Sunday, September 23, 2012

Our week in Sedalia, MO

We’ve had a good time at the Escapee Escapade held at the Missouri State Fairgrounds. Just being able to stay at the beautiful fairgrounds was a highlight.

Even Floriculture superintendent has her own office building.


The grounds were very pretty probably because there is a greenhouse right on the grounds. The other highlight was the ‘40 & 8’ Merci Boxcar, just like the one we placed a cache near in Fresno. Remember each state was given one of these boxcars filled with presents of gratitude from the people of France following our thousands of gifts of food, clothes, shoes and other necessities following WWII.

The Escapade started officially on Sunday with Registration in the Hospitality Room. This room was used for many activities, free WIFI, the mail room, the Escapee office, morning breakfasts, a Chili Cook-off, message boards, social time and more. This was the hub of actives.


We went to several seminars including one on Geocaching taught by Tom Abernethy. Tom did a nice job explaining geocaching to the beginners and some experienced cachers too. The next day we were able to talk to many attendees at an activity called The Row. This is an opportunity for the many Birds of Feather (BOF) groups and Chapters as well as Co-Op Parks to meet and explain what their club is all about and when they will be having rallies. We displayed lots of cache containers we had set out at the Gypsy Gathering Rally the week before, our cache bag full of goodies we find helpful in getting a cache, and a video on caching. We signed up 19 new members for our SKP Geocache BOF chapter.


Of course we love finding good places to eat and Sedalia was no exception. One place we ate twice at was the Kehde Barbeque. They have developed a potato dish they call a Society – my favorite. It is a large, very large potato filled with portabella mushrooms, caramelized onions, tons of gooey cheese, BBQ sauce and smoked turkey. Top that with sour cream and that’s a dinner to die for. Another yummy eatery we ate at was Lemaire’s Cajum Catfish & Seafood House. This was the only one I remembered to take a picture.


We also partook of Chinese, Mexican and Mediterranean cuisines. One more mention of food for this blog… Blue Bell Ice Cream!!! We have finally arrived in a state that we can buy BB, and we did.

We did do some geocaching while in Sedalia. On one of our finds we were stopped by a local lady just finishing a 39 mile bike ride on the Missouri State Katy Trail park. After explaining the hobby, she joined us in the hunt and after Tom found the cache, she was raring to sign up for the hobby. We found 4 caches and placed 1 while in Sedalia. If only we were not so busy with a rally.Winking smile

We sere treated to several nights of entertainment. Yakov Smirnoff put on a funny, entertaining and inspirational show. George Dyer sang the most amazing show tunes, opera, and ballads. We bought 2 of his CD’s. Even the talent show put on by Escapees, the Ham-O-Rama, was pretty darn good. We spent our last night at the rally at a dance. There was ballroom, country western, line dancing and even some crazy dances like YMCA and the hokey pokey.

We did do a little touring of the local area, We drove the back roads to the tiny town of Stover. We stopped to buy some local produce and met the nicest couple and chatted for over an hour. WE just love this part of traveling, meeting local folks. We also drove through the downtown area of Sedalia. We learned at one seminar all about the bawdy side of Sedalia, a town with more prostitutes than almost any other US town. We had to take a picture of one of the brothels now on the National Register of Historic Places


We visited the beautifully restored KATY Depot.

We chatted with the Executive Director, Deborah Biermann, and told her about placing a cache at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart and asked about the possibility of placing one at this historic location. She agreed. This is the cache site.


This morning we left the fairgrounds and moved a short distance to the Moose Lodge, first 4 nights free.

