Lavender, Motorcycles and Prison


It’s hard to believe that half the summer has slipped away and I’m a month behind with my posts. Guess that means we’ve been busy! I now offer a summary of what we’ve been up to.

1. Something to improve My Quality of Living While in the Motor Home

The installation of a new refrigerator in the motor home was exciting for me, and I was happy with the results when we spent a weekend in nearby Preston Springs at the Country Jamboree. We decided to try a house fridge instead of the usual two-way models used in most motor homes, mainly because the very hot, direct sunlight in the spring in Arizona sometimes causes freezing on those, and because the gas components take up a lot of space that I’d rather have for inside fridge space. Household models are also much less expensive than new motor home models. Since we already had a voltage inverter in the motor home, Jim just had to run wiring to reach from it to the fridge outlet, and install a switch so that we can use the coach batteries to power it when we are on the move, and then switch to 110 volts when we are plugged in at an RV Site. It was a bigger job than expected, but worth it.

 

2. Lavender Fields

In mid-July I made a trip to Campbellcroft to meet my Red Hat friends at the Lavender Fields, but  by the time we all arrived, heavy rain and the threat of thunder storms chased us away to the nearest shopping area and an indoor lunch.

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I was disappointed that I couldn’t get any pictures of the fields, so Jim and I took a drive out a few days later. There were so many people there that day, it was still difficult to get good unobstructed shots, but here are a couple.

 

3. A Motorcycle Ride to Picton

Last week, instead of playing pickle ball on a Wednesday afternoon, we joined our friends Steve and Sue on one of the few motorcycle rides we’ve taken this year. We left Hastings at 10:30 in the morning, expecting to be gone a couple of hours, but having no particular destination. By the time we stopped for lunch at 1:00 pm, we were in Picton in Prince Edward County, having explored many country roads and covered many more miles than anticipated. Picton is an interesting community that is heavily populated with tourists and cottagers during the summer months and well worth checking out if you are in the area. We reached it via Hwy. 49, but after lunch we took the Ferry across the bay to Glenora and drove along the shore of Lake Ontario before turning back north through the towns of Napanee and Tamworth, then cutting back west to Campbellford and home. That was the longest bike ride I’ve been on since my hip replacement almost a year ago, and I have to admit that I enjoyed the scenery and the perfect riding weather, but my joints and muscles were a tad sore when we finally got off at nearly 3:00 pm!

 

4. A Tour of Kingston Penitentiary

This past weekend we went to Kingston to tour the Kingston Penitentiary, which ceased operations on September 30, 2013, and was opened to the public just last year. I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy it, but the hour and a half passed very quickly. We were amazed by what we learned about this, the first British North American penitentiary, which sits on 8.6 hectares of land on King Street. It was constructed through 1833 and 1834 and officially opened on June 1, 1835 with the arrival of the first six inmates. Our various tour guides, many of whom are retired guards or wardens, explained the operation, the security systems, the routines, and enlightened us with stories of riots, escapes, work crews, rehab programs and building updates. It was well worth the $25 price of admission.

 

After a visit with family in Brockville over the next couple of days, we stopped in Napanee on our way home to have a lovely lunch with friends on the riverside outdoor patio of a relatively new restaurant that wasn’t there when I used to live in Napanee. How things change in thirteen years!

 

Next week I’m flying out to British Columbia for three weeks to visit with some more of my family. Because they are spread from southern BC to Vancouver to the Gulf Islands, it has been a challenge arranging the various modes of transportation needed. It will be an adventure. Stay tuned!

Six Days, Seven States, 2,110 Miles


I said that I would keep you posted along our journey to Arizona, but that hasn’t worked out so well. We are in Holbrook Arizona tonight and will be in Mesa tomorrow, so I’ll give you a synopsis of our travels during the last six days.

Since we have driven this route several times, and this time we aren’t taking time for any sightseeing, there isn’t too much to share with you. The things that have made this an adventure this time are the inconveniences that have occurred.

