What is an RV-Dreams Rally Like? (Part 2)

On Thursday of the rally I got up bright and early and was prepared to be in charge!!  Linda was taking the morning off (a really vote of confidence) and I was determined that nothing would go wrong.  Well…let’s see.  Right off the bat the toilet that should have been fixed the night before was “fixed” at 7:45am and then I saw it was still broken.  I was not happy.  Then one of the big coffee containers was being filled and completely overflowed all over the place back in the kitchen.  Ok not the best start, but I have an MBA for heavens sakes I can handle morning coffee…then again  maybe not 🙂 Thankfully the catering company rep that day was a very sweet girl named Crystal and she helped me get back on track.  Truly, I would have been really lost without her.

The seminars that day were some of my favorites and I was really looking forward to the Financial Aspects of full-timing among others so I settled in and started taking notes.  Things were going very well until we hit Healthcare.  Hey I know this is super important topic, and there were lots of good questions, but we went over by 5 minutes, then 10 and finally I had to whisper loudly to Howard he was going to get me in trouble with Linda!  That worked and the session wrapped up.  The rest of the morning was pretty smooth but doing all of it was intense.  Plus I was running the potluck that night and there were a lot of last-minute questions on what to bring.

Potlucks make me crazy, because without people to pull away the empties, the later you are in the line the worse the table looks.  I had an idea that if we had one volunteer per table to watch over it, this problem could be solved. My volunteers Nicky (sides), Laura (apps and salads), Bobbi (entrees) and Phyllis (deserts) did a fantastic job and I stood by the door and directed folks who to talk to.  The only problem (and it’s a good one to have) is so many people brought food we started to run out of table space.   That worked beautifully, but we had so much participation that pretty early we started to run out of table space.  This is where my wonderful husband came in.  He noticed the problem while he was filming and he stopped and worked with catering to quickly setup two more tables.  Awesome!!  So everything went off without a hitch and I felt like it was a super successful pot luck.

Nicky

Nicky

Bobbi

Bobbi

Laura

Laura

Phyllis, who was smart to pick the desert table!

Phyllis, who was smart to pick the desert table!

Voila

Voila

y021

After the potluck they played Road Tested the RV version of the Newlywed Game.  This is one of my favorite moments from the rally two years ago because Cori and I both played it together.  This time Lee videotaped and I took pictures, but I kept leaning over and asking him how he would have answered questions.  Let me just say we would not have won lol.  They do it in three rounds, Experienced RV owners, New RV owners, and Wannabee RV owners.  Then those three winners compete in the finals.  Linda made up all the questions and it is absolutely hilarious.  What a great night.

The experienced group

The experienced group

Guys went outside while girls answered the questions

Guys went outside while girls answered the questions

Linda calling the guys back in

Linda calling the guys back in

The look on George's face when he heard Valeries answer was priceless

The look on George’s face when he heard Valerie’s answer was priceless

The new RV owners, less than 6 months

The new RV owners, less than 6 months

y078

y089

y103

The look on Red’s face says it all.  Howard backed up after Ed’s answer lol

The Wannabees

The Wannabees

y130

Pam’s reaction to the question she would have to answer

y138

y142

Really enjoyed meeting Greg and Pam and getting to know them. Greg has read all the blog posts!

y150

My favorite answer of the night to “What do you want to do more of in your RV.” Andy got it right when he said Stacey wanted to Sleep!!

The finals had questions from the real newleywed game

The finals had questions from the real newlywed game

More great moments from Ed and Red

More great moments from Ed and Red

Our Winners!!!

Our Winners!!!

Friday seminars were all about basic maintenance and since this is not my favorite subject Linda gave me the morning off.  I spent the morning cleaning my house and relaxing a bit.  Since it was another half day we were on our own for dinner and I was making some ziti when Linda came back.  I was showing her my spruced up house and since we are good friends she started mentioning a few things she saw.  Finally she just started dusting, apparently I did a lousy job of looking up and then had me laughing when she removed the AC filter and vacuumed it.  I hadn’t touched the thing in two years (should be done every couple of months) so it needed it.  Lee wandered by and quietly said he wasn’t comfortable but I said “Linda’s going to do what she’s going to do,” plus real friends can clean for each other.    I did give her some ziti for all her hard work!

Linda dusting

Linda dusting

Cleaning off the filter

Cleaning off the filter

This is where the filter comes from

This is where the filter comes from

Saturday was the last day of seminars including some of my favorites like Finding Campgrounds and Working on the Road.  Then we all broke for lunch and the first session of rig tours started at 1pm.  Since we were right next to Linda and Howard we knew we would get some traffic and we had pre-staged to rig (doors open) for everyone to come in and look around. I also made home-made dog biscuits and gave them away and gave our cards and cards for RV Solar Solutions the company (owned by our full timer friends Greg and Cori)  that did our solar install.   IT was really a fantastic experience.  Everyone loved Lee’s modification and we both had a blast showing off the rig.  Also, I pointed a lot of people to our DIY Mods page which has the step-by-step instructions on how to make their own similar modifications.  The cargo netting was the biggest interest, probably because that idea can be used in any RV. It was so much fun and all the positive comments were great.  After our session both Lee and I walked around and had a list of ideas of our own.  Truly it is one of the best parts of the rally and I always walk away with new ideas. 

Terry and some other people in our rig

Terry checking out our rig

Lee showing off our solar setup

Lee showing off our solar setup

Snuck over and took a pictuire of Linda doing her tour

Snuck over and took a picture of Linda doing her tour

Love this idea in Penn's rig so you always know where you are in case of emergency. It's a dry erase board

Love this idea in Penn’s rig so you always know where you are in case of emergency. It’s a dry erase board

This homemade dog bed between the wall and couch was fantastic!!

This homemade dog bed between the wall and couch was fantastic!!

Chris bought an unfinished pantry, bolted it in and then stained it to match. Since I am pantryless I was very interested

Chris bought an unfinished pantry, bolted it in and then stained it to match. Since I am pantryless I was very interested

Another of my favorites were these handle baskets from the container store for high shelves. Need these!!

Another of my favorites were these handle baskets from the container store for high shelves. Need these!!

The tours were great but we still had dinner and the Derby party.  Everyone was invited to wear a derby hat and prizes were given out in several categories.  Then we watched the derby, finished the horse race, and had dancing.  It was a busy night for Lee and I (although I did get to dance The Electric Slide a little bit) and we were totally tired at the end of the night.  Still what a wonderful end to a terrific week.

All I can say is whether you are and experienced RVer, a newbie, or a wannabee this rally offers something for everyone.  And I really, really hope some of my fellow Class of 2014ers can make it to a rally.  Paying it forward to the next group is so rewarding and there is absolutely still stuff to learn.  Now I understand why Nancy and Bill got back so frequently.  What a great experience.  We met so many special people and we are very excited to see them on the road! Go Class of 2016…you got this!!!!!!

Winner of the best hat made from recycled material...Dave from my hometown of Columbus, Ohio

Winner of the best hat made from recycled material…Dave from my hometown of Columbus, Ohio

y046

Joe and Teresa won best humorous hat!!

Joe and Teresa won best humorous hat!!

Linda and Howard

Linda and Howard

y097

y103

Rosita and Frank were a hoot and I loved their rig

Rosita and Frank were a hoot and I loved their rig

y148

Andy was the horse and Peg was the jockey

Watching the race on the big screen

Watching the race on the big screen

y161

Linda announcing the betting pool winners

y185

$200 winner

Judy (who was also at the 2014 rally was a $200 winner.  She was so excited!!!)

The $400 winners!!

The $400 winners!!

My absolute favorite hat from either rally. It takes a real man to wear a hat like that and see how it is color coordinate with his shirt. For the first time ever a man won most glamorous hat!

My absolute favorite hat from either rally. It takes a real man to wear a hat like that and see how it is color coordinate with his shirt. For the first time ever a man won most glamorous hat!  WTG Doug.

