Family & Friends
By Lucille Kurtz, F42418
The 19th annual Rocky Mountain Ramble was held August 27 through 30, 2002, at the Adams County Regional Park and Fairgrounds in Brighton, Colorado. It was the first event hosted by the newly formed Rocky Mountain Motorcoach Association Inc. (RMMA).
For the most part, the weather was perfect — warm days and cool nights. But on Thursday afternoon, August 29, we were roused out of our coaches by sirens and bullhorns. The area was under a tornado warning, and park attendants told us to go immediately to the Dome Building and take refuge. One rally volunteer actually saw three funnel clouds to the south of Brighton, one of which was touching the ground. The tornado damaged an area approximately 15 miles south of the campground, but did not hit Brighton.
The rally’s 110 volunteers worked to keep everything running smoothly for the occupants of the 290 coaches in attendance. Breakfast was served every morning, with the Frustrated Maestros Rocky Mountain Rockers chapter playing music “to get your motor started.” They also performed during the ice cream social, presented by RV Alliance America, C95, and hosted by Joan Pigg, F133119, wife of Len Pigg, national vice president, Rocky Mountain Area.
More than 50 seminars were presented that touched upon a variety of interests. Vendors in 76 booths showed their wares inside the exhibit hall, while six other booths were set up outside. In addition, 55 door prizes were awarded.
Five motorhome dealers brought many show coaches to the event. The motorhomes ranged in size from type Bs, to a type A that had a fireplace (with electric logs) in the living area, and another that featured 1-1/2 baths.
The rally program, which featured the logo “Mile Hi Fun” on the cover, was informative and complete. It even contained a history of past Rocky Mountain Rambles. For instance, the first Ramble was held in Durango in 1982.
Evening entertainment was provided on all four nights. On the first night, a combination of singing and sign language was presented by a cast of young people who called themselves “Hands in Harmony.” Wednesday night featured the Queen City (Denver) Jazz Band; on Thursday night High, Wide, and Handsome (plus two) performed country and classic tunes from the 1920s to the 1950s. Impersonator Brad Zinn, a man of many hats (literally), had the audience in stitches on Friday night with his portrayal of famous funnymen in his show, “A Tribute to the Great Comedians.”
We missed the presence of FMCA national president Jeff Jefcoat, F118344, who was advised by his doctors to stay home and rest after some medical troubles. But national senior vice president R.G. Wilson, F21025, and his wife, Jeri, and FMCA executive director Don Eversmann, F240000, and his wife, Sharon, were in attendance. Of course, Rocky Mountain Area national vice president Len Pigg was there, along with his committee of captains, led by rally master Duane Pindell, F105443, who did a superb job organizing and presenting the event.
The rally program cover was right — it was Mile Hi Fun!
Lone Star Chapter Celebrates 35 Years
By Suzan Rash, F219015
Following FMCA’s national convention in Glenwood, Minnesota, in July 1966, a group of FMCA members decided to form a chapter in Texas. In September 1966, 13 coaches gathered for a meeting at Breckinridge Park in San Antonio to form the Lone Star chapter. On June 16, 1967, FMCA granted a charter to the chapter, which was presented at a September rally. By then, the chapter had 30 member coaches. Today the chapter has 215 member coaches.
On May 16 through 20, 2002, owners of 95 coaches met to celebrate the Lone Star chapter’s 35th anniversary with food, fellowship, and fun. We gathered at the Guadalupe River RV Park in Kerrville, Texas, not too many miles from where the chapter was started. The rally was under the leadership of Ben and Sue Loganbill, F164247.
Four members who were present at the rally also were listed in the chapter’s first membership directory: Pete Vincent, F5139; Ben Magness, L3018; Lee Pundt, F1390; and Dr. H.W. Thomas, F5490.
During the 35 years that the Lone Star chapter has existed, 28 different people have served as its president. We were very glad to have 12 of these individuals in attendance at the anniversary rally. They were Ben Magness (1973-75); Pete Vincent (1975-77); Cliff Hill, F24467 (1983-85); Jack Frost, F12259 (1990-91); Wesley Wilson, F39843 (1992-93); Willard Smith, F122983 (1993-94); Ben Loganbill, (1995-96); Lee Pundt, (1996-97); Maurice Faber, F44832 (1999); Dave Renfro, F138913 (2000); Gene Getzendanner, F116478 (2001); and Blanche Moffett, F55783 (2002).
