Starling Travel

August 3, 2015

AMC Hornet Camping Tent

Filed under: Camping,Tents — Laura Moncur @ 10:55 am

When I was a kid, my parents owned an AMC Hornet. We drove that thing from Salt Lake City to Millwaukee and back so many times and it never let us down. I had no idea that AMC made a camping tent to attach to the hatchback.

AMC Hornet Camping Tent from Starling Travel

Here is a promotional photo from the Seventies.

AMC Hornet Camping Tent from Starling Travel

Instead of having me search for the nearest Holiday Inn when we were tired and it was time to sleep, we could have slept in the car with this sweet tent.

AMC Hornet Camping Tent from Starling Travel

Even as I say that, I realize that my mom would have never even considered that an option. It was Holiday Inn or nothing. Still, I can imagine what our travels to Wisconsin might have looked like if we had camped instead of stayed in hotels.

AMC Hornet Camping Tent from Starling Travel

I didn’t camp until I was in my thirties with my husband. I wonder how my life would have been different if I had camped as a child. Would I have hated it? Would I have adored it and wished to camp even more than now?

AMC Hornet Camping Tent from Starling Travel

Seeing these photos of Hornets with tents attached to them give me a glimpse into that other life I could have lead.

If this looks like a cool thing that you would like, there is something available for SUV hatchbacks that is very similar. It’s called the Explorer 2 SUV Tent.

Explorer 2 SUV Tent at

If you are regretting not camping more, here is an easy tent that turns your SUV into a Tent. I may not be able to go back in time and change the adventures my family had when I was a child, but I certainly can change the adventures I have in the future.

August 2, 2015

Buddy Box: An Expensive, Plastic Chuckbox

Filed under: Camping,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 6:50 pm

I saw this on Pinterest. It’s called a Buddy Box.

Buddy Box in a Van from Starling Fitness

They are really cool chuck boxes that latch into the seat rails of certain vans. They are made in Germany, but fortunately, they have an English language version of their site:

I thought these were genius. There is a box for water, one for a porta-potty and one that turns into a table. Unfortunately, the prices are absurdly expensive.

In order to get the setup like you see in that photo (including the mounting plates for the C-rail), you would need to spend 1994 Euros or $2195. When I can get a pretty good tent trailer for only $700, it seems insane to spend THREE times that much for just three little units.

Of course, you could build little boxes just like this to fit into your vehicle. The Cook Buddy is very similar to the plans for the Work Top Box from Blue Sky Kitchens.

They sell it starting at about $200. For a TENTH of the cost, you get a great work station. If you’re handy, you can build them yourself with their plan book:

In the end, those Buddy Boxes are cute and look kind of cool, but with a little plywood, you could recreate them and it would only cost you a tenth of what they cost.

Via: Camper Kit: Convert Any Van with the Buddy Box System | Designs & Ideas on Dornob

July 13, 2015

Yoga Mat Foam Gasket To Keep Your Cooler Cool

Filed under: Camping,Food — Laura Moncur @ 12:10 pm

Camp Cabela’s – Cooler Tricks has a great idea to keep your cooler cool.

Yoga Mat Gasket To Keep Your Cooler Colder from Starling Travel

To prevent cool air from escaping seal the top of the cooler with a DIY cooler gasket. Cut a sheet of thin closed-cell foam the exact dimension of the cooler interior. You can find such foam at most sporting goods stores. Or recycle an old foam sleeping pad. Just place this cooler gasket on top of the loaded ice chest. No foam? No problem. Several layers of newspaper will work wonders.

I’ve never tried this, but these southern Utah summers just kill ice in a cooler. Heck, a fourth of the bag melts on the drive from the convenience store back to camp. I’m about willing to try anything to keep my cooler cold.

June 5, 2015

The Chinook at The Egg and I

Filed under: Camping,Motorhomes and Campers,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 6:58 am

When we went to breakfast at The Egg and I a few months ago, I saw this awesome tiny motorhome.

Chinook at The Egg and I from Starling Travel

It’s a Chinook and a highly efficient one. The cab is perfectly sized for exactly two people and they have to be short and physically fit people.

Chinook at The Egg and I from Starling Travel

The summer sun in St. George is oppressive, but we were in the winter, so I don’t know exactly why they had a shade up unless it was for privacy in the camper.

Chinook at The Egg and I from Starling Travel

I’m so used to seeing the doors of campers and motorhomes on the passenger side of the vehicle that I was surprised by this because the door was at the rear.

