March 1st saw us heading North after a great winter in the Sun!! Kino Bay is sure one nice spot. But the time had to come that we would head back to the "Big Wet". This year we decided that April 1st would be the date to cross the border so that gave us a month to wander around Southern California and visit friends in Oregon before the inevitable rain would hit as we crossed the 49th parallel ... or so we thought ...

March in California was wet and cold for them. But, for the first few days, we were so tickled with actually seeing green grass all over the place that we forgave the temperatures. Our first stop, as many RV'ers will recognize, was Golden Village Palms in Hemet. Why would many RV'ers recognize this park, you ask? Well, it is renown for its $99.00 first week cost. This is a nice park with paved roads, full hookups and lots of swimming pools. If you wander around there asking people, I'd bet that 60% were there on that plan. If you belong to Passport America, you can extend your stay to 10 days for a per day cost of $14.00. These are prices I can handle!

Also, at the park were fellow PacNats, Hershel and Luella Thompson from Utah so we had company for the week. The four of us headed, one day, to Capistrano to see if the pigeons or swallows -- or whatever had returned. Again, as happened to us the previous year, there were no birds!!! So, we did what we do best .... had an excellent lunch in a nice little restaurant and headed back to Hemet. Still, it was a good day!

The next weekend was the National RV Rally in Lake Skinner which was about 45 minutes from Hemet. The two of us pulled out together and made a very small caravan to Lake Skinner. We arrived about 11:00 AM as that is the usual hour for people to have to leave a Campsite, but this place was different! Checkout was 2:00 and, as this was a Sunday, and we were very close to LA, each site was pretty well taken. We unhooked the Toad and drove around the site looking for our spot. Please don't get me wrong here ... the Park is very, very nice ... it is just the people who were jackasses.

We found our site, and noticed there were three cars parked on it. No RV mind you, only cars ... a parking lot for the three families located on sites beside it. Elsie, jumped out and as Elsie is wont to do, asked very politely if they would mind moving their cars about 50 yards down the way so we could park and set up. Their response? A very cold look and the comment, "we paid for these sites until 2:00 PM, and we are going to use them". Now, they were, of course, totally within their rights, but what happened to manners? The sites were backed onto a large green sward, and there must have been 10 kids swooping around at all times. Just what they thought of all this remains a secret. We were not asking a lot, only to move several cars that were parked on the lot we rented so we could set up. Remember, Harvey is over 37 feet long, so it is not a simple task to find somewhere in a campsite to park for 3 hours that would be out of the way as other people were constantly arriving and leaving. But, we did find such a spot and sat there until 2:00 PM precisely. From where we were parked, we could see the site, and the jerks had not left yet. Two of the parked cars had departed but there was one still left on our site. It was 2:00 o'clock and ...Time for WAR ... I headed out of Harvey...

Just as I got to the site, the car backed out and blocked the road waiting for the truck and trailer to pull out. As I was heading to the truck, the clown in it started up and pulled out, totally ignoring me. (This was probably a good thing.) I took a quick look around the site and immediately noticed that the multitude of brats did not finish their lunch of canned pork and beans as the fire ring was used as the garbage can. Most of the little darlings (snots) must not have cared for the lunch offerings as the bottom of the ring, about two feet round, was covered inches deep in the goo. Used paper plates added to the stark beauty! A quick glance at the grass around us indicated that they had a very large dog that was not cleaned up after its many poop breaks. Granted these guys are just weekend warriors and probably don't know any better, but just what they are teaching their kids about consideration, manners and basic politeness beggars the mind!!! Boy, these guys were sure .... But, we survived, cleaned up after the pigs, and got ready for the Rally.

National RV sure knows how to throw a Rally!!! The nightly entertainment was great, the food superb, many of the people we met at previous Rallies were there, and the National Technicians came around to fix small items on each rig. A couple of items here should be mentioned .... the first was one of those things that you only can shake your head over. Harvey has an side awning that operates electrically. You push a button, and out comes the awning covering the passenger side deck. Now, the deal is that if you put out the awning, and then leave the site for a day trip, what happens if the wind suddenly comes up as it does in many of the desert areas? We have seen awnings ripped to shreds, and the sides of RV's battered by the awning arms. One should not to take this possibility lightly! No worries with Harvey! He has an anemometer on the roof. If the wind suddenly begins to blow, it simply retracts automatically the awning and waits for the wind to die down before putting it back out again. Being a bit of a coward (I prefer to think of it as being prudent) we never tested this process. Damn good thing it turns out!