Mikki and Jay are other readers of the blog so great to meet them in person

Mikki and Jay are other readers of the blog so great to meet them in person

y267

y280

Linda and Nicky cracking up

Chris and Cherie were cracking up at the hat judging

Chris and Cherie were cracking up at the hat judging

The winner in the finals of the horse race

The winner in the finals of the horse race

Lu and Linda dancing to YMCA

Lu and Linda dancing to YMCA

Linda and Howard leading the electric slide. Did you know Linda fell in love with Howard in high school because he could dance :)

Linda and Howard leading the electric slide. Did you know Linda fell in love with Howard in high school because he could dance 🙂

 

y429

Andy and Stacey so cute and what a great couple.

Bert and Kat talked Howard into trying Moonshine. That was fun!!

Bert and Kat talked Howard into trying Moonshine. That was fun!!

 

So many great groups of people bonded at the rally just like our groups. They have just met friends they will hopefully keep forever just like our gang

So many great groups of people bonded at the rally just like our group of friends.  Made me so happy to see it.  Hopefully like us they have met friends they will keep forever…just like our gang.  ———————————————————————————————————————————


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Search Amazon Here
  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

 

What is an RV-Dreams Rally Like? (Part 1)

Whenever I talk about the RV-Dream rally’s one of the first questions I often get is what is the rally like.  The educational rally itself was basically the same, but the experience was quite different.  Not unlike the experience of attending high school as a freshmen versus attending high school as a junior.  I wrote several posts about the first experience two years ago and this time around I wanted to share what it was like coming back. Plus hopefully there will be enough detail to give you a feeling of what the week is like.

We arrived on Saturday at the River Plantation RV Resort and checked into our campsite.  This is a very nice, large campground and they host rallies frequently.  A block of campsites was set aside for the RV dreamers so most of our neighbors were attending the rally.  Howard and Linda our hosts understand that folks arrive Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (the rally officially starts Monday morning) and have a campfire every night as a meet and greet.  We attended Saturday night and Sunday night and it’s a great way to meet folks in smaller groups.  This particular rally also encourages folks without RV’s to attend and many people are staying at nearby resorts of hotels.  Those folks are encouraged to drive in for the campfires and those of us who have RV’s are encouraged to make them feel welcome.  This is VERY different from most other rally’s as having an RV is sort of a prerequisite, but Howard and Linda understand many people who are interested in the full timing lifestyle do not have RV’s and want to be as inclusive as possible.

Our site was next to Howard and Linda...no pressure!! LOL

Our site was next to Howard and Linda…no pressure!! LOL

Linda showing off her new haircut at the rally

Linda showing off her new haircut at the rally

Nice big circle of folks

Nice big circle of folks

One of my favorite things H&L do is go around the circle and name everyone. No small feat with 80 plus people. They only missed a few this year, it was pretty impressive.

One of my favorite things Howard and Linda (H&L) do is go around the circle and name everyone. No small feat with 80 plus people. They only missed a few this year, it was pretty impressive.

The main difference for us this year is we are friends with H&L and Lee was videotaping the rally.  Linda made us some chili on Saturday night and we caught up with each other.  Sunday morning though was all business as we walked through the agenda, video deliverables, and other technical logistics for the event.  After that, Linda and I talked about my role.  I had volunteered to be her personal assistant for the week, because they had done so much for me over the last couple of years and I really wanted to pay her back in some way.  Linda ran with that and named me her “Executive Assistant” in the agenda which cracked me up and we talked about where I could be helpful.

Let me say upfront I had no idea what I was getting into.  I knew she worked hard but damn.  I have no idea how she does all this by herself normally.  We started at 8 am every day, didn’t stop until after 9pm every day but Friday and it was go go go the entire time.  Wow, I am out of practice with working the long days and I actually think I lost a few pounds this week from all the walking.  Linda was actually really fun to work for.  She keeps a really tight grip on all the details, but thankfully gave me tasks and just let me do them which made it a lot more fun and rewarding.  She said I spoiled her and I certainly hope I did, but I was tired at the end of the week.

We started on Monday by checking people in.  Linda had asked for volunteers to run the tables at the campfires and we setup the rooms and she trained everyone on the stations.  Since I am an efficiency expert by trade, I made sure the process flow made sense and then worked to keep the line moving and avoid “log jams” along the way.  Linda and Howard greeted everyone personally and then they got name tags, their welcome bags,  and T-Shirts if they had purchased them.  They could also buy cups and hats if they wanted and then they paid for the rally.  Next they had a picture taken which H&L used in their email program so when people emailed them later they would know who they were.  That little extra touch was really great and allows them to maintain relationships with people well after the rally. Finally people who have an RV could sign up for the open house.  One of the most popular events is the rig walk through, where you can walk around and see other people’s rigs.  It’s 100% voluntary so we needed a list of who was interested.

Volunteers putting together name tags

Volunteers putting together name tags

Folding T-Shirts

Folding T-Shirts

Our greeter table wa sfantastic.

Our greeter table was fantastic.

Rede took all the couple pictures!!

Rede took all the couple pictures!!

And afterwards Linda taught T-Shirt braiding

And afterwards Linda taught T-Shirt braiding

Dinner that night was provided and people are welcome to stay and hang out or leave and come back but almost everyone stayed.  It was wonderful walking around and talking to folks and especially gratifying for me when some people who had read my blog came up and said hi.  I cannot even express how much it touched me when a person would say what I had written had an impact on them.  Beyond words seriously.

At 6pm Linda got up and introduced them and made some announcements and then introduced Lee, gave people the option to not be videotaped (thankfully no one cared) and then said to ignore him!  Lee asked for this since it’s much easier to get great footage if he just blends into the background.  Dinner was really good and then Linda had an icebreaker scheduled.

Linda showing some pictures from their life on the road

Linda showing some pictures from their life on the road

Ribs and BBQ chicken ...yummy

Ribs and BBQ chicken …yummy

The icebreaker split people into tables based on a random number on their nametag and they had to come up with a horse name and lineage . Very funny

The icebreaker split people into tables based on a random number on their name tag and they had to come up with a horse name and lineage . Very funny and a little naughty in some cases 🙂

Afterwards there were horse races and the winners would get to come back on Saturday for the finals

Afterwards there were horse races and the winners would get to come back on Saturday for the finals

The first day was so much fun and Lee and I kept thinking about our first time.  Lots of folks were very nervous (totally normal) and we just kept saying, let’s see how you feel at the end of the week.  We experienced a big emotional arc during our week there and saw that occurrence in many others as the week went on. 

It was all dinners and social time though.  The rally is jam-packed with educational seminars, most lasting 45 minutes in length.  Linda starts on time and ends on time (a practice I completely approve of), but it was a little tough at times wrangling Howard.  He does the bulk of the seminars (with the notable exception of The Emotional Aspects of Full Timing which Linda does) and he is so passionate about the topics that could run long if he isn’t prompted for breaks.  He was a great sport about it though, and Linda and I both queued him when he was getting close to running out of time.  What was new for me this time around was what happened on the breaks.  We always went outside before, but lots of questions are answered during the breaks and many people came up to me when Linda was busy with other folks.   I also was checking coffee, checking restrooms, and taking notes.  I learned something new from every single seminar.  Not only has Howard updated many of the slides, but I also took different things from the materials this second time around.  

Loved the Question and Answer portion of every seminar. Really good

Loved the Question and Answer portion of every seminar. Really good

And if a full day of seminars wasn’t enough, Tuesday night we had another catered dinner, gadget night and the drawing for door prizes.  There were some NICE door prizes donated by Howard’s business partners (way better than two years ago) and I was seriously bummed we weren’t eligible! Gadget night is fantastic where people bring in their favorite RV gadgets and get up and talk briefly about them.  I saw several things that are going on my wish list.

