We met in the fall of 1956 and were married September 6, 1958 in Springfield, Missouri. Over the next 12 years we lived in various locations throughout southern Missouri and since that time our home has been in the central part of the state.
Our first camping experience was at the Lake of the Ozarks State Park using the back of our Fairlane station wagon as our bed and the tailgate as our table. Jo’s mom, dad, and sister were with us in their tent and our daughter Phyllis slept in our front seat while our son Kenneth slept in the front seat of their station wagon.
I then built a shell on the back of our pickup with a three section frame across the top of the wheel wells for our bed. The center frame would pull out with folding legs to become an outside table during the day time. There was another frame across the front above our feet that was a bunk for one of the kids. We carried a two burner propane stove and used a spare auto battery with a 12 volt bulb in an extension cord for lights. This unit served us well until we purchased a slide in camper. After the slide in camper we borrowed the Starcraft pop-up tent trailer that Jo’s folks had at that time. When they quit traveling and camping they gave us the pop-up which we used until we bought our first fifth wheel trailer in 1999.
Our first fifth wheel was a 1999 37’ Jayco Designer and the truck that we had was a Ford with the 7.5L (460CI) gas engine and 4.10 rear gear ratio. This combination was recommended to us by some RV friends and it seemed like that monster engine would pull the world, it sure liked to drink the gasoline. Our first outing with this combination was to Des Moines, IA and all was fine except I believe that I could actually watch the gas gauge move downward as we drove. This was my first experience in pulling anything this long and as I drove through the campground heading to our assigned site I turned a corner too sharp and drug the side of the trailer into a tree, oops! With the damage repaired our next outing was, after retirement, a trip to Baltimore, MD for Thanksgiving with our daughter Phyllis. Our experience pulling very slowly up the mountains of western Maryland and West Virginia caused me to order our first diesel truck as soon as we made it back home.
In 2004 we traded the Jayco for a 34’ HR Presidential and in 2008 we traded that HR for a 35’ Carriage Cameo. In the fall of 2010 we traded again for a 2011 36’ HH Discover America. This trailer we ordered direct from the factory with all the options that we learned to desire from all the previous units.
In December of 2016 we traded the HH 5th wheel trailer for a Host Rainier SB truck camper. This changed our way of camping as we no longer needed 40 acres to turn around in. With the camper riding in the bed of our truck we could park almost anywhere while fuel-ups and lunch breaks were easy stops.
We did enjoy our traveling and since retirement in 1999 we have visited all 50 states, camped in all of the lower 48 plus 9 provinces of Canada. We have taken cruises around Hawaii, from Alaska to Vancouver, from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego through the Panama Canal, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. We have toured western Europe which was great and would love to go back.
Now in 2019 we have called a halt to our wandering, camping ways and sold the truck camper and truck. It has been a tremendous ride that both of us have enjoyed very much but now in our advanced years the comfort of an upscale motel room is very much our way of traveling.