April 2018 Rally

Dates: April 20-22, 2017

Location: Staunton, VA

Hosts: Crabtrees Robersens

Campground: Walnut Hills Campground

Our first rally of the 2018 season kicked off at the Walnut Hills KOA in Staunton, VA, very ably co-hosted by the Roberson’s and the Crabtree’s (thanks guys!). We had a few “early arrivals” show up on Thursday, April 19th, although the rally didn’t officially start until Friday, April 20th. Our sites were, as in previous years, “up on the hill” overlooking the rest of the campground and adjacent to the campground’s indoor meeting room (“the Rally Room”). The Rally Room wall displays pictures of different RV groups who have camped at the Walnut Hills Campground in the past few years. Prominent among said framed pictures is one which shows the Cardinal Virginians celebrating their 20th Anniversary there in June of 2015! It was fun to reminisce and see how our Chapter membership has changed over the years!

We had 11 coaches present for this “2018 kick-off” Rally; those in attendance beginning on Friday evening were: John and Rhoda Schoepf, Paul and Carol Melton, Bill and Cheryl Brown
John and Patty Nickols, Dave and Evelyn Crabtree, Kamal Rojiani and Deni Dillon
Karen and Janelle Lohr, Rick and Cindy Roberson, Dennis and Barbara Sarmento
New Couples: Milton and Barbara Hathaway and Doug and Sue Evans - Welcome!

We also had some “guest campers” who joined us: Paul and Carol’s son, Jeff, daughter-in-law Sarah, and their three delightful children: Dawson, Maddie, and Lily. In addition, Dave and Evelyn met a couple with a towable from Harrisonburg who had heard that FMCA was now accepting towables as members; they expressed some interest in joining our Chapter—perhaps in the near future?

The weather was just a bit on the cool side on Thursday and Thursday evening, warming up only ever-so-slightly on Friday and Friday evening, and by Saturday it was very comfortable.

Because it was chilly and somewhat windy, we held our traditional “Friday Evening Kickoff Conviviality Hour” in the “Rally Room.” After enjoying some delectable munchies, we headed out via carpool to our evening dinner at the Depot Grille in Staunton. When we got there, we had a few anxious moments when they tried to tell us t hey had no record of our reservations and that “they did not take reservations anyway.” Rick Roberson, who had made the reservations, quickly had a “friendly chat with the manager” and suddenly, presto, we had reservations, and, we were seated immediately - much to the disgust of a bunch of other people who were waiting for a table!

On Saturday morning we enjoyed a pot-luck brunch--wow, do we ever have some good cooks! After the brunch, we had a variety of activities from which to choose: a large group toured the nearby Woodrow Wilson birthplace and museum; some chose to do a wine-tasting tour; others did a self-guided windshield tour of old downtown Staunton and the surrounding areas; the rest just kicked back and relaxed. Late Saturday afternoon saw us gathering for our “Conviviality Hour;” however, this time it was warm enough to sit outside, so we pulled up our chairs and enjoyed conversation and some light snacks while sitting beside our newest members’ coach, that of Doug and Sue Evans! After that, our hosts, Dave, Evelyn, Rick, and Cindy treated us all to a delicious Saturday evening dinner in the “Rally Room.” Dinner consisted of chili, salad, corn bread, cupcakes, and cake. If you left that meal hungry, it was your own fault!

Because it was the first outing of the year for many of us, the weekend offered a chance to work on “winter kinks” that either developed in their coach during the trip to Walnut Hills or else showed up after arrival at the campground. ☹ A few examples: 1. Dennis’ slides would not retract, so he ended up jury-rigging a device that used an 18-volt cordless-drill battery to provide the power to get his slides pulled in…simply ingenious! 2. Rick's generator initially would not shut off; he finally got it to stop but he was left wondering if it will come back on the next time he needs it. 3. Rick also had problems with his aqua-hot system, meaning Cindy had to take a cold shower (which probably created another, more difficult problem for Rick…)

On Sunday morning our hosts again outdid themselves by cooking up for us a great breakfast of pancakes and bacon. After breakfast Cindy led a brief devotional and we adjourned, cleaned up the Rally Room, said our good-byes, and then departed for our various homes.

PS.1. Dave and Evelyn arrived in style, sporting a beautiful (new to them) tag-axle Entegra Anthem. They opened up their new rig for tours and we responded with some “oohs and ahs” while congratulating them on their new acquisition!

PS.2. Several members met and discussed/kicked-around additional suggestions/ideas for our upcoming 25Th Anniversary Rally which we will be celebrating in June at the Misty Mountain Campground. The planning is going well; it should be a memorable event!

NOTE: The above based on a draft submitted by Dave Crabtree; final version edited by Bill and Cheryl Brown

			April 2018 Rally