As we are running out of items that need repair, I asked the Teckie to check and make sure that this option worked. A quick look at the control panel hidden away in one of the bins and his response? It has never been plugged in from new. Of course, it could never work without being plugged in! He plugged it in. Still did not work. Hmmm .... says he, perhaps the wires are reversed. Sure enough the wires were in the wrong way around and once corrected the awning retracted as advertised. Will we trust this in the future? No bloody way!!!! We will continue to retract the awning as we leave Harvey for the day, and at night as well!!! The RV Fit and Finish Gods are still pulling our chain. I thought we had finished with all this last year. Ah well, RV life is always interesting.

The other item that requires attention happened, we think, in New Mexico last winter. All of a sudden, our satellite stopped working. Along with this not too uncommon an occurrence, we lost the surround sound feature for the VCR, TV and DVD. While we were in Casa Grande, a neighbour with whom we became friends, Al and Judy Carlo who live during the summer in Birch Bay WA. just south of Vancouver, brought over his Satellite receiver and hooked it up in Harvey. Everything worked so we know that somehow we had blown our receiver box. I called Direct TV and told them what had happened and they said, "No problem. We can send you a new one for $78.00". I was so irritated by this point, I told them to connect me with the person where I can cancel my account. There was a pause of maybe 2 seconds and "Do you mind if we send you one for free?" was their response. So, we got a new receiver sent to us in Casa Grande. Installing the new unit was a no brainer ... simply unplug and plug. Everything should work. Alas no, still no surround sound. Back at the Lake Skinner Rally, the Teckie checked into this problem and reported that we had blown the output side of our DVD which controlled the surround sound. This was too big a job for them to tackle at the Rally, so we decided to see if Fraserway can fix this problem as it should be covered under our extended warranty. More about this in the future I'm sure.

But, the Rally was fun and the dozen or so fellow PacNat Rigs that attended just added to the weekend. As I said, National RV sure does know how to throw a Great Rally. But, it was time to head home and get ready for Elsie's Rally in Osoyoos.

We had chosen a Campground in September before we left to go south, but we had not organized the group activities. The Campground we chose is the Nk'Mip, the Indian run park just a little east of town.

As you remember, Elsie agreed to be the Wagon Master for the Rally in Osoyoos. For those of you who don't know, a Wagon Master is the person who plans, sets up, organizes and runs a Rally. So she has been at this for many months, but as you can imagine, it is not an easy thing to make plans in Osoyoos when you are sitting on the beach in Mexico. Communications could be a problem....

Elsie had to keep in touch with the Park people as the number of PacNats attending kept changing. She had to find someone who could arrange a good wine tour for 50 or more people, make sure that the facilities were there and ready, advertise the event, keep track of all who are coming ... etc.etc. To say that her plate was very full would be an understatement!

On arrival back in the the "big wet" she could get on to the serious organization. And boy did she!!! After searching the net, she found a company in Penticton that would setup a 48 passenger bus, and make all the contacts at 4 wineries for a day of wine slurping. . The dates for the Rally were to be June 1st to 4th. As the time grew near, Elsie got more and more tense. I, of course knew exactly just what to do ...

The Rally was a huge success!!!! There were 36 Rigs attending (72 people) mostly from the US. Elsie was the "Commandant" of the Rally, giving speeches, directions, solving problems, cleaning kitchens, preparing food, entertaining people. paying bills ... a regular whirlwind!!! The wine tour was fantastic, the events went on with no hiccups and on the last night, everyone present gave Elsie a Standing "O"!

It was a great success! I was sure proud of my little Dutch Star...

After the Rally, we went to our favourite campsite in Vernon for a week to decompress. While there, we made some decisions ... We are beginning the process to find a place in the Okanagan or on Vancouver Island to move to; we are going to insert some overseas travel to our Motor home traveling, and we are going to limit our activities with the PacNats.


So the future beckons .... stay tuned to see what twists and turns we manage to get up to in the next few years .... until then keep smiling!!!

Elsie accepting the applause of the crowd in the only way she knew how ... a perfect Queen Elizabeth curtsey!!!!