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Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Blast From The Past(Part 2)Canada-The Early Years.(Our Family Camping History)

T18 We arrived back in Canada in April of 1966.My new posting was to  CFB Moose Jaw Saskatchewan,where we would spend the next 8.5 years.

You will notice in the photo above taken that summer at Lac La Hache,B.C.,that we still have our little baggage trailer and the same tent.In that photo is Marlene with my Mom,Dad and sister Ellen.It was a family reunion camping trip after the 4 years in Europe.

That little baggage trailer became a packing crate for the trip from Europe,with the suspension and wheels put inside along with other goodies.

After a few years I got the bright idea to get the tent up off the ground,so with the help of brother-in-law Bruce and father-law George,who lived in Suffield Alberta,we re- built the little trailer to accommodate the tent.

W19 W14

As you can see,with the wings folded out,I had the exact dimensions to accommodate the tent just like it was on the ground.These shots were taken in the back yard of our little modest rental in Moose Jaw. Driving that 272 miles towing the trailer back from Alberta,after it was completed,was to say the least…too much for our little Vauxhall Viva.So!Time to look for a more powerful tow vehicle.Another reason was that the kids were being crowded out of the back seat with the addition of our black lab,Lucky,seen in the above photo with Kim.


So!Above is what it looks like,mounted and towed with a 59 Pontiac.This shot taken at Jackfish Lake(North Battlefords Provincial Park,Sask.The little project worked out well for several years until I started seeing many Van Conversions on the road and just had to move up to one of those…..But!..They cost an arm and a leg,no way I could afford one of them…..So!…I shall build one.A stock empty van I could afford,so I’ll build the interior furnishings myself.


Here is our new my 1969 GMC Handyvan after one year of use.I finished the interior that year with an icebox,stove,portable toilet,dinette/bed and a clothes closet.(The tent trailer was still used for the kids)

But crouching all the time wasn’t the answer,so I devised a plan to raise the roof.In the photo above you can see the welded frame sitting on the roof temporarily.That winter at the Base Hobby Shop,I took that frame off and sheeted and fiberglass coated it.When the day came to cut open the roof of the van like a sardine can,I was on pins and needles,but it all worked out ok.


An upper bed was added for the kids along with storage compartments and served us well for many years.One downer was a lack of power with a 2 speed powerglide tranny coupled to a 307 V8.


Here we are out in the woods in BC with the whole sheebang,including the tent trailer.


And finally another shot taken on a fishing trip to Nimebin Lake in northern Saskatchewan.Just to date this photo,it was the weekend of the first Russia/Canada hockey game,Sept. 72,and what a shock to hear the score when we got back.

In Part 3 I will show how the little baggage trailer(aka)tent trailer morphed again as a hard walled sleeper trailer,and they both got a new paint job, and a fridge for the van was added.


  1. Some of you guys are just sooooooo handy at doing things. Great ideas for renovations back at a time when the whole RV industry was still in it's infancy. You were ahead of your time WW:))

  2. Thanks Al,its amazing what having no money but lots of desire can do when one enjoys travel like I do.