|Tue, 09 Aug: We got up at "dark o'clock" to get Carpe ready for the road. We remembered the long line at the campground's lone dump site and wanted to be among the first. There were many FMCA coaches heading to the rally, so we figured it'd be busy.
Bob did a masterful job of getting Carpe out of her tight space and to the dump site without taking off any paint or other expensive parts. Lo and behold, the dump site was empty, so we were able to get a good dump and flush. All empty and with a full fresh water tank we hit the road a bit after seven.
It was a short twenty-some mile trip to Madison, and it went well until we got near town when the traffic came to a stop. Seems there was a very bad accident on the other side of the Beltway Drive, which stopped eastbound traffic completely. We westbounders lost a lane or two to emergency vehicles, not to mention the gawkers. So, we spent a half hour driving some three or four miles till we clear. Of course, that's when the drivers had to speed up and show that they too are capable of doing stupid things.
We rendezvoued with other FMCA Full Timers at a Kohl's parking lot a few miles from the Alliant Center. At 10:30 we caravaned from our rendezvous site to the volunteer entry gate at Alliant Energy Center. By 11:15 we were all parked in a mostly level, grassy area on the Alliant Energy grounds, but some distance from the Exhibition Halls.
Once settled in we drove to the auxiliary parking area (about four miles from Alliant Center) and picked up the Davilas and treated them to lunch at Costco. After lunch we shopped till we dropped and our freezer is once again bulging. We relaxed during the afternoon and again met the Davilas for dinner at a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings.
Wed, 10 Aug: A very restful and quiet nite until shortly before seven when "quiet time" ended and the generators started up. We are in a non-electric (no water either) area, so we need to run our generators once or twice a day to keep our batteries charged. A lazy, relaxing morning that included attending a seminar on water conservation while dry camping.
We drove to a nearby Camping World to see if they had any new RVing "toys" for us. We spent about an hour in the store and didn't see anything we needed/wanted. A stop for lunch on the way home. Afternoon seminar on generator operations & maintenance and then back to our campsite for a pot-luck with our fellow full timers.
Sat, 13 Aug: One thing we'll admit about these rallies, the time sure flies. Hard to believe it has been four days since our last post...
We spent the week attending seminars and dining out with good friends. It has been a blast running into folks we've met along life's highways. Some we knew would be here, others were a total (and pleasant) surprise. We dined with the Davilas and Tarkins, and on Thursday all six of us went to a really great Mexican restaurant.
Yesterday (Friday) the full timer's group did our volunteer "gig" by handing out free ice cream. Well, we got there about an hour before the giveaway started (1300), and they were already queued up. When the time arrived it was almost a mob scene. Unbelievable what people will do to get a tiny (ounce or two) cup of FREE ice cream. And the excuses they come up with to try and weasel a second cup.
When that was over we came back to the coach and relaxed until we headed out to a local burger "joint" with Ken & Joan Tarkin.
The weather has been just beautiful with intermittent rain just the past few days. Overnite lows have been in the high 50s/low 60s, so sleeping without electricity has not been a problem.
As this is being written the rally is officially over. Some rain squalls broke up the informal farewell happy hours, so we're in the coach running the generator one last time to charge the batteries for the nite. We'll be out of here first thing tomorrow (Sunday) morning and head back to Forest City so Winnebago can try to find a new rainleak as well as remedy a recall item. It'll be a long (275 miles or so) day, but we want to be there tomorrow so we can get in line for repairs first thing Monday...