Big -- because there were close to 50 campers at Big Meadow Campground in Townsend, Tennessee; little – because they were all tiny trailers! I don’t know the final total, but there were a multitude of TAB’s in every color of the rainbow, a nice representation of TADA’s, two R-PODS, a Shasta, a Scotty, and the Silvermine!
We wait for this rally to come around for an entire year, and it is the high spot of the TAB world! Hosted by Sharon Sigmon, this is the 6th year she has gathered the gang together for a celebration in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina!
At the beginning of the school year Tom applied for two personal days so that we could leave on Wednesday (April 24) right after work. We knew the Big Meadow office would be closed when we arrived after 11:00 p.m., but they graciously told us to just pull over in front of the locked gate and spend the night. It wasn’t the same as boon-docking at a roadside rest or a WalMart, but it had the wonderful advantage of waking up in the morning and being right where we needed to be! Already in place were rows and rows of brightly-colored campers, all decked out in a variety of awnings, tent rooms, and screen houses!
Several "Sister on the Fly" friends joined this rally, and I was charmed by the Bookmobile with all her depictions of family and display of favorite books.
Thursday morning started out with crafts in the Pavillion; Sharon had cut out wooden signs in made-to-order trailer shapes to be painted and decorated. All she had to do was show us her finished Splash-TAB example and turn us loose with paints and beads!
Johanna, in her Tink 'R Pod, had company for a couple nights when friend Gayle came up to see what camping was all about. Here is the cutest picture of the two of them tucked in for the night.
Friday morning thirty-eight of us went on a hayride around Cades Cove. The road was newly paved, the truck was cushy with hay and a nice set of springs, and the cove was as lush as I have ever seen it in new spring-green colors, and the weather was perfect. Pork Chop was our driver and tour guide, and what he didn't know about the Cove's history -- he made up!
We saw deer and turkey on the 11-mile loop road drive.
The trees were in bloom and the roadway creek-crossings were full.
Back at Big Meadow Campground for lunch, a beautiful, sunny afternoon waited to be filled. Tom and I had our new bikes and rode some of the beautiful back roads around the campground and even pedaled the easy ride to the Townsend grocery store.
As beautiful and sunny as Friday was . . . . that is how dreary and rainy Saturday was. Small lakes appeared in some campsites causing TABs to be relocated, and elevated boardwalks to be erected.
The following photo of Diane seems
to have gone viral in the TAB world!
This post is getting very long, and there is still a lot to tell about the Blue Ridge Rally. However, I am going to wind it up with some pictures of my BRR peeps:
I have been home for 48 hours and have cleaned and repacked the Silvermine . . . . ready to leave out again in 15 hours! Some of the BRR folk have worked their way up to My Old Kentucky Home State Park, and I am heading down tomorrow morning to join up with them! You'll have to come back early next week and read all about it!
By special invitation from sister Johanna, I attended my first quilt show in Cincinnati, Ohio. What an experience! Johanna arrived by motor coach from Knoxville with 38 of her Sewing Sisters. I arrived 15 minutes ahead of her and was already established in a room on the very top floor of the Hyatt, right across the street from the Quilt showcase!
We wasted no time in the hotel and set out for some shopping at Macy's -- which was conveniently located next door to our hotel! Three pairs of Capri later we returned to the hotel and met up with four of the Sewing Sisters and set out on foot looking for a place to eat.
This restaurant was highly recommended for its good (and reasonably priced) menu. Johanna and I shared a Nacho plate for dinner, with plenty left over for everyone!
After dinner we held tickets for the advance evening showing of the quilts. It was prime time to go as the crowds were down, the vendors were in business, and we were anxious for our first peek!
The convention center was huge and required a lot of walking to see everything. Johanna was able to rent a cart to spare her bad feet, and we were all set for the evening.
On to the vendors . . . . those booths that tempt and tease quilters and sewers with little notions, big gadgets, fancy machines and beautiful fabrics!
"A piece of the past makes an excellent present!"
Lehman's Amish Store
Once again Airstreamers were welcomed to Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster, OH by TAC -- The Airstream Club! A favorite spring break-out rally that just keeps getting better, this year a record 17 trailers gathered to renew Airstream attachments and roam the Amish countryside.
Not wanting to miss a minute of this TAC rally, I slipped out on Thursday morning with the Silvermine and the pups . . . and without Tom. This suited him just fine, as he planned to drive over Friday after school . . . in the MGB! Wooster is an easy 2 hour 30 minute drive straight across Route 30 and I was the 5th Airstream to arrive shortly after noon.
The fairground assigned us to an open, grassy spot with electricity and water provided, and the use of a building for all of our gatherings, games, and going-ons. Outside there was plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the warming temperatures as Airstreams continued to arrive.
Our first destination was Lehman's in the burg of Kidron --a general store known for its vast selection of non-electric appliances and Amish-friendly supplies. It has products, gifts and gadgets from the useful to the nostalgic. A few pictures will show more than I can aptly describe.
The last stop on our circuit was Keim Lumber Company in a little town named Charm. Charm was so small it wasn't even on the GPS or the map -- but the way to Keim Lumber was well marked! Keim had everything that a regular hardware store would offer with lots of Amish people doing their shopping. Making it unique was an exotic lumber shop displaying 120 different species of woods from six continents. Keim has been serving the Amish local needs since 1911.
Berlin, Ohio is a tiny little town smack dab in the middle of Amish Country. If you drive through it during the off hours it can appear quaint . . . but empty. If you travel back through during peak time, there is no parking and the sidewalks are packed with a steady stream of shoppers.
Back at the rally site, folk were gathering to prepare for an evening of potluck and games. Nobody eats better than campers at a pitch-in dinner, and this one had the added advantage of being inside a cozy, convenient building.
And the meal was just the start of the evening. Loren and Michael hosted a silent auction that defrayed rally costs (breakfast each morning!) and provided entertainment as prizes were drawn and awarded. Tom and I both scored and Tom even modeled his flamingo boxers for the folk.
Next Jason conducted a white elephant gift exchange that kept the crowd laughing as gifts were chosen . . . and stolen. Poor John managed to chose a steady stream of great wrapped gifts from the table, just to have them snatched -- one after another!
An outdoor campfire rounded out Saturday night. Sunday morning breakfast was served as threatening weather urged us on to hitch up the silver rigs.
Next year we are all hoping to "Cummin Z-Back" to Amish Country!
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown