Family & Friends
By Jim Burns, F256885
Members of the Northeast Motorhome Association gathered at the Champlain Valley Exposition Center in Essex Junction, Vermont, for the Northeast Area Rally, July 14 through 17, 2004. Northeast Area vice president Bill Conway, F99081, and his wife, Pat, served as rally hosts. This was our 12th anniversary party, and our theme for the event was “Country Hoedown.”
Rally masters Bill and Ellie Skolfield, F227377, could be seen at nearly every event, and at times people thought Bill had to have a twin to be at so many places. The Skolfields were assisted by rally coordinators Rich and Kathie Tufano, F261995; Jerry and Esther Rogers, F98387; and Paul and Mary Dammers, F135857. An enormous number of volunteers helped to keep things running smoothly. Without the help of these volunteers, it would be nearly impossible to have a rally as great as this one.
All the individual volunteers deserve a pat on the back for the hard work they do. Some of the volunteers work behind the scenes and start days, weeks, and months before the actual rally. These folks deserve a second pat on the back.
Wednesday was chapter day and quite an array of colors was on display as members walked around proudly wearing their chapter apparel.
Of course, sometimes things just don’t go as planned, and in this case it was Wednesday night’s “Lobstah”-On-The-Lake dinner cruise. After those who signed up for the event were dropped off at the dock and the buses had left, it was discovered that the cruise had been cancelled. The Conways were at a restaurant having dinner when Bill received a call detailing the problem. He immediately took charge, making arrangements for three restaurants in the area to accommodate the stranded folks. When the bus drivers were finally contacted, they were instructed to return to the boat dock, pick up the passengers, and deliver them to the restaurants. These people not only enjoyed a nice dinner, but they were refunded the cost of the cruise tickets. Some folks chose to return to the rally site, where they were entertained by Brahma, a rocking country band from upstate New York. Later, we found out that the cruise line was offering free passes to anyone wishing to go on a cruise Friday night.
Thursday was the day for volunteers to shine. Each volunteer was given a T-shirt with the rally logo and the word “volunteer” on it. It seemed that every other person I met was wearing one of these shirts.
That same day, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the local Red Cross held its annual blood drive. For the second time in three years, the Massachusetts Minutemen, led by chapter president Lou Snow, F201098, came through with flying colors in helping to organize and run this effort. At 6:15 a.m., chapter members began unloading all the Red Cross gear needed and worked in shifts for the rest of the day to assist workers and blood donors. Special recognition goes out to Sally Roche, F244201, and Sandy Schermerhorn, F256380, who dressed as blood droplets and paraded around the fairgrounds to promote the drive. A total of 67 units of blood were collected thanks to the efforts of Lou and his volunteers.
That evening, the executive committee of the Northeast Motorhome Association, with assistance from national treasurer Connie Pool, F140306, and national secretary Ginger Painter, F23514, served a barbecue chicken dinner to nearly 500 attendees.
The rally’s opening ceremonies were held Thursday evening, but just as they began, the skies opened, and all of the participants marching in got drenched. Master of ceremonies Gary Adams, F62729, kept the show going as if the sun were still shining. Most of the soaked people, my wife and I included, later changed clothes and enjoyed the evening show put on by Rick & the Ramblers, a Vermont-based Western swing band.
When the official coach count was finalized, it was announced that 777 member coaches were at this rally. We also had what is thought to be a record number of 160 coaches on display, giving us a total of 937 motorhomes on grounds. The exhibit coaches, along with the commercial vendors, gave everyone a chance to look and buy a new motorhome or items for their coach. Thanks go out to commercial coordinators Rick and Connie Knowles, F52253, who started working on this rally months before the actual date.
Friday, for the first time at a Northeast Area Rally, the Red Cross and FMCA offered instruction on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Unfortunately, the course was limited to 30 people. Many more wanted to attend, but had to be turned away.
We mustn’t forget the Frustrated Maestros, who provided music for our morning coffee hour each day. The coffee and doughnuts were served by the Allo Quebec chapter. Let’s also not forget the ice cream social on Friday afternoon that was served by members of the Green Mountain chapter.
Later Friday night we enjoyed the performance of Cahal Dunne, an Irish entertainer who bubbled over with enthusiasm as he sang, played the piano, and told hilarious stories.
Saturday, at approximately 12:30 p.m., a strange thing began happening all over the fairgrounds as women with red hats and many in purple dresses were seen heading for the Blue Ribbon Building to attend the Red Hat Tea.
To cap off the rally entertainment, the Starline Rhythm Boys performed on Saturday night with their vintage rockabilly 1940s and 1950s music.
As we left the fairgrounds at the conclusion of the rally, the staff of the Champlain Valley Exposition thanked our executive committee, telling them that they look forward to us returning soon.
The 13th annual Northeast Area Rally will take place July 13 through 16, 2005, at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts. See you there.
Tri-State Traveliers Celebrate 30th Anniversary In Branson
By Carol Drees, F302326
The Tri-State Traveliers enjoyed bright and sunny days in beautiful Branson, Missouri, unlike the mostly rainy rallies we had grown accustomed to. Thirty-eight coaches arrived at the Compton Ridge Campground in late June for the chapter’s 30th anniversary celebration. Our wagon master, Chuck Bracken, F242764, did an excellent job arranging meals, shows, and activities for attending members.
Our chapter’s name refers to its scope, which encompasses southwestern Ohio, southeastern Indiana, and Northern Kentucky. We were founded in 1974.
The first night of our anniversary celebration included a delicious dinner at Landry’s Seafood and a delightful show at Presleys’ Country Jubilee. Four generations of Presleys sang and played contemporary country songs as well as country music classics. Two other Presleys, a father-and-son duo with the stage names Herkimer and Cecil, provided hilarious comedy.
