2018-2020 Campouts

JANUARY 13-17, 2020

One cannot complain on the wonderful weather we had for the January outing! Usually, we have on light weight jackets and long pants, but this year found us in shorts and short sleeves. It was a pleasant temperature for all to enjoy. In Highlands Hammock, you can find a flurry of oak leaves drifting from their home down to the earth. Thus, it was a challenge to keep those leaves out of open food dishes and Gary’s grill on Friday morning!

Our campout started out on mid-afternoon on Monday with our traditional “Happy Snack Time”. Always wonderful items to snack on and time to catch up on the latest with everyone. Some health issues among us since our last outing, but all are improving.

Tuesday was coffee and breakfast snacks and more catching up. Every morning, we had a pesky squirrel that was determined to enjoy our many feasts. He made success on sampling Becki’s breakfast rolls. After lunch, we gathered for games until time to light up the grill for our annual Piggy Bank meal. The Riley’s invited everyone to their RV for games, and the Pouliot’s invited everyone to their RV for a campfire.

Wednesday was time to practice Bean Bag Baseball for state competition in April. We soon realized that we were out of practice and needed more before the big competition. At 11:00, we car pooled and went to Captain D’s, which was enjoyed by all. Business meeting afterwards, which was our 602nd! Happy Snack Time was groaned upon since many were still full from the lunch outing.

Thursday morning, we found our chairs lined up ready to battle it out in Bean Bag Baseball. We had some hot throws with some home runs to boost up the scoring. Afternoon board games, with carpooling at 4:00 p.m. to dine at the local Watering Hole restaurant.  Some played games after our return. The campground was very full with very few open sites. But still very dark when you were out for a night walk or going back to your camper after an exciting board game.

Friday morning, Gary and Barbara Pouliot hosted us, while Chef Gary showed us his breakfast grilling talents. Soon it was time to depart with hugs, handshakes, and waves of good-byes. Our February outing will be at Hardee’s Lakes with Mike Ketchmark and Cookie Bakunoff as hosts.


DECEMBER 13-19, 2019

Six rigs ventured to Lake Manatee State Park near Bradenton, FL. First day is always busy with arrivals, hook-ups, and catching up with the latest on each other. This time the chit-chat continued on Tuesday morning with BYO coffee and a breakfast treat of nutbreads. The afternoon found us all participating in the monthly business meeting. At this time, Gail Darner passed the President gavel and crown onto Margaret Riley for the upcoming year of 2020. Our newest members, Gary and Barbara Pouliot, were sworn in as new members. Welcome to them both into our camping family!

After the business meeting, we had a pot luck dinner with chicken on the grill along with delicious sides. Games were played afterwards in the Riley’s RV. The Riley’s and the Rogaleski’s were hosts for this outing. Bean Bag baseball was played one day along with various table games. Another day we had questions and answers that had some good chuckles for us. Naming the company with their slogan put a lot of thinking hats on and turned out Kathie Rogaleski was the one with the most memory cells and Carl Richards running a close race behind!

The weather was typical for December and damped our awnings one day along with some bouts of wind. Our spirits are never dampened when we all camp! Smiles on everyone’s faces when we showed our talents in our favorite desserts. After all, you have to have sweets during the holiday season!

Appropriately, the weather gave a chilly morning to dine at the Rogaleski’s site for hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies! Kathy had us all bring a wrapped gift…something that you had at home and wanted to pass along to someone else. There was a lot of stealing going on during the exchange. Great laughs and great fun! Wondering if Cookie Bakunoff has all those puzzles put together?

Our newest members learned some of our games. Poor Gary Pouliot didn’t have a chance against all the guys in Wizard. They all had some hearty laughs and deep thinking as well. The ladies played Play Nine and Chicken Foot.

The last morning we all gathered one last time to enjoy scrambled eggs and toast. We saw Gary Pouliot show his talents in catching toast as it flew out of the toaster upwards into the air when done! Thanks for a good laugh Gary!

Next month we meet at Highlands Hammock for our annual “Soup-er Bowl!” Get those soup  ladles ready campers! See you in the next decade!


November 19-24, 2019

 “Happy Anniversary!” was the theme for the 50th year of Good Sam’s being brought into Florida. Fifty years! Wow! Most all of us can remember back 50 years! Not all of us have camped that many years, but we can reflect back on photos and “stories” of how it was when this all started in the state of Florida. How honored the Everglades are in starting it all!

