2007 Events

January 4-7, 2007

Tracy Wildlife Preserve, Tracy, CA

January 4 – 7 : Joan Ladd and Joan Libbey hosted a boondock outing on a private island in the Delta north of Tracy. Watching the baby raccoons romping around the Tracy Wildlife Preserve, along with the multi-colored baby rabbits and several peacocks strutting their stuff, made us all aware that this truly is a haven for many animals.

One of our gals brought her bass boat and offered tours of the delta waters, and several members enjoyed the opportunity. Several “tourists” had their cameras at the ready to catch the many varieties of birds in the area.

Although it was pretty cold and the wind was blowing hard, the group enjoyed a number of activities in the clubhouse over the weekend, including Beth & Susan’s “famous” biscuit & gravy breakfast, an American Red Cross presentation on preparedness for any hazardous encounter we may have on our travels, potluck dinner, chats around the wood-burning stove and a rousing game of bingo, with the winners collecting a jar of home-made pomegranate jelly.  We had a couple of “newbies” join us for the weekend and they left saying they can’t wait to join RVW — we hope to see them back at one of our outings soon.         

February 2-4, 2007

Lodi Grape Festival Fairgrounds, Lodi, CA

There were 57 women in 38 rigs who gathered in Lodi, the site of the 2007 RVW convention.  This was a particularly large group for us in February, showing the interest of FreeWheelers in convention, and the site where it will be held. Almost everyone showed up with their 50 to 30amp adapter, and all were good sports with the parking challenges at this site.

Friday evening kicked off with a wine tasting and snacks brought to a new level with caviar and salmon treat! Saturday morning 50 women prepared their “Ziploc Omelets” which were boiled in water. A fun and yum time was had by all.

Following breakfast we convened for a meeting. Our recently elected chapter leader, Jeri McLees, accepted her “gavel” and introduced Char Norby, Convention Coordinator. Char spoke to her need for volunteers on various committees and sign up sheets were put out for committee signups. The logo and theme committee had already been working together and spent quite a while finalizing proposals to put forward to the board. We were fortunate to have Jan Harris, RVW president, and Larry Ann Holley as guests, and they could offer immediate feedback to the work already done. Linda Brown and Barbara Roeder attended from SoCALjourners, so they could take back information for the convention volunteer opportunities.

Rachel Harp brought to our attention the recently announced recall of Dometic refrigerators and how to find out if one’s frig was on the recall list.  Sue Copeland demonstrated her solar panel lift
mechanism which uses a motor to adjust the panels to obtain maximum amperage.

Sunday, Beth, Susan and Sue were out measuring the entire “wired” grounds of the Grape Festival. It’s great to have the expertise to help in such matters! Folks from 16 rigs were able to stay Sunday, to enjoy the beautiful weather, camaraderie and Super Bowl.

As we write this the weekend after our event, we are so grateful  Mother Nature provided a sunny weekend for our gathering. It has rained non stop in N. CA for all of Friday and Saturday and more is predicted. Thank you all for your enthusiastic participation!

March 2-4, 2007

Rio Viento RV Park, Sherman Island (between Rio Vista and Antioch)

This was our first visit to Rio Viento, www.rioviento.com, a fairly new resort in the Sacramento River Delta, but we’ve already “booked” for March of next year – – as we were treated so well by the owners and managers of the resort.  As has become custom, several FW members arrived on Thursday but most of the group trickled in throughout the day on Friday, swelling the number of people attending to 45.  Fortunately, the weather was “with us” and we were able to spill over to the outside for our group gatherings.

Friday night the group gathered for “chips and dips”; Saturday morning found us enjoying Beth & Susan’s “famous” biscuits and gravy, followed by a great presentation by Rachel Harp about what her favorite “gadgets” were for RV travel as well as some new stuff that she and Joel had seen at a national RV convention the previous week.  After a brief chance to check on our pets and/or our rigs, we then met with Char Norby to discuss the upcoming national convention in Lodi in October.  Saturday evening, we had a FW BBQ where the hostess and two assistants, Sue & Nancy, did the cooking while the rest of the group brought lots of good food to share.  One of the newcomers did mention that it seemed our group “did” food very well!  How true that is.

