After leaving Caesar Creek State Park, our next destination was the Escapees 50th Escapade in Goshen, IN. For those who aren't familiar with the Escapees RV Club, they are a group of mostly full-time RVers headquartered in Livingston, TX. The club provides a variety of invaluable services for RVers including mail forwarding and support of RVer's rights. They own several campgrounds across the country that provide low-cost camping, and they sponsor a number of co-ops where members can have an RV lot if they decide they want to stay put for all or part of the year.
The Escapees call their rallies Escapades. This is the third Escapade we have attended since we first became Escapees members when we started full-timing in 2006. The Escapades have plenty of opportunities for fellowship and fun, they have informative seminars that cover technical and lifestyle topics, and there is a market where vendors sell the latest "must-have" RV gadgets and accessories.
We left Caesar Creek on Wednesday and drove about 4 hours northwest to Auburn, IN, where we stayed at Fireside Resort. Fireside has 55 sites that consist of mostly full-hookup RV sites plus a few tent sites. The roads and the RV pads are gravel, and there is grass between the fairly-widely spaced sites. We had a 30-amp site (only 10 of the RV sites have 50 amps), but it was cool enough we didn't need to run the air conditioner. There is free Wi-Fi. The photo below shows our site at Fireside Resort.
The next photo shows a view down the road toward our site.
Fireside Resort is conveniently located right at an exit off I-69, but that means there is a lot of traffic noise day and night. Our site was only a couple hundred yards from the roadway, which can be seen in the above photo just beyond the end of the campground road.
From Auburn, it was a drive of only an hour and a half to the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen where the Escapade was being held. The Elkhart County Fairgrounds has several hundred full hookup campsites, and they can accommodate hundreds of additional rigs with hookups of water and electric only by running temporary, above-ground lines through their expansive parking areas. We registered for the Escapade early enough to get one of the full hookup sites. They have free Wi-Fi, but you may not be able to get it if you're in some of the outlying areas.
As with most rallies at fairgrounds, parking is tight, and the sites are mostly on grass. Electrical boxes and faucets are shared; but since you have something in common with your neighbors and there is a lot of camaraderie, the closeness doesn't seem objectionable. The photo below shows our site at the Escapade.
And the next photo shows the view of only a fraction of the 800 rigs at the Escapade.
Camping at the fairgrounds is open to the public when there isn't a rally or special event going on. There is a section toward the front of the fairgrounds that has full-hookup sites, gravel pads with a little wider spacing between the sites, and utility pedestals that are not shared.
Camping at the fairgrounds would have been nice and quiet, even with a large rally going on, if it wasn't for the train tracks which run along the entire length at the back. Fortunately, the closest crossing is pretty far down the tracks, so you can only hear the train horns when things really quiet down at night. But our site was only a couple of hundred yards from the tracks, and the locomotives really roar and the cars really rumble as they pass by, which they do with great frequency.
We opted to arrive at the Escapade two days early so we could get settled before the event started. Our friends Marylin and Alan were also attending the Escapade, and we were planning to hook up with them. We tried to arrive about the same time hoping to be parked close to each other; but we got a little bit of a late start, and we got delayed further by road construction. However, as we followed the directions of the Escapade parking crew and drove toward our site, we saw Marylin waving from in front of their rig. We ended up just down the road from their site.
After we got set up, we meandered down to their motor home and chatted for a while. We ended up sharing dinner, and we played Wii afterward. We did a little sightseeing in the area with Marylin and Alan and on our own. We'll cover those excursions in upcoming posts.
A total of about 800 rigs pulled in over the period of three days. There was an orientation meeting on Sunday followed by opening ceremonies. In the next photo, the attendees are being welcomed by Cathie Carr, who with her husband Bud, were directors of the Escapade. Cathie, who is the daughter of the founders, Kay and Joe Peterson, is also the president of the Escapees RV Club.
One of the things we look forward to at RV shows and rallies is the vendor area. The Escapade had several dozen vendors of RV-related merchandise set up in an indoor-outdoor market area.
During the course of the Escapade, Paul made several rounds of the vendor area, and we made a couple of rounds together. We ended up with several new gadgets that we are hoping will make our lives easier. We bought a new squeegee and a new collapsible, oblong bucket that is wide enough to fit the squeegee. We also got new step covers that not only look good, but they will also get our shoes cleaner on our way into the rig. The covers are held on with Velcro, and can be easily be removed to hose them off.
One of the main reasons we like to go to Escapades is to attend seminars. There were a variety of topics covering RV repair and maintenance, crafts and hobbies, various travel destinations, and computers. The photo below shows the seminar we attended on cleaning your RV. This is where we learned about the collapsible bucket.
At one of the afternoon sessions, Joe and Kay Peterson told funny stories about some of the adventures they had when they were traveling. The Petersons started full-timing back in 1970, they formed the Escapees RV Club in 1978, and the club held the first Escapade in 1979. After their story-telling session, the Petersons greeted members and posed for photos.
We ran into Marylin and Alan numerous times at various seminars, as well as at the end of each day at "happy hour," which consisted of announcements, a silly skit of some sort and the awarding of daily door prizes.
Putting on an event of this magnitude is no easy task, but the Escapees have it down to a science. We thought everything ran very smoothly. To give you an idea of how much is work is involved in a large rally, the Escapees have their own semi to haul in equipment and supplies from Livingston.
It was a busy week at the Escapade, but we still found time for some sightseeing and a couple of meals out before and during the rally. Look for our next couple of posts, and we'll tell you all about it.