Rallys are fun events!
You have completed all the hard work on your trailer or you paid someone to do it for you. Maybe, yours is a family project or you purchased one already refurbished. Everything has been aquired to accessorize your rolling abode. You may have practiced at a local campground, just to make sure everything is accounted for and packed away for the big event.
Towing your precious trailer on the freeway is a sobering experience with death and property damage in the hands of everyone who flies by you, and they do, just to get around even if you are at the speed limit. You get caught in traffic jams, miscalculate drive times, negotiate a metropolitan rush hour, and dodge eighteen wheelers who can't seem to stay in their lanes only to have one speed by at breakneck pace and you find them turned over on the median opened like a can or pork and beans.
It's a long trip so, you break it up into two days. With all the delays and mishaps, you stop at a freeway campground after dark and it's not well lit, or level, or new. You fight with the electrical box. The lid won't stay up. You break a nail or two on your perfectly manicured hands and stomp into your trailer, collapsing in bed.
Your EARLY morning slumber is interrupted by the park staff mowing at dawn. You realize you forgot your tow mirrors so, fortunately there is an RV Superstore nearby and you purchase what they had that doesn't work as well as what you forgot to bring. You install them while everyone watches, fielding questions while inhaling the venting of the large propane tank on the grounds. It smells like rotting Armadillos...
Climbing into the mountains towing your Pride On Two Wheels you notice no trucks are allowed in the left lane only to find them passing you in that lane that has no tolerance whatsoever. So, you move over to make room riding on the shoulder and regularly buzzing over the textured warning embossed in the pavement. For miles and miles and miles.....
You arrive finally, somewhat safe and sound. There's a few hours before dark and it's time to set up, after driving for several hours. You've practiced. You packed well so the unpacking would go well. Everything is unloaded and spread out. First the hook ups. Water, Sewer, Electric. Next, lower the stabilizers and block the wheels. Level the trailer. Then the rug, tables, and chairs. The awnings go on the trailer for the windows and then the BIG awning with poles and anchor ropes. Pounding stakes and tightening leads, you pause to catch your breath because the weather did not hold to the forecast and it's hotter and more humid than it was supposed to be. Rested, you put out the fun stuff, vintage luggage, the Flamingos, tablecloths, party lights, picket fence, wind chimes, and dishes.
Then, you go inside to unpack all the cute stuff you've been trolling yard sales, antique malls, and eBay for. It's now well after dark and you fall into bed, exhausted.
The next day brings a morning swap meet for the attendees and some free time before the Participant Open House. You're just as excited to see the other people's trailers as they are to see yours. It's hot. So, you negotiate the trailers and see them based on which are in the shade. You can't see them all and you're a little worried about leaving your trailer unattended.
There is an evening event to attend, Game Night and you have the time of your life with so much silly fun your face hurts from smiling!
You fall into bed, exhausted.
The next day is the Public Open House. At five dollars a head for adults and children free, the money goes to local charities. It's too hot and humid for you to wear your period perfect clothing so, you opt for a tank top and shorts.
The excitement builds as the first people come to your trailer..... And then people show up without tickets and you direct them to where they can be purchased. Another person arrives without a ticket and you point out where to go and the gal says, "But we live in the campground." You say, "The event raises money for charity and you must have a ticket." She quickly rebukes, "We already paid for the pancake breakfast." You reply, losing patience," The trailer tour is a separate event. If you buy a ticket you will be able to see all the trailers as many times as you like between 11am and 3pm." Then the staring contest begins. You win and she says," I don't think we should have to pay for both." while leaving in a huff.
You stand there for hours, occasionally sitting, always answering question after question. You remind everyone over and over to not let keys stick out of their pockets, to keep purses and backpacks in front of themselves. Keep your elbows in. You somewhat gently remind a largely accessorized woman not to lean on the furniture and keep her hands off the fabric. You corral small children ahead of their parents trying to bolt unsupervised into your trailer. You help people in. You help people out. You pose for pictures. You take pictures. You're tired, thirsty, and your feet are beginning to hurt. You marvel at how some people are so taken with what you've done and how others don't say a word. Out of 800 plus people, only a few understand what you've done. Duration, four hours.
