Western Sunsetters Nipawin Spring Rally

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The Western Sunsetters Travelers Club held its second rally of the 2024 camping season at the Nipawin and District Regional Park, situated in the native forests on the banks of the Saskatchewan River in Nipawin, Saskatchewan. The campground manager, Craig Sutherland, was a fantastic host, making sure that all amenities were in place for our event. There were 37 people in 19 LTV vans in attendance.

Rally attendees enjoyed a variety of local experiences and onsite opportunities to socialize during presentations, group meals, and campfire get-togethers.

The rally planning team arranged for the rental of a chalet at the campground that we could all gather in for hosting pre-supper visiting opportunities and providing a place to gather for morning presentations. A potluck supper and a Leisure Travel Van-provided BBQ hamburger meal were hosted in the facility—additional thanks to Bob and Denyse Beck for donating watermelons for dessert.

On the morning of our first full rally day, we enjoyed a presentation from the staff of Nipawin Tourism, who came to the site and shared highlights of things the town of Nipawin and the surrounding area have to offer visitors. Nipawin Tourism also gifted each rally attendee with a bag of Nipawin and area brochures, maps, pins, fridge magnets, fishing hooks, and a dishtowel printed with a map that included the location of all the Nipawin area highlights to visit.

For group gatherings in the chalet, Norm Lavoy acted as the MC for presentations. Rally planning team members Julie Smith-Fehr and Brian Fehr each offered presentations to our members. Julie spoke to the group about the necessary travel documentation to carry when taking trips in your RV and the importance of each traveler having a list of their own and their partners‘ medications and documents. Brian, a retired Saskatchewan RCMP officer, spoke to our attendees about recreational vehicle safe driving practices and related information.

Rally attendees spent their afternoons on activities of choice. Several people took the opportunity to enjoy a round of golf with some of their fellow LTVers. Others explored the town of Nipawin, which has many murals and exciting shops. Some hiked or biked around the natural area. Several attendees walked or biked to and then over the Local Attraction “The Crooked Bridge,” with the roadway built around the trestles that support the train track above the road bridge. Many took the opportunity to visit the Living Forestry Museum.

On Wednesday evening, our group traveled to the highly acclaimed local Mabel Hill Farm Kitchen and Market Place. Chef Michael Brownlee has a degree in Culinary Arts and Operations and was on the winning team of the first season of “Canada’s Top Chef.”

The culmination of his experience, along with his love of inspired upscale cuisine, the farm, and the fresh ingredients it has to offer, led Chef Michael’s home to Saskatchewan to purchase farmland and build and operate his Farm Kitchen and Market Place Facility. Rally attendees enjoyed a leisurely, multi-course, unique, and delicious family-to-table meal in a stunning farm setting.

On the final full day of our rally, our attendees boarded an Aurora houseboat captained by owner Curtis Lockwood for a leisurely cruise down the Boreal Shoreline of the Saskatchewan River to the E.B. Campbell Hydroelectric Dam. We saw wildlife on shore, pelicans landing on the water and were lucky enough to watch a train traveling across the river on tracks above the locally famous “Crooked Bridge”. The weather was lovely, and the waters were calm during our trip. Most of our club members enjoyed the sunshine and the views from the open upper deck of the boat, while others enjoyed the same panoramic views from the glassed-in lower deck.

After disembarking the houseboat at the marina area, most of our members stopped at the ice cream shop to enjoy a cold and delicious treat before taking the scenic walk back to our nearby campground.

On the last evening together for this rally, attendees brought their lawn chairs and gathered at a covered picnic shelter in our campground. We enjoyed another Leisure Travel Vans-provided pizza meal ordered from a local town pizzeria, with fresh watermelon slices for dessert.

Following supper, rally game prizes donated by Leisure Travel Vans, local vendors, and a few club members were drawn and awarded. Rally attendees enjoyed this opportunity to visit together. A bonfire was lit, and travel experiences and laughs were shared.

As the Rally concluded, members began to pack up, say their goodbyes, and then head home or to other RV adventures. Many LTVers shared positive comments about their rally experience at Nipawin.

Thank you to the Nipawin rally planning team members who worked with us to make this rally possible. Many volunteer hours were donated to researching what the Nipawin area had to offer, booking local venues and speakers, planning group meals, and arranging excursions. Thank you Julie Smith-Fehr, Brian Fehr, and Norm and Hazel Lavoy.

Written by: Rob & Linda Clark

Western Canada Sunsetters

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