A fictionalized look at the life of an astronaut wife in the days of Apollo

RVing in the Stone Age with Six Kids and a Dog

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in Travel, Uncategorized | 0 comments

RVing in the Stone Age

Six kids and a dog

 

The 1960s were the Stone Age of RVs.  Although they had been around in one form or another for years, they were just getting really popular and they weren’t inexpensive.  It was getting impossible for us to go on a camping trip with our six kids, ages five through fourteen (that included two sets of boy/girl twins ages 5 and 11) and get everything we needed stuffed in to a station wagon – even one with a luggage rack on top.  A new mobile home that would fit us was beyond the reach financially of a Captain in the Marine Corps even if he was an astronaut. (No extra pay for that.  He was already getting hazardous duty pay as a Marine jet pilot and NASA did not deem it necessary to up the ante.) So when I spied the old bus for sale I thought “Eureka! I’ve found the solution to our problem.”

 It was one of those moments that seemed absolutely providential.  There it was sitting sadly alone and discarded behind our neighborhood gas station with a for sale sign in the window. I climbed up on the front bumper and peered through the windshield.  Someone had taken an old highway bus – an OLD LARGE highway bus – and turned it into a camper!  I could see a long couch behind the driver’s seat, a small built-in banquette and a kitchen counter with sink and refrigerator across from the couch.  Fate had placed it there just for us, I was sure.  I knew it was meant for us.

  I couldn’t wait until my husband came home that night to tell him about my fabulous find.  Dubious, but in good faith, he drove over to the gas station with me to see if we could get a close up look.  The attendant had a key so with my heart beating wildly with anticipation we opened the door and went inside.  It had a bathroom and two single beds in the back.  Immediately my brain went into high gear figuring out how and where we could add more sleeping surfaces (beds), what I could do for window coverings, how I could decoupage the bathroom window with shades of colored tissue paper so no one could see through it.  The upholstery on the couch and the banquette seats were like new and so were the cushions on the two back beds.  There was plenty of cupboard space so I thought with just a few tweaks and adjustments we had solved the issue of how to go on camping trips with our family.  I don’t know exactly what Jerry thought but he was an easy-going guy and I soon convinced him it was made for us.   So we plunked down a few thousand dollars and proudly drove our “camper” home. we worked on the bus which we parked in our driveway almost every week-end.  The rest of the week it lived at the gas station.  Who knew it would take so long to get it in workable and livable shape.

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