Camping was a big part of our family life. My Dad, Keith, would religiously take off three weeks in August and off we would go to some interesting place to spend the three weeks exploring, swimming, fishing, hiking, or even horse back riding. I have my horseshoe I found back then up on the wall of my car port area for luck.
Below are some entries from his car log that I have featured in a past post. I have read through this log and was able to find some of the trips we took in the 1950’s.
Most of my memories of our trips would be of scenic’s or impressions of places but where that place was I don’t remember. I know that we pretty much went to every nook and cranny of Washington State. I do remember Alta Lake because of the flash flood and the bees on my pancakes and syrup in the morning. Dad put me in the trailer to keep me from getting wet so I looked over and watched the water flow by while the other campers with tents were yelling and racing about. I felt bad for them and also thought it was funny. I know we went to Glacier Park in Montana and I remember a lake with tall hills on each side and I think it was this park? I mentioned horse backing riding but I have no idea where that was? I just remember being in pain because the horse was too big for me.
Curlew probably included a trip to Coulee Dam. Yes there are BIG engines (turbines) running a dam. He liked museums and interesting places to visit. My memories of Yellowstone were Old Faithful of course, and the mud pots which to me were funny…glup glup and I know we went to see the Tetons. There was a big trip to California and very tall trees and several you could drive through: http://redwoods.info/showrecord.asp?id=2464.
I remember caverns that we visited. The Oregon Coast was always a must. The Olympic Peninsula was Hurricane Ridge before the highway. Many times we camped at Olympic Hot Springs Campground on the way to the Ridge. This campground does not exist anymore. Crater Lake because Dad heard a rattle snake curled up under a tumbleweed. Sun Lakes for the water and the fishing. I know we were in British Columbia. I think we visited every salmon hatchery that ever existed. We probably camped by a lake because he liked to fish. We really didn’t hike, we did walks long walks.
The trips to Yakima or Spokane would be family visits to his sisters. Sometimes they would come to the area we were camping at for a visit or were already there camping. My Dad was sort of a gypsy and so we would go just about anywhere. My aunts were expert picnic packers.
Here are some car log entries that were of interest to me. I cannot vouch for his spelling in the outline below which makes it hard to figure out what he meant?
Trips written in the booklet:
July 9, 1949 Seattle to Yakima, back to Ellensburg,
July 24, So. Tacoma
August 6 Seattle to Yakima.
Nov 25 – Yakima, Thanksgiving, Nov. 27 Yak to Seattle
May 26, 1950 Yakima
July 2, 1950 Whidbey – Ferry $1.37
June 20, 1951 Vacation -3281 miles? Nisqually, Anacortes
July 7 Stevens Pass, Wenatchee Park
July 12, 1952 Lake Cushman, Ferry to Bremerton,
June 21, 1953 Lake Wenatchee St. Park, Lke Chelan, Entiat Gas, Spokane Greger fld – Fairchild, Greenacres Spokane Lake Rowan, Clarksfork. (Was he looking for work?)
Lake Rown most July 6, 1957, Glacier Nat Prk, Dayton Mont. Kalaspill, Coeur D’Alene, Greenacres (sister Vivians home), Spokane, Cheney, Ritzville, Ellensburg, Seattle. 1561.4 miles.
July 20, 1952 – Lake Kachess, North Bend, Upper Katchess to M. Baker Easton, Rustic Inn.
Aug 1, 1952 Lk Rossinger, Camano Camp Lagoon,
Aug 17 Sunday Paradise, Mt. Rainier,
Aug 29, 1952 – _________Mukilteo, Camp Boat, via Deception Pass.
Ellensburg April about July 27, 1953 Pass Closed – Wenatchee, Everett
Aug. 15, 1953 – pg. 41 Ale…..can’t read, Portland, Madreas, Oregon, Chimult, Diamond Lake, Crater Lake, Kalamath, Medford, Ore., Calif., Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, CA, Alameda?, Park & San Jose, Hayward, CA, Hayward Motel $8, August 21. Hayward to Frisco, San Rafel, Lakeport, Uriah, Aug 26 Eureka, Arcata, CA, Trees of Mystery, Cresent City, OR, Oregon Cave Junction, Oregon Caves Aug. 27, Umpqua OR. Eugene, Toledo, WA, Rainier, WA Home Friday Aug _______. (He might have been looking for work in California).
Feb 22, 1954 – Concrete, Burlington
May 29, Saturday to Westport – mentions State Park but not the name.
June 27, 1954 Lodgepole, Larabee. (This is up near Bellingham).
July 5, Wenber, Jasbree to Wendberg final via Wenburg and Nodnville?
July 6, Norma Beach
Sept 4 to Monte Cristo
Oct 19, 1954 100,000 miles 7514 24 NE at 5:35 pm missed by 1.7 miles in garage at 100,000.2 – (He liked to mark the mileage of his cars)
July 2, 1955 Sun Lake, Leavenworth to Seattle 472.3 miles.
August 11, 1955 Vacation Olympics, Port Angeles, Clallum Bay.
September 2, 1955 – Mt. Baker via Darrington, Concrete, Baker Lake, Baker to Thompson Home via Everett.
May 16, 1956 Westport Trip
October 21, 1956 Roslyn Locker Beef
April 20, 1957 Mt. Si.
May 25, 1957 Norma Beach
March 22, 1959 Stevens Ski
October 2, 1959 another Westport Trip.
Nov. 17, 1967 E. Anderson of Seattle bought the old 1940 Chevy – Lumberwagon. The END. He might have regretting selling it at some point.
In order to support all this camping, Keith turned to creating his own camping trailers much like the tent trailers of today but he would use aluminum. Remember that in his military experience he worked a lot with airplane bodies. Now Keith was an inventor but not necessarily a designer. Apparently there were several incarnations of what he called the Calamity Wagon.
So it would start out looking like a trailer with sides, then open up into what you see above. He would add a canvas awning to the front where he could place cots for sleeping. The girls got to sleep in the trailer part while the boys got the canvas part. The cots; however, were metal legs with a frame, with canvas stretched across and tied to the metal through holes or hooks and they might have been his design? The rain would make a great sound pattering on the roof.
There was a camp light with the cloth filter and kerosene pump which you started with a match. The camp stove was also kerosene with a pump. I never learned although he tried to teach me how to use them. These items would make interesting noises.
We also had lawn chairs the type with canvas and wood as well as canvas and wood camp stools. The food would go into these aluminum boxes he made with covers to lock them from the animals because back then you had to be very careful. Sometime we would put the food up in a tree. If there wasn’t a table well we had an aluminum one that would fold in half, lock and had a handle. We all had our own fishing poles. It was the best fun.
Considering that we went everywhere there are not a lot of photographs of our camping trips and ones that are labeled identifying the location. I think he was more inclined to us his Bell and Howell movie camera to record the event. Maybe someday I will get those movies broken down into pieces. I did move them from 8mm to DVD at one time.
This was not the only camping trailer design, there would be another he called the Freek.