We got away last Thursday afternoon and got caught up in the rush hour traffic in Toronto. We’d planned to make it to Windsor, ready to cross the border to the US in the morning, but it was dark and rainy so we stopped at the Onroute (Travel Centre) at Guelph for some dinner and the night. We’d driven away from the light snow that was falling when we left, but the temperature was just above freezing. The furnace was necessary. This was the first inconvenience. Jim started it up. The fan came on and we could hear the click of the propane burner trying to fire, but it never made it. Jim started the generator so I could use the microwave, and the furnace came on. It ran the whole time that the generator was on, shutting down when the required temperature was reached, and starting up again. We shut the generator off and went back inside the building to read before bed so as not to use up battery power by using the coach lights. When we got back, it wasn’t so warm, but we were ready for bed anyway. Jim plugged his APAP into the 12 volt outlet and we left the furnace running. At 1:00 a.m. he woke up, unable to breath. The APAP wasn’t working and the coach was very cold, so he had to turn the generator on again to charge up the batteries. Seems the furnace will only run on 110 watts and if that battery gets just a little low, it shuts off. The fan, however, will keep on going on the 12 volt batteries until they too die! It had been running for several hours non-stop, using up all the battery power. Well, at least we knew that. We turned off the furnace once the place was good and warm, and crawled under the covers. Thank goodness for the silk and down duvet that I’d snagged at a patio sale last year!

The second night we parked in a Cracker Barrel parking lot for the night, after enjoying a delicious home-style meal, in Joliet Illinois. Again we had to play the game with the furnace. We were up early and back on the road by 8:10 the next morning. We stopped for gas and just nicely got cruising down I-55 when the passenger side-view mirror, which had seemed a little wobbly the day before and Jim had tightened up the bolts holding it to the arm, was suddenly vibrating so hard that it would soon be off on the side of the road. So Jim got out to check it again and this time discovered that the problem was with the wood behind the siding where the mirror arm was attached. It was rotten! There was nothing he could do but remove the whole thing. Now that’s not so good when you’re driving a vehicle with no back window, so therefore no rearview mirror, and you have to depend on your side-view mirrors. Back on the highway Jim avoided passing anyone because he wouldn’t be able to see well enough to get back into the lane after. He figured if he had some longer bolts he could put them through into the plywood under the inside dash, so when we stopped in Leitchfield for lunch he got what he needed at the local NAPA dealer and replaced the mirror. We’d planned to make it to Lambert’s Café in Sullivan for dinner, but by 5:00 we’d had enough and stopped at the KOA in Stanton, Missouri. Since we’d had to winterize the motor home with antifreeze before we left home, we had only bottled water on board, so it was really nice to be able to hook up to water, sewer and electricity. Oh yes, the water pump wasn’t working anyway so we couldn’t have used our own water. We enjoyed hot showers (thank goodness the water heater was working!) and recharged all of our electronics before crawling into bed.

The next morning we timed it just right to have lunch at Lambert’s. Each other time that we’ve gone there we didn’t have much of a wait and we were out within the hour, but we forgot that it was Sunday of the US Thanksgiving weekend this time. The parking lots were full, but we got lucky enough to grab an RV spot that had just been vacated. However, the porch was filled with people waiting to get into the restaurant and there was a line up at the outdoor Registration Booth!

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We were told there was a 70 to 80 minute wait, but since we’d been anticipating this since the evening before, we decided to wait. It was cold outside so we went into the Gift Shop. Many others had the same idea. We had to get extra layers out of the motor home. At 90 minutes our names were called and we were shown to our seats in a room filled with large families and lots of chatter and of course rolls being tossed across the room. Jim enjoyed a pork variety platter and I decided to try the fried chicken. I hadn’t had fried chicken like that in years. Of course it was too much, so we had the base for our dinner in the RV that night, buying some salad at the Walmart in Claremore Oklahoma, where we parked for the night. It was windy there, but a little warmer.

We were on our way by 7:30 the next morning and except for a stop at a 60’s style diner, Jerry’s Restaurant, in Weatherford, and a short rest at a rest stop in Texas where we could have bought a stuffed buffalo for $20,000, we kept driving until Jim could fight the strong winds sweeping across the plains no more. We stopped in Tucumcari New Mexico for dinner at Denny’s, and checked in for the night at Red Mountain RV Park. The winds were so strong that they would slow the RV down so much that it shifted into a lower gear, making it difficult to climb hills.