Tomorrow we drive to Kansas City. We will be traveling with Sharon and Don DelRosario on our way to Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rally #4–Still having fun

We have arrived in Sedalia, Missouri, for the Escapee Escapade.  We had a little trouble finding our way to the parking area; a couple more signs off the main street would have helped.  We found out the gates to the main area of the fairgrounds should have been locked and we were not the only RV driving through the fairgrounds before arriving in the right parking lot.  We then took our paperwork to the office only to find that Friday they were doing ‘dry runs’ to get ready for the ‘real registration’ tomorrow.  Tom said the big FMCA rally is beginning to look pretty good.  After all, this is just the early arrival day and it is sure to get more organized as the rally progresses. 

The staff at Escapade are really friendly and accommodating and that makes the hiccups in organization and lack of signage very tolerable. 

It has taken us 3 days to drive from Celina, OH, to get here.  We traveled only about 250 easy miles a day, most of it on I-70.  Our first night we stayed at a campground in Enon, Enon Beach.  It was marginal with some long term residents camping in tents, station wagons, and campers.  Tom had only just stepped out of the RV to hook up when this little 5  year old engaged him in a conversation.  He was pretty lonely, but very smart and precocious.  We visited Dayton Historical Carillon Park. We were absolutely amazed at the number of inventions and patents that came out of Dayton, OH.  Probably the biggest was the all the technology that came out of the NCR company.  I didn’t know that IBM was developed by former employees of the National Cash Register company.


Then the Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilber, worked on the plane that flew at Kittyhawk and perfected the propeller and design of the airplane over the next 4 years. This was the 3rd career of the Wright Bros; they owned a print shop, and a bicycle shop before becoming aviators.


We drove back to Enon and had a delicious homemade dinner of Chicken and Noodles for me and Salisbury steak with mushrooms and mashed potatoes for Tom.  We pulled out the next day on our way to Sedalia.

I even rode a carousel with characters developed in Dayton like Iams dog food, a box derby car and the first steam engine that used no fuel. It used steam from the electrical generator that powered the NCR company.


Our next stop was at a wonderful Good Sam Campground, Camp Lakewood, in Effingham, IL.  This campground had everything an RV park should have, pristine roomy sites, good views, a big laundry, and friendly staff that guides you to your site.  We will have to come back and stay there again sometime.


Last night we drove to the Boone County Fairgrounds in Columbia, MO.  This weekend was the horse and mule sale at the fairgrounds.  We had quite a show watching 2 guys trying to load a mare and her foal into a big truck.  They just could not get her to walk up the ramp; the board on the side of the ramp kept falling down, the mare would jump off the ramp, and the little foal was galloping all around.  Finally, an experienced and humane horseman came over after about 20 minutes and led the foal into the truck and with a little pulling and one minute later the mare walked up the ramp.  We were also treated to the Amish men driving sulkies and the Amish children in little wagons driven by ponies. 


That’s all the excitement for now.  Hope we have a good time at this our first Escapade.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

3 weeks on the road-an overview.

Yes, it has been 3 weeks since our last post and there is no way I could bore you with the details of three weeks travels. So, this will be an overview, just the highlights of our stays in Elkhart, IN; Indianapolis, IN; and Celina, OH.
We caught up with Nick and Terry Russell after seeing them at the Western Gypsy Journal Rally in Yuma, AZ, at the Elkhart RV Campground.  Several of our RV friends , Brenda & Ron Speidel, Chris and Charles Yust were there also. And we had a 70th birthday party – nooooo, not for me – for Al Hesselbart.  Of course there was food, lies, laughter, and lots of catching up.
One highlight of our time in Elkhart was the Flower Quilt Heritage Trail.  We probably saw more Amish in their cute buggies than we have ever seen in one day.

And naturally we went to dinner several times with the ‘Russell Gang"’; Chinese, Italian, and Mexican cuisine.  All was delicious.

We did start the repairs on the slide topper while in Elkhart. I stitched the hem with dental floss because the thread had deteriorated in the topper. 

Tom bought another end unit that had just worn out and we still have to reset the spring in the roller, install the cover fabric, and then remount it on the RV.

