Sunday, May 31, 2009

More Fun at the Escapade

1388 RVers in 753 rigs attended the Escapade. There was a lot to do, but each day at 4:00 the Solos got together and had their social hour.


At the social hour the first day, I introduced Rita, whom I met through the blog, to the group. She's a brand new RVer, just in the process of purchasing her rig. She went to the "Boot Camp" that the Escapees put on for newbies.


We all took turns "working" on "The Row," where the different chapters meet and greet members. We talked about the Solos and signed up new members. I really enjoyed it.


One night the Solos had a pizza party, and over 50 Solos turned up. Nobody passes up food!


Some of these Escapees are really gung-ho! That is really some badge collection.


I went to several seminars. This one was called "Materialistic Minimalism," by Tom Marlatt. It could have been more practical and less philosophical, but was still good. He's an amazing guy.


While there, I ran into Jerry, who recognized me because of the blog! Wow! That has never happened to me before.


I also went to a great seminar on Southwest Destinations by Mike and Terri Church. They have a book on the subject, which I was afraid just talked about commercial RV parks, but I was way off. They talked about public parks and boondocking, and gave us very specific facts on all the parks in each destination in the 3 scenic loops that they talked about.


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One night we had a "Ham-O-Rama," a kind of follies/talent show. I loved this version of "You Can Leave Your Hat On," done by a senior stripper.


The last night was a dance. The guys playing the music started out with music from the 30s and 40s, but we soon straightened them out.


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We had a great time!


The only fun left was to try to get out of the lake formerly known as the Missouri State Fairgrounds. When we pulled in here last Saturday, the grassy field we parked in was just beautiful. Unfortunately, we then had a lot of rain, and this was the result.


The local wrecker services must be on their way to the bank with all the money they collected!

Friday, May 29, 2009

I'm a Star!

The entertainment for the second night at the Escapade was the Brett Family, who usually perform in Branson. What a terrific show! I highly recommend it.


What made it so special for me was that 24-year-old Brydon fell off the stage right at my feet. He then made a joke about falling for me, and paid a lot of attention to me for the rest of the show. He came down off the stage to sing to me --


Got me to get up and sing with him--


And danced with me. One time he and his brother were even fighting over me.


Wow! Was I loving it!


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They even inserted my name in some of their songs!

Everywhere I went for the rest of the week, people would recognize me and say "Wow, there's the famous Diana!" It was just wonderful.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Escapade Begins

I arrived at the Escapade, the big rally of the Escapees RV group, a day early. Parking hundreds of rigs is not an easy task, but it flowed pretty smoothly. The Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia has 2000 RV sites with hookups.


We made the front page of the newspaper -- my friend Pam most of all.


The opening ceremony was lots of fun, especially because --


I won the very first door prize! A gas barbeque grill.


A parade of banners were presented for all the different chapters. John and Andy carried the one for the Solos and went last.


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As each banner went by, their group cheered, but the Solos outdid them all by far.


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The first night's entertainment was a group from Chicago, New Odyssey, a 3-member group that sings and plays 30 instruments in their act, sometimes playing part of an instrument while another member plays the other part.


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My favorite part was when the drummer did the percussion to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" by striking 8 sensors inside his coat and in his shoes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

On My Way to the Escapade

The Escapees Escapade in Sedalia, MO started yesterday, but I made several stops on the way there. The first, in Harrison, AR, I stayed at a real nice Moose Lodge. The have dances with live bands every Friday and Saturday night. But the main attraction this weekend was the annual Crawdad Days. The weather wasn't great, but it stopped long enough to enjoy the festivities.


There were lots of crawdads available.


And of course that means lots of carcasses everywhere. Apparently only the tail gets eaten.


I was most interested in the Cardboard Regatta, a race for boats made entirely of cardboard. Unfortunately, only 2 boats showed up.


This professional-looking cardboard kayak --


And this sad, but more realistic square box-of-a-boat.


There was really no contest --


And the winner was soon named.



I stopped in Branson to join up with the Escapee Solos at their Pre-Escapade Rally. Unlike last year, I only went to see one show. I was hoping they just told the story and didn't do any preaching, but no such luck. However, it was worth seeing just for the sheer magnitude of the set.


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In the first act, the huge ark gets built.


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Finally after 120 years, the animals are loaded up. They had real camels, llamas, horses, cows, sheep, peacocks, and some other smaller animals.


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The second act opens with a 270-degree view of the inside of the ark. Hundreds of animals are shown, each pair in their own compartment. Some are real, but most are animated. I'm sorry these illegal videos are not any better, but I had to take them on the sly.


One last overnight stop was spent at the huge Bass Pro store in Springfield. Bear? What bear?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eureka!

Eureka Springs, Arkansas began in the 1800s as a health spa. People flocked here for the supposed healing powers of the water.


Springs are located all over this VERY hilly town.


The Crescent Hotel and Spa was originally built in 1886, and was then America's newest and most luxurious hotel. Sick people came here from all over to be cured. It was completely restored about 10 years ago.


Across from the hotel is a church that is in Ripley's Believe It or Not. Why? The town is on such a hill that the entrance is through the bell tower!


Several almost-falling-down buildings are left in the area.


Outside of town is a chapel that is almost exactly like the one I visited in Hot Springs last year.


The builder of this one had a difficult time raising money, but now it is a popular spot for weddings. In fact, the whole town is geared towards the wedding business. It was scary!


In addition to the wedding business, the town seems to be a wanna-be Branson. There were only a few shows in town, but this one was the most recommended.


In addition to some country music, and the required gospel music, they had a great segment celebrating "Hee Haw," the long-running TV show (1969-1992). Here's cast member Minnie Pearl...


And musical guests, Little Jimmy Dickens,


and Dolly Parton.


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Two of the performers did a great rendition of "Dueling Banjos," with a guitar and a banjo. At first they tried to outdo each other, but then really got into it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Buffalo River & Ozark Country

The next stop on the WINs kayaking tour was Tyler Bend, on the Buffalo River just north of Marshall, AR. Some of us shared campsites and actually got away with it!

The sun finally came out the day we arrived. It didn't stay out, but there were at least times when we could do activities.


Unfortunately for the kayakers, the river did not look good.


It was above flood stage and moving very quickly. The rangers told us if we went on the river and got into trouble, there would be no rescue!


We decided to go on an auto tour of the Buffalo River west of where we were. But first, Max had to get all the water out of Nancy's kayak.


Viv had to stop so she could rescue a turtle crossing the road.


We finally got to our first stop, the boyhood home of "Beaver Jim" Villines. His father built this log house in 1850 for his new bride, and the family continued to use it for 100 years.


Then we went for a hike up the Lost Valley Trail. The trail followed Clark Creek up through the woods past several small falls.


This one is called Lost Falls.


The trail was very nicely done. Up, up we went...


To beautiful Eden Falls, a series of 4 falls that plummet down the limestone bluffs 170 feet. The water from here goes underground and then comes out at Lost Falls.


Up from the falls is Eden Falls Cave. There is supposed to be a 35-foot waterfall 200 feet into the cave, but I passed on that. It involved some very difficult caving to get there.


Another day we went on an awful hike through some poison ivy. I don't know if there was anything to see -- all I could do was try to stay out of the poison ivy.


We had the usual tornado watch, but fortunately didn't see one.


And near the end of our stay, the river receded enough that the kayakers finally got to go on a couple of paddles.