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Kirk W

What was your first RV and what year did you buy it?

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Since things have been a little bit slow on the forums of late, I thought that it might be interesting to hear a little bit of each other's RV history. I saw a young family taking delivery on what looked to be their first RV and it makes me a bit envious of them as there is nothing quite like that first RV experience. I suspect that first trip has a lot in common today with what we experienced way back when Pam & I started to RV. 

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1967 VW Bus. Bought a bare shell Bus (Kombi) in 1967, built a camper in it and took off for the GSMNP in 1968. Used it to camp in until our second son arrived in 1970. Bought an Apache Eagle and pulled it with the Bus, all over the West, until we couldn't handle the slow speeds when western headwinds happened in the Texas Panhandle. (40 mph in 3rd gear!) Got back home and traded it for a Porsche! The new owner apparently totaled it, and a Professor from the University of  South Alabama bought the interior from it. He installed it in another Bus and then wrote an article about it which was published in a magazine called "Hot VW's and Dune Buggies" . We camped in the Apache for several more years, pulling it with a big Dodge and then an International Harvester Travelall. Went through several more Popups, a Travel trailer, and then 4 Motor Homes, the last being a 42 ft Tiffin Phaeton. No RV's now, due to ill health.😪

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Our first RV was a slide-in truck camper that we bought in 1996.  A couple of years later, we decided to try fulltiming and had a New Horizon's fifth wheel designed for us (that's when Harold Johnson still owned the company).

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I’m such a newbie to the world of RVing. I bought my first, and only RV, a Lance 1685 travel trailer,  new the end of 2015. However, I’ve been an RV wanna-be for a long time, buying a 3/4 ton cargo van in 1976 and adding a foam “bed” in the back, but never got further than that.

I recently went to the California RV Show and looked at a number of new RVs, expecting that something out there would say, “you’re a full-timer now, buy me.” I was somewhat surprised that nothing did. When it came right down to it, I find my trailer very comfortable and suits my needs.

Many people around now say that it takes a couple of RVs to figure out what really works for you. In 6 months I might decide I really do need a bigger trailer (and truck) but for now I’m very happy with my rig.

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After tenting about 6 years and a good friend had a bear open the back side of their tent, we went for hard sides. It was a 14 foot 1968 Road Runner TT that would sleep 6 (3 adults comfortably) After about 12  years it was sold and not replaced for nearly 25 years. I then brought a small class C (23 foot), and traded up to a 37 foot FW and now a 40 foot FW all in the last 9 years. The Tow vehicle increased from the Ford Falcon (we also tented with) to now a MDT. What a difference required to increase from the Ice Box to a residential refrigerator

Clay

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Since tents don't qualify as vehicles our first RV was a Bethany TeePee tent trailer back in the 70s. A VW Vanagon camper in the 80s. Then nothing for a long time. We went full time in 2008 and bought 3 motorhomes in the next several years. Now we are back to nothing. I wonder what comes next?

Linda

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Bought a new 1974 Viking tent trailer at Keltners Camping Supplies in Pleasant Hall, PA. Our first trip was to Myrtle Beach, SC. at Holiday Travel Park that was operated by Holiday Inns.

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Went to buy my first popup in 1979 ended up leaving the dealer with a Dodge 3/4 truck with a 30' Terry 5th wheel, no slide out and even had twin beds. That was 10 campers ago.

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Never had stepped into an rv or trailer prior to buying my first, at the age of 31, DW at 23.  We bought it with the intention of full-timing, and I was very emotionally tied to that rig when we sold it, the memories we made in it were very special.  Now on our 3rd rig, and the attachment is lesser and lesser, as I see that within the skin, they are all essentially the same.  I will have trouble selling my tow vehicle though, if it ever comes to that:  my daughter was born in the passenger seat, my wife delivered her on her own while I was driving to the hospital!  If we hadn't left 3 minutes before, she would have been born in our rig!

Edited by dartmouth01

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2 hours ago, sandsys said:

Since tents don't qualify as vehicles our first RV was a Bethany TeePee tent trailer back in the 70s.

Now there is a common thread for me! In 1972 we bought our first RV to replace the tent we had used for about 3 years before that. It was a 1963 Bethany TeePee Topper. 

              6c38bb71859d8f45d5dc6cd5aed682e3--chicke   

We got it from a friend for $250 and then used it a great deal for the next 2 seasons, then traded it in for our first new RV, a 1974 Starcraft popup that we then used for the next 9 years. 

Edited by Kirk W

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My first "RV" was a pop-up slide-in camper that i built for my new 1980 Toyota 4/4.  My wife sewed the canves for popup part. We took it to Alaska that year and to the East coast the following year...good times!

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1971 Ford Econoline with bed we set up for camping, but not really an RV with no water system or toilet. It was the one with the engine between the driver and passenger but only a sheet metal cover. In 1974 our first VW camper bus, and many we modified to superstock.

