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”. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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.
February 26-March 2, 2018: Highlands Hammock St Pk
10 Rigs, 20 members attended this campout. Wonderful state park to check out. There are 7-8 trails, 4 of which are above the ground. Thanks to Hurricane Irma, several boardwalks are still under repair. Hopefully the next time we camp at Highlands Hammock St Pk, we will see the replacement plaque our chapter voted to have recast since Irma took out a good portion of the boardwalk’s railing. The railing plaque was in honor of the Good Sam Chapters’ past members who loved to camp. We took the 1 1/4 hour tram tour through the park. Ladder golf was played after the morning coffee. We had our usual potluck for one evening meal and the next evening, we had hot dogs, potato salad, beans, chips, etc provided by our chapter’s piggy bank. Many went to Homers for dinner one evening. We tried to have a campfire each night although the mosquitoes were very hungry. When they came out, we went in. Terri & Jerry were great hosts; Thanks Guys.
January 8 – 11, 2018: Fisheating Creek, Palmdale, FL
[As you can see, there is a gap between the July 2017 report and this January report. I do apologize for the missing camping info. I was busy all summer creating / sewing 3 costumes for the November parade at the Good Sam Fall Rally in Eustis, FL. Check out the photo page. We were awarded second place. The theme for the rally’s parade was “Sam & Samantha on Safari”. Well, we were nonconformists and to be more relevant we chose to have “Sam & Samantha on Safari in the Everglades”. Not exactly what the judges were looking for. We had come up with innovative costumes portraying critters in the Everglades. We had “Sam” & “Samantha” carrying our logo banner at the front of our group. Then came our fan-driven airboat (on a golf cart frame), an Alligator, a Bear, a Great White Egret, a Panther, a Bald Eagle, a Turtle, a Ranger fighting a python snake, a Flamingo, and a Butterfly with a Butterfly Catcher right behind her. We also had a Ranger with his pet raccoon that squirted onlookers, and a Palm Tree to give us shade as we moved along the parade route. We had a fun time even if we didn’t win first place. (We should have.) ]
Our January campout at Fisheating Creek was most relaxing and totally enjoyable. We had 11 rigs at this campout. We displayed our new individual logo flags at each of our sites. The small site flags match our large chapter banner that is displayed at each campout. Our host provided coffee and sweet treats for us each morning. We played Ladder Golf and card games. We had a campfire each evening. We roasted marshmallows and chatted while we watched the dancing flames. In honor of the Super Bowl that will soon be played, we had our annual Soup-er Bowl PotLuck. There were 8 crockpots steaming with the most delicious homemade soups. We found that the sturdy cardboard “4-hole drink holders” were a perfect way to hold 4 styrofoam cups. That way, we could sample four soups with one visit to the food table. And, we had the “left-over” soups for the evening meal the next day. Yummy! After all that food, many took walks on several trails the next morning and some rode their bicycles around the campground. A big Thank You to our hosts, Helmut & Donna for a great campout. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~