The 3-bedroom, bath & a half crowd

Capt. Mike

Many years ago, with Westy #1 (a '73), we headed into a section of NW Maine called the North Maine Woods. This is a huge collection of private and timber company holdings that has banded together to form a management company that allocates tree harvests and maintains the infrastructure to log it. They build the roads and handle hunting and recreation use of the lands.

The campgrounds are, well, primative. There is a clearing, some fire rings -- sections of old culvert -- and very occassionally a pump or table. The outhouse is just that, usually off in the woods. Ideal Westying.

The roads are actually quite good as they must handle the huge logging trucks. But maintenance is spotty as they aren't likely to keep up a road that's in an area where there is no logging harvest going on. On this particular trip our first choice of campgrounds was closed off -- beavers had build a dam that flooded the road.

Our next campground was a little closer to the entrance and we settled in along with a pick-up camper. Had us a small fire going -- it was already a little nippy -- and were doing our thing when we heard these big diesels roaring up the road. 3 BR, Bath & ½ crowd had arrived! In wheeled a Ford dually with about a 25' Airstream behind, and a motorhome in the 30' class. They grunted and ground their way into this tiny campground and took up spaces (several) near the entrance.

Before the 1st person got out, I heard this motor whining and looked over. The motorhome was raising the TV antenna! In a little bit, out jumps this women, completely decked out like a bad character actor from some Love Boat cruise. Capri pants, high-heeled sandles, a camera dangling on a strap from her wrist, and I kid you not, one of them pink poodles with the rhinestone collar under her arm! She prances around a few minutes, drops the dog just long enough for it to pee, and heads back into the camper with a little sneer over at us ruffians. I thought she was going to take a picture to show the bridge club back home these 'great unwashed' cousins to Bigfoot.

In a little while, the two men emerged to built a fire. A big fire! Chain saws, a gallon of starter. Had to be 5' across and flames shooting up 10'. I thought the helicopters would show up to drop flame retardent any minute.

They then got out some fancy lawn chairs and proceeded to open up catered box lunches! Then back into the trailer & motorhome, probably to rough it with only 2 channels to choose from.

Remind me why I Westy when I could be enjoying the great outdoors in comfort. These people want to get away from it all . . . but don't want to leave any of it behind!

Capt. Mike

We like the boonies -- the way out in the boonies boonies.

In the Yukon Territory, not far from Dawson, there is a little side road that winds up the mountains to Keno, an old gold-mining town. There is a delightful little Museum up there (with free coffee), and some even more remote paths up into the old diggings. I've got some beautiful pictures of our Westy in the snow at the peak of one of those mountains.

While we were chatting with the Museum curator -- amongst probably half-a-dozen other jobs -- we heard this big motorhome grinding its way up the mountain. We are talking steep mountain and narrow winding road!

Eventually, here comes a 35-40' motorhome. We could smell it before it got there. Smoke was rolling out of the back and it smelled like a burning tires. This was one of those $2-300K jobs!

There's a couple of old coots -- well my age but obviously not my state of mind -- sitting in the front. Out of the side door pops an even older lady had to be well into her 70's. She's got four of Canada's version of our National Park Passports. She runs up to the curator and asks him to stamp them.

Since he has to go inside to get the stamp, I wander over to this Trailways size monster. The driver hits the automatic window and yell up to him, "Hey, do you know your smoking a bit and smelling awful hot?"

"Yea, it always does that," and he hits the close button on the window.

Granny comes out of the museum, hops back into the bemoth, and we listen to them grind their way back down the mountain.

These people have driven 70 miles up the side of a mountain to get a stupid souvenir stamp in promotional gimmick! Without even getting out of the bus (except Granny). I'd have to at least take a picture, but then again, maybe they had a remote video camera pod on the roof doing all those mundane inconveniences for them.

[This message has been edited by Capt. Mike (edited 11-03-2000).]

Capt. Mike

Just thought of another one.

