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Topic: Our Camping History 1963 to 1975

Posted By: Clattertruck on 07/15/12 10:45am

What is it that propels us to travel and camp? Is it something that resides in our itchy bones or is it something instilled by early experience? Maybe some of both, I don't know.
My wife has the same itch as I do. She spent time with her family in the boundary waters if Minnesota. I grew up fishing and hunting with my father in the Colorado Mountains. The desert reached into my soul when we lived in Gallup, New Mexico during 1941 and 1942. We lived on the east edge of town while my dad worked on Ft Wingate as an engineer. I was an only child, and I amused myself by playing in the arroyos carved into a sagebrush hill.

Our family camping began in 1963. We had two children, Sarah 6 and Martha 4yrs. Son John would arrive later. We had a new 1963 Ford wagon and decided to take the kids camping.

1963 Margot fixing lunch on the Ford tailgate. We had a borrowed tent, which unknown to us was bomb primed to go off.

Margot and I had camped with our parents as kids so we were not totally ignorant. The tent was a device made in hell. By the time we got the interior steel rod frame to work we were near a divorce.

1965 The tent thing had to be exterminated so I bought a 1965 Dodge A100 Sportsman van, and I built bunks in it.

Lotus Creek CG Colorado.

1966 Sand Dunes National Monument, CO. We had many good times in the van. Sarah was 9 yrs, Martha was 7.

I was passing a Ford dealer in Littleton CO when I spied this baby. Hmmm, a new baby was on the way and a truck camper looks like a better venue. The dealer was selling a truck and camper package, which was a 1966 F250 4X2 and the 8ft.Open Road Balboa Model. The package cost was $5109.09 ($36,174 at today's dollar). I made it work by working two jobs.
Notice the very questionable mounting hooks. It stayed on the truck, and I didn't know any better.

John was 5 weeks old when we went to Bandelier at Thanksgiving 1966. As he grew older up he would not sleep in anything but a sleeping bag.

It was cozy but it did the job.

Notice the gas light fixture. We never used it. There were a couple if 12v lamps.


Our first trip to canyon DeChelly on the same vacation.

I took it down moderate jeep roads. Derby Creek Colorado. The camper survived the rough roads.

1967 Margot detests mud. The road to Buford was greasy for sure.

Monument Valley 1967. On this trip I met Harry Goulding and talked with him for an quite a while. He told he and his wife Mike brought sheep and lived in tents several places in the valley during the 1920s. When they found the best place for water and least wind he leased a school section and eventually was able to buy it.

Goulding's trading post at it looked in 2005.

Near Goulding's lodge.

1967 Looking for more room for a family of five. I went to the Mitchell and Sons factory to Commerce City, CO. I was impressed by the quality and design of Mitchell units. The 10 ft. with a large front dinette was my choice. The campers we sold only factory direct.
From this point I'll devote much of the story to our history with the Mitchell organization and family.

This was the start of a long relationship with the Mitchell family. My business as a commercial photographer fit with their needs for brochures and ads. We took a trip to the Teton country in Wyoming with Bud and Mary Jane in 1967.

Son John was relegated to toddler jail when hyper active. Now at 46 yrs old he is contemplating abuse charges when he sees this picture.
The big dinette would handle three children for sleeping. Mom and pop slept in the cab-over east/west.
The kids road in the camper with the ability to come through the boot for time in the cab. We never thought about the risk element.

A lunch stop on the way.

Bud and Mary Jane Mitchell had lots of kids and needed a lot of room. The company sold mostly truck campers, but Bud was probably the driving force behind big "Chassis Mounts". The name Motor Home was not generally used.
This is from a Kodachrome slide. The photos I made for commercial purposes were made on large format 4x5 film. I have none remaining because the old Ektachrome has faded into oblivion.

I convinced Bud to take some campers to Monument Valley for photography after showing him pictures of the red "land of standing rocks". Pictures are what Harry Goulding used to bring Hollywood director John Ford to the valley in 1938.

Mick and Rita Mitchell posing for a photo. This 35mm slide suffers from age.

This 1968 black and white is the only photo I have of our first brochure cover shot. The color image is long gone due to dye molecule fade.

After we finished photo work, I took the group up Comb Wash to explore some canyons. We setup camp along the road leaving room for ranchers to get by.

Bud with his Honda 90 trail bike and my Kawasaki.

Crossing fish Creek at the mouth of the canyon.

We visited some Anasazi ruins which led to an enduring interest if these ancient peoples.

1969 another desert trip with Mitchell clan. Camping in Butler Wash.

My new 1968 Yamaha DT1 at Squaw Flat. How about the riding uniform?

1969 Squaw Flats before the campground was developed.

Night shot brings memories of desert evenings with kids scampering around the fire.

Fall1969 at Chaco, Ron, Martha, John, Sarah, and Margot

1969 Ron dismounting a 4x5 view camera while overlooking Pueblo Bonito.

1970 the Mitchell group gathers at Sand Island near Bluff, UT.

1970 Arch Canyon became a favorite trip

1970 We had stopped at this point and someone noticed a ruin high up the canyon wall.

High up the canyon wall is a small cave with a stick structure in it. One wonders what it was used for.

1970 Running up Fish Creek canyon Mick had a bit of a problem. Winching was the answer.

Mick Mitchell in the early morning.

