|Fri, 28 Jun: The Happiest of Birthdays to our "kid sis", Nancy Kirsch, PG (Professional Granny). You are the most special of people and we wish you the happiest and healthiest of years.
Well, we're beginning to feel much like a ping pong ball must feel. Rapid City-Sturgis; Sturgis-Rapid City; Rapid City-Gillette; Gillette-Sturgis; and today: Sturgis back to Gillette. No wonder they are doing so much construction on I 90—we're wearing a groove in it.
Yes, we're right back at the Cam-Plex in Gillette. This time it is for the Escapees rally that starts Monday. But, the Sturgis FCOC rally is over and we can't stay at the campground so here we are. But, do not feel sorry for us as we are in the midst of many, many other Escapees and that's almost like family.
And it is much like a reunion. We pulled into our assigned site and found out that our next door neighbors are Tom & Terri who we last saw sitting across the table from us on the fifth of May in a Livingston (TX) Mexican restaurant. Directly behind us are Tom and Debbie, who are the good people who gave us the encouragement we needed to go for our HAM licenses.
Across from us is Diane from RoVers Roost. And, while shopping in the local Wal*Mart we ran into two other couples from RoVers Roost. And today is only the first day of parking...
We departed Elk View Campground a few minutes before eight and made good time along I 90 to Gillette. A bit after ten we pulled up to the diesel pumps at the Gillette Pilot/Flying J Truck Stop for some "juice". The fuel tax in Wyoming goes up 10¢/gallon on July first so we topped off today.
Once parked we dined, then a Wally run, and now we're back home enjoying our air conditioning (it is in the high eighties). The weather is looking good for the near term so we're looking forward to an enjoyable stay. Carmen & Domingo arrive tomorrow so "the gang'll all be here".
Wed, 03 Jul: One thing is certain about attending a rally, we're always busy and on the go. It is difficult to believe it has been almost a week since our last post. Sorry 'bout that...
Saturday and Sunday were "down days" as the rally didn't officially start until Sunday afternoon. That didn't keep us from having fun, and fun we had. Saturday was registration day and we signed up for some volunteer activities (more about those anon) and just roamed the hall greetings friends and making new friends.
The Davilas arrived Saturday and we stopped by their coach (they're parked in a different area) and picked up the mail and package they fetched from Box Elder on our behalf. The package was a new netbook computer that we'll dedicate for use with the Silver Leaf Engine Parameter program. We got it from Sam Club on line.
Saturday evening we joined Escapees Boomers at the China King buffet. The Boomers are a fun group. No officers, and only two rules: #1, there are no rules; #2, see rule #1. Our kind of group.
Sunday was opening ceremonies, which were well done. They had a very impressive Color Guard and door prizes. Ron won one of the two grand prizes, a bundle of $$$s. Well done Ron!
Sunday's dinner was shared with the Davilas, Scotts, and Larsons at Las Margaritas, which is quickly becoming one of our our favorite Mexican places. The restaurant was bustling, mostly with Escapees. We often wonder just what the economic impact these rallies have on a community. It must be significant.
The seminars started on Monday and we attended a few in the morning. We signed up to drive golf carts in the afternoon and had a blast tooling around the rally grounds transporting folks to and from rally venues and their parking areas. We met a lot of really nice folks.
Yesterday, Tuesday, was "seminar day". We attended seminars from morning until late afternoon. We had dinner at Humprey's Bar & Grill with the Scotts and then "movie nite" at our coach. The Scotts had never seen Ted so we treated them to a viewing.
Which brings us to today. No seminars piqued our interest so we made a Wally Run right after breakfast and then wandered around the vendor's area for a bit. The HAM radio group was setting up a station so we went to "help". These guys are pretty experienced so we mostly watched and tried to learn.
At one we got together at the RoVers Roost booth and took a group pix of all (or most) the "Roosters". Later this afternoon we're having our defective satellite dome replaced with a Winegard Dish. More about that anon...
It is now "anon" and our new satellite dish is installed. It took them less than two hours to remove the old dome and install, align, and test the dish. We are now doing battle with the satellite receiver and Dish Network to get all of the software and programming updated. Evidently, when the receiver lies dormant for too long it gets really "stupid" (much like some voters...)
Took a break for dinner with the Scotts at Applebees. It has been quite a while since we've patronized an Applebees and we had forgotten how good the food is. Back to the hall for the seven P.M. door prizes. We didn't win anything...
Back to the coach and another phone call to Dish. This time Sandi spoke with "Lew" in Manila who did some magic at her end and, behold, we are now connected. We then went thru the program guide only to realize that there still isn't much worth watching out there. But it sure looks nice in high definition.
Thu, 04 July, Independence Day: Much as we would have liked to sleep in we attended an 0830 seminar conducted by Tom & Debbie Abernathy on amateur radio. Tom did a good job and there were several folks in the audience who expressed interest in obtaining their licenses. Dan and Terri were among them and we gave them encouragement.
Back to the coach to reinstall the overhead brow compartment panels that were removed to install our dish. Then off to the HAM group's "brown bag lunch". We took a black cooler (always the non-conformists) and enjoyed sitting around the table with other HAMs. Judging from the morning nets there may be as many as 70 or 80 HAMs attending Escapade.
We're now back in the coach with the air conditioning on. The closing ceremonies and 35th birthday festivities start at 1730 followed by fireworks after dusk (which is about 2200 this far north). Since Gillette's fireworks display will be here at the Cam Plex there may be as many as 20,000 additional people on the grounds. We'll stick with our rig for the fireworks just to keep everyone honest.
Post banquet update...
We arrived at the banquet hall a few minutes after five and most of the folks had already staked out their tables. Fortunately, Terri & Tom braved the scrum and found a table close to the doors. Carmen, Domingo, Joan, and Ron were already seated so we scarfed the remaining two seats.
Everyone was in a festive mood and the proceedings commenced before we had an opportunity to get bored. They had a very nice ceremony and a look-back to 1978 when the club was founded. The only "glaring" omission was that they failed to note that it was in 1978 that we got together...
Dinner was "not bad" banquet food. The chicken was dry, but there was loads of gravy to make it palatable. Door prizes were distributed, but none to our table. There were toasts and, in our opinion, just a bit too much self back slapping. But, all in all a nice evening.
We got back to our coach about eight amid threatening skies with ominous black clouds and distant thunder. The storms were definitely heading our way, but the crowds of folks continued to swell the Cam Plex grounds. We thought for sure the fireworks would be cancelled, but the started right on time and continued throughout the rain. The lightening just augmented (and occasionally dwarfed) the man-made pyrotechnics.
Tomorrow many folks will start heading out, but many more (including us) will stay put for the balance of the holiday weekend. We're scheduled to depart Sunday for Box Elder and beyond. Meanwhile we'll have two days "down time" with nothing at all on our agenda.
Sat, 06 Jul: As predicted, many folks hit the road yesterday (Friday), which left some vacant sites in the campground. We still had neighbors, including Tom & Terri who will be staying until Monday.
We had a "last supper" last evening with Carmen & Domingo, Terri & Tom, and ourselves. We just couldn't stay away so back we went to Las Margaritas. As before, it was excellent!
Today (Saturday) was a very lazy day. We touched base with Domingo & Carmen and decided to pay the Prime Rib one last visit. Sandi's steak was very tough and gristly so she sent it back. They brought another that was delicious. And, they took $10 off our tab. They didn't have to do that, replacing the steak was more than enough. That's what marks a true professional, they own up to their mistakes and make things right.