Friday, April 20, 2012

The First WARE is a Success; The Second WARE is Planned!

As quickly as time passed in our final preparations for the rally, it seemed like the rally itself went even faster. And now it’s over!

Here are a few highlights of Day 3 and 4.

The Penny Raffle was successful in raising over $1800 to award $500 cash award to the lucky raffle winner. The remaining $1300 was sent to Escapees CARE, our favorite charity. In this type of raffle, participants draw tickets and pay the amount of the last 3 digits in penny value. For example, if the ticket number is 790089, the amount to be paid is $0.89. If it is 790599, you would pay $5.99. Jerry Yecny, below, adds up the amounts as Peggy Gill draws tickets to total approximately $20 that she’s planning to pay for chances to win the $500.


Below, Rey & Loretta Armstrong, Bill Parrish and other members of the San Diego area Shanty Shakers chapter model their matching travel shirts.


Belinda Gail, America’s Western Sweetheart, enthralled the audience with her clear voice and accompanying guitar playing. What a wonderful performance!


What’s an RV rally without food? Well, this one was no different than any other, and we had some wonderful meals, like this egg, sausage, pancake, OJ, milk and coffee breakfast provided by three chapters.


The tables were set with ‘green’ placemats made from newspapers.


Lots of people enjoyed the yummy food, served hot and efficiently by the three chapters’ volunteers.


Doris Montague was part of the great crew! Her apron says “Never Say Diet!”


Our club members love to show fondness for each other with hugs. Even the men do it! Steve Obosky and Ed Kruty have been buddies for a long time.


But other guys show their skills in the kitchen.


And lots of gals, too.


At the closing session, after the Penny Raffle award was made and all the door prizes were given away, Don proceeded to conduct the drawing for the Grand Prize. It was presented by reps from Adventure Caravans, a company that conducts RV trips and rallies across the USA, Canada and Mexico. This prize was for an 11-day Mega Rally worth $2,995, the location to be chosen by the lucky winners.


As the lady above drew the winning ticket with the name written on back, and handed it to Don to announce, he got a funny look on his face. I recognized the look as “How the heck am I going to announce this?” The lucky winners were the Del Rosarios! Us!


It was so hard to believe, we were blown away. Everyone was happy for us and kept saying we deserved it after working so hard on putting this rally together.


But we know it was a success not just because we took the lead to pick a place and time and get the ball rolling, but also because of the great team of people who put together a schedule of activities, games and tours. Without them, the rally couldn’t have succeeded.

Our final evening of entertainment was presented by Todd Netland, arranger, composer, pianist. Todd captured our attention with his broad repertoire, perfect pitch and many talents.


Some attendees even got out on the floor to dance. Steve and Nancy Obosky, on the left, are Todd Netlands’ friends and hosts. Denny and Susie Orr, on the right, are Escapees’ Chapter Directors and members of the rally’s staff.


On Thursday morning, we enjoyed “Hugs N Mugs” with sweet rolls and coffee, then watched the RVs roll out of the festival grounds. Later that day we got the staff team together to discuss what worked and what needed changing over pizza. Carlin & Paula Serra, Frank & Marlene Hinman, Ed & Sandy Kruty, Rey & Loretta Armstrong, Frank & Gloria King, Denny & Susie Orr, Art & Caroline Fennell, Walt & Kellie Gunn, and Dave & Brenda Neil. What a terrific team!


We’re thrilled that Kellie and Walt Gunn have agreed to lead the WARE for 2013, and many of the same team will be on board to help plan and conduct the rally. After ‘giving birth’ to the concept and seeing it to fruition, we’re so happy that it will become a repeat event. Although we won’t be in this part of the country next April, we hope to attend the following year.

When we thought it was all over, five of the guys brought in a pallet carrying a large gift box that looked really heavy. The ribbon and bow were made of duct tape! Clever.


They helped us cut the ribbon and open the box to find Don & Sharon’s Space inside!


Several clumps of cotton balls were glued to the inside, and a sign was attached:


There was a lovely card signed by all and a nice VISA gift card as well! We are so appreciative of these dear, sweet, thoughtful friends. And it’s been a really fun time! Thank You All!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Two Days of the WARE

Most of the first day of the Western Area Rally for Escapees (Sunday) was spent getting RVs into the Grape Festival grounds, verifying the category for parking (boondock, handicapped, electric), helping them park and registering the people. By the time the late-arrivers came in today, our count was 192 rigs!


Beautiful weather arrived just in time, and the ground is drying out. Only one 5th wheel came close to getting stuck on the soft ground on Saturday, so we don’t expect any more mishaps as the ground is getting firmer with the wonderful, warm sunshine we’re enjoying.


Most of the vendors and some more advance staff arrived on Saturday. Two of them have heavy buses, so they’re parked on asphalt.


Don and I kicked off the rally’s opening session Sunday afternoon. Thanks to Judy Rinehimer for the picture.

Don Sharon

And Zoe Macon got a good shot of us before the session started. Are we smiling so broadly because we’re too tired to do anything else, or just that we know it will all be over soon?

Don Sharon Zoe

Gloria and Brenda are getting around the grounds using a golf cart. What a pretty pink cast, Brenda!


Colorful tablecloths now adorn the tables.


Everyone seems to be enjoying the socializing and activities.


Dog-walking is a popular activity in between those on the official schedule.


Another is just sitting in the sun or shade, chatting with neighbors.


Skipper Bear, Escapees RV Club Member number 3.75, was introduced by Norm and Mary Scherer during today’s announcements. Skipper has been traveling with various Escapees members for more than 15 years, and has been all over the U.S. and to several other countries as well. He has hat pins and badges to prove it, many of which are too heavy to wear, so they stay in his luggage.


Lots of wonderful door prizes were awarded by Brenda Neil and her crew. Her niece and nephew, in the back, wore unique headgear as they ran the prizes to the lucky winners.


Love that hat!


Jerry Yecny was offering prizes for anyone buying 3 or more Penny Raffle tickets. The lucky winner will get $500 cash, and the remainder will go to Escapees CARE.


Chapter 24 members sorted out the Subway sandwiches getting ready for delivering them to hungry rally attendees.


Attendees seem to want this rally to continue, and one person has indicated possible interest in leading the effort in the future. We’re hoping to hand things over now that we’ve kicked things off for the first rally of this kind! Our terrific crew has done such a great job, so it should be easy to build on this foundation and make it even better, especially if some of them agree to be involved. Our travel plans will take us elsewhere next year, so we want to leave it in good hands.