Starling Travel

September 17, 2014

A Perfect Campsite

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 12:56 pm

I saw this picture on truckinu’s Flickr site and it looked perfect to me!

A Perfect Campsite from Starling Travel

From the modern teardrop trailer to the changing tent to the tarp on the picnic table, this campsite looks like the perfect place to relax.

March 14, 2014

Camping 30s Style

Filed under: Camping,Tents — Laura Moncur @ 10:08 am

I love this photo of a camper and tent from the 1930s.

I just realized that we are a mere sixteen years away from 2030 and only six slim years from the 2020s. It seems crazy to me because the phrase The Twenties refers to the 1920s in my mind, but suddenly, we are on the cusp of a different Twenties.

And as strange as that sounds, humans have been living in tents for THOUSANDS of years. Sure the animal hides were replaced by canvas and then replaced by lightweight nylon, but the basic shelter of the tent has been around for longer than the memory of man. It’s awe inspiring to me and it answers that question I keep asking, “Why does it feel so good to go camping?” Because it is hardwired into my cavewoman brain.

March 12, 2014

RVillage: It’s Our Village

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 1:10 pm

I’ve just heard about RVillage and signed up for it. It’s a way for fellow RVers to get in touch with each other and for you to see who is in the RV site where you may be.

RVillage is a new site for RVers

Here’s the description of it from Technomadia:

The core idea of RVillage is to create a very simple (and free) tool for RVers to connect with each other – not just online, but right in the RV parks and places they are currently staying in.

When a user checks into a location in RVillage, they can discover the things that they have in common with other RVers right around them.

This sure beats leaving connections up to chance encounters while walking the cat, or the random stranger coming up asking “what type of engine is in that thing?” while you are busy dumping the tanks.

I like the idea of seeing other people who might be in your campground before we meet them, but it seems strange to me. What do I do? Just start wandering the campground calling the name of fellow RVillagers? I like the idea and I think it’s a great idea to do meet ups, though. I’m giving it a try and I hope you do as well. Then all my best friends will be signed up and ready to roll!

February 26, 2014

Tent Camping and Kids Up A Tree

Filed under: Camping,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 9:00 am

I adore this photo I found on Flickr today.

Tent Camping and the Kids Up A Tree from Starling Fitness

Keep River National Park is in the Northern Territory of Australia. Here is a map:

Yesterday, I said that RVing gave us a freedom to travel that we didn’t have before, but I was fibbing a bit. We had that freedom of inexpensive travel when we tent camped like the people in this photo. The freedom that the camper gave us was the ability to travel almost all year long. With the tent trailer, we can travel even with temperatures as low as 28 degrees. We could have never done that in a tent because I froze every night the temperatures dipped below 45 degrees and that was in our nice Springbar tent.

I love this picture because the tent has a solar panel and the kids are just climbing the trees like monkeys. I don’t want to go back to tent camping, but I do love seeing a well-pitched tent.

February 25, 2014

What I Love About RVing

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

Interstellar Orchard wrote an entry about what she loved about RVing and it really inspired me to talk about what I love. Here’s her post:

What I Love About RVing from Starling Travel

I’m not a full-time RVer like she is, so when we pull out the trailer, it’s strictly for travel and adventure, not about a lifestyle. That said, I find an incredible amount of joy in that tiny tent trailer and I thought I share it with you.

We Bring Our Home With Us

One of the most unpleasant parts of traveling for me was getting used to the hotel room. A hotel room never feels like home. It never feels comfortable to me. I’m not bothered by people in the rooms nearby, but the bed feels different and the pillow doesn’t smell like me.

Okay, that sounded totally gross, but never discount the animal instincts of smell.

With the trailer, it feels like home to me. The cleanly washed sheets are my own. The surroundings are very comforting, despite the old 90s decor. Once that trailer is popped up, any campground feels like home.

Eating Is Easier

With the trailer, we can cook almost anything that we could cook at home. We don’t have a fancy microwave or fridge in the trailer, but a cooler and a hot plate works for almost every one of our favorite recipes.

More importantly, before the trailer, I always felt as if I were at the mercy of whatever restaurants were around. Honestly, it was a huge source of stress for me. Knowing that I can whip up a meal at the campground makes vacationing more relaxing for me because I don’t worry about what I’m going to eat.

It’s Cheaper, So We Can Travel More Often

With the Prius and the Subaru XV, we get about 30 mpg while towing the trailer, so bringing the trailer hardly affects our gasoline costs. However, being able to set up the camper at a KOA or state park usually costs about 25 bucks or so, whereas a hotel usually costs about $70 (or more). We can plan more trips with the trailer than we could when we had to depend on hotels.

Additionally, being able to cook at the campground saves us a bunch of money. It’s not just the worry of eating at restaurants that bothers me, it’s the cost. We save money with every meal made on that hot plate in the camper.

I would rather travel more often than travel in luxury. I can do that with all the money we save by using the camper.

We Can Travel To More Places

There are some places where there just ISN’T a hotel: down by the river in the woods, up in the mountains by the reservoir, and right next to Disney World at Camp Wilderness. I have seen fireflies flashing in front of my face while I ate burgers that Mike grilled for me. I have enjoyed watching water-skiers and heard them screaming, “Woo!” during my morning breakfast and coffee. I have shivered next to a fire that’s crackling and smelling like a good Scotch, eager for its warmth.

I couldn’t have had those experiences at Holiday Inn. Not even a room with a balcony overlooking the ocean could compete with some of those experiences, especially when I know that I could be camping at the campground that is RIGHT on the beach.

