Sunday, May 27, 2012

Escapees Chapter 9 Rally

We recently served as Volunteer Club Representatives (VCRs) for the Chapter 9 Oregon Trails rally in Florence, OR. We’re traveling with friends Frank and Gloria King, who we met last summer in Alaska, and who have a Montana 5th wheel. They are becoming VCRs and we have the privilege of training them.

We arrived in Florence on Sunday 5/20 just in time to see the Rhody Days Festival Parade. It was the final day’s event to celebrate the 105th Rhododendron Festival. The parade was taking place on the west side of the 4-lane US-101 through town, with some of the spectators sitting/standing in the middle of the road. Two-way traffic was still moving, although slowly, on the east-side lanes.


The festival theme was “Nothing Short of Wild” to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Sea Lion Caves.


We had arrived two days early for the rally, so we visited one of the well-known seafood restaurants in town: Mo’s, just a stone’s throw from the historic 1936 Art Deco Siuslaw River Bridge, designed by Conde McCullough (visible in the background). The clam chowder tasted good and was just the thing for lunch on a gloomy, rainy coastal day.


The rally was held at the Elks Campground about 5 miles north of Florence, Oregon. The Elks Lodge in town has several RV sites in its paved parking lot, but several years ago they built a very nice 40-site park in the woods with a large clubhouse, and it has become a popular destination on the Oregon coast. On Tuesday, Chapter 9 members started to arrive and the clubhouse was prepared for good times together.


Our first get-acquainted activity was to get others to sign their names to blocks on our “Name Bingo” sheets.


To play the game, each person’s name was drawn from a bowl, we marked that square on our Bingo sheets. Prizes (candy bars) were given to the first two Bingos (I won the 2nd one) and finally to the first person to fill in the full card. It served the purpose of getting us to know each other!


Teresa Keenan, VP and Rally Host, made announcements.


Dinner was held at Three Rivers Casino, which is run by the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians.


Breakfast the next morning included pancakes and sausages cooked in the well-equipped kitchen of the clubhouse. Orange juice and Mimosas (OJ and champagne) were available, along with coffee.


Members enjoyed the good food.


Groups were chosen and assigned short skits to present later. Some were scratching their heads over how to portray their characters.


This was another great way to get to know others.


From the smiles on their faces, we wondered whether more Mimosas were being consumed by this group!


The next day, about 20 of our group went for a ride on a giant dune buggy on the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. We posed for a picture with the Kings.


Our ride was for us “older folks,” not intended for thrill-seekers like the ones below.


But it did provide a few surprises. First, we drove down a small hill to the beach.


After driving along the beach for awhile, we turned inland to more dunes and dropped off a few taller hills, leaving the slide evidence behind us.



The hills got taller, and the drop-offs got steeper.


Some of the hills fall into natural lakes that aren’t visible from the top of the hill. Glad our driver knows where they are!


And these guys obviously know where to make their turns.


Dennis, Denny, Ed and Walt – you need to bring your Razrs out here!

Here’s one of the prettiest views of the Oregon Dunes. Too bad the sun wasn’t out.


Our final downhill, the longest one yet, led us back to the entrance and we were on our way home.


We survived and were mostly smiling, although we were wind-blown and a little cold. And I had jarred my left shoulder when the buggy came to an abrupt stop at the bottom of a slide. The next day it was still painful, so we made a visit to the ER to make sure nothing was broken or out of place, and I wore a sling for a few days and took some “happy pills.” It will be fine soon.


Back at the clubhouse, we all brought a gift inside a bag for a game called "Mystery Bags.” Later, the bags were auctioned and the buyers got to keep what was inside the bags. About $135 was raised for Escapees CARE.


The large egg-shaped basket on the left (above) contained jelly beans. Everyone was encouraged to guess the number of beans inside without looking. I guessed 2,345 and came closest to the count of 2,170, so I won the lot! Now I have to figure out what to do with over 2,000 jelly beans!


It was a great rally, we got to know many wonderful people and had a terrific time. Thanks to Everyone!


The rally ended on Friday 5/25 and that was Frank’s birthday, so we celebrated with dinner at the Florence Elks Lodge.