Chinook at The Egg and I from Starling Travel

We never saw the owners of the camper, but I would have loved to talk to them and loved to see the interior even more. The camper was only slightly longer than the typical car, but I’m sure there was room for two to sleep. I wish I could have seen more of this camper, but in the end, it continued on its journey without us.

May 27, 2015

Winnebago: The 52 Week Funhouse on Wheels

Filed under: Camping,Motorhomes and Campers — Laura Moncur @ 8:13 am

I love this old advertisement for Winnebago that I found in the April 1970 issue of National Geographic.

Winnebago Ad from National Geographic 04-1970 from Starling Travel

It reads:

Exciting Winnebago “motor homes” are not to be confused with those other vehicles called “mobile homes.” We make a self-propelled, self-contained, fifty-two week funhouse on wheels. We make them in 10 different models, 5 different lengths, 7 different floor plans and from standard to luxurious. And we make them for people like you to go places and do things and have a downright good time while you’re at it. Like touring. Vacationing with your family. Taking the gang to the ball game, or your cronies out duck hunting. You could even supply the ski lodge on your next Aspen outing. Or provide the warming house for any winter sport. It’s your lounge, your kitchen, your dining room. Your shower and bedroom. Plus your transportation. You see, a Winnebago motor home is anything you want it to be anytime you want it to be. Find out more about the Winnebago fifty-two week funhouse on wheels and what it can do for you.

I love how they tell you all the things you can do with a camper. They didn’t even get the full list.

  • Touring the country.
  • Vacations with the family.
  • Taking a large group of people to an event.
  • Tailgating at a sporting event.
  • Hunting.
  • Staying in locations where there aren’t any hotels.
  • Guest room for when your house is overflowing with guests.

Sure, that’s what I get from my camper when it is being used, but I also get so much more from it.

  • A project to make my own.
  • A blank canvas to work with.
  • Something the family can work on together.

All of these aspects of owning a camper only come when you buy a piece of junk and make it awesome. That feeling of finally camping in a camper that you have worked so hard to make great is beyond anything that I could ever get from buying a brand new camper. I think that’s why I’m always on the lookout for a new project.

May 22, 2015

Trailer Life Made Everything Better

Filed under: Camping,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:24 am

I have maligned Trailer Life Magazine in the past. I am not the target audience of it, I understand, but it makes me angry when month after month they highlight massive fifth wheels and gigantic bumper pulls with barely a whisper about the diversity of trailers out there. If I were the editor, I would do one review of a huge thing and one review of a tiny trailer each month instead of relegating the lighter weight vehicles to a special magazine once a year. I’ve had problems with the magazine, but I KEEP them. On a shelf in our bookcase, they have been stuffed, out of order and random.

Trailer Life Made Everything Better from Starling Travel

Yesterday, Mike and I were discussing where we should go this summer. We didn’t want to spend a long time driving and we realized that the Oregon trip we had planned would entail a total of SIX days to get there and back, meaning that we would only have ONE day in Oregon to visit friends. We had to scrap that trip and had NO idea what to do instead.

I said to Mike, “How about we go random?” I walked up to the Trailer Life shelf on my bookcase and grabbed one of the magazines that had been stuffed into the nearly overflowing shelf. I ended up picking the September 2014 issue.

Trailer Life Made Everything Better from Starling Travel

“Okay, we’ve got Colorado, Michigan and Tennessee.” After calculating how far Oregon was, I KNEW we couldn’t do Michigan or Tennessee. Mike answered, “Colorado.” So I turned to the article and read to Mike about the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It sounded totally boring and I started to close the magazine halfway through the article, but Mike stopped me.

“If we drive there, we can go through Four Corners,” he said, showing me the map he had pulled up on his iPad. Sean and Mike had wanted to go to the Four Corners National Monument for a long time, but it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. In the middle of nowhere, but on the way to Great Sand Dunes. Michael cooed in an inviting voice, “We could put the New Mexico sticker on the camper…”

We have one of those United States maps on the back of the camper and he knows that really, the only reason I ever want to travel is to get another sticker on the camper. We keep visiting Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California because they’re close, but what I REALLY want to do is take the Tangerine Turtle to every one of the Lower Forty-Eight.

