Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Monday, March 27, 2017

March 19 – 24, 2017 – Escapade at the Pima County Fairgrounds, Tucson, AZ

March 19 – 24, 2017 – Escapade at the Pima County Fairgrounds, Tucson, AZ

March 19, Sunday 

Our site at Cactus Country RV Resort

We left Cactus Country RV Resort this morning a little before 8:30 to meet our friends, SKP Chapter 17 President and his wife, Alvin & Linda, at the entrance to I-10 at Houghton Road exit, where they fell in behind us and we traveled together to the campground, a total distance of 8 miles.

Entering the Pima County Fairgrounds to attend our first ever Escapade - the 57th one held!

We are excited to attend our first ever Escapade, the 57th!!.  We were parked next to Alvin and Linda in full hookups with 30 amp electric.  Once I had things set-up inside I came out and was talking to our neighbor and his wife (Bill and Teresa) who were parked on our other side and found out they were from Neosho, MO.  What a small world - they are about an hour and 15 minutes from us.  I told Teresa that my niece was a teacher in Neosho and her husband owned a pawn shop – and believe it or not, they know Melissa’s husband Tim.   They are interested in joining our Chapter 17 SKP group!

Once the guys were finished with their setup we visited for a bit and then headed to Pueblo Hall to register for the week’s event.  It didn’t take any time until we had our badges and a bag of information to sort through later when we have the time.  Next stop was the Volunteer Booth where we met up with Bill and Jan Mains.  If you follow the blog regularly you might remember we met Bill and Jan at our Chapter 17 fall rally in Grove.  Here is the link that tells about our meetup.  It was great to see them again and we received big SKP hugs!!

From there we visited “The Market” where all of the vendors are located.  We just did a quick walk through and then headed back to Bentley for some lunch.  At 2:00 there is an orientation for those attending Escapade for the first time.  Wow, there are a lot of first-timer’s attending this Escapade.  Following the first-timers meeting, at 3:00 the opening ceremony was held.  There was a lot of people in attendance!!  The highlight of this event was getting to hear Kay Peterson, SKP #1.  She and her husband Joe started Escapees in 1975.  She was a delight and had everyone in stitches with her story of how it was never supposed to be like this – it was just supposed to be a group of couples having fun and enjoying the outdoors – but my how it has grown and what a blessing to many RVer’s who appreciate the many benefits this organization offers them.  We will be celebrating her 90th birthday the last night of the Escapade.  She’s still a spitfire at 90 and she can deliver a hilarious account of their Escapee’s journey without cracking a smile.   As we left this event, we were all provided ice cream sandwiches. 

We returned to our rigs and visited a while before having a bite to eat.

Part of the opening ceremony.
At 7:00 the Opening Ceremony was held followed by the evening entertainment provided by “Native Spirit”.  Wow, what an amazing group of Indian dancers.  Brian Hammell and his son Nedallas are world champion hoop dancers and they were amazing.  Various ones played beautiful music on Indian flutes, and entertained us with many other types of native dancing.

What a treat!  Several prizes were awarded to attendees this evening but none of our group won!  We still have a few nights to go though.

March 20, Monday

First thing this morning, Dean and I went to the volunteer booth to sign up to help during the Escapade.  Since we are staying over on Friday when most attendees are leaving, we signed up to help with the hitch-up bites.  They will provide some type of roll, coffee and/or juice for those rolling out of the fairgrounds on Friday morning.  We are scheduled to work from 7:00-9:30 am Friday morning.   By signing up to volunteer, we receive a Volunteer 2017 pin and a chance to win a nice prize.  We found out later it is a portable solar panel.  We’d sure like to win that!