We also were very glad to have the company of South Central Area vice president Jim Ammenheuser, F157201, and his wife, Kitty; national treasurer Connie Pool, F140306, and her husband, Corbett; and South Central Six-State Rally Association president Tony Innocenti, F56315, and his wife, Geri.
We followed our motto of food, fun, and fellowship, and enjoyed plenty of each. There was ample time for card games, Mexican Train, and other types of games, as well as the opportunity for fellowship. Breakfast was catered each day, as were the evening meals. One night we enjoyed Mexican food; another evening featured German cuisine; and we enjoyed a steak dinner on the evening of the anniversary celebration.
The entertainment each night was excellent. The first night featured Callie Bock, daughter of the owners of Kerrville RV, C7332, who sang Western songs and played guitar. The Tivy High School Jazz Band performed for us on the second evening. On both nights, the audience gave the entertainers a standing ovation. The final night’s entertainment was a “womanless wedding” skit performed by men from our chapter. The “wedding” was followed by anniversary cake and punch.
Dean Little, F164354, chapter historian and past secretary, read a saying that was printed in a 1991 chapter newsletter. “The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop — on what day or what hour. Now is the only time you have, so live it with a will. Don’t wait until tomorrow — the hands may then be still.” That poem relates to today’s uncertainty as much as it did more than 10 years ago.
The Lone Star chapter continues to be among the largest and most active chapters in FMCA with an influx of some younger members who have recognized the freedom and fun, as well as some difficulties, of motorhoming, whether they are full-timers, part-timers, or just occasional-timers. We look forward to each of our Lone Star rallies — in the near and far future — and on to our 40th anniversary in five years.
Olympic Snowbirds Prepare For Fun
By Marilyn Hashagen, F104561
Forty-two motor coaches arrived at the Royal City, Washington, home of Kent and Karen Pratt, F261969, on May 31, 2002, for what resulted in an exceptional three-day pre-rally before the Northwest Area Rally, June 6 through 9, 2002, at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake, Washington. At the pre-rally, much work was done and fun was had in preparation for the area rally.
At an Olympic Snowbirds rally in April 2002, Ann Phillips, wife of Northwest Area national vice president Jim Phillips, F158824, shared information about a Red Hat/Purple Flower Society luncheon she attended at FMCA’s winter convention in Perry, Georgia. She thought we could try this during the Northwest Area Rally in June and indicated that nearly everyone who has taken part in these get-togethers had a fun time. Thus, the Olympic Snowbirds’ “Red Hat Brigade” was born.
All the ladies were encouraged to bring a hat, flowers, and other accessories to the pre-rally, where we designed our own dramatic Red Hat/Purple Flower works of art. Several ladies could not find a red hat, so a can of red high-gloss spray paint was used. With the aid of hot glue, pins, helpful commentary, and general harassment, creativity flowed and myriad red hats were born.
While the hat making was in progress, other members started to bounce ideas around for the design and construction of a float for the Patriotic Parade, which was to be held the following week at the area rally. Dave Steinman, F263081, has a nephew who saved several large refrigerator cartons, which were hauled to the pre-rally. With these large pieces of cardboard available to us, we asked, “How do we get them to resemble a motorhome?”
It was quite exciting to listen and watch a multitude of ideas come to fruition. It was a regular explosion of creativity. Judy Bauer, F201485, who had worked as a window designer/floor display person for a major retail chain, made a few suggestions and the motorhome began to evolve. Some of the men cut recycled irrigation tubing to length, which was used for the infrastructure. Since we’d have to carry the unit in the parade, more tubing was used as cross members for that purpose.
As you can imagine, great thought was given to the exterior paint and design, which ended up essentially white. Several members painted the body white, and then after the base coat had dried, others were on their knees painting the red and blue graphics. Someone suggested that we add a sewer hose and electric cord for “authenticity.” White cups were painted red and put in place to represent the taillights, and clear glass bowls were used for headlights. Then someone decided we should have hubcaps, and the Pratts were able to unearth four matching hubcaps to complement the RV.
