Fifty Dollars Worth of Camper

th3EKZ50VW bus 2See this great old school bus.  It is so much nicer than the one Daddy acquired for the unbelievable sum of fifty dollars. He purchased it from his brother-in-law, who’d gotten stuck with it as payment body work.  Daddy was ahead of his time In acquiring this Tiny House.  Mother was furious.  Fifty dollars would have bought more than two week’s supply of groceries.  Though he gave Mother no end of grief about her extravagant spending at the grocery store, he wasn’t short-sighted and saw the great potential in this bus-camper.  It would be a wonderful shelter when he and his buddies went deer hunting, and oh yes, the family could use it for camping, too!  Now our camper wasn’t nearly so nice as the one pictured above.  It had been partially hand-painted bright silver and lacked a motor. The good news was, we could finish it up any color we liked and motors take up a lot of unnecessary space better used for storage.  In that special storage area, items were stored in boxes on one deep shelf or in  boxes on the floor beneath the shelf.  While the rest of us were out fishing, swimming, or just running wild in general, Mother drug boxes out and dug through them for dishes, pots and pans, and food, all this with two babies in diapers.  She complained about her back constantly.  What a whiner!

.nice inside

See how comfortable and well-appointed the camper pictured above is.  Ours was nothing like this.  There was no refrigerator, lighting, water, bathroom, hard-wood floors, or Benjamin Franklin wood burning stove.  There was, however, an ancient gas range Daddy hooked to a propane bottle.  It had two functioning burners and a defunct oven.  That was okay, since Mother insisted it had a propane leak and she was scared to use it longer than it took to heat a can of beans or cook eggs.  She cooked with all the windows open and made Daddy cut the fuel off every time she got through.  In fact, it did have a propane leak in the line, but that’s a story for another day.

Two full-size bunk beds filled the rear of the camper.  Two sets of old army bunks were stacked along either side.  Of course, we fought over the top bunks.  The lower bunks served as seating.  A lantern and flash lights served when light was needed.

It was perfect.  I remember one wonderful camping trip when Daddy pulled it to a creek bank.  We swam, fished, swatted mosquitoes, cooked outdoors, only going in to sleep, so exhausted we hardly moved till morning.  Mother got up several times every night to spray to camper with bug killer and spray the covers and any exposed skin with mosquito repellent.  We scratched bug bites and poison ivy for days after we got home.

That was our only family camping trip.  Daddy used it a time or two for hunting, then gave it up as too much trouble.  It had a couple of other incarnations as a home for a farm laborer who confirmed the stove fuel line leak before it descended so far down the social scale it ended life as a junk shed on Daddy’s farm.

To me, that camper was worth every cent!

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50 thoughts on “Fifty Dollars Worth of Camper

  1. LOL re: your mother’s thoughts about the camper and her back. My mother refused to participate in ANY sort of camping with a comment similar to this, “Every single day I do everything from laundry to meals to cleaning up for a family of seven and you now want to convince me that it would be a VACATION for me to have to do it all without modern conveniences? You can’t be serious!!”
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

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  2. Awesome! Not too far from here, there’s a yard with an old school bus parked in it. Of all things, it has a shiny new side mirror. I photographed it one day. I thought to myself that it was a beautiful photo, and I bet the people who own it are anything but dull. 🙂

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  3. From time to time, I have “flash” memories out of the blue of camping with the family. We had army cots and mosquito netting. My dad was resourceful and hauled up a little construction shack that was set up for cooking, storage and sometimes keeping out of the rain. It was well organized. Eventually, a house was built but never completely finished though usable. I was so mad when my parents sold the lot and house because I knew we would use it more when we were no longer teens. My parents said “Well, ya’ll never wanted to go up there.” Duh, we were teens, we had busy social lives.

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  4. lol…oh the adventures of a $50 camper…now picture same as home in a 2-wk blizzard…with a cheap woodstove…and no wooden furniture!!! no worries about termites…and, come spring all #6000 of it bought a nice bus ticket with no rear view mirror

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