Then, the stragglers come by while you are putting things away because, again, the weather has changed and is supposed to rain tomorrow and you would be putting all your supplies up wet. With that in mind, you decide to break down your site this day instead of tomorrow.
You're a bit uncomfortable because your display was perfect and now people are seeing it disheveled and half packed away.
The stragglers keep coming until you are finished with the outside and shut the door.
There is a catered dinner to attend. You visit, eat your only meal of the day, wish people well, go back to you trailer and collapse on the bed, passed out.
The next day, it begins to mist as you leave which turns into all day rain. Your stop over half way home would be in the pouring rain. You decide to keep driving as the next day the weather is supposed to be worse. You see several awful accidents, one occurring on the other side of the freeway as you pass witnessing the horror. You call 911 for those unfortunate people and say a prayer. You take alternate routes rather than park on the freeway in dead stopped traffic. This happens several times. Someone doesn't know how to merge onto the highway and they run parallel to you on your right until the absolute last possible moment and then floor it to get past you. Semis run up on you and pass so close, you could reach out your driver's window and touch them but you don't because, well, you want to stay alive!
It rains all the way home. 14 hours worth.
You back your tin tenement into the drive and go inside your house, fall into bed, and sleep for 18 hours. As you drift off, you dread having to unpack everything and put it away........
There you have it, a typical Rally!
This was our story from Little Rock, AR to Maggie Valley, NC for the Southern Vintage Trailer Friends Fall Into Vintage Rally 2018, an annual event. This group does what no other does. Every Rally, there is a fundraiser for charity. These people have fun and enjoy their trailers while inspiring others to do the same all the while paying it forward.
It was a bit of a challenge for me to attend as I had a total hip replacement 5 weeks ago. We also had not been out with our trailer since Spring. It's always great seeing old friends and making new ones. But. Make no mistake. It is WORK having this kind of fun! Not just our travel story, everyone has one of those. One camper couldn't make it because they broke down on the way. Some people have lost their whole trailer on the way to these events.
So, when some Twit shows up wanting to see the trailers for free while copping an attitude, I felt I showed incredible restraint in not unloading on her the whole mean story of the two "professional" shops that wasted our time, money, and materials leaving it to us to finish our incomplete dream with a choice to either give up or buckle down in order to have this lovely trailer finished, towable, campable, and beautiful. Not to mention the harrowing journey , the expense of the whole thing, and the back breaking work we put in. Pay your Damn 5 Bucks and shut the Hell up! You get to see what all these incredible people have done for less than 10 cents a trailer? Girl. Bye.
I had the time of my life during Game Show Night! Volunteers organized the game show "Let's Make A Deal" and did a splendid job! I always wanted to be on that show when I was little, it was my favorite. During the game, I got to play Carol Merrill !!! The laughter and roars went on all evening as I presented winners with Rice-A-Roni, Frying pans, and S'Mores supplies. They even gave away a new car! It was a Match Box Car but still, it was new!
Dear Dave went back to his roots and dressed up as "Roller Disco Dave". His look was so authentic, you could swear he never changed his appearance from 1978!
There was a camper who brought a couple of vintage bicycles. One Schwinn was my childhood bike. I stood there, transfixed, as I ran my fingers over it. A flood of memories came rushing back. The endless summers of my youth filled with bike rides, jump rope, hop scotch, and flying kites. Then, I remembered the worst bike wreck I ever had. Careening over the handle bars after hitting a frozen puddle left me with a split forehead, epic scraping, a huge black eye, and heavily abraded palms. The next morning, I woke and proceeded to get my feet tangled in the chenille bedspread and face planted blacking the other eye. I was blind for three days having to pull my lids open to see when walking to the bathroom! When I finally could go to school, I frightened the other third graders to death!
Dave and I took a side trip to tour Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. We had been once before, many years ago, at Christmas but that was at night and this time we saw everything during the day. I pulled out something appropriate to the age of the house to wear.....
There were many lovely comments on our trailer but my favorite was, "This looks like The Biltmore on wheels!"
How about that?!