Starling Travel

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

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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 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 28, 2014

A Teardrop Tent Trailer

Filed under: Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 6:07 pm

I found out that half the roof of our tent trailer has wood rot. It will easily last another five years or so, but it got me to thinking what I would do if we had to replace the roof.

Jayco Eagle 8 Tent Trailer from Starling Travel

In all honesty, we’d probably junk the trailer and just buy a new one, but if I got creative, I might be able to replace the roof with something that might make the trailer look interesting and give us a little storage space.

What if I made the tent trailer into a teardrop?

Teardrop Tent Trailer from Starling Travel

Here’s what it looks like when I paste the top of a T@b trailer onto my tent trailer. It would open the same as a tent trailer and give us a TON of headroom and storage along the sides. I would have to make a spot for the Fantastic Fan, because the addition of that has been a godsend on those 104 degree trips to St. George. I don’t think I’d even have a window or that door because then there would be more room for storage.

This idea has gotten me all excited about replacing the roof of our tent trailer. I could turn it into something adorable AND have all the space I could dream of when the trailer is deployed. I have absolutely NO idea how to make this a reality, but I want it!

January 26, 2014

1976 Chevy Blazer Chalet Popup Truck Camper

Filed under: Motorhomes and Campers — Laura Moncur @ 11:59 am

I was looking at KSL Classifieds and saw this interesting popup truck camper called the Chevy Blazer Chalet.

1976 Chevy Blazer Chalet from Starling Travel

The owner described it here:

i have a chellet camper desighned for full size gmc/chevrolet blazers. it is in good condition, it has a 2burner stove,fridge and a furnace. it has bench seats that fold for a bed, and is desighned to be open into the cab of the blazer. the top pops up single hadedly.and reguiers no drilling or mods, it bolts on to the exsiting hole for the shell bolts this camper was built will fit all modles up to 1989. i belive these campers wher only made for a few years in the 70s.

Here are the rest of the photos:

1976 Chevy Blazer Chalet from Starling Travel

1976 Chevy Blazer Chalet from Starling Travel

1976 Chevy Blazer Chalet from Starling Travel

I found some photos of a fully restored one here: Photo Gallery – Automobiles




There is a Yahoo! Group Forum for these truck campers: The Big ‘Nook. – Yahoo Groups

I love this advertisement for it that I found here: Pop-Up Truck Camper, The Blazer Chalet From 1976 | Motornomadics

1976 Chevy Blazer Chalet Advertisement

The reason these campers look so good is because they were designed by Chinook. I love how streamlined they look with an original Chevy truck. They’re not the right camper for me, but they definitely have that cool retro style!

January 14, 2014

Daybreak and Oquirrh Lake in Winter 2014

Filed under: Places To Visit,Utah — Laura Moncur @ 3:01 pm

I’ve talked before about Oquirrh Lake and how beautiful it is. Here is a walking video that goes past the lake from Starling Fitness:

The next time you’re feeling trapped and want to escape, take a few minutes and watch this video. You’ll be transported to a Utah wintery walk and return to your life refreshed and a little chilly.

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…

December 16, 2013

Trailer Life Magazine: Unique Trailers

Filed under: Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:40 am

Trailer Life Magazine January 2014 from Starling TravelJust when I was about to let my subscription to Trailer Life Magazine expire, they FINALLY do an article about small trailers that is interesting. If you haven’t picked it up, the January 2014 issue is actually worth buying this time.

Not only did they do an article on a truck camper for their cover photo, they did an entire article about tiny trailers AND one about restoring retro trailers. It’s like they wrote a magazine just for me.

The Unique Trailers article didn’t showcase anything I hadn’t seen before. They covered the following tiny trailers:

They could have written full articles about each of these trailers (like I have), but at least they acknowledged that the world of camping is more diverse than the GIGANTIC fifth wheel trailers they usually highlight.

Good job, Trailer Life!

December 15, 2013

Don’t Stare; Yours Is Just Fine

Filed under: Boating,Motorhomes and Campers,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 10:57 am

I’ve been desperately looking at the local classifieds for a new trailer. We bought the Subaru XV Crosstrek, so we can tow 500 more pounds than we could before and I’ve been obsessive. Then I got some good advice…

from a video game…

Don't stare at cool new boats. Yours is fine

The Kap’n sang to me,

Yo-ho, me eyes! Don’t stare at cool new boats. Yours is fine. Just blink, and look skywise!

He’s right. I keep finding myself looking at new campers when my cute little tent trailer is just fine. Just look at how adorable it is with its homemade awning.

Homemade Awning on a Tent Trailer from Starling Travel

I actually LOVE that camper. Sure, I’d like it to have a toilet, but then again, I don’t particularly want to EMPTY that toilet, especially when we camp in places where there are facilities within walking distance.

The problem isn’t that I want a new camper. The problem is that I want to go camping, but we are buried in snow.

Too Cold For Camping from Starling Travel

Even our usual winter camping favorites, like Saint George and Lake Mead, are too chilly for us right now. Sure, we could go camping in 23 degree weather, but it’s not very pleasant when we do.

It doesn’t help that the dead of winter is the absolute BEST time to look at campers in the classifieds. People are desperate to sell their trailers to pay for Christmas, to get it out of their driveway or to unload it before they move away. There is a screamin’ deal on a 2010 tent camper with a toilet right now that is so appealing to me that I have to stop myself from looking at the listing every day.

I don’t want that camper. I want to go camping.

I just need to blink and look skywise, I guess.

December 11, 2013

Lime Green Motorhome and Toy Hauler

Filed under: Motorhomes and Campers — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

While we were driving back to Salt Lake City from St. George over the Thanksgiving weekend, we saw this awesome lime green motorhome and matching toy hauler.

Lime Green Motorhome and Toy Hauler from Starling Travel

It’s very hard to take pictures on the road, but Mike was passing him slowly so I could click as many as I could.

Lime Green Motorhome and Toy Hauler from Starling Travel

I love how the trailer matches the motorhome.

Lime Green Motorhome and Toy Hauler from Starling Travel

It appears that they race somehow. I don’t know what was in the trailer (motorcycles, a car, etc.), but I was very impressed with their motorhome.

Lime Green Motorhome and Toy Hauler from Starling Travel

If any of you readers recognize this vehicle, please leave a comment telling me all about it.

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