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A Look Back: The Travels of Edgar Spaulding – Part 1

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Looking back in our archives, I was delighted to find that Edgar Spaulding — a local man and one of the photographers here in Springville — recalls his Motor Camping trip that he and his family went on in 1926. So let us begin his journal…
I (Edgar Spaulding) have been on the road some seven months, covering over 5,000 miles and have pitched out our tent in fourteen States. We have slept in a house possible seven or eight times.
Motor camping has not been particularly popular in the east, so many believe it is a dog’s life and that all who camp are really bums. We have been out in sunshine and in storm, dry and wet, both cold and warm and in this time, not one of us have had a sick day. A cold is practically unknown among campers. Our appetites, never poor, are something wonderful now.
“But what do you do when it rains?” is asked. Rain is not the bug bear that most people think.  Campers do not mind the wet. They are not uncomfortable. A good tent does not leak, even after several days of rain. The trouble all is, that when it rains, there is nothing, absolutely nothing to do. It is for this reason that most campers, when on the road and it rains, pack up and move to the next stop.
The one perfect tent for the motor camper is the umbrella tent. They have plenty of head room, are water and mildew proof and can be set up or taken down in ten minutes by one person. The so called auto-tent are no good. They lack head room and are difficult to set up even when there are two in the party to do the work.
Our outfit may be of interest and I will give you the list … all of this strange as it may seem being carried on the car together with three passengers and a cat.
We had 1 9 X 9 foot umbrella tent, including poles and stakes, 1 canvas for covering the car, 1 Kamp Kook gasoline stove (large), 1 Kamp Kook gasoline stove (small), 1 oven for the same, 1 gasoline lantern, 1 electric light and shade to attach to the car, 1 candle lamp, 38 pieces aluminum ware all of which packs into a 8 quart kettle, 1 folding cot, 1 folding double bed, 1 folding table, 1 refrigerator basket, 3 folding chairs, 13 blankets, 1 pack basket of establish can stuff, bacon, etc., 2 canvas cases filled with clothes, 3 cameras, 1 Boy Scout axe, 1 trench spade, 1 canvas water pail, 2 wash dishes, one canvas one rubber, 1 one gallon thermos jug, many small articles, such as comb, mirror, shaving tools, compass etc.
Now this outfit may seem rather large, but there is none of it but what is in use at some time on the trip. In regards to the blankets, it is impossible to have too many. If you are going to sleep out doors in comfort, you must have as much bedding under as you have over.
It is advisable to buy all supplies for the day at the first chance that you have in the morning, for if bought then you can go on your way and forget it, but if delayed, is bound to cause inconvenience and trouble. Many campgrounds do not have a store. (Remember this in 1926)
Many things that we think are necessary in the home can be improvised for camp use. For instance, an excellent food chopper is a baking powder can. A milk bottle will do fine for a rolling pin. I have seen a camper take an old warming over from a kitchen range, found on the dump and make it into as good a wood heater as one could ask for at a cost of not over ten cents for screws. Another makes an oven for his camp stove from an old battery box found at the same place.
It is up to us, however, to get started on our trip. We had as many of you of course know, been camping for some time at Cascade Park (In Springville where the Country Club is now). On September 30th, we made a start. Ethel, Florence and I as well as Fluff the cat. It had rained the day before and in fat most of the time for many days before, but we pack just the same figuring that things would dry out sometime.
Our route was via Painted Post and the Susquehanna Trail to Gettysburg. The cat had calmed down after expressing his opinion for fifty miles or so and everything was running smooth when just as we were entering Canisteo, BANG, there goes the rear tire! This was expected, but not so soon. We put on a new one and kept on. The sky which had been light, was now black and soon it was raining again, getting colder and colder all the while. At Jasper New York, we felt that we had had enough of it and spent our first and only night in a house for the entire trip.
Next week I will share more of this journal of his trip. Do you keep a journal when you travel?  We all take photos of what we see and could make up photo albums. Want to see some of the photos we have at the Lucy Bensley Center?
Stop by 23 North Buffalo St., on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Send us an email at lucybensleycenter@gmail.com or call 592-0094.

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