Last weekend, I went to my first RV rally. It was the local chapter for my brand of RV - Leisure Travel Vans. It was at a campground about 70 miles south of my house - Creekside Campground in Edinburg, VA because it had a nice meeting room. Expensive campground at $35+ a night with electric, water, cable, wireless internet. Sites were fairly level with a plastic picnic table and gravel and all in a line with little space between sites. There was a nice creek behind our sites.
I was wondering if I would make it at all since I was working on getting my sliding door fixed. It was not opening from the inside and in trying to figure out what was wrong, I ended up getting the lock stuck and it wouldn't close at all. I could live with it not opening but I can't drive it if it won't close! After removing the rear locking mechanism, I saw that the cable was getting stuck and wouldn't pull on the lever properly. I put a small cable tie around the attachment to keep it int he correct position and remounted it which seems to have fixed that problem. I also discovered that the plastic handle had a cracked piece. I used the bailing wire method (http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16718) to patch it with some gorilla glue and metal supports on the side so it works mostly now. I got that done Thursday night so I had to pack up the van Friday.
This was a small rally with only 10 vans and 19 people. I was the only solo but I brought along my dog and 2 cats, so I don't have to worry about sitters. I got there about 5:30 Friday evening and was the last one in. Most of them came in Thursday night altho it was listed as a Fri - Sun event. Friday traffic added at least an extra half hour to the drive.
I got there just in time for the dinner so I quickly took the dog out to releave herself and walked over. They were very friendly and came up to say hi and welcome before I could really get out of the van.
They bought fried chicken and the rest was a potluck. Since I still don't have a working refrigerator, I bought a bunch of Pepperidge Farms cookies for my contribution. It was a tasty assortment but much more carby than I should be eating. They said that the company gives them $250 a year to support the local chapters so we only had to contribute $3 a meal. Shared breakfasts and dinners, lunch on our own. I ended up at a small table with some ultra-religious and ultra conservative people who started right off condemning all government and accusing all government workers of being worthless and shouldn't be paid. I've grown very tired of the blatant lies these types of people think is reality and piped in that I was a govt. worker and worked damn hard. And that I didn't know who these supposed non-working govt workers were. It just got more and more and the one guy was clearly aiming to convince me that his version of revivalism would solve the world's problems. I didn't give him any quarter and pointed out that he would never succeed in perfecting humanity to the point of not needing any government. Guess I was in an argumentative mood, but I didn't raise any of these issues and would have avoided such discussion in a group like that. I was really thinking that this group would not be much fun at all.
After dinner, the leader got up and talked about chapter business like possibly having the rallys mid-week and what to do for a member (I don't know, of course) who has brain cancer, the main LTV rally in Septembers in Canada, etc. Then he started with some stories that had a bit of a proselytizing flavor in them. The Jesus blessing before dinner was a bit inappropriate, I thought since I didn't think this was a church group. There was some socializing afterwards that was much pleasanter.
We all retired to our vans and agreed to meet at 9 for breakfast. I didn't sleep very well and got up at 8:30, made my coffee as I'm picky about my coffee and went in to breakfast a little after 9. I managed to miss their "blessing." Breakfast was much nicer as I stayed away from the last evening's company and tried other people. They gathered us to take a group picture, then the camera guy wanted one of me and my van. After I took a shower, dealt with the dog a bit, I found a small group of the women chatting so I joined them. They were fun. In the afternoon, some went into the little town and did some other stuff but I begged off so I could play with my dog. She was getting antsy with so little activity. I tossed her ball for tricks and threw it into the creek for her to swim until she finally chewed a hole in it and it sank. Then I joined a group sitting around outside for a while until the dog just couldn't sit still any longer.
Dinner was leftovers (copious) and shredded meat BBQ. It was a vinegary sauce like they do in the Carolinas. I don't know if it was a place that does Carolina BBQ or if that style spills over into Virginia too. Several people weren't thrilled with it but I liked it as another variation. Plenty of food. I sat with other people who were fun and none of that heavy political/religious agenda stuff. After dinner, the leader read a few stories and poems that were mildly amusing. A few people said that in past rallys they had more inclusive things like karoke or games. A few mentioned the discussion I had the first night and said they found them to be tiresome and hypocritical with their false claims, anti-govt. and proselytizing. They seemed to be encouraged by my not acquiescing to their lies and felt the same way as I did but didn't have the nerve to fight with them. Some of them also didn't feel the religious aspect was very appropriate in a group like that and was unwelcoming to people who might have other religions or none.
I woke up the next morning at 9 am but I wanted to miss the "devotion" thing and the "blessing" part anyway. A pleasant breakfast but then the leader got up and started with a sermon he thought was ok because it was the Ecclesiastes A Time For Everything and then started in with the usual heavy handed forgiveness junk. I felt ambushed and wanted to get up and leave. If I wanted a sermon, I would go to a church. I don't know why these people feel the need to proselytize every time there is a gathering of a few people. It seems like the height of arrogance and interference to do that. The only thing that would be acceptable is a moment of silence where those who wish it could pray silently.
Afterwards, one lady kind of cornered me to talk about how she felt that way too even tho she was a believer, but of a far more broad-minded ilk and didn't agree with the heavy handed attempts to sermonize and was so glad I had come. She had a heavy southern accent too! I got the same message from about a quarter of the people there so I guess my refusal to go completely along was a breath of fresh air to them and made them feel not so alone. If more people would just stand up and say no thanks, I don't need your sermons, then such people wouldn't have the nerve to try to force their beliefs down our throats. But we are too polite, even tho they are not! One woman told me her husband was an atheist but he just sat in the back and bolted just as soon as the little sermon was over. I bet he would go out with me if I had gone.
If I go again, I will be forewarned and walk out before the religious nonsense gets started. If several of them hadn't talked to me about how they didn't like it much either, I'd have written off the whole thing as nothing but a religious cult in disguise. I didn't think owning an LTV meant I had to buy into a religious cult too!
I then took the dog to the creek for more play, this time with a fabric frisbee. It got caught on the bridge pillar in the center where some logs were caught. My dog didn't grab it when she was right in front of it. I guess she was confused. I tried to get her to go gt it for quite a while but she never did go the right place. The water was deeper by the bridge and she had to swim. She kept trying. I finally put her in a sit wait and walked to the bridge piller. I called her and she came to the piller but it took a while before she finally realized the toy was there and grabbed it. She kept trying but was confused about what she was to do.
We then packed up (last to leave) and I took a more scenic route on smaller roads home. Took less time than the main road route Friday evening.
All in all, some of the people were great and fun and I learned a few things about my van. I'm glad I found out what these things are like but I wish people would leave their personal belief systems at home instead of thinking they should proselytize to people all the time. Whatever happened to not discussing politics or religion at social gatherings?