The big table of door prizes

The big table of door prizes

As people were called up they got their pick of item which was a nice way to hanld it

As people were called up they got their pick of item which was a nice way to hanld it

Very excited about her sewer hose!!

Very excited about her sewer hose!!

Cliff and Laura showed off their collapsible bowls. I have these!!

Cliff and Laura showed off their collapsible bowls.  I have these.  

Loved this night reading light. On my wish list

And this collapsible reading light. On my wish list

Valerie showed these really cool bags that let you make grilled cheese in the toaster. Must have!!

Valerie showed these really cool toaster bagsthat let you make grilled cheese in the toaster. Must have!!

Some were funny like the rubber gloves

Some were funny like the rubber gloves

Howard showing off their light able emergency cones

Howard showing off their light-able emergency cones

I showed off my Instant Pot. Many people told me later they loved theirs

I showed off my Instant Pot   

 

 

And Lee showed off his remote controlled macerator pump

And Lee showed off his FIMCO remote controller for the macerator pump

Wednesday was a short day for most folks and since everyone’s heads were full it was well needed.  We took some of the free time and went to lunch with this great couple Teresa and Joe.  Teresa is a blog reader and had sent me an email prior to the rally.  As soon as she checked in she found me and I gave her a huge hug…it was so great meeting her in person.  Joe was excited about the rally as well, but Wednesday morning he came up and told me he was a bit on overload.  This is not that uncommon by the way.  I hit that point on Tuesday night personally, the first time we came.  Listening to the seminars and meeting the people makes it very real and it’s not uncommon to have strong feelings.  So the four of us went to Panda Express and talked.  Teresa bought us lunch, which was not expected but so nice of her, and we talked for a full hour.  Joe retired from a 40 year career at GM a few days prior, they had sold their house, talked to their kids, and were dealing with some elder care issues.  Basically they had a ton of life stuff thrown at them in a very short period of time.  When I repeated all that back to him and said of course your stressed he seemed to feel a lot better.  For many people it is an incredible amount of change in a VERY short period of time and truly I think a lot of the pressure in the beginning falls on the guy.  They are the ones that initially often have to learn how to drive and deal with the mechanical issues and if you aren’t experienced RVers there is quite the learning curve.  I told Joe if he wasn’t a little worried I would think there was a problem and Lee also validated it by saying he had felt the same way.  It was  a terrific lunch with some very special people and I and I am so glad we squeezed in the time to do it.

Sorry Teresa this was the best pic I had without the hat!!

Sorry Teresa this was the best pic I had without the hat!! I took better ones I promise!

 

After lunch there was a tire safety seminar and then everyone was on their own for dinner.  I had brought the pieces of a gumbo dinner from Bridget and offered to make it for H&L.  I called Bridget for some last-minute instructions (they are doing great by the way) and dinner came off thankfully without a hitch.  It was delicious!  Then we all sat up and talked until 9:30 or so when I called it a night because I was totally pooped out at that point.  One thing that really made me feel great though was Linda felt so comfortable with how things were going that she took the morning off on Thursday.  She is never able to do that normally and the fact she trusted me enough was really great.  So I am going to stop here.. and continue this in the next post.  You’ll have to wait and see if I totally screwed it up!!

They loved the gumbo!!

They loved the gumbo!!

 

———————————————————————————————————————————


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Search Amazon Here
  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

 

First Time Returning To The Rally That Started It All

Two years ago I can vividly recall us driving our truck and brand new camper away from our first ever rally.  I turned to Lee and said, “I want to come back when we are full timers and give back.”  I can picture myself so clearly, shining with optimism, emboldened  by the things we had learned and the people we had met, and actually feeling like we could do this.  That in itself was a huge step for me.  As Linda says, I was a tough sell, but once convinced I completely threw myself into it.  I know many couples become full-timers without that experience.  I met a great couple just last night who have been full-timing as long as we have and never went to a rally, but for me I can’t even imagine that would be possible.  I needed outside verification that I wasn’t crazy, I needed to see with my own eyes that it can work, and most of all I needed to feel as if I was not alone.  The RV-Dreams rally gave me all that and more and I am really happy that we are able to come back and hopefully share some of that with the future full timers.

As we were driving to the rally yesterday, these thoughts were running through my head, and in anticipation of the people we would be talking to I started to think about what I would tell myself two years ago if I could go backwards.  The thoughts came so fast that I started taking notes in the car and this post is a direct result.  Since arriving we have been busy helping Howard and Linda, sitting at campfires, and  having a wonderful time getting caught up with them and meeting new people, but before we get to far into the rally I want to make sure I write this down.  So here is what I would say to myself.  I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have listened to most of it, but maybe someone else reading this will be smarter than I was!

  • Try not to sweat the small stuff (I definitely would not have listened to that!)
  • Everyone in your life is not going to get it, and they certainly won’t all approve.  Make your peace with that now.
  • You will sell your house.  It may take time, but it will eventually happen.  Have faith.
  • You won’t miss your stuff.  You may occasionally miss the idea of things, but the stuff itself you won’t miss.
  • Get your tires upgraded before you leave. (We put this off and then two stressful flat tires later finally had it done.  No way was it worth the delay and our peace of mind with G rated tires is much higher)
  • That being, said stuff breaks. Deal with it.
  • The claustrophobia will lessen with time.  You and Lee will find a way to coexist in a 400 foot space.
  • It’s not a competition.  There is no winning full-timing because there is no right and wrong way to do it, so find your own way.
  • Give yourself a break.  It’s OK if you aren’t good at this at first.
  • Trust yourself and trust your husband.  The transition is not always easy, but you will be fine.
  • That being said, you still won’t have it all figured out in two years and that’s OK.  It truly is about the journey and not the destination.
  • You will be happy.

The last one really resonated with me.  I am not a person who has had a lot of joy in her life. I have been successful, I have been productive, I have been satisfied, and I have certainly been content.  But pure unadulterated joy…not so much of that.  I have experienced more pure joy in the last two years than I have in my entire life…truly.  So whatever happens, however this plays out long term, I am OK with it.  The joy was worth it.   That’s really what I should say to myself.  Dive right in, the joy is worth it.

Thanks for listening, and thanks to Howard and Linda.  I have said it often and I truly mean it.  They changed my life by helping me to find my joy.

———————————————————————————————————————————


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Search Amazon Here
  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

 

 

 

Class of 2014 – Eighteen Month Update

It’s been awhile since I have given an update on the RV-Dreams Dreamers Class of 2014, and since October marks 18 months since we all attended the rally I thought this would be a great time to do it.  Couple of reasons I like talking about what other folks are doing; first and foremost I think it clearly shows that this life looks very different for different people and that is completely OK.  Secondly, it’s an interesting case study because it is a relatively small group of people from diverse backgrounds who started this lifestyle at roughly the same time. Please keep in mind that these brief synopses of folks lives are my interpretation only and couldn’t possibly encapsulate their experience.  If they have a blog, I really recommend you check it out to get their whole story.

Back Row:  Craig, Lee, Gene, Steve, Greg, Scott, Linda, Kelly, Bill, Pam, Red, Jo, Mario   Front Row: Ben, Jo, Eileen, me, Cori, Debbie, Sue, Ellen, and Guy

Jo and BenTraveling nurses, in their 50’s, who have been on the road for 18 months in an Arctic Fox fifth wheel.  They are on their fifth work contract and have worked in Maine, Virginia, Florida, Washington, and Reno. They lost Anubis their beautiful Shepherd mix this year, but still have a beautiful Malamute Peyton  who gets attention wherever they go. As a surgical nurse Ben has easily found work, but it has been a little tougher for Jo who works in home health and hospice.  To solve this problem they intentionally selected Reno as a place they could both find a contract.    

