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  • Sarah Tucker

Off the Beaten Path

Editor's Note: I love this story that was first shared in the October 2013 issue of Cool Tears. From the original editor, Kevin Cross: "Back in January, while we where exhibiting at the Kansas City RV show I was introduced to Bill Gee. During our conversation I discovered that Bill does much more than kick back with a good book or take a leisurely hike when he goes camping. Bill uses his camper to live in while he is exploring and mapping out caves! I asked Bill if he would tell us about his camper and what he does. He has written the following article for us and I am sure you will enjoy it."

Years ago I worked at a Radio Shack store in Omaha. The manager of the service department was a member of the local Jayco camping club. I had a tent at the time, and spent several weekends tent camping with the group. Eventually I was able to save a few bucks and buy a small second-hand Jayco popup camper. That allowed me to become a real member of the Jayco group.

That first camper was destroyed in a thunderstorm in 1993. Straight-line winds turned it over on its side. I was in the storm shelter at the time. The insurance settlement went to another Jayco popup, slightly larger. After some years that was traded on a fancy Jayco popup, this time with a shower and toilet unit. Those midnight excursions are much nicer when the bathroom is just two steps from the bed! It also let me avoid the campground showers. Sometimes I felt I came out dirtier than I went in when showering at a campground.

I have always preferred the road less traveled. In 1996 I went to the Jayco International Rally at the Amana Colonies. For my second week of vacation I went to Mammoth Cave National Park in central Kentucky. I had visited a few smaller commercial caves before that and thought they were pretty neat. A cave like Mammoth - the longest cave in the world - would be a definite step up.