I In 1970 I bought a Red Chevrolet one-ton Longhorn pickup. It had 9 foot bed. To fit the Mitchell 10ft so that we could have boot to the cab modification was needed. Much to the horror of the Chevy body shop I had them cut off the tail lamps and fender to the 8ft dimension. I had the camper bolted down to the bed. Strange as it may seem it worked out well. The Chevy had much more power and handled better that the '66 Ford. Of course, I had to sell the rig as one unit.
Pretty stupid as I look back. The photo was taken at Alta Mines near Telluride on a misty morning..

Winter 1970. My family and I took a large unit to a ski area for a few shots.

1970 summer trip up Derby Creek to Bailey Lake. The '63 Jeep with Mom, Pop, and three kids was a load. I had converted the engine to a Buick V6 and it ran well.

The Mitchell developed a customer club called the Bighorn Caravan. Mick, in his memoirs, says Bud decided to invite all the local customers to a steak -fry after a good year in the 1960s. The response was "overwhelming" according to Mick. Bud was inspired by the Airstream Caravan, and selected the name Bighorn Caravan. The whole thing became so popular that it got out hand. The Mitchells hired Bill Jackson to run it . He was a great manager.

The Caravan grew to up to hundreds of attendees. The caravan developed 14 sub groups each having their own events. Mitchell Campers sponsored two events a year, a Steak Fry and a Kokanee Snag. Some 300 to 500 owners would come for fun and fellowship.

This was a Steak Fry in South Park east of Jefferson, CO. There were games and a trap shooting contest. Mick recalls the Bill Jackson invited Art Rouse, publisher of RV magazines, to come to a Steak Fry. The result of the visit was Art starting the Good Sam Club. He later Hired Bill Jackson to lead the caravans.
I would guess that Mitchell and Sons was perhaps the largest manufacturer of truck campers in the country in the 1970s.

1971 Bud and his son Charlie. Both have passed away .

1971 Mick ( Harry B. Mitchell) in Arch Canyon, UT.

1971 Arch canyon, Ron and son John

1998 John and Madeline Alice at the mouth of Arch Canyon.

1971 The Blacksmith in Blanding, UT. While in Arch Canyon, one of the group driving an International Scout broke the front spring u-bolts on one side. The Scout could not be driven out so we headed to Blanding for help. Parts were not available, but it was suggested we go to the local blacksmith. We showed him the u-bolts . He measured and cut a piece of steel rod, threaded it and then heated it. He formed it over a pipe and produced a perfect copy. He made two for $3.00. Those days we will never see again.

1971 camping off road near Halls Crossing.

1972 back to the cottonwoods at Arch canyon. The red Bronco on the right was my new 4x4. It was a lot more roomy than the CJ5. It was a 1971 that was a left-over in 1972 inventory. It listed for $4768 and I paid $3733 ($19,207 today)

1972 Using creek water for hair washing at the Arch Canyon mouth. We had no camper shower.

1972 Mitchell had a compact trailer with slides. Mitchell never applied the idea to truck campers

1972 the Squaw Flat CG had become paved.

1973 I bought a small Mitchell Chassis Mount. The Chevy truck was untold grief.
it would suddenly stop running and be totally flooded. It turned out to be a fuel pump that was severely over pressure. Mick had a Chevy truck leak gas and near Salt Lake and the rig burned to the ground.

1973 My new rig with '71 Bronco

1973 spring. This was a real adventure. The old road from Blanding to Halls Crossing was a dirt trail that could be a mud nightmare. We were headed to Lake Powell and ran into a snow and rain storm that tried to stop us. The Mitchell were never discouraged or upset. It was an entertaining challenge. We had to chain two or three 4x4s to the big rigs to drag them over the gooey hills. The old road was 140 miles long and the new road is about 95 miles. It took 10 hours to reach the marina.

1973 Buddy Mitchell showing off a fish he caught. He got tired of fishing and chucked his rod and reel overboard. Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes.

Bud frying the delicious fish. When fishing with Bud, John and I caught 3 or 4 fish while Bud caught a cooler full. He didn't need Buddy's help.

The drive out featured another stormy sea of mud. We had spent a week with chains on.
I had used full dually chains, very messy to remove.

Bud showed me it was better to just chain the outside dual.

1973. Having nine children and lots stuff, Bud and Mary Jane needed a really big outfit.

1973 A camp somewhere in Canada, our last trip in the Chassis Mount. A bad economy and the Arab embargo oil problem forced a change in direction. I sold the camper and bought a 1973 Chevy K2500 Suburban. I needed it for a work truck besides camping.

1974 trip to Capitol Reef. Margot, Sarah and John slept in the truck while Martha and I had the backpack tent.

1975 Martha waits to leave. We were ready to drive this Mitchell Class C to Sand Island, UT for Photos and Easter Holliday.

1975 Class Cs on van chassis were becoming popular. The Mitchell factory devoted one of their six manufacturing buildings to Class C production.

1975 The usual night shot.

1975 A cold night at Chaco. We went for Thanksgiving and the weather changed. Margot fixed dinner we had at near zero which brought her to tears. Over night it dropped to -5 below zero. Not much fun. Martha's dog, Mac, stayed in the little tent with Martha and I. Mac got between the down bags. Margot and Sarah slept in the cold truck. Our friends had a Mitchell trailer where John was able to sleep.
Where was our camper when we needed it.

The Suburban got modified. I had a big roof rack made and 2 saddle tanks installed. The total fuel capacity was 75 gallons. The truck served us for 260,000 miles.

1976 brought a disaster to Mitchell and Sons. March 15 after closing time fire broke out and Mick and Rita got a call that the factory was on fire. When Mick arrived four of the six manufacturing building were an inferno. Two other buildings and the office were saved.
The brothers tried to keep things going on limited scale. The Class C building was operational. They struggled until 1980 when they shifted to modular buildings manufacturing.

