We drove here from the Black Hills after getting our rental house in Lead squared away last Saturday. The rally is taking place on the grounds of an RV convention center in Gillette called "the Cam-Plex". There are several large buildings and appears to be a rodeo venue. Some place on the grounds there must be some kind of race track, judging by the noise Saturday night, but we haven't seen it. On the east end of the campus is the RV Park which consists of a bunch of grass strips where they can pack RVs in like sardines. We got lucky and were put in a slot on the end of a row which gave us a little more space, but the folks to our left cannot put the awning out because it would go through our slide out. Some of the people in smaller units that usually use campground shower facilities were complaining that the water was ice cold, but we had nice steamy showers here in our rig.
My understanding was that this was supposed to be primarily a training exercise, similar to the RV boot camp we went to last February. Each day there were four sets of six classes offered. For each session, you had to pick which of the six you would go to. There were also craft teaching sessions in
|Seminar or Sales Pitch?|
There was also some evening entertainment which was okay. They had a couple from Branson Missouri that did a music and comedy act that was entertaining enough until it got a little overly Stars and Stripesy at the end, presumably because it is the Fourth of July week (or maybe that's just the way RVers are supposed to be). On a less professional level, there was a talent show which I failed to participate in but enjoyed. Most fun were the music jam sessions they had. It inspired me to drag out my guitar and strum along even though I had not picked up the instrument in a couple of years. Most of the participants were a few years older than I am so the music tended to run towards old timey, folky stuff, but that was fine with me. Even if you don't know them, songs with only three chords are pretty easy to follow along on. When it came my turn to pick a song, I tried to choose things everyone would know… Peter Paul and Mary, James Taylor, but I found I was singing by myself. 50-year-old music was too "new" for some of these folks. Still, I had a lot of fun, even though I now have blisters on my fingers. Hopefully I will keep playing and toughen them up some.
Tomorrow, most of these people will pull out of here, but we are staying an extra day. We are going to drive back about 35 miles toward South Dakota and see Devils Tower. Then on Saturday we will head west to meet Paul and Ruth in Cody Wyoming. Ruth is my cousin. Well actually my second cousin… uh, once removed. Yeah, they're essentially unrelated, but we are meeting them in Cody Wyoming and we will let you know how it goes.
After dinner we came back to the motorhome and I prepared the bulk of this post. Then as 9:30 neared I started fiddling with my camera and we went outside to watch the fireworks display. As I got the tripod set up, this kind of stuff started happening…
About 9:28 the rain started coming down. Vicki climbed in the car and drove off to the other end of the campground for an unobstructed view while I stayed behind to try to get some pictures of fireworks as a backdrop to the motorhome. As the fireworks and the thunderstorm crescendoed together, it was hard to decide which was more impressive. For a time, the lightning was almost continuous as were the pyrotechnic explosions. Unfortunately, the rain increased right along with everything else and it was impossible to keep the water off of my lens. It was probably the most dramatic Fourth of July display anyone could imagine. We will remember this one for a long time.