CAMPING IS NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE

Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Luke Clayton, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    "CAMPING IS NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE " by Luke Clayton

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    Luke Clayton


    My first experience with a camping ‘rig’ was a modified 1950 International Pickup that my Dad owned back in the late fifties. Every two or three months, we would spend several days camping on the shores of a little lake in southeast Oklahoma, setting trotlines for catfish and catching bass from our homemade wooden boat. Dad had his little truck rigged with all the conveniences. With a portable canvas awning to keep the contents (and us) dry, fold down tables with Coleman Stoves and even a sink, we enjoyed camping at its finest, at least for the era.

    Recently, my wife and I joined some friends and visited the RV show in Ft. Worth where we were exposed to all the latest innovations in camping, now often referred to as
    RVing! Campers, if you can call a $100,000 RV a ‘camper’, have come a long way! Today’s fifth wheelers, when set up and the extensions opened up, are actually very roomy and comfortable little homes. Granted, not all the RV’s available today come with so hefty a price tag, there are pop up campers and even tent campers that attach to the bed of trucks that are much more affordable. And, yes, many folks still do their camping the old fashioned way: in tents.

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    Photo by Luke Clayton

    After getting a good feel for what is available today and doing a cost comparison of the different models, we later purchased our first big RV, a 37 foot fifth wheel that I plan to keep on our property to serve as a guest house. We live on several acres with plenty of trees and whoever spends the night in our new unit can consider themselves ‘camping’ without the hassle of towing. Towing a unit down the road that’s as big as a small river barge is not my idea of fun, but that’s just me. Besides, I am not prepared to purchase a $40,000 truck big enough to tow our new trailer, nor am I prepared for six or eight miles per gallon fuel consumption. Imagine a 500 mile trip towing such a vehicle costing close to $200 in fuel, ONE WAY!

    Before chunking down a hefty piece of change for your RV, it’s advisable to give consideration to several factors that will become important when you actually take delivery. Do you have a vehicle heavy and with enough horsepower to tow the RV you are contemplating purchasing? If the answer is yes, then, have you thought about actually towing a vehicle that is very apt to cause your miles per gallon to drop at least in half? If money is not an object, have you given thought to towing a ten thousand pound RV through heavy traffic? Would you be more comfortable driving a motor home that you simply drive to your destination and, bingo, you’re home!

    These are all questions that you should consider before signing on the dotted line and investing in your new ‘home away from home’.

    Another consideration is whether to purchase a new or used unit. New RV’s, just like cars and trucks, depreciate the moment you pull them off the lot. We did a lot of cost comparison and looking and finally decided on purchasing a unit that was a couple years old, but in excellent condition. We finally bought from a large, reputable RV dealer but we also looked at several units offered by individuals.

    After sorting out the pros and cons, we felt more comfortable buying an ‘almost new’ unit from a very reputable RV dealership. We also purchased an extended warranty to cover anything that might go wrong with the unit. After all, what do I know about making repairs to a complex heating or air conditioning system or the hydraulic jacks that level the unit? Even our ‘almost new’ luxury RV was a sizeable investment and the last thing I wanted to do was use it for six months then look at a repair bill of several thousand dollars.

    RV’s have come a long, long way since I was a youngster camping in that old rig of my Dad’s but I still find myself camping in tents and even old barns on hunting property from time to time. Camping is not all about luxury. To my way of thinking, spending time in the outdoors with family and friends, setting around a campfire, watching the glowing embers after a great day in the outdoors is the essence of camping and I hope this will never change.

    So, whether your budget and desires are suited to tent camping or a luxury RV with a triple digit price tag, consider devoting some time to enjoying the great outdoors. There’s lots to enjoy out there in the natural world and no better way to experience it than with the mobility provided by bringing your home along with you!


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  2. wolfman

    wolfman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,081
    State:
    Triadelphia, WV
    Name:
    Walter Flack
    I hear that. Anymore going camping at a State Park or Recreation area is like camping in the burbs. $100,000 dollar motor homes & travel trailers everywhere. The whole park is lighted up at night with decoration lights hanging off the rigs. Mopeds, bicycles going up and down the road. lol
     

  3. badkarma

    badkarma New Member

    Messages:
    772
    State:
    Oxford,Miss
    Luke some ye ars back I got to thinking that maybe I wanted a camper so I spent a lot of time trying to find one I liked.I wanted a tow behind gouseneck not an RV and found the one I wanted at an upscale dealer in OKC for $32.000+ but I didn't have a truck that could pull it so I went shopping for one and that made me back out when I saw it was going to cost me almost as much for the truck.$60.000+ was just to much maney to spend for camping and I have been happy with a $98.00 tent.
     
  4. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    Messages:
    831
    State:
    Texas
    I can relate. Besides, fun for me is not dragging a huge trailer down a crowded highway, only to park it in a crowded park. I live out in the country and like my space! Your tent is just fine. I like that idea MUCH better than the expense and trouble of hauling around a camper the size of a semi! Good camping to you! luke
     
  5. bull68dawg

    bull68dawg New Member

    Messages:
    20
    State:
    Georgia
    I totally agree....It has change some much since I was a kid...lol:smile2:
     
  6. ronlyn239

    ronlyn239 New Member

    Messages:
    270
    State:
    Bartlesvil
    We have a 36' Montana 5th wheel, and we absolutely love it. I have been the entire gamut of camping units.......from the lowly tent, in which I was soaked by more than a few thunderstorms.....to a overcab pickup camper (not very comfortable with 3 rowdy, growing boys, if we had to stay in out of the weather). Two different travel trailers, a 24' and a 28', then finally a 33' foot Avion Savanna 5th wheel, and for the past 4 years, a 36 foot Montana with four slideouts. My 42 year old son walked into the newest 5th wheel, just after we got it, looked around, and "I'm pretty sure this isn't camping"

    Now, can I, in any way, justify the cost of this rig, let alone having it in my possession? Nope, but like my banker said when I was purchasing a travel trailer years and years ago, when I expressed a similar sentiment. He said, "Don't ever try to justify the cost of your toys.....it'll drive you crazy. If you can afford 'em and that is what you want, then buy it." So we did.

    We took that Montana to Maine from Oklahoma 3 years ago to visit with my son in Augusta, ME. Along the way, we fished in Lake Michigan for salmon, and caught six big ones. Fished for walleye out of Port Clinton, Ohio, and caught a bunch. Saw Niagara Falls, New York City, Atlantic City, NJ, Philly, and then onto D.C. Put 5000 miles on the truck and spent $4000. Will I ever do it again? Probably not, although we have talked about going to Florida sometime. Diesel fuel at that time averaged about $1.75. We flew to Maine this year, and believe me, it cost a whole lot less....we just didn't see anything, though. So there is a lot to be said for traveling with an RV.

    Nowadays, we drag it 60 miles to Kaw Lake, set it down for week, about 64 bucks at Golden Age passport prices, fish in the morning, run juglines night and day, nap in the afternoon like us old geezers are prone to do. Sit around the campfire in the evening, and fill the portable freezer I carry in the unit at all times, with fish for those long, cold winter nights.