Eventually Margot and I came back to truck campers. But that's another story.

Satchel Paige warned, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."
I notice age changes one's life, but looking back is worth it. New adventures await us.

When the subject of old times comes up, I can say, "Hell, I was there!" (taken from the title of Elmer Keith's biography).

The misty planet is such a beautiful place.
Ron and Margot

2008 SD F450 Pickup PSD 6.4L CC 4X4 DRW, Lariat Auto trans 4.30 LS, 2013 Lance TT 1885, Toyota 2014 Tundra Crew Max 5.7.

Posted By: USARMYCW on 07/15/12 11:10am

Thanks Ron for the memory lane post. I enjoyed it.

Posted By: Tiger4x4RV on 07/15/12 11:11am


Looking back is worth it. No kidding! What a wonderful trip you've given me down memory lane. It's amazing what we could do when we didn't know any better.

I grew up in the fifties with travel trailers in which we actually used those gas lights. They mada a lot of heat and a lot of condensation. I read Art Rouse's articles in my parents' issues of Trailer Life.

Mitchell is not a familiar name to me, prossibly because we lived in California. There are still old chassis mount units in a few yards in my neighborhood and I saw several on my just-ended trip to Colorado. One might even say that my Tiger CX is a chassis mount. :-)

Slides in 1972? Gadzooks!

Thank you for your time, your photos, and your inspiration.

2006 Tiger CX 4x4, 8.1 L gas V-8, Allison 6-speed

Posted By: romore on 07/15/12 11:15am

Wonderful story and pictures, thanks for sharing. The 66 with the camper sure brings back some memories, Dad had a similar camper on a 65 GMC. It was secured to the truck with bolts through the floor, a pain to get lined up when mounting the camper. Those were good times.

Posted By: rv2go on 07/15/12 11:19am

Wow!!! What memories.... and to capture it in pictures.

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Posted By: d3500ram on 07/15/12 11:24am

Very cool post!!!

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Posted By: ch-ta on 07/15/12 11:27am

Awesome pictures, awesome story. Thank you very much. Also learned a few things. Thanks!

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Posted By: FreeLanceing on 07/15/12 11:28am

WOW! What a great write up. Brings back memories. When I was 14 (1971) dad sold the family business in Chicago. We spent the next summer going Chicago, Alaska, LA, Chicago in a 69 ford camper special, with a Cobra TC. The folks and 4 kids. We enjoyed the view from the front window.

Posted By: skipbee on 07/15/12 11:30am

What a great history lesson watching the kids grow up in the University Without Walls. You and your cohorts were unstoppable. Very great! Thanks.

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Posted By: dupreet on 07/15/12 11:39am

Very cool. You have inspired me to go digging for my families old photos and get scanning. We had a '65 van my parents bought when I was an infant - used it to move us from NJ out to California.

Thanks for posting,



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Posted By: weymard on 07/15/12 11:41am

Wow, great post ! thanks.

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Posted By: sabconsulting on 07/15/12 11:44am

A great piece of RVing history - many thanks Ron.


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Posted By: Johnworth914 on 07/15/12 11:59am

Excellent! Thanks.

Alaska is next! Still trying to fit the pontoons to the RV so We can get to Hawaii!">

Posted By: fatmanobx on 07/15/12 12:22pm

verry cool...

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Posted By: GizmosMom on 07/15/12 12:28pm

Wow! That was great. I really enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for all of the apparent hard work that went into creating that to share with all of us.

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Posted By: rfryer on 07/15/12 01:11pm

Excellent post, Clattertruck. Thanks for the trip back in time. I think you have to be our age to appreciate pictures like that. We’ve wanted to do something along that line for a couple of years, but most of my photos from 1962 to recent are on 35mm slides, 3000 plus. Not cheap to have then converted and a really massive, time consuming exercise to do it yourself. I liked your Bronco, my ’73 is in a lot of my photos and I still have it and drive it.

Posted By: PatrickA51 on 07/15/12 01:17pm

Great post a lot of great photo's there....before computers too.

Posted By: Western Sky Ranch on 07/15/12 01:36pm

That was fantastic! I loved seeing the old white gas stove, the pull tab Coors beers on the picnic table and all the old gear. That night shot with the TC's, campfire and kids running round is my favorite!

Thank you for the post.

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Posted By: sleepy on 07/15/12 02:48pm

I really enjoyed this trip down memory lane... the bonus for me and Janet is the western local.

We had a wall tent when we got maried in 1963... our daughters bassonette was in the front seat of our1965 Plymouth Fury III station wagon.

I built my first truck camper in 1969 to fit a 1970 3/4ton longhorn... the extra long bed was designed in.

I looked at a lot of TC's "borrowing" ideas... and leaving some out like gas lights.

You have done a fantastic job with your "Trip through Life report" and we are very lucky to share it.

Sleepy and Janet

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Posted By: Testudo on 07/15/12 03:11pm

Wow! Priceless! Thanks for sharing - - the subtitle could be: "Clattertruck, the Lost Years".

I'd forgotten some of those vehicles were even legal for the public to own. Awsome.

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Posted By: Testudo on 07/15/12 03:20pm


Son John was relegated to toddler jail when hyper active. Now at 46 yrs old he is contemplating abuse charges when he sees this picture.

You could always argue in court that this is where you penned your livestock to butcher during the trip - - it could be a pig in there!

Posted By: spacedoutbob on 07/15/12 03:20pm

Wow! Thank you very much for sharing your photos and old time trip report with me. It's like going back in time. Thanks again!