The States Map on The Tangerine Turtle from Starling Travel

“We can go home through Moab and it’s about the same distance,” Mike continued and now I am hooked because he KNOWS that I love to go in a circle so I don’t see the same things on the drive back as I saw on the drive there. I look on my KOA app, and by golly, there’s a KOA right near the park.

After harboring such animosity for Trailer Life Magazine for so many years, I really have to hand it to them. They saved the day and our summer trip. Trailer Life made everything better!

May 21, 2015

The Camping Bubble

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 8:32 am

I saw this on Camp Confessions and it made me remember the best thing about travel.

The Camping Bubble from Starling Travel

It reads:

One of the best parts of camp is the “bubble” where you’ve got no idea what’s going on in the outside world and you couldn’t really care less.

Honestly, this has never happened to me while we’ve been camping. We only go camping for a few days at a time and it’s rarely enough to give me that “bubble.” I have had that feeling on a cruise, however. You can just tell by the looks on our faces that we are in that “bubble.”

The Cruise Bubble from Starling Travel

I don’t know what creates that bubble. I think part of it is time. When you only have two or three days for your trip, it’s hard to forget that the world is not out there. It ISN’T, actually. Tomorrow, you have to pack up and go home, so it’s right there, in your consciousness. That picture was taken in the middle of a seven-day cruise. The reason we were able to be in that bubble is because the ordeal of going home was days away.

I would like to be able to go on a camping trip long enough to create that bubble. I don’t know if moving from place to place every day would create it or if we would have to stay camping in one spot for a week to get that feeling. I don’t know the exact nature of how to create that bubble, but I want to try to make one, even if it’s just once.

April 24, 2015

How To Cover a Fold-Up Aluminum Table with a Chair Bag

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 12:11 pm

How to cover your fold up aluminum table from Starling Travel

Not long ago, I did a post on how to add a handle to a camping chair:

That gave us the freedom to carry our camping chairs without the stupid bags. Then I thought, what could I do with the stupid bags…

How To Add A Handle To A Camping Chair from Starling Travel

I use little aluminum fold-up tables next to my chairs and I thought it would be cute if they were covered to match the chairs, so that’s exactly what I did. Here are the directions if you want to do the same thing. (Continue Reading…)

April 23, 2015

Discover Real Travel Adventure!

Filed under: Camping,Motorhomes and Campers — Laura Moncur @ 7:18 am

I found this advertisement in the April 1970 National Geographic.

Airstream Ad from National Geographic 04-1970 from Starling Travel

It reads:

Discover Real Travel Adventure!

Want to visit exciting new places? Or maybe you’d prefer sunbathing in Florida or relaxing beside some inviting stream? Perhaps you know a road somewhere you’d like to follow to the end. It’s all the same with an Airstream Land Yacht… good beds, bathroom, hot and cold water, refrigeration, heat and light independent of outside sources wherever you go – for a night, a week, or a month, Airstream Land Yachting means real travel independence – no time-tables, tickets, packing. You just tow your Airstream lightly behind your car and follow your travel whims wherever they urge you to go. Yes, it’s the exciting, better way to travel anywhere in the world. For extra fun join a Wally Byam Caravan.

write for free new color catalog – Thrilling as a world cruise.

That is exactly what I love about camping in my tent trailer. I don’t have that bathroom or refrigeration, but I do have that freedom. There are so many campgrounds with hookups that I feel as if I can travel anywhere with my camper.

Before I read this ad fully, I had never heard of the Wally Byam Caravan Club, but apparently they are still around:

They have many rallies where they get together. In my region alone, there are four rallies planned this summer. I’m seriously impressed that they are still around and getting together. Unfortunately, I would have to buy a $40K camper to join them, but I am encouraged that they are still around.

April 17, 2015

Pinterest Firestarter EPIC FAIL

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 8:50 am

Several months ago, I found this pin from how to light a fire | Over The Big Moon

Firestarter Pin from Over the Big Moon

I thought it was a really good idea, so I had been saving up my garbage so I could make these cool fire starters. On my birthday, last week, we had a lovely fire in my backyard fire pit.

Unfortunately, those fire starters performed less than admirably. They LITERALLY repelled the fire. Click on the picture to see it full-sized:

Firestarter Pinterest EPIC FAIL from Starling Travel

You can see that the fire was raging. You can see that one of the logs was down to coals, but those fire starters refused to burn. They sat in the conflagration unscathed like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

From now on the dryer lint and toilet paper rolls are going in the garbage where they belong…

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