Starling Travel

October 11, 2013

Snowy Camping in Grand Teton

Filed under: Camping,Idaho,Motorhomes and Campers,Places To Visit,Wyoming — Laura Moncur @ 7:34 am

The Long Long Honeymoon had a wonderful experience camping in the snow. Here is the video they made about it.

I particularly like seeing how they back into the camping site. It looks so easy and efficient. I’ve seen hundreds of campers trying to back into their sites at campgrounds all over this nation and it is NEVER this easy and efficient. Either clever editing has occurred or they are SO used to camping life that it is down to a science for them.

Most of the time, a big camper like their Airstream would still be pulling in and out, inches at a time, while we hand roll our tent camper into its spot. We can get our little tent trailer into its spot, hooked up and set up before most big trailers can park. It’s a lot more heavy labor to do it than positioning a huge vehicle, but it certainly takes less time.

Last year, we camped in freezing weather that surprised the camping folks in Las Vegas and Arizona. The RV resort in Vegas was SO surprised that they didn’t turn off their water features, which froze solid overnight.

Frozen Water Fountain in Las Vegas 01-16-2013

We were able to stay warm all night with two electric heaters, even though temperatures dipped down to the upper teens. It appears they were camping in the national park, however, so there are no electrical hookups to run electric heaters. They had to stock up on their propane.

The next time you feel trapped at home because it’s too cold to go camping, remember this. You can have an inexpensive and beautiful get-away as long as you’re willing to prepare for the cold.

May 30, 2013

Mello Mike’s Southern Utah Adventure

Filed under: Arizona,Camping,Places To Visit,Utah — Laura Moncur @ 4:17 pm

Mello Mike went to Southern Utah in his truck camper and had a great time. You can read the introduction here:

My favorite photo is of his boondocking spot in the Valley of the Gods:

Mello Mike's Southern UT Adventure from Starling Travel

Check out his website and enjoy the beautiful photography!

April 1, 2013

Prius Towing a Jayco Tent Trailer

Filed under: Camping,Motorhomes and Campers,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

While we were in Sand Hollow State Park, I snapped a quick photo of my rig. If you click on the picture, you can see it full-sized.

Prius Towing a Jayco Tent Trailer from Starling Travel

We have been towing small trailers with the Prius for almost a year now with no ill effects on the car or troubles scaling the Utah mountains. We waited until our warranty on the Prius was up until we started towing with it, but we have had no problems mechanically. This commercial I saw the other day made me literally scream obscenities at the computer screen.

It’s Volkswagen making fun of Prius hybrids and I had so many reasons to scream.

That’s complete bullshit! I can climb the Rocky Fucking Mountains towing a 1200 pound trailer and stay at the speed limit!

My Prius has needed NO major repairs and it’s damn check engine light has NEVER turned on in the five years that we have owned it, unlike my LEMON of a VW BUG!

I have over 130,000 miles on my Prius! That damn Bug never made it past 75,000!

And we aren’t the only ones. Just check out these videos of other people towing with their Prius cars.

Every time we go camping, someone comes up to us and asks how the Prius tows a trailer and are surprised when we rave about how well it handles. Plus, we get about 29 mpg when we tow, so we spend hardly any money on gas getting around.

March 31, 2013

Jumping Jack Trailer in the Wild

Filed under: Camping,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers,Tents — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I first saw a Jumping Jack Trailer at Sportsman’s Warehouse.

I never really saw the benefit of it because I don’t need to haul four wheelers or any other toys. When I saw it at Sand Hollow State Park a couple of weeks ago, however, I was surprised at how good it looked.

Jumping Jack Tent Trailer from Starling Travel

I spotted it from a half-mile away and it looked so good silhouetted against the red earth of Southern Utah. I could tell that the owners had hauled a four-wheeler with it.

Jumping Jack Tent Trailer from Starling Travel

I used to wonder why anyone would want a tent trailer because I couldn’t see the benefit of it over just a plain old tent that I could stuff into my car, but the benefit at Sand Hollow is clear. Tents aren’t welcome at that particular campsite and there are no tent pads where you can pitch a tent. A trailer is the only way to stay there.

I looked online to see how much they cost, but all I could do was find this KSL Classified Ad for one: 2003 Jumping Jack ATV Trailer $4000

By contrast, I found this homemade tent trailer and toy hauler for MUCH less: ATV / TOY HAULER / POP-UP TENT TRAILER $1,250 or OFFER

Homemade Tent Trailer Toy Hauler from Starling Travel

I found two others for less than $4000, so toy haulers are pretty rare, but there are other options than the Jumping Jack. It was interesting to see it in the wild, but I just don’t have a use for one.

March 30, 2013

My Homemade Awning on a Jayco Tent Trailer

Update 12-14-14

I finally fixed this awning and made it much more sturdy and easy to put up. You can see it here:

Homemade Awning on a Jayco Tent Trailer from Starling Travel

A couple of weeks ago, we went camping down at Sand Hollow State Park in Southern Utah. It was the first time I got to test my homemade awning. It looked GREAT!

