February, 2015: Our first official “RV Rally“ — not just any rally, but the biggest organized rally in the nation! And being held right in our own backyard this year, at Phoenix International Raceway! How could we resist?
This sucker is HUGE, with more than 6,000 attendees. The infield of the track had hundreds of exhibitor booths, concession stands, RV manufacturers showing off their latest and greatest, RV dealers, ongoing seminars, concerts, parades, a 5K run, blood drive, craft fair, pet adoptions, and lots, lots more.
The sea of white in the background below is all the attendees rigs, camping there for 4-7 days. Vendors would come right to you if you needed repairs, an awning replaced, a satellite system installed, a new windshield, whatever your heart desired!
There were rows and rows and rows of shiny beasts to admire, lots of super-friendly people, and of course those famous Arizona sunsets.
Philip was just 10 days out of a full hip replacement, and just barely starting to walk, so certain concessions to his mobility had to be made!
We knew we would be amongst mostly-older, retired people, but we really were not prepared for the announcements on the first night:
“Ladies and gentlemen: may we remind you not to put adult diapers in the porta-potties as they have a tendency to expand. Also, no dog poop.”
Ladies and gentlemen: please do not move the porta-potties to your own personal RV site. We simply do not have enough to go around.”
And so on. Who knew seniors could get so crazy?
We also did not realize the seriousness that is the “MATCH-N-WIN” game at these rallies. In a nutshell, you are assigned a 4-digit number, and you are supposed to find up to three other people at the rally that also have that same number.
We didn’t really want to play, because, well, just because it seemed stupid and we thought surely nobody actually really plays this game. Boy were we wrong! We ventured out for the first time without our numbers (gasp!) and were met with strong disapproval and harsh words from everyone we passed. “WHERE’S YOUR NUMBER?” they would demand, looking us up and down. We quickly mumbled a lame excuse, something about Philip’s hip replacement and how he couldn’t race around looking for numbers, but everyone else was acting like the safety of our planet was riding on this game! They were flauntin’ those numbers everywhere they went, for four straight days!
The two of you matchees, newly acquainted and highly excited (lots of high-pitched screaming), then race off to the Match-N-Win tent to claim your Match-N-Win t-shirt and to be entered in the drawing for the grand prize (we never learned what that might be … Match-N-Win jammies, maybe?).
We dropped by the Bingo Tent (mostly to hide out from people who were angry about our opting-out of Match-N-Win) and were shocked when Tessa won a $25 Camping World gift certificate in Big-X-Bingo! On only the third round! Those old people were shocked that a person of a younger generation had the necessary skills to win at Bingo! Chalk one up for Generation X!
Also on tap, a Pet Show with categories such as Best Costume (I think they meant pet but many owners seemed eager to dress up, too); Best Look-Alike Owner and Pet; and Best Pet Singing Performance. Ohhhh-kayyy now. We personally liked the Supreme Taco Terrier (because it was homemade, and also we were pretty hungry) but the Fiesta Mariachi Chihuahua was the grand prize winner.
By far, the most meaningful activity was a mass marriage vow-renewal ceremony. This was held in an attempt to break the world record for the largest vow renewals, and the magic number to beat was 1,068 couples. I believe they are still tallying … slowllly … as we never heard if that record was topped or not, but regardless, it was fun and meaningful for Philip and me to reconfirm “you’re still the one” to each other after 9 years together.
They had a wedding costume contest (of course!) and polled the crowd for statistics. The couple together the longest has been married 65 years; the shortest, just 6 days! Also, one couple had only been married 11 months, but they had previously been high school sweethearts 61 years ago!
The Rally had nightly concerts right on the track and the first night featured “OUR” band … the Dina Preston Band … who performed not only for Philip’s 60th Birthday Party but also our annual Christmas Party last year! That’s how much we love them! So it was fun to see them on the big stage, with an RV as a backdrop!
Of course, like any trade show event, there are lots of shopping opportunities, although in this case, it’ll set ya back $100,000 or more! But it was lots of fun to traipse through RVs that run all the way up into the $500,000+ range. We even identified our dream coach when/if we ever upgrade from the Lucky Charm to a larger Class A motorhome, when/if we go into full retirement mode. Meet the (maybe, possibly, who knows) future Lucky Charm 2 !!!!
If you were a “serious” buyer, they would even let you test-drive it around the Phoenix International Raceway NASCAR track. We were not deemed serious enough. They also looked very suspiciously at the fact that Philip was walking on a cane and limping on his right (driver’s) foot.
And the final wonderful event of the Rally, was the arrival of the Honeydipper Wagon, to save me from the agony of the sewer dump process. Meet … my hero!!!!
Although we had a great time, we decided that once you’ve done a rally, you kinda don’t need to do any other rally, unless you had a specific reason of course (meeting up with friends, hard-core comparison shopping, etc.) The most fun was simply hanging out with like-minded RV’ers who love the RV lifestyle. Everyone was exceedingly friendly and we had a lot of fun. Even though the Lucky Charm looked small and simple compared to most of the other rigs, she’s “still the one” for us!
Our next big trip isn’t planned until May, but in the meantime we are transporting the Arcadia High School “Rhythm of Arcadia” precision drumline members (including son Max) to all of their competitions — saving $500 per event that the school district wanted to charge them for transportation! In case you were wondering, our new record is 22 people riding in the RV at one time … shattering our previous record of 14 during Cardinals tailgating season! So … Much … Fun!!!!!!
Bella and Sprinkles say … goodbye for now! Until next time!