Edited by RV_

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Got a tiny no name popup back in the late 1980's followed by 2 more Viking popups each a little bigger, that followed by a Trailmanor which is a giant super popup in a way.

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I've been tent camping starting in 1950 with my parents, but my first purchased RV was an Escape 17B picked up in 2011.  I rented a class A for 2 weeks in 2001, and now travel in an Escape 21.

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6 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Now there is a common thread for me! In 1972 we bought our first RV to replace the tent we had used for about 3 years before that. It was a 1963 Bethany TeePee Topper. 

              6c38bb71859d8f45d5dc6cd5aed682e3--chicke   

We got it from a friend for $250 and then used it a great deal for the next 2 seasons, then traded it in for our first new RV, a 1974 Starcraft popup that we then used for the next 9 years. 

One of the great things about that TeePee is the bed and the ceiling above the aisle were both long/high enough to accommodate my nearly 6'3" tall husband. And it had a furnace which was a great thing to have when traveling though the Rocky Mountains. Plus it was light enough that I could pick up the hitch end and move it into the tight space we had for it in the garage. Nowadays I wouldn't be happy without a bathroom but back then it was a huge step up from our tent.

Linda

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Not counting tents, shell on my '65 El Camino and '70 Econoline Van w/ DIY sleeping accommodations...

First *real* self-contained RV:  

Bought a 1971  18 ft Winnebago *new* - (really,  it was  a Class A,  LOL) -  powered by a 318 Dodge.  Didn't keep it long (regretted not buying at least a 20' model)  - moved "up" to a 24' Terry TT - towed by a '71 Chev camper van.

(Surprising how many of those early Winnebagos are still "alive").

~

 

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I had a 1974 18 ft. Winnebago I bought used in the early 1990s.  I liked it, but like you said it was a little too short.  I thought putting the toilet inside the relatively large shower enclosure was a clever idea.

My first RV was a 1973 VW pop-top camper I bought in 1980.  I forget the name of the conversion, but it's pop-up top was set up the opposite of Westfalia's with the luggage rack over the driver's seat.  The raisable roof lifted straight up from the front of the sunroof opening to the rear of the bus and made the space under the pop-top long enough for a full length bed instead of the short cot in the Westfalia.  I slept up there most nights instead of making up and tearing down the inside bed every day.  The rear wardrobe was placed on the driver's side which left the right rear window open to the driver's view unlike the Westfalia which put that cabinet on the right side.

In the late 1980s I replaced the VW with a 1971 Xplorer Class B on a Ford Econoline chassis.  It was my first fully self contained RV with a 3 gallon water heater, an enclosed shower, a recirculating toilet and a queen sized bed across the rear.   Hot showers and an inside toilet ... I thought I was in heaven.  It had a bubble top to allow full inside headroom instead of the sunken floor on one side of the driveshaft Frank Industries used in later models.  It was a Florida van and apparently had seen a lot of beachfront camping.  I bought it for $300 and used it for several years until the rust got out of control and I had to junk it.

Edited by Lou Schneider

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I bought a 1968 VW Fun Camper (Not Westphalia, no pop-up roof.), in 1979 or so. It had a ice box, small sink, fold bed. We really enjoyed that it... Remember I picked it up in San Luis Opispo from a good friend (And yes, good enough that we both were aware and agreed this was a 'as is' deal - no way we'd let a vehicle impact a friendship:)!). Drove it down to San Diego during a day of Santa Ana winds. I quickly learned to slow down in those winds, and would use the turn indicator as the wind pushed me out of the slow lane into the fast lane of Hwy 101 - not much I could do about it!!! (I did change shocks, wheels, tires and repaired a few of the steering bushings and such - and that did help 'handling' (Handling, it was a 68 VW Van! Handling meant it sort of went in the direction wanted it to go, and slowly up hills too!!!). Dual batteries were also added. Wish I had hung onto it, as we missed it as our combo 2nd vehicle and mini truck. We'd go buy X-mass Trees in this thing, and deliver and set up one at my Mom's and MIL's house every year... My daughter still talks about being trapped in the back with two trees!! 

Best to all,

Smitty

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On 10/13/2019 at 10:33 AM, fpmtngal said:

I’m such a newbie to the world of RVing. I bought my first, and only RV, a Lance 1685 travel trailer,  new the end of 2015.

There must be others reading this who only recently bought the first RV or who never owned any RV until buying one to go fulltime? In many ways those who jump directly into fulltime living have always fascinated me as I consider that to be much more daring than to do as we did and slowly migrate from a tent to a popup, to self-contained, and then to fulltime RV life. I sometimes miss our early days of RVing when every experience was new and exciting!

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I was a few years behind Smitty... my late wife and I bought a new Westphalia pop-top in 1974. We thought it was the cat's meow with a little frig, propane stove, two beds, etc. Looking back, it didn't have A/C (even when driving) nor the power to make it over a long 7% grade in fourth gear. Times have changed.

Rob

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