RV Dreams Family Reunion Rally!

After an easy 3 hour drive, we arrived at Tom Johnson Camping Center in Marion, NC on Saturday, May 23, all ready for rally fun!  Tracy & Lee, Cori & Greg and Sue & Guy had arrived the day before us and saved us a spot near them.

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OH – and before I forget – our new bike rack was waiting for us when we got there!  Here are our newly repaired bikes on their new bike rack!

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The festivities began that first evening with a yummy catered dinner.  At some point, there was some type of game with marshmallows, which ended with Howard getting pelted with them!

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serious marshmallow fighting going on!

good thing marshmallows are soft!

good thing marshmallows are soft!

waiting for dinner!

waiting for dinner!

my buddy Red and I

my buddy Red and I

After dinner, there is always a campfire with all the attendees, but we decided we wanted something more intimate to spend time with each other.  So, down near the creek we went and Craig built us one of his awesome fires!

Craig doing his thing

Craig doing his thing

nice!

nice!

David and Sharon, also of the Class of 2014 joined us, and David sang us some of the songs he has written!  He is very talented!

David and Sharon, also of the Class of 2014 joined us, and David sang us some of the songs he has written! He is very talented!

The next day was Sunday, and we had signed up for the Silver Fork Winery Brunch and Jam.  It was a beautiful setting, surrounded by a vineyard and mountains!  The band was really good and the food was excellent!

beautiful day!

beautiful day!

Bill and I

Bill and I

new friends, Mike and Connie

new friends, Mike and Connie

Cori, Sharon, David, Dee, Arlene and Greg

Cori, Sharon, David, Dee, Arlene and Greg

the band

the band

staff and buffet

staff and buffet

Afterward, we decided to join others at a different winery, South Creek, which is nearby.  They had tastings and a singer/songwriter playing.

the winery owner

the winery owner

Pam and Sharon

Pam and Sharon

Bill, Red and David

Bill, Red and David

the singer, I think her name is Lindsey Lee

the singer, I think her name is Lindsey Lee

Guy and Cori

Guy and Cori

Sunday, after a catered breakfast of biscuits and gravy, eggs, sausage, bacon, EXCELLENT hash brown casserole, OJ and coffee, it was time to get our pics taken.  Here is one of the group – there are many more with people from each rally represented.

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its crazy trying to get all of us together. Linda, our hostess calls it “herding cats” – I love that!

That evening we had a pot luck dinner.  Bill and I brought Grandma Murray’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese, since it was such a big hit last time.  There was a HUGE variety of foods, all I sampled were delicious!

got to wait for our table to get called!

got to wait for our table to get called!

everyone is so hungry!

everyone is so hungry!

this is only part of the foods

this is only part of the foods

here is the rest!

here is the rest!

Needless to say, if you went away hungry, it was your own fault!

Tuesday, there wasn’t a lot going on for us.  There was zip-lining or a foodie tour, but we hadn’t signed up for either of those.  I started the day taking Cocoa to the vet for her thyroid level check.  The people at the vet were very nice, but it ended up being sort-of a waste of time b/c the vet where I was having the test taken said to give her the pill the night before the test.  My vet in OBX wanted the results after 4 to 6 hours.  Oh well, the RX was renewed and now I will have to take her again while we are in Pittsburgh.

Tuesday evening, it had been decided that we were going to have a party – since the Cinco de Mayo party (which was also a Tuesday) was such a success.  Tracy had asked Bill about making strawberry daiquiri and pina coladas.   Well, the Class of 2014 is 2 for 2 for Tuesday parties!  Everyone who came by had a great time!  We had drinks, and music and dancing!  FUN!  Great memories made!

early in the evening

early in the evening

Nancy and Bill

Nancy and Bill

Red, grilling his dinner

Red, grilling his dinner

Tracy - LOVE the shirt - was our DJ

Tracy – LOVE the shirt – was our DJ

Bill, pouring Cori a strawberry daquiri

Bill, pouring Cori a strawberry daquiri – look how happy she is!

Bridget - toasting to the good life with a glass of wine!

Bridget – toasting to the good life with a glass of wine!

Wednesday was the Biltmore Estate tour.  Bill had seen it years ago with a work thing and decided not to go again, but I wanted to see it, so Jo and I went with Red and Pam.  I was VERY disappointed that we could not take pics inside, only outside.  I cannot believe it is a single family dwelling, as it is larger than a lot of hotels!

this was actually taken from the truck on the way there, I love how the clouds are below the mountains

this was actually taken from the truck on the way there, I love how the clouds are below the mountains

this was taken from across the HUGE front lawn

this was taken from across the HUGE front lawn

waterfall on the property

waterfall on the property

After the house tour, we visited Antler Village and Winery.  It is the newest addition to the Biltmore Estate property and features cool little shops, a winery and creamery.  We took full advantage of it all!  Red is more of a beer kind of guy and Jo wanted to spend more time outside, so Pam and I went in and tasted some of their wines.  I did enjoy some, but Pam really liked a few of them, enough to buy them!  Red, very generously treated me to some of their “premium tastings”, which was very nice and much appreciated!  After sipping some wine, we made our way over to the creamery and sampled some ice creams!  Jo said it was one of the best sugar-free vanilla’s she had ever had!  Sadly, didn’t get a pic of that part!