We also added a battery-powered towed vehicle driven by Ann Watson, F123879. What an exciting ride for her — she was afraid that she’d run into the back of the motorhome.
After constructing the units at the pre-rally, we had to break them down so they could be transported to Moses Lake. Once at the site, we reassembled the motorhome and towed car and hid them in an animal barn until the parade. But we weren’t done yet. Somehow, we decided to form a kitchen band — a collection of people banging kitchen utensils (or anything else that makes noise).
The band would not have been complete without our drum major, Stan Kalberg, 211806. Stan stepped right out with a tall drum major’s hat made of red poster paper. The hat sported two United States flags, one Canadian flag, and the gold sticker from the Northwest Area Rally. This was attached to a sun visor, and it was all held in place with a bungee cord.
Once we decided to have the kitchen band, Ron Broadway, F229676, thought we should have our own song. He quickly wrote the following words, which are sung to the tune of “That Good Old Mountain Dew”:
They call us the Olympic Snowbirds
And we are security.
United we stand and we give a hand
When called upon by FMCA.
We like to have fun, and be on the run.
We have happy hour every day.
We sometimes get loud, but my what a crowd.
Olympic Snowbirds … FMCA.
Dick Tennent, F264534, using his computer, printed copies of the new song, which were pinned to the backs of the marchers, since some had trouble remembering the words. The ladies marched in front of the motorhome and the fellows marched behind the RV and towed car in case of a breakdown.
We had a great time at the pre-rally and subsequent area rally and parade. To make sure we didn’t forget the fun we had working and laughing together, we assembled on the Pratts’ lawn for a “fly over” picture before we left for Moses Lake. Using garden hoses as a pattern to follow, we formed a human outline of the letters “OSB” for Olympic Snowbirds. One of the Pratts’ neighbors offered the use of his plane, and with the photographic expertise of Harold Stump, F225000, the OSB picture looks quite professional.
A truly great time can be had when a group of people share a common interest and a worthy goal. Our common interest is FMCA, and our common goal is to share with each member the fellowship that can be enjoyed as a member of a vital chapter.
Roamin’ With The Ramblin’ Nodaks
By Becky Sommers, F150467
The first full weekend of each month from May through September, FMCA’s Ramblin’ Nodaks chapter meets at various places throughout North Dakota. The June 2002 rally was held in Mandan, just outside of Bismarck. We had a great time that weekend, as 16 coaches and four drive-ins attended.
When the rally ended, 15 coaches left Mandan for a week of fun and relaxing travel. We call this our annual “Roamin’ Rally.”
Our itinerary was planned beforehand and included many points of interest. The states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana have so much history and so many interesting places to visit. Plus, the beauty of the wide open prairies is beyond anyone’s imagination.
On day one, our route took us south across the border to Mobridge, South Dakota, located on the beautiful Missouri River. At Mobridge, you can see the burial site of Chief Sitting Bull and win — or lose — a few dollars at the Grand River Casino. A few members visited the casino, and we enjoyed an evening around the campfire before retiring for the night.
On day two we awoke early and had breakfast together before heading out. We stopped in Lemmon, South Dakota, at the Petrified Wood Park. The park is made up of petrified wood and grasses that were all found within a 30-mile radius of the city. The wood pieces are millions of years old, and the park is located on a city block in the heart of downtown. The park also includes a very interesting museum that we all enjoyed.
Next, we drove north to Hettinger, North Dakota, where we stopped at Ed Honeyman’s Museum. Ed and his wife, Eleanore, invited us in to see the many musical instruments that he has restored. These included player pianos, player organs, pump organs, reed organs, mechanical music boxes, a mechanical violin, a banjo, and a harmonica. He even has restored a calliope that he takes to many parades. Everything Ed has restored is in working condition.
The caravan next moved to the small town of Regent, where we spent our second night. We enjoyed a steak supper at the Legion Club, and afterward we toured the town’s museums, which told the history of the surrounding area. We saw items you would find in local stores on Main Street many years ago, including a drugstore, a mercantile, and a doctor’s office. The town also has a store that emphasizes its German heritage with many articles from that country.