Craig and Jo – Are in their late 50’s and have spent quite a bit of time with fellow RVers including several months with Kelly and Bill.  They recently had Jo’s cousin from Spain come and visit and enjoyed showing him the New York City area.  Unfortunately Jo and Craig have been plagued by continuous problems with their Lifestyle fifth wheel and after spending several weeks in Indiana having it fixed the company has decided there is a structural issue with the frame and is going to completely replace the entire rig. Good news; Jo and Craig get to custom design the rig.  Bad news; they have spent numerous weeks in a hotel (at Lifestyles expense)  waiting to get the repairs done.  I would love to say this sort of thing never happens but it absolutely does.  Lesson Learned, make sure you work with a reputable vendor and buy a good warranty.  Plus Jo is a strong advocate for their rights in this situation, as she has every right to be.  

Eileen and Gene –  In their early 60’s they purchased a  second Winnebago when they realized they needed a little more space.  The space came in handy as Gene’s mom was living with them in the RV  until there was an opening in the assisted living facility she wanted to go in.  In addition to taking care of Gene’s mom they have kids all across the country and have managed to see all of them as well as attend Gene’s family reunion.  They logged a lot of miles in that first year but are slowing down now and really enjoying their time on the road.  Max, their cutie patooty cavachon is still with them and enjoying himself. 

Lee and Tracy –  Are in their late 40’s and travel in an Open Range 386 FLR.  We have been on the East Coast from New Hampshire to Florida, up to Ohio, in Minnesota, Montana and now California.  Lee has done some work as an RV Tech but it has been more difficult than expected since we have moved so much.  He has also done some video work.  Tracy has been working in her corporate job the entire year, but just accepted a buy-out and will be  trying her hand at consulting.  They are currently doing their first work kamping job, volunteering at a BLM Day use park in California and next year will be about finding the balance between working to pay the bills and enjoying the lifestyle.

Cori and Greg – In their late 40’s Cori and Greg hit the road.  Cori converted her full time job to a part-time job at the same company and Greg has been actively building his RV Solar Solutions business.  They travel in a  Country Coach Class A which is the hang out place whenever we are all together.    They have been in the Outer Banks and spent most of the summer with Cori’s family in Texas.  Then they headed back to Pennsylvania for some family obligations and will be spending the holidays in Texas.  Cori has been able to work and travel on business trips from the road. They have found that they need to plan their routes in advance so they can publish their travel schedule in advance to schedule solar jobs, but are looking forward to more scheduling freedom in January.   They travel with Hobie their adorably ornery cavachon. 

Debbie and Steve –  In their early 50’s, made a complete loop around the outside of the US and then spent some time with their kids back in California.   They are currently traveling with their son’s rescue pit bull Hurley who has completely changed my opinion of pit bulls.  He is an absolute sweetie.   After holidays with their kids and Steve’s dad they will be spending time in Arizona and Colorado.  They have been to so many cool places since starting I can’t even list them all, but they include Glacier, Yellowstone, The Tetons, and Zion.  Deb reads lots of blogs and finds amazing campsites.  

Linda and Scott – In their early 50’s , they have been at a work kamping job in Texas helping to build a new campground.  Linda first worked as a nurse locally, then she worked from the RV processing medical charts, and she has also been working in the campground.  Scott is having a great time, which is why they have stayed, but they are planning on doing some traveling in January. They travel with two dogs and two cats. 

Sue and Guy– In their early 60’s , they sold their house shortly after they went on the road.  They then bought a piece of property in Georgia and improved it so they now have three RV spots, which will give them a home base that their kids can visit.  After working on the property they went on vacation with some friends in Mexico and are now back on the road traveling the west.  They travel with Laci their super cute little terrier.  

Bill and Kelly –  Kelly and Bill are  50, retired and living off their investments in their Landmark fifth wheel.  Most of their time has been spent on the east coast visiting family and friends and they have traveled between Pennsylvania and Florida.  Since the stock market is not doing so great, as many others they decided to take a work kamping job to supplement this year and will be doing a stint at Amazon.  See the first blog post about the experience here.   After the holidays and a trip to the Keys, they will be heading out west.  Unfortunately they lost their dog Cocoa and their cat Raskal, both long time family pets, this year.  They travel with their remaining cat.   Kelly wrote two posts on her first year anniversary thoughts, they are here and here.

Pam and Red – Pam and Red purchased a second fifth wheel,  a Grand Design Toy Hauler.   They have spent quite a bit of time in Arizona, Texas, and their home base in Arkansas.  They are fond of attending rallys and have been to quite a few. They have also made friends everywhere they go and spend quite a bit of time with other RVers.    They travel with three dogs who love the big porch on their new fifth wheel. 

Eileen and Mario – Ellen finally retired and she and Mario went on the road.  They went to Sturgis, Glacier, and Yellowstone and plan on spending several months in Quartzsite.    As the last of the group to hit the road Ellen is making up for lost time and Mario is having fun with her.  They have no pets.

And there are also many other couples who were at a RV-Dreams rally and went on the road in 2014. Here are a few I have kept up with:

  • David and Sharon sold their bed and breakfast, went on the road, traveled to Maine with some other Dreamers, including Bill and Nancy,  and are currently looking for work kamping jobs.
  • Jim and Barb are retired and traveling in the northern part of the country, including a long stay in Canada.  They tried work kamping at one point but pretty quickly decided it just wasn’t for them and focused on hunting and fishing instead. They have recently had some serious issues with their truck which has required changing their travel plans.  Here is the link to their one-year anniversary recap. 
  • Jim and Diana have spent most of their time this year near Michigan where Diana’s mom lives in order to oversee her care.  They actually wintered in the north which was quite an accomplishment.  They have done some work kamping and spent several weeks in Florida.  Here is the link to their one-year anniversary recap. 
  • Mitch and Cheryl bought a used RV and unfortunately have had one issue after another with it.  Thank heavens they bought a good warranty, because the repairs have led to multiple months of staying still.  Mitch is now working as a gas line inspector and they are spending time mainly on the East Coast.  Here is the link to their one-year anniversary recap 
  • Dino and Lisa   are in their early 50’s and have spent time in out West and in Minnesota. They have work kamped and are currently at at Amazon.  Although they started on the road with no pets they have added  two cats.

So what are the stats?  Please keep in mind my information is not perfect and these statement may be somewhat inexact but I believe they are mostly correct.

  • Most of the couples have been married 25 years or more. (Since this statistic is so different than the population at large I think it is significant although there are several exceptions of course.)
  • The average age of the couples is in their Mid-50’s (that’s surprising to me as I would have thought most folks would be older)
  • 63% of the couples have children.
  • Most of the couples have pets and there are more cats than I expected.
  • Almost everyone has traveled to see family in their first year
  • Most couples have spent over a month with either an elderly parent or a child.
  • 26% of the group have replaced their rigs since starting.
  • 33% of the group have needed truck or RV repairs that were extensive enough to require a change to travel plans and an extended stay in an area.  (This really surprises me as well, but I do think it is an accurate representation of the lifestyle.)
  • 25%  of the group have  at least one person working full time.
  • 60% of the group have social security or pension as their main source of income.
  • 33% of the group have significant investment income.
  • 46% of the group  have done a work kamping job.
  • Despite all of the challenges, 100%  of the group is still on the road!!

Definitely a lot of variation, which again proves the adage there is no one true way to RV.  Plus, it’s been really great watching other people’s journeys as they have made the transition.   Having this support system has meant the world to me, so I wanted to share some pictures of when groups of six or more Dreamers have gotten together along the way.  I know I am missing some of course, because I haven’t been at all the meetings, so if you have an update or a pic you would like to add please send it along to camperchronicles@gmail.com and I will be happy to update the post and/or add some pictures in.  