Bob in Calif.

Good Sam Club Life Member

Posted By: Testudo on 07/15/12 03:25pm

It's neat seeing some of the same campsites that I have overnited in - - but, _before_ electricity was discovered...

Posted By: Testudo on 07/15/12 03:33pm

It was a revelation to me that you had met and talked to Goulding, himself. I hadn't gone to Monument Valley until we had the RV (so, in recent years) and those pioneers seemed like ancient history by then. (....Maybe you came across Lewis & Clark; Sitting Bull; and some of your photos were taken by Mathew Brady?)

Posted By: Clattertruck on 07/15/12 03:47pm

Testudo wrote:

It was a revelation to me that you had met and talked to Goulding, himself. I hadn't gone to Monument Valley until we had the RV (so, in recent years) and those pioneers seemed like ancient history by then. (....Maybe you came across Lewis & Clark; Sitting Bull; and some of your photos were taken by Mathew Brady?)

I would have been happy in the 19th century. The day after I was born in 1933, George Armstong Custer's wife, Libby, died. I was in college before I ever saw TV.

Posted By: Testudo on 07/15/12 03:50pm

Clattertruck wrote:

1966 Sand Dunes National Monument, CO. We had many good times in the van. Sarah was 9 yrs, Martha was 7.

I had to show these pictures to my wife and when she laid eyes on the DODGE van with the door open, she exclaimed, "Oh look! It has a slide out!"

( I should have asked my wife if she thought your daughter was going to try to change the wagon wheel on your DODGE by herself ! )

* This post was edited 07/15/12 04:24pm by Testudo *

Posted By: Little Kopit on 07/15/12 03:56pm

Many thanks. You've been very quick at picking your pics and putting this together.

BTW, I had to stop and think when you said 5 below zero, you mean in Fahrenheit. That's = -20.56 'C. A big difference from -5'C.

I hope you'll continue the story.


& I, I took the road less travelled by.

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Posted By: Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli on 07/15/12 04:10pm

Very cool. Too bad about the bad luck that ended Mitchell. You had some really interesting pictures and stories and I bet there's a lot more where these came from. Thanks for the post!

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Posted By: Testudo on 07/15/12 04:11pm

Clattertruck wrote:

I would have been happy in the 19th century. The day after I was born in 1933, George Armstong Custer's wife, Libby, died. I was in college before I ever saw TV.

I would have liked to have met Libby Custer (or heard her lecture) for its own sake. Her life _after_ George is as large to me as Custer himself. I've had to settle for visiting their last billet at Fort Lincoln (Bismark, ND).

I was tenting from about 1966 through 2005. I can _appreciate_ your forays with the tent - - if I can't actually identify with it. A big chasm exists between those of us that manage to take to the tent and RVers. The tenters seemed to practically dissapear by 2005 so we stopped "fighting" the RVers and joined them. It's not really camping though, ...when you _don't_ have an overlooked stick or a rock poking you in the a$$ all night. Reminds me of the 'newbie' RVers, too, who want the odds calculated that they might freeze to death in their new RV {grin!}.

I really can't remember a time without television. My family lived in reception range to Cinncinati and my dad was an early adopter. Unfortunately, some of my earliest memories involve television - - when I was about two.

We've camped at that very site at Squaw Flats and walked up on the dome above. It puts things in perspective to see that loop unpaved and then paved. Although I can't say I would have had an inking that the shot was from 50 years ago unless you had told us. The view hasn't changed all that much (thankfully).

ON EDIT: I just realized that I never slept in a tent (while camping) until about the mid-1970s! Before that it was all under the stars with maybe a tarp in the best of circumstances. I think I had a bivy sack in the mid-1970s which was sort of like a body-bag for those of you that have never set foot outside your RV. Just a little something to keep the rain off one's sleeping bag.

* This post was edited 07/15/12 04:28pm by Testudo *

Posted By: Farmerjon on 07/15/12 04:20pm

It really brings back memories.
Absolutly beautiful pictures!
Thank you for sharing with us!

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Posted By: Testudo on 07/15/12 04:22pm

I frequently try to conceptualize recent history by comparing the passage of time in my own life to spans going back a hundred, hundred-and-fifty, or two hundred years. The technology we take for granted, the advantages we have over Lewis and Clark or Sitting Bull or even Libby Custer, is not all that old. Some of the luxuries we camp with (lead-acid batteries; refrigeration; as examples) have historical roots going back less than 150 years. Multiply our life experiences by two or three and we can almost transport ourselves back to Lewis and Clark or Sitting Bull. What our minds tend to dismiss as ancient history (on account of being before a time that we can personaly remember) is not so very long ago.

Posted By: Nemo667 on 07/15/12 04:47pm

...good lord Clattertruck. What an awesome historical post!! This needs to be in truck camper annals for sure. Thank you sir.[emoticon]

* This post was edited 07/16/12 09:32am by Nemo667 *

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Posted By: 69cayo on 07/15/12 04:58pm

Wow, great pictures and history.

Thanks for sharing.

Posted By: daverich on 07/15/12 04:58pm

One of the most touching and enjoyable posts I have read. Thanks!

Posted By: SoCalDesertRider on 07/15/12 05:17pm

That was awesome. Thanks for the photo journey. [emoticon]

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Posted By: c.traveler2 on 07/15/12 05:51pm

Thanks for taking us down memory lane, loved many of your photos.

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Posted By: cewillis on 07/15/12 06:08pm

Fantastic history. Many thanks. I agree with Nemo.


