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Rolling down the highway...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

RV-Dreams Reunion Rally: Arrival and Day 1

(Marion, NC) Hi 81 Lo 47 -- Happy Memorial Day to all our readers. Please take a moment to remember those brave men and women of our military services who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy.

On Friday we had a smooth trip from Raleigh to Marion for the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally. The trip was 215 miles and was almost all on I-40. The traffic was heavy but nothing out of the ordinary. There were more trucks than expected and very few RV’s.

The RV-Dreams Reunion Rally is the brainchild of Howard and Linda Payne, who started and run RV-Dreams.com. They came up with the idea of a "fun" rally for everyone who has attended one of their past educational rallies. We arrived at the Tom Johnson Camping Center around 2pm and several RV’s were already here. The rally didn't actually start until Saturday, but we were permitted to arrive the day before. After getting set up we walked around to meet some of the early arrivals. We met old friends and quickly made new ones. Several of us, including Howard and Linda, congregated at the pavilion  and on the spur of the moment decided to order some pizza. Soon after that we gathered at the fire pit and Howard built a bonfire. We sat around and chatted as the sun went down behind the hills, then it quickly got cold so we all headed back to our RV’s. Click on the pictures below to enlarge them.

The rally park wasn't very full when we arrived, but it filled up fast on Saturday.


The pavilion, as viewed from our site.

Our impromptu pizza party at the pavilion.

The "pre-rally" bonfire.

Gathering around the bonfire every evening is a rally tradition.






On Saturday, the rally kick-off day, I volunteered to work the registration table. From left to right in this photo is Linda Payne (one of our hosts), Joe, myself, D.J., Arlene and Renea.


Another group came in for relief. The registration was open from 10 to 5.
Linda, Linda, Mike, Terri, Arlene, and Renea

We talked and got to know the people as they came in. It was a great day. Others roamed around to talk to everyone who was sitting outside their RV’s.

Saturday evening we had a great catered dinner of ribs, chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans, with Peach cobbler for dessert.



Linda is famous for coming up with fun ice breakers during their rallies. For this one each table was given some styrofoam cups and some marshmallows. One of the cups had the bottom removed and a rubber balloon attached around the bottom. The idea was to slingshot the marshmallows into the cups for points. Of course it wasn't long before everyone started throwing the marshmallows all over the room at each other. We were all laughing and having a great time. No matter how old you get it feels good to act like a kid once in a while. Here's a video I took of the fun.

We again ended the night around the bonfire.

It's going to be a fun week and we’ll try to keep the blog going to tell you all about it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Friends and Trains - Movie Day - A Close Shave

(Raleigh, NC)   Hi 91 Lo 75 -- We’re having a great time mostly visiting old friends while here in Raleigh.

I mentioned several times our Friday night dinner group from our days living in this area. We've had dinner together twice so far, and will meet up one more time tomorrow (Thursday) night.

Here's four of the five: Jeff, Bobbie, Cyndi and Gary

The fifth member of the group is Jerry.
2014-08-22 Jerry

Jerry and Cyndi met up with us during our travels out west last summer. Jerry is a train enthusiast and has a huge model train layout in his basement. He had us over on Monday to check out some of the changes he's made since our last visit.

He designed and built this control panel that keeps the trains running on the correct tracks.

This is the front and back sides of one of the control boards. It has hundreds of tiny yellow wires, which you can see better if you click on the photos to enlarge them. Jerry hand-wired all of them.

Here are some views of the layout.



Jerry designed the entire layout to be a replica of a real train line out in California where Jerry grew up, including all the small towns.


The stores, shops, and vehicles are very detailed.



This reminds us of Florida orange groves.


I had two great jobs while in Raleigh and I got to meet up with both of my former bosses this week. Gary and Chrissa run a civil engineering firm. I was their office manager for the four years before we went full time. They treated me like a member of their family, and we continue to stay in touch.

Gary and Chrissa

My other job was for a small shipping company run by our good friends Jim and Clara. They had us over today for lunch and to see their new (to them) Class B Chinook RV. They plan to do some part-time traveling this summer, and may come down to Florida to see us this winter.

My Jim, Jim and Clara

Thanks everyone, it was great to see you all again.

Yesterday morning Jim did something he's always wanted to do. He got a traditional straight razor shave at a barbershop. He thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, from the pre-lotions, to the hot towel, to the shave itself, ending up with a nice after shave lotion. He said it was like a "spa day" for a guy, and thinks every man should try it at least once. I know he looked great and smelled wonderful when he got home! :)

We had a free movie pass that Jim got from his Regal Cinemas loyalty card, so yesterday afternoon we went to see the movie "Avengers, Age of Ultron".

It was a fun movie, but frankly we're both getting a little bored with all the super hero movies that seem to come out every month. The only one we really, really liked was one that came out with little fanfare last year, "Guardians of the Galaxy". That movie was a hoot, and we urge you to check it out on Netflix or Redbox.

I’ve been crocheting more little critters this week. Here's a hummingbird I made.

And a little seal pup.

We’re leaving Friday morning for the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally in Marion, NC. Our next post will be from there.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

More Meet Ups With Friends - Got To Be NC Festival

(Raleigh, NC)  Hi 86 Lo 74 -- Friday morning Liz, a friend from my ham radio days here in Raleigh, came for a visit. We spent the afternoon "bin diving" at some thrift shops in the area. I found some yarn and crocheting supplies. We had a great afternoon. Thanks Liz for coming over.

Also on Friday Jim went to lunch with Dave and Brett, two of his co-workers from his working days at Duke Energy (formerly Progress Energy).

He usually meets up with Dave when we're in town, but it's been quite a while since he's seen Brett. He enjoyed seeing the guys again and hearing about changes at the company since he left over five years ago. He also enjoyed teasing them about how great retired life is. They didn't seem to like that. :)

This weekend there was a large festival going on here at the NC State Fairgrounds. The Got to be NC Festival is a celebration of the agricultural tradition of North Carolina. The main fairgrounds are about a mile from our campground so we drove over on Saturday morning. It was quite crowded but we finally found a parking space and enjoyed wandering around, taking in the sights and sounds of the festival. There were a lot of old tractors and farm equipment, food vendors, and rides for the kids. Very much like a smaller version of the State Fair. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

Tractors and other machinery were everywhere.
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Grandstands for different activities.
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We've never seen a swing ride where you lie down on your stomach.
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We should be able to get about a year's worth of groceries in this cart. It has a V8 engine in it and appears in parades all over the Raleigh area.
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Dorton arena is one of the landmarks of the fairgrounds and dates back to the 50's.
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Inside the arena they had a BMX track set up. It was fun watching the bikes fly over the jumps and through the air.
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There were food stands everywhere
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This is the first time we’ve seen samples of the food on the menu laid out on a table. If the food was real (we didn't get close enough to find out) it seems like such a waste.
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There is a huge flea market every weekend at the fairgrounds, and we were glad to see they still had it this weekend, even with the festival going on.
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We got back to the RV before it got too hot. We watched some old movies on TV the rest of the afternoon. (Including Jim's favorite movie, "Field of Dreams". We've seen it many times, and we still cry at the end of it.)

Today (Sunday) we have nothing planned. Jim went for a long walk. We watched the Indy 500 time trials on TV and basically chilled all day.

See you in a few days.