Way back in February, when the weather was cold and dreary down here in Alabama, our Chapter Leaders Pat and Vic Turner started making plans for our spring gathering, dreaming of warmer weather and being able to be outdoors.
With the help of Glois and Bob Bruce, Cumberland Mountain State Park in Crossville Tennessee was chosen as our gathering place from May 1st-4th. The weather by then would definitely be warmer and hopefully drier. All members were notified and urged to get their reservations in early.
It truly is a short time between February and May, as at this point in our lives, time seems to be flying by rapidly. By Saturday evening, April 30th, 4 couples had already arrived. The temperatures were definitely better than earlier in the year, mid sixties to mid seventies, but rain was still an issue. Luckily, the Warren’s who arrived Sunday morning had a 10’x20′ pop-up canopy that solved that issue and became our gathering place at the Bruce’s campsite. Once it was up, a manly effort by 5 of our members, the rain seemed to stop but was still threatening. The Bruces had a 10’x10′ pop-up canopy and it was placed over the picnic table to protect our all important food.
To add to our gentlemen’s pleasure, Phillip Warren brought his Polaris Slingshot, a 3 wheeled vehicle. This created quite a topic of conversation as the guys gathered around it to discuss its finer points.
Activities were plentiful in the park and surrounding areas. Some people hiked to see wildflowers, some visited the small museum in the park’s old bathhouse dedicated to the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC), which was deeply involved with the park’s development.
Some went to outlet malls, and a couple went to see a play at the Cumberland County Playhouse. Tuesday afternoon, Bill Harder was the caller as we had a chapter Bingo game, learned at last year’s Winkler Rally. That brought smiles and laughter to all members, with a few lucky ones even winning prizes.
Talking about activities, the two main activities we enjoy most are visiting and eating. What is more relaxing than sitting in a group of friends catching up and discussing all the interesting things they have done over the last few months, sharing the triumphs and the sorrows with laughter sprinkled throughout. It truly nourishes the spirit and feeds the soul. It is also very informative to tour each other’s coaches and see modifications they have made to personalize them to their lifestyles.
This gathering we had nine new people, the McLambs, the Woods, the Pattersons, the Warrens, and Romaine Broughton. We enjoyed getting to know them and look forward to their joining us again on our next outing.
Talking about joining us, two couples considering purchasing a Leisure coach, one from Knoxville and the other cousins of one of our members, came specifically to tour our coaches and talk with us as owners. We offered them the grand tour and a question and answer period. May not be quite up to Dean’s standards, but we are getting pretty darn close.
Then there is breaking bread with those near and dear. On Sunday those who had already arrived went to the park’s restaurant for lunch. It is an all-you-can-eat buffet of great southern cooking selections, and the food was wonderful. With the arrival of Bill and Helen Harder, meals took on a whole other perspective. Country farmer sausage sandwiches on Monday night with sides and desserts furnished by our group of wonderful cooks, were out of this world. Tuesday night we had grilled, marinated Steak á la Harder, baked potatoes and salad with more of those wonderfully delicious desserts. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, we awoke the next morning to the lightest, most magnificent pancakes with real Canadian maple syrup. All I can say is YUM!
With 17 coaches bringing 34 participants to Cumberland Mountain State Park, this is one of the largest and best rally Dixie Leisure Travelers has had. We had people from Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota and Canada. There were a lot of smiles on people’s faces and people really enjoying themselves in a relaxing atmosphere.
On Wednesday morning we offered a fond farewell to all with thoughts of our next gathering on everyone’s mind. A big THANK YOU to Pat and Vic for planning such a great trip!
Barbara & John Kammerud, retired teacher and retired engineer, respectively, have fallen in love with retirement. Since getting their Serenity, they have visited 49 of the 50 states and are still trying to figure out how to get their Serenity to Hawaii. This is a grand and glorious country with so many adventures just around the corner.