Living in a Land Yacht
I grew up camping. I have vivid memories of going to sleep in a musty smelling tent in various campgrounds around Southern California and Mexico. Whether it was Ensenada, Guaymas, Big Bear, or Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the parents packed us up into the station wagon, and we took off during every school vacation.
In the mid-sixties, my parents bought a 13-foot Scotsman travel trailer like the one in this photo, and I remember the night in Yosemite when the bears were sliding their claws down the aluminum siding and rocking the thing on its wheels. We showered in the campground restrooms, washed our dishes in the creek and peed in the woods. And we all thought it was a great time.
Later, when I was just starting high school, my parents took us to Europe for over a month and we cruised around in a VW camper van. The kids slept in the tent and the parents got the van all to themselves.
So, all those experiences could be a very good reason why I took to cruising like I did. And in the early days of my cruising, our boat was simple and it was more like camping – especially when the single head failed on the passage from Hawaii back to Ventura in 1979. I have very few memories of staying in motels as a child, and we certainly never stayed in an upscale hotel.
One thing I remember Wayne telling me when he was explaining how he had Learnativity set up was, “I don’t want to be camping.” Not that he doesn’t love camping, too. And he did as much or more when he was a youngster. But for his everyday life on the boat, he wants to be comfortable.
So, when he told me we were going to be traveling in a borrowed RV on our trip back to Florida, I was thinking 13-ft. Scotsman trailer, not the 40-ft. luxurious ride we are living in (pictured above). So, we still aren’t camping. This lovely motorhome has a propane stove and fridge, a good-sized water tank, water heater, enclosed shower, holding tank, and a 12-volt electrical system. No wonder so many folks decide to get RVs when they leave cruising. This thing truly is a Land Yacht, and as far as I’m concerned, we’re still cruising.
We signed up for a membership in Passport America where we would get 50% off on their member campgrounds, and the first night in Fort Lauderdale we stayed in one of those. Yikes! It was worse than a marina. The RVs were jammed in so tight you could barely walk between them. After that we moved down to Topeekeegee Yugnee Park (known locally as TY Park) and paid $30 for a nice space next to the lake with water, holding tank pump-out, free wifi and nice air-conditioned showers. That was much cheaper than ICW transient docking of my old 33-foot boat.
Also, we have been enjoying what the current generation of RVers calls “boondocking,” otherwise known as free camping. This is comparable to anchoring out. You find places where you can park for free. We have been visiting our beautiful new grandson up in Boca Raton, and we found this great spot at the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge at the edge of the Everglades. We get to watch the sunset and the gators and we’re only about 20 minutes away from the new baby.
While I’m not thinking that I’m ready to switch to land yachting yet, I have been getting a hint at the allure of it. At least we both feel more at home traveling inside our portable home than we do when staying in hotels.
It’s time to hit the road, now, so I’ll sign off.
I love your posts! I, too, grew up with family camping in the 60s. Great memories of pitching tents, blowing up air mattresses, having adventure and meeting new people that never would have happened staying in motels. When my parents bought an 18 foot Terry trailer, we thought it was so luxurious!
Congrats in your grand baby and enjoy the cruise!
Thanks Nancy! Yes, I remember blowing up the air mattress too and getting sent to the tap to bring water back for mom who was cooking on the camp stove or heating a tin of beans in the campfire coals. Then the trailer came along and we thought that was luxurious. Being in this Land Yacht is no more like camping than Learnativity is, but at our age, I’m with Wayne. Those are great old memories, but not sure I’d want to sleep on air mattress any more. Right?
OMG, that VW camper photo triggered some memories. My husband and I owned one for 10 years. I don’t think our kids remember it fondly… cramped as it was, but we usually set up a tent for them too.
One fond memory of mine was set at Peggy’s Cove Nova Scotia… it was late and we’d been driving all day, desperate for somewhere to stop for the evening as fog rolled in. Somehow we found a camp ground with some space for us, so we pulled onto a pad and did our best to get the kids [6 and 1] bathed at the communal bathroom then settled into their bunks in the van as it was too dark and foggy to set up the tent. Soon enough they were sound asleep. It was warm, so we opened the back door and installed the netting cover. Hubby and I tried to make ourselves comfy too… lights doused, glasses of wine poured … when we began to hear the fog horns not far away as well as quiet folk music being played by a talented guitar player a few campers down the way. The plaintive sounds, the damp warm fog… it was as if we were cocooned in a world apart. The entire memory, sticks with me vividly to this day, 30+ years later.
What a great scene you painted here. I can picture it. I remember lots of foggy California days, but no lovely foghorn to serenade us.
Thanks for sharing that wonderful memory!
Ah, yes, I grew up camping as well, but not as a family. I was a Girl Scout in California and spent a lot of time sleeping on the ground. No air mattress, just the rocks under my back! I graduated to Mariners and cruised the Sacramento-Delta area. I loved it. Currently I live in Colorado, and I have a 25′ Land Cruiser. I love it. After many years of putting our tent up in the rain, or in the dark, we opted for something different. I love “land cruising” because I can go to so many different places. I look forward to starting your series. Thank you.