Camper Fantasy Musings

I saw this camper and knew that if I took it home and fixed it up I could drive it back in time to when someone lived in that abandoned stucco house in Shawnee, Wyoming. Actually, I yearned to drive it farther back in time than that.

Mystery Camper (Shawnee, Wyoming)

After I fixed it up, that camper would take me all the way back to when the days moved slowly and I wanted to chop out great big chunks of time ahead of me so I could fast forward my life to the grown up stage.

That’s when I was young. And that’s what youth is all about. Youth is wanting to be old.

Then I got my wish and now, some days, I yearn for it to be the other way around.

That camper would take me back.

Back to When…

Back to when that tree behind the windshield was a sapling and my wrinkliest old neighbor remembered the covered wagon days but hadn’t heard of Jimmy Carter, Billy Beer and the 1970’s gas shortage. I could see a kid walk with a bobble in his walk because one of his shoes was taller than the other because they hadn’t licked polio yet.

It wasn’t all so great back then. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to go back to the time when I could still see me height going up on the jam of the kitchen door.

  • Bernie – 1978 – 5′ 5″
  • Bernie – 1980 – 5′ 6 1/2
  • Bernie – 1982 – 5’7″

That old camper would drive me back to the summer I earned my first tan face down on concrete at the Grace Park Recreation center. Nobody came over and said, “you know, you should put on some SPF 30. You’re getting red.”

The sun was your friend and could make you look sexy. Now it’s the other way around.

Thirty Years

I’m guessing that camper was built in the 1950s. Thirty years after that 2-piece windshield was popped in place on the assembly line, my 1980s self could have afforded it. But I was too busy covered in baby oil and bleach propped up in front of a Van Halen album wrapped in tin foil going for the Beach Boy look.

Maximum exposure baby.

Now I’m putting my dermatologist’s kid through college burning off the sins of 80s.

But this week I saw that RV and just kept riding my mules up the road. Me and all the other dreamers passed the old RV by and missed our chance to roll back time.

Maybe that’s good.

Because going back in time is a tricky thing. We parse the hardship from the rosy glow. We focus on the youth part and forget about the dying-in-childbirth part. Or how, in the good old days, the “old” folks got their teeth pulled and dentures jammed in to their maws when they turned 50. Then they stopped eating corn on the cob.

I just turned 51 and had corn for lunch today. On the cob. Raw.

No, I just rode by that camper and consoled myself now was a great time to be alive. In 30 years, when I’m 81, I’d probably give anything to be 51 again. I’ll have to do a re-assessment then.

That camper will probably still be around.

Got a Camper Clue?

I have no idea when this camper was built. Got any ideas? Make? Model? If so, drop me a line in the Comment section or email me.


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Christian Harberts
4 years ago

Darn you, darndarndarn!! Its 2am, and I still haven’t found a suitable match (or even a guestimate for the year) for your contraption. It ain’t no Winnebago, that’s fer sure… What started out as a question in my mind, at 1 am, flat on my bed, sleepless in bed, turned out into a manic mission to find The Answer.

I’m going back to bed – my obsession has finally got me yawning (at long last!)

Will keep trying to identify your RV. Expect to be at it again tonight 😉


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