Open Range RV Rally July 28-31 2016

Vicky and I set off for our first RV Rally. What is a Rally? Well in this case it is a group of people who all own the same Manufacturer's RV. Open Range is made in Shipshewana, IN. (Population 800). It is located on the boarder of Indiana and Michigan (near Elkhart, IN for reference)
This particular Rally has been going on for 4 years now and has grown to 140 RV's all made by the same manufacturer. It takes over Shipshewana RV park south.
The Rally goes on all week Monday to Sunday, but not being retired yet, as most of the attendees are, we could only join for a long weekend.
Everything is catered and there are many activities like factory tours and events to museums, seminars about RV maintenance and seminars about trips,etc.

Arriving at the campsite was easy as they had a giant balloon flying over the campground

We of course had the smallest RV in the entire Rally. We have just enough room to keep things simple but the vast majority of the models are the much larger 5th wheel variety. 

All the activities were centered around the BIG top. This is were we met and ate. Did I say ate? Yes the vast majority of activities in the rally is planning around the next meal.... 

 The Campgrounds normal pavilion was used for staging and cooking 

These rally's are a big deal. There were people from 30 states coming as far away as Alaska.

 Shipshewana is an Amish town. Actually more Amish than I have ever seen before. The horse drawn buggies were everywhere and most of the shops and attractions were owned by Amish families and craft people. 
Vicky spent a lot of time shopping in all the craft stores... I spent a lot of time following her around! 

 You could hire a buggy for a ride around town

Parking to run errands 

They were moving up and down main street all day long 

Most nights there was a dinner sponsored by either the manufacturer or supplier for the RV's

 There was at least one night of severe weather, which is always a topic of big conversation among RVers, but fortunately no hail or other damaging winds or tornadoes this week

We ventured over to the RV Museum in Elkhart one day to tour the history of RV and mobile homes

 Back to the Rally for a last big meal (they were all big!)

One of the great benefits of this Rally was that being at the factory location the manufacturer had some of its service people work all week in the campsite to fix any issues that the rigs had at no charge. This was extraordinary service and the guys worked really hard to try and solve everyone's problems, big or small

After dinner there was door prizes for everyone! the amount of merhandise that was donated or purchased for the Rally was really amazing. We managed a new waffle maker for the RV and in a very kind gesture our new friends  Donna and Eddie used one of their raffle wins to gift us Open Range Forum ID numbers for the outside of our RV. 

 Checking out the gifts before the raffle

 The final night sitting around the bonfire 

 Our little home all lit up at night

Oh did I mention the food?!
the last day with more donuts for breakfast before packing up and hitting the road.

Thanks to Sue and Jerry Goddard for being the organizers of the Rally and thanks to Open Range for making a great RV and participating and supporting the Rally.
We signed up for next year and maybe even an Alaska trip in 2019.... much more RV'ing to come.

Robertsville State Park RV Weekend July 15-17 2016

Vicky and I didn't make any plans for the weekend but found since we didn't have grandbaby sitting or any hockey games to officiate we would get out of town.  Robertsville is a State Park we have not been too ( I road my motorcycle to it once) and it is very close to our house, less than an hour.

It is a very pretty park and while it has been really hot around St.Louis this month it was much cooler in the trees.

The park is not large but all the RV sites are spaced very well and no one has the feeling you are on top of each other and the tree cover really helps make it feel secluded

 Pretty sunset 

Our fist snake encounter of the season- a small garter snake

Robertsville just completed (this past week) a new hiking trail in the park. It is called Lost Hill and is not on any park map yet. We decided Saturday morning to get up and walk the loop and explore what it looked like.
It is a nicely done trail - easy to follow. It dips down to the Calvey creek bed and then up in the heart of the park

Being the first on trails always has some draw back and double so in the early morning as you are usually the first to eat all the spider webs of the night before 

As you can image it is very well marked with some great personal touches from the trail crew

some very cool small items to notice as well 

Here is the complete new loop. I mapped it on google earth 

 Later it was just hanging out and relaxing playing some board games and watching a few movies

After dinner we were joined by a acrobatic squirrel that was eating some dinner upside down. 

 Good to get away and thanks to Monica for driving out and spending the afternoon chatting in the woods.

Beer and Water- An RV Weekend Away June 25-27, 2016

Vicky needed a break from "everything" that has been happening around the house lately so I suggested going off our usual routine and heading down to a brewery that we had discovered about a year ago, just by accident, as we sampled some of their beers at a Missouri Conservation weekend down at Onondaga Cave State Park. The Brewery is Piney River Brewing Company and it located in a very remote part of the state of Missouri in Bucyrus.  With not much around it I looked for where we might stay and came across the Boiling Springs Resort. It is located directly next to the Boiling Springs recreation ares, which is a giant spring that feeds very cold clean water into the Big Piney River.

 The resort was just purchased by a great young couple in October, just in time for it to completely flood out in the big rains we had in Missouri in December, but they are up and running and are doing well. the resort was completely full this weekend. It has RV, Tent campground and Cabins for rent. 

All set up and ready to go.

We had planned to take the shuttle from the resort to the brewery, they offer this service, but their bus had a battery issue, so we just drove ourselves but that meant we had to be careful with our consumption of alcohol

 The Brewery was actually an old BARn, on the left below, that they have refurbished on their property, but since they have been selling so much beer they constructed a new barn, center, to move their operation to have more capacity.

 They would love to rename the town to "Brewcyrus"
 Inside of the old barn 
While we were there the owners gave a tour of the actual brewing facility. This is how they started, well they started in their garage, but this the first commercial success, brewing just 40 gallons.

The new facility is much larger and can brew up to 10,000 gallons of beer! 

 Back in the BARn we order the sampler which is a great way to sample all their craft beers 
 All dead soldiers. We had a chance to pick our favorites 

 The next day we rented a couple of tubes and floated 5 miles of the Big Piney River. This took us about 3 hours and it was extremely relaxing. Some of the water was very quiet so I got my exercise in from the day before by having to paddle with my arms as our inner tubes were tied together.

We barely beat a huge rain storm back to the resort. We were safe and sound but several parties got caught out on the river and had to find shelter from the rain and lighting that lasted most of the afternoon.  The water temperature was great and even though we got a bit sunburned it was a great time
 It was a great time and we can highly recommend a visit to Piney River Brewing company and staying at Boiling Springs Resort. 

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