Posted By: 17oaks on 07/15/12 06:30pm

GREAT read, enjoyed it!

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Posted By: LanceCamper845 on 07/15/12 06:57pm

This would have to be the best post I had ever read on !

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Posted By: whazoo on 07/15/12 07:09pm

I have to echo others... priceless, priceless, priceless. Your pictures are a living memorial to the best of times in my opinion. Thanks so very much. I knew you had a million bucks worth of pictures...we were not short changed. I hope there is a special section for this in the trip report sticky, hint hint Silver.[emoticon]

Posted By: DiscoChicken on 07/15/12 09:25pm

Wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing.


Posted By: seldomseensmith on 07/15/12 10:51pm


I knew you had a story to tell, and I knew it would be a good one, but your tale surpasses my wildest expectations. You have captured in words and pictures a veritable history of "modern" RVing as seen through your family's eyes, and I am grateful you've trusted all of us with your memories.

At the same time you were introducing your children to the wonders of the great outdoors and camping, I was learning much the same from my father. Your incredibly crisp and clear images evoked similar pictures from my past, and they stirred feelings in me long buried. For that I thank you.

I know this presentation took a great deal of time and thought on your part, and I join my fellow members in expressing heartfelt gratitude that you think highly enough of us to do it.

Well done sir, well done.

The Road Goes Ever On

2008 F250 SD 4x4 Supercab, Detroit TrueTrac, Hellwig LP 35, 2006 Outfitter Caribou 6.5

Posted By: tamaratrav on 07/15/12 11:51pm


* This post was edited 07/21/12 01:22am by tamaratrav *

Posted By: bka0721 on 07/16/12 12:52am

I do some of my best and favorite reading, late at night. That way no one is around and it is quiet, save for the raspy breathing of an old dog. As with any good read, you know it is going to come to an end. Maybe I was lucky tonight, not to discover your Journey’ until late, as I began reading it, I did not want it to end. Each photograph was such a treasure of detail and surprises, of time that is gone. There were so many of your photographs that carried me home, to a time that I had almost forgotten but not wanting to. Trucks, campers I would see traveling through my home town in Kansas, wondering where they were heading. Mitchell Campers were popular hunting and fishing campers then and I spent a few nights out on the prairie, in a tent, as some of the older guys slept in their Mitchells. We started camping in 1959, in Colorado and much of the scenery you have depicted seems so familiar now. Then we stopped in 1962, with a final trip to Lake George, in Colorado. After that it was just me, solo, in tents till my TC arrived in 09 and I began my adventure. Now I save, at least, 12 nights a year in a backcountry tent. I can only imagine the memories your three children, grown now, have from those years, but if they have the passion you and Margot have for life outdoors, they are truly lucky. Thank you for sharing Ron, I just hope this first installment is nothing more than a set of reports still to read and enjoy your wonderful photographs. I know I will be waiting.


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16 BMW R1200GSW Adventure
16 KTM 500 EXC
06 Honda CRF450X
09 Haulmark Trlr

Posted By: pa traveler on 07/16/12 05:22am

Nice report of camping adventures.

Posted By: Caveman55 on 07/16/12 11:09am

Love the pictures of old campers and the ones of the Honda CT 90. I still have my 1970 CT90 in the building.

DB Pressley
2005 Lance 881
2006 Ford 350 Dually

Posted By: Clattertruck on 07/16/12 12:50pm

I am overwhelmed by all the kind words in response to my post. Thank you all.

I imagine that we all have friends who don't understand what we do. "You mean you actually live in that thing?".

Posted By: d3500ram on 07/16/12 01:07pm

It is not only us members' here that appreciate the post... I forwarded it on to family and co-workers that like camping who also found your write-up really cool! If there is a "part 2" I know I will look forward to it!

Posted By: 1stgenfarmboy on 07/16/12 01:09pm

Ron..we can't say how much we enjoyed the photos and history of your families camping trips. we actually had tears in my eyes thinking about how much fun ya'll must have had.

those memories are abosutly pricless.

thanks so much Darwin & Barb

1993 Dodge W350 Cummins with all the goodies
2014 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn 2wd 395hp
2017 Forest River Surveyor 243 RBS
2001 Super Sherpa & 2012 DL650A go along also

Posted By: DoneItAll on 07/16/12 02:29pm

What wonderful memories that you've made! Forever cherish!


John & Harriet on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland
2008 F450 4X4 Crew Cab
2017 Lance 2375 Travel Trailer

Posted By: River&Sand on 07/16/12 02:48pm

WOW what a great read, what wonderful times spent with family and friends. Brings back some of my own memories of traveling across country in a 66 Chevy Carryall towing a 66 Wildcat trailer with my family. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

05 Chev Ext.Cab K3500, Dmax/Alli, DRW, Reese Signature 18k, HappiJac, Jordan 2020
05 Lance 920 Truck Camper
06 Weekend Warrior LE3305, 5th Airborne, Dexter E-Z Flex ">
01 HighJumper SandSprite 3 Dune Buggy ">

Posted By: My Blue Heaven on 07/16/12 03:31pm

As Bob Hope used to sing, "thanks for the memories". When will volume 2 be ready?

2001 F350 Lariat CC 4WD 7.3 PSD dually, chipped, 4" SS exhaust, 350 hp, Rancho 9000's, front receiver, front & rear Roadmasters
2009 Arctic Fox 990S, storm windows, Cummins/Onan, FastGuns, Torklifts

Posted By: Reelescape1 on 07/16/12 05:10pm

Best camping post EVER!! Thank you!

