Gerry and I had a great time at yesterday’s lunch and really enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces. 29 members enjoyed lunch at Blondies in Sylvan Lake thanks to Hosts Gord and Elaine McKenzie.
Lots of visiting, as usual! Sharing winter travels, planning for the upcoming rallies, swapping stories.
Thanks again to Elaine & Gord who chose Blondie’s — great food. In fact, we didn’t even need supper last night.
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Is this the last Mesa Rally for Chapter 44? See story & pics below
29 Escapees gathered at Usery Mountain Regional Park just north of Mesa, Arizona from Sunday, March 13th through Friday, March 18th, 2016 for the 19th Mesa Rally. The Park is ideally situated just a few miles north of Mesa and it is truly a beautiful desert place. Every type of fauna found in Arizona apparently grows here!
Our group included: 14 Canadian Members; 10 US Members; and 5 US guests. Included in the Canadian count are the eight “Mesa Winter Residents” who come out for day trips.
Five new members joined during this Rally. We are pleased to welcome into Alberta Roamers Karen and Richard Offutt, Fraser and Bonnie Armstrong and Sandy Bianchini.
Because registrations were down this year we cancelled one half of the site we had reserved at the Park but we fit 11 rigs quite nicely into the “A” section. Several of our “regulars” from other years were unable to attend due to health and family issues.
As always we enjoyed lots of good food, conversation, laughs, campfires and comradery. Kay and Tony prepared a wonderful spaghetti dinner on Monday evening for all to enjoy. Tuesday evening pot luck was a great feast as was Wednesdays Finger Food Buffet. On Thursday we enjoyed lunch at Organ Stop Pizza while we listened to the great music played by Charlie B. on the famous Wurlitzer organ – the largest in the world with its 6,000 pipes; 50 miles of wiring; weighs 30 tons; 276 keys to play; over 1000 buttons and switches; largest pipe is 36 feet high; would take 90 minutes to go through all the sounds it can play; worth $5 million! And it’s in a Pizza Joint! Only in America you say!
Other activities included the Great Battle of the Sexes (sometimes called Bean Bag Baseball!) The Ladies squeaked out another win!
Lots of valuable stuff changed hands during the White Elephant Gift Exchange. Games were played, Craft ideas exchanged, RV problems solved, and new friends made. As always the week ended Friday morning with a great Hitch up Breakfast thanks to John and his crew. Thanks to Karen, Fraser and John our photographers. Lots of pics for the memory books.
Since no one came forward to host a 2017 Rally the site has not been reserved and this may be the last Rally we hold in Mesa. All good things must end. I enjoyed being the “Co-ordinator” for this “No Host Rally” and wish everyone safe travels down the road till we meet again!
A small but friendly group still in Alberta assembled for a December Lunch
A nice group of Roamers got together for a delicious lunch at the Mighty Mango Restaurant in south Calgary on Nov. 18. Thanks to Gerald and John W. for pics.
We all know that Travel is an adventure. Sometimes more than others.
I decided this November was the time for me to finally see Death Valley. Many of you have talked about it but I had never been. Death Valley – the lowest, driest, and hottest place on the Continent. About ten days before my arrival I had heard that they had had a lot of rain so some roads would be closed. Mother Nature was not done yet.
I came in the West side – from the town of Lone Pine – highway 136 which joins in to highway 190. There are a number of summits one must cross and all of them were encased in clouds. No view from the top. Was delighted to run into four coyotes in one flat area that still had water lying. The furry creatures put on quite a show for the tourists. Camped at Stovepipe Wells (just a parking lot really!) Sunday morning I drove north, past the sand dunes and on up the road to Scotty’s Castle. The highway had a lot of debris on it in places where it had clearly been flooded previously. Camped at Mesquite Spring – a very nice campground next to a dry wash and down quite a hill from the highway above. It was a lovely Sunday morning and I decided to wait till Monday to visit the Castle.
Clouds blew in and over the course of the day we had several rain showers – nothing much. Just before dark I walked to the wash as I could hear rushing water. The wash was a raging torrent of muddy water. Amazing. Just after dark there was a knock on my door and it was a Ranger telling me that they were asking people to evacuate the area and move on down to Furnace Creek as there were flash floods in the area. Well I do not like to drive at night but decided I had best suck it up and get out. I never want to drive another road like the one exiting that campground. It was covered in mud and rocks and a rushing river. By now it was pouring down rain with lots of thunder and lightning. Actually the lightning helped you to see the road!! The sixty miles to Furnace Creek was a very LONG drive – lots of bad spots on the road. Sheet lightning everywhere which only made the night darker when it stopped.
I was told by the Emergency workers at the road closure spot near Furnace Creek that I was the last vehicle to make it out of the campground before the road washed out. The rest of the campers and Rangers were stuck there.
Now Furnace Creek is 190 ft. BELOW sea level. I have much to learn but I do know water finds the lowest point so it seemed like a good idea to leave here. Several roads out were closed but I was directed to go a rather long route to get to Pahrump. Even that way did not work as there was a river rushing across the highway. The Policeman said this was the first of five crossings on this road so it was not going to be open for quite some time. And that would be if the road was still there to open!! Back I went to the Armagosa Opera House corner. They thought that #190 might open later in the day or tomorrow. I am in no hurry -I will wait. Later that afternoon we were told we needed to evacuate the area. Highway 95 was now open to Vegas with Pilot Car service. It was still closed to the north with five wash outs and a chemical fire caused by lightning! There were many semi-trucks waiting at the Pahrump intersection. I presume they were headed north where they could not go.
Taking a very long way around I arrived in Pahrump just before dark. I can say I have been to Death Valley but I have a hard time buying the “Driest place” description. There are no words to describe the sheer force of water on the land. It was a site I will not soon forget.
All is well that ends well. I have met some of the Solos group here and they have been very welcoming. Dottie arrives on Sunday as planned and we will all journey back into Death Valley for the 49ers celebrations in November.
Life is good.