Pioneering Senior Citizen Has Microwave, Will Travel

--At age 90, Oscar Payne still thinks of himself as a pioneer. But unlike his parents' and grandparents' generations, which settled the West in horse-drawn covered wagons, Payne and his wife, Etta, 82, travel the world pulling trailers, taking with them all the comforts of home--even a microwave. Payne, his thirst for adventure still unquenched, is now heading for China, where he hopes to spend his 91st birthday on the Great Wall. They are among 20 elderly Americans about to invade China's back roads on a 28-day caravan trek taking them from Xiamen north through Shanghai, eventually ending up in Nanjing, in Fujian province. Payne and his wife are seasoned "caravaners," as they like to call themselves, members of a caravan club that brings together trailer-laden camping enthusiasts from around the world. When not traveling, Payne keeps busy at a trailer park he developed in Thermopolis, Wyo. "Last weekend, I worked 11 hours pouring cement and cutting pipe out at the trailer park," he said. Caravaner Frank Sargent, 75, put together the China trip and found the corporate sponsors to foot the bill for the costly trip. Sargent overcame a few technical problems with his trailer in the early days by inventing the now widely used Port-A-Potti, a product whose sales have since mushroomed to $35 million a year, he said.

--Singer Pat Boone, speaking at a news conference in Wilbraham, Mass., said he approved the results of last Saturday's Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia that raised millions of dollars for African famine relief. But he questioned some of the things he saw and heard on stage. "I heard Duran Duran (the British rock group) talking about dancing into the fire," Boone said, "and songs that were obviously hymns to the devil and satanic things, while you're talking about feeding the hungry. I find a real inconsistency there." Boone, who owns his own Christian recording label, also questioned a "highly erotic" duet performed by recording artists Mick Jagger and Tina Turner during the Philadelphia concert. "I think you ought to be able to come up with ways to do this very thing and make the content more in keeping with the intended result," said the singer. Boone, national chairman of Easter Seals, was at the Friendly Ice Cream Corp. to accept a $657,000 check from the company on behalf of the charity.

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