We were at Craters of the Moon national historic site in Idaho a few years ago. It's a lava bed and you feel like you're camping on a monsterous bed of cinders. No vegetation. The campground is just a series of paved loops right on top of the lava.

We're finishing supper clean-up and see a full-size Caddy driving through our loop with its window rolled down and the guy holding a leash for the dog running along next to the car! I kid you not! Walking the dog by driving a Cadillac!

Later. we decide to head down the the restrooms and as we walk through the loop with the big RVs, there he is. His Caddy is nestled in behind a 40' super delux motorhome. It's got at least a 6' satelite dish on the roof and there's a tow bar for his Caddy.

Heck, why didn't he just bring a dozen square yards of grass with a tree & fireplug? Brought everything else. Then the dog could work on his coronary like its owner was. And they wonder why we laugh at them.
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Capt. Mike

Transferred to consolidate same topic.

rfneid Junior Member posted March 30, 2003 09:56 PM

My wife and I recently returned from a 3000 mile road trip through the California, Arizona and Nevada deserts (Adelaide, our '83 turned over 300,000 miles on the trip). We were in the Palm Canyon Campground in Anza Borrego State Park, amidst the behemoth RVs. My wife was walking back to our Westy behind a couple from one the huge rigs. As they passed Adelaide, the woman said "Imagine traveling in one of those; I'd rather stay home." My wife chuckled, grinned smugly and said to herself, "Poor lady, you don't know what you're missing."
Capt. Mike,

You made me laugh so hard, I almost fell off the chair. Your stories remind me of my many years of camping (I'm 40, started camping from the back end of a station wagon when I was 6 or so - 'course, I wasn't drivin' then).

I'm new to this board and just entered the world of Westy ownership. I grew up with first a white 1965, then green 1976 Westy and had so many fond memories, I went off and bought a 1978 Westy which will be picked up next Friday.

Sadly (well, in retrospect - at the time, I thought it was a cool idea), in 1978 my parents sold our green Westy and bought a 24ft. motor home. The good - I cut my driving teeth on a big ride. The bad - I always missed the Westy and never got to drive one.

I'm going to have to sit down and write a few of our family's stories. In fact, if I did, I'd probably have enough material for a novel, or a 2 hour comedy special. Here's a brief clip...

Summer 1975 - Mom's in the back on the porta potty doing her thing and we're heading towards the Chesapeake Bay tunnel. We tell my mom we're coming up on the toll bridge (we were about five miles away) and she frantically gets off the pot, mooning several truck drivers in the process. Ok, I was 12, I thought it was hilrious.

Summer 1977 - Trip out to the west. Mom's idea of vacation was how many states west or east of the Mississippi we could cover in 10 days or less. This time Mom's on the porta potty, taking movies out the side window. We have actual footage of Glacier National Park taken from the porta potty.

Also Summer 1977 - Surviving a mountain thunderstorm of huge proportions in the Grand Tetons, sure the poptop was going to be torn off and blown, with me in it, over the side of a mountain. We were nowhere near a ledge, but I was certain.

I'll have to dig up my AAA magazine article from about ten years ago. It describes the various types of campers. "Augies", "Louds", "Gas Baggers", etc. It describes all the people you were just writing about. When I find it, I'll post it for you. You'll get a kick out of it.

Happy traveling!

Capt. Mike

;) Westy vs. RR joke

sooke Junior Member posted July 17, 2003 12:47 AM

This man in a Volkswagen Beetle pulls up next to a guy in a Rolls Royce at a stop sign. Their windows are open and he yells at the guy in the Rolls:

"Hey, you got a telephone in that Rolls?"

The guy in the Rolls says, "Yes, of course I do."

"I got one too... see?"

"Uh, huh, yes, that's very nice."

"You got a fax machine?"

"Why, actually, yes, I do."

"I do too! See? It's right here!"


The light is just about to turn green and the guy in the Volkswagen says, "So, do you have a double bed in back there?"

