Off the beaten path…

Tuesday, January 11: With so many others sharing the cell towers, it seems my internet timing has been wonky, so I’m again writing the blog offline, and posting when I can (or remember to). Fester reminds me that a majority of the Xscapers at the Bash are working remotely from their RVs and need access to the cell towers more than we do.

After this morning’s group meditation, Fester and I met up with a group of folks to go four-wheeling somewhere past Parker Dam. There are three outings planned – today, Thursday and Saturday. Today’s route was considered beginner/intermediate, so Fester had me take the wheel. Amazingly, there were about 15 jeeps and/or trucks in our group. Having never participated in a group trek, we were glad for the company and expertise. There was one really rocky downhill, and one of the leaders acted as a spotter, giving the drivers signals as we made our way down. We learned that you always make sure you can see the driver behind you, in case something happens and they don’t show up, you know to turn around and see what’s up. Also, at intersections, you make sure the driver behind you can tell which way you’re turning so no one gets lost. It is very much a team thing. We had a blast. I even took a few crazy steep uphill detours (following the leader, of course), to kill time while we waited for the others. It was a wonderful way to explore the desert mountains – we were really “out there” and at times, grateful we weren’t on our own. I think I gained a lot of confidence and can’t wait to do it again. While out there, Fester and I talked about taking the Jeep to a remote off-road location while boondocking and camping out for the night. We’ve brought our tent, sleeping bags and water filter just for that reason, but really haven’t looked for the opportunity to do so. We will now. While I’m looking forward to Thursday’s session, I feel bad that we missed a few RV seminars while out driving.

After lunch and a quick nap (all that tension from driving was tiring), we headed over to Center Camp for the Mac and Cheese throw down. An annual competition where we get to be the judges. There were some delicious and creative entries, including a Thai Mac and Cheese and several with fun toppings like nachos or cheese puffs, or even jalapenos. We’re returning to Center Camp later to watch the Dueling Pianos. We will probably make it a short night.

Monday, January 10: The community-led seminars began today, and I attended a group meditation class at 7:30am, followed by a yoga class at 9. It was so nice to practice yoga with a group. My brother, Steve, and I liked to attend yoga classes together, trying out different yoga styles and studios once a month or so – something we haven’t been able to do since Covid. This past summer we did get to practice together a few times at Saturday morning classes at Point Park in Downtown Willoughby, thanks to Harmony Studios’ outdoor sessions. In the afternoon, Fester and I attend some interesting and informative seminars, presented by members of the Xscapers RV community including RVing in Canada, UV Protection for your RV, and Boondocking.

There was a Mexican food truck onsite serving lunch and dinner and another selling homemade ice cream. We skipped dinner and had ice cream instead (we’re adults and can make that decision if we want – ha!) We decided to stay up past our bedtime and play Bingo (the games were free, and an electric bike was one one of the prizes). The disclaimer, “this isn’t your grandma’s bingo,” lived up to it’s promise – there was a lot of hollering, drinking, joking and a little profanity (the game area was off limits to kids). We played six games, and neither of us got Bingo.

Sunday, January 9: We made our way down to Center Camp just as they started serving breakfast burritos and coffee at 8:30. Saturday’s Ferris wheel was already torn down, on the truck and ready to roll out of here. Breakfast was free this morning, but going forward, breakfast will be sold via a food truck. Coffee will be served every morning on a donation basis, with all proceeds going to the Escapees CARE CARE (Continuing Assistance for Retired Escapees Program. Located at the Escapees Rainbow End’s RV Park in Livingston, TX, we saw this program in action during our 8-day stay their during the Thanksgiving Day holiday. Per their website, CARE’s mission is “to provide a safe haven with professional assistance at affordable prices for members whose travels are impacted because of age or temporarily interrupted because of health problems.” Because so many RVers have given up their “bricks and sticks” homes and live on the road fulltime, CARE provides aging RVers with an alternative to assisted living or a nursing home.

Our bacon burritos were hot and delicious. Fester even went back for a second burrito a bit later in the morning. Because we get up so early (and have already enjoyed our coffee and breakfast well before 8:30), I’m not sure how often we’ll go to the food breakfast food truck, but it’s nice to know it’s there. Later in the morning, Sadie and I cut through the Rodeo ring and sat just outside Center Camp to listen to “The Border Hookups,” a husband-wife acoustic duo based in rural Minnesota. They played their original music, as well as a variety of popular songs (both country and rock). Because dogs are not allowed at Center Camp, we had to watch from the sidelines, but it was worth it.

