Thursday, April 5, 2018

A "Whistle Stop" Rally in Abilene

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Today, we got ready to head to Whistle Stop RV Resort in Abilene, Texas, to prep for the upcoming Heartland Owners Club West Texas Chapter Rally. It was Tony's spring break, so he was off all week. Since I began working again full-time in January, I could only take off one day of vacation, so I would be driving back and forth to Cisco every day, except Friday.

We loaded up and pulled out just after lunch, and arrived at the rv park about 45 minutes later. We got checked in and set up, then went to explore the facilities. We worked on some rally details and prepped some items for the rally bags. I can't wait to see everyone start to arrive this week!

A nice welcome sign for us!

Our site at Whistle Stop RV Resort

After settling in, we decided to go out to eat at one of our favorite fast food places that we missed from the Metroplex, Cane's Chicken Fingers. We had dinner and went back to the rig to relax for a while.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Today, I headed to Cisco for work, and Tony did some prep-work for the Rally. He went and got our goodie bags from the Chamber of Commerce, and talked to the RV Park about facilities, getting additional tables, and asking about using various things in the Clubhouse. The park has been very supportive of the rally, and we are hoping it will go as planned! This is their first rally.

A few folks started arriving today, and we had a get-together at the Finnegan's new Landmark for brats and hot dogs. The weather cooled off as the sun went down and it was breezy, so most folks didn't stick around too long into the evening.

After the get-together, we worked some more on Rally prep, making sure the agenda was clear and all of the printed materials (details for the different events, sponsors, silent auction info, etc.) were ready to go into the rally bags tomorrow. We were up kinda late, but needed to get it all done.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tony worked with our Regional Director to get the bags stuffed and handed out the bags to those already there. Many folks did some exploring around Abilene. 

Tony also went to the store and got some food for us, and started purchasing some of the items needed for the rally, such as coffee and creamer. He checked out the HEB, and really liked it. 

I came home from work, and did some visiting around the park, until it got too dark.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Today, Tony did some more visiting and greeting, as a good number of the attendees were coming in today. Some of the guys went golfing, as well, and had a good time. Tonight was also suggested to get a group together to go to Perini Ranch for dinner. So I met them there, heading there after work.

We had a good meal and good visiting, but we were outside, and the ambiance was not quite the "fancy steakhouse" feel. Some really liked it, some said it was just OK. But hey, they can all say they've been to one of the top Steakhouses in Texas.

Everyone experiencing Perini Ranch Steakhouse.

After dinner, we did some more visiting for a while, trying to make sure we greeted everyone that arrived and made them feel welcome.

Some pics of the entrance and facilities at Whistle Stop RV Resort.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Today, most everyone else was arriving, so Tony made another run to get more groceries for our Friday Meet-n-Greet and Saturday Potluck in the morning. He ended up getting everything at HEB, except for a few items needed from WalMart. Overall, we did really well on the budget.

Thursday evening, I came home with dinner from Cane's again, because it was convenient. ;) We will have to be up early for our trip to Dyess AFB tomorrow!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Today is the first OFFICIAL day of the Rally, and usually, they start in the evening. However, we decided to host a unique event Friday morning, a tour of the Dyess Air Force Base. They don't do tours on the weekends, so we opted to do this on Friday.  We met at 8:00 and headed to the base, to be there by around 8:30, as instructed. 

Gathering before the tour, we were to board the bus provided to go on base.

Our guide welcomes us and gives instructions.

Sadly, no pictures were allowed on Base, which was the entire tour. However, I borrowed an image from the Dyess website of the C-130 cargo plane we got to climb into and tour. It was pretty interesting. While we were touring, they were prepping a number of other C-130s to head out somewhere. We boarded the bus and moved away from the prep area, and we were able to watch a few of them take off, including a B-1 Bomber. It was really amazing!

Entrance to the base (Abilene Visitor's Bureau photo)

(An artist's rendering of the airstrip.) The C-130's are lined up in the distance.
We drove by the B-1's in the bus.

a photo (from the Dyess website) of a similar C-130 like we toured.

