The Tank…

In yesterday’s post I wrote about buying our first camper.  I also wrote about trying to pull it with my Mercury Monarch, and how the wind would cause the car to sway while we were going down the highway.  We traveled that first summer using my car to tow, but before the next summer came, Ed had purchased what I will lovingly refer to as “the tank”.

Ed knew what vehicle that he wanted to pull our camper–he’d always wanted one.  It was a work truck called a Suburban.  Keep in mind that this was back in the days before Suburbans became popular among the general population.  Back then, Suburbans were used primarily for work trucks, due to their size and durability.

Ed with his vehicles...his Toyota is towing his Suburban out the mud!

Again, I don’t remember how or where Ed found “The Tank”.  I do remember he said that he talked the owner into selling it to him for four thousand dollars.  It was a 1976 model truck, but it was still in pretty good shape.  It was painted a dark “gun metal” gray color, and had burgundy interior.  When Ed drove it home, my first impression was “it looks like a tank.”  The color was not especially pretty, but we weren’t worried so much about looks.

When we hooked our camper behind “the tank” our camping ensemble was l-o-n-g!  I can only imagine what we must have looked like rolling down the highway!  I was always amazed at my husband when he could back our camper into those sometimes tiny camping spots!  “The tank” was heavy enough that it never swayed, nor did it even act like towing put a strain on it.  After all, it was a work truck!

Sometimes we would take the third seat out of “the tank” so we could haul stuff in the back of it.  When we would put the third seat back in, sometimes we’d turn it facing the back of the vehicle.  The children enjoyed riding backwards!  “The tank” made a great vehicle to travel in because there was lots of room.  Again, I wonder what we looked like rolling down the road! 

Two major things that I remember about “the tank”.  First, was the gas mileage.  When we used the tank to tow the camper, we only got eleven miles per gallon. Ouch!  It was a good thing the gas tank held 40 gallons of gas, huh?  The other think I remember was the floorboard in the front would get hot after we rode for a while.  For some reason the heat from the motor made the floorboard get hot.   That was common in some of the older Chevy vehicles that we owned.

We used “the tank” to take us lots of places, and it always got us there and back.  It never left us stranded beside the road, although on one trip I was wondering…we actually turned around in mid-trip,  and headed straight for “our friend the mechanic’s” house to get the truck checked out…Luckily we knew two good mechanics who kept it in good running condition!

I used the tank one summer as a bus to pick up children for our church’s Vacation Bible School, and we used it sometimes to take church youth groups on outings.  I remember once, on a youth outing, one of the older girls thought “the tank” was ugly, and she was embarrassed to ride with us.  I had to sort of agree with her at the time…we had replaced the old rusty hood with a newer white one(see pic), and hadn’t  gotten it painted to match–yet!  We just laughed…what can you say???  It was our camping vehicle!

“The tank” gave us several years of faithful service, and it took us to many places.  We more than got our money’s worth out of it.  Finally, in the early nineties we decided to sell our faithful friend.  We decided to buy…..A NEW TANK…and that my friends is another adventure for another day…thanks for stopping by!

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Published in: on May 28, 2010 at 11:13 am  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My sister has an old suburban that still runs. she drove it for around 20 years 🙂

  2. We have a newer “tank” now that is kind of a maroonish color. Someone blessed us with it so we only paid $1.00 for it. We have definately gotten our money’s worth out of it! No, seriously it has been a great vehicle!

  3. I remember Suburban´s from when we lived in Canada. They really were like a tank.
    Great memories you have there.

  4. Haha, in my last comment I told you my sister and I slept in the vehicle when camping, it was actually a Suburban very similar to this one (but the backseat only could face forward). We all loved it. We eventually had to sell it though when my dad got a job working in Vancouver. It was too long of a commute on the Suburban’s expensive tank of gas.

  5. It would be great fun to ride backwards in the tank. Camping must have been such fun and wonderful memory makers.


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