033

August 2014, Pennsylvania-Bottom: Ben, Bill, Jo Top: Kelly, Eileen, Gene, Lee, Tracy, Cori, and Greg

 

Greg, Cori, Steve, and Deb in front of the large pumpkin tower

October 2014, Keene, NH: Greg, Cori, Steve, and Deb

]

Jo, Ben, Bill, Kelly, me, and Lee

February 2015, Tarpon Springs, FL: Jo, Ben, Bill, Kelly, Tracy, and Lee

In front: Lee, me, and Jo In back: Cori, Greg, Craig, Kelly, and Bill

February 2015, Acadia, FL: In front: Lee, Tracy, and Jo In back: Cori, Greg, Craig, Kelly, and Bill

006

April 2015, Outer Banks, NC: Cori, Greg, Tracy, Craig, Jo, Kelly, and Bill

Class of 2014

May 2015, Outer Banks, NC: Eileen, Gene, Susie, Guy, Jo, Criag, Kelly, Bill, Cori, Greg, Tracy, and Lee

Lee, me, Red, Pam, Guy, Sue, Pat, Bridget, Dave, Sharon, Cori, Greg, Bill, Kelly, Jo, and Craig

May 2015, RV Dreams Reunion Rally, Marion, NC: Lee, me, Red, Pam, Guy, Sue, Pat, Bridget, Dave, Sharon, Cori, Greg, Bill, Kelly, Jo, and Craig

Ellen, Mario. Lee, me, Steve. and Deb being silly

August 2015, Glacier, MT: Ellen, Mario. Lee, Tracy, Steve. and Deb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————————————————————————————-

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Search Amazon Here
  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

 

 

First Time at a Reunion Rally – Part 2

Wednesday was another work day for me and it was a long one since I was preparing to take off Thursday and Friday. The campground was really quiet though because most people either went to see the Biltmore estate near Asheville or took drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a beautiful place for a drive.  Since Lee and I were here in November we don’t feel like we are missing too much staying close to the campground, but we are both looking forward to a few days off so we can do come activities in the area.  Well, I am looking forward to a few days off.  Lee’s schedule is getting pretty full. He volunteered to put together a video for Howard and Linda from Monday’s game day  and when he went to load the editing software he has used for many many years, he realized he would need to download the newest edition to make it work on this computer.  As you all know, software upgrades are a pain, so something that would normally only take him a few hours has stretched into many.  He’s having fun with it though.  He hasn’t edited video since we started full timing 6 months ago and I know he has missed it. Watching Lee edit video is like watching a musician compose music. He’s intensely focused and will spend hours on a few seconds of the video just like a musician will spend hours on a few notes of a song.

Lee’s also working on video interviews and testimonials of couples who have had solar installs done by Greg and Cori of RV Solar Solutions. Lee offered to help them weeks ago but since we were having such a good time in OBX those interviews kept getting pushed.  Now with only a few days left together, they need to get done, plus there are some people here at the rally that Greg did solar installs for and Lee is getting those interviews as well. He’s also working as an RV Tech,  completing a window replacement and fixing a leaking air conditioner this week as well as talking to many others about issues they have been having on their RV’s.  Initially we didn’t think Lee would work this week, since the Tom Johnson Campground sits next to their service center and they have obviously prefer all work repairs to come to them, but they are booked out three weeks, so many people here who have had problems they have been living with for several months are talking to Lee about how to resolve them.  In some cases he talked them through a Do It Yourself solution, or recommended they wait until they are near their home base to take care of the issue, but when he could this week he went ahead and fixed the problem for them.  We’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks talking about how this business will work for us on the road, and although we never want to turn down work, Lee has realized that sometimes a job can be too complex to handle in the time we have left before we leave for our next destination.  But even in these cases he can give people advice on how we would handle, or in some cases, provide a temporary fix for the problem. It’s good to see him so busy though and simultaneously juggling work using his varied skill set.  Our plan has always been to make money using multiple revenue streams, but in my head I guess I thought Lee would be focusing on one thing at a time.  It’s great to realize that in the right set of circumstances he can be an RV Tech and a Videographer.

Wednesday was a full work day for both of us and after catered dinner with the RV-Dreams group I tried to go to bed early.  The only activity I signed up for was a full day whitewater rafting trip.  The day started very early, so I knew I was getting up at 5am…not a huge deal for me since I am an early riser by nature, but there were many groans from the folks who like to sleep in a bit.  I was so excited I didn’t sleep much and was more than ready to go when the our group of 13 took of in the morning.  The drive to High Mountain Expeditions  took longer than I expected, but it was a beautiful drive high up into the mountains.  

Everyone ready to go!!

Everyone ready to go!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They sold us T Shirts for $15 because we had to wait awhileto leave and I got this one which I love

They sold us T Shirts for $15 because we had to wait awhile to leave and I got this one which I love

Once everyone got suited up in the jackets they provided we took a ride on their converted school bus down the mountain and into Tennessee for another hour.  Since High Mountain offers equipment for both skiers in the winter and rafting in the summer it makes sense they are located on the mountain but the inefficiency of driving up just to drive back down was not lost on me.  I can’t help it. So it took a little while to get to our site and get the boats in the water, but I understood why this particular trip was scheduled for the entire day.  Everyone divided into groups with two foursomes and two threesomes.  Since I was a single, I ended up in a boat with Rick and Mike, two RV-Dreamers that I didn’t know very well.  It was Mike’s first time and my second, but Rick has white water rafted many times, and our river guide was the Jason who had ridden on the bus with us and provided our initial orientation.   Jason was outstanding!!  He is a professional musician at night and river guide by day and who moved to the area a month ago from California with his wife and two baby girls (ages 1 and 2) so they could be nearer to his wife’s parents.  There was lots of time to talk on the ride, and I love hearing people’s stories…I can’t help that either. We put on our gear and all of our helmets had names on the back.  I was one of the last to put my helmet on and ended up with Esther.  These river names do serve a purpose though, because in an emergency situation the guide will call you by the river name on the back of your helmet.  Smart way to handle it really, because in the heat of the moment you don’t want the guide forgetting someone’s name. Jason is an experienced rafter but newly qualified on this river (it takes 10 practice runs and 1 run with customers and another guide to get certified on each river), and we were his first group to take solo on the Nolichucky.

Rick, me, and Mike better know as Dude, Esther, and It.

Rick, me, and Mike better know as Dude, Esther, and It.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason our river guide

Jason our river guide

 

The Nolichucky River  is absolutely gorgeous and one of the big water scenes from Last of the Mohicans was filmed here.  There is quite a bit of argument about what the name means.  It is a distortion of a Cherokee word and has been interpreted to mean Spruce-Tree Place, Rushing Waters, or Black Swirling waters.  The river guides like to call it the River of Death..I think I like Spruce-Tree Place better!  We started out going through some Class 3 and Class 4 rapids and getting used to working together as a team.  I white water rafted years ago in the mountains of Honduras and I will say initially compared to that experience I was disappointed.   Rafting is different depending on the various water levels, and my prior experience was with “big water” and 7 people in the boat.  The big water here happens in March and April so the Class 3 and 4 rapids were much easier than the Class 3’s I experienced before.  But it was a beautiful day, the company was great, and there’s nothing better than floating down a river and watching the beautiful scenery.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

One interesting fact our guide shared with us is the Tennessee Valley Authority wanted to build a dam here at one point, but because the train route (shown below) was extremely important, they had to leave this area open.  As the guide put it, the train is the only reason we still have the gorge today and this gorge is one of the deepest in the country.

