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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > RE Jefe 4X4’s question of How Did You Get Here?

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5percent

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Posted: 07/19/14 12:33pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Our journey to TCing

Date: 1967
Location: Awash National Park, Ethiopia.
Participants: 5 – 3 men, 2 women
Prior camping experience: None

We were Peace Corps Volunteers on holiday break. We decided to rent a jeep, tent and other gear and drive the Dira Dawa road from Addis Ababa to the new Awash National Park. The park was like all the movies of E. Africa – Acacia trees, scrub, grass and wildlife. We spotted tiny Did-dik, gazelles, cattle, wildebeest, and more. We heard big cats in the evening but didn’t see any.

Once in the park, we set up our tent in a small grassy area near the Awash River and watched the hippo move about in the water nearby. Crocodiles basked downstream. We walked along the banks heading upstream toward the waterfalls. It was late afternoon; the baboons on the rocks above were yelling at us to go away so they could come down and get a drink before dark.

We had managed to set up the tent – canvas stretched over a ridgepole with ropes and stakes. We packed ourselves in all in a row with Mary at the back, then me, Mike, Hank and Jon at the front. We drifted off to sleep.

Suddenly, the tent twanged and vibrated. Jon started whispering urgently to Hank, “Hand me my camera! Hand me my camera, the hippo is standing right in front of our tent.”
“NO! she'll get spooked and run over us.!”
“I want to get a picture of the hippo, he's standing right over me! Hand me my camera.”
“No, no no! We'll be killed or maimed”
Unaware of the cause of all the agitation in the front of the tent, I grumbled, “Hey, would you guys be quiet.” Mike added, “We’re trying to sleep.”
H & J (in disbelief!) “The hippo's here the hippo's here!”

Quiet, quiet, quiet…no more twanging sounds, consternated whispers or other impediments to sleep.

In the morning, we discovered the hippo’s parting gifts - a 3-foot high pile right in front of the tent, a broken tent rope and rather large tooth holes in the shirt I’d washed and hung to dry the night before.

We had a super-8 movie camera – remember those? I shot a lot of film some of which has survived the intervening years. I had it digitized but had no idea, and no way to find out, which reel of film was when. It is pretty degraded but it can be viewed. Start at 16:00 and stop around 23:00. View at FULL SCREEN or the color won’t work. Corrected Movie Link
The time sequence for this trip is OK but the various episodes on the whole film are out of time order.

We returned home, life went on; we got a little red Datsun pickup with a Perris Valley shell on it – our first TC! First Camper
The B & W picture was taken in the Anza – Borrego Desert in late October, 1972. (Mike colorized the truck to match the red of our current truck.) I was pregnant with our daughter born in December. A year and a half later, we put a carpeted plywood floor over the wheel wells, tossed in some big floor pillows and drove across country and up and down the coast camping in the back of our truck.

Eventually, the truck died and we went back to tent-camping. Retired, we decided the time had come to roll up the tents and sleeping bags and return to TCing. We acquired our Bigfoot and the Big Red Beauty in late 2010. We continue to have camping adventures but so far none have topped our very first camping trip.

I hope you have enjoyed our story. Thanks to Hank for help remembering the dialogue.

Sherrie

* This post was edited 07/22/14 11:34am by 5percent *


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Mello Mike

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Posted: 07/19/14 01:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That's a great story, Sherrie, but you should've posted this in Jefe's original thread.


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jefe 4x4

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Posted: 07/20/14 07:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sherrie, don't listen to the man, this deserves its own spotlight. We too had plenty of hair-raising adventures when we were young and fearless, but this one takes it. Thanks for the post.
regards, as always, jefe
p.s. I hope this spurs someone else to expound upon their own personal TC journey, "from whence we have come."


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Posted: 07/21/14 12:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Amazing story and I loved the link to the picture, with the red Datsun. It reminded me of my first "camper" which was a 1981 Toyota Truck with a shell. I was 16 and had it for 10-years doing all sorts of off-road exploring in Crested Butte Colorado and New Mexico. My second was a 1991 Tacoma with shell and a built up sleeping platform. This served as my first paragliding and hang gliding vehicle which was capable of getting into some more remote launch sites in the Owens Valley and others in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah.

A few years later I upgraded to a T100 which was larger and more capable, with more comfortable sleeping in the back. I still miss it because it was the perfect size for getting into the backcountry.
[image].

My paragliding and hang gliding days are over, but this year I finally was able to get the TC. It's a huge difference in comfort, but I will always remember the fun times sleeping in the back of those trucks.


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sleepy

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Posted: 07/21/14 11:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sherrie, facinating story... thank you for sharing it. I hope that you'll continue sharing your adventures... even North America can be fun... there won't be any 3 foot piles to contend with...

And thank you for your Peace Corp contributions too!

Sleepy


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5percent

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Posted: 07/21/14 11:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you Jefe, Sky_Free, and Sleepy! Now if I could just get the movie link to work properly!

joeshmoe

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Posted: 07/21/14 03:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You crazy kids.

Anyway, Sherrie, your link to the movie doesn't seem to be working. I've tried several times, but to no avail. I'd really like to see it. Maybe you could try Youtube. Make it an "unlisted" vid. if you prefer not to make it public. Only those with the link (like us) can view it.

Thanks.


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Posted: 07/21/14 03:27pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well to answer the OP's question...
I'm not really into "camping" per sé. My use is a place to stay while doing off road riding. Jeep or ATVs.
I started out with a used 1988 ( I think ) Elkhorn. Nice enough but the tripod jacks didn't work well with my Dually. I sold it and bought another used camper. This time it had 4 hydraulic jacks. Dangerous when lowering as they wouldn't lower correctly. I was always concerned that the camper would tip over. It nearly did once.
The basic idea of the TC was working just fine, allowing me to pull a variety of trailers & loads around. So we ended up with the rig in my sig. Works well for us two.


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5percent

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Posted: 07/22/14 11:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think I have fixed the link. Try this:
Movie link

I will edit it in the original post as well.

S

JumboJet

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Posted: 07/22/14 12:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

5percent wrote:

I think I have fixed the link. Try this:
Movie link

I will edit it in the original post as well.

S


Thanks for the movie. I watched the entire movie. Those were the days!

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