Many opportunities for learning more about RV living were given from 8:30 to 4:00 every day.  Dean and I attended several of these looking for information that might improve our RV travels.  Some of the seminars we attended today included RVING Atlantic Canada (highlights of the Canadian Maritimes) which is a trip on my bucket list; Equipping your RV for Electrical Independence; Detailing your coach like a Pro; Insurance Shopping: Comparing Apples to Apples; Photo Memories with Google Photos; and Technology for Travelers.  The last two sessions were led by Jim and Chris Guld, Geeks on Tour.  I follow their blog and have purchased an annual membership to their on-line training sessions.  They have helped me so much in getting my blog set-up and in tweaking it the past few years.  They did not disappoint as I learned several new things in their sessions this week and I also made it on to the big screen as part of one of the tips she shared with us.

If you enlarge this I am in the picture directly to Chris' right.

I am in the picture at the top left next to the lady in the bright yellow.  We were sitting next to each other on the front row.

This evening a social was held for first-timer's.  We attended and had a great time.  Here are a couple of pictures we took during the event.

Before we headed over to Thurber Hall for the evening entertainment I snapped this picture of the sunset.  
Picture of sunset behind our rig - you can see how the wind is blowing in these pictures.

Alvin and Linda's rig on the left and ours on the right.
Tonight, for our evening entertainment everyone had the chance to sing along with the Beach Boys and the Eagles as Woodie and the Longboards performed many of these two groups hit songs, plus one song by Three Dog Night – Joy to the World.  I wasn’t overly impressed with their rendition of the Beach Boys – but they did an awesome job on the Eagles tunes.  Still it was a fun night and many folks were taking advantage of the songs to put their feet to work on the dance floor.  Many door prizes were awarded at the start of the evening entertainment but again none of us won.

March 21, 2017 - Tuesday

This morning Dean and I spent the first couple of hours taking in the Market and really studying the products the many vendors had to offer.  Dean has been wanting a two-piece shade screen ever since we saw the one our neighbors, Jerry and Jill, had on their rig at an RV-Dreams boondocking rally last March.  The base (about 1’ in length) fits into a groove on the metal part of the awning.  The second piece is 6’ long and is zipped to the base to provide 7’ of shade.  The base may be left on and rolled up within the awning.  It is light weight and cuts the heat considerably when sitting outside.  He also wanted a side shade that could be mounted to the awning brackets and could be moved to either side based on what direction the rig is sitting and time of day we are outside.  We told the vendor we would think about it.

Another thing he was really interested in was a good cleaning kit for Bentley.  He hasn’t been able to find the type of cleaning mops he’d like to have and after attending the Detailing your Coach like a Pro session yesterday he wanted to check out what products were available in the Market.  We visited a couple of booths and he finally made a decision.  He takes great care of Bentley but there is no doubt having the right product and equipment makes it much easier for him and I’m glad he found what he was looking for.

After lunch, I attended another Geeks on Tour seminar, Technology to tell Your Stories that gave several pointers for blogging.  Another great seminar.

Tonight, Linda and I went to the Pueblo Center and played Bingo.  It’s been years since I’ve played Bingo anywhere except at home with the kids.  We received a packet of 15 sheets (each sheet had 3 Bingo games on it) and we played a variety of Bingo games.  Half of them were regular Bingo where you could get any row down, across, diagonal or four corners.  The others were things like Y’s, X’s, 6 in a rectangle but you could not use the free space, and others.  It was a lot of fun and there were LOTS of winners, but not Linda and me.  Still it was great fun and I was looking forward to playing again later this week, however the second one was cancelled later in the week.

March 22, 2017 – Wednesday

This morning Dean and I walked around the campground before the sessions started.  Wow, there are a lot of RV's here.  One of the local RV dealer's has brought in a number of RV units that are for sale. Each day they have sponsored a happy hour with food and drinks to encourage folks to look through the rigs they have on display.

These are just a few of the areas were RV's are parked here in the Fairgrounds.

Today’s Seminars were Map-Making with Google “My Maps” by Geeks on Tour; and Make Your RV More Livable.  Again we received some good information we can utilize.  I made the rounds on the ROW – where booths from various SKP Chapters are set-up, along with various BOF’s Birds of a Feather groups such as Geocachers; SOWERS; and Boomers.  We are currently members of the Boomers group however we have not attended any of their get togethers as they are mostly in the desert areas of Arizona.  However, we were invited to attend a social Tuesday evening with the Boomers by our Chapter 17 members Glenn and Marcia, who are active Boomer members.  Linda and Alvin also attended and we had a great time and met some wonderful people.  I really enjoyed the time I spent visiting with each of the Chapter members working at their booths and obtained copies of several newsletters for ideas to improve or add to ours. 

