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More women than ever, and a tight fit - but it was FUN!
 
 

If it’s January

it's  QUARTZSITE

Over 175 RVW members and guests, in more than 120 rigs, gathered in the desert near Quartzsite, Arizona for our annual boondocking rally that was held January 17 to 21. Early arrivals experienced heavy rains, but the weather cleared for the remainder of our rally. The keys to this rally were camaraderie and helpfulness – experienced throughout the event not only by our attendees, but with our neighbors as well. 
 

Initial challenges included watching several groups occupy our traditional site. (We’ve been camping here since the 1990’s.) While most left by the day the rally began, 85 or more renovated school bus owners chose the rear of our site to host their “Skooliepalooza” event, and their route was directly through the center of our camping area! In spite of early worries about noise and traffic, we managed to collaborate with them, toured some of their beautifully restored rigs and some of their members joined us one evening for a session of drumming around the fire.

The rains created damp and soggy sand, causing one member to sink her motorhome up to its rear axle in mud. A member of the nearby Beaver Coach rally heard of her troubles and came to the rescue, first by asking if anyone with a Class A might help to pull the rig out.  He positioned the coaches back to back, with heavy tow straps securing the load. With the Class A “tow vehicle” member riding shotgun, he cautiously pulled forward, coaching the RVW member in her stranded coach to carefully back out of the muck!This rally could not have succeeded without the help of nearly every attendee.

 

Pam Creech and others secured our site and posted directional signs. Many volunteers greeted guests, using a database carefully crafted by Rosanne Smith so registration could go quickly. Linda Brown worked tirelessly to verify each registrant’s membership status. Others helped set up for our speakers, Keith Shomaker and crew of Redlands RV & Truck Service. Some volunteers prepared before and after meals, making serving and clean up a breeze. Several members prepared delicious breakfast casseroles which were cheerfully heated and served by rally volunteers. As always, Diane Tricomi was a master at fire preparation, assuring a beautiful, safe fire every evening.

 
 

Attendees participated in sessions about boondocking, preparing for emergencies, fulltiming challenges, water heater maintenance, and dealing with pack rats. Thanks to Cathy Atkins, Linda Brown, Jolene Greeley, Lori Hagge, Dianne Walker and Diane Tricomi for those presentations. Once again, the expertise of our members and the questions asked by attendees were what made these sessions so valuable.

A special experience was facilitated by Phyllis Bruce and others who brought drums, ukulele’s, guitars, and other instruments, complimented by their voices, which provided not only nightly experiences at the campfire, but also pre-dinner music prior to our Saturday potluck!

Over 40 members and guests gathered at Celia’s Memorial Garden on Sunday to honor 12 RVW members who had passed away. Tributes were read for each member for whom a plaque had been purchased. This garden is lovingly maintained by Pat Taylor, Pat Parker, Sandy Thuet, Rita Watkins, Vicki Para and Cathy Atkins, as no garden maintenance is performed by the city of Quartzsite. Volunteers are always needed to paint the RV picture rocks and weed the garden. Contact any of the above volunteers, members of “Camp Runamucka,” for more information.

Nearly every RVing Women chapter was represented at this rally, coined by some as “The Convention in the Desert.” By unofficial count, the FreeWheelers Chapter may have brought the most “New to Desert Boondocking Members” to the rally – 18 members!

 
 

Every attempt was made to make all members and guests feel welcome, and, at the conclusion of the rally, it was commented that although we had more rigs, more people, and more camping in close proximity to one another, the result was one of the most friendly, interactive rallies of recent history. Thank you, attendees, for all of your help in making this outcome possible.

See you next year!

Mary Ellen Kroes, Diane Tricomi and Jan Miller