Pam and I enjoying our tasting

Pam and I enjoying our tasting

We drove back to take a peak of the flower garden area – wow!  Bill and I have been to Longwood Gardens, which is the Dupont Estate, (one of the largest conservatories in the country), while this was not that big, it was very nice.

don't know what this one is called

don’t know what this one is called

how beautiful is this one?

how beautiful is this one?

hydrangea is one of my favorites!

hydrangea is one of my favorites!

these are so cool!

these are so cool – the flower hangs facing downward!

hibiscus - first time I saw these was in Hawaii

hibiscus – first time I saw these was in Hawaii

no idea what these are called

no idea what these are called

All in all, it was a great day spent with friends!

Thursday was a BIG day!  Bill and I had signed up for white water rafting!  We have been before, but it has been a long time, so we decided to go for it!  Tracy, Jo & Craig,  and Pam & Red had also signed up from our “group”.  We got up at dark thirty (VERY early – like 5am!) and made our way to the gathering area.  We knew we would be gone all day, so some friends, who were just going to be hanging out for the day, offered to take care of Cocoa for us.  Sue, Cori and Lee made sure she was taken out and walked and she actually spent some time in Sue and Cori’s Doggie Day Care, which is basically a wire fence enclosure that the doggies can’t get out of.  Cocoa loves spending time with Hobie and LaciLu.

I believe it was 5 vehicles that left sometime around 6am to make our way to High Mountain Expeditions.  Up and up we drove.  When we arrived, we learned that we were an hour early – OOPS Howard!  Seems they were still on “off-season” hours!  Oh well – the shop opened early for us and we got ourselves “outfitted” with our helmets, PFD’s, and water-jackets.  They offered t-shirts for sale for $15 and some people made some purchases.

getting on the bus - no turning back now!

getting on the bus – no turning back now!

After a while, we piled into an old school bus and made our way to the put-in of the Nolichucky River.  On route, we got our lessons about paddling together and what to do if we somehow ended up in the water.  I have gone in the drink during a previous rafting trip and the “have your feet facing downstream, toes up out of the water and tuck in your elbows” was a very familiar instruction.  I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to put it to use!  We were going to be rafting Class 3 and 4 rapids.  We got divided into boats and Bill and I were with Jo & Craig, and our guide for the day was a young man named Dallas.  We soon learned our boat would be the lead boat, as Dallas was the most experienced guide.

Here are some pics, which I took using a JoTo waterproof phone bag that Bill found online at Amazon.  WAY better than using the zip-lock bag like last time on the canoe trip in Arcadia!

Tracy and I - all ready to go!

Tracy and I – all ready to go!

My boat-mates and I, Jo, Craig, Me and Bill

My boat-mates and I, Jo, Craig, Me and Bill

Dallas, our guide for the day - he was great!

Dallas, our guide for the day – he was great!

 

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Mike, Rick and Tracy

 

Hubby

Hubby

this is a pic that was taken by Rick - he generously shared with me - he got some great shots!

this is a pic that was taken by Rick – he generously shared with me – he got some great shots!  This is Red, Pam and Pat with their guide (don’t remember her name)

this is also one of Rick's pics

this is also one of Rick’s pics

this one is also Ricks;

this one is also Ricks – but there would be no way for me to get a pic of my own boat!

how beautiful is this?

how beautiful is this?

paddling hard!

Tracy paddling hard!

getting ready for the rapid

getting ready for the rapid

this is another one of Ricks - pulling over for lunch

this is another one of Ricks – my boat “surfing” in the rapid

another boat "surfing" the rapids

another boat “surfing” the rapids – this is one of Ricks also!

more amazing scenery!

more amazing scenery!

this last one is for my Bloggers Black and White Challenge – hope you like it!

LOVE this one!

LOVE this one!

We did have three people go in the water, first Rick, then Jo, then Tracy, but all got out pretty quickly and were ok.  Rick went in first and Jo went in while we were trying to get to Rick to get him out.  We were heading toward a rock and Jo would have been in between the rock and the boat, so Dallas grabbed her and UP out of the water she came! Rick’s boat mates were able to get him out while we were focused on Jo. Tracy went in at the end, while waving at Howard, who had his camera aimed at her!

Friday morning came and we were up fairly early for a hike to Linville Falls that was organized by Bill and Nancy.  We first met them at last years rally, and they are the sweetest couple!

time to get moving!

time to get moving!  Sue and Cori

one of the overlooks along the way!

one of the overlooks along the way!

Tracy admiring the view

Tracy admiring the view

pretty!

pretty!

Lee - admiring the view

Lee – admiring the view

mountain laurel along the path

mountain laurel along the path

Cori - with the falls in the background

Cori – with the falls in the background

I like hikes that have a "reward" at the end, like this one!