On our walk through the Market earlier this week, one of the vendors was selling these spongy seat cushions they claimed would help with your back and/or leg problems.  I set on one and it felt great but they were kind of expensive so I passed.  However, Linda bought one and she let me borrow it for one of the sessions today.  In one hour, I felt so much better that I went straight to this booth afterwards to buy one.  I’ve been looking for something to use when we are driving long distance in the truck and I am hoping it will do the trick.  It distributes your weight and it causes you to set straighter.  The chairs at this event were the most uncomfortable chairs I’ve ever set in and everyone was complaining about them.  At one point, it became unbearable and I had to stand during one of the evening performances because I could not sit in the chair any longer.  With the cushion, I comfortably set in the chair for an entire session (1 hour).  I could feel the strain leaving my upper back the longer I set there.  I had to have one. Well, would you believe he sold the last one before I got there?  I ordered one though and he will send it to our house, so hopefully our travels the rest of this year and in the future, will be much improved.  I’ll let you know if it works as well as it did today.

We took a different route going back to the rig today.  They have some beautiful green space here in the Fairgrounds.
When we went back to the rig for lunch Alvin told us Linda was up at the fairgrounds laundromat doing some laundry.  She called him to say she thought she saw another one of our Chapter members drive by – Dean and Carol Ann.  I remembered I had seen Carol Ann post on Facebook they planned to be here today but I had forgotten about it since it was shortly before I went to bed last night.  I called them and they are going to stop by the Illinois Chapter social so we can visit with them.

Later today we went back to the Market and purchased the two piece awning Dean has been wanting. It is very light weight and I think we will get quite a bit of use out of it.

We were invited to attend the Illinois Chapter social by Val and Lou Petkus.  It was held behind their rig in a nice grassy area.
I thought I took more than one picture of the Illinois Chapter social, but I guess this was the only one.  Marcia and Glenn are in the top right of this picture.

We met Val and Lou in February at our SKP Chapter 17 luncheon in Springfield, MO.  Val and her husband own a home in Branson, however their main residence is in Illinois.  They found out about our luncheon from the information posted on the Escapees webpage.  Val told me to also invite our other Chapter members attending the Escapade, Linda and Alvin and Glenn and Marsha.  Once we arrived Glenn and Marcia were already there – come to find out they used to live in Illinois and were previous members of the Illinois chapter.  Such a small world.  They are originally from Kansas – and believe it or not when I first met them and asked what city in Kansas – she said you’ve never heard of it – and told me Lost Springs.  I just laughed and said yes I have heard of it and I’ve been there – my grandson’s other grandma's family owns the Mexcian restaurant there.  Again – it’s a small world.  Dean and Carol Ann stopped by and we were able to visit with them for a while before the big event of the evening.  Tonight they are having an Escapade talent contest, and what an event it was.  My goodness Escapees are very talented folks.  There was singing, skits, musical instruments, poetry, etc.  It was wonderful.

My husband having a good laugh at one of the talent skits.

One of the skits that was very good.
More drawings were held for prizes and again - none of us won!

March 23, 2017 – Thursday

So first thing this morning it clouded up and then the sky opened up.  Maybe there is something to our trips bringing rain wherever we go - it's not like it rains much here in the Arizona desert! Fortunately it didn't last too long.

