It’s October and the weather has been very hot for this time of year, so the prospect of heading into the mountains of north Georgia for our Fall Rally felt like we had made a great decision. It turned out to be just that, with temps closer to normal for this time of year. The Georgia Mountain Fair, located in Towns County Park, is just a mile or so north of the small town of Hiawassee. This was the week (actually 9 days) of their Fall Festival, with concerts, crafters, flower shows, pig racing, exhibitions of antique farm and household equipment, and just about anything else you can think of, including a Pioneer Village. There are two campgrounds at the fairgrounds: one is on the same side of the highway as the fairgrounds, and the other is directly across a five-lane highway, and this is the one we were in. Our campground was on the banks of Lake Chatuge, and the views were gorgeous, especially at sunset. The weather was comfortably warm, and the shady campground was very pleasant, except for one minor detail. We noticed right away that the water connections are 50 feet or more from the electrical hookup in almost every case. This made for some interesting maneuvers and negotiations not only for Dixie Leisure Travelers (DLT), but for other campers in the campground. There was a lot of hose borrowing, tank fillings, jockeying on sites, etc., but somehow we all made it work.
In addition to the water connection issue, the campground was on several levels and we had non-DLT campers interspersed with our group. This made it difficult to get a good picture of all the coaches in our group, so our dependable and creative photographer decided to create another composite of most of the coaches at the rally – another job well done.
The official rally was scheduled for October 12-16, 2019, but, as normal for our group, people started arriving a few days before on the tenth. By that evening 4 couples were there, and, by the eleventh, half of the coaches had arrived. Before lunch, canopies were set up for our gathering place. The weather was nice, and we were looking forward to a good day. That afternoon, the couples who had already arrived went over to the fairgrounds and purchased tickets, either $12 per person per day or $33 per person for a three-day pass. After we got through the gate, we all headed over to find lunch. We chose the Country Cafe and were not disappointed. Most had the smoked trout, generous servings of green beans, coleslaw with a beautiful slice of tomato, and a roll. What a great choice, and all were full and ready for the Gatlin Brothers’ 2pm performance. It was a great show, and we all enjoyed their performance, When we got back to the campground, more coaches had arrived. Two of the couples wanted to go to the 7pm Gatlin Brothers performance, so we shuttled those two couples back and forth using our tow vehicles. Starting on Saturday, the fairground provided us with a shuttle for a very nominal fee.
Saturday was laid back. Those arriving the day before used the shuttle to go over to the fairgrounds to look around while others visited in the campground. Entrance to the fairgrounds was free because there was a concert that evening that was not included in the day ticket. No one from our group elected to go to that concert. That evening was our pot-luck chili dinner. DLT provided three types of chili: beef, white chicken, and vegetarian, while our members supplied the condiments, sides, and desserts. What a wonderfully delicious meal.
We had two couples at this rally as guests that have now joined our group. One of the couples was there to check out our Leisure Travel Vans. They had a trailer and wanted to see the different models and floor plans. As it so happened, one of our members, who had just bought a 2020 Unity, had a 2018 Unity for sale. After the rally, a deal was struck, and those guests are now proud owners of a 2018 Unity.
The next day, we awoke to raindrops on the roof. How can that be? Luckily it did not last too long, but it was threatening most of the day. Visiting started after breakfast, when some people went over to the fairgrounds for an interfaith worship service in the morning and gospel singing in the afternoon. It was a quiet day with visiting and catching up with old friends and getting acquainted with new friends. Every soul needs a laid back day to enjoy the beauty around them and enjoy the company of friends.
Monday came with overcast skies that quickly turned to sunshine. Once again visiting started, but for some, it was cut short. It was time to get ready for the evening’s surprise birthday party. Two of our members were celebrating their birthdays on the 14th, and we wanted to make it special. After completing those preparations, a few decided they wanted to have lunch at Hawg Wild BBQ and Catfish House. You could see the restaurant from the entry to our campground, but the problem was the five-lane highway in between. Seven people decided to go by car, and the fearless decided to walk. It was a nice walk along the side of the road and when traffic was light we crossed with no problem. Food was delicious and everyone liked what they ordered, including one order of cracklins that were still crackling when they reached the table. With a full stomach, all headed back to the campground. Using the shuttle, some people elected to go back to the fairgrounds that afternoon for the 2pm Ronnie McDowell concert, another hit.
Just before the birthday celebration, we gathered around our vintage 1996 Freedom Wide Body 4S coach to take our group picture. As a testament to its owner’s loving care and a statement to LTV’s commitment to producing a quality coach, we wanted to focus on a coach that has been traveling the American highways and byways for the last 23 years, and it is still purring along. It can be said it looks as good as the day it was brought home.
After the group picture, we gathered for the surprise birthday celebration. All enjoyed the homemade birthday trifles and other delicious treats. Then, following a short business meeting, we opened the floor for Q&A, experiences, tips and tricks, accessories, modifications, and more topics relevant to our Leisure Travel Vans. We can call it a learning experience, and all got answers and ideas to make their RVing experience better.
The evening was made a complete success as we gathered around a nice campfire down by the lake and watched the full moon rise over the mountain tops through wispy clouds. It was a delightful time for continued socializing.
Tuesday was the final full day of the rally and, with a predicted chance of rain in the afternoon, we began to take down our canopies and putting away our folding chairs. The main activity of the day was to make our way over to the fairgrounds to explore the exhibits and Pioneer Village, enjoy a pleasant lunch, and find seats for the Crystal Gayle concert that afternoon. The opening band was almost as good as Crystal and her group, so everyone had a great time.
Back over at the campground, we still had time to stroll, visit, and get a good look at one of our group’s brand new 2020 Unity, Hey Mercedes!
Wednesday was departure day for most of us. We had said goodbyes on Tuesday as several folks wanted to leave early the next morning. However, several of us stayed to see the pig races and the afternoon concert featuring Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. Again, the opening band was great. It was a true trip down memory lane for all. The maneuverable LTV vans allowed us to check out of the campground and park the coach at the fairground, ready for easy departure after the show.