By Ellis and Gwen Brown, F386872
In the fall of 2012, a group of Penn Coachmen chapter members started talking about taking a trip to the 2014 Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California. A number of people were interested, and we began to make plans and exchange ideas. The trip started to take shape. One thing was missing: a leader. Up stepped Bob Moss, F237197, as he had done many, many times before for the Penn Coachmen chapter members and for FMCA.
Bob was a natural-born leader who knew just what to do to get us all involved. He took many ideas from all members of Penn Coachmen, some of whom had already taken the trip several years before. He then formulated a plan that would work for everybody. We would take our time and not drive too much in any one day, seeing the country as we drove through it. In other words, “smell the roses” on our way to the Rose Bowl.
We were set to depart from Pennsylvania on December 9, 2013. But on December 4, Bob very suddenly — and peacefully — passed away. What were we to do? It was decided that the trip would go on, minus Bob and his wife, Norma, as this is what Bob would have wanted. We had the plan in place, since Bob had done all the work, and it was all set up for us to carry out. So, that is what we did, with heavy hearts, but with Bob and Norma always on our minds. And as we advanced across the country, we kept in touch with Norma regularly.
Our first major get-together was in New Orleans, Louisiana. Some chapter members traveled together from Pennsylvania and others started from other places and ended up in New Orleans. On December 13 we were joined by Earl and Nancy Christman, Jake and Ruth Hershey, Ron and Andria Lee, Ron and Sally Lerch, and Stan and Carol Seyfried. We camped in the French Quarter RV Resort (highly recommended), which was a short walk to downtown and the French Quarter. We took a four-hour bus tour of the city and thoroughly enjoyed it. New Orleans is a very interesting city.
After three nights and two days in New Orleans, we moved on (along Interstate 10 west all the way) to our next stop in Beaumont, Texas, at the Gulf Coast RV Resort (again highly recommended). For breakfast, the resort serves waffles shaped like the state of Texas.
Our next stop was in San Antonio, with three nights in the Travelers World RV Resort, again highly recommended. We could board the bus for downtown right outside the resort. We took a night boat ride along the River Walk, where the Christmas lighting was awesome.
Moving on, we stayed at the Circle Bar Truck Corral, Ozona, Texas; the Van Horn KOA, Van Horn, Texas; and the Little Vineyard RV Park, Deming, New Mexico. All of these were one-night stopovers. They all were very nice and served our purpose. All featured easy access off of I-10.
In Tucson, Arizona, we stayed three nights at the Tucson/Lazydays KOA campground, which we highly recommend. We picked up Fred and Barb Thum, two fellow chapter members who were already in Tucson. While there, we celebrated Christmas with a gift exchange and dinner out.
Our next stop was at Saddle Mountain RV Park in Tonopah, Arizona, for one night, and then on to Banning, California, and the Banning Stagecoach KOA. Both of these were very nice parks.
It was then time to go to our final destination, the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena. We stayed at the Santa Anita Racetrack and were part of the SOI (Sportscoach Owners International) chapter and Fantasy RV Tours rally. I cannot say enough about how great these two organizations treated us. SOI’s Ed Waldheim and Fantasy Tours’ Paul Mitchell and his entire staff made our experience great. While in Pasadena we picked up chapter members Jay and Sharon Zeigler and their son, Robbie, as they winter in Indio, California, each year. Their friends Bill and Pat Kirchner also joined us. So our group’s final total was nine coaches and 19 people.
During the Rose Bowl rally we worked on floats; toured a float barn; visited the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens; had a great luncheon and day at the races; took in a winery tour and dinner; joined in a New Year’s Eve dinner and celebration, as well as a crazy hat contest; and, of course, attended the Rose Bowl Parade. We had the best seats at the parade, and we then enjoyed a post-parade of the floats, plus a root beer float party.
All good things must come to an end, and the Rose Bowl Rally ended on January 2. Our chapter tour group began to split up, as was expected. Some of us went on eventually to the Western Area Rally, which took place January 8-12. Five chapter member coaches attended together. After that, the five families traveled over to Quartzsite, Arizona, for several days. We planned to get together again in Perry, Georgia, at the FMCA Family Reunion in March before heading home to Pennsylvania.
Bob (May 10, 1935-December 4, 2013) was a retired U.S. Army colonel who earned Silver and Bronze stars in 27 years of service, and he was an instructor at Carlisle War College. He was a graduate of Lafayette College and a member of several other FMCA chapters, in addition to the Penn Coachmen.
We say good-bye to Bob and thank him very much for our “trip of a lifetime.” He will be missed in all our future trips, and our thoughts will always be with him.