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Sat. July 23 to Fri. July 29- Essex Junction VT- Escapade

Saturday- We went to Staples where I could have copies made of some paperwork and then to Best Buy to buy Bob a new Bluetooth. His stopped working. We went to Shaws grocery store and then back to the MH. Since the electric went out once, we are careful to make sure that we do not leave the MH for too long during the day in the heat. We do not want to cook the dogs!

After lunch we went over to register and to pick up our welcome packets. We ran into friends Tom and Debbie Abernethy, who are the coordinators for the “Row”, which is the area for the BOF’s and Chapters.

I put together folders for the booth at the Rally and we had a quiet afternoon. At 5, we went to the Row volunteer pizza dinner. I ate my salad and Bob ate Pizza. That was over by 6:30 and we stayed a little later to assist with clean up. Below, Tom and Debbie..

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We returned to the MH and settled in for the evening.

Sunday- The first day of the Rally. Bob assisted me with taking items over to the vendor area and I met up with Janet Tanumun, my Executive Director for the program.

We worked the booth. There are 1200 people at the Escapade, so in the morning the booth was pretty busy. I spoke with a lot of people. It is very interesting people watching!

Meanwhile, Bob went to the vendors that we were interested in purchasing items from. He went to all the insurance booths and requested estimates on changing our insurance. He also set up an appointment at the Blue Ox booth to have them come to the rig and do routine maintenance on our hitch for the car.

I picked up our event shirts and Bob spoke with the Jim and Chris Guild (Geeks on Tour) about Picasa and how we can still use it on the computer. I hope to attend their excellent seminar on Google Photos on Thursday.

The vendor marketplace ended at 2:30, so Bob came and helped me to move some items back to the MH. We returned to the main building for the opening ceremony.

Lots of introductions and recognitions for the hardworking volunteers. Since this is on the east coast, most of the people are at their first Escapade. The torch was moved to the next generation of the family who own/run Escapees. Bud and Kathy Carr turned the Presidential gavel over to Travis and Melody Carr, their son and daughter-in-law.

The highlight of the ceremony was the speech by Kay Peterson ( age 89) who is the founder of the Escapees. Her husband, Joe died in 2010. She is frail, but has her mental acuity. She told a great story which had the entire room laughing.

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Afterwards there was an ice cream social and then a happy hour sponsored by the company who has the RV’s here to sell, Paul Everett RV, out of California. They have driven about 20 very expensive motor homes to the Escapade from California! That must have cost a pretty penny!!! The FMCA rally in in Massachusetts  next week, so any left over MH’s will go there.

We wandered through a few of the largest MH’s and shook our heads at how poorly designed that they seem to be. I hated the floor plans! At least several of these had a pantry and some place to store pots, pans and dishes. Many do not, they are made to be party buses. An example of the poor design is that you are making these for older people, many who have CPAP, and they have no bedside table to place the machine on. We know several people who had to special order an RV so that they would be able to have a space for the machine. The current MH’s are all glitz and glamor, but not practical for usage.  We saw some being sold!

We returned to the MH and had dinner, then went back over to the main building. They pulled numbers for the prizes, but we did not win anything. The entertainment started at 7:30. It was a singer/comedian, Jimmy Travis. He was very good, but we sat near the back and had trouble understanding what he was saying due to the acoustics. He definitely knew his audience, as he targeted the show towards the older generation.  The show ended at 8:45 and we returned to the MH and went to bed.

Monday- Another long day working the marketing booth. It was fun meeting so many different people. Because there were seminars today, it was very busy in spurts. Bob worked the SKP Genies, our Genealogy group table today, form 10-12. The market hours today were  9-4. Bob walked me back at 4 PM, and we relaxed for a bit. Then at 5:30 we went to the pizza dinner with the SKP Genies. I took a salad with me and Bob had gone to the Sausage Shack, here in the Champlain Valley Expo Center for a Lobster Roll. They had sold out at 10 AM, of the Lobster Rolls!!!! Evidently people had them for breakfast! They had them yesterday, but we did not know about them. The Sausage Shack had doubled their order and sold out by 10 AM? Wow!

So Bob walked across the street to the McDonalds and had a Lobster Roll from them. Yup, McDonalds has Lobster Rolls in Essex Junction Vermont!. As you an tell, it is real lobster! So we went over to dinner.

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This turned out to be the largest pizza party the SKP Genies had ever had. This pizza party was order your own pizza and Dominos was very busy delivering!

We had a nice dinner meeting new folks then went to the evening entertainment. They started with pulling tickets for the door prizes and Bob won a hat.

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At 7:30 there was a band, the Marlins. It is a band of 4 brothers. They have toured with various well known bands. They were okay, but we were tired and left early. We returned to the MH and I had called my clients. At 9, I had a conference call which ran late and we went to bed.

Tuesday-  I was off to the booth early in the morning. Bob worked the SKP Genies booth from 10-12. He was keeping an eye on the MH to make sure we kept electric for the dogs, so he is has definitely been getting in his 10,000 steps a day, at least! Many days 13,000. We have not been riding our bikes at this rally, we have been walking everywhere.

Janet ran a seminar at 1:30, so I assisted her with that. Then of course we were mobbed at the booth.

We had the Boomers happy hour at 4:30. There were 60 people there! We had a nice time talking to some folks who had just started full-timing.

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We met up with Debbie and Tom Abernethy and went out to a nice dinner at Applebees. We returned in time for Tom and Bob to go to the Star Party which was run by Gary Tomlinson, a nationally known astronomy educator. Bob and Tom both enjoyed it and Bob said it was very interesting.