We left Elkhart for Indianapolis and the Family Motor Coach Assoc. – FMCA.  Tom represented the Golden Spike Chapter of FMCA at the Director’s Meeting, an all day affair. Boy did he want softer chairs.
One of the highlights of our attendance at FMCA was my assistance with the Smart Phone Session put on by Chris and Jim Guld, Geeks on Tour.  It was a fun experience.
While at FMCA we walked through many new RV’s, Foretravels, Winnebago's, Phatons, and Holiday Ramblers.  We did not see one that is as comfortable and homey as DA PAD.
Another highlight was the entertainment the last evening, The Dutton’s from Branson.  We had seen them when in Branson 2 months ago and enjoyed them again.  We met our geocaching friend, Margie Rogers, Gooseygal, and sat with her this night. 
We did have one unfortunate incident when our Jeep, DA TOAD, died in 5 o’clock traffic on a very busy street.  We sat for about 45 minutes while waiting for a CoachNet dispatched tow truck when a very nice driver stopped and helped Tom push DA TOAD out of traffic.  Our friend, Quentin Swan, who was also attending FMCA, came with some oil to top off the crankcase.  Finally, DA TOAD started.  We called off the tow truck, drove back to the fairgrounds, and it has run just fine ever since.
When in Indianapolis, we got a lot of rain.  We were parked on the grass next to a huge mud hole.  We pulled out without any trouble; it just looked like a war zone and DA TOAD wore this mud for many miles.
We left for Celina and the Eastern Gypsy Journal Rally.  This turned out to be Nick and Terry Russell’s last rally and we were glad we made this event.  We had several duties throughout the rally:  we had the responsibility for setting up the Audio Visual equipment and 2 of the session rooms.  I did 5 sessions, 3 on geocaching, 2 on smart phones.  We set out 10 geocaches around the fairgrounds.  I helped Terry Russell with some of the registration printing: name tags, walk-in tags, signs, etc.  I love working with this hardworking gracious lady.  Another responsibility that I have is caring for Nick Russell’s Smart Phone.  After calling Verizon on 2 different days we finally got another phone sent to Celina.  I got most of Nick’s apps set up in folders and hopefully all goes well. But I can’t complain if it doesn’t because that means I will be talking to Nick again soon. Open-mouthed smile
Nick’s rally is always fun. There is lots of very informational sessions, great entertainment from “One More Time”, the infamous Buckeye Beauty Contest and lots of door prizes.
Even Nick and Terry got prizes at this rally.
These are some of the highlights of the Rally. 
The panel of RV experts answers any and all questions.
One More Time entertained us with Show Tunes and impersonations of Sinatra, Streisand, and Cher.

The Buckeye Beauties were unbelievably gorgeous… NOT.
We were helped with our geocaching sessions by Margie, Gooseygal.
A MAJOR highlight for me was when our ticket was drawn for one of the many door prizes and we won a Kindle.  Since Tom has his… this was MINE!  I am already enjoying reading books on this wonder-reader.
After the rally 24 of us went to dinner.  Stu McNickel gave Nick some really funny gifts for the non-techie: an etch-a-sketch, pencils, post-its, etc. all substitutes for the cell phone, computer, text messaging, e-mail and things like that. 
We had a delicious dinner and wonderful fellowship despite the serious looks on all faces except “Froggie” Donna’s on the right.
After most everyone was gone, I worked on a couple of computers of fellow rally-goers, Pete and Jo Peters.  Finally we were sad to see Greg and Jan, and Terry and Nick drive out of the fairgrounds.  We will see them “down the road”.
Our last day in Celina was spent reorganizing one of our bays.  It was a big job but someone had to do it and we did!  It looks good, is much lighter, and now Tom can find his tools and equipment.
We also did wash which we had not done in exactly 30 days! We either had to do wash or buy more underwear (which we have had to do twice in our travels). Smile with tongue out
We pulled out Tuesday this week and are on our way to the Escapade Rally in Sedalia, MO.