Easy 'Roughing It' on the River

Adventure travel is a growing trend in travel as tour operators make "roughing it" a little more comfortable.

Outdoor Adventures, a California-based river-rafting operator that offers a number of seniors-only and seniors-with-grandchildren trips, employs one river-rafting guide who is 71 years old. The trips take place on rivers in California, Oregon and Idaho.

Rivers are rated on an international scale of difficulty from Class I, which is very easy, to Class VI, which has stretches of water considered not navigable; rafts must be portaged over land to avoid the most dangerous stretches. Anything up to Class III is considered safe and comfortable for most people.

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Departure dates for summer and fall trips are available through October, depending on the area selected. Trips range from one to six days, and all meals are included. The rivers include the Salmon River in Idaho (main and middle forks), the Rogue River in Oregon, and the Kern, Tuolumne, American and Stanislaus rivers in California.

Prices vary with location and length of trip and may run from $695 for a 4 1/2-day trip to $1,245 for six days. Prices for accompanying children ages 7-16 run from $50 to $100 less. Prices do not include transportation to the areas where the trips originate, but pickup at nearby towns and transportation to and from the rivers is included. For a brochure and information on Outdoor Adventures, write to P.O. Box 1149, Point Reyes Station, Calif. 94956; telephone (800) 323-4234.

Warren River Expeditions based in Salmon, Ida., also offers a choice of fall trips for grandparents and grandkids, as well as a discount for travelers over 55. The Salmon River country is famous for the beauty of its "River of No Return" wilderness area. Participants in the Warren trips must get to Boise, Ida., where they can either drive or fly via air taxi to Salmon, where trips begin. Driving time from Boise to Salmon, a distance of 240 miles, is five to six hours.

Warren Expeditions offers a choice of float trips with camp-outs along the way, lodge trips where guests stay in comfortable lodges after a day on the river, and steelhead fishing trips, also with residence in a lodge. Fishing tackle is not included. All meals are included. For camping trips, guests must bring their own pad and sleeping bag. Light rain gear is advised.

Per-person prices for the various trips are: (Seniors and accompanying grandchildren deduct 10% from quoted prices:)

* Five-day raft trip--$900.

* Seven-day raft trip--$1,100.

* Six-day lodge trip--$1,250.

* Six-day steelhead fishing trip--$1,200.

* Seven-day steelhead fishing trip--$1,300.

(A seniors-only lodge trip is scheduled for Aug. 15 at $1,125 per person, which includes a 10% senior discount.)

There are also five- and seven-day kayaking trips that offer a 10% senior discount. A five-day kayak trip is $800, seven days $975.

For complete details and available dates, write to Warren Expeditions, P.O. Box 1375, Salmon, Ida. 83467; tel. (800) 765-0421.

What might be called the adventure tour of a lifetime is offered by Value World Tours. It is a 27-day tour of the former Soviet Republic and Iron Curtain countries, including Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the Ukraine.

The trip includes round-trip air travel from Los Angeles to Budapest where participants are welcomed with a traditional Hungarian Czarda dinner with wine and folk entertainment. The trip ends in Vienna, Austria, with a farewell dinner.

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Lodging throughout the tour is in superior- and first-class hotels. Meals include 25 breakfasts and 18 dinners. All transportation, including rail between Moscow and Kiev, is included as are tours of all cities and their major tourist attractions and diversions such as the Moscow Circus and cultural performances. Ample free time is allocated for independent activities. Land travel is by motor coach with a professional tour director on board. The tour price of $3,898 per person is discounted 10% for those over 50, for a savings of $390 per person. Two departure dates remain for the Grand Tour: Aug. 6 and Oct. 8.

A brochure details the daily itinerary and describes eight other Eastern European tours, which range from eight to 29 days. Value World also has 12- and 15-day cruises on Russian waterways with spacious cruise vessels. For brochures or information, write to Value World Tours, 17220 Newhope St., Suite 203, Fountain Valley, Calif. 92708; tel. (800) 795-1633.

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