wagon area, with minimal items obstructing their peaceful slumber. It was a testament to my Dad’s resourcefulness and his determination to create the perfect camping experience for our family.
Nevertheless, as life moved on, our camping excursions gradually faded into distant memories, remaining dormant for over four decades. Yet, the spirit of adventure still lingers within me, and I often find myself yearning for the open road, the feeling of freedom, and the untamed beauty of nature.
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So pack your bags, the road beckons, and countless adventures await. It’s time to rediscover the joy of traveling, just like in the golden age of the 1950s. The open road is calling, and the world is waiting to be explored!