I like hikes that have a “reward” at the end, like this one!

There was a bit of excitement at the end of the hike.  A couple of the guys found a phone, jacket and water bottle near the edge of a cliff on a side trail.  While they were deciding if they should leave the stuff their or bring it to the ranger station, the phone rang.  They decided to answer it and it was the phone owners sister.  Seems the phone owner, a young woman in her early 20’s, had been in the hospital, being treated for depression and released only the day before.  The sister said she had been trying to call her for a while b/c her boss was looking for her b/c she hadn’t shown up for work.  The sister was freaking out b/c of where the phone, etc was found and everyone started thinking the worst.  Lee brought the phone down to the ranger station to inform them of what was going on, while Pat (a retired state trooper) marked the spot where the items were found and started to look for her.  Longer story short, the young woman is ok, had just left her phone to walk further down the path and took longer than she thought to get back.  We all breathed a sigh of relief!

Moving into Friday afternoon, we had signed up for the Creative Mountain Food Tours “Pub and Grub Crawl” tour.  We carpooled with Jo & Craig and made our way to Black Mountain to the Monte Vista Hotel, which is where our tour began.  We visited 5 different places and had samples of their menu’s and drinks.

going into the first stop on our tour

Guy and Greg – going into the first stop on our tour

YUM!  the chips were made on-site and were the BEST I've ever had, the drink had honeysuckle (that grows wild outside the hotel) infused simple syrup which sweetened the tea, which was kicked up with vodka.

YUM! the chips were made on-site and were the BEST I’ve ever had, the drink had honeysuckle (that grows wild outside the hotel) infused simple syrup which sweetened the tea, which was kicked up with vodka.

walking to one of the next stops

walking to one of the next stops

more delicious samples!

more delicious samples! In the teeny tiny mason jar was a sample of their hard cider – which was very good!

I think this stop was Bill's fav - bet you could have guessed that!

I think this stop was Bill’s fav – bet you could have guessed that!

 

very small brewery - getting ready to expand, Bill liked their IPA

very small brewery – getting ready to expand, Bill liked their IPA

this was  our last stop - Guy surprised Sue with a cake for her upcoming birthday!

this was our last stop – Guy surprised Sue with a cake for her upcoming birthday!

Saturday was our last full day of rally fun!  The week had flown by!  During the day there really wasn’t anything going on, most people were just starting to pack up to leave the next day.  A few of us wanted to go paddling on Lake James, they rent canoe’s or kayaks for only $5 per hour.  Well, by the time we got there, the last kayak had just been rented out!  Oh well!

got a pic of where we were supposed to be going

got a pic of where we were supposed to be going – we would have stayed and enjoyed the beach, but they wanted $5 per person for that – not happening!

Evening came and it was LUAU time!

Earlier in the week, Sue and Tracy had given everyone attending the rally a few sheets of colored paper and asked that they write a short note to Howard and Linda, just a few words telling them how much RV Dreams means to them.  We (Sue and I) attached the little papers to poster board at Tracys.  When everyone was gathered for dinner, Tracy announced to Howard and Linda what it was and Sue and I walked it down to them.  Lee recorded the whole thing!  They were both very touched!  Every rig attending returned at least one!

finished project - Cori wrote the words on the clouds - she used to do calligraphy professionally - who knew?  Afterward, the papers (lightly attached with tape) came off and were put into a small photo album for them to take along.

finished project – Cori wrote the words on the clouds – she used to do calligraphy professionally – who knew? Afterward, the papers (lightly attached with tape) came off and were put into a small photo album for them to take along.

The caterers outdid themselves with a whole roasted pig, which I didn’t get a pic of!  I do not like it when food looks like it’s former self.  I must tell you, it was delicious though – I just didn’t look at it’s face at all!  Howard and Linda had sent up a place for pics – and we all got a little goofy getting pics of ourselves in front of the “idol” or whatever it was.

James and Cindy

James and Cindy

Red and Pam

Red and Pam

 

Jo and Craig

Jo and Craig

Walt and Tina

Walt and Tina

Rick

Rick

Tom, Marci and Bryce

Tom, Marci and Bryce

David and Sharon

David and Sharon

Greg and Cori

Greg and Cori

Greg -licking the idol!

Greg -licking the idol!

Tracy and Lee - maybe they need a room?!

Tracy and Lee – maybe they need a room?!

Bill and I

Bill and I

Bill being shy?  No way!

Bill being shy? No way!

After dinner and picture silliness, it was time for some games.  Bill and I had participated in the games earlier in the week, so we decided to sit them out this time.  Plus, I was wearing a skirt, which would have made it difficult.

Cori

Cori

Pam

Pam

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Bridget and Pam

The next morning, it was time to say “see you later” to most of our friends!  There were lots of hugs and tears.  You already know how much I HATE goodbyes!  The caterers sent us away with full tummy’s and we had one last chance to get a pic of all of us!  You can see it at the top – I’m using it as my “featured” pic this post!

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “RV Dreams Family Reunion Rally!

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