Editor’s Note: Terry and MaryAnn Barber are members of LTV’s sponsored content team, The Leisure Explorers. Do you own a Leisure Travel Van and enjoy writing? Learn more about joining the team.
We had returned home from our trip of a lifetime – Alaska Caravan 2018 – in August, and decided we wanted to keep going. I logged onto the Leisure Travel Vans website to see if there was any possibility of going to the Owners Rally in September.
Our name had been on the waiting list for months with no word about any openings. Something told me I should renew my name on the list, so I did. About an hour later, I received an email from Leisure Travel Vans congratulating me on being selected to come to the 2018 Owners Rally in Winkler, Manitoba!
We only had a couple of weeks to prepare for our trip to Manitoba and we couldn’t have been happier! We had our Unity serviced, cleaned out, and repacked and ready to go on our next adventure in plenty of time. Unlike the Alaska adventure, on this trip we would be taking our two Shitzu pups, Luna and Peeta. We call them the “the traveling pups.”
We left our home in southern Arizona on August 25th to visit family in Goodyear, Arizona. Then, we decided to take our time on this trip and meander a little bit through New Mexico’s Gila National Forest. Our first stop was at the Burro Mountain Homestead Campground just south of Silver City, New Mexico. It was a long dirt road (7 miles) back to this campground and it was full of ATV campers.
We took the scenic route from Silver City on Highway 152 through Aldo Leopold Wilderness Area to Interstate 25, stopping in Bosque, New Mexico. We first thought we would camp on Bureau of Land Management land, but we couldn’t find a suitable place to stop so we parked for the night at the Kiva RV Park & Horse Motel for $29.53 per night with hookups. It’s a great place if you have a horse; we just needed a place to sleep for the night.
The next day we continued on from Bosque on Route 25 to Raton, New Mexico. We stopped for the night at Sugarite Canyon State Park – the Park was full so we camped in the overflow area at Lake Alice Campground, a nice place at $10 per night (no hookups). We did some exploring there before settling in for the night. We also stopped along the way to visit Fort Union National Monument, and we highly recommend this historic site.
From Raton, New Mexico, we drove on the next day 317 miles to Orchard, Colorado, and stopped for the night at Jackson Lake. It was over the Labor Day weekend and since there were 2 nights available, we decided to stay through the weekend for $50 with hookups. Jackson Lake is a beautiful place and it was here that we discovered our traveling pups, Luna and Peeta, loved the water.
From Orchard, Colorado, we continued on to Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota. We stayed in the Park at Elk Mountain Campground for one night, and with the national park pass the cost was only $9.
From Wind Cave we drove 137 miles to Rocky Point Recreation Area, a very scenic route. We visited Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore along the way. We realized at this point that we needed to step up our pace if we were going to make it to Winkler for the Owners Rally on time.
We continued on the next day 398 miles to Jamestown, North Dakota, stopping at Jamestown Campground for the night. The next day we drove another 247 miles, arriving at Winkler Bible Camp on opening day for the Rally.
The Owners Rally was very exciting, meeting up with fellow owners from the Alaska Caravan that had just ended and also making new friends with other Leisure Travel Vans owners.
We got to see Dean, our favorite celebrity, again and meet others from the Leisure Travel Vans family as well. There were plenty of seminars by the experts on our Unity and its many components. We did a factory tour and visited Pembina Threshermen’s Museum, a living museum demonstrating an early 20th century farming community, complete with stores, schoolhouse, churches, train station, and a collection of agricultural machinery.
The food at the Rally was delicious and abundant morning, noon, and night. The evening entertainment was also top notch! I went to a photography class while MaryAnn attended a seminar on the Truma water heaters.
The second night, there was a gathering around five fire pits next to the lake. Each fire pit had “Leisure” on the side. We ate s’mores and visited with our new and old friends. The next day, LTV drew from a hat and randomly gave away the portable fire pits used the night before. I actually won one of them, and we carry it with us in our Unity.
The Rally ended too soon. No one was ready to leave, but all good things must eventually come to an end. So, we packed up and headed back across the border into North Dakota.
Some of the highlights on our return trip to Arizona included Theodore Roosevelt National Park (South Unit), in North Dakota, Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, Golden, Colorado, where we stopped to visit a couple we had traveled with in the Alaska Caravan, the head waters of the Rio Grande River in Sangre De Cristo Mountains, New Mexico, and White Sands National Park, also in New Mexico.
Every LTV owner should attend one of these rallies in Winkler at least once. It is definitely worth the trip! For us, our next adventure was to Pismo Beach, California, to attend a Southwest Roadrunners LTV rally in October 2018.
Until next time, safe travels, everyone!