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Monthly Archives: May 2010

ACA Rally Recap – We like Nick’s rallies the best!

First off, let us all remember what day this is, and the many that have given their lives for this country. I think this picture say it all.

Graveside

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By the time we left for lunch this morning, the campground had really cleared out.

This what it looked like for the past 4 days.

Full Lot

And this is what it looked like this morning.

Empty Lot

There’s about 8 coaches plus us still here, and we’ll be gone Wednesday morning.

It was interesting to compare this, our first American Coach Rally, with the only other rallies we’ve attended, Nick Russell’s Gypsy Gathering Rallies.

We’ve attended 3 of Nick’s so far. One in Casa Grande, AZ, one in Elkhart, IN, and one in Yuma, AZ.

We’ve also attended two other “kind of’ rallies.  They were the two ‘Life on Wheels’ Seminars we attended in Tucson, AZ in 2007 and 2008. I say ‘kind of’, because, although it was a bunch of RV’ers getting together, it was more of an educational experience for people who were fulltime RV’ers, or who wanted to be fulltimers.

We attended our first one in March 2007 in a rental Class C RV when we were still trying to learn about RV’ing. The second one we attended was in March of 2008 after we’d already been on the road for a month in our own coach.

And we certainly learned a lot from these events. And even better, it’s where we first met Nick Russell.

So, comparing Nick’s Gypsy Gathering Rallies and this American Coach rally, Nick wins going away. In fact, as we were leaving the dinner on the final night, I told Jan that I thought Nick’s were better, and Jan said “Oh God, yes!”

The only thing the ACA rally won on was food.

With 3 breakfast buffets, 1 Burgers & Brats lunch, 1 ‘heavy’ hors d’oeuvres, and 1 BBQ dinner, and 1 Prime Rib dinner, it would be hard to top. But you definitely pay for this. The price of the ACA rally was $335, while the Gypsy Rallies are $100-$125.

Big difference!

I think we do just fine with the coffee and doughnuts each morning, and the pizza party on the last night.

On everything else, Nick wins hands down.

1. Door prizes – Nick has dozens of door prizes, given away each night. Free nights at RV Parks, free meals, free RV accessories, etc.  ACA gave away about a half dozen things on the last night, including a lamp made from a Mason jar filled with marbles, and a knitted throw.   Whoopieee!

2. Seminars – Nick has dozens of seminars on a wide variety of subjects, from maintaining your RV, to places to see, and things to do, to hobbies, crafts, and cleaning your rig. The ACA rally had a TOTAL of eleven seminars, and three of those were identical, just given at different times. I attended two seminars, one given by Cummins, about our engines, and one given by Spartan, the maker of our chassis. Both were good. Jan attended a craft class to make a beaded bookmark.

3. Vendors – The vendor situation wasn’t even close. The ACA rally had 9 vendors. Nick usually has a couple of dozen. And the ACA has only had vendors for the last few years. Apparently there was a big discussion about allowing them. Some people didn’t want them.

I don’t know why. I can only figure they were afraid it might interfere with their partying.

Because these people do love to party. And they seem to do it constantly.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, maybe) Jan and I aren’t really big partiers. So when it comes right down to it, we were just bored silly.

I mean, the people were all very nice, and made us feel welcome. We even had ‘First Timer’ badges that let us go first in the buffet lines. And we were always being invited to one party or the other. I doubt we could have attended all of them even if we’d tried.

I guess we had a good time, but we both agree that we wouldn’t go out of our way to attend another ACA rally, or drive a long distance.

But it should tell you something that we plan to drive over 1200 miles from Austin, TX to Elkhart, IN. the first part of August just to attend Nick’s next rally.

Anyway, now back to today.

We decide to have lunch at Humphrey’s Bar & Grill, a place that came highly recommended.

Humphreys

The place has a very eclectic atmosphere, with old toys, signs, crocodile heads, and other ‘junk’ hanging on the walls and ceiling. It seems like every time you look around, you see something different.

Humphreys 2

Right off the bat we knew we were in trouble when we saw the menu. It’s about 18 x 24 inches with 6 pages. There must be 300 items on it, including these.

MountainOysters

MMMMM MMMM Good!  (No, we didn’t have any)

But what we had was really good.

After lunch we stopped off at Walgreens before heading over to Walmart. Then it was off to Ace Hardware to pick up a new foam filter for one of our coach A/C’s.

Heading home we took the long way around, driving out in the country a bit before turning back.

Coming home we encountered this momma antelope with her two fawns. By the time I got stopped to take a picture, momma had headed down into the gulley with her fawns in tow. But when she reappeared, the fawns weren’t with her. She had left them in the gulley and was heading out away from them, hoping I would follow her and leave the fawns alone.

Antelope 1

But apparently one of the fawns didn’t get the message. About 15 seconds later one of them came running up out of the gulley, and through the brush right toward us.
 Fawn 1

Then it was like he realized he wasn’t where he was supposed to be. He looked around, and then hunkered down in the grass and pretty much disappeared to the naked eye. All this time momma was keeping a close eye on us from about 200 yards away.

Fawn 2

Also, along the way we noticed a few of these strange looking power poles.

Timber Pole

They’re flat, not round, and appear to be laminated out of numerous smaller boards.

Timber Pole 2

We saw several of them. There didn’t seem to be any rhythm or reason as to their placement. I’m wondering if they are not some type of test poles being evaluated to see how they work.

We got home about 3 pm and were in for the night.

For dinner we had our left-over Famous Dave’s BBQ from Billings last week. It think it gets better with age.

More later…

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ACA Rally – Day 4…

Today, the last day of the rally, was a repeat of yesterday’s breakfast buffet, but this time with the addition of some very good cinnamon rolls that forced Jan and I to split one.

It twisted our arms, honest!

Outside the Energy Hall where everything happens, we’ve enjoyed seeing these beautiful cherry trees in bloom.

CherryTrees

After breakfast we came back to the coach and we just gelled.  The only real thing going on was a golf tournament, so it was time for a nap.

About 5:15 pm we headed back over to the Energy Hall for the final dinner of the rally, prime rib, no less.

PrimeRib

And the prime rib meal was just as good as our other meals, and once again there was wine on our tables.

PrimeRib 2

And here’s our table companions for the night, The Ernhardts, the Desimoes, the Emberts, and of course, my beautiful wife, Jan.

Note how happy everyone is, and how empty the wine bottles are. Of course there’s no connection there.

PrimeRib 3

Like last night, we had entertainment after dinner. This time it was Jack Jensen and Ted Jordan. They did everything from 50-60’s rock to country and patriotic.

ACAEntertainment

We even had a bit of ventriloquism with Ted and his simian friend, M. K. Shines. (Monkey Shines, get it. Well I guess it’s monkey humor)

ACAEntertainment 2

Everyone really enjoyed the music, especially the last song, “God Bless The USA”

About 8:30 things wrapped up and, saying our goodbyes, we headed back to the rig for the night.

Tomorrow, most rally attendees will probably be heading out, but we’re hanging around for a couple of days before we start back toward Austin for our daughter Brandi’s wedding on June 21st.

A complete change of subject here. A few weeks ago we spent several pleasant days in Klamath, CA visiting the Redwood forests in the area. Klamath is not a very big place. It’s basically just one main street with a few stores, a gas station, and a Post Office.

So it was really strange to find this story about a bizarre crime that took place there recently. Now I’m glad we didn’t stay any longer.

More tomorrow…

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