Winnebago Chronicles - The Pre-Winnie Years

Before Winnie came along there were others

Before Winnie came along there were others

Camping is in my blood.  No, really. I was conceived on a camping trip.  My parents took us camping a lot as kids.  My dad even worked for Mitchell Campers, and my mom sewed the curtains for them.  My grandparents would drive their truck-and-camper from California to Colorado, pick up my sister and me, and we would camp on the trip back to California for the summer.  One of those trips took us all the way to the Oregon coast.  

Camping in the Cardinal

IIn my "tween" years, our parents would load all five of us into the station wagon and tow the little Cardinal trailer to the mountains or the desert. My grandparents had a dune buggy and belonged to a group that spent weekends tearing up the desert. There were no camp grounds, no hook-ups, no rules; just a bunch of people, a bunch of dune buggies, a bunch of beer, and a bunch of kids to run around with, exploring our surroundings and sharing motorcycles and four-wheelers.  Oh yeah, no babysitters, either!  We would have big potlucks, especially on Thanksgiving or Easter weekend. Sometimes it was just family - my grandparents in their converted Frito-Lay truck motor home, aunts and uncles in truck campers and pop-up tents, and my mom in the Cardinal. 

Until 1978, that is. That's when Winnie came along. That was the life! 

Written by Peggy Barthel