Sunday, the weather continued to be wonderful and, as had happened the rest of the weekend, a number of our group enjoyed walks or bike rides along the river or just reveled in the fact that spring was coming.  Most of the group had to leave on Sunday but a few remained behind, sharing yet one more meal Sunday night in the meeting area before saying our goodbye’s on Monday morning.

As is usual with our group, there were lots of hugs and catching up to be done with our old friends, but we still had time to visit and get  
to know some soon-to-be friends who are still new either to RVing or RVW.

April 20-22, 2007

Lake Pardee

Once again we had a great outing at Lake Pardee. We had 15 rigs with 23 women in attendance. Most of our group arrived on Thursday to make it a long weekend. We had some dedicated fisherwomen who spent a good part of the weekend out on the lake in boats. The fishing was much better this year than last.

Friday those not on the lake spent the day visiting and catching up with one another. We had an impromptu cocktail hour and then dinner on our own. A few gathered around the campfire. Saturday morning Beth and Susan fixed up a batch of their famous biscuits and gravy. With lots of other offerings, we had a wonderful breakfast as usual.

As is common in April, the weather started showing signs of possible rain, so we set up freestanding awnings over the tables. The rain held off long enough to cook our hot dogs over the fire and fill our plates with all the great food. After dinner we stayed around the campfire under umbrellas until the rain started coming down much harder. We refuse to give up a great campfire in this group.  Sunday, it was still raining, but stopped by the late morning.

Since this was a boondocking weekend, it gave us a chance to see how well our rigs will handle having no electric hookups. This was the first time for a couple of rigs. We found out that solar power works even on cloudy days (thank goodness) and generators do let you run all those necessities we think we need. Boondocking can be a great experience and is not that hard to do as long as one is prepared.

May 4-6, 2007

Porto Bodega – Bodega Bay, CA

Based on the comments received during the weekend, the May outing at Porto Bodega was a success, notwithstanding weather that ranged from rain on Thursday through a chilly wind, to a heat wave that hit on Monday! It was a very laid back weekend with only two organized events. On Saturday morning, Beth and Susan hosted their wonderful biscuits and gravy breakfast, with many additional dishes provided by others. Then Saturday evening we had a sumptuous potluck.

For the rest of the weekend, people just relaxed, visited with friends, and generally did their own thing. The bird watchers were busy, as was Judy Leonard who was out and about with a humongous lens on her camera to photograph the feathered ones.

We started out with 20 reserved sites, which we were able to increase to 25. In the end, several folks made private reservations and we had about 30 rigs. The park manager very kindly decided to charge all of the RVW members the group rate, which was a considerable savings for those who made their own reservations. The manager also gave us the use of the park’s meeting room for the entire weekend. As a result of members’ positive comments about the park, and the cooperation we received from the manager, Pat and I hope we can return to Porto Bodega next year.  

May 31 – June 4, 2007

Woodson Bridge RV Park – Corning, CA
Spring Clean-up Camp out

We had 1 rig arrive on Wednesday to enjoy the park being virtually empty. On Thursday, things changed and 27 rigs arrived early to start the weekend. On Friday & Saturday mornings we brought out the bucket of liquid laundry soap w/bleach, telescoping pole, & brush for any and all awnings that wanted to be washed.

As people came in they also got theirs cleaned; by the end of the day Saturday 47 rigs were parked, with 72 folks in total, including the State of Nevada — not the whole State, but folks from there.

Friday night we had a Greet & Eat. Thanks to everyone who brought food to share. Good Food , Good Friends and a great turn out.

On Saturday morning, following our regular breakfast get together, we put every space # into a drawing for a free rig wash which was won be Sue & Glo. Then we had a impromptu question and answer session with Rachel Harp (of the now famous Rachel’s Ramblings.) Her husband Joel, a real sweetie, spent the whole weekend working on RV’s that needed his services, doing warranty work on Dometic Refrigerators that had been recalled (finding out even Gene who works for the park had one and he didn’t even know about the danger) and 2 awnings were found in the unlocked position. As a group we went out and about performing pre-trip maintenance inspections. The idea is to share the knowledge as a group, so each one of us develops a comfort level and understanding of our own equipment. We moved from rig to rig checking fluid levels, air pressure, starting up generators, what ever needed attention.

