Friday July 22nd to Sunday July 31st:
We made the 100 mile journey from Lake George to the Expo Center located in Essex Junction VT. We arrived around 12 Noon, went through the security/parking staging area and then joined the other rigs already parked here in the Expo Center infield. Mike & Linda Cross were meeting us here at the Escapade and they happened to arrive right behind us, so we ended up being parked next to each other. This is one of the largest events that this facility has held and our 30 amp electrical hookups and water connections were temporary one set up over the last few weeks.
We have spent a lot of time visiting with Mike & Linda while we are here at the rally along with meeting several other couples parked around us. One day Fred & Bonnie Lee came up from Lake George and we ended up going to dinner with them along with Mike & Linda. Another day Carl & Pam Manganaro came up from their camp hosting job at a state park here in Vermont to the Escapade and we joined them for lunch.
The Escapade is the “big rally” held once a year by the Escapees RV Club. There are educational classes throughout the day (Monday through Thursday) and then entertainment most evenings. Jimmy Travis performed on Sunday night, The Marlins on Monday night and Wednesday night was a “talent show” with performers who are Escapees members.
We were told there were almost 700 “rigs” parked here on-site and approximately 1,400 attendees at the Escapade.
There were also a number of social events throughout the week. One evening there was a gathering of first time attendees to an Escapade. Paul Evert’s RV Country from California brought a number of new & used motor homes to the event that we were able to walk through. They also hosted a “happy hour” Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons with each day having a different “cocktail of the day”. We heard that they had sold a least 10 motor homes during the rally, so it was worth their while to bring the rigs here. After the Escapade is over they are going next week to the FMCA National Rally in nearby Springfield, Mass.
We attended a number of seminars and learn a lot about the full-time RV life style. We will have to work on remembering what we learned over the next few months so that it will become a part of our routine and we will not have to think about it. We met a very nice couple from Pennsylvania who were parked directly behind us and have been full-timing for about a year now, Frank & Colleen Marzigliano who have the cutest little dog named Tootsie. They are currently in a Winne Minnie Class C but will be buying something bigger in the near future. Frank is still working full-time and so he has to stay connected to the internet while on the road. Even this week he was working although on a limited basis.
On Friday at the “Hitch Up Breakfast” we thought we saw a couple we knew but had not seen in a long time as they were walking out of the building where the breakfast was held. Connie’s texted them and discovered that they were are the Rally and were also staying until Sunday. Al & Barbara Smith are a couple we met 5 years ago when both of us attended the Escapees RV Boot Camp held in Livingston Texas. Al & Barbara have been full-timing for 4 years now and spent the winters in Arizona at a 55+ RV Resort and travel the country when the weather gets hot in Arizona. Linda & Barbara both quilt so they had a lot to discuss about this craft. We spent several hours visiting with them and getting caught up on our lives over the last few years.
On Saturday, Mike & Linda along with us took a trip southeast to Waterbury VT. We started out by visiting the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory and took the 30 minute tour. At the end of the tour we all had a small scoop of “American Dream” ice cream which was created by Ben & Jerry’s in association with Steven Colbert of late night fame. After leaving Ben & Jerry’s we went to the Lake Champlain Chocolate Shop, then on to the Green Mountain Coffee Factory Shop which is located in an old train station. From there visited the Stone Corral Brewery where we tasted a number of their brews. We like all of the beers we tasted except their most popular one call Palomino Pale Ale.
Saturday night all of us met Carl & Pam at The Farmhouse Tap & Grill in downtown Burlington. A number of blocks along Church Street have been closed to auto traffic and made into a pedestrian mall. The Farmhouse in located 1/2 block off of Church Street. We had a great visit with everyone and hope to run into each other down the road. We drove along Lake Champlain for a few minutes before we returned back to our rig.
On Sunday morning we visited with Al & Barbara for about an hour to celebrate Al’s 71st birthday. Barbara served us Italian pastries along with coffee. The pastries were home made by a friend of hers and were delicious.
We return to the Duchess to finish packing and loading everything up to head north towards Canada. We will stop overnight along the road at campgrounds on our trip to the border.