We then got a quick break at the PX for the restrooms and headed to the Linear Air Park. We got to tour some of the exhibits and hear lots of history about them. (again, no pics of us, these are borrowed off the internet.)

After the airpark, the bus took us back off the base and over to the Dyess Museum. We got to hear the history of William Edwin Dyess. If you want more info about the history of the Dyess Air Force Base, click here.

Hearing the history of William Dyess.

The tour was very long, and we were all pretty tired by the end, but it was an excellent tour. We left as soon as the lecture ended, because we needed to get back and prep for the rest of the events. We ran to Whataburger, and then back to the park. 

Tony and I then worked to prep the meat for the Saturday potluck. We were having Tacos, so we browned 13lbs of ground beef and seasoned/cooked it with Taco seasoning. We filled two crock pots full of the meat and took them over to store in the fridge at the Clubhouse. We then prepped the space for the evening events. 

Friday Night, we had our Ice Cream Meet-and-Greet, our White Elephant gift exchange, and enjoyed ice cream with toppings provided by the club.

Dishing up dessert, Bluebell!

After ice cream, we're opening White Elephants!

After that, some folks decided to play dominoes, and we cleaned up the tables so they'd be ready for tomorrow. We didn't stay to play, we were pretty tired!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Today we got up before dawn to meet the "donut guy" at the Clubhouse. Donuts were generously provided by the RV Park! However, the park's cleaning crew unexpectedly locked us out of the Clubhouse! Tony had to get the park manager to let us all in, but that was ok, it was a learning experience for us all. We had donuts and coffee Saturday morning and had quite a few folks come out and enjoy. 

At 9:30, we had a pallet painting party for those who signed up for it beforehand. Tami did a great job instructing us on how to paint our pallets, using stencils on the wood and "dabbing" our paint in the open areas of the stencil. I had created some designs for smaller signs, that I thought would look good in an RV, as well as came up with sayings for RVers. 

We had 8 ladies attend, and we had a great time! For more info about Big Country Pallet Painting by Tami, click here.

Our finished signs

Everyone enjoyed their pallet painting!

While the ladies were doing this, many of the men were working on RV Projects. 

You can always find a helping hand at a Rally, or at least half-a-dozen sets of eyes.

After lunch, we had an event scheduled to go to the Frontier, Texas! Museum. We caravanned over to the museum, and had a large group go through. Many of them said it was one of the best they've been to.

After the tour, we rushed back to begin prep for the evening meal. We had to heat up that 13lbs of meat, prep the taco fixins, set up the door prizes, and set up the raffle items. Thanks to generous sponsors, we had a number of great items to give away or auction off!  They included RV Lock, LLC, Origen, Torklift International, SmartPlug, T&S Enterprises, Zarcor Solutions, Southwest Emblem, Hairball Creative, Big Country Pallet Parties by Tami, and WhistleStop RV Resort.


Enjoying the meal.

Tables of door prizes - everyone got at least one, and we kept giving away until the table was empty! This included some painted pallets, hats, calendars, docking donuts, tumblers, drink holders, and more.

New logo Heartland Owners Club hats, donated in part by Southwest Emblem.

Whistle Stop RV Resort also gave us two goodie baskets to give away,
that included a coupon for 2 free nights!

Silent Auction Items. Money raised here goes to help fund more Rallies!

After the doorprizes were handed out, we awarded the silent auction items. 

After that, the evening wound down. Some folks stayed again to play dominoes, but we cleaned up the leftovers and such, and prepped for the next day's breakfast. It seemed to be a fun night for all. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Today we set up leftover donuts, and some breakfast breads and fruit for our Rally folks. Most were not leaving today, and we had a light turnout. I did some work for some of the rally attendees, then Tony and I worked to gather our stuff to take home (rally goods.) We took off the table cloths and restored the Clubhouse kitchen to how we found it.

After lunch (another meal from Cane's) we finished packing up and headed back home. Most everyone was staying, leaving Monday. So we said our goodbyes and headed on. We thought the rally went very well, and the park was terrific to us. The owners even came by and visted, and we enjoyed meeting and visiting with the Manager, who also owns a Bighorn.

I don't know yet when our next rally will be, but we sure think Whistle Stop is a great park for a Rally!