Train is in middle left of picture

Train is in middle left of picture

This shows how deep the gorge is

Absolutely breathtaking views

 

Things were going great and our boat was getting into a groove when it happened.  We hit a rock unexpectedly and Rick (who was sitting directly in front of me) went over the side.  It was fast and we were just entering Quarter-Mile rapids…which are a particularly long stretch of rapids.  We only had 3 people in our boat and we just missed grabbing Rick to pull him back in.  Since we were the lead boat no one panicked and Rick did exactly as he had been told in orientation and stayed calm; facing forward with his feet up in case he came upon a rock.  The second boat maneuvered over to him and as they were trying to grab him the boat tipped up and Jo fell of the back side.  I saw it clearly and there was nothing she could do it happened so fast.  The second boat guide followed protocol and stopped trying to get Rick and took care of his own boat member first.  I have to say I was extremely impressed by how professional the guides were.  Jason told us they practice swift water rescue and obviously that training paid off. Craig grabbed Jo with one very strong-arm but she was behind him and in between the boat and a large rock.  The guide told Craig to let her go and to his credit he did as asked.  It must have been very hard for him to let her go in that situation, but as a retired fireman he knew that he had to.  Jo drifted back a bit and their guide plucked her out of the water.  Jo said later it happened so fast she wasn’t really aware of what happened, but she did swallow a lot of water and saw the huge rock which was scary for her.  Unfortunately this tied up the second boat (the third and fourth were too far behind to be of assistance) and Rick was still in the water.  Jason, who had been very matter-of-fact to this point spoke to Mike and I with a greater urgency. He said, “We have to get him into this boat NOW” and maneuvered us over to a ledge where Mike and I could hold the boat still with our hands.  This was not easy to do, but I could tell by the tone of Jason’s voice we were running out of time.  Later Jason told us we were approaching another rapid that had a ledge that could be dangerous to a “swimmer” as they call someone who falls out of the boat and as we held the bouncing boat he stood and threw his rope.  During orientation he had talked us through what to do if a rope was thrown to you in the water and then added in 15 years he had never had to throw his rope.  Well apparently he tempted fate, but he stood and threw it and Rick to his credit did exactly what he was supposed to.  Things got hairy though when Rick got to our boat and for a brief moment was under it.  Rick kept his head though and put his hand up as taught and quickly resurfaced at the back of the boat.  Jason said he needed help and I came to the back, but honestly I felt incredibly helpless.  Rick is a big guy, the boat was rocking up and down, and all I could think was the worst thing I could do was fall into the water also.  Two people in the water would have been a big deal so I focused on staying in and Jason gave one big heave and got Rick half onto the boat where I could help a little getting him all the way in.  It was scary, but Jason told us later he was really proud of us because no one panicked and apparently Rick gets huge bragging rights for “swimming” the quarter-mile rapid and everyone thinks they should rename it Rick’s Run.

Picture of what the quarter mile rapid looked like

Picture of what the quarter-mile rapid looked like

Jo in the boat after "swimming" with Craig, Kelly, and Bill

Jo in the boat after “swimming” with Craig, Kelly, and Bill

 

After everyone calmed down things were largely uneventful.  We stopped at one spot because the water was low and had to hike through while our guides brought the boats around, and not that long later we stopped at a spot and had a picnic lunch. By the way I had obsessed about what to wear (cotton was not recommended because it holds water) and wore my one running suit.  IT worked beautifully for both in the  boat and the hike through the woods and I highly recommend something similar if you ever do this.  I wore my bathing suit underneath, but never was so hot I felt I need to strip down the layers.  On a side note and this may be TMI but it’s been years since I peed in the outdoors and I will say I haven’t been missing anything.  Luckily there was a large rock and Kelly stood watch for me.

Short Hike through the woods.

Short Hike through the woods.

Lunch spot

Lunch spot

The pineapple was yummy

The pineapple was yummy

Hanging with the gang

Sherry, Tracy, Pat, Tom, Pam, Bryce, Kelly, and Mike

After lunch the paddle was much easier, with only a few areas where we had to be careful because the water was low.  Towards the end there was one big rapid though and our boat was third in the line.  I guess by that point I was feeling overconfident because when I saw Howard with the camera I stopped paying attention to what I was doing and waved to my friends…yep, I flipped over backwards and was in the water.  I came up laughing though and right by the boat, and Jason was grinning as he pulled me in. Pat who saw the whole thing said it was an awesome back flip and for me it was the funnest part of the whole day.  Since it was a totally safe area at the bottom of this rapid, it was one of the best places to fall in and poor Jason was a good sport about having to fish another of his crew out of the water.  Heavens knows what he told his wife that night, but at least we all gave him nice tip!!  The guides did something really fun on that last rapid where the team paddles hard to face it and the guide holds the boat in the stream and they “surf” the wave.  Pam’s boat put her in the front middle for “ballast” and she got a huge face full of water.  It was very fun and we all loved the day. So glad I picked this excursion and got to experience it with this great group of people.

Having a great time after taking my swim

Having a great time after taking my swim

Sherry, Tom, and Bryce "surfing"

Sherry, Tom, and Bryce “surfing”

The look on Pam's face was priceless after surfing the last rapid

The look on Pam’s face was priceless after “surfing” the last rapid and being used as ballast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday night when we got back from the rafting a bunch of us ordered Chinese takeout and ate it together.  I don’t think anyone wanted to cook and Lee had mentioned he hadn’t had Chinese food in the 6 months we have been on the road.  That is definitely an adult record for him and I know his friends that are reading this will be shocked.  The food was so-so but it was reasonably priced and the company was as always excellent.  We called it an early night though when the storm (pictured below) rolled in.  It was beautiful, but I was too nervous to stay outside once the lightning started.  We have surge protection for the electrical system in our rigs so I don’t worry about the lightning very much, but I am not a fan of standing outside in storms.

Picture Lee took of the storm

Picture Lee took of the storm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday we went on a long-awaited hike with Nancy and Bill.  We met Nancy and Bill at the Sevierville rally and were so excited when we saw they would be attending the reunion rally.  They have been full timing for many years but really bonded with the group they attended their first RV Dreams rally with back in 2010.  It’s nice to see that those friendships still exist 4 years later and our Class of 2014 really looks up to that group.  Nancy and Bill love to hike so they organized a few trips that were free and anyone could attend. Our group really wanted to see Linville Falls  and we were really excited to get to hang out with Nancy and Bill some more.  The hike was just my speed, with moderate difficulty levels and lots of cool places to stop and get views of the falls. Nancy and Bill made sure everyone was accounted for throughout the hike, but in an unobtrusive way that didn’t make you feel rushed.  Lee and I like to hang back in group hikes and Nancy is the same, and we had a very pleasant chat with her.  She also knows quite a bit about the flowers in the area and I really enjoyed getting to know her a bit better.  She reminds me so much of my Grandmother Pat who just passed away and I really feel an affinity to her.  It was a great day and as  I will let the pictures speak for themselves. 

Nancy and Bill... I want to be them when I grow up :)

Nancy and Bill… I want to be them when I grow up 🙂


Y011

Y018

There was a group of 16 but the trail was long and mostly wide so everyone could spread out which I liked

 

 

 

Very cool tree growing out of this rock...nature always finds a way

Very cool tree growing out of this rock…nature always finds a way

 

 

 

The trail was moderate difficulty level and you did need to watch your step as roots were growing in the path

The trail was moderate difficulty level and you did need to watch your step as roots were growing in the path

Y043

View of the falls through the trees

 

 

 

Very top of the falls

Very top of the falls

The gang hanging out

RV-Dreamers group picture

Loved this natural rock viewing platform

Loved this natural rock viewing platform

Tim and Kim brought their dog

Tim and Kim brought their dog who had a great time

 

 

Water comes through here

Water comes through here

Then comes out the other side

Then comes out the other side

 

Y089 Y098

Y083 Y127

 

Lee taking in the view

Lee taking in the view

Loved this Mountain Laurel

Loved this Mountain Laurel

This reminded me of a Hobbit House

This reminded me of a Hobbit House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only downside to the trip happened near the end when Don and Lee found a shirt, water bottle, and a cell phone on a small side trail off the beaten path.  Lee was looking at the cell phone when it rang and the girl’s sister called.  As soon as Lee explained why he was answering the phone her sister burst into tears.  Apparently the girl had broken up with her boyfriend and her sister was concerned.  Lee immediately took the phone to the ranger station and they called the police and Pat (a retired police officer) and Don searched the nearby trails.  There was a steep drop off near where the phone was and I am afraid everyone was thinking the worst.  Lee, Pat, and Dave had to wait for the police to arrive to tell them what they knew and the rest of the folks left because they were attending another event at 2pm.  Several of us stayed and waited while the guys gave their report and we were all hoping for the best.  Luckily the call came in that rangers had found her and they asked that we all wait until she came out of the park.  She seemed a bit bewildered there had been such a fuss because according to her that trail was rarely used, but she was grateful to have her phone back.  Lee explained we had daughters her age and were alarmed when she left her phone because people her age are rarely without their phone which got a smile from her.  Everyone was hugely relived she was OK and we all headed back down the mountain to the campsite.  Lee, Pam, and I were in the same car and we just had to stop off at a local farm that had a cheese stand only open on Friday’s and Saturday’s.  The cows were in the front yard (my kind of place) and the cheese was absolutely delicious.  Yes I know we are running over on our grocery budget this month but fresh from the cow cheese, plus you know stressful situation resolved so of course you need cheese!!  It made us all feel better.

