Three years ago we started a family tradition, the summer camping vacation at Lake Tahoe. All four of our daughters had many fond memories of family camping trips when they were growing up, and want to create some memories with their own families.
Ellen and I went on our first family camping trip when our first born Jessica was only 9 months old. When we moved from Maine to California in 1964, we spent 30 days camping across the country. Ellen and I had built a camper into a commercial Dodge van, and a set of plywood camp boxes at the Loring AFB hobby shop. We found the camp box plans in a Sunset Camping Guide, that Ellen still uses today to organize our camping trips.
We had to sell the van when, Rachael was born with asthma in Merced California, the Central Valley crud the Air Force doctor called it. We kept the camp boxes, but sold the van and turned to day tripping in our Volvo. The asthma went away when we arrived at Carswell AFB in Texas. After Heather, our third was born we rented a tent trailer and camped at local lakes, and even went to Colorado to visit the cliff dwellings with our rented tent trailer. Each of the two oldest girls had camp jobs, mostly helping set up the tent trailer. On the way back from Colorado, Jessica pointed to a travel trailer pulled by a Suburban going in the opposite direction. “We need one of those, our is just nothing but work, work, work.”
Before we left Texas for Pease AFB in New Hampshire, we bought a used International Travelall and a new Starcraft Trailer, with four built in bunks in the back. As the Air Force moved us from assignment to assignment, we took every opportunity to visit state parks, historical monuments, battle grounds and beaches. In Nebraska, at Offut AFB, we filled the fourth bunk in the Starcraft when Caitlin was born.
For reasons I do not remember, we sold the Starcraft and started tent camping before we left Nebraska for California. We traded the Travelall for a VW Bus and a small Rat Pack trailer to haul a big Coleman family tent and camp boxes. We camped across the county, but soon ditched the big family tent for individual pop up tents and replaced the VW with a Jeep station wagon. We camped in the coastal Redwoods when three older girls were in college, once in the rain with future husbands and my mother. On a return trip from Idaho’s Redfish Lake, we had some vacation days left and stopped at Sugarpine Point. It was a great finish to a two week camping trip to Idaho with Ellen's sister Anne Hanna. It created memories that all the girls wanted to revisit, so three years ago we started a new family tradition by camping at Sugarpine Point every summer. But, Ellen and I have given up tent camping. About six years ago after sharing a tent site with some very active bears for three night in Yellowstone National Park, we bought a “rolling bear box” travel trailer.
This was our third year with all four girls, three husbands, and four grand children at Sugarpine Point. Having two
three four year olds and and two six seven year olds in camp keeps things very lively. Caitlin came from Boston again, this year with her fiancee Travis Williams. His future uncle skills were tested multiple times, and he passed with flying colors. I will post some pictures once they are processed and on line. One of the highlights was a team dance competition organized by the six year olds, with grandma and grampa as judges. For me, the best part of every camping trip is sitting around the camp fire after a great dinner, sharing family stories under the stars.