Sunday, February 15, 2009

At the Gypsy Journal Rally

SUNDAY February 8, 2009

Here we are in Casa Grande at the Gypsy Journal Rally.

What’s a Gypsy Journal Rally? It’s a bunch of RVers (157 rigs) gathered together in one place to have fun for a week. Our common bond is that we read the Gypsy Journal newspaper. Suzy and I have volunteered to sell tickets for 50 / 50 drawings, subscriptions to the Gypsy Journal, and the books and RVing guides written by the boss Gypsy, Nick Russell.

We were among the early birds, and we had to take a temporary site while the annual Gourd Festival was finishing up. But this evening we moved into our pre-arranged site with 50 amp electricity and water and all is well.

Here at the Early Bird registration, Suzy was busy selling books and subscriptions and 50 / 50 tickets.
In another early shot, Nick Russell's wife, Miss Terry, visits with Barbara, one of the volunteers. That's Nick and Terry's bus in the background.

Here at the Pinal County Fairgrounds our motorhome faces the east. In the evening, we watch as the light from the west-setting sun recedes swiftly across Eleven Mile Corner, past recently plowed but as-yet unseeded farmland, to the base of the distant Picacho Mountains. It quickly scales the peaks then disappears entirely into the twilight.

The pink sky darkens through magenta, into violet and ultimately to indigo. Stars above reveal their magical constellations: Orion, Ursa Major, and all the rest. Another desert evening, and so to bed.

MONDAY and TUESDAY February 9-10, 2009

Our mild Arizona winter decided to take a leave of absence, and we were hit by rainstorms, fierce winds, and cold weather. The fairground where the rally is being held is now being called Nick’s Mud Hole!

Fortunately, Suzy and I are stationed inside the hospitality room for our ticket and subscription sales, and all of the seminars and entertainment are indoors. But the poor vendors have to set up business at their rigs, and the weather isn’t conducive to (1) setting up outside or (2) getting rally-goers to look at your displays!

Nick Russell met up with David Cross at our 50 / 50 and subscriptions table.
What's a rally without Tee Shirts? Miss Terry encourages Bill Bcker to sell a lot if them! Bill's table was right next to ours in the Hospitality Room where morning donuts and coffee drew the crowds.

WEDNESDAY February 11, 2009

The weather has cleared, the sun is shining, but it’s still not what we would call warm. But our sales were brisk, the seminars (most of them) interesting, and the vendors are doing well. But all of a sudden Ka-Pow! Ka-Boom! Brown smoke! And all the electrical power went out throughout the fairground! A child’s Mylar balloon had drifted across some power lines outside the park, and three transformers blew! Fortunately a power company crew was in the fairgrounds on another assignment and within the hour we had electricity again.

RVers are nothing but fun and activity centered. After the storm, Howie and Dave took a canoe run down the "river" in the parking area!

We’ve had floods, gales, cold, explosions. There are those who wonder what’s next, a plague of locusts? At the pizza party this evening, you would have sworn a plague of the critters had gotten into the 150 pizzas that were delivered piping hot from Domino’s in town, and served in a matter of minutes to all in attendance!

THURSDAY, February 12, 2009

This is the last full day of the rally, and we’re getting a lot of walk-in traffic, people who couldn’t or didn’t want to come for the whole show but at least wanted to see what was going on. Our leader Nick, a right jolly elf, got reacquainted with Ed and Sid, two of his less “height-challenged” friends.
I have to confess: I borrowed the last three pictures (with permission) from Nick's own blog, which you can find at

One of the most popular -- and most important -- seminars is on RVing fire safety, Mac "The Fire Guy" capped his presentations with actual fire fighting experience for some of the attendees. He always picks on the ladies, because the guys are scared to try!

Mac is explaining the various types of fire extinguishers available for RVs. He stresses the AB extinguisher as more appropriate than the ABC type.
A diesel fuel / gasoline fire has become a raging inferno.
And this lady will have the fire out in a matter of moments -- she hopes. Mac relit the fire and involved several of the ladies in the experience. Suzy had a chance to do this at Mac's presentation at Life on Wheels a few years ago. She'll never forget that raging fire in her face!

Nick sometimes refers to his “other side” as “Bad Nick.” He’s usually the right jolly elf, but sometimes, impish impulses get the better of him. One of the attendees liked that thought and made this hat for Bad Nick.
At this evening’s session, we sold lots of 50 / 50 tickets in anticipation of the third and final drawing. Nick gave away tons of door prizes donated by vendors and some local merchants, and then it was 50 / 50 time. The big winner for the evening walked out with $383! We’d had two drawings on previous nights, giving away a total of nearly $1000 to the happy winners.

FRIDAY, February 13, 2009

This morning is the final donut and coffee morning (all supplied by the Gypsy Journal), and what is called the “Hitch Up and Go.” We’re selling a few books and subscriptions this morning, but mostly getting and giving hugs to friends new and old who are headed back to the highway and wherever the road takes them. What a week it has been! We’re exhausted, but with the gloriously happy exhaustion that comes with a successful celebration of life!

This evening, Nick Russell and his lovely lady, Miss Terry, took us and two other couples of volunteers to dinner! There were at least 100 people doing some volunteer work at this rally and we were all given group recognition at the final get-together. This dinner capped off the whole rally for us.

On the way back from dinner, the area our motorhome was parked in was totally dark. I had to drive by the “touch system” and completely missed what might laughingly have been called a roadway. We plowed into thick mud, gradually slowing down. I managed to engage our 4-wheel drive and we slogged through to more solid ground. Another adventure in … Our Life on Wheels!


  1. I am so glad I get to "travel" along with ya'll. I enjoy so much reading about your experiences.


  2. You guys worked hard and deserve a rest!!! We were glad to get a little R & R ourselves. So good to see you both in person. We do hope we got that PressurePro system all squared away and working. If you need anymore help, please give is a shout...That's what friends are for,,,right?

    Travel safe and stay warm!

    Mike (& Pat)

  3. Wow! You two were busy busy busy last week! Sounds (and looks) like you had a great time!

    Love you both,


  4. Terry and I really appreciated all of your help at the rally, and we know we could not have had as successful event without the hard work of all of our volunteers. We treasure your friendship. Now get some much deserved rest!

  5. Spounds like a great time! You must be exhausted! Put those feet up & rest! =)


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