Pam at English Homestead Cheese stand

Pam at English Homestead Cheese stand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday was the last full day and Linda had planned a luau for the evening.  I should say that Linda handles the bulk of the logistics for these rally’s and she does an excellent job.  She talks about herding cats and since I do quite a bit of that in my job I can totally relate 🙂 Everyone appreciated the reunion rally so much that we came up with an idea to do something special for them.  We passed out 4×6 colored paper early in the week and asked everyone to use them to answer the question “What RV-Dreams means to me” on them.  Sue and I worked on it together and brainstormed how to present the papers and came up with poster board to present on the last night.  Then Sue came up with the idea of photo albums so they could take the papers with them wherever they went and she used greeting cards with special sayings on them to make the covers.  At first they trickled in slowly, but soon they came in a flood.  I read them all and was in tears from the sentiment expressed in them which made it very difficult to decide how to place them on the board.  Thankfully Sue, Cori and Kelly came to the rescue and put it all together.  We also discovered Cori has a hidden calligraphy talent and she did a great job with the writing   How to present it was tricky though since we wanted to keep it a surprise until the last-minute.  Since Lee was videotaping the luau for Linda, he came up with the idea to tell her he needed some establishing shots, keep her focused on the camera, and then Sue and Kelly carried the board up through the crowd and Cori came up with me to present the boards and the photo albums.  I had practiced my very short speech at least 25 times that day, but when I got up to speak the emotions of the moment got the better of me for a moment.  Everyone said I did good though which I appreciated.  Essentially my speech was that they had changed everyone’s lives in the room, and although the cards were more eloquent than I could ever be, but the two words used most often were “Thank You.”  Everyone gave them a standing ovation and I could tell they were truly touched.  My favorite part of the present was it cost next to nothing.  We spent $14 at the dollar store, everyone gave a little bit of time, and hopefully we created a memory they will carry with them forever.

 

Sue and Kelly carrying the board

Sue and Kelly carrying the board

Me talking to Howard and Linda

Me talking to Howard and Linda

Howard and Linda looked truly touched

Howard and Linda looked truly touched

The picture albums Sue made

The picture albums Sue made

The board

What Howard and Linda mean to us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the present we all ate dinner which included a full roasted pig and numerous side dishes.  The Linda organized some games which were absolutely hysterical.  We had a wonderful time and it was a great way to finish up an amazing rally.  They said they will definitely do it again and I know we will go to great lengths to be there.

The decorated pavillon

The decorated pavilion

Roasted pig...looked gross tasted amazing

Roasted pig…looked gross tasted amazing

 

It cracks Lee up that Greg keeps licking things

It cracks Lee up that Greg keeps licking things

Beach Ball relay race

Beach Ball relay race

Y089

Cori and Pam getting up close and personal

Y092

Cori waddling…she was into it!!

Luau dress up relay race

Pam in the Luau dress up relay race

Y117

Bridget was holding it all together

 

 

I loved that she had chair volley ball. It was nice Linda have activities that anyone could do

I loved that there was a chair volley ball game. It was nice of Linda to have activities that anyone could do

Flip Flop Toss

Flip Flop Toss

 

My favorite game was when Linda dressed some guys up as warriors and had them use darts to “slay” a watermelon pig.  One of the funniest moments was when she asked Lee to get a different angle shot facing the darts.  The look on his face was priceless as she asked him to let the guys throw darts in his direction so he could get the shot.  He must really like here though, because he did it and thankfully no cameramen were injured in the making of that video!!  The warriors weren’t having much luck hitting the pig though and Linda said it was a million points if they hit the flower.  She dressed Howard up then and the poor guy could barely see and on his first shot he not only hit the pig he hit the flower!!!  Amazing and he was definitely as surprised as the rest of us.  It was a really fun night, Linda obviously put a lot into it, and everyone had a really good time.

Y202

Sharon showing David what to do

Y229

The guys were hysterical they could barely see in the masks

 

Y227

Lee facing the deadly darts

Y237

The warriors

 

 

Linda dressing Howard

Linda dressing Howard

 

Y251

He couldn’t see anything

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pat added a second mask

Pat added a second mask

 

Hoard takes aim

Howard takes aim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unbelievable right on the flower first try!!!

Unbelievable right on the flower first try!!!

Howard can't believe he made the shot

Howard can’t believe he made the shot

 

Sunday we had the final breakfast before we rolled out and finally got our group picture.  I won’t say much other than there was a lot of tears and hugs.  I truly feel connected to these people in a very special way and I am so happy we were all able to be together.

Lee, me, Red, Pam, Guy, Sue, Pat, Bridget, Dave, Sharon, Cori, Greg, Bill, Kelly, Jo, and Craig

Come of the Dreamer Class of 2014                        Lee/ me, Red/Pam, Guy/Sue, Pat/Bridget, Dave/ Sharon, Cori/Greg, Bill/Kelly, and Jo/Craig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Search Amazon Here
  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.

 

 

 

Finish of the Rally and Taking a Day off

 

I forgot to mention that every morning Lee has been feeding a pair of local ducks.  We got some cracked corn and they come up to him every morning and quack at him until he gives them their daily treat.  Who knew Lee was the wild animal whisperer lol  Here’s a great picture of my hubby and his ducks.

DSC01685

I like how his pre-showered hair looks a bit like a ducktail 🙂

IMG_1608

Here’s Lee’s ducks…he had them coming right up to his feet.

 

The last full day of the rally had an open house section where you could volunteer to show your rig.  We had a great time both showing ours and seeing others and I got tons of neat space-saving ideas especially from Linda who has been doing this for 9 years and had a carpenter friend come in and build some custom drawers.  My honey do list got bigger and bigger 🙂   It was also very gratifying to show other folks our open range.  People really liked the floor plan especially where Lee had built me a desk and it was great to hear folks  say what they liked.  At first we kept thinking folks were just being polite, but when they were specific it was nice.  Validated that we had chosen well!! Here’s some of the pictures I took (with permission) from other rigs and some cool ideas I want Lee to try to implement.

wooden box inserts

wooden box inserts

Linda has these cool wooden box inserts that slide out sideways...ingenious

Linda has these cool wooden box inserts that slide out sideways…ingenious

 

This is a simple ting but I really liked it a handle on the inside of the door so when you are walking out you can steady yourself. I am a klutz so this is a must have for me

This is a simple ting but I really liked it a handle on the inside of the door so when you are walking out you can steady yourself. I am a klutz so this is a must have for me

 

DSC01728

To replace the couch we need to expand the pedestal. I saw this in a motor home and loved the way the wooden extended looked!!

 

 

 

 

DSC01725

This is a simple solution that was great. Latch work mesh mounted on the inside of the cabinet doors and paper clips used to hold jewelry. Brilliant!!!