On Saturday evening, after finding out that there was no longer a free shuttle from the nearby Indian casino, we went in any tow car that was going. Some enjoyed the buffet and gaming. We heard a buck or two came back with a few.

Sunday & Monday morning we finished off the weekend by going through the local Truck wash. Every rig attending was spit shined and polished.

Due to the amount of positive feedback and by popular demand, before leaving we made reservations to hold 61 spaces for May 29-June 2 2008. Many have already requested to have their same spaces again next year. Until then, Happy Trails Take Care & Be Safe Beth & Susan

July 13-15, 2007

Jellystone RV Park
Cobb Mountain

Twenty Eight FreeWheelers got together for this fantastic weather outing. Although mildly challenging to get to (due to windy roads and poor signage) everyone arrived safe and sound.  Attendees were greeted by Holly and Ann and all enjoyed the circle group camp with the covered meeting area in the center. Friday evening we enjoyed pot luck appetizers (and cocktails).

Saturday morning was the spectacular biscuits and gravy prepared by Beth and Susan with the rest of us contributing various accessory dishes.  Yum Yum!! After breakfast, Holly did a presentation on fire extinguishers and RV fire safety.  The meeting was spiced up with poker trivia, prizes and an opportunity to actually discharge an extinguisher.

Saturday evening’s pot luck dinner brought more delicious dishes and congenial conversations.  Through the weekend there were walks, hikes, bikes, sunning, reading and numerous informal gatherings including Beverly’s 3:00 ice cream floats.  Some of us even ventured to the other side of the camp ground for the Jazz Festival. Sunday morning, more food, and all who could not stay until Monday did the pack up and bid farewell.

August 3-5, 2007

Marble Quarry
Columbia, CA

The Campout occurred at Marble Quarry RV Resort in Columbia, Ca.  11 rigs arrived on Thursday, with the remaining 13 rigs arriving on Friday.  A good time was had by all.  We had a wine tasting on Friday evening.  Due to the very warm weather there was no camp fire.  Instead for those who wanted, the club house was open for their enjoyment of conversation and/or games.

Saturday morning found the group gathered for Beth & Susan’s VERY  famous biscuits & gravy, with the rest of the group bringing an  assortment of food to round out the complete breakfast. After  breakfast Rachel Harp gave a seminar on care & maintenance of our hot water heaters.  It was informative and educational.  (I think even I  can handle it).

The rest of the day was on your own, some folks stayed out of the heat, while others made good use of the swimming pool available, while others went to Columbia which is now a State Park.  Saturday evening found us gathered together again for our pot luck dinner.   Naturally there was too much food, and it was very good.    Again the  club house was available to those who wanted it.

On Sunday morning a small group gathered to finish off the “leftovers” from the previous breakfast.  Then folks began packing up and heading home after a good weekend together.  There were a few  folks who planned to stay over until Monday, but they knew they “were  on their own”.

A BIG THANK YOU to all who participated in the August Outing to marble quarry.  Other than the inconvenience of some electrical  problems, it believe it was a success.

A bigger thank you to all of you who worked so hard with the clean up after each meal in the club house.  Betty & I hardly had to do any work at all. Because of your efforts, you make being wagon master easy!!!! 

September 7-9, 2007

Collins Lake

While the water level at Collins Lake, 75 miles north and east of Sacramento, was much lower than last year, the weather was ideal for this weekend outing which was hosted by Ferrell & Ferrell with the able assistance of Irene Paulin.  Between the Lakeview Group site and individual sites there were a total of 36 women in 24 rigs of which 11 were solos. Our focus was on relaxing, socializing and having a good time.

We kicked things off on Friday evening with everyone bringing a drink and appetizer to the group site where people signed up for a time on Saturday to go out on the patio boat. There was a potluck continental breakfast Saturday morning, which gave Susan and Beth a chance to come to breakfast instead of cooking  it. The rented patio boat went out twice, under the able driving skills of first Beth and then Hilary, who navigated around Collins Lake, including time for people to go swimming.  Everyone needed to navigate the mud at the waters’ edge which was made easier thanks to the help from several intrepid FreeWheelers who “waded in” to select the best docking area.

