Western Sunsetters 2022 Maple Creek/Fort Walsh Rally

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22 LTVs gathered at the Willowbend Campground in Maple Creek for our 2022 Saskatchewan Rally. We had LTVs from as far east as Unionville, Ontario, as far west as Victoria British, Columbia, as far south as Spokane, Washington, and as far north as Derwent, Alberta.

Vans began arriving at about 1:00 pm on Tuesday and by 6:00 pm everyone was booked in and registered. Each van received a generous bag of goodies from the Maple Creek Chamber of Commerce as well as a notepad from Leisure Vans. Name tags were also handed out and people were encouraged to wear them.

Those who were new to rallies introduced themselves to their neighbors and those who had past experience with rallies renewed old friendships and made new ones along the way. The evening ended with a bonfire and by this time everyone had a chance to meet and in no time, we were all friends.

Wednesday was a casual day and six members of our group headed over to Maple Creek Golf Club for mid-morning tee times. Maple Creek had quite a bit of rain the two days before so the course was wet and the grass was long but otherwise, it was a beautiful day and everyone enjoyed themselves. Also on Wednesday, many of our group visited the downtown area of Maple Creek which had lots of interesting spots to check out. Some of the favorite spots were Howard’s Bakery, Cowtown Kids Toys & Candy, Rafter R Brewing Company, Daily Grind, Rocking Horse Cookhouse, Broken Spoke Fine Art Gallery, Jasper Culture & Heritage Centre, and the Southwest Saskatchewan Old Timers Museum. Everyone was impressed with the friendly merchants and the warm welcome they received. There was another small group who biked out to Grotto Gardens south of Maple Creek for a look at that facility and an afternoon snack and coffee.

Thursday was a full day of activities. We started the morning with a pancake and sausage breakfast prepared by Bill Harder and Roger Prevost. Thank you to Leisure Travel Vans for providing the funds to make the breakfast possible.

At noon, 44 people boarded our chartered bus to the National Historic Site of Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills, a 50-minute trip south of Maple Creek down a narrow road and through some harrowing hairpin turns. Once we got there, we were greeted by the staff. First, we saw a film on Fort Walsh and then were given an informative verbal presentation by one of their senior staff. After that, we were divided into two groups and were guided through the many buildings at Fort Walsh. The tour was originally planned to take 60 minutes but the interest and questions that were raised extended the tour to about 90 minutes. After the guided tour we visited the small museum about Fort Walsh in the main building before loading our bus to return to our campground.

Thursday evening we devoured 12 very good extra-large pizzas paid for by Leisure Travel Vans. After everyone had their fill, we drew names for about 20 items of Leisure merchandise that our Travelers Club had acquired. Of course, the evening ended with another bonfire.

Friday morning was departure day and by 10:30 am almost everyone had said their good byes and were checked out to continue their Leisure Van travels.

A big thank you goes out to Darcy and Joan Chimilar, the host/owners of Willowbend Campground for hosting us and making our stay enjoyable, and to the businesses of Maple Creek who welcomed us with open arms.

Written by Norm Lavoy

Western Canada Sunsetters

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