Our camping lives have been changed and the camper/motorhome stays put due to a pandemic world. This virus has touched each of our lives in various ways. Some of us are finding out that eating out a bunch isn’t as joyful as it used to be. Carry-out is the only way to “eat out”. We are wearing medical gloves and masks where ever we go, but going is only a necessity (grocery stores and pharmacies). We are staying home and learning patience, solitude, and respect for those working in danger zones and hot spots due to a virus that was unknown to us 6 months ago. Many of our members are cleaning, sorting out photos, organizing a shop/garage, researching the internet, enjoy a hobby, and whatever can keep us from being homesick for being with our camping family. Our children worry about us and our friends are concerned for our well being. But we survived so much in our lives…what’s one more challenge? Until this virus is under control, we’ll all stay close to our dwellings and keep in contact via emails, Facebook, and phone calls. Thank goodness for technology!
MARCH 9-13, 2020
Weather was chilly to warm but comfortable plus cloudy and partly cloudy. Take your pick and you’d have what you want! This month we camped at Lake Kissimmee State Park…definitely a tribute to Florida nature. Our campout was from March 9 to March 13, 2020 (uh-oh…Friday the 13th!)
Thanks to Carl and Becki Richards for hosting and Mike and Paul Hodson for assisting. Both couples gave a most relaxed time and time to enjoy camping, games, and what the park had to offer. Walking through the Richard’s site were turkeys and armadillos. There was a sassy cardinal that gave us some beautiful color to the surrounding foliage. Even a deer was seen at one campsite.
Monday, we gathered at our host site to enjoy appetizers and friendship. It’s always amazing how much we have to catch up in a month lapsing of time.
Tuesday morning the hosts and co-hosts had a 9:00 brunch ready to enjoy. Coffee was even available! By noon, we had gone back to our units for a quick lunch and then at 2:00 p.m. we had our monthly meeting. During this meeting, we swore in Gerald and Meriam Reed. Welcome, welcome! We are delighted to have you join our RV family! At 5:00, we all outdid ourselves in having a delicious spread of a variety of foods! We were all stuffed after sampling all the food creations!
Wednesday morning there were breakfast yummies available for all. The morning was enjoyed with everyone chatting and enjoying the gorgeous weather. The afternoon found most enjoying games and some enjoying kayaking plus biking. The host announced that morning we would have a leftover meal…time to clean out the refrigerator!! After attending numerous campouts with us, we were delighted to receive a membership form for the acceptance of Mike and Paula Hodson. Welcome to the Hodson’s! Wow! Two couples joined our family at this campout! We are growing and so excited to welcome them both!
Thursday morning was another breakfast…oh how we were getting spoiled. Wonder if we can have the hosts/co-hosts come to our homes to fix us daily breakfasts? Games and competition for the afternoon. Happy hour was at 4:00 p.m. Two couples left today.
Friday…always time to say our goodbyes and hugs! It was a fun and relaxing week! Until next time….
FEBRUARY 10-14, 2020
In a blink of an eye, January is gone. Again, thanks to the hosts and co-hosts for a fun outing. February was just as fun and decorated for the “love” month. Cookie and Mike were hosts and Wayne and Joan were co-hosts. Great job! Each day, they gave us Valentine decorations along with one day of Valentine candies! Yum!
This month’s campout was held at Hardee’s Lakes with lovely, unseasonable weather February 10-14, 2020. We weren’t all parked close to each other but some had a gorgeous view out their front window with pull-thru sites. People were in small boats fishing and birds kept zipping in and out of each of our views.
Monday the 10th, we arrived at various times and at 4:00 p.m. we met for appetizers and chatting to catch up since our last outing. Many shared some exciting times.
Tuesday, 11th, we were invited to Mike and Cookie’s site for breakfast snacks. Each were to bring their own coffee. Many participated in corn toss! Look out state (in April) as some are going to be tough to beat! By noon, we had gone back to our units to enjoy lunch and enjoy our own RV. We had a business meeting at 2:30. Secretary minutes are to be emailed to all members. This month was our Annual Soup-er Bowl event. Everyone brings a large pan or crock-pot of their favorite soup. The variety was phenomenal! Lots of stuffed bellies after this meal! When darkness came upon us, many played games in the Riley’s RV and the McGee’s RV. Everyone loves a little competition!!
Hump day on the 12th, started the day with breakfast at Mike and Cookie’s site. Bean Bag baseball is a game we have to play to sharpen our skills for the state competition. Go Everglades! (We found out that we really do need to practice!). In the afternoon, the men played cards in the Riley’s RV and the ladies played Chicken Foot dominoes outside to enjoy nature. At 3:30 p.m., everyone brought a dessert. Oh my! Calories were in the thousands on that table but truly enjoyed by all! After dark, we played board games inside the Riley’s and the McGee’s RV’s.
The 13th, Thursday, found us enjoying another delicious breakfast at our host’s site. Games in the morning and afternoon. After game time, it is always nice to “clean out your refrigerator” and bring your leftovers to the host picnic table for the evening meal. Soups are always good reheated! And having a meal all together as “a family” are treasured memories.
Friday morning (14th) was breakfast and tear down time. Hugs and good-byes were given as we all pulled out to head back to our abodes (probably to rest!LOL!). See everyone next month at Lake Kissimmee where the Richard’s are going to be our host site.
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!
GOOD SAM EUSTIS RALLY
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!
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; “M“other’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”.