The final stop of the evening was at the local ice cream parlor, where we met Gary Greff, the creator and sculptor of the figures that stand alongside the Enchanted Highway, which runs north out of Regent to Gladstone. We were eager to see them the next day.
We began the third day by driving the Enchanted Highway and seeing Gary’s works of art, which included five different sculptures: The Tin Family; Pheasants on the Prairie; Teddy Rides Again; Grasshoppers in the Field; and Geese in Flight. These sculptures range in height from 12 feet to 110 feet. At each sculpture is a place to park, and some have a small playground for the kids. Another sculpture, titled Deer Crossing, was due to be unveiled in September, and future plans call for more of his work to be displayed in the Regent area.
The caravan regrouped in Richardton, where we had an afternoon tour scheduled at the Assumption Abbey. The church, built in 1906, has recently been restored and is absolutely beautiful, as are its grounds. Brother Victor gave us a complete tour, which concluded with a wine tasting in the church’s wine cellar.
Later that afternoon, we were back on the highway again, heading for Medora. Medora is a restored cattle town from the days when Theodore Roosevelt ranched there. It’s a page right out of the Old West.
We arrived at the Red Trail Campground just in time to get settled and to have a bite to eat before it was time to head up into the hills for the Medora Musical, which is presented every night from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend at the Burning amphitheater. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the North Dakota Badlands as we waited for the musical to begin. The entertainment was superb. The Burning Hills Singers really know how to kick up their heels and have a good time.
We spent the next day in Medora as well, where we enjoyed shopping, sight-seeing, a drive through Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and just relaxing. We grilled hamburgers for dinner at the campground, and afterwards we were entertained by Vern and Rita, local musicians who play at the campground nightly.
We were up early to start day five, and what a beautiful day it was. After a hearty breakfast of French toast and sausage, everyone packed up and headed for Sidney, Montana, where we crossed the Yellowstone River and traveled on to Fairview, Montana, on the Montana-North Dakota border. We toured the Fairview Lift Bridge (3-1/2 miles east of Fairview, in North Dakota) and the Cartwright Tunnel, the only railroad tunnel in North Dakota. Neither is still in use, but both are structurally sound. Trails have been developed by the Fairview Chamber of Commerce at each site, and we used them to walk across the Yellowstone River and through the railroad tunnel. The bridge was built in the early 1900s as a lift bridge for river barge traffic, but the only time the lift was ever used was when it was tested after completion. It had a dual purpose, as a railroad bridge and also as a bridge for autos and foot traffic.
After leaving Fairview, we traveled on to Fort Buford, North Dakota, where we spent the night. We set up the tables for a potluck supper on the shore of the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers. As the sun set over the waters, we watched the deer, geese, and pelicans, and the fish jumping. What a way to end an already perfect day.
The next day a tour guide took us through Fort Buford and the post cemetery. We then moved on to Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site. We timed it just right, as the 2002 Rendezvous was taking place when we were there. We had a firsthand glimpse of how the fort operated during its time. We saw re-enactors portraying fur traders and trappers, and viewed examples of Indian beadwork, pottery, and tanning.
The group split up as some went on to Stanley for ice cream, while others tried their luck at the 4 Bears Casino in New Town. You haven’t tasted ice cream until you’ve had a “Whirl a Whip.” Stanley has one of the only two machines in the country that makes this type of ice cream treat. Later, we eventually met back up in Makoti for our overnight stay.
We grilled steaks and had dinner together as a group, then stepped back in history once again as we were invited to see antique steam-powered threshing machines, early gasoline engines, and other antique farm machinery at the Makoti Threshing Grounds. The attraction also includes several old homes, a church, a post office, and a school that are filled with antiques and other items of the past.
Day seven marked the end of our rally, as some would travel north, others east, and some south on their way home. We had our last breakfast together, cleaned up our mess, and prolonged the departure as long as we could.
We saw so much of this beautiful part of the country, traveled approximately 800 miles, and simply enjoyed each other’s company. What a great way to spend a week.
Since we’ve been home, we have discussed the possibilities for next year’s “Ramblin’ Rally.” Some chapter members are from Canada, and we would like to include their country in our next trip, if it can be arranged.
When you visit North Dakota, follow our route, and you won’t be disappointed with what you can see and do.