By Francis Champ Zumbrun
It was true the Vagabonds, these “gentlemen campers,” were not exactly roughing it; but, it was also true these captains of industry did go without some of comforts that they were accustomed to at home. Anyone finding them camping at Muddy Creek Falls in the summer of 1921 would have found the Vagabonds carrying much more camping gear than when they first began camping together in 1915.
Their entourage, consisting of about 40 people, was much larger as this was the first time their wives traveled and camped with them. In addition to family members, six support staff traveled with them to drive trucks, cook, set-up and break-down their camping gear, and be a general camp “roustabout.”
Edison was probably the unhappiest of the group because their camping equipment was becoming more elaborate and cumbersome. Edison took great joy telling his friends stories about his adventures with the Vagabonds, his close encounters with nature, and toughing-it-out in the great outdoors each summer.
Now that their wives were camping with them, the Vagabonds were less likely to drive in the back woods along rough, dust-covered roads with little or no traffic, roads that Edison loved exploring.
Interestingly, Edison overlooked the fact that he too brought advanced camping gear, the like never seen before at a campsite, including a battery-powered radio and several strings of electrically powered light bulbs.
Joseph Hinebaugh, with several other boys, who the Vagabonds bumped from their Muddy Creek Falls camping spot (discussed in a previous article), visited the famous men at their campsite and were amazed to see light bulbs strung all around the camp connected to and powered by an automobile battery.
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