Escapade, the national rally for the Escapees RV Club, returned to Gillette, Wyoming this past week. We were here in 2008 and the Cam-Plex multi-use center was a great venue then and now better with the completion of new buildings. The Wyoming Center Building easily accommodated all the seminar rooms, social areas, and a large general assembly hall.
We requested full-hook-up camp sites and booked a couple of days before the opening ceremonies and a couple of days afterwards. We were just about as far away as you could get in the Boxelder Campground, Row E (F was the furthest). It didn’t matter hecause we used the toad to “commute”.
In addition to the various educational seminars and socials (see below), we had a chance to visit various vendor booths to re-stock cleaning chemicals, replaced defective LED lights, and renewed our Passport America membership fees. Out in the campground we also had our windshield rock chips repaired, had our Roadmaster hitch checked, had a mobile oil change, and got the rig re-weighted. Luke also took the motorhome to the nearby Freightliner dealer and we got the motor replaced on our windshield wipers. They died while in Alaska!
We are firm believers that the condition of our tires is one of the most critical safety components of the RV lifestyle. We use the Tire Saf-Guard sensors to monitor our tire pressures and tire temperature. To know what those settings should be, you need to know what weight load each tire is actually carrying. It is also important to balance the carried cargo (us, our stuff, and our water/waste systems). Having the rig weighed on all “4-corners” is how you do this.
The Escapees Club now has their own “Smart Weigh” set-up so on our departure day we lined up for weighing. Escapee Techie #1, Mark Nemeth, reviews the results with Luke.
The numbers were good! We were very close on side-to-side balance and only off slightly front-to-rear.
While Luke focused on the motorhome repairs and maintenance, I was back in school – attending 3 or 4 seminars daily starting at 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. each afternoon. There is always something to learn and this week I was on information-overload as I tried to soak up as much as the Geeks on Tour, Chris and Jim Guld, could dish out. I attended sessions on Beginning and Intermediate Picasa, Blogger, Streets and Trips, and Facebook. Chris is a Facebook “friend” so I agreed to let her use photos of me in the Picasa classes and she used my links in both the FB and Blogger class. It was fun being a “celebrity” with all that exposure (if being “CoolJudy” hasn’t been enough!). Check out their link and become a subscribing member to be able to view all their videos. Seminar handouts are always free.
In addition to the computer-based classes, I attended informational seminars on Geocaching, Cooking in an RV Kitchen, and what’s new for Smartphones.
I am active in two or three subgroups within the Escapees “Birds of a Feather” special interest groups. At Escapade I was active with the Geocachers’ and the Boomers. Each group had a social (i.e., Happy Hour) to meet and greet.
For the Geocachers it was a time to recruit new members and mentor each other on the latest GPS equipment and pathtags.
Everything the Boomers do involves socializing! Even though we had 20 rigs together for a week-long “boomerang” before Escapade, we still found time to sit together during the General Sessions, have afternoon Happy Hours in the campground, and a “formal” social to recruit members.
I’m sure the Margarita Boomers (Kay and Steve) recruited new members with their social beverage of choice.
The Boomers also enjoy eating out, so after our social about 40 of us went to a local Chinese buffet.
Boomers have a reputation of being a little “rowdy” at Escapades. We’re those young whipper-snappers who sit together, usually at the back of the hall, and clap, stomp, and yell when one of our members wins a door prize. This year the group was pretty quiet, but we did find another way to get noticed.
The Escapees have a somewhat complex organizational structure when it comes to BOFs. Even though the Boomers have over 800 members (400+ RVs), we are a “non-certified” BOF with no officers, no rules, and activities are organized by anyone who want to do so. Anyway, at Escapade the non-certified BOFs were allowed just one afternoon to set up a recruitment table with our Boomer banner and handouts. Of course, we couldn’t just show up – we “paraded” in through the entire front lobby and assembly hall chanting: “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, – Come Join the Boomers on the Row”. We got lots of smiles and “thumbs up” from everyone.
There is always time for group photos for the Boomer Newsletter.
The only “wildlife” at Escapade were the SKPs dancing and singing karaoke during the Thursday night dance party. Music for this group varies from Texas Two-step, line dancing, the “Chicken Dance”, the Twist, and YMCA.
NEXT: YELLOWSTONE & GRAND TETONS