Posted By: MrPhelps on 07/16/12 05:17pm

LanceCamper845 wrote:

This would have to be the best post I had ever read on !

Ditto.. Truly wonderful

- 2018 RAM 3500 Laramie DRW
- 2018 Host Cascade Dual Slide

Posted By: the tc life on 07/16/12 05:20pm

amazing. not much else to say, just amazing.
thanks for sharing with us.

2010 adventurer 810ws
1999 c3500 dually 12' flatbed


Posted By: Less Stuff on 07/16/12 06:57pm

Thanks for posting such a great story with photos.

We started out in a better tent(Springbar) and I liked boats so it took many years until the Truck Camper bug bit.
I even had an old Dodge work van just like yours.
I thought it would make a good RV you proved me right.

Again thanks for posting your story.

Former user name: "Lots of Stuff"
2015 RAM 1500 V6 8 speed
Regular cab short bed 2 wheel drive.
Leer 180 Topper

Posted By: stumper92 on 07/16/12 07:04pm

This was by far the best thread I have ever read on RV.Net! Thank you so much for sharing!

Posted By: nstate on 07/16/12 07:53pm

Probably the finest thread i've ever seen/read. Brings back memories of a America where you could go anywhere you wanted without government restrictions and control. Of coarse people respected the out doors more than they do now. Really taken back by the photos and the story. Thank you.

Posted By: Photog101 on 07/16/12 09:04pm

Clattertruck: Thanx for the great available light night shots. Great write up.

Thanx again:

Combat Vietnam Veteran Support our troops for serving our great country.
1997 Veri Lite RL1200 on a '02, K3500, CC, DRW, 8.1L, Allison, 4.1 gears, Bridgestone 225/70R19.5 tires.
'12 C2500, EC, 6.6L Duramax
A couple of older 5th wheels housing homeless vets.

Posted By: 4xMike on 07/16/12 09:26pm

That is really cool... thanks for sharing!

1994 S&S 9.5' SC-B, StableLift, 2x6V golf cart batteries, LED interior lights
2005 Dodge 3500 4x4 QC DRW CTD 48RE to G56 6-speed conversion, Quadzilla 65HP Chip

Posted By: robseg on 07/16/12 09:58pm

Thank you for allowing me to view you pictures and read the story. It was a great trip back in time. I had many hours spent in my dad's camper when I was a kid and this brought me back to that time. Thank you again!

2005 F-350 SRW 6.0L 4X4 Line-X Torq Lifts
2006 Lance 835
2006 Sand Car 1989 Honda Pilot
2005 Honda EU3000is

Posted By: Bigfoot85 on 07/17/12 08:33am

We can only echo the thanks for sharing. Life passes too quickly ... it's refreshing to look back at the joy and fun we've had. What a great reminder to us all to remember ...

Bigfoot 9.5
2004 Chevy 2500HD 6.0, 4.10 manual

Posted By: kereams on 07/18/12 02:50pm

I am 35 years old and never saw those days. I found this post very educational and extremely interesting. Thank you for sharing that. You provided a wonderful upbringing for your children. Can't ask for much more than that....

*2011 F350 SRW CC/LB/PSD - Mods: Custom overload springs with custom early engagement blocks~Firestone Airbags~Hellwig Big Wig Rear Sway~Rancho RS9000XL~Bilstein Steering Damper~19.5" Hankook DH01'a on steel wheels.
*2012 Chalet Ascent S95R Camper

Posted By: btggraphix on 07/18/12 04:52pm

Wow. Clattertruck in addition to a heart felt thanks.....I think a number of us can say "I told you so" from those encouraging comments on that other thread. [emoticon] We told you everyone would love it. I can't remember seeing such a fast and furious pace to the well-deserved kudos, thanks and 'best post ever' comments. I kind of ripped through it, the opposite of BKA....I didn't have enough time, but I simply could not close it down and look later. I HAD to read it. I'll digest more carefully later.

Thank you for sharing with us!

2006 LanceMax 1191 - loaded and well-used
2005 C4500/Kodiak 4x4, GVWR 17,500

Posted By: oldtrojan66 on 07/18/12 05:44pm

I have enjoyed this post very much! Thanks so much for posting.

2007 Jayco Designer 36RLTS
2006 F350 DRW 6.0 PSD (
When you're born, everyone is smiling and you're crying. Live so that when you die everyone else is crying and you're smiling!

Posted By: Crazy Creek on 07/18/12 07:27pm

I thoroughly enjoyed your photos and narrative. The picture quality is amazing! You guys were certainly pioneers and paved the way for those to follow.

Posted By: GoinThisAway on 07/26/12 09:18pm

Loved the photos, memories, and history you chose to share with us. Your photos and story should be in the RV/MH Museum and Hall of Fame in Elkhart IN if they aren't already.

2008 Dodge 3500 DRW 4x4
2008 Bigfoot 25C10.4

Posted By: d3500ram on 10/02/12 09:29pm

Bump... this thread is too good to let lapse into the archives.

Posted By: SpknTC on 10/02/12 11:05pm

Thanks for bumping this thread back to the top. I thought I responded but see I missed it first time around.

The pics and story are amazing! I love Vintage!! You did a wonderful job of capturing the simpler times of life (at least in my mind) LOL!

Unfortunately I missed doing this with my kids (although if you ask them they could care less) but it's not too late to make up for it with my new grandson.