One Day Camping Feels Like Three Days

My friend Matt Strebe once said to us, “One day of camping feels like three days.” I think that might have been because there weren’t any showers at that campground, so we all SMELLED like it had been three days.

He’s right, though. When we are camping, time seems to slow down. We don’t have a TV in the trailer, so that might be why we feel like there is more time. I always feel like I don’t get enough travel time, but camping extends things a bit, making it feel longer.

I Love RVing

In the end, I love to hitch up the tent trailer and start driving. I look forward to it, even when it’s just a two-day jaunt for the weekend. I’m so glad that we bought that cheap trailer, even though something breaks every time we take it out, because it gives us a freedom that we didn’t have before. That’s why I love RVing.

February 18, 2014

Towing with the Subaru XV Crosstrek

Filed under: Camping,Places To Visit,Utah — Laura Moncur @ 11:20 am

We just got back from a lovely trip down to Sand Hollow State Park in Southern Utah, just outside of Zion’s National Park. It was the first time we have camped with our trailer since we bought the Subaru XV Crosstrek and I have to say that towing with that car is a dream.

Towing with the Subaru XV Crosstrek from Starling Travel

(Continue Reading…)

February 5, 2014

Dometic Portable Toilets

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 10:43 am

This video has been very helpful to show me how a portable toilet is used and emptied.

Dometic 975 Portable Toilets 5 Gallon at They are showcasing the Dometic 970 toilets, which are VERY affordable:

I talked about portable toilets a little over a year ago here:

Back then, I said:

Folding Portable Toilet at Amazon.comWe ended up buying this Foldable Toilet at Sportsmans Warehouse for only $14. It is lightweight, stores absolutely FLAT and takes up hardly any space in the trailer storage bins. I tried sitting on it to see if it would hold my weight and it performed beautifully. It’s a little shorter than the Luggable Loo and the Thetford Curve, but not so short that I have to squat uncomfortably to sit on it. I really liked that I was able to use it with the Double Doodie Bags, so the smell wouldn’t be that bad. I found a video about it on YouTube. You can see it here:

It has been a year of camping almost every month and we have yet to use the portable toilet. It still lies under the dinette seat with its bags, untouched. The one time I was tempted to use it, we were in a KOA in North Dakota. It was the middle of the night and we were in the middle of a HUGE downpour. Our campsite was FAR away from the bathrooms, so I suggested we break it out, but Mike’s calm mind prevailed. He said, “I don’t know about you, but I’m getting into the car and DRIVING to the bathroom.”

It was such a stroke of pure logic that it shocked me. Why didn’t I think about that? We have yet to boondock anywhere that didn’t have at least vault toilets, so I don’t know why I obsess about this issue so much. Those Dometic toilets look great, compact and easy to use, but not nearly as easy as taking the walk to the campground bathrooms.

January 13, 2014

A Hy-Lander Fifth Wheel, A String of Fish and You

Filed under: Camping,Motorhomes and Campers — Laura Moncur @ 8:34 am

When my grandpa died, I scanned every photo that was in his house and gave copies to all my relatives, but I didn’t really look at any of the photos. My grief was too sharp to reminisce.

The other day, I was looking at those photos and this one looked very interesting.

A Hy-Lander Fifth Wheel, A String of Fish and You from Starling Travel

The man on the left is Lawrence “Shorty” Lipe, my great-grandfather. The man on the right is Wayne Wilcox, my great-uncle-in-law (he was married to my grandmother’s sister). I absolutely adore this photo because Uncle Wayne looks so happy and proud of those fish, whereas, Shorty just looks confused.

In the background, however, is a rare, Hy-Lander Fifth Wheel camper. Hy-Lander was one of the first companies to make fifth wheels.

sirdrakejr: The Hy-Lander was 1st introduced about 1965. I tried to get a franchise in California but they were not approved for sale in that state due to electrical and plumbing concerns. later on, two large RV sales giants stated in CA with that 5th wheel. Hy-Lander was the 1st to market a 5th wheel for large scale sales. But they were also not very responsive to user compaints and they had other problems that led to their demise. Many dealers dropped the line when the dealer had to assume the repairs when the manufacturer would not.

I never stepped foot in that camper, even though Uncle Wayne hosted many fun adventures. He took us to Lava Hot Springs, flew us in his airplane to see the damage from the Teton Dam disaster, and took us hiking all around Idaho Falls. All of that, but I never saw that camper. I suspect that by the time I started coming to Idaho Falls (around 1977 and later), it had already been retired.

I wonder what towed the fifth wheel. The only vehicle in the picture is that late Sixties Jeep Wagoneer in the background, but it couldn’t tow a fifth wheel. Uncle Wayne must have owned a pickup back then.

It doesn’t surprise me that Uncle Wayne was an early adopter. He owned the first fifth wheel, just like my grandpa owned computers as soon as they were available and useable. Both of them were willing to be on the cutting edge, even if they got sliced up sometimes.

No wonder he looked so proud…

October 16, 2013

Camping Advice from Animal Crossing

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 9:18 am

Animal Crossing New Leaf at Amazon.comI have been playing Animal Crossing New Leaf for the last few months and the visitors to my town’s campground are hilarious. It is so enjoyable that every time I see a tent in the campsite, I have a delicious Pavlovian response that makes me run in to see who has come to visit. I love playing this game, but I also love the fact that they have included my favorite pastime in it.

Animal Crossing New Leaf Camping Advice from Starling Travel

I have a bunch of advice from the game and some photos after the break. (Continue Reading…)

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.

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