Homemade Awning on a Tent Trailer from Starling Travel

Unfortunately, it didn’t hold up well in the wind. Just a short burst of wind sent it toppling down. There are two points of weakness in my design: the connections at the top and the connections at the trailer. On the trailer, the poles (stolen from my Springbar tent) just slide onto this PVC connector.

PVC connector for homemade awning from Starling Travel

They worked great in the garage, but there was no wind there. Even the smallest of wind gusts can pop the pole off this connector, so I need to drill a hole in both the pole and the PVC pipe, and add a pin to keep the poles in place.

At the top of the awning, it is held on with a pin, but the pin just kept popping out of place, so I need a different connection there as well. I did a pretty good job sewing the awning, so I’m proud of that. All I need to work on is the hardware and this puppy with look good AND stay in place.

March 28, 2013

A-Frame Camper for Pickup Trucks

Filed under: Camping,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I love this ingenious design for an A-frame camper that I found on Google Patents.

A-Frame Camper for Pickup Trucks from Starling Travel

The description is HORRIBLE. (Continue Reading…)

March 26, 2013

Mike’s Contempo Quantum 5

Filed under: Camping,Motorhomes and Campers,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

When I posted an entry about the very awesome Quantum 5 Contempo Fifth Wheel Fiberglass Trailers, Mike immediately noticed one of the photos:

I was the original owner of the Quantum fifth wheel that you show at the top of this article. I know it was my rig because of the awning and sewer hose on the rear and the metal band where the seam is on the side of the rig. These were not original and I added them over the twenty two and a half years we owned the rig. We purchased it in 1980 in Fullerton, CA and originally used a 1978 Toyota SR5 pick up to tow it. I traded up to a 1984 Chevy El Camino when it was new and towed it with that veh. until 2002 when I traded it in on a new motor home. WOW, to see that someone else got the rig and enjoyed it after we did is just great! It was a neat small aerodynamic camper that my wife and I used with great joy for many years. It is good to see they are still appreciated.

I was so excited that one of the original owners was willing to talk about his beloved old trailer, so I asked him to send photos and he DID!

Mike's Contempo Quantum 5 from Starling Travel

There is so much awesome retro goodness in this photo that I’m stymied. From the El Camino to the stunning orange sands of the American Southwest, I am speechless! Luckily, Mike was willing to tell me all about it. (Continue Reading…)

March 24, 2013

Automobile-Mounted Camper

Filed under: Camping,Tents — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I was looking around on Google Patents When I found this car-mounted camper.

Car Mounted Camper Tent from Starling Travel

Here is the description:

An inexpensive, lightweight camper is releasably mountable about trunk portions of an automobile without requiring the formation of holes in the automobile body. The camper has a flat floor and front, rear, top and side walls which are foldable to compactly overlie the trunk of the automobile.

It looks pretty interesting. (Continue Reading…)

March 22, 2013

Solar Light Owl Lantern from LucentJane

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I found this Owl Mason Jar Light Outdoor Solar Light Canning Jar by LucentJane on Etsy a couple of weeks ago and just fell in love with it!

Solar Light Owl Lantern from Starling Travel

I really love the owl design, the pretty color and how well the solar light looks like it’s attached to the jar.

Solar Light Owl Lantern from Starling Travel

It has a nice handle so you can hang it from a branch or place it on your table.

Solar Light Owl Lantern from Starling Travel

I’ve been looking for a good centerpiece for my table when I’m camping. This one isn’t quite right for me, but I DO like it a lot.

Solar Light Owl Lantern from Starling Travel

At $30, I think I can make one for myself that holds up better than what I have right now, but I haven’t found anything that I like. This one is a great start for ideas.

Solar Light Owl Lantern from Starling Travel

March 17, 2013

Use a Mesh Laundry Bag To Dry Dishes

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

This article from Campfish has a bulk approach to camp dishes:

She says:

After each meal, fill three dishpans with water. Then add liquid detergent to one bin, bleach to the other and leave the final bin clear water. Each camper then washes their dishes in the detergent water, then moves them to the bleach water and finally the clear water.

All wet dishes go back in the bag, which are then hung on a line outside.

I really like the idea of the mesh bag to dry dishes.

Mesh Laundry Bag for Drying Dishes from Starling Travel

That was the idea behind this Hanging Camp Organizer by UtiliMate.

Hanging Camp Organizer by UtiliMate at

B&E Home Essential Laundry Mesh Wash Bag Set (Small * 2, Medium * 2, Large * 2, Bra Wash Bag * 2) - Set of 8 at Amazon.comThe only problem with the UtiliMate is that it’s $16, where mesh laundry bags cost MUCH less. Heck, here’s a set of EIGHT of them for ten bucks:

Of course, it’s just as easy to take a towel, DRY the dishes and just put them away, so maybe this whole idea is superfluous. Every time I see something that looks like it would make things easier, when I think about it, they just complicate things. In the end, nothing packs as light or dries dishes as quickly as a simple towel.

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