Today we left early and stopped for lunch in Sky City at the Dancing Eagle Casino. We indulged ourselves with $5.00 each to play on the slots. Although that lasted us for a good half hour, we came away with nothing to show for it. At 4:00 this afternoon we arrived in Arizona, having traveled 2,110 miles. We drove through a bit of snow flurries and saw more in the ditches and fields along the way as we rose in elevation, but fortunately none was on the roads. We are in the OK RV Park in Holbrook tonight. We’re hoping that the snow will hold off again tomorrow, at least until we get down into the valley. It’s supposed to be well below freezing, so they wouldn’t allow us to hook up to water, but at least we have electricity and WiFi.

. ☺

Texas, Oklahoma and Home: Concluding another RV Adventure


After a goodbye breakfast with neighbours, we finished the last minute preparations, and left Mesa, Arizona shortly before noon on April 1st. At 4:30 we were in Winslow, Arizona sitting on the corner eating ice cream, while watching first-time visitors posing for the same pictures we had taken on our first visit.

When we’d finished the ice cream, we decided to call it a day. We found a campground listed in a flyer we’d picked up so called to reserve a spot. The woman implied that it was filling up quickly, and it was a good thing we’d called ahead. We didn’t expect a lot of amenities because the rates were fairly low, but when we arrived at Winslow Pride RV, we had difficulty recognizing it as a campground. It was located behind a convenience store. The gravel driveway was full of many water-filled potholes, and the water and electric hookups looked very doubtful.  We chose to use only the electrical since we still had plenty of water on-board. There were many empty spots.

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Water tap bearably visible, beside sewer connection.

We’d taken the same course, on I-40 through Gallup, and Tucumcari, New Mexico, through a corner of windy Texas, and into Oklahoma before, but this time the weather was warmer and there seemed to be more RV Campsites available.

We made one stop in McLean, Texas for lunch. McLean is one of the many towns that were once vibrant when Route 66 was the main highway crossing the nation and ran through them, bringing lots of business.  Now McLean is practically a ghost town with many boarded up buildings and dilapidated homes. Not one of the three museums was open, but we did find a The Chuck Wagon Diner, where we shared the daily special of cheeseburger meat loaf served with gravy (of course), mashed potatoes, mixed veggies, a fresh dinner roll and a piece of cake! Even shared it was too much food for us to finish, but it was tasty.

Near Oklahoma City we found a familiar RV Campground, Rockwell RV, where we stayed for the night.  The weather, that had been cooler after we left Arizona, had warmed up to 85°F.

Total length of this rig, including truck, trailer and towed vehicle -- 80 feet!

Total length of this rig, including truck, trailer and towed vehicle — 80 feet!

The next morning we drove into downtown Oklahoma City and spent a few hours enjoying the scenery along the River Walk and taking many, many photos of the magnificent, larger-than-life bronze statues depicting the Land Runs of 1889. Be sure to come back to click on the link and all the menu items on it. It’s a wondrous story. I did find the monument that honoured the natives from whom the land had originally been taken, disturbing.

We had lunch at jazmo’z Bourbon Street Cafe on the canal,

before getting onto the I-44 to Joplin, Missouri where we stayed for the night.

The next day we veered away from I-44 and took a scenic drive through the Ozarks on Hwy 265, stopping for lunch at Lambert’s Café (Home of the Tossed Rolls and extra large coffees) before getting back on course.

After that, home was our only goal. We stopped only for food, gas and sleep. Our last morning, in Erie, Pennsylvania, we woke up to find snow on the ground and Jim said, “I wish I’d listened to the GPS when she told us to make a U-turn when safe to do so!”

We were thankful that there was no snow when we arrived home by dinner time on April 7th.

I, for one, was happy to get out of the motor home that was feeling very cramped after seven months of living in it. But it was an excellent adventure!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this adventure. Thanks for joining us. Likes, comments and new followers are appreciated.

Snowbird Extravaganza


The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) is a 100,000 member national not-for-profit advocacy organization. It is dedicated to actively defending and improving the rights and privileges of Canadian travellers.

