Gas prices and travel
- The family 'staycation': Local bed and breakfasts gain popularity as couples seek to cut travel costs (07-27-08)
- Flooding, fuel contributing to fewer Mo. tourists (06-23-08)
- Escalating gasoline prices compel Wakarusa fans to embrace carpooling (06-05-08)
- Holiday travelers stick close to home (05-28-08)
Greg and Diane Wendt didn't let high gasoline prices keep them from taking their three children on their annual family summer vacation.
On Friday afternoon, the Fox Lake, Ill., couple parked their van and pop-up camper at the KOA Kampground, north of Lawrence.
"We decided to still do this," Greg Wendt said. "The (Chicago) White Sox are playing in Kansas City, and we thought we'd see a couple of games. We'll go on into St. Louis and see a couple of games there."
The Wendts' Ford van gets 8 to 10 miles per gallon of gasoline while pulling the camper on the highway, Greg Wendt said.
"We'll probably spend about a thousand dollars (on gas) by the time we get home after a couple of weeks," he said.
While they still took a vacation, the couple did cut back on how far they went. Last summer they drove to Washington, D.C., and Virginia, they said.
The Wendts represent the typical customers at KOA this year, campground manager Harold Hays said. Off-season marketing efforts were aimed at families who still want to take their recreational vehicles on trips but are sticking closer to home. Many are seeing sights locally and in the Kansas City and Topeka areas, he said.
"We saw this coming, but I don't think we thought it (gas) would go up to $4 a gallon," Hays said. "We revamped the campground to be more family-oriented. We have family-themed weekends. We have hay rides, ice cream socials, water balloon wars."
High gasoline prices haven't even stopped those with huge motor homes.
Marvin and Dora Polzien stopped at KOA for a couple of days while breaking in their new 40-foot motor home. The Ardmore, Okla., couple were on their way home after a trip to St. Paul, Minn. Their RV burns diesel from its 130-gallon tank and gets 8 miles per gallon, Marvin Polzien said.
"I just fill it up and don't even look at the price. It's aggravating," he said.
At the same time the Polziens, who own three motels in Oklahoma, admit they aren't as hurt by high gas prices as people in other states.
"We live in oil country," said Polzien, 79. "We're really not disappointed about the gas because my income is up because of it. But (gas) is too high."
Although Polzien has no owning interest in oil, he noted that people in the oil industry spend their money at his businesses.
Retiree David Newcomer and his wife, Gene Ann, also have a 40-foot motor home and enjoy taking it to Clinton Lake. The Prairie Village couple are glad that they don't have to travel far.
"It's a great getaway," he said. "We're just glad it's so close."