Wednesday-  The final day of the booth. I am really glad as I am tired! We had several people from yesterdays seminar stop by. I was able to get away at around 10:20 so that I could go to the Genies Genealogy seminar on a Genealogy Road Trip, given by Norah Glover. It was almost a full room of people!

I returned to the booth and continued talking to people. I was able to get away Bob and I both went to the Windows 10-Top 10 Tips seminar. I learned a little more about Windows 10. This was given by Chris and Jim Gould (Geeks on Tour).

We had decided on the insurance and signed up for a new policy, saving money. The agency was offering the same plan as with our Good Sam, National General, but it was less expensive. We have to cancel our current policy now.

The Market Place ended at 4 and we packed up and took home our stuff! We left and went back over to meet up with Ruth,  who is trying to reactivate the Square Dancing BOF. There were 8 of us who attended. We are going Square Dancing tomorrow evening, here in Essex Junction.

We returned to the MH, fed the dogs, and went to Ray’s Seafood for dinner. We each had a Lobster Roll. We had been told that the lobster was $9 per pound and were going to have Lobster, but you had to order then wait an hour for it to be cooked. Neither of us were impressed with the lobster roll. Bob said that the one from McDonalds was better, and much less expensive. I only ate the lobster and a salad. It came with chips and Bob only ate a few of his.

We returned and for some reason I had developed the hiccups which lasted for about 45 minutes. Whew, as tired as I was, that was way too long! So I settled in to relax. Bob walked over to check on the door prizes, as one of us had to be present to win. We did not win anything.

The entertainment was the Ham-O-Ramma, but I was too tired to attend. Bob did not stay over for it either, he returned and we watched some TV, falling asleep in the recliners.

Thursday-  The final day of the rally. We went over to the 8:30 seminar by the Geeks on Tour. It was on Google Photos. Google has discontinued Picasa, which is the program that I use to edit photos. I can still use it, but it is no longer supported, as Google is moving to totally to a Cloud format. The photos are free, but they are stored in the Cloud. No one is say for how long they are free.

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So I will still back them up to my external hard drive, but also keep them in the cloud. Actually, the ones that I want are on the blog, so it is not a real issue.

After the seminar, we returned to the MH and did some tasks, then returned to the main building for the Pet Walk. The gal who was going to run it, Chris, who does it every year, had an issue with her dog just prior to the start of the Escapade, and she returned home to her Vet. So one of the folks from the Escapade staff lead the walk. We walked the dogs in a parade around the Expo Center. Lots of people come to look. Then we just all milled around at the entrance to the buildings.

Dog Walk @ Escapade

We dropped the dogs off and went to the Chili Cook off. Every single one of the Chili samples had bell pepper in them, so Bob could not sample them. I sampled some until I hit one that was AWESOME, made by the people from one of the insurance companies. I put money into their CARE jar.  You donate money to CARE at the ones that you like, and the one who raises the most money wins. They raised over 6K for CARE. CARE is the Assisted Living at the Escapees Park in Livingston TX. The money raised by the sale of the doughnuts every morning at the Escapade also goes to CARE. They raised over 2K from the doughnuts. All of the BOF’s and Chapters donate to CARE. The winner, which turned out to be my favorite, donated their $175 winnings back to CARE.

We stopped at the Sausage Shack for lobster rolls.

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We returned to the MH and took a short nap. At 3 PM we returned to the main building for the closing ceremony. We did not win anything.

Back  to the MH for a short stay, and we ate dinner. We met up with folks from the new Square Dance BOF and went to a Square Dance workshop sponsored by the Green Mountain Steppers.

The workshop was being held at the local library. We arrived to find about 13 people there. They were doing Advanced, which we do not dance. We waited until that workshop was completed. The caller came around and greeted us. Then he started doing Plus Plus. We had never heard of that and think we are still too weak, having not danced, except for the workshops this winter. We were glad that we did not get up and dance the Plus Plus, as the squares kept breaking up. When he started the Plus, we joined in and had a great time. We did really well, not having any more issues that anyone else.

The folks at the Green Mountain Steppers were very welcoming and we all had a great time. At the end, we had to go in a line around the room, hugging the caller, his wife and the president of the club. The also gave us dangles, like we have gotten before at other places. These are to attach to your name badge. These are green left feet!

The nine of us stopped at McDonalds, across from the Expo Center for hot fudge sundaes ( there went my fat burn on my diet plan) and sat getting to know each other for about an hour. We returned home at 10 and went to bed.

Friday- We went to the Hook-up breakfast, which consisted of a small piece of apple strudel or a mini muffin. Really? They think that is a breakfast? Well since I was out of ‘fat burn’, we went over to the McDonalds and had an Egg McMuffin.

We walked back over to the MH and gathered up the laundry. We went to the shopping center next door and washed our clothes. We returned and hung everything up then went to the local Goodwill.

We donated clothes that are too big, again, and I bought two tops. Bob bought a pair of shorts and a new belt. The belt was brand new and one of my tops was new, with the store tags still on it!

We stopped at Vermont Sandwiches for lunch. We both bought a pretty good sandwich, then returned to the MH to eat them. At 1 we went over to Norm and Mary’s MH for the start of the SKP Genies mini rally. There were about 14 of us there. We introduced ourselves and each person put forth a problem that they were having, which the group made suggestions about a solution.

At a little after 3, we left and went to the local farmers market, which opened at 3:30. We wandered through and I bought yellow squash and a cucumber, each for $0.75.

We returned to the MH and went to dinner at 5, at Texas Road House. That was as good as usual. Then at 6:30 we went back to the mini rally social, where they served awesome brownies with ice cream for dessert.We sat talking until about 8 PM, then returned to the MH.

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