Our seminars this morning included Living Large in Small Places and Servants on Wheels Every Ready (SOWERS).  This is one of the BOF’s I mentioned earlier.  It is a Christian ministry promoting service to others.  Dean and I were really impressed with this group.  You sign up to work for 3 weeks at a time.  You can continue to work at the same place for more than 3 weeks, move to another project, or move on if you need to.  We think it is something we’d like to try at some point in our travels.  Living Large in Small Places wasn’t exactly what we thought it would be.  We thought it would give us ideas of how to make better use of our space in the RV, however it had more to do with understanding the expectations of your spouse and what you both want out of living together in an RV.  It was good information and we enjoyed it but was disappointed the information we had hoped to get wasn’t there.  Fortunately compared to several folks in attendance, Dean and I find we are pretty compatible in the small space we have.  If you need more space, there is always the great outdoors!!

After the rain this morning, the sun put on a display as it settled for the evening.

As I mentioned earlier, tonight a birthday party was held for Kay Peterson’s 90th birthday.  Cupcakes were provided to each attendee.  We were asked to bring a snack to share and found out after we arrived it is to be shared at the table you sit at.  Val Petkus sat with us since her husband Lou is busy taking pictures during the events of the Escapade.  Another couple joined us and unbeknownst to me they too attended the same luncheon in Springfield where we met Val and Lou.  CeCe told me she was at the other end of the table that day so I missed getting introduced to her.  We had a good time visiting with them and others at our table.  Val is the Newsletter Editor for their Chapter so we had something in common right away.

Tonight they announced there were 917 rigs here at the Escapade Rally, with over 2400 in attendance.  There were 775 daily walk-ins (several Escapees stayed in parks close-by and drove over daily, and Wednesday was a free day for anyone who wanted to attend).  There were 65 kids attending Kidscapades this year.  Wow – there were a lot of rigs here at this event.  I was very impressed with how smooth everything seemed to go.  If there were hiccups they were few and reminds me of the old saying – don’t fret, no one will know if something goes wrong, unless you tell them.

So tonight, only three major prizes were awarded – the solar panel for volunteers, an 11-day rally trip valued at over $4,000 and another item that was very nice but I can’t remember what it was.  Well, I’d love to tell you that one of our Chapter 17 members won one of these but it did not happen.  We had a good time waiting each time a name was drawn though and we are happy for those that did win.

March 24, 2017 – Friday

Dean and I were up early this morning to be at Pueblo Hall a little before 7am to help with the Hitch-up Bites.  My job was to keep the tables supplied with various miniature rolls (cream cheese pastries, cinnamon rolls, and poppy seed, blueberry and chocolate chip muffins).  They also provided apple and/or orange juice and coffee.  Dean was charged with filling in empty spots with napkins that I quickly filled with a roll.  Everyone had their job and we were able to keep the table filled so no one went without getting their choice of roll(s).  We had a good time and enjoyed visiting with the others helping as well.   We had quite a few leftover rolls so a few of us carried the containers around to the tables to see if anyone wanted seconds and we managed to empty a few more.  Once everyone left, Dean and I offered to help Chick and Debby clean-up and we stayed until about 10:30, and we were very glad to help.

Another shot of a beautiful manicured area in the Fairgrounds.

We walked back to Bentley and decided we would take a drive over to Old Tucson.  One of the guys Dean worked with this morning told him the drive itself was worth it due to the number of Saguaro cactus growing in the area.  We would have enjoyed the Sonoran Desert Museum or the Pima Air and Space Museum, however since it was Friday and the last day of Spring Break we chose to pass on both of those as we hope to be back in this area in the next year or two.  We will plan to take those in at that time.  We had already heard from others how busy everything was with Spring Break from the schools in the area and since we were getting a late start we thought this would be the best solution for us.

Tonight, we decided to go out for dinner to an Italian Restaurant called Argenzianos.  It was just a short distance from the fairgrounds.  Dean chose Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, and I selected the Chicken Parmesan.   Mine was delicious and Dean’s was just so-so.  It was way too rich.  I would never have been able to eat even half of what he managed to.  This happens often and I guess I just need to start choosing Dean’s food for him.  We laugh about this a lot!

Tomorrow we will move on to Benson, AZ for two nights.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Saturday, March 18, 2017 - Adventure Bound (Cactus Country) RV Park, Tucson, AZ

Saturday, March 18, 2017 - Adventure Bound (Cactus Country) RV Park, Tucson, AZ

After I posted the blog last night, we went for a short walk and I took a few more pictures that I wanted to share.
Our site - you can see a bit of the sunset in the background.