Early bird was November 19, 2019 at this rally. Everyone in our chapter attending the rally were there on the Early Bird day. It started out with our traditional Happy Hour with lots of yummy appetizers. For those who wanted to go, Bingo was on the agenda and some stayed behind to sharpen their skills in Wizard! Gail Darner and Margaret Riley were winners in Bingo but won’t get very far on what money they won! Can anyone give them a loan to finish off a tank of gas to get home? LOL!

Many of our members signed up to participate in the outdoor games and the indoor games. We are a competitive group and this rally was no exception! Wednesday morning was sign up time plus an energy start up of sausage biscuits! Time to fire up the throwing arm and head to the Corn Hole competition. We had members participate and Gary Darner and Cookie Bakunoff captured second place. Hooray!!!!!

Some enjoy the competition of the indoor games and were not disappointed with their competitive choice. Well, some were disappointed in losing, but all had a grand time. Congratulations to Sherman Riley first place winner in the card game Wizard and to Gary Darner for securing second place. Cookie Bakunoff showed them how to play Chicken Foot and strutted to the tune of first place! Way to go, Cookie!

Opening ceremonies on November 20, 2019 was well attended. This rally showed an approximate attendance of 300 or so RV units. Our chapter was the first one to be announced with the calling of all members to go to the front of the stage. At this time, we were recognized as the first chapter to form in the State of Florida and awarded a pin to wear proudly for upcoming years. Entertainment for that night were the swamp billy, hilarious cousins of the Sweeney Family Band.

Thursday morning, November 21, 2019 found many at the main hall enjoying coffee, donuts, and fellowship. Soon, it was time to wind up those arms for a game of Bean Bag baseball (participants were Bob Scott, Jerry Laskowski, Sherman Riley, Margaret Riley, Cookie Bakunoff, Paul Rogaleski, and Gary Darner). Although we only won two of the competitions, we knew we had to practice more for the Spring Rally. At noon, hot dogs were given to everyone attending. How nice to have after a hard work out at bean bag baseball! Time to have the chapter meeting that afternoon. Each day we had great snacks at Happy Hour! Bingo was Thurssday night, but none of us walked away with any winnings! But we’ll be back in the Spring!

Friday, November 22, 2019 started out with sausage gravy and biscuits, which warmed us up on a chilly morning! The Everglades assists in the game of Holey Board. Two couples competed from our chapter plus most assisted in scoring, registration, and tear down. Those that assisted with this event were: Sherman Riley, Jerry Laskowski, Paul Rogaleski, Kathie Rogaleski, Gary Darner, Gary Pouliot, and Gail Darner. A round of applause to these volunteers for a successful and fun game! Kettle Corn was at this Rally and enjoyed by those that purchased some. Crafts competition was today! Everglades was represented by Cookie Bakunoff, winning first place in hand machine quilting, and Margaret Riley, winning first place in painting. Wooo-hooo to these ladies! (Margaret did help with the registration of projects.) After lunch, cupcakes and a pint of ice cream to each person were served to all that attended to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Good Sam. In the afternoon, some went to the Flea Market, some rested, and some visited with friends. The evening program was provided by Pure & Simple, a band of five gentlemen playing string instruments and drums.

Saturday, November 23, 2019, started off with donuts in the main hall. The state committee meeting was attended by President Gail Darner and Vice President Margaret Riley. Bocci Ball started at 9:00 a.m. with two couples from Everglades competing. Sorry to say the championship was not secured by this team, but did win two of the games to advance in the competition. We all hope we have representatives next year in this competition.

As the day progressed on Saturday, Gail and Gary Darner represented this chapter in the Parade. They decorated a snazzy scooter with kewl glitzy items, and Gary followed pushing a stroller with a baby gator in it. Gary was adorned in an alligator costume created with the talents of Gail. What a great way to represent our 50th anniversary showing that we started as a baby gator and now a mature gator group!!

Evening programs are always held while in Eustis at the Lake County Fairgrounds. On the last night, monies are presented to favorite charities. Three hip-hip-hoorays goes out to Kathie Rogaleski for doing a money cake to raise money for Boggy Creek. She raised $480 and Joan McGee won the cake! Thanks much Kathie for your time in making this raffle possible. Entertainment was provided by Traces of Gold for listening enjoyment and dancing. After the entertainment, door prizes were awarded. Each day door prizes are awarded and the following were lucky enough to receive one: Rogaleski’s, Ketchmark/Bakunoff, Riley’s, and Darner’s.

