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Campers for nearly half a century

Staff writer

Forest and Betty Reavis, of Augusta, spent the weekend at Marion County Park and Lake with several other members of the Kansa Travelers chapter of the Kansas Campers Association.

Forest said he likes the lake because it’s clean, quiet, and has good fishing. And the Reavises should know about camping spots — they are charter members of the Kansa Travelers, founded 46 years ago. In the intervening years, they have seen some changes in how people go camping.

One of the changes has been the size of campers. Their first camper was a 15-foot recreational vehicle. For cooling, they had to freeze ice in milk jugs, Forest said. Their current camper is 26 feet long — 73 percent longer — and has heat, air conditioning, and other amenities.

“Our kids always slept out on army cots under the stars,” Betty said.

Now that would be seen as unusual and possibly dangerous, she said.

Forest lamented the decline of camping clubs over the years.

“I think people who belong to clubs use their campers more,” He said. “At one time there was over 100 clubs in Kansas. Baby-boomers are not joining.”

The Kansa Travelers have two trips each month from March to October, although not everyone goes on every trip.

Betty said her favorite trip was to a national gathering in West Virginia. There were more than the usual number of overly rowdy campers, she said, but it was nonetheless a fun and exciting getaway.

“It was quite a weekend, I tell you,” Betty said.

Last modified April 21, 2011

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