Starling Travel

March 8, 2014

Tuacahn Teardrop

Filed under: Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 2:16 pm

My father-in-law sent me this photo of a teardrop trailer and matching retro truck that he saw at the Tuacahn Saturday Market. Click the photo to see the full-sized version.

Tuacahn Teardrop from Starling Travel

It had a for sale sign on it, but they didn’t ask how much it was going for. I just love seeing these retro teardrops!

March 6, 2014

Waterproofing Your Tent or Tent Trailer

Filed under: Teardrops & Tiny Trailers,Tents — Laura Moncur @ 5:27 pm

I had a comment on one of my entries from Christine Swalgin:

One a side note: my bed end canvas never sees rain, I tarp the whole camper length wise and tether the ends down to the bumper and tongue. Seems that are canvas to vinyl leak no mater what and the ends pool. Still trying to engineer a better solution.

I was just going to email Christine and tell her about waterproofing options, but then I realized that other people might want to know about this.

Kiwi Camp Dry, Heavy Duty Water Repellent, 12oz at Amazon.comMost tents and tent trailers have treated canvas or nylon to keep out water. Unfortunately, these treatments don’t last forever and need to be redone every few years, especially along the seams. There are lots of products on the market that can be used.

You need to treat the tent outside and make sure you don’t inhale the fumes. Here is a video from one of the manufacturers about how to treat fabrics.

It helps to give the tent plenty of time to dry, so make sure you can leave your tent out and deployed for six hours or so.

Mike and I found out the hard way that our tent trailer was in desperate need of waterproofing in a huge storm last August. We haven’t camped in another storm since, but we are eager to see how the waterproofing will hold.

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 21, 2014

2009 Keystone Outback Loft: A Two-Story RV

Filed under: Motorhomes and Campers — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The 2009 Keystone Outback Loft was a MASSIVE camper that I really don’t have a vehicle to tow it, but it was sure impressive. Just check out this video of one:

I like the floor plan.

Keystone Outback Loft floorplan from Starling Travel

The pictures remind me of The Del Rey Kamp King Sky Lounge Truck Camper.

Keystone Outback Loft RV from Starling Travel

It doesn’t look like Keystone is making these campers anymore, so that’s a shame. It looks like a great toy hauler with a loft and a view!

Photos and floorplan via: Trailer Life – Keystone Outback Loft

February 20, 2014

The Highways of 1976: How I Wish!

Filed under: Road Trips,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

This old General Motors video about how a road trip would be in the future of 1976 is painful to watch at first, but there are some interesting things about it that I wish were true.

If you can get past the singing and spoken poetry, then you’ll get to see the interesting ideas for the future of road trips. The car that drives itself is the first dream for the future that never came to be. Here’s a picture of the “Electronic Control Strip” that supposedly drives the cars.

Electronic Control Strip in Center Lane from Starling Travel

Google has been working on a car that drives itself for a long time now and we still haven’t seen it.

The idea of having a car that dispenses ice cream and sodas seems a bit over-the-top. Not even the high-end RVs have that. It would be cool, though.

Ice cream and drink dispenser in the car from Starling Travel

I really like this fold-down tray, though. Why don’t we have these in the back of cars.

Fold down tray in a car from Starling Travel

I love the design of these roads. It looks like it was set in a futuristic Zion’s Park.

Those new-fangled roads of 1976 from Starling Travel

When the family got tired, the “Tower Man” recommended a hotel for them. At least we have a similar thing to this with all the information on the Internet.

Tower man recommends a hotel in futuristic 1976 from Starling Travel

On a whole, this vision of 1976 was WAY better than the real 1976, but pales in comparison to now. I’m pretty happy with how the future turned out and no 1956 concept of the future can compare to it.

Via: A Family of Singing Time-Travelers Drive the Highways of Tomorrow

February 19, 2014

Piggybacking Is Dangerous

Filed under: Motorhomes and Campers — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Over the President’s Day weekend, we saw this double-towing accident waiting to happen.

Piggybacking Is Dangerous from Starling Travel - Don't Double Tow!

This is called Double Towing, Tandem Towing, Triple Tow or Piggybacking and it’s DANGEROUS. It’s not legal in many states and many other states allow it only if you have a special driver’s license. This particular vehicle was towing in Utah, where it is legal with only a Class D license, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous.

You can find out whether this is legal in your state, or any states you might be driving through here:

There is a discussion about it here:

The best answer to the question came from luckyinkentucky:

It would be a heck of a lot cheaper AND wiser to teach your wife how to tow a trailer, and have her follow you in the minivan or whatever. Sorry, but I think the only people who should be allowed to tow 2 trailers are people with a CDL license.

If you have a boat (or ATVs) that need towing in addition to your camper, be smart and stay away from piggybacking. No vacation or trip is worth the risk to your family.

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 6, 2014

Overcrowded Disneyland 2010

Filed under: Amusement Parks,California,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 1:16 pm

Right after Christmas in 2010, we took a trip to Disneyland with my sister and her husband.

It was unpleasant.

There were so many people that they LITERALLY stopped letting anyone in. I snapped this photo in front of New Orleans Square, just trying to get past the Haunted Mansion. Click to see it full-sized.

Overcrowded Disneyland 2010 from Starling Travel

We had reservations at the Blue Bayou for an early dinner, but Dan had to work earlier in the day, so he didn’t try to come in until about 3pm, but they wouldn’t let him in. It took us multiple calls to the restaurant just to get him into the park so we could have our dinner.

At the same time, we couldn’t get on any rides. Mike and I rode the Pooh Bear ride (twice) and that was all we did that day. EVERYTHING was so packed that we could barely walk through the park without a crush of the crowd all around us.

Whatever that number is that makes them stop letting people into the park, it’s WAY too high. I have been to Disneyland since, but I will never again go right after Christmas. It was a miserable experience and a WASTE of money.

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 Amazon.com 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.

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