Those attending the Eustis Rally were: Gail and Gary Darner, Mike Ketchmark/Cookie Bakunoff, Jerry and Terri Laskowski, Sherman and Margaret Riley, Paul and Kathie Rogaleski, Bob and Geraldine Scott, and Gary and Barabara Pouliot (our newest people…welcome!). And, of course, Wayne and Joan McGee were in attendance too and busy doing their state duties. We all left with hugs and smiles on Sunday morning (except the McGee’s had to remain behind).

Everyone had a fabulous time and look forward to the Spring Rally, April 22-26, 2020, in Okeechobee KOA Resort. The theme will be “Pirates”…get your “Argghhh!” ready and wear your eye patch! The Fall Rally will be in November 18-22, 2020 in Eustis with the theme being “Get Your Kicks on Route 66!”. Maybe we can decorate Gail’s scooter to look like a ’57 Chevy! Get your thinking caps on!

October 14 to 18, 2019 Franklin Locks, Alva, Florida
We stayed by the Locks to have a relaxing time and watching dolphins and tarpons playing in the water in front of us. Our Hosts were Paul and Kathy Rogaleski giving us a non-schedule time of events. Mornings were enjoyed by some of the members with coffee, conversation, and watching boats going through the locks, although the locks weren’t that busy. At this campout, we had 6 rigs…small but mighty!
The outside temperature was in the low 90’s and by the afternoon members were seeking cooler surroundings. The Riley’s invited everyone into their RV to host the meeting and game time. 
The men gathered together to play the card game Wizard with some quiet moments of intensity. The ladies always enjoy Chicken Foot dominoes and Play Nine. 
Pot Luck was on the 15th with lots of food (beef stew, macaroni/cheese, salads, veggies, and more). Happy Hour was on the 14th and 16th with lots of yummy finger foods and plenty of conversation accompanied with laughter and smiles! Thursday (17th) found 95{3fe0760d27ed43c3715e04d7459cd5359c67c9619d4988ff6990f1c6efe74bad} of us at the Alva Diner for dinner with 17 attending. We had two guests that filled out a form to become future members. 
Friday morning was our departure with lots of hugs and good wishes. Our next camp out will be the State Good Sam Rally in Eustis, FL, November 20-24 (early bird on the 19th). Some will stay at Lake Louisa prior to the Rally. 
September 10, 2019 Camp Out
Many of our members travel northward and westward to escape the heat of southwest Florida. With this said, the decision was made to cancel out the camp out at Tamiami Village and just meet up at Golden Coral in Ft. Myers for a meeting, lunch, and good fellowship. 
August 2019 Campout
July 15 to 19, 2019 Tamiami Village, Ft. Myers, FL
June 10 to 14, 2019 Tamiami Village, Ft. Myers, FL
April 30 to May 5, 2019 Good Sam State Rally, Okeechobee, FL
April 15 to 19, 2019 Myakka State Park
March 25 to 29, 2019 Hardee Lake County Park
February 18 to 22, 2019 Lake Kissimmee State Park
January 7 to 11, 2019 Highlands Hammock State Park, Sebring, FL
October 15 to 19th, 2018  Koreshan State Park, Estero, Florida
From October 15th to 19th, we camped at Koreshan State Park in Estero, Fl.  We were 5 rigs strong; Jerry/Terry, Becki/Carl, Donna/Helmut, Kathie/Paul, Mable/Bob.  Margaret/Sherman had RV trouble on their way to camp-out and had to have their rig towed to a repair facility. Although they did not camp – they came to the meeting and pot luck and also joined us another day for a meal out.
Our Hosts, Dan and Rita unexpectedly had to cancel last minute.  After checking all our sites, we determined Carl and Becki had the most shade and room so we used that as our gathering place.  The shade and several fans kept us cool enough.  We gathered every morning for lively conversation and either played games together or napped in the afternoons.  Several had their bikes and would ride together.  We went as a group to tour the 1880’s  village in the park learning about how and why it was settled.  I think today they might have called it a cult – but that is just this authors humble opinion. 
 We were joined on Wednesday by Wayne and Patti  – prospective members.  They camped with us the remainder of the stay.  On Thursday, almost all of us ventured out of the park to Ruby Tuesday for dinner.
Happy hours were kept simple, activities were spur of the moment and times together were for enjoying each others company.  We pooled resources to have our traditional coffee + on Friday and the we all headed home until we meet again.

