Have we become soft?

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Well-known member
May 19, 2011
Alexandria, MN
After reading some of the posts and replies on living in a RV in the winter, I am reminded of my Grandfather and his second wife.  They lived full time in an Airstream about 25 to 28 feet long in Minneapolis Minnesota from about 1950  to the mid 1970's.  They did have skirting on it  but the windows were the old slated style.  The bathroom was about 3 feet square.  You tipped the sink up and strattled the stool to take a shower. I think you even had to tip the sink up to use the stool.  The bedroom was in the back and had 2 single beds and my uncle had to make the couch into a bed every night.
I think my Grandfather would think me foolish in my 37' Montana Big Sky with the Artic Package and 3 slides and park it for the winter.
A few decades ago, DW and I thought we should be totally self sufficient. We settled on a 140 acre farm with a very old log home on it. Within three years we were totally self sustaining in all except for gasoline for the vehicles used to drive to work and lp gas to keep livestock water from freezing in winter. All our power was solar and wind, all food was self grown, and, although we kept our in town jobs, we could very easily have lived off the farm income. All our heat was from wood stoves. One January morning, as we were trying to dig a new post hole in frozen ground to repair fencing and keep the livestock in, we looked at one another through the sleet and snow and both said simultaneously, this is nuts. Perhaps we are soft, but the "good ole ways" were way too much work just to live, and without central heat and air conditioning it is either too hot or too cool for real comfort. We decided that from that time forward, comfort always will trump cost and we have enjoyed every minute. As soon as we could, we arranged never to experience "real" winter weather. Could we survive - sure. Would we want to - heavens no.
I would  not say we have gotten soft, Only that life has gotten a bit more comfortable.  Today's RV's are a bit larger,  but that just means there is more to wash and wax 2x a year.
I think today's RVs have come a long way. I remember the one my grandparents used to camp and travel in. It was small but cozy and sometimes crowded! I like the way they look today.  They look a little more like a home instead of just a plain camper. That is just my opinion anyway.  I am really looking forward to us getting our first RV soon! :) 
only 53% of us have it "too soft"....LOL Or is it 47%... I never got clear on that part... :(
I'm certain that in 40 or 50 years RVrs will be asking themselves the same questions... "How did they do it... camp with only four slides, with only four flat-screens and blu-ray for entertainment, aqua-hot for heat and 10KW generators and solar for power. Now THAT was roughing it!"

Kev ;)
Sure I am getting soft, or smarter. I started camping in Northern Minnesota in a tent in the winter. Waking up in the morning with a splitting headache from tucking my head in the sleeping bag, if you could call it that, to keep my ears from freezing.
Now we are in Myrtle Beach and its in the 40 plus range and we are thinking its too cold. Yup I am getting smarter.
Years ago I looked at camping a lot different than I do today. My wife and I started in a Casita (see picture).  This is a very small travel trailer that we could pull easily. We spent more time in open with lawn chairs, eating and sating around the campfire. We wondered why so many motorhome owners stayed inside so much. Now I?m 71 and if the G-kids are not with us Betty and I stay inside more. I enjoy our life now as well as I did before, it?s just different. I really don?t think of us as camping, we just bring our house when we travel.  There is so much of this wonderful country that I want to see and experience things that other?s will only read about.


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I think it all depends on perspective.  Things were different back then.  Life was different.  Technology was different.  Back then, they probably thought they were living the high life in the campers they had.  Who knows what life holds in store for my grandkids, but it's gonna be fun watching it come about for as long as I am able. 

Soft...yeah, no doubt.  But I prefer to think of it as adapting to the times!
For years I traveled all over the US and Canada on my road bike carrying nothing more than my sleeping bag, a small back pack tent and a few other goodies. As I got a little older and that started to seem more like work than fun I got a little Jeep Rubicon, a bigger tent and a lot more goodies. I progressed from that to a small TT (17') and a 1/2 PU. Now I was really living  :).

Today my wife and I have a 30' "Winnebago One" that we are trying to burn the tires off of and next year we are hoping to get a 36? 5th/W.

It seem that what was easy and fun when I was younger is not so easy now and because of that is not so fun.

I do have to say I am having the time of my life now and wish we had started this RV stuff a long time ago. I?m totally spoiled ;D.
We started with a little Starcraft Tent Trailer, Essentially 4' wide and 7' long closed up.  The width basically tripled, length the same when open.  Lived and traveled in that across the country in 3 weeks, with time in places to rebuild engine in TV.  Now we full time in a 35', but 'roughing it' with no slides.  Softer?  Sure, but we are also extending seasons with this.

You want to see what roughing it is, watch the movie 17 Miracles.  It is about Mormon pioneers who crossed the country with handcarts.  Now that is roughing it.  My wife's ancestors came across the country with the Mormon pioneers and settled Utah, but they were fortunate in that they were on wagon trains, they had it 'soft' in comparison. 
First camping trip wife and I went on (Honeymoon, it was that "First") we took an AMC Hornet and a tent

Then we got a PUP

Then a 13' Scamp.. Now that's cozy as a "Home" goes.

now it's a 38' long by 13 foot WIDE (When set up) Motor home.

Holds more tools and cloths and stuff, that's all.  Still 2 people and we now travel with 2 felines, (used to have only one in the trailer days).

In truth though. As I said above.. Just means more to wash and wax.
We are getting soft and loving every minute of it!  Still, we don't grumble (much) when we have to go without for awhile, e.g. if power goes off in the campground or the site doesn't have sewer.  We may be soft, but we aren't totally lost without our comforts.
I'm pretty sure there are a significant number of us probably starting camping using a tent and sleeping in a sleeping bag with the thin layer of material between us and the ground.  Now I couldn't even think of doing it.
I think its all in what we're used to.  40 years ago we tent camped.  We knew folks with some pretty nice rigs for the day but we had what we could afford and really enjoyed it.  I also think being young helped our enjoyment a whole lot! ;D
Holy Cow! You guys had tents? When I started camping we slept out under the stars. If it was raining we huddled in the car all night, or under a tree if there was one big enough.

You guys talk about soft like it was a bad thing or something.

bucks2 said:
Holy Cow! You guys had tents? When I started camping we slept out under the stars. If it was raining we huddled in the car all night, or under a tree if there was one big enough.

You guys talk about soft like it was a bad thing or something.

Did that a few times. I'm sure glad those days are over  :).
Let's put it this way....the bathroom in my TT is larger than the bathroom in most of my apts in college.  The trailer itself has almost as much square footage as some of them. 

We took my 78 year old mother with us earlier this year in the new TT.  Now, to her, a "camper" is a single axle stick n tin 16' long box on wheels, has an icebox (not a fridge), and you sleep on the couch.  When I ran the slide out, she exclaimed "The whole wall moves!!!".  Yeah Mom....it does.  :)  Then when I showed her the outdoor kitchen, she couldn't believe it.  Watching a movie on the surround sound sealed the deal. 

Yep....we've gotten soft.  ;)

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