90-year-old camper attends 90th Samboree

Margaret Clark, of Tonkawa, Okla., may be 90 but she still
drives her own RV. This week Clark is attending her 90th
Good Sam Camping Club State Samboree in Hastings.

Margaret Clark is one of the most outgoing 90-year-olds you will ever meet.

In 1993, her husband died and instead of staying at home, Clark hit the road of adventure.

After being a widow three years, she knew that she needed more in her life and she missed traveling with her husband in their Class A motorhome. .

Clark, who lives in Tonkawa, Okla., purchased a slightly used 1989 Ford Class B conversion van that had just 30,405 miles on the odometer.

Traveling by herself since 1996, Clark has traversed exactly 47,000 miles in that conversion van and this week she is attending her 90th state Samboree in Hastings.

Though 90, she drives her home on wheels to visit her friends in the Good Sam Camping Club in the Midwest. Because most every state has an annual Samboree, it is possible to enjoy more than one per year.

“It’s an extended van. They have made it into an RV. I have everything that you have in a Class A (motorhome). It’s just more compact. It’s got everything in it,” she said.
Margaret and her husband joined Good Sam back in the 1980s.

“When we bought our first little Datsun van, I put curtains in it and a hanger across the back for clothes,” she said. “It had two swivel chairs, a little library table and an electric ice chest over in the corner. We traveled with seven and eight people in there.” .

The couple then purchased a Class C motorhome and traveled to bowling tournaments.

“He bowled with the national bowling team, the one that goes to Reno every year,” she said.

The Clarks eventually moved up a full-sized Class A motorhome, but Margaret sold it after the death of her husband and settled for the smaller Class B conversion van that she drives today.

“So, I have been traveling alone since ‘96,” she said. “This will be my 90th Samboree. A few of those, very few of them, were attended when my husband was still living. They are mostly on my own.”

Clark said she doesn’t really know any secrets about life on the road.

“I have gotten into some strange situations in campgrounds but they probably shouldn’t be published,” she laughed.

One of her tales of the road included how a SWAT team shot and killed a prison escapee in a campground she stayed in one evening.

“The SWAT team told him to stop and he didn’t. He made a run for the front gate and they shot him at the front gate. He went right past the window of one of our rigs. We were in there and it all came out in the paper,” she said.

Clark said she plans to stay on the road as long as she feels safe.

“As long as I can still drive that small rig and it don’t fall apart, because they don’t make another one like it,” she said. “It is the only one I can get exactly like it. They have small ones, but they’re not arranged like mine. Now, I usually stay in Oklahoma by myself because I know the area. Coming up here and going to other Samborees, I want to be on the road with at least a couple. So, there is at least one man in the group.”

Though 90, Clark said she is still a very good driver.

“I think so,” she said. “I take the AARP refresher course every three years. I am due to take that again next year. I take it for any new changes on the road. I don’t like these new circle things (roundabouts) out there. No one likes those and they are hard to go around with a camper. They are kind of hard to maneuver.”

To read more, see Thursday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>

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