Saturday Rob and Trisha Ritchie and sister Tink joined us in Van Wert, OH, the jumping off place for our next big adventure. . . The FROG Rally. This is the second year in a row that I have accompanied Tink to the Forest River Owner’s Group rally, and if you read my blog a year ago, it was a real eye-opener on how the RV industry is supposed to treat their clients! – in a perfect camping world!
Rob, Trisha, and Tink were welcomed by the whole Brown family and settled into the driveway for an overnight campout. As we ate dinner we planned different venues for Sunday: Tom, Micah, and Caleb headed out to the Mid-Ohio race trace for a full day of Indy car racing, and Rob and Trisha, Tink and I drove to the FROG rally in Elkhart, IN at the county fairgrounds.
I can’t show you pictures of the boy’s racing trip, but I heard that it was a great time! As for the trip to the FROG, I have pictures and plenty of information about arrival and first-day doings.
Leaving Van Wert at 9:00 a.m. our caravan of two R-Pods with the Airstream leading the way arrived at Elkhart County Fairgrounds by 11:30. It was tricky business snapping this picture of the caravan, but I managed to get all three of us as we went around a corner! The R-Pods headed off to premier parking in their R-Pod Village, while I set up in a separate location of the fairgrounds. The Airstream is not a Forest River product, but I pay my fees for full rally participation under the umbrella of sister Tink!
Here is the Silvemine all set up in the grassy field beside the rabbit barn and behind the goat barn!
Note the lamp post that sister Tink made me for my birthday! Somebody in the R-Pod Nation designed this wonderful outdoor accent post, and many of the podders were sporting them down in R-Pod Village! Tink's special package deal to me included two stained-glass solar mini-posts and three little solar accent lights. My little campsite had a real glow come nighttime!
People not living in the mid-west do not realize what a big deal the County Fair is, and The Elkhart County is one of the best. Every building is immaculate and freshly painted and beautifully landscaped. During the off season, the fairgrounds is used as headquarters for meetings and rallies and all kinds of events. It has many open-air pavilions for group meetings and seminars as well as indoor facilities for meals and gatherings, and wonderful restrooms with shower houses!
The rally this year had 360 camping units: travel trailers, fifth wheels, motor homes, trailer hybrids, and pop-ups! R-Pods are the newest innovation of Forest River -- a very small light-weight camper with all the luxury amenities. This year 22 R-Pods were assigned their own R-Pod Village and Tink was named Mayor of the village. I, of course, had to make signs and buttons!
All afternoon R-Pods flowed into the fairgrounds and the village. By suppertime most had arrived, were set-up and showing off their R-Pod/FROG spirit FROG decorations and other outdoor fancies.
Dinner was a classic Forrest River catered event: roasted shaved beef, smashed potatoes and gravy, carrots, salad, rolls . . . I had to beg the server NOT to put so much meat on my plate! After dinner, Bob, the Forrest River Owner’s Group chief FROG, offered welcome and orientation announcements to guide us through the next 5 days.
In true village form R-Podders were out and around after dinner, mixing and mingling. A few stragglers arrived and were heartily welcomed and assisted. One solo lady was only on her third camping trip ever and was tickled to have all the attention and personal coaching on her electric, water, and sewer set-up.
The sun went down, and by 10:00 most were ready to end the day and to be thinking ahead to plot tomorrow’s itinerary. We've still got four full days of FROG giggin' so stop by later this week to catch up!
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