August 6-19,2018   HarborLakes RV Resort,  Port Charlotte, FL

Harbor Lakes is one of our favorite “summer” spots to go. It has a beautiful meeting room that is airconditioned. Need I say more? The hospitality is always superior. Fresh coffee for the campers each morning. Carl & Becki were our Host-couple for this campout and furnished cookies or snack-roll each morning.  We played table games: Golf, Chicken Foot, Mexican Train, Wizzard, and  I bet I’ve forgotten one. Men vs women in an inside version of bean bag baseball was played several times. We need all the practice we can get since our rally competition is in November. The women were treated to a craft time. Thank you, Margaret & Becki. A plain black box with a lid turned into a lovely container for Christmas cards. Streaks of several different colors of green paint on the lid dabbed right and left “created” a Christmas tree. Tiny round “ornaments”, a star for the top, a stocking, a tree, and a bird were also painted with the color of our choice. Glue and a bit of sparkle and the top of the boxes were finished. The sides were dabbed and snowflakes or snowballs were created. A Christmas ribbon was glued around the perimeter of the box. We dabbed white on the lower front of the box and glued a tiny evergreen tree in the center.  Meanwhile, the men were hard at work playing the card game of Wizard. About the FOOD. Sausage & hot dogs and rings of onions were grilled and served to us by our Hosts. YUM!! With a potluck another evening, we ate very well (as usual). Several enjoyed the large pool and some just sat and chatted. A GREAT campout again. Thank you, Carl & Becki.


July 16-20, 2018.   Alligator RV Park,  Punta Gorda, FL

Members Wayne & Joan who are Assitance State Directors for the Good Sam Club of Florida were the hosts for this campout. They went far and beyond any “hosting” our chapter has ever experienced. Alligator RV Park offered the use of the big kitchen in their “blue roof” activities building.  So nice of them since Wayne & Joan prepared many meals for us. They fixed breakfast each morning: Hash & eggs to order, Sausage gravy on biscuits, Pancakes, sausage & bacon, and Danish rolls on Friday morning.  Each morning we had the choice of coffees from their Keurig machine. They spoiled us in royal fashion. Sloppy Joes were the order for Monday evening, They fixed hamburgers and hot dogs for us for another evening meal. We had our traditional potluck and several went out to eat for another evening. Some enjoyed the large pool. We all were happy to be inside in the cool air playing card games, working on a 1000 piece Thomas Kincade jigsaw puzzle and sitting and chatting. A grand summer campout. Thank you, Wayne & Joan, for all you did for us.____________________________________________________

June 11-15, 2018. Tamiami Village RV Park, North Ft Myers, FL

Our Hosts, Bob & Mabel planned a busy, fun campout. We played Jarts, and Corn-hole in the mornings and played table games in the afternoon. Tuesday we went across the highway to the Shell Factory / “Cap’t Fishbones” for our evening meal of their “all you can eat” fish fry. We all wore our green Everglades teeshirts. Wednesday we ordered Pizza and Mabel had a salad for all 19 of us, 14 adults and 5 kids. Our potluck was on Thursday evening. Wayne & Joan’s granddaughter Mikayla had an accident on her bike and broke her wrist and Bob & Mabel’s canopy was torn off in an unexpected whirl-wind. Other than those two accidents, we had a great time. Thank you, Bob & Mabel. We always look forward to the Tamiami campout.________________________________________________

May 14-18, 2018  W.P. Franklin Locks near Alva, FL.

What a wet campout! But, we are CAMPERS and a little rain will not discourage us.  Hosts Paul & Kathie used the letter “M” as the letter of the week. (Sesame Street influence = 3 young grandkids.) “M”ay baskets, = small baskets were given out that had goodies to snack on; “Mother’s Day, = match the photo we each brought of our mother with each member. VERY challenging;  “M”emorial Day = Kathie read the history and the reason we observe this day each year. Between rain showers and thunderstorms we chatted, played several games of Corn Hole (Helmut & Donna’s new boards) & Horse Shoes and ate! Craft time with Margaret had us painting terracotta flower pots of graduated sizes to resemble watermelons.= Wind chimes! The potluck was rescheduled and even then we had to eat fast. Paul did a fantastic job of cooking the hamburgers and the next day we ate “left-overs” and more of Paul’s burgers and hot dogs.  From the hosts’ campsite, we watched mullets jumping high out of the water, an occasional tarpon, and a turtle head was seen once-in-a-while. We watched an eagle swoop down and grab his breakfast one morning. Dolphins and manatees were also seen. And of course, there were the boats of all shapes and sizes (even a pirate ship) and then there were the “$$$” yachts going through the locks. It was another great campout. Thank you, Paul & Kathie.   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