 

Spice Rack loved this because they were all so easy to see

Spice Rack loved this because they were all so easy to see

 

 

 

 

DSC01726

Pull out drawers were very common (you can order them online) and make use of the entire space

 

 

 

 

 

Customer Wine Rack built next to the microwave

Custom slider plate shelves…what I loved was they fit plates and bowls and Lind is short like I am and they are within easy reach

 

After the open house I took a nap 🙂  That was a lot of walking and I had to get ready for the big closing party.  Linda had a Derby theme since Howard and Linda the rally organizers are from Louisville and everyone was supposed to bring a derby hat.  I went to the thrift store and bought a sun hat and dressed it up with feathers and I took Lee’s fedora and put a beautiful feather in it.  Lee said he had his “pimp hat” on lol.  The hats were really beautiful and we watched the race.  Then everyone danced and had a great time.  Breakfast the next morning we said our farewells to many folks leaving and took a great group picture of the “newbie” class if 2014.    Tonight we are going to one more informal bonfire and then we hit the road back home.  What a jam-packed week and I am kind of excited to get back on the road to get a little rest lol.  Can I say we were one of the youngest couples at the rally and the energy level of most of these folks put us to shame 🙂  Whew I need another nap!!

Here is the newbie class of 2014...all the people we have been hanging out with all week !!

Here is the newbie class of 2014…all the people we have been hanging out with all week !!

Pam is a corker...she's beautiful and has the most amazing positive energy...I want to be her when I grow up :)

Sue is a corker…she’s beautiful and has the most amazing positive energy…I want to be her when I grow up 🙂

Jo and Craig the nicest couple with a wicked sense of humor. Craig put two bunny ear feathers in his bal; cap

Jo and Craig the nicest couple with a wicked sense of humor. Craig put two bunny ear feathers in his ballcap

 

 

The self described "Hippy" drebyers :)

The self-described “Hippy” derbyers 🙂

Bill and Nancy have been married for 44 years. They walk (at a fast clip) every day except for Sunday. They are amazing and I hope we are like them after 44 years

Bill and Nancy have been married for 44 years. They walk (at a fast clip) every day except for Sunday. They are amazing and I hope we are like them after 44 years

Jo and Ben...Jo took sewer hose and toiletry products and got most creative...LOVE it and love them

Jo and Ben…Jo took sewer hose and toiletry products and got most creative…LOVE it and love them

Greg and cory...Greg put one feather in his hat..he's a minimalist...cracked me up every time I looked at it

Greg and cory…Greg put one feather in his hat..he’s a minimalist…cracked me up every time I looked at it

Eileen who took runner up in the prettiest hat contest...she's a great lady and a bit naughtier than she appears :)

Eileen who took runner-up in the prettiest hat contest…she’s a great lady and a bit naughtier than she appears 🙂

This was runner up in most creative it has a tremendous amount of detail all around really cute

This was runner-up in most creative it has a tremendous amount of detail all around really cute

Howard and Linda dancing to Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

Howard and Linda dancing to Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

This was Jesse retired Naval submarine engineer in his feathered hat, kilt, and cowboy hats. It says something that he only got second place :)

This was Jesse retired Naval submarine engineer in his feathered hat, kilt, and cowboy hats. It says something that he only got second place 🙂

Jeff in his "poop" hat...the suppositories hanging off the side were a scream..He appropriately won best use of recycled material

Jeff in his “poop” hat…the suppositories hanging off the side were a scream..He appropriately won best use of recycled material

Ellen and Mario...they have a smaller toy hauler but she is angling for a bigger rig !!

Ellen and Mario…they have a smaller toy hauler but she is angling for a bigger rig !!

Gin and Syl who are absolutely hysterical

Gin and Syl who are absolutely hysterical

Pam and Red in their cowboy hates. We love love love them!!!

Pam and Red in their cowboy hates. We love love love them!!!

Linda made this hat with a horse on top. She is a widow and their dream was to FT RV so she has decided to do it alone. Amazing lady!!!

Linda made this hat with a horse on top. She is a widow and their dream was to FT RV so she has decided to do it alone. Amazing lady!!!

 

I borrowed this hat from Sue for a minute LOVED it...she won fanciest

I borrowed this hat from Sue for a minute LOVED it…she won fanciest

Back of Sues Hat

Back of Sues Hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Camper Chronicles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  Search Amazon.com here

 

 

First Time at an Educational Rally

The last couple of days have been really great but sooo busy. The educational part of the Rally has been everything and more that I could hope for. I love the format…we spend 1 hour per topic which is just enough time to give solid information and answer questions but not enough time to really glaze over.  The topics were great and included Basic RV Maintenance, Batteries, Electrical systems, Traveling in Alaska, TV on the Road, Internet on the road, among other topics. Every night we have had a catered dinner and one night we had a pot luck which was tons of REALLY good food. My favorite though is at the end of the day when there is a social hour with an activity. Weds was Handy Gadgets where people showed cool things they had made of repurposed for RV’s. Our friend Kelly had taken a packing divider and turned it sideways to make a mountable wine glass rack.  You wouldn’t believe how much discussion there was around how to safely carry wine glasses in a camper 🙂

DSC01681

Kelly’s wine glass holder 🙂

 

Lee’s favorite was Poo-Pourri (yes it is a real product). This great couple showed the video and everyone busted out laughing…hey some things are NOT better in close quarters and  everybody poops

 

Thursday night was the Newlywed game and they had three groups, experienced campers (5 years or more), Newbie Campers, and Wannabees. Lee volunteered us for the Newbie group and we were doing pretty good until the bonus question where they asked where the bottle opener was.  I was super excited because we had forgotten a bottle opener and I couldn’t open my Wachusetts Ale we had just bought a new one and I knew exactly where it was.  Lee wasn’t so sure where it was and in any case he always goes for the funny and he cracked up the whole room with his answer of “Does anyone have a bottle opener we can borrow.” In such a small space you really can’t find anything plus we keep moving things around trying to see which space fits best.

IMG_1624[1]

Lee’s getting one right!!


Along with lots of great classes, activities, and just all around fun there has been time to have some great conversations with other newbie couples like us. Kelly and Bill cane one night Greg and Cori over last night and in both cases were talking to past 11pm. For those who don’t know I am an early bird and Lee often conks out on the couch by 9pm, but the great conversation, a little bit of alcohol, and a campfire and I really could have talked well into the night. Even if I I had not learned a single thing (which is definitely NOT the case) the opportunity to meet with other couples has been tremendous.  We were having such a good time meeting folks in little groups we invited all the newbie couples back to our place for the free night.  Everyone brought whatever leftover food they had lying around (which worked out way better than I expected) and their chairs and whatever they wanted to drink.  We gave several tours of the rig and folks really liked some of the features and some of the small customizations Lee has done.  Folks stayed from 5:30 to past 10 and we have a really really good time.  Tomorrow is internet on the road, boon docking (which I am super interested in) and how to find a campsite which I am VERY interested in…some of the folks doing this longer know the greatest trick for finding these beautiful relatively inexpensive campsites.  Here are some great pictures from the party.  I made some a pitcher of mai tai’s btw and they were a big hit!!  See the recipe below.

 

DSC01701

Red and Scott

DSC01702

Tons of food and Mario, Pam, and Bill

 

DSC01705

Jo and Debbie

DSC01706

Cory and Greg and the cutest puppy ever 🙂

 

 

 

DSC01708

Linda and Pam

 

DSC01707

Guy and Bill

DSC01709

Sue who is an absolute scream and very fond of her wine 🙂

DSC01712

Scott and Linda

 

DSC01714

Kelly and Bill …Bill was snoozing after dinner but Kelly woke him up to take this picture lol. He was a much better sport about it than Lee would have been plus he makes one hell of a good pina colada !!!

DSC01715

Eileen and Sue

 

 

 

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Search Amazon Here
  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.