THIS NEEDS A STICKY!! (I'm sure it's already there)

Ford F450 6.7L PSD DRW 4X4
Arctic Fox 865

Posted By: jmckelvy on 10/03/12 07:34am

Wonderful post! I really enjoyed it. Thank you! Brings back memories of my own younger days. Time does tend to slip away and before you know it we have gotten old.

06 RAM 3500,Dually,CTD,Auto(ATS Stage 1),QC,4X4,PacBrake,Spyntec Freespin Hubs,60 Gal Titan Tank,EFI Live, Line-X,Torklifts and SuperHitch,Fastguns
2013 Arctic Fox 990, 275 Watts Solar, 2 Grp 31 AGMs
US Navy 1964-1968, 2-Tour Vietnam Vet

Posted By: Buffettphan on 10/03/12 11:40am

The best post i have ever seen!!! thank you

2004 Lance 1010
2005 GMC 2500HD
Bilstine Shocks
Tork lifts
Stables Loads
Thule duel axle trailer
2012 Harley Davidson Electra Glide Limited
2013 Softail Deluxe
2004 Harley Davidson Sportster 883C

Posted By: WVmountains on 10/03/12 01:22pm

I'm a longtime member of several message forums.

This post by "clattertruck" is by far my favorite post I've read on any forum. Ever.

Thanks much for the camping history and timeline. Very interesting and entertaining.

I'm going to look through this one time and time again.

'10 Wildcat 5th Wheel
'07 Chevy 2500HD Duramax

Posted By: btggraphix on 06/13/13 09:21am

d3500ram wrote:

Bump... this thread is too good to let lapse into the archives.

Whoops I did it again (as Robert Plant might say.)

Required reading for all TC forum members.

Posted By: Greytruck18 on 06/13/13 05:08pm

Thank you very much.. I enjoyed your pictures and story. It makes me wish for experiances that campare to yours..

Posted By: flyfishingsoon on 06/13/13 08:31pm

Thank you! I am a father of 4 kids and know what a wonder full gift you and your wife have given your children. I feel like you let us in on a very special memory and it is an amazing one sir. If you put this in a book and sold hard copies I would be the first one to order one! What terrific job you did!

Posted By: d3500ram on 05/26/16 09:44am

d3500ram wrote:

Bump... this thread is too good to let lapse into the archives.

Ditto again.

Posted By: sasquatchgeoff on 05/26/16 09:54pm

Great memories. While not slack-jawed admiring the beautiful photography and history, I was dabbing my eyes with kleenex at the sheer honesty and generosity that Ron offers up as surely my favorite TC post of all time. Thank you, Sir.

“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
- W. Churchill

1996 F350 SRW CrewCabXLT, 7.3L TD, Vision 19.5/Hankook AH11, StableLoads, LoadLifter 5000s
2019 NL 10-2EXCD SE
1989 F250 XLT 7.3Lidi/ATC
1979 Lance 400

Posted By: whazoo on 05/26/16 11:30pm

Some famous person named Abe once said
"It's not the years in your life that matter, but the life in your years." Mr. Clattertruck, you had some life. Best to you Sir...

Posted By: Hemi Joel on 05/27/16 11:38am

Awesome story and pictures. This brings back memories of a wonderful era. Things will never be the same. One of my first thoughts was "this guy had a good camera". Even color! Thanks for sharing with us.

2018 Eagle Cap 1163 triple slide, 400W solar, MPPT, on a 93 Dodge D350 Cummins, DTT 89 torque converter, big turbo, 3 extra main leafs, Rancho 9000s rear, Monroe gas magnums front, upper overloads removed, home made stableloads, bags.

Posted By: Oldtymeflyr on 05/27/16 01:43pm

Very nice story. Enjoyed it.

Thanks, Rick

Posted By: TCdude on 05/27/16 02:05pm

Truly thanks for sharing! This post is motivational to keep camping and making memories with my young family, and not to forget to take a lot of pictures.

02 GMC 3500 Auto DRW RWD 4.10
2003 Lance 1130 - ROTTEN and Gone
1997 Bigfoot 10.6

Posted By: Cannon George on 05/27/16 05:48pm

Like so many others have said, thanks for sharing! Many viewers will regret not taking more photographs when they had the chance; if anything your post will remind us! (Still true regardless of today's digital phone cameras vs older film box methods)

THANK YOU for this important reminder!

From a fossil,
Brownie Box camera camper

Posted By: nomadictxn on 05/30/16 07:46pm

Coolest post ever! Thank you!

Posted By: jefe 4x4 on 05/30/16 10:22pm

A wonderful bit of nostalgia! thanks for the memories. This is corporate memory...big time.

'01.5 Dodge 2500 4x4, CTD, Qcab, SB, NV5600, 241HD, 4.10's, Dana 70/TruTrac; Dana 80/ TruTrac, Spintec hub conversion, H.D. susp, 315/75R16's on 7.5" and 10" wide steel wheels, Vulcan big line, Warn M15K winch '98 Lance Lite 165s, 8' 6" X-cab, 200w Solar

Posted By: d3500ram on 05/31/17 07:25pm

d3500ram wrote:

d3500ram wrote:

Bump... this thread is too good to let lapse into the archives.

Ditto again.

...and again...

CQ, CQ, CQ Clattertruck. Have not heard from you in a while.

Posted By: billyray50 on 06/01/17 02:44pm

Fantastic post and pictures!

Posted By: Neal47 on 06/01/17 05:34pm

Wow brings back so many memories of growing up in Utah. My Dad didn't have a camper, we just camped out. Its too bad todays youth can't enjoy what we had when we were young. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

Posted By: RickW on 06/01/17 07:11pm

What was old will be new again. Well done. This should be preserved in the trip reports.

