Monday, June 11, 2007

Our First Coachmen RV Rally – Missouri, June 8-10

This was the weekend for us to attend our first Coachmen Caravan rally. The Coachmen Caravan Club is over 40 years old, and is exclusively for Coachmen owners. It has over 15,000 families as members throughout the United States and Canada, and is the nation's largest manufacturer-sponsored RV club. Ken’s brother Michael and sister-in-law Jean have been members for literally decades now. We consider these events a great way to get to know other people who have more experience with motorcoaches just like ours.

Howard’s RV, where we bought our motorhome, is a club sponsor and paid our first year’s membership to the club. We heard the Missouri rally was one of the better state rallies and decided to make it our maiden voyage to a rally.

Since Kyle had come back to Quincy for the weekend, we didn’t head out until after a late breakfast on Friday. It was a bit windy so Ken decided to take two-lane US 24 across Missouri instead of I-70 since he hates the traffic and speed on I-70.

This was the chance to cover some unfamiliar Missouri back roads, passing pecan and buffalo farms and several wineries along the way. Highway 24 also follows a portion of the Lewis and Clark trail which adds a historical perspective.

We took our time and stopped in Brunswick, Mo, for a late lunch. There was a huge gravel parking area across from a non-chain restaurant with lots of cars in its parking lot. That adds up to the kind of place we like to stop midway in our trips! Sherry’s Home Cookin’ was a nothing-fancy smalltown café with a catfish lunch buffet that was perfect for Ken. I had dessert for lunch with the homemade blackberry cobbler with ice cream.

We arrived at the rally at the Higginsville Fairgrounds at about 3pm and parked by three other Sportscoach diesel pushers. We didn’t get an exact count but there were somewhere around 50 rigs at this rally, ranging from Coachmen popup campers to diesel pushers our size. Some of these people have been together in these clubs for upwards of 30 years.

Eric, our salesman from Howard’s RV, was there with his girlfriend,.Kim. Howard’s had brought six new rigs to display at the rally to tempt everyone, and Eric was there to help provide the tours and do the tempting.

Sox made quick friends with Kim.

There was a light dinner of sloppy joes for Friday dinner. It’s apparent why they choose fairgounds for these rallies since the 4H building here made a perfect gathering place for this size group.

Tailgating has nothing on Coachmen rallies as we were welcomed by our very own Coachmen cheerleading squad.

We played our first round of bean bag baseball tournament on Friday evening.

This was a lot of fun so I got a shot of the board – looks like a good next project for Ken! It ended up that Ken’s team and my team advanced out of Friday night’s final to play against each other for the championship Saturday afternoon.

All weekend, the Missouri Coachmen Caravan president, Bob Byrnes, was giving out door prizes. Different Missouri chapters had different drawings as well. We were lucky enough to win a big box of groceries. One of the members has a 13-year old daughter, Mary, with birth defects who is a March of Dimes ambassador. In total, over the weekend, the various raffles and activities brought in over $500 raised for March of Dime in Mary’s honor.

At about 9pm Friday evening, the group was treated to root beer floats. We enjoyed the snack, a little more socializing, walked the dogs and then were in bed by about 11:00.

Saturday the Kansas City Chapter hosted a potluck breakfast

The ladies served us in their PJ’s!

After breakfast, once again, the games began. There was crazy golf, and washers. Eric won at washers…makes you wonder what they do when they are waiting for customers around the RV lot!

Here’s Ken and Kim in a tight game of bocce ball.

Last year during the rally, they had a disaster. While everyone was at dinner one of the fifth wheels caught fire. It was a total loss and melted the sides of the two rigs aside it to the point they were both totaled as well. Actually it could have been much worse but the Higginsville volunteer fireman and many of the fellow RVer’s kept the fire from spreading further. The Higginsville firefighters also found the couples from all 3 units homes to stay in for the night.

Thanks, Bill Petty, for sending me some pictures to include. Words couldn’t describe something like this!

One good side to this bad event was that the Caravaners got to know the local fire and rescue squad who happened to this weekend be having a big benefit barbecue at the Piggly Wiggly.

This was a perfect break for lunch so we and many of the other RVers walked to the Piggly Wiggly where Eric got this shot of Ken and I. There’s just something really Heartland Americana about walking down Main Street to eat at the volunteer fire department benefit in Higginsville!

Since the benefit menu was strictly hot dogs and hamburgers, we also picked up a slab of bbq’d ribs from the Piggly Wiggly since Ken didn’t expect to make it from noon to 6:00 on a hot dog.

