Heavy rains and impassable muddy roads prevented the caravan from traveling from their camp at Muddy Creek Falls, Md., to the Elkins area on July 30. The weather improved enough for them to make the trip the following day.
The campers arrived late in the day, but their camping gear didn't. They stayed the night at the present-day Cheat Mountain Lodge near Cheat Bridge. The following day, when their gear arrived, they set up camp along Shavers Fork of the Cheat River.
While there, both Firestone and Ford received word of urgent business they each had to address. On Aug. 2, the party broke camp and drove to Fairmont. They wanted to head toward Wheeling, but heavy rains forced them to follow the Monongahela River north through Morgantown and into Pennsylvania.
The Vagabonds' annual outings continued until 1924. Ford complained at the time that the group's exploits had become too well known, and that the outings had grown so much in size that their logistics had become difficult to manage.
Their vacations covered just a decade, but the Vagabonds' legacy lives on.
The caravans have been described as "the first notable linking of the automobile with outdoor recreation."
The Henry Ford Heritage Association ends its chronicle of the Vagabonds' with the following paragraph:
"Although the Vagabonds camped no more, the publicity surrounding their expeditions acquainted millions of people with the pleasures of motor camping and undoubtedly inspired many auto owners to follow their example. The Vagabonds thus were the avant-garde of the countless vacationers, trailers in tow, who annually take to the highways, and of the huge recreational industry which serves them."
Reach John McCoy at johnmc...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1231.