Each winter CSA executives travel to popular locations where Canadian Snowbirds escape the harsh winters of their home provinces, to connect with them, and to bring them up-to-date with what CSA has accomplished and its on-going projects. The month of February, in Arizona, has been declared Canada Month. What better time to present a Snowbird Extravaganza, which not only provides CSA information, but free entertainment, and vendor displays.

On Monday we made the short trip to the Mesa Convention Centre to attend this, our first, Extravaganza.

We were a little later getting to the Centre than we’d planned, and the parking lots were already filling up. When we arrived inside it was apparent that if we wanted to get a seat in the designated “theatre” area we needed to grab them quickly. We discovered, however, that most of the chairs were occupied with the plastic welcome bags given out at the door.  The seats were being saved by people who wanted to insure they had a seat, but still wander around the vendor booths while waiting for the show to begin. We managed to snag two chairs in the very back corner, up against the curtain that acted as a partition. While many people had to stand in the outside aisles, leaning against the walls, most of the “saved” seats remained empty until the last few minutes before the show started.

After the Welcome and a briefing from the Canadian Snowbird Association, the entertainment began with the kilted, guitar playing tenor from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Tom Leadbeater. He kept us clapping, smiling and singing along to the many old familiar songs of the region. He was followed by Irish-born comedian, Sean Emery, who travels across the US, spreading laughter with his jokes, sarcasm and oddball juggling stunts. Unfortunately, from where we sat it was difficult to see some of the stunts, even on the screen that was provided. The final performer of the morning was multi-award winning Country Music Artist, Michelle Wright. Sadly, the volume of chatter coming from behind us drowned out her beautiful voice.  We decided to find our way to the food venue before the rush. Outside the theatre we could hear her much better.

On the outdoor patio we enjoyed the warm sun, and ate our purchased sandwiches before the long lines began to form. We didn’t linger to listen again to Tom Leadbeater, who was setting up on the outdoor stage. We let some others have our seats.

Back inside we checked out the vendors of vacation spots, miracle pain treatments, Las Vegas entertainment and Casinos. We picked up information brochures from CSA and the Canadian Consulate before heading back into the theatre in search of seats for the afternoon show. Again, the plastic bags occupied the majority of seats that were otherwise empty, but we found two empty ones much closer to the stage than before. While we sat waiting, a ruckus started in the row behind us.  It seemed that a couple had come back from lunch and expected to get the same seats they’d occupied all morning, but another couple, not seeing any indication that the seats were saved, had taken them over. An argument ensued. The new occupants refused to leave, and the other fellow left in disgust after throwing out the comment, “Damn Canadians!” I looked around in shock. Why on earth was this man, with an obvious dislike for Canadians, attending a show that was provided and sponsored entirely by Canadians, with the majority of the entertainers hailing from Canada and the majority of attendees as well? The only explanation I could think of was that it was all free, and anyone was welcome.

The afternoon entertainment began with two senior singer/guitar players who claimed to be “the first openly grey performers to appear on stage.” By the time Bowser and Blue left the stage forty-five minutes later, my jaws ached from so much laughter. Their political comments, presented through musical parodies, were brilliantly hilarious. But the laughter didn’t end there.

Next on the stage was Jimmy Flynn, dressed in his plaid flannel shirt, overalls, rubber boots and a bright yellow Newfoundland fisherman hat. He kept us in stitches for another half hour with his “Newfie” style stories about family and friends and life in a fishing village in Eastern Canada.

The show ended with the beautiful tenor voice of a long-time favourite of many Canadians, John McDermott.

If laughter and music are the best medicines, we should be good for at least the rest of the season!

Making Some New Friends, and a Few Mishaps in British Columbia


We’ve been in British Columbia for over a week now. Our first stop was Golden, where we went into the Visitor’s Centre to get maps and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. While we were sitting in the corner seats, a rather large beetle-like bug landed on my iPad. I instinctively flicked it off and stepped on it. When the area filled with a horrible smell, I knew it was a Stink Bug, also known as a Cedar Bug, the woman at the desk told us. We found a restaurant and had some lunch before moving on.

A couple of hours later we saw a sign for Canyon Hot Springs that offered RV camping. That sounded like a marvelous idea as the weather had turned cool and wet! Fortunately, they had plenty of room since they were closing for the season in just a few more days.

