Saturday morning we went over to the ‘marketplace’ and got our booth set up the best we could. Our table clothes are only 4 foot and the tables are 8 foot so we improvised using 4 table clothes but only had 2 with us so we brought the other two Sunday morning and finished setting up the table display then.
We also opened all of the kits that we’d had Dexter ship direct and made sure that everything was as it should be and ready to be installed. John and Barbara stopped by and picked up the two kits that they needed to install on Sunday and Monday.
We were home in time to have our left over steak from dinner the night before and then did some work before we needed to be at the Vendor Appreciation dinner that evening. We sat with Tracey and Dave from RV Water Filter Store and discussed business mostly.
We were served brisket, chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slaw and roll. And for dessert, cheesecake. Beforehand they had a social with snacks, beer, wine, soda and water that was provided free of charge. It was a really nice way to show their appreciation to the vendors.
The first official day that the marketplace was open was Sunday…but it was just a short day – 9:00 – 2:30. We arrived about 8:30 and quickly finished getting set up. While the day went very quickly (I got caught up on a lot of follow-up emails to potential customers) we didn’t have a whole lot of interest…we did have some though.
The tough thing about rallies like this one is that it’s not just trailers (pull-behinds, 5th wheels, etc) there are motorhomes in the mix too and we can’t help them with disc brakes unless they’re pulling a trailer for a car or something similar behind their motorhome.
We packed up at 2:30 and headed over to the BIG rally hall for the Opening Ceremony. You really got a chance to see how large this rally is…they’re expecting about 600 rigs. Not knowing a whole lot about the Escapees organization, we learned quite a lot from the speakers on stage.
The club began in 1978 and is now on its third set of ‘officers’ who happen to be the grandson/wife of the original founders. This year is the 40th anniversary of the club so we even made a toast to the founders during the meeting.
Afterward we boogied on home so that I could finish getting dinner ready for John and Barbara as I had invited them over. Nothing fancy…just Amish Haystacks. It’s a nice, simple meal that most of the work can be done ahead of time. Plus…you can use your ‘good’ china and not have to worry about much clean up!
We’d planned on eating outside but it has been so hot and humid that Michael made the executive decision to eat in the air conditioning, which turned out to be a good idea. Temperatures have been in the mid 90s with 50+ percent humidity. Ugh!
We visited for a couple of hours and then just as Michael and I were preparing to leave for the nights entertainment (a ‘hilarious’ story-teller) he got a phone call from one of his old Army co-workers and we ended up not going after all. Oh well…they have entertainment nearly every night…perhaps we’ll go another night. Unfortunately, we found out the next day that Michael won a prize…but you have to be present to win. Not a big loss though as it was a gift certificate for a local spa and wouldn’t have been able to use it anyway. Hopefully, the ‘new’ winners were able to use it.
Our first long day (9:30 – 5:00) at the marketplace was Monday. And it was pretty quiet…all the vendors were talking about how there wasn’t hardly any traffic. It did seem to pick up a bit after noon…but still not a whole lot. We did however, sell a kit which was scheduled to be installed the following day. It happened to be one of our earlier leads that I had reached out to last month to see if he still wanted to have brakes installed on his trailer and he had decided not too. But…once here…he changed his mind again…which we were happy about.
We found a couple of items in the marketplace we couldn’t live without. The first item being a new mifi as our old one hasn’t been working as good as it should and I almost always tether from my phone nowadays. The show special was basically ‘get a free unit when you extend your contract’…plus no activation fee. And….they brought it right to our booth, in a bag, with a smile! Can’t beat that!
Then we got 2 sets of gripstics…kind of the new-fangled ‘chip clip. But they do a much better job of keeping the food fresh and have other uses as well and I’m pretty excited to start using them!
PLUS! We got to meet our insurance agent in person! We’ve been using Miller Insurance out of Oregon for about five years or so as they specialize in fulltimer RV insurance so we’ve never actually met Cheryl (the owner). We’ve done all of our business via the phone or internet. It just so happens that she’s here for the rally too. It was great to put a face to a voice!
Oh yeah…and I also bought some books. The author of the books is here selling her books and signing them too. She writes a kind of Christian comedy about a couple who RV around the country. I didn’t buy the hard copies of the books but I did go to Amazon and purchase all four of the books for my Kindle. I’m excited to finish my current book and start on her series! If you’re interested in trying out the books you can go to Amazon and type in Janetta Fudge Messmer and her books will come up…they’re a great deal!
After dinner we headed over to the BIG building for the nights meeting/announcements, which was followed by Reza, an illusionist. Reza’s show was really good…Michael and I had several moments when we looked at each other with that ‘how the heck did he do that?’ kind of look. Besides being a good magician he was also funny…which makes for a good combination. He tours the country with his show and also does shows in Branson…I’m gonna
keep my eye out for him.
Tuesday Michael did his Disc Brake Seminar at 10:00 am while I held down the fort in the marketplace. He has a small group of about twelve but got 4 pretty solid leads for installs…that’s not bad.
Tuesday after we closed up the booth we went out for dinner at El Espolon and met Dave & Tracey (RV Water Filter Store). We were also supposed to be joined by Cheryl (Miller Insurance) but she ended up at the wrong restaurants and since we hadn’t exchanged phone numbers we had no way of contacting each other.
Nonetheless, we had a nice visit with Dave and Tracey and all really enjoyed the food. Michael and I even had strawberry margaritas (are you happy, Dan?). I ordered fajitas (chicken, beef & shrimp) and they were excellent…especially the shrimp. Not something I order very often but…wow…they were good!
We’ve met some really awesome people at this rally…one being our next door neighbor in the marketplace, Jim. Jim took over his parents company, SoftCell, a little over a year ago when he father passed away. SoftCell produces portable water softeners and I’m pretty sure Michael will be looking into a system when/if we purchase a
Wednesday was our last day in the marketplace as well as at the Escapade, itself. The rally goes on for a few more days but we will be hitting the road Thursday morning. We sold the last of the kits we had available here, so we were happy about that.
We flaked out a little early, went home and started packing things away. While Michael worked outside, I worked inside and made dinner (thanks for the brisket, Zack!) Thankfully, the weather cooled off a bit and it was only in the low 80s, which was a much welcome relief.
After dinner we went over to the BIG event center for the announcements and door prizes…my name wasn’t called…but that’s not unusual. The grand prize drawing is Thursday night…but we won’t be in attendance. Oh well…
We stayed for the nights entertainment, which was ‘Escapade’s Got Talent’. There were about twelve or so acts…singers, comedians, dancers, storytellers. Some very good, some good…some just ok. Whatever the case, it was fun and we enjoyed ourselves. I think I enjoyed the comedians the most and then one woman who sang ‘You Never Even Called Me By My Name‘ by David Allan Coe.
The evening was finished off with a recitation of Johnny Cash’s ‘Ragged Old Flag’ which was followed by the entire crowd singing ‘You’re a Grand Old Flag’. Very nice way to end the night and our time at the Escapade.