News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Good fun, good friends good times
Jun 24, 2012 - By Emily Etheredge, Staff Writer
Cody residents Larry and Lucille Moerike love Willie Nelson's song "On the Road Again."
The Moerikes, who have been married 62 years, say any time is a good time to travel. They parked their recreational vehicle Friday at the Fremont County Fairgrounds on Friday for the Good Sam Club Samboree June 20-24.
"We love going," Lucille said. "There isn't a place we don't want to travel. Arizona is our favorite place because it is warm in the winter, but we like going anywhere."
Founded in 1968, the Good Sam club started from the biblical parable of the good Samaritan which tells of a traveler from the region of Samaria who helped a person along the road who had been robbed and beaten. The organization provides an element of security for RV drivers who know at any point of distress, they can call on another Good Sam member for help.
The Moerikes have been Good Sam club members for 20 years and enjoy going around to different areas meeting new friends in their RV.
"We love playing games with our friends," Lucille said. "The bean bag baseball is my favorite."
Larry Moerike built the couple's first RV in 1963. when they had six children living at home and decided to take a vacation.
"We were a large family with a station wagon, and we wanted to travel," Lucille said. "I constructed an RV within five months time and hooked it up to a 1952 Chrysler car frame. We travelled 5,200 miles for the vacation," Larry said.
Good Sam Wyoming state director Steve Martin said Wyoming has nine chapters in the state -- Cheyenne, Casper, Gillette, Douglas, Rock Springs, Green River, Cody, Thermopolis, and Riverton.
Although Martin said the average age group of Good Sam members is 55 and older, the organization is trying to attract younger people by informing them of different events held throughout the state.
"The organization was started for people who were traveling in their RVs to have a measure of security with their travels," Martin said. "Safety in numbers is always a comforting thing to have when you are on the road."
Gas prices take toll
Martin said the samboree in Riverton was had lower attendance than usual with 37 RV units attending. Martin attributes that to high gasoline prices that make travelling in an RV expensive.
"A standard RV will cost between $200 to $300 for 200 miles of travel," Martin said. "I think people are just evaluating if the cost is worth the travel this year."
Most samborees have RV travelers who park their RVs and participate in activities including games of "samgo" which resembles bingo, cooking demonstrations, and afternoon treats of root beer floats.
Riverton couple Dick and Donna Hunter have been Good Sam members for 12 years.
"We enjoy the camaraderie with friends," Donna said. "There is something about singing around the campfire that is enjoyable."
Donna and Dale Meyer are Good Sam lifetime members who travel around in their ultra-luxurious Camelot Monaco RV purchased in February.
It has a full-sized stainless steel refrigerator, microwave oven, king-sized bed, bathroom with shower, and living room with custom stone and hardwood cabinetry. Two "pop-out" sections ad about six feet of extra width to the living room when the bus-sized vehicle is parked.
"When traveling you have to learn how to use a microwave instead of a stove, which I still haven't perfected quite yet," Donna said. "This is our first samboree, but we love hopping in the RV and figuring out a place to travel."
They have been married for 39 years and have five grown children. They particularly enjoy Arizona and Montana in their RV.
"We like to tell everyone that we are spending our kids inheritance," Dale said.
Their spectacular RV also has a television and CD player on the side of the vehicle for when they want to watch TV outside.
"Sometimes it is nice to watch television underneath the stars," Dale said.
Martin said the size and price of an RV doesn't matter at a Good Sam Samboree.
"Some of the RVs in the market these days are really nice," Martin said. "
"The good thing about coming to a Good Sam Samboree is people come from many different walks of life, but at the end of the day we can all sit around the same dinner table and have a wonderful time."