Canyon Hot SpringsWhile Jim hooked up the electricity and water, I thought I’d get something out of the freezer to thaw for dinner, but it turned out to be unnecessary – everything was thawed! For reasons that I won’t go into, the fridge had been off all day (or longer), and because there wasn’t much left in the freezer, it didn’t stay frozen. I closed the door, retrieved our swim suits from the bedroom drawer, and thought about what to do. When Jim came in I asked him to get the electric cooler from the outside bin and I put the half-bag of shrimp, four pieces of salmon, and a couple of pork chops into that. The fridge was now back on, but I didn’t want this meat to re-freeze and there wasn’t room for it in the fridge. I knew I’d be cooking more than I’d planned that night, but first things first. It was time to soak in the Hot Springs! Actually, it was two good sized swimming pools that were fed from the hot springs, one much hotter than the other. We acclimatized in the cooler one, and then moved to the other.

While we soaked, we chatted with a couple from California, Robin and Mike, who were enjoying a tour of Canada in a pop-up trailer, but were disappointed in the cool and rainy weather we’d been having the past week. They were glad to get warm in the pool. We learned that they were parked quite near to us, and that they had been camped in Jasper Whistler Campsite at the same time we were. In fact, they had had the privilege of watching the Elk family from their doorstep every day that they were there! I’m hoping Robin will send me a couple of the great pictures that she got. When we’d started to shrivel from the heat, we returned to the motor home and I began to cook. Knowing that there would be much more than we could eat ourselves, and that we would soon be sharing meals with my daughter and her family, we invited Robin and Mike to join us for dinner. I cooked the shrimp in some garlic butter, before adding the fresh stir-fry vegetables I’d bought for that reason. I dumped in the green beans and red peppers that had thawed in the freezer, and cooked some more quinoa to add to the leftover I’d planned to use for ourselves that night. I put the salmon pieces into the oven with a maple walnut coating, and while that cooked we shared a bottle of wine and good conversation with Robin and Mike. It turned out to be a wonderful evening after all, despite the pouring rain.

We hardly noticed the rumble of the trains on the nearby track (that seems to be a common denominator at campsites) that night. We slept well. The next morning we said our goodbyes to Robin and Mike before continuing toward Kaslo.

We stopped in Revelstoke for lunch at a friendly café in the downtown, then fueled the motor home at a gas station, and filled the propane tank a few blocks away. At the gas station I sat inside while Jim pumped the gas, on the driver’s side of the coach. At one point, I recall, I felt some rocking and a little bang. I thought it was the sound of Jim opening and closing one of the outside bins, so didn’t look out. Jim recalls feeling the rocking, but figured I was walking around inside. When he was done filling the tank, he noticed that the truck, with a trailer, that was using the pump on the other side of us, was so close to our coach that Jim had to turn sideways to squeeze past it. When he got out to get the propane ten minutes later, he noticed some major cracks in the fiberglass of the back passenger-side corner of the coach, and a missing light cover. It would appear that the driver of that truck had hit us with his trailer, backed up to re-position , and said nothing!

Coach Damage

Coach Damage

IMG_20150921_151140384Too late to do anything about it, we carried on. We crossed Arrow Lake on Shelter Bay Ferry to Galena and continued along Hwy 23 to Nakusp and then back onto Hwy. 6. IMG_0965 IMG_0966On our way out of Nakusp we saw a well-dressed hitch-hiker on the side of the road. We did something we’d never done before. We stopped to offer her a ride, and were glad that we did. Petra was a lovely young woman from Austria who was making her way around parts of Canada before returning home to finish her thesis. That day she was hoping to reach Nelson. Kaslo was on the way. While we drove we learned a bit about Austria, and told her some things about Canada. She’d never been in a motor home before, and she was grateful for the ride because she’d been standing on the road for over an hour. It was starting to get dark when we left her on a corner in Kaslo, with the promise that if she didn’t get a ride quickly, she’d find us in the campsite and accept our offer of the hide-a-bed for the night. We didn’t see her again, so have to assume that she made it safely to Nelson.

That was the start of a week in Kaslo with family and friends.