04 GMC 1500 4X4X4
04 Sunlite SB

Posted By: cewillis on 06/02/17 08:54am

Very interesting and informative. And great to see the old equipment and pictures.
BTW, I'm older that ANY of that stuff.

Posted By: hotrodfords on 06/03/17 07:53am

I've read your original post many times since you first uploaded it, and each time I come away with something new. This is "the" anchor post for any trip report thread.

Hope you and the family continue to enjoy the outdoors, and many thanks for sharing your story and the Mitchell story!

Posted By: Testudo on 06/03/17 08:44am

'hotrodfords' knocked this to the top of queue and I stumbled into it. I don't think I've seen the topic since I last posted in it in July of 2012. It still remains a _classic_ !

Like 'hotrodfords', I also came away with _new_ questions: I assume the color pictures were KODACHROME slides ( ? ). Even then, the colors came out brilliant. Did you restore the photos in any way or did you just get lucky ? What did you use to capture and digitize the images ? It has been so long since I looked at my own slides from the pre-2000 era that I'm wondering how they would look in comparison to yours if they were similarly published online.

I've done some photo restoration work before of some slides of my father-in-law's from the 1950's that were not well exposed in the first place and then badly scratched in slide projectors. Restoring damage and saturating colors can be a tedious effort. My own slides are in pristine condition but I'm not sure what effect the passage of time has had on them.

As far as camping is concerned, the subject of my own slides are tenting and from the 1980's on. I had experience with SLR's since the mid-1960's but I didn't own my own SLR until I came back from living in Europe (...where I did a _lot_ of camping) in the late 1970's. But by the time I had a camera, I was working 60 hour weeks and probably didn't do much hiking and camping again until the 1980's. Didn't have the first 'real' RV until 2006. I tried fooling around with a bed cap on a FORD Ranger starting in 2004 - - found I liked the tent _better_ !

Posted By: d3500ram on 04/01/18 07:21pm

Bumping this up again for any newbies who want to read a great camping article.

I have not heard any posts from Clattertuck in a while. Does anyone know of his well being?

Posted By: d3500ram on 04/01/18 07:35pm

OMG! The images are lost because of the photogubet snafu!

is there any way to recapture the wonderful images? Perhaps someone that has a pghotofucket account?

Posted By: JoeChiOhki on 04/02/18 01:57am

d3500ram wrote:

OMG! The images are lost because of the photogubet snafu!

is there any way to recapture the wonderful images? Perhaps someone that has a pghotofucket account?

Anyone can do it, you simply need to take the url from each image and load it in a new browser tab by itself and possible refresh the page.

Once it stops getting called by a linking website the image will appear, then simply download, and reload to another hosting service [emoticon].

I'm slowly working through the Avion thread to rehost them so they can be loaded onto a new permanent site for the folks that own that thread,

I would tackle this one as well, but i'm short on time with most of it going into my Amerigo restoration.

My Blog - The Journey of the Redneck Express
CB Channel 17 Redneck Express
'1992 Dodge W-250 "Dually" Power Wagon - Club Cab Long Bed 4x4 V8 5.9L gashog w/4.10 Geared axles
'1974 KIT Kamper 1106 - 11' Slide-in
'2006 Heartland BigHorn 3400RL

Posted By: ppine on 04/02/18 06:00pm

The origins of camping are very interesting. At first it was rich people. Camping goes back 5-6 generations in my family. My Dad and grandfather were backpackers they just didn't call it that back in the 1920s and 30s. My relatives used to take wagons up to Mt St Helen's around 1900 for two weeks and camp out with all the aunts, uncles and cousins. They climbed the mountain before it blew up in the 1970s. My grandfather made an ice axe in shop class around 1910 because it was hard to buy one. My Dad taught me backpacking in 1960 and I started with wood and canvas Trapper Nelson pack board. Some of the relatives moved to Alaska in the 1930s.

Posted By: joerg68 on 07/18/18 09:28am


The excellent photos are once more there for everyone to marvel.

And maybe get their personal safety copy.

2014 Ford F350 XLT 6.2 SCLB + 2017 Northstar Arrow

Posted By: ppine on 07/18/18 12:49pm

Life in the outdoors is always worth celebrating. Thanks for the photos.
Earlier times were simpler. There were fewer people around.

Posted By: notsobigjoe on 07/19/18 11:03am

OP, If you don't mind I would like to share this on LOA. We have an inner circle just about the same time frame as you and it would be appreciated and enjoyed I'm sure. Let me know...

Posted By: pnichols on 07/22/18 12:08am


Thanks for your great effort posting that wonderful walk down RV memories lane! We've visited near some of those places in our current RV decades later than when your photos were taken.

The DW and myself started our motorized camping before kids in a Dodge van we bought new and converted into a camper that carried a 305 Honda Scrambler motorcycle in a rack on the back for exploring offroad in the deserts.. Later when we had children we bought used from a friend a motorized camper of a type that you are the first in these forums to mention - a chassis mount camper.

Our chassis mount camper was a 1969 Chinook built on a GMC 3500 dually truck frame with a very dangerous design flaw - for some reason it's GMC automatic transmission did not have a Park gear. When parking on slopes we really had to trust the emergency brake.

We made a lot of early family RV'ing memories in that grand old chassis mount. I later sold it for a $1 to a young family man to start building more memories with. Here's a photo of our 1969 GMC Chinook chassis mount - it resembles some chassis mount rigs in your photos:

2005 E450 Itasca 24V Class C

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