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Four Rivers Jayco

Our History


In The Beginning !

The birth of Jayco Flight #9
By Wanda Ray

One cold night in March of 1979, nine families from Kentucky and Tennessee met with Ed Bowling, officer in Jayco Jafari International, to form a local flight (camping group). Temporary officers were appointed. The first campout would be at KY Dam Village State Park in May. Roger and Jerry Youngblood were our sponsors. Members are listed as they joined – (maybe some of you site visitors may know some of them.)
Douglas & Linda Moore, Mayfield, KY;
Virgil and Emma Jean Carper, Paducah, KY;
Bob and Helen Block, La Center, KY;
Edgar and Lindell Ligon, Paducah, KY.
Bob and Willie Mae Jonakin, Union City, TN;
Elvis and Georgia Bell, Paducah, KY;
Bob & Wanda Ray, Hickory, KY;
E.K. and Jeanette Roberts, Mayfield, KY;
Jerry & Becky Ligon – Jackson, TN
In July 1979, Bob Jonakin invited everyone for a ride on his pontoon boat at Piney Campground in Tennessee. The boat only got stuck once! Through the remainder of the first year, there were always potlucks, parties, and we also added to our membership:
Rex and Dorothy Camp, Murray, KY;
George and Nancy McKinney, Paducah, KY;
Ned and Ann Summerville, Mayfield, KY;
Howard and Edith Christian, Union City, TN.
Ralph and Bernice Thomas, Mayfield, KY
Bill and Judy Torian, Paducah, KY
The Roberts, Jonakins and Blocks attended a Factory Rally at Eby’s Pine in Middlebury, Indiana.

Began the 1981 camping season at Hillman Ferry at the TVA Springfest. Our 2nd Anniversary was celebrated at Fern Lake, near Paducah, KY with a BBQ chicken dinner and a “special” birthday cake (in the shape of a travel trailer). At the Columbus-Belmont State Park meeting, we were visited by 3 families from the Kyanna Birds Club, Louisville, KY. They were the Roberts, Wallaces, and Emers.

During the 1982 season, we lost several members but gained Jerry and Mary Leep, Union City, TN and Julian and Ruth Babb, Paducah, KY. We were experiencing some trouble “getting our wings”.

Average attendance per campout in 1983 was not encouraging. Those who were able to camp had a great time – like attending the Tennessee River Folk Festival, and more BBQ by Edgar Ligon.

In 1984 we enjoyed a special trip to Reelfoot Air Park festival. Boat rides, tours, and films about Reelfoot made it a great time. By the end of August 1984, with only 4 families as members, it was decided to cease camping together until we could build up the membership. The 4 families remaining were: Rays, Ligons, Jonakins and Roberts.
THEN…… February 1989, the cold winds blew on the “smoking embers” and new life came to the 4-Rivers Jayco Club in the persons of:
Mack Duncan, Sandoval, IL.
Dale Wright, Metropolis, IL.
John Haley, Union City, TN.
Carolyn McCrady, Calvert City, KY
Men can cook! It was proven at the May 1991 campout at Fort Massac State Park, Metropolis, IL. They prepared the complete breakfast and then threw away the cooking pans that were burned beyond what they wanted to wash!
It went over so well that they were ‘assigned the privilege’ to do it 2 times per year. Shirley Herring joined the group, making the total of families now up to 12.

June 1991 was our first trip together to Branson, MO. Again, unusual events:
1. Haley’s windshield lost the battle with a rock.
2. Rays had a flat tire on their truck….used their only spare.
3. Wright’s Suburban lost power and wouldn’t pull the camper…Greshams, who were traveling without their trailer, traded Suburbans with the Wrights.
4. Ellerbusch’s windshield was hit by an ascending hawk and shattered onto Laura’s lap….duct tape was used…..
5. Peters, who arrived later, had lost a wheel off their camper on the way.
Did we give up? NO! We were determined to have a good time in Branson and we did. We attended shows, and other attractions. Later we moved to a campground called Turkey Creek and after sending Dale Wright and John Haley out for a loaf of bread, everyone went to work and decorated Dale’s trailer in BLACK. It was his 40th birthday. After lots of gag-gifts , ice cream and cake was provided. On our return home you would not expect any other “issues”. Wrong.

1. Ellerbuschs were traveling with the Rays and were not allow to stay at Cloud Nine with them since they were not Coast-to-Coast members, so they drove all the way home to Metropolis from Branson.
2. Rays had another flat tire…but Wright’s spare fit it.
3. Wright’s air conditioner on the Suburban quit……long, hot ride home.
4. Haleys went by the dealer on the way home and found they needed a new axle for their 5th wheel.
5. Upon arrival at home, the Taylors were backing into their driveway and discovered transmission trouble.
6. Snows had a new trailer and a new truck…….so they had no mishaps!

It was time for the men to cook again at the August 1991 Cypress Lakes Campground, near Gilbertsville, KY. There were 31 hungry campers!

Attended the Camper’s Fair at Piney Campground, near Dover, TN. The most exciting thing that happened was when Kenny and Ann Herring rounded the corner to show someone their new trailer (2 months old) that they had left earlier and it was gone! Panic City! They had to park in a non-electric site and while they were away, others in the club found electricity and moved their rig. She got so excited that they just bought another new rig at the Camper Show. October and November completed the year, with much food and fellowship and still very high attendance. All of our “challenges” were met and handled by the help of all the others.

1992 year.... to be continued

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