And the guy in the Rolls says, "NO! Do you?"

"Yep, got my double bed right in back here see?!" The light turns and the man in the Volkswagen takes off.

Well, the guy in the Rolls is not about to be one-upped, so he goes immediately to a customizing shop and orders them to put a double bed in back of his car. About two weeks later, the job is finally done and he picks up his car and drives all over town looking for the Volkswagen. He finally finds it parked alongside the road so he pulls his Rolls up next to it. The windows on the Volkswagen are all fogged up and he feels a little awkward about it, but he gets out of his newly modified Rolls and taps on the foggy window of the Volkswagen.

The man in the Volkswagen finally opens the window a crack and peeks out. The guy in the Rolls says, "Hey. Remember me?"

"Yeah, yeah, I remember you. What's up?"

"Check this out... I got a double bed installed in my Rolls."

And the man in the Volkswagen says,

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Capt. Mike

:D Patrick F. McManus writes some of the funniest books about camping. His adventures and misadventures are so much like some of ours, I wonder if he's been secretly watching us.

His latest book, The Bear in the Attic, has a chapter devoted to our 3BR, bath & a half crowd, called "Roughing It Over Easy". At the risk of being cited for plagery, I have to share some with you:

Our rich friend Fenton Quagmire picked up Retch Sweeney and me for a little outing up in the Cabine Mountains. We were diappointed to hear that we had to rough it.

"How come you didn't bring the nice motor home instead of this old clunker, Quagmire?" Retch asked. "Think the new one was too good for your low-class friends?"

"Low class?" Quagmire said. "Who promoted you guys?"

"Hey Quagmire," I said. "It's not that we have anything aginst your two-hundred-thousand- dollar rig here. It's perfectly fine for roughing it in the mountains. We certainly can get by on the bare necessities -- the standsize TV, the microwave, the air-conditioning, and the like. It's just, you know, we get used to the first-class treatment when we go camping with you."

"You're right," Quagmire said. "Actually, I'm a little embarrassed to be seen in the Old Grunge here. It's already three years old. But I had to put the new rig in the shop. The humidity control seemed to be acting up. Just lucky I held on to this old thing."

"You did right," I said, "Think what might have happened if we'd been way off somewhere in the mountains and the humidity control conked out."

"Give me the shakes just thinking about it," Retch said.

"I picked up a caviar hors d'oevre off the tray on the coffee table. Retch slipped the video of The Magnificent Seven into the cassette player and stretched out on the couch. I thought about popping a bag of popcorn into the microwave but decided to wait. You never know what kind of delicacies Quagmire might have in the freezer, so it's not a good idea to take the edge off your appetite too soon. I spun the captain's chair around a couple of times, making myself either slightly dizzy or reflective.

"Either of you guys remember back when we'd go on an outing and actually go out?"
And so on. McManus has a number of books out. The first I ran across was A Fine and Pleasant Misery. It was the kind of book you dare not read in public -- they will cart you off. I would laugh so hard I couldn't read. My wife said I shook the bed and tears would roll down my face.

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co., NYC; Canadian Distributor, H.B. Fenn & Co. Do yourself a big favor -- and remind yourself why we camp and why Westying is better than the big rig crowd.
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New member
Interstate 5, southern Washington, summer 2003:

We are heading north in the '89 Westy, first day out on a 2 week trip, fully loaded.

One of those 40-foot RV's that look like they're built on a Greyhound bus chassis begins to pass. It seems to take minutes for the entire, gleaming, chrome-and-purple-graphics length of the monster to pull past us. When it finally pulls past, we see the cherry on top of the sundae: it's pulling a trailer with a mint-condition Westy on it.

Perhaps it's the "away vehicle" for the mothership?


New member
The main i kept running crosswise over was a fine and pleasant misery, it was the sort of book you set out not read in broad daylight they will haul you away, i would chuckle so hard i couldn't peruse, my significant other said i shook the bed and tears would move down my face...