Based on the event agenda, there will be assorted food trucks at Center Camp throughout the event, serving lunch and dinner, as well as a cash bar.

Late afternoon, into early evening, there was a “Rig Crawl” (think progressive dinner & happy hour meets open house). Basically, each section (Family, Party, General & Solar) puts out appetizers, desserts and/or beverages and folks sample and taste their way from one RV to another, while taking a tour of those RVs with open doors. Like the Tucson event, Fester and I opted not to participate in the tour (or opening our coach to tourists) due to Covid. But, Sadie and I sat outside with some chocolate granola balls & brownie bites (and dog treats) so we could at least be sociable. It was a lot of fun and we met some interesting people (some were a bit tipsy by the time they made it to our row).

The Bash Begins

Saturday, January 8: We enjoyed a very nice patio lunch with our niece, Savannah, at Rosati’s Pizza near the London Bridge. We had expected to invite her to the Bash, but learned that admittance is restricted to attendees (you must have a windshield sticker and show a wrist band). We plan to meet Savanah later this week at Small Cakes (for a yummy ice cream & cupcake splurge). We indulged in Small Cakes a few times when we last visited Savannah and still remember the “smashed cupcakes with ice cream” and the “cupcake milkshake.” After Small Cakes, we’ll meet at nearby SARA Park to hike the 5-mile Mountain Park Loop Trail to walk off some of those calories. Turns out that SARA Park is directly across from the Rodeo grounds – we can see the mountains from Zephyr II. Savannah showed us a picture of her dad (my brother, Steve) repelling down a short section of the trail during his Thanksgiving visit. Because we don’t have a back seat in the Jeep, we can’t take any passengers (except, of course Sadie), so we can’t ride together.

The RVs continued to arrive today, and the place is filling up. It has been fun just to walk the lots and meet fellow Xscapers (and, of course their pups). I’ve been tickled (and Sadie intrigued) to see people out walking their cats. A lot of small dogs and many cats like to nap (or stand guard) on the dashboard so they can watch the action while they soak up the sun.

We met Regina from Kentucky during Boot Camp (see Friday’s entry). She recently sold her home and is RVing fulltime with her two dogs. Sadie got along great with her white Schnauzer “Sugar” who reminded us so much of our Schnauzer, Ripley, who shared many, many adventures in her 14+ years with us. Sugar’s bark reminded me of Candy Cane, a precious Schnauzer we watch for Melissa and Jason (church friends/neighbors back home).

We’ve met Romeo who wears a harness and gets walked around camp a few times a day. His owner says he loves to be outside with them, and when not walking, he enjoys his own “kitty camp, ” a very creative cage, complete with a litterbox. Our across-the-row neighbors, Digger and Picker, have a cat named Olivia who loves to be outdoors, but won’t walk on a leash (she’s an escape artist), so the gals have a “kitty cart” (i.e., mini stroller) that she gets to ride around camp.

The event is sponsored by many RV-related vendors, including SYKL Power Bikes arriving all the way from Wisconsin. We visited their electric bike display yesterday, and plan to give them a test drive later this week. We’ve noticed more and more RVers travel with electric bikes, which makes perfect sense. The bikes give you the opportunity for exercise when you want it, and the option to throttle the power on if you’re going up an incline (or just feeling lazy). We’re currently “on the fence” about them and will keep researching, and thus delay our purchase. There are always considerations in regards to the purchase of toys and equipment, such as cost and additional weight. In addition to a variety of electric bikes, we’ve seen several folks using hoverboards, electric scooters, and skateboards to get around camp, and even a few golf carts. Mind you, these aren’t necessarily “young” RVers on the hoverboards – I give them credit for their bravery… or maybe they are just nuts?

The Bash officially kicked off at 4pm with a welcome session from the rodeo bleachers. We were introduced to the Xscapers new president and other club “officials,” and learned a bit more about the group in general. We get a chuckle when they describe prizes or anything of value as being “WAY less than a thousand dollars” when referring to anything money related, such as prizes. All of us newbies are called “Convirgins” since this is our first Xscapers Convergence. Shortly following the welcome, we posed for a group photo. After a quick dinner at Zephyr II, Fester donned his nautical cap as we made our way back to Center Camp to ride the Ferris wheel and dance. In keeping with tonight’s entertainment by the “Nautical by Nature” band, the theme was everything “nautical.” It was fun to watch the creative costumes some member wore, including sea captains, sailors, yacht club members, wenches, and even pirates. We returned to Zephyr II for dinner and a Sadie walk, before going back to Center Camp to ride the Ferris wheel, watch the band and mingle with fellow RVers.

Author: skunky and fester


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