Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Samboree - 2010

The "Samboree" is a sort of RV rally where members of The Good Sam Club come together and engage in games, seminars, and fellowship for several days. This Samboree was held at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center in Shawnee. Suz and I caravaned in with two other couples, Floyd and Joyce Cook, and Bill and Phyllis Haivala. Other members of our club (Modern Wagoneers) were already there, or came in at a later time.

The following is a pictorial that may offer some insight into what goes on at the Samboree:

The first order of business upon arrival is setting up the coach. Final count totaled 309 RVs for the Spring Samboree. The State Director of the Oklahoma Good Sams Club stated that this Sabmoree set a record for attendance. It was evident by the sea of coaches and trailers parked throughout the site. We were lucky to get a camp site with full hookups (electric, water and sewer), and even more fortunate to be able to park next to each other. Club members Tim and Karen Sechrist came in a day later and were able to park directly behind us.

Above (top to bottom and left to right), our chapter (The Modern Wagoneers) conduct their monthly business meeting; Tim Sechrist (Chapter President) and wife, Karen, present the chapter's banner at the opening ceremonies; the State Director and other officers present special guests; baskets made by members of our chapter to be raffled for charity; Suz, Floyd Cook, and Donna and Gary Balch take their turn at managing the raffle table; and Floyd Cook and Tim Sechrist recognize one of the winners of the raffle.

The Samboree isn't all business. A flea market was held so that members could sell surplus items (top left). Entertainment was also available, including the band that played both classic and contemporary country music (top right). Our entire chapter got together for dinner at "Hamburger King," which is a landmark restaurant in Shawnee (center). Susan enjoyed the chili Frito pie, but I don't recommend the fish. Several chapters purchased cakes to be used during the cake walk. The Modern Wagoneers contributed two cakes, one reflecting our chapter logo and the other reflecting the Good Sams Club logo (bottom).

The pets also got to participate in Samboree activities. Here, Floyd and Joyce Cook present their dogs, Ginger and Angel, during the "Pet Parade" (Top). Susan attempted to enter Maynard in the competition, but they didn't have a category for "dumb dog." One member's granddaughter brought her goat which competed along with the dogs (Bottom). Maynard's excuse for not competing is that he simply wasn't going to share the stage with a goat!

What's really neat about being a member of a Good Sams Club chapter is the people you meet and friendships you establish. Our chapter currently has eight couples, one of which is our president and his wife, Tim and Karen Sechrist (left). But little did we know that the Samboree would rejoin us with an old friend, Rosie Wagner, and her friend, Gene (right). Gene owns a 5th wheel travel trailer and he and Rosie are considering Good Sam membership.
The next Oklahoma Samboree is scheduled to be held in Claremore during mid October. Watch for our next post, which should include pictures of our adventure to the Great Salt Plains State Park near Jet, Oklahoma. Floyd and Joyce Cook are wagon masters and they expect me to get down on my knees and dig for crystals. We'll see how well that goes over!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Branson - Spring 2010

Before I begin sharing the Branson trip with family and friends, I must brag about the new power shades we had installed in the coach (early Father's Day gift from my beautiful wife!). Early morning or late evening driving can be difficult in a vehicle with such a large windshield. But these new shades make all the difference. Wouldn't you know it? First trip out and it's cloudy skies all the way to Branson!

They say "a picture speaks a 1000 words." I can sum up our recent trip to Branson in one word: ENJOYABLE! Suz and I left OKC on Friday morning about 10:00 a.m. and rolled into Branson around 5:00 p.m. We stopped only for lunch at the Tulsa Cracker Barrel and again at the rest area just the other side of the Missouri line. I was exhausted after driving most of the day with only two breaks, but the trip was worth it.

I'll let the following pictures illustrate the short 4-day trip with as few words as possible (can a lawyer really do that?). This first pic is Susan and Maynard enjoying the day at the Branson KOA. We've checked out a few other campsites in the Branson area, but the KOA offers spacious concrete patios with furniture, grill, and fireplace. The folks there keep the grounds well maintained and are very friendly. A little pricey, but still cheaper than a motel.

A trip to Branson isn't complete without a visit to the Amish Country Store. They have a wide variety of relishes, pickles, spices, preserves, and candies. We picked up a jar of Pecan Caramel Apple Butter, which I can't wait to try.

Here's a view of Table Rock Lake. Motorcycles are abundant this time of year. What a beautiful place to ride!

What's a trip to Branson without seeing a music show? These pics are from the Clay Cooper Theatre. Clay offers a great variety show, including country, gospel and patriotic music, and good, clean family fun! The following pic is a comedy skit where Clay asks Presidents Lincoln, G.W. Bush, and Obama various questions about the presidency and the state of the economy.

Following the show, we were asked to remain seated as the cable program, The World's Biggest Joke Off, was taped before the live audience. Deana (Dina) Martin, Dean Martin's daughter, was joined by her husband, John Griffeth, comedian Yakov Smirnoff, and a tour bus driver, to perform as judges of the contest. Amatuer comedians gave it their best shot at telling jokes on national television.

Branson remains a busy place with plenty of attractions, shopping, food, and fun. I even spotted a job that might offer a little extra money to help finance the trip. But Suz said no - it would cut too deep into our travel time.

You never know what you might see in Branson. Above are a couple of pics of the sharp 57' Chevy Suz and I had the pleasure of viewing during breakfast one morning. An antique and classic car auction was being held in Branson over the weekend and the owner of this jewel drove in to see the auction. I heard him say he "wasn't interested in selling."

Branson also hosts an IMAX Theater, which was presently showing Hubble (the telescope placed in orbit by the space shuttle). The movie is showing in 3-D elsewhere across the country, but not at the Branson IMAX. Nevertheless, it was a great experience to see it on the awesome IMAX screen!

Suz and I originally planned a 3-day trip. But finding pleasant temperatures and clear to partly cloudy skies in Branson, we extended our stay to 4-days. Although we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, we were anxious to get back home. As you can see from the picture at the right, someone else was also in a hurry to get home. He had squirrel and bird chasing to catch up on, and I think he missed his bed.

Hope you enjoyed sharing our trip. We'll likely return to Branson in the fall with Nana and Aunt Sue. They're good travel buddies and we enjoy visiting Branson with them. Watch for our next post which comes up next week as we experience our first Samboree!