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

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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

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

The Wannabees

The Wannabees

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

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

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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

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Joe and Teresa won best humorous hat!!

Joe and Teresa won best humorous hat!!

Linda and Howard

Linda and Howard

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Rosita and Frank were a hoot and I loved their rig

Rosita and Frank were a hoot and I loved their rig

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Andy was the horse and Peg was the jockey

Watching the race on the big screen

Watching the race on the big screen

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Linda announcing the betting pool winners

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$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

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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 🙂

 

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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.  ———————————————————————————————————————————


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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!!

 

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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.