Saturday afternoon those sitting around the Lakeview group site were put to work peeling apples which ended up in 3 delicious apple pies under the direction of Beth, the pie baker, who served them up for the potluck dinner. This activity turned out to be a great way for the new and seasoned campers to get to know each other. A campfire was enjoyed by those dedicated FreeWheelers each night.

Sunday we enjoyed a leisurely morning, sitting around talking, then said our goodbyes and headed home except for those lucky few who were able to stay over till Monday.

The highest compliment was paid by a newer FreeWheeler when as she left she said “thank you for making me feel so included!” Our thanks to those who attended this outing for making it such a great weekend.

Laura Ferrell, Mary Sue Ferrell, Irene Paulin   

October 10-14, 2007

Lodi, CA

It is hard to describe the wonderful experience of the RVing Women convention! But here are a couple of snippets from our members:

>From Irene: The whole experience was so uplifting! I enjoyed meeting new people, having the opportunity to be more educated about our ‘rigette’ (class B) with Rachael Harp, learning about fire safety with Mac and being entertained throughout the week. Judy Fjell was awesome!

>From Penny: This convention was so much fun. For our Friday night entertainment several musically inclined members joined together in an All Girl Band. What a treat! While the band played the audience joined together to sing, clap and dance. Soon the room was circled by a line of joyful, leg kicking, tow tapping women moving to the beat.

The convention was packed. There were a total of 192 rigs and 324 women from all over the U.S. and Canada. One thing that was apparent was that this could have been a convention of much-loved pets as much as RVing women. At least 80% of the rigs contained at least one pet — ranging from several very LARGE Rottweillers to a white bunny rabbit and many many dogs and cats, even a couple of birds, in between. Much of the early morning hours and times between seminars was spent by the pet guardians returning to their rigs to check on their pets, give them a walk-around and letting them meet and greet their new canine friends each time. As usual, the felines generally deigned to “rule” from within the rigs but the dogs were out there in force!

The convention festivities actually began about 5 days prior to the convention. A team of dedicated “Freewheelers” (the Northern California/Nevada Chapter) arrived the Friday before to stake out the parking spaces, led by Susan and Beth, who reported on their task:

“It was Friday afternoon, about 3:00 when we pulled into the festival grounds. As we rounded the corner and saw somewhere between 15 – 20 women gathered waiting to stripe the grounds for the expected 180 some odd spaces. We stopped the truck & trailer right in the road in our path of travel, bailed out and handed out a small 1 page rough sketch layout, cans of landscape paint, tape measures & masons string. With something less than 3 minutes instruction these women, whom I’m sure have never done anything like this before, took off with a mission. What an impressive, well orchestrated, symphony of execution. What I mean to say is `Wow’. I stood for a moment, and looked all around me, in every direction you could imagine. Everywhere I turned teams were pulling strings and spraying lines. What I expected to drag well into Saturday, was completed by Friday evening with the help of so many. I love RVW. Though we travel the roads as solo’s or doubles, there’s nothing we can’t do when we come together as a team. I’m so glad to be a part.”

And Shelley reported: “We had a great time even though my fanny was sore for 3 days from bending over painting string and grass!”

From that point on the convention began to take shape, with a leadership seminar on Sunday led by President Jan Harris and Vice President Candy Wood, along withFreewheeler member Peggy Chinn. During the week there were several RV maintenance classes, workshops on water safety, first aid for pets, scrap booking, ornament-making, self defense, geneology, geocaching, staying healthy on the road, investing, public speaking, playing the ukelele, and singing! The entertainment was amazing! On opening night, Montana native Judy Fjell sang her wonderful, hilarious, and often very moving songs of life and love. Thursday evening was casino night.

Friday night’s entertainment was so full of energy it felt like the whole building was going to come down. Led by an All Girl Band, mostly from the Freewheelers of Northern California but joined by a few other talented musicians, the band entertained the crowd with songs and tunes ranging from Credence Clearwater to the Everly Brothers to some well-loved polkas — we were even blessed with two ballads written by members of the Band — and the one whose words addressed the feelings when you’ve just lost a loved one brought the crowd almost to tears…..but they revved up again quickly when asked to clap their hands, stomp their feet to the next upbeat tune. There was truly dancing in the hall, including a conga line made up of probably 100 gals winding its way through the audience. As one newcomer said, the energy was enough to light up all of Lodi that night!