Office Area

Entrance to the campground

Nice landscaped area at the entrance to the park

I tried to spend a little time this morning getting Bentley cleaned inside, wiping down the woodwork, cleaning the shower, and getting sheets changed on the bed before I got ready.  Once I was done Dean and I headed up to the office/lounge for breakfast.  We both had biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs. It was pretty good. 

Once we finished breakfast we went back and to finish getting Bentley packed up.  We pulled out of Dream Catcher RV Park in Deming, NM at 9:15am.  

Our drive was really nice today, we saw some really beautiful scenery in both New Mexico and Arizona. 

Pictures below were taken between Deming and the Arizona state line.  We were surprised at the different landscapes in this short distance.

We arrive in Arizona!

A short distance into Arizona we stopped at this rest area.  We loved the rocks and hills at this location.  Dean was watching a large bird of some kind fly around over the hills, his shadow following him perfectly on the hills.  At first he actually thought it was two birds.  

As usual Dean was giving me a bad time about something so I told him I was taking his picture to post on the blog!!  We laugh a lot during our travels.

We really love the beautiful artistry on the bridges, overpasses, etc. we have seen on this trip.

This picture was taken at our RV Park, Cactus Country in Tucson, AZ.  This saguaro cactus towers over Dean.  To his right is a fountain under the arbor.  I was at the laundromat, located right behind him.  I was setting outside while waiting for the clothes to finish.  I could hear the fountain bubbling and very much enjoyed it.

Once we had set up and I had finished doing our laundry we had a couple of things we wanted to do.  First, we wanted to check out the route we would take tomorrow to the Pima County Fairgrounds where we will stay for the 57th Escapade.  Dean and I belong to a local Escapees Chapter in our area that covers KS, MO, AR, and OK.  The Escapade brings all chapters together for one large event. It is our first time attending.  We found the route very easy to follow.   Once we had that figured out, the next thing on our list was to make the short drive to Saguaro National Park - about 9 miles from our park.  I took over 100 pictures but I narrowed it down to the following.  It was difficult to select just these as this place was really beautiful.  The Saguaro cactus are only found in the Sonoran Desert, which is located in in the southeastern part of California, southwestern part of Arizona and in the state of Sonora Mexico.

The Saguaro National Park was established by Congress in 1994.
You can click on any of these pictures to enlarge them.  

Interesting sign!  I'd hate to fall into any part of this area with all of these cacti...ouch!


I encourage you to take the time to enlarge this picture  - This was such a beautiful site.
We are meeting our friends Linda and Alvin tomorrow and going into the Escapade together so we can park next or near each other.  We plan to leave the park around 8:30 or so and will meet them at the exit near our park around 9:00.  It is about 3-3.5 miles from there to the campground.  We will stay pretty busy this week so I am not sure how often I will get a chance to post to the blog but will try to do at least 2-3 throughout the week and weekend before we begin our return trip home.

Tonight after dinner, Dean was outside getting things ready for us to leave tomorrow.  Our neighbor noticed our Heartland rig and asked him if we were a member of the Heartland Owners Group and Dean told him yes, we were.  He said he had a good friend named Bernie who owned a Heartland and went to many of their rallies. Dean said he knew a Bernie and came to ask me what his last name was and where he lived.  I couldn't remember his last name at the time except that it started with a V but I remembered where he lived and that his wife was Judy, and sure enough it was the same person. Dick, our neighbor here in the park, emailed Bernie and told him we were parked next to him.  We will see Bernie in May at a rally in Branson.  It's a small world with RVer's. Everyone is so friendly and nice.  We really love meeting all of these wonderful people.

There are activities going from 8:30am until 8:30pm or later every night.  There are seminars, vendors, RV's on display, exercise groups, crafts, games, etc. to do throughout the day and every evening there is some kind of entertainment.  It's going to be a fun-filled week in Tucson!!!!  See you soon.