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Dad's Modded Marvel

While doing well drilling blow out control work in the Permian Basin, my father purchased a used Shasta camper trailer and modded it into a gooseneck-hitch trailer with a large bed located over the hitch. For the first long-distance test of this cleverly modded camper trailer we took a trip from Midland, Texas to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Dad used his road-crew yellow IH pickup truck to tow the trailer and haul us all westward. As we rolled up to the visitor center at the caverns, parked and piled out to stretch our legs after the long drive the odd rig eclipsed a Greyhound bus already parked there, drawing attention of other visitors.

Dad took this Polaroid shot before we descended into the caverns. We had been down into them long before this 1971 visit, in the early 1960s, but arriving and camping in such style as this made it as memorable as our very first trip to the park almost a decade before. The dotted lines added to the photo show how he had simply sawed off the upper, front corner of the Shasta camper and then reattached it to the newly constructed extension to the trailer.

As soon as he cut off the front corner of the camper, a fellow named David Fant had dourly commented "Oh boy, now you've fucked it up", but as he watched my father weld on new steel framework, attach wooden-slat walls, windows, insulation and siding he saw my father's modding vision was not so mad after all. Not long after passing department of motor vehicles inspection and taking this first trip in it, we started spotting factory-made fifth wheel camper trailers on the highways as we rolled along in our marvelously modded version.

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