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What the world needs now? More happy little campers!

Hi, everybody. Ginny again. Yesterday was the last leg of a 2,000-mile road trip from Chicago to New Hampshire and back. As much as my husband wanted to get home to our dogs, he very graciously pulled off I-80 at Exit 96, so I could visit the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana. So with campers on my mind (which they pretty much are all the time), I thought it would be a nice idea to tell about our Brave Little Camper and to share some advice about camping with kids.

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1954 Shasta Travel Trailer on display at the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

I think the burning question is: “How the heck did you come up with a book about a little vintage camper?” And I think the burning answer is: Why not? Can you think of anything more irresistible than a little vintage canned ham? I mean it. I have NEVER met a person who doesn’t want one, want to camp in one, want to decorate one, or want to just dream about one. And across the room, here at the Cottage, is Angie—collector and appreciator of all things vintage and adorable. Pair that with me, proud owner of a 1957 Terry Trailer named “Scout,” and you’ve got a recipe for a story of bravery, kindness, and . . . camping.

What we didn’t know was this: Vintage-camper enthusiasts are a force with which to be reckoned. If a politician were to harness the energy of these people (us), perhaps by promising “a propane in every tank,” s/he would have the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in a heartbeat. Here’s what happened: I belong to a Facebook group for vintage Terry Trailers, so I asked the moderator if I could post our book over there. She pointed me to a bigger, more inclusive group that she thought would be a better gateway—Tin Can Tourists. This moderator generously offered to run a story in his newsletter, which we could freely post and re-post! You might remember that night back in January, because we broke the internet. Yup, we sold 40 copies in eight hours!

Our Brave Little Camper continues to be the little camper that could, topping charts wherever it is sold. You can order a copy or a case right here.

And now, I would like to give you some firsthand ideas and advice for camping with kids:

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  1. Bring a rubber snake. Trust me, this gag never gets old.
  2. Make fire starters before you go, the way I learned in Girl Scouts.
  3. Name your campfires in honor of someone you love and respect.
  4. Bring Spam. In case the fish aren’t biting.
  5. Choose green twigs for roasting stuff over the campfire.
  6. Learn to recognize poison ivy.
  7. Memorize a few ghost stories. Especially the “GOTCHA!” kind.
  8. Gaze at stars.
  9. Hunt for snipes.
  10. Cook foil packet meals in the campfire.
  11. “Pack it in, pack it out” is the foundation for a lifetime of good manners.
  12. Sing!
  13. Hike, even if it rains.
  14. Get out of the midday sun. Naps are good for grown-ups, too.
  15. Wrap a flashlight with red cellophane or a red rubber balloon, to see without being blinded by bright light.

 

So that’s today’s story. Hope you and your littles get to go camping this summer, whether Yellowstone, Jellystone, or Backyard-own!

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