Winnipeg to Saskatoon in the Motorhome


We arrived at a campground outside Winnipeg in the late afternoon on Wednesday. The grey skies cleared out and blue replaced them, just in time for us to unload the bike and ride into Winnipeg for a quick look-around. We found The Forks, a meeting place where the Red River and the Assinboine River converge. There is a big indoor market there now, several restaurants and a boardwalk along the banks of the river. We didn’t see much as it was near closing time, and we became engaged in conversation with a retired school teacher who is now a publisher of children’s books and was giving away a few samples while trying to sell others. She was very interesting and excited about the books. When we finally walked away, a couple of books in hand, the other shops had closed. We returned to the campground with plans to return the next day.

The next day was sunny and warm, perfect for a motorcycle ride back to The Forks to begin our tour of the city. We started at the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Little did we know that we would become so enthralled with what we saw there, it would be all that we’d have time to see.

Along the path leading to the entrance of the very unique building, we were greeted by a bronze statue of Ghandi.

GhandiAt the desk we were offered tickets for an architectural tour of the building, which would start in fifteen minutes. While we waited in the rotunda for the tour to begin, we watched with fascination as shadows of people of many statures, ages and sexes walked to a white board and wrote a greeting in their native language. Thirty-seven languages were represented.

Greetings on white boardGreetings on white boardThen the tour began. There is too much detail to cover here, so I’ll just share some photos and highlights. A quote on the website (https://humanrights.ca/) sums it up:

“The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will take you on a journey of education and inspiration unlike anything you’ve experienced before.”

Every component of the building was inspired by the late a philanthropist Israel Asper, to represent some aspect of life.

Once the architectural tour ended at the top of the tower, overlooking the city, we were on our own to tour the galleries.All were inspiring. Some were elating, others were depressing. The history of how inhumanly some humans have been treated over the centuries brings a tear to the eye, but changes have been made and the fact that more are being made, brings hope.

However, to quote John Humphries, “There will be peace on earth when the rights of all are respected.” We still have a long way to go.

One thing that impressed me was the stone carvings in one gallery that listed the names of every person who contributed to the building of the museum, from architects to pipe fitters and electricians. They all were recognized.

Contributors

One small section of the list of contributors

We took the stairs and ramps down to the main floor, learning new things in every gallery along the way. We finished in the private room dedicated to the interesting display of the Magna Carta, which was on loan for only another week. I couldn’t help but wonder when our current Prime Minister might have last read this document, if ever.

By the time we got back to the bike it was too late to do anymore touring. Instead we relaxed over plates of pasta and salad at The Spaghetti Factory, which was a real treat since these restaurants have all disappeared from most of Canada.

We were on the road in the motor home the next day, over some very rough roads, with strong winds blowing across the prairie. Our next stop was in Saskatoon where we spent a couple of nights with my cousin Terry and his wife Liz. It was fun to catch up with them and we enjoyed the tour of Winnipeg that they gave us, including a look into the Diefenbaker Canada Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, where we learned some more facts about our country’s history that we hadn’t known before.

Diefenbaker Memorial

Diefenbaker Memorial

Terry showed the rowing sculls that he and members of the Saskatoon Rowing Club use.

Rowing sculls

Saskatoon Rowing Club sculls

Some busy beavers have decided the dock is the perfect spot for their home, and everyday club members dismantle it only to discover it back the next morning.

Beaver Hut

Beaver Hut in Progress

We had lunch at The Berry Barn, where all things Saskatoon Berries were on the menu.

The Berry Barn

The Berry Barn

Jim was the only one to try a piece of pie after we finished our main course, but I had a taste. Hmm.

Next stop: Edmonton, Alberta

Another Camping World/Good Sam RV Rally


Camping World is United States’ largest RV and outdoor retailer; Good Sam is the world’s largest RV owner’s organization. Together they host America’s largest RV Rally. We attended our first Rally in Syracuse, NY in 2013.This year The Rally was held near Phoenix, only an hour away from us, so we had to go.

We signed up for the Early Bird Special and arrived at the venue, Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, at 4:30 on the Tuesday afternoon. We were very impressed with the way all the rigs were neatly and efficiently directed to the parking spots by volunteers. Once we were installed a friendly lady was at our door with our registration package, which meant we didn’t have to walk to a booth and stand in line like last time. The window stickers with QR codes, which came by mail after we’d first registered online, were a major help, and this time they didn’t have rain and mud to deal with. There wasn’t much happening that first night so we just relaxed with our books – no electricity unless we ran the generator, no Wi-Fi.