Of course, no gathering of women is complete without amazing food served up for everyone’s enjoyment. The Saturday night banquet was a wonderful event with the best food any of the RVing women have ever seen. It was a terrific chance to network and …well, eat!

The Freewheeler’s chapter brought their “biscuits and gravy” tradition to the convention for a Sunday morning Hitch Up Breakfast. Everyone else in RVW has seen pictures of those California gals enjoying this awesome breakfast at almost everyone outing, but now everyone got to taste what it is really like first-hand!

To sum it all up, here is what Arleen and Marlene reported: “We thought the organization of this event was excellent and the people were terrific. We didn’t know anyone when we arrived but we sure did before we left!”

November 2-4, 2007

Suger Barge RV Resort http://www.sugarbarge.com

Rigs started rolling into Sugar Barge for our Freewheeler November Outing and Annual Meeting on Thursday evening, November 1. By Friday afternoon, we had filled all of the 43 spaces that the campground manager had scrounged up for us, completely filling every single spare spot available. We had an enthusiastic 67 women in attendance! The campground reserved the activity room for us all week-end, which is a great thing for our ever-growing membership. Friday evening we enjoyed a reception hosted by the 2007 Advisory Board. Our chapter leader, Jeri McLees started a new tradition of presenting red beads to first-timers. The “rule” is that the next time they come to an outing, they are to bring the beads and pass them along to the next first-timers!

Saturday morning we enjoyed our traditional biscuits `n gravy breakfast, thanks to our B `n G queens, Susan and Beth! After breakfast we had our annual meeting, which proved to include very lively and also very productive discussion of several important issues. A highlight was a very informative presentation by Teri Shugart about RVW’s legal status and what this means for our chapter.

The weather on Bethel Island was perfect – clear sunny skies and balmy temperatures. So after the meeting, women scattered for the day to enjoy various activities – touring in Lodi to see the Crane Fly-in, fishing, playing games, walks along the levee, geo-caching, or sitting under an awning talking with old and new friends! The evening potluck dinner was fabulous, but even more fabulous was our own All-Girl Band, repeating their performance from the convention just for us.

Sunday morning we all cleared our refrigerators and shared a hitch-up breakfast before either pulling out and heading home, or settling in for one last night at Sugar Barge. Based on feedback as people packed up and left, this outing was a huge success! The red-bead tradition definitely caught on, and our newer members told us that they truly felt a warm and welcoming spirit throughout the week-end. The Advisory Board also tried sign-up sheets for various activities to see if that might help women find companions for things they might be interested in doing. We are not sure if this will catch on as a regular outing feature, but we will keep this going for the next few outings to see if it helps get members connected and involved in activities they want to share. Of course, as Freewheelers, just simply freewheeling for the entire outing remains the “norm”!  

December 7-9, 2007

Laguna Seco Recreation Area http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/parks/lagunaseca.html

Forty-seven women in 31 rigs braved the cold weather in Monterey County to celebrate the annual Freewheelers Holiday outing.  Two-thirds of those rigs were festively decorated for the Rig Decoration Contest.  The grand prize winners were Sue Copeland and Gloria Jarvis (snow, stuffed animals, and lights inside and out).  Second place was a tie between Sandy Fernandez (a golfing holiday) along with Mary Lockwood and Jeanne McCracken`(singing, moving beavers and other cold weather animals).  Honorable mention went to Winona Abrams (most ingenious with a reindeer pulling her RV), “D”enise Andreoli (most elaborate with a lighted candy cane pathway), and Arlene Huffman and Marlene Morrison (most “ah/cute” with stuffed animals and a singing dog).

The annual gift exchange brought lots of laughter and good times with the most traded gift being a coffee mug from Sisters, Oregon. Other gifts included homemade jams, a rug, homemade pot holders, coffee mugs and coffee, candy gift certificates, homemade jewelry, and even real maple syrup. Along with the good times, the participating Freewheelers donated 93 pounds of non-perishable food (canned meats, vegetables, as well as pasta, cereal, peanut butter, etc.) for South Hayward Parish, an emergency food pantry which serves Hayward, the hometown of December wagon-masters, Sarah Gonzales and Barbara Storms.