1968 Starcraft Pop-up Camper

By 1983 we had one child and another on the way.  We wanted to continue camping but decided it was time to do something other than a tent.  We bought this Starcraft pop-up.  

We bought it from a couple further north, perhaps the Massena area.  It was in amazing condition for its age and, although we don't remember what we paid for it, it was probably too much.  The unique thing about this camper was that it only had one pop out.  Usually in a soft-side pop-up, both the front and rear pop out to form two double beds.  This one only expanded in the rear.  There was a kitchen unit along the front wall.  At some point, we bought an "Add-a-room" which snapped to the curbside.  It was somewhat of a tent attached to the camper which more than doubled our space and gave us a lot more flexibility during inclement weather.

We towed this behind a 1980 Datsun compact station wagon for at least three seasons.  There were no cross-country hauls on the docket, but we did take it on two extended trips.  In 1985, we stayed a month at Hamlin Beach State Park while David attended a National Science Foundation Institute at SUNY Brockport.  In 1986, we stayed a week at a very nice little family run campground in Mechanicville, New York, while David attended a seminar at the IBM corporate location in Albany.

It was on this adventure that David discovered, as he was unhitching the camper when we arrived, that the rear end of the station wagon was loose!  The rear bumper was attached with two brackets, each having four bolts.  Two of the bolts on each side had rusted/broken off, and the bumper ... and camper ... were just hanging on.  Another few miles and we would have probably lost the whole thing.  Ironically, the Albany Datsun dealer could not get the parts for more than a week but our Watertown dealer could get them the next day.  Of course, our good friend Paul was the Service Manager but he said he would have done it for anyone.

We explained our predicament to the campground owners and left the camper there at the end of the week while we went home to get the bumper fixed.  When we got home that Friday night, Marcia's dad offered his Chevy 3/4 ton, diesel pick-up to go back down and get the camper.  More irony ... the Datsun got over 30 MPG, but when you hooked the camper to it, the best you could do was about14.  The Chevy diesel got 24 ... by itself or with the camper behind it.

It was this incident that prompted us to go truck shopping.  After we arrived home from Mechanicville, we found out that Steve and Lana were selling their conversion van.  We bought it and finished up the season towing the pop-up with that.  The next year, we sold the pop-up and bought a 1976 Prowler 20' travel trailer.


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