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 5/25/2012 4:43 PM
The tire blowout thread awakened some memories for me. Lots of do's and don'ts have crossed this BB on that subject.
Remember our first RVA rally in Harlingen in 00. Melva King and her significant other were a big part of that. She is gone but we have run across Bill several times over the years since. He may still be in Andrews, TX. Of course DD and his black water bombs are gone. Remember they guy with the train whistle in his pusher. I don't remember his name.
We have run across Dave, Mike D and some others also over the years. Mike and Linda came through Brackettville a year or so ago and spent a night in the RV park here at Fort Clark.
Libby and I still have our 13 year old Fleetwood Discovery that the RV rating group said would fall apart. We fulltimed for almost 10 years in it and BTW, we are on our third set of tires and have just about 100k on the odometer.
Rich and Diane are still out there fulltiming. They had their Dutch Star repainted several years ago. Norm and Linda have a rig but also have a house at The Plantation in Alabama. They bought a new motorhome about 05. We have visited with both of those couples many times since our 00 rally. Gene Dwiggins and his bride live near Bandera, maybe 70 or 80 miles east and a little north of us. Kirk and Pam have sold their motorhome but bought a TT. They have an RV port home similar to ours, out east of Dallas. Don and Liane Holder have a home in Georgetown, TX just north of Austin. Liane has been battling cancer for several years, Don just had a heart attack but is recovering nicely. Some of you remember their 10 year old son Tom, who is now 22 or 23.
We have run across Dutch several times at Rallies but not for a number of years now.
I remember annoying folks with my countdown to retirement in 99. I turned 51 just before I retired. Now I'll be 64 this year. How time flies. I still do part time work with FEMA during disasters. A good gig for retirees.
BTW, FEMA is going to hire more reservists sometime later this year so if you are looking for some supplemental income, keep an eye on FEMA.gov
We will be heading for Colorado later this summer to visit our youngest son who is now 39. He lives in Telluride and we generally stay in Montrose, Cortez or Delores when we visit him. We traveled to the other two kids in FL last year so its mountains this summer and maybe some cooler temps! At this point in our lives, we have five grandchildren. When we first got on this board, we had none!
I'd downsize the rig but its not a good financial move so we just keep polishing those aluminum wheels. I just about have Libby finished waxing it. One more side and she is done.
Enough maudlin old time stories. You folks out there just starting out have a great time. We don't travel as much anymore. Diesel was 70 cents a gallon in GA in 99. Paying almost $5 a gallon has curtailed our travels a bunch!

Libby and John and RV the CAT Ford F 150 towing a 2017 Forest River Vibe 277 RLS Click here to see our current location
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 5/26/2012 3:20 PM
 Modified By ffitz  on 5/26/2012 2:21:40 PM

John: It was a great trip down memory lane. Our MH is now 16 years old with 88000 miles on it. We don't do the long travels we used to. Pretty much every other weekend in June thru Oct with a 100 mile radius.

Going for an inspection sticker next week so I checked all the exterior lights today. One dble filament socket was so corroded that I had to use needle nose pliers to extract the bulb it so I wouldn't have to replace the socket.

Enjoy you holiday weekend and thanks for the memories.

Frank FitzGerald Middleton MA RexAir 37' with Saturn L300 Toad Oh Yes I almost forgot, Pat-my copilot
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 5/26/2012 9:40 PM

And then there was the Rally in the Valley ('02, I think), where Pat and Nancy put on a trememdous get-together of RVA folks from all over the country. Dave Peters was the man-of-the-hour with his technical forum and answered lots of RV-related questions.

The food was great (and the price for the entire rally was unbelievably low--something like $38 if I remember correctly). Nice t-shirts, good grub, and even a good bunch of local RVs for tire kicking.

And those of us in attendance will never forget the hilarious presentation of the "wind chimes for the deaf!"

Ah yes, those were the good old days. As John said, many of the "old folks" are still lurking and occasionally post a message on this board. Some of us are still "on the road" but not as actively as in the past.

Linda's and my trip around the USA in 2010, gave us a chance to finally meet some of these fine folks face-to-face (either again, or for the first time).

Over the years we have met many fine RV friends, and many have become close friends and frequent visitors.

With careful planning and judicious travel, anyone can still enjoy the wonders of our country without needing a mega-loan from wherever.

Thanks, John, for the mental kick and rekindling of many fond memories.

Cheers and happy travels, Mike www.backroadtravelers.com
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 5/26/2012 9:42 PM
Yeah, it was fun. I wonder where Willie wound up. Last I heard from him, he was in El Paso I think. We have moved our rig a total of about 3 miles in the last year. When we head to CO in July, it might not understand what we want to do!
We built our little home here on Fort Clark a couple of years ago and we tend to stay here most of the time. Its a nice place and I can just hop on the golf cart and tee off in less than five minutes.
While I cannot have a big tower and beam for my ham radios, I do have a working station here. My several deployments a year with FEMA used to be done in our RV but a few trips to OK and AR in the Spring sort of make me realize that maybe I should just fly and stay in a hotel! Lately, I've been deployed to locations too far to drive the rig to in a timely manner anyway. Tough to get to Boston, Atlanta or Raleigh in 24 hours from SW Texas!
So far, I've avoided getting roped into running for any of the offices here on the Fort and I intent to remain like that!
I heard from Norm and Linda today who said they would probably downsize to a Class C in a few years. They built a really nice home at the SKP Park in Summerdale, AL. They are very involved with the Escapees there all during the winter. Some of you might remember Jim and Patti Hammond. They traveled with us in 2000/2001 several times, then sold their rig and bought a place at Sun City near Sacramento. I'm sure I'll remember more of those early folks as I ponder my navel or whatever exciting thing I might be doing over the next few days!
Good to hear from you Frank!