The second night found us dining at Club Vegas at the Lodge of the Ozarks, followed by a show at the Jim Stafford Theatre. Before the show, Jim collected embarrassing moments, fun jokes, and stories from the audience, which added a personalized touch to his performance. His show also included a short 3-D movie that kept us on our toes.
The next morning started with a two-hour train ride on the Branson Scenic Railway. The evening’s entertainment began at McGuffey’s Restaurant, followed by “Broadway! The Star-Spangled Celebration” at the Branson Variety Theater. This flashy show featured singers and dancers performing music from some of Broadway’s best musicals.
We had hoped our wagon master would receive a pleasant surprise for all his hard work. It turned out the surprise came as Chuck boarded the Showboat Branson Belle for the noon boat ride on our last full day of activities. Near the entrance is a mannequin on stilts, dressed as a sailor, that greets the passengers. As Chuck reached toward the mannequin, it suddenly moved. Chuck had quite a stunned look on his face.
This ride on the Showboat Branson Belle included a meal and a show. And what talented people performed in this show, including one of our own, Elizabeth Hermann, F159456. She was one of the three audience members asked to participate in an acrobatic act.
For the evening meal, we ate at Jim Owen’s Steakhouse and were entertained afterward at the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre. Shoji is a very talented violinist who plays all types of music. The dancing and choreography, which his wife, Dorothy, oversees, was superb, and the special effects were spectacular. We also were privileged to be there on a night when his daughter, Christina, performed.
In addition to our scheduled shows, some chapter members chose to see other performances. Loren and Glenna Porter, F34301, attended the Dutton Family Show, in which family members performed a wide variety of different styles of music. Glenna said they were all so talented.
“The shows were extremely good, one as good as the other,” said Marion and Roseann Lucke, F85950. “And the meals were delicious; too much for our old appetites, but we managed to eat most of it.” Russ and Marilyn Sears, F99322, commented: “Branson was a fantastic celebration of Tri-State’s 30th birthday and will be in our memories for many years. We also enjoyed the College of the Ozarks Museum. This was not on the planned schedule, but was . . . well worth the visit.”
Bob and Rhodena Masys, F331651, and their son, Jon, rode one of the Ducks, amphibious vehicles that originally were built for military operations during World War II. Besides traveling along Country Music Boulevard and to the highest peak in the area, Baird Mountain, at nearly 1,400 feet, it also splashed into Table Rock Lake for a short cruise. During the journey, passengers also got to hear historical information, along with some crazy jokes, from the captain. And they won’t forget the fun of “quacking” at other Ducks along the way.
The Masys family agreed that “probably the best ‘freebie’ was visiting the fish hatchery at the base of Table Rock Dam. There was a 15-minute video presentation on how the hatchery works.” Afterward, they went outside to the fish tanks to feed the trout.
“We loved our first trip to Branson!” they added. “Going with the Tri-Staters made it even better.”
According to our current president, Dick Flanery, F203153, the Tri-State Traveliers has four charter-member couples who are still involved in the group: Charlie and Marcia Atkinson, L10327; Tony and Julia Bosse, L12557; Orvil and Norma Hale, F6523; and Gene and Barb Hill, F12993.
More information about the Tri-State Traveliers chapter is available through our Web site, www.tri-statetraveliers.com, or by contacting Sayers Sarran, F23216, 7510 Indian Hill Road, Cincinnati, OH 45243, (513) 561-2121.
CCEA Members Rally At The Beach
By Jan Devereux, F252631
FMCA’s Converted Coaches of the Eastern Area (CCEA) chapter held its annual rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the week of May 15 through May 21, 2004. This has become a much-anticipated event, and in spite of rising fuel costs, the “buses rolled” to Myrtle Beach.
Through the efforts of many, the chapter’s spring rally continues to be a success. This year’s weather forecast held true, and we were delivered blue sky, sunshine, and beach temperatures throughout the week. Twenty-nine buses from nine states made the trip to the Myrtle Beach Travel Park, where we group-parked at oceanfront sites and enjoyed a full week of bus chat, relaxation, sight-seeing, and shopping, as well as chapter-planned side trips. A day out on the SunCruz Casino ship was enjoyed by many, and, although winnings certainly did not fall in the category of “Let’s go look for a new bus,” no one appeared to be looking for a ride home, either.
Each day began with a breakfast gathering and was rounded out with a great meal prepared by our illustrious group of gourmet chefs, who appeared around the cooker wearing their aprons and red chef hats. The menu included entrees such as beef brisket, pulled pork, baked lasagna, and New England clam chowder, as well as all the extras to go with rotisserie chicken. Our chapter chefs give new meaning to the term “Red Hat Society.” Evenings often closed out with some of our members displaying their musical talents and encouraging group participation. No, it really doesn’t matter whether we can carry a tune. We’re just having fun, believing that we are all “Star Search” winners.
Daily social hour brought old friends and recent acquaintances together, each having something to share with the others. When “bus folks” gather, there is never a loss for conversation, and a good listener can pick up a wealth of information.
Daily prize drawings were enjoyed by all. Wait just a minute; should I have said enjoyed by all who won? Not really, for being in the company of those who appreciate and enjoy the efforts of the people who make our rally possible is reward in itself.
The CCEA chapter is young (chartered in 1999), but it has experienced positive growth and interest each year. Many new members were welcomed into the chapter at this year’s rally and, while plans are incomplete at this writing for the fall rally, we anticipate our return to Myrtle Beach next spring. We appreciate the volunteer efforts of many and the continued support of our good friends at Prevost Car Inc. and FMCA.