Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Heartland Owners Rally, Fall 2011

The South Texas Chapter of the Heartland Owners Club held their Fall 2011 Rally in Canton, Texas. Three couples in our local Good Sam Chapter, The Modern Wagoneers, own Heartland 5th Wheels, and the six of us decided to attend the Texas rally and investigate the possibility of forming an Oklahoma chapter. Susan and I joined Larry and Donna Keever, and Gary and Vicki Tidball, as we caravaned to Canton.

The rally was held at Mill Creek Ranch Resort, which is a beautiful, upscale RV park. It contains concrete pads, hard surface roads, thick green grass, a grand lodge with pool and hot tub, guest cabins, and a pavilion for outdoor gatherings. Additional amenities include bicycle rentals, stocked ponds, and running streams throughout the park.

The City of Canton host what has come to be known as "First Monday Trade Days," a shopper's paradise where you can find antiques, collectibles, furniture, automobiles, and plenty of food ranging from corn dogs, to pizza, to homemade ice cream. From Thursday - Sunday before the first Monday of every month, more than 7,000 vendors converge to sell their wares in one of the largest flea markets in the world. Acres of booths and buildings display anything you can possibly imagine, including RV supplies.

We must have walked two miles before we gave out. The good news is, we're scheduled to return November 1 for a second look. I've been shopping for an RV pickup bed similar to the one owned by our friends, Gary and Vicki Tidball, which is built by CM Truck Beds. My efforts to find a similar bed at a reasonable price in Oklahoma have been in vain. While in Canton, we stumbled upon Triple M Trailers of Texas. It so happens that they carry the identical model owned by the Tidballs and have it reasonably priced. So, we custom ordered a new bed to match our truck and will revisit the market while the bed is being installed.

Downtown Canton also revealed several interesting sites, where the women enjoyed an afternoon of shopping while the three old men (Larry, Jerry, and Gary) patiently waited on a park bench.

I couldn't help but memorialize the image of the Canton lawyer in the following photo as he struggled down the courthouse steps with his files. It reminded me of myself not so many years ago, and truly made me appreciate my retirement that much more.

Canton has a good selection of restaurants. Susan is particularly fond of Jaunita's Mexican Restaurant, located on the south I-20 service road just west of Highway 19, while I prefer a good steak at Easley Cattle Company, 619 Hwy 243.

A local RV dealership, "Explore USA," invited the participants of the rally to a fish fry and door prize giveaway. The dealership sells Heartland products and had several new models on display for our viewing.

The final night of the rally included a "pot luck" dinner, where all participants were invited and asked to bring a covered dish of their choosing. The food was wonderful. RVers can cook!

We made several new friends on this trip, including the Texas Chapter Leader and his wife, Jay and Stella Coffman. We also were successful in organizing an Oklahoma chapter consisting of five founding couples.

Watch for future segments of "The Adventure" reporting the progress of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Heartland Owners Club.

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