April 17-22. 2018 at the Good Sam Spring Rally; Okeechobee KOA campground

Our chapter has 30 members and every member was present.  Fantastic Rally. For the Opening Ceremonies, our EVERGLADES banner was carried by our VicePresident Rita and our newest member Kitty. Rita is now our “official” spokeswoman!  Our members won MUCH money. Cookie won large 50/50 raffle.  Sambo (Bingo) on Tuesday evening and Thursday evening saw Jerry & Paul winning the big bucks in the “cover-all” plus 7 other of us won Bingo money.  We won at table games too. Terri & Pat won 1st & 2nd in Chicken Foot Domino’s, John won 2nd in Euchre, Kathie won 1st in Wizard and Mabel won the 2nd place in Cribbage. Our Bean Bag Baseball team #1 ( Dan, Bob S., Cookie, Gary, Bob W., Donna, Paul, & Jerry) came in 2nd by only a very lucky last toss by our opponent. Our “farm team”, our second Bean Bag Baseball team,  (Sherman, John, Rita, Phil, Kitty, Frank, Joan & Wayne) played with much zeal. Bob & Gary and Mabel & Donna tried their hand at Corn Hole on Wednesday noon. This was the first year this game was offered and 42 teams signed up. Friday morning for the first time our Everglades chapter hosted the Holey Board tournament. 16 of us volunteered for the task of Hosting. On Saturday morning we had our chapter represented in the Bocci Ball competition. Our 40 cup coffee urn was put up for sale at the Chapters’ Flea Market. Thanks to Dan & Rita, the coffee pot sold and the money went into our piggy bank. Donna had made a “tropical beach” hat for the Mad Hatters competition. This was the last time this hat event will be held at a Rally.  Our Golf Foursome came in 3rd (Becki, Cookie, Bob W., & Paul). Paul got “Closest to pin”. The 3 nights of entertainment were all great. Saturday’s entertainment was by “The Sweeney Family Band”. They keep us laughing the entire time. 3 guys with “hill-billy clothes” and VERY talented on their stringed instruments. After the Saturday eve entertainment, the “big” door prizes were handed out. Mabel & Bob won the grand-daddy of all prizes I believe, a folding wagon LOADED with camping items including 2 monogrammed camping chairs, 3 bottles of wine, 2 hand-painted wine glasses, a BBQ tool set, a surge guard, a food chopper, a string of lights plus a $50.00 gift certificate. Before the Saturday evening program, ALL of our 30 members gathered for a group photo taken by the official Rally photographer. We looked so good with our red vest and golden-yellow polo outfits. You can see us and the other photos taken at the rally if you go to goodsams-florida.org   Click “Photos” and then click “2018 Spring Rally”.                                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

March 26 – 30, 2018:  Little Manatee River St Park

This month we had 9 rigs,18 members camp together. Neat smaller state park. The campsites have been cleared of the tall native vegetation.  Even the larger RVs have access to this campground. Each site has a firepit and a picnic table. How fortunate we were that we were camped together, since each reserve their own site.  Bean Bag Baseball was set up behind our host’s RV since that was the shady area. Several games were played. Our Hosts, Kitty & Frank had never played this game but were just as good as the rest of us. Bicycling down the trails was always an early morning choice.  Our resident artist, Margaret, gave the ladies a lesson on how to make Sharpie Marker flowers on the white tee shirts we had brought for the lesson. The results on some teeshirts showed very creative ideas.  Phil & Pat brought their new compact scooter. Many took turns “test driving” it around the camping loop.  5 of our bold adventures, (Becki, Phil, Dan & Rita & Gary) rented a canoe and 3 kayaks ($15.00 for half a day, I believe). The river was smooth and calm.  In a blink of an eye, one kayak rolled over in about 5 feet of water. It was a CHALLENGE for him to bail out the water that had filled his kayak. He made a make-shift bailer by using his tiny pocket knife to cut off the top of his bottle of water. Then the next challenge was to get his one foot with shoe intact, unstuck from the bottoms thick muck & mire. Next trick was to re-enter the kayak. The other river adventures floated near, watching for any approaching alligator! It will be an everlasting memory for him. Hosts Kitty & Frank out-did themselves providing us with a delicious ham for our pot-luck dinner. (Our Easter ham, Kitty said.) We gathered together the next evening to eat a “left-overs pot-luck”. We noticed that we had eaten some of that sweet & tender ham, but as usual, we had more food than we could eat and again we had “new” left-overs to take home.   Our Host, Frank had evening campfires for us to enjoy but the mosquitoes were hungry and chased us back to our RVs. “The Hostess with the Mostest” is our Kitty. Thank you both for Hosting. We had another fun campout.