Dianne here --
We got the little house ready for winter, and took off for at least eight months, with the first stop being the Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina, Ohio. We left Pendleton HOPING that our Main Street house closing would go through as scheduled on September 30 while we were gone.
After 16 months on the market, it was really fitting that the closing took place while we were at a rally attending seminars on full-timing! It was also ironic that a new full-timing couple who were parked right behind us (from Tennessee) had their house closing on the exact day and time as ours! Theirs was actually scheduled for 4:00 p.m. and ours at 5:00 p.m., but with the time change taken into account we truly did have simultaneous closings. We even got the final phone calls at about the same time, letting us all know it was FINALLY over and we were truly home-free!!!! Boy, what a great feeling! There was celebration all around.
Roger here... At about 6:30 p.m. after our 5:00 closing, our phenomenal realtor, Andy Liechty at FC Tucker, based in the Nobleville IN office, called me during the rally pizza party. I went outside to take the call, leaving Dianne in the pavilion wondering whether or not the closing was a done deal, OR if there were problems.
Andy is an old friend and one of the people that I hired as a teacher, before he skipped to realty. So......... We talked and laughed for a while before I returned to Dianne. She was white!
(Dianne here: I waited and waited and WAITED, and as time went by I became more and more convinced that something terrible must have happened!)
I gave her a thumbs up and the color returned to her face. Nick, the organizer of the rally, had both couples stand up, to the applause of everyone. It was a good moment. Just as an aside, if you live in the Indy area and are in need of a realtor, NO ONE is better than Andy!
If you wonder what the Gypsy Journal is all about, there is a link on the left side of our blog page, "Gypsy Journal," that takes you to their web site. Nick & Terry Russell are full-timers who publish a monthly newspaper that we subscribe to, all about living and traveling full time in an RV. Nick has written several books on the subject, and over the past two years or so I have purchased them all. He has thousands of people who read his daily blog and his monthly newspaper, so twice a year they put on a rally; one in the eastern part of the US and one out west (in Arizona). Celina, Ohio is only a couple of hours from Pendleton, Indiana. We signed up for the Celina rally last winter, and have been looking forward to it ever since. We were not disappointed!!
Here are a sampling of the classes Roger and I were able to attend: RV weight safety, RVing Alaska, Managing Digital Photos with Picasa, Hosting in State Parks, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, "Don't Replace, Refurbish," Google Earth, Highway History & Back Road Mystery, RV Travel & Camping Tips, Blogging, Beyond the Basics, Optimizing your RV Storage Space, and Volunteering at National Wildlife Refuges. There were many more seminars available, so we needed to pick and choose those that were of most interest to us.
Roger here... as a result of one of the seminars, we purchased a tire pressure monitoring system so that we would get an alarm if any of the tires on our motor home or dinghy lost pressure. What a relief to know ahead of time of an impending blowout. Unfortunately, I pushed too many buttons during the self-installation. The ultimate result was that the vendor came to our RV, rectified the mistakes I made, and gave me a mini-lesson for the future. Definitely an advantage of purchasing a product at a rally where the vendor is on-site.
Each evening the attendees gathered together and Nick and Terry made announcements and gave out door prizes. The first night we won $10 off dinner at a local restaurant, which we made good use of the next night.
Nick has the rally thing down to a science! As we pulled in, volunteers helped send us to the right place to have our motor home weighed before we even got parked. We had signed up ahead of time to be weighed, because it is hard to find a place that will weigh all four tires separately and help you calculate changes that should be made for optimal weight distribution.
Another irony is that we were parked right next to an exact duplicate of our Mountain Aire. If we'd had too much to drink, it would have been easy to go to the wrong one!
Each morning they served complimentary coffee and
doughnuts, and on Wednesday evening we even had a giant pizza party! I was amazed at the efficiency of that pizza party. How on earth did they serve pizza to well over 150 people and it was still hot and delicious!! I still don't know how they did it. Terry Russell is truly a model of efficiency.
One aspect of the rally we utilized was a book exchange table. We had a whole bag of paperback books that we had recently read, and we were able to exchange them for another stack of paperback books. We do love our Kindles, but we never miss the chance at a book exchange table!
We purchased some DVDs which will help us plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Alaska someday, and others that will help us learn new tricks for the computer.
I especially learned a lot at the seminars presented by the "Geeks on
Tour," who are also full-time RV'ers and gave classes on computer education geared to the needs of travelers. They have their own web site, www.GeeksOnTour.com, which is filled with tutorials and videos to help you learn all kinds of neat stuff. We had used Google Earth before, but didn't realize all the things we could do with it. Same with Picasa for photos. I also learned some new tricks for our blog, and when things settle down I'll try to implement some of them.
Roger here.... The last night of the rally, Dianne insisted that I take a picture of her and Nick.
Nick constantly refers to the pretty ladies that he knows. Should I be jealous?
There were vendors at the rally and we did our fair share of shopping for RV-related items.
All in all, it was a great experience, and we are already looking forward to next year's eastern Gypsy rally, which will be next August/Sept. in Elkhart, Indiana.