When we got up the next morning at 8:00 am we were still the last coach in our designated row and we could look across the massive parking lot right out to the entrance. We watched out the window as a new procession of attendees, in everything from small camper vans to forty-foot-plus luxury coaches or fifth-wheels, began. Over the next few days thousands of RVs would fill the several acres of space.

Rows of RVs under the sunset

Rows of RVs under the sunset

We met our next-site neighbours, Bill and Jan Mains, from Casa Grande, who are avid RVers. Jan had her one leg in a cast, due to a broken foot, but she determinedly got around using a little scooter to support the foot that couldn’t touch the ground.

We got our bikes together and went for a ride around the top of the raceway stands, chatting with people along the way. Our fold-up bikes are always a topic of conversation.

Jim on fold-up bicycle overlooking speedway

Jim on fold-up bicycle overlooking speedway

At noon we were allowed into the Rally area, the infield of the race track. We looked through some new RVs until it was time for a seminar on making your RV more fuel efficient, at 1:00 pm. We got some good information. By then my stomach was grumbling. It was a long way back to our RV, so we chose to have pizza from one of the few food vendors that were open that day. There was a Craft Show that Jim wanted to see, but by the time I’d come back from the restroom next door he’d seen it all; not many vendors and not many customers. We toured through a few more new RVs, just for curiosity sake. These $400,000 to $800,000 luxury models wouldn’t have interested me even if we had the money to spend. They are very pretty and have all the bells and whistles, but most are not very well laid out and they are too big to fit into many campgrounds. We soon made our way back to the gate where we’d left our bikes chained to the fence.

Back at the camp site, Jan and Bill were trying to entertain some friends on the tiny spot of empty space in front of their fifth-wheel. The sites were wide enough for only a rig and a pull or tow vehicle beside it. “Patio” space was practically non-existent. More of their friends arrived so we invited them to join us on our site, since we had no extra vehicle, leaving us plenty of patio space. We all visited until the sun went down and the temperature dropped. Then we retreated to the comfort of our “homes” for dinner and downtime.

Jan and Bill on right

Jan and Bill on right

During the next few days we rode the shuttle trolley back and forth between the rally exhibits and our RV, to take in a few more seminars, listen to afternoon entertainers and view more RVs. The most appreciated information we came away with was the value of having a voltage protector plus surge protector rather just a surge protector on your RV plug-in. We heard horror stories about some campgrounds/RV parks having open grounds or reverse polarity in their wiring systems that can cause major damage to an RV without a voltage protector. The Wi-Fi at the media centre was spotty so posting blogs or anything else other than doing emails was difficult. We managed to spend some money at the huge vendor tent, and dropped $14.00 for two cheeseburgers and $4.00 for a bottle of water at the Food Court, the second day there. The next day I packed a lunch. We saw a few lower-priced RVs that we really liked, but because of our poor Canadian dollar exchange even those were beyond our budget. I was disappointed because I would so like to have more kitchen space and closets.

Smiling in our first "dream" Coach

Smiling in our first “dream” Coach

On Thursday night we sat in the grandstand to watch and listen to the Tina Preston Band. They were pretty good. It was unfortunate that the stage was set up in the infield a hundred feet away from the first row of seats, and the bleacher seating was protected by wire mesh fencing, making it difficult to see. There were TV screens though. On Friday night the entertainment was provided by Ticket to Ride, a Beatles Tribute Band and they had the bleachers rocking and stomping until 9:00 pm.

Looking at the Band Stage

Looking onto the band stage from our seats in the bleachers

Saturday afternoon the good weather ended and it started to rain as we were riding the trolley back to camp. We didn’t go back for the Neil Diamond Tribute Band that night. It rained all night long. We’d seen everything we wanted to see, so after breakfast Sunday morning we packed up and left for Mesa Regal. It was a fun few days, but if we do another rally I think I’d rather spend more time getting to know some of the other RVers and less time dreaming about impossibilities.