We had a little time before the ‘baseball playoff’ in the afternoon so Ken and the dogs kicked back for awhile while I checked emails and finished a little work. It was then off for the beanbag baseball championship, Ken’s team against mine.

Since Ken was the only man on his team, he decided to look the part of the sister’s! Actually I think he looked more like Mark Twain!

Our parking spots were, next door to a park area that includes several fully enclosed baseball fields. After Ken’s team managed a victory over mine, we decided to give the dogs a treat by taking them inside one of the fenced fields and letting them run lose for awhile. They are rarely outside without leashes so they had lots of fun romping in the open spaces.

We got back to the rig around 4:00 to take a nap before dinner. We made a snacktime dent in the rack of ribs. I kicked back on the bed with the book I’m reading and must have fallen asleep immediately. Ken woke me at 5:50. He said he and Ditka had gotten sidetracked talking to some people and never made it back into the coach. Strange…then why were the rest of the ribs gone that I’d left out for him. He assumed I’d eaten them. No. Hmmm…We looked around. No ribs, No ribs container. Just as we were headed out for dinner, Ken spied the ribs container under the easy chair. No sign of the meat, the sauce, the bones.

One of these two lovelies had to be the ribs thief! Since the biggun’ was with Papa the whole time, that meant precious little Soxie was about to have one heck of a tummy ache!

We had a huge dinner of chicken, dressing, potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole and homemade rolls with apple butter.

The entertainment for the evening was a very talented country Western band by the name of the Selles Bros. They had a Jerry Lee Lewis style pianist and a female vocalist who ended the evening with a rendition of Amazing Grace that earned her a standing ovation.

There was dancing, more door prizes and ice cream and cake. I think everyone had a really enjoyable evening.

Some of us (Eric?) had more fun than others! ;-)

We thought we were going back to the rig at 11:00 to hit the sack, but instead when walking the dogs came across a big circle of folks who invited us to join them. They were telling stories that had Ken holding his chest and out of breath from laughing so hard! It was after 1am before we got to bed!

The dogs woke us at 6am announcing their concern about a thunderstorm rolling in. It was good that they woke us since we still had our awning out. The storm turned out to be uneventful, going mostly to our north.

After a continental breakfast with the group, good-byes, and a stop by the dump station we were on the road by about 10:30.

The pastries weren’t an adequate breakfast for Ken, so we decided to make another visit to Sherry’s Country Cookin’. This was obviously the place to be for Sunday lunch as we had to wait for them to clear a table for us. If you’re looking for immaculate floors, and appealing décor, this isn’t your place, but if a buffet of homemade Sunday dinner items that rival any we’ve had, this is a stop worth planning. The bbq ribs melted in your mouth and Ken said he can’t remember when he’s had better fried chicken. They had lasagna, homemade chicken and dumplings, and a really awesome apple bread pudding. All of that and iced tea for $20 for the two of us.

It was at this point that the drive home took a temporary turn for the worse. Trevor called to tell us that according to the team trainer he has a stress fracture in his foot and will not be able to practice on it for 3 weeks. He was really disappointed as he feels this will set him back. He goes to a specialist Monday so that doc can be sure that this mode of treatment is adequate. I really think sometimes it was easier when the boys were younger and underfoot all the time!

We’d no more than finished talking to Trevor than I noticed a real stink in the coach. Looked out the windows…no hog or cattle around…hmmm. Ok, Ken, did you just….. His response was, ‘No, did you?’…hmmm…sure hope there’s nothing wrong with the black water tank. I got up and headed to the back and found the culprit immediately…it was Sox. Apparenly the bbq ribs had taken their toll. Thank goodness she was in her ‘puppy tent’ …but that crate was covered. Of course, Sox is so prissy that she’s going nuts trying to keep from getting anything on herself. Luckily we were just entering Moberly and found a closed-down WalMart where we pulled over and pulled Sox and her mess out of the motorhome. . Sox had done a good job of keeping herself totally clean but was one sick puppy. I spent a lot of time with her in a grassy area nearby. Thank goodness the puppy tents fold up so Ken could just stuff her crate, blanket and all into a big garbage bag, then into one of the outside compartments. It ended up that Ditka got the best part of the deal since we then put Sox into his crate and left him out on a leash up by us.

The rest of the drive home, it was obvious little Sox couldn’t get comfortable. When we got home she just laid in the backyard hardly moving for hours.

Well it was a really great weekend even if it wasn’t the best drive home.

On Monday, word from Trevor was that the doctor has now decided he needs an MRI on his ankle. The news with Sox was much better---she’s fully recovered, showing no more effects from her run-in with the bbq ribs.

Hugs, C

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ken, You look good as a blonde.