We definitely got in to the relaxed mode Wednesday - Friday of Escapade. It's now Saturday morning back home and I'm back on the blog for the first time.
The rain continued and after 4 days and 4 inches we were definitely bogged in. Not to worry though, we'd figure out how to get out when the time came for that.
A nice surprise on Wednesday was that we had won the prior day's CARE drawing for a quilt! I'll have to post a picture later. If you don't recall why I'm so in to CARE as a great non-profit organization follow this link --- http://www.escapeescare.org/. Anyway, I started talking to one of the CARE ambassadors and before you know it he's suggesting that Ken and I might be great replacements for the CARE administrators who will be leaving their jobs in May. The wife is the office manager and the husband oversees the facilities/maintenance side of the operation. There aren't many paying jobs with CARE so this is a rare opportunity. Very tempting but I've promised Ken I'd 'stay retired' at least a year before we considered anything that tied us down again.
Sitting here on my patio this morning, enjoying my coffee and the birds and the beautiful sunrise over the golf course, I'm not sure I'm quite ready to give up my 'sticks n bricks' house yet anyway. No rush...!
Ok, so back to the Escapade.
Ken and I decided to do more seminars together. We attended the seminar on travelling to Mexico and came away agreeing that this is a trip that we'd probably want to do with a group. It's very common for Escapees to get together in the Tuscon area and then RV together down the short distance to Kino Bay. I think this would be a great practice run in to Mexico before getting more adventurous and trying longer endeavors. But again, we want to stick with the US at first.
Along those lines, we decided to take in Mike and Terri Church's presentation on travelling the Southwest. I think this was one of the best sessions we attended. Mike and Terri have several popular travel books published. You can see them on Amazon or at --> http://www.rollinghomes.com/ This link also provides a great blog and pictures. In the seminar they covered 3 different itineraries in the Southwest, covering primarily New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. These will go high on our list of travel destinations. Most travel guides focus on 'attractions', hotels and restaurants. Mike and Terri focus on scenic drives, information on parks and sizes of rigs they support, and details on the natural surroundings and local culture to be explored. They definitely get off-the-beaten path which, to Ken and I, is part of the reason we have the jeep. They do a great deal of research and update their books regularly. In fact, when asked when they would start doing books on other parts of North America they indicated that it is a fulltime job for them just to keep the book they already have out up-to-date.
We also attended a seminar given by Mark Nemeth. Mark is the Escapees technical advisor and Boot Camp program director (yes, we still want to do bootcamp, maybe next year at Goshen, IN). Mark is a regulator contributor to popular RV magazines such as Motorhome and Ken has found him to be a reliable source for technical RV information. He's considered one of the leading technical advisors in the RV industry so even though his topic, Choosing Your Perfect RV, was not something we needed we mostly wanted to be sure to get in one of his sessions. We still learned a great deal and, of course, all the RV guys gathered after for many more questions for Mark.
Thursday afternoon was the closing ceremonies and the Escapee hugs to say good-bye were all around. The grand prize drawing was held. They gave away a 23-day escorted RV trip up the Northeast Coast and in to the Canadian Maritimes -- about a $3400 value...definitely one awesome prize for fulltime RVers!
On Thursday afternoon our new friends, Jeff and Barb decided to get out of the mud with their Allegro Bus and made it about a foot before they were mired down, so they got to try out their Coach-net towing service before we did. They then went across the street to the fairground parking lot to hook up and boondock for the night. Later that night they came over to our place, had a few beers and said adios for now. Hoping we'll get to see more of these two on the road!
Friday it was our turn. We'd hoped the fact that it hadn't rained for 24 hours would help. As seems common with this group, the men from neighboring RV's came over to offer help and advice. Ken raised the jacks that were bury deep in the mud and places blocks beneath them. He then lowered the jacks so that wood could be placed below and infront of the tires.
The results was that he was able to move about a foot forward before he was deep in the mud again!
Ok, time to call Coach-Net. Of course, with 750 rigs trying to leave we had to wait our turn.
Ken had really been fighting a futile battle here since based on where we had been parked we had to make an immediate turn to miss the tree in front of us and then had about 40 feet of mud to cross.
At about 11:30 it was time for 'Baby's' first tow. Ken was rolling in the mud with the tow guys insuring we weren't going to be hooking up wrong and causing damage.
But, not-to-worry, Baby was in very good hands and these guys did a great job of being careful to insure no damage. As you see, one stood on the winch line to be sure that it did not rub against the rig. Over all we were very pleased with the CoachNet service.
I believe Escapade could have added a Friday seminar to this year's activities since the highlight of the day seemed to be "How to pull 30,000 lb vehicles out of the mud"....the audience seemed to move from location to location with the tow trucks. So, just how many Escapees does it take to supervise the towing of a motorhome??? ;-)
Well, as the say 'let's make tracks'!! And, I'll have you know I got that jeep out of there with no problem!!
And so, we made our way over to the fairgrounds parking lot that was the area for everyone to do final hookups and