Libby and John and RV the CAT Ford F 150 towing a 2017 Forest River Vibe 277 RLS Click here to see our current location
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 5/27/2012 6:51 PM

Hi All. I am pretty sure Willie & Betty Sue live in San Antonio, and I think the "Rally in the Valley" was in 2001, but I could be wrong on that year.

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 5/27/2012 9:11 PM
 Modified By John  on 5/27/2012 8:20:01 PM
Yes, it was in 2001 but the original rally, which was in the Rio Grande Valley or to us Texans, simply, The Valley, it was in 2000.
We have also run across Dick and Kaye Ackerman over the years but again not for the last 5 or so. They were with us at both RVA rallies if I remember correctly.
Does anyone remember the Canadian couple with the Winnie Pusher who were authors. I know they were with us at the Gold Canyon Rally (rally #2)
We are only 125 miles west of San Antonio and get over there frequently. I sure would like to find Willie and Betty Sue.
Somewhere I have a picture of the three musketeers, Dave, Willie and Me!

I just went back over our website and found the Canadian couple, Peggy and John McDonald. The guy with the train whistle on his rig was Jack Wright and our resident RV repair guy at that first rally was Rodney from Blue Moon Mobile RV repair in Dallas.

A few years after that rally, I had an appt with Rodney for refer maintenance but had to cancel. He was in a terrible auto accident after our rally but last I heard had recovered nicely.

And yes, I know our website is down but I am in the process of moving it to a new hosting site. It might take a few days to get it back up and I might even update it! I haven't done that since 2009!

Libby and John and RV the CAT Ford F 150 towing a 2017 Forest River Vibe 277 RLS Click here to see our current location
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 5/27/2012 10:12 PM

John thanks for the trip down memory lane. I sure do miss a lot of these folks. But its nice to see there is some life on this board.For all you newbies reading this enjoy I sure have and still am.

Gary; garyjanc@hughes.net
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 5/27/2012 10:47 PM

John - To update your RVA archive, Jack Wright attempted full-timing for 6 months, and tells me that was 3 months too long. He sold his pusher, moved to Palm Springs, and bought a candy factory. He was and still is one-of-a-kind. Many of the funny stories we remember (black tank bombs, RV races with slides extended, etc., etc.) came from his "warped mind". Hopefully, he'll someday re-surface and resume entertaining us with his unique humor. - Dave

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 5/28/2012 1:06 AM

Hi John,

I think you "awoke a sleeping giant" with your post down memory lane.

I rarely post on this site anymore but just happened to stumble onto your post and was going to be the first one to reply. It was very lengthy but when I tried to send it, it went away. Just now getting back to it.

I think we should mention Pat & Nancy Gallagher. As I recall they ramrodded both "The Ralley in the Valley" and the "Y2K rally". I am sure you know that Pat has passed on and I haven't heard from Nancy in a few years. I hope she is still with us.

I was a very active member of the "RV America Chat Room" until they shut it down. That group is still alive and well and very active on another site that I understand I can not mention. Lots of the original gang are still active and the group grows nightly starting around 8:30 PM Central time. We have many VERY close friends on that site. We have many rallies in the past and our group has hung together through births, deaths, marriages, divorces and even a murder. We are truly a close family.

Nancy & Pat invited us (chatters) to join the above mentioned rallies which many of us did and they both were great times.

You reminded me of a not so happy ending to the "Rally In The Valley". When we left there we got just a few miles South of Kingsville when my old motor home died. Oh yes.............the infamous Ford fuel pump in the tank. Before I even called for a tow I called the Ford dealer in Kingsville to see if they had a pump in stock. The didn't but said they could go to Corpus Christi and get one. I told them to get going! I got towed in at 4:30 on a Friday evening. The wrecker couldn't get it in the shop so about 15 of us literally pushed it inside. About that time the guy walked in the door with the fuel pump in hand and a tech was standing by.

6:30 Friday night I was back on the road. I had just created a major miracle!

About 2 miles away from the shop there was a cross street that had been cut down about 12" for a resurface and no warning signs. It was getting dark and the first warning I had was when the car in front of me took a major dip. The second warning was when I saw on my monitor my truck crashing into the rear of the motor home. The tow bar had popped off the ball. (I will never have another ball hitch!)

The tow bar hit the ground and flew up and wiped out the hood and bumper of my toad then impaled itself into my closet.

$4000 and 6 weeks later all was well again.

Those were fun times. I miss Norm's regular posting on his web site. Hope he gets back to it and looking forward to you doing the same.

Looks like you may get some more FEMA work soon. We passed near by you a few weeks ago on the way to work a hail storm in McAllen on the way back from our usual winter in Yuma.

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 5/29/2012 11:56 AM

Wow, those are some names I haven't heard in a while!

When I first joined the board, Marty "GoWeider" was pushing his American Eagle RV story, and John was doing his countdown to retirement and hitting the road.

I sold "The Beast" a couple of years ago and am currently without a RV; however, I did spend a good part of the weekend "browsing" several nice units at the newly-opened PPL Motorhomes consignment shop in New Braunfels! One of these days, in the not-too-distant future...sigh....

One correction notice, John: I'm in Blanco, TX, about 35 miles west of Austin and still work at Randolph AFB outside San Antonio. Anyone ever through here, give me a shout!!!

Gene Dwiggins Blanco, TX 1984 Shasta 35L 5'er, 2014 Ford F350 Super Duty Platinum dually crew cab 6.7 turbo diesel
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