Boyd Hamilton - Key West, Florida - July 1996
Elsie and I were married June 25, 1947 and, in the fall, late in October we were ready to go in our home-made camper. It was just big enough for two people and not just any tow people either. They had to be very compatible and not too big. It was sort of built to our specifications. Could you say it was custom built? It was just high enough that I could stand upright in it. There was a bed in crossways, that was only 41" wide. That left enough room at the back of the truck on the one size for a chest of drawers and a built in clothes closet on the other and a small fold down plywood table. A two burner camp stove was fastened on the top of the chest of drawers. The outside dimensions were eight feet long and seven feet three inches wide. We were on our way from Saskatchewan to see the U.S.A. and we had the whole winter to do it. Now that I look back at it we most surely looked like just what we were, a couple of country bumpkins.
But that didn't slow us down. We were doing our thing and our thing was to see as much of the U.S.A. as possible that winter of 1947-1948. Canada had a law at that time limiting the amount of money you could take out of the country to $150.00 per person. $300.00 for two people for the entire winter which we hoped would be about 4-5 months. Well we hid some money around in the camper but still we knew we would be severely short of money. We were both raised poor during the 1930's and we knew how to get by on very little. We had brought along a bag of potatoes, but these had frozen before we got out of Canada. Well we didn't throw them out right away but after a while there was foam coming out of their eyes and it was obvious, they had to go. Elsie canned a few apples that we brought real cheap in Illinois as we kept on traveling. Of course, we never ate out and we usually only visited things that were free. We went from Winnipeg to Chicago to New York City to Washington D.C to Miami and arrived in Key West on New Years Day 1948. It cost $1.00 per day to stay at Mastic Trailer Park on United Street in Key West. For that we had a place to park and the use of toilets and showers. While laying on the beach we learned about a new thing called a credit card. Our Esso dealer in Sylvania, Sask. Sent me his (when I requested on for myself) so after that we were in clover as we learned to brazenly charge food, gasoline and even get cash out of his credit card. After a month in Key West we continued on to New Orleans, Los Angeles, then up the west coast through Oregon and Washington. Then we headed easterly to Montana and so on to Regina and home again. It was late March when we arrived home to Sylvania.
It was a great trip. One that neither of us would ever forget. We had made a complete circle of the U.S.A. and hadn't spent as much as $700.00. That covered food, gasoline, camping fees and everything else we had spent in four and a half months.
At home we set our little camper shell off on the ground and our pick-up truck was ready to go to work. We were in for a hard summer of keeping bees to make honey. We were trying to make as much money as possible so we could go again in the next fall.