Bill & Beth White (20471)
West Virginia State Directors
Thinking back on all our Newmar camping trips, each has had at least one adventure. This year’s West Virginia State Rally in Morgantown was no exception. Leaving a day early has always proven to be helpful, especially this year.
Our adventure started less than thirty miles from home. A car passed us on the interstate with a note in the window saying, “Your engine is smoking.” This bad news was verified by an alert on the dashboard, so we immediately pulled over on the berm. We called for a wrecker, which had at least a three hour wait, so we sat idle. We called Brenda Warren & Randy Sortet, officers of our West Virginia Chapter, who were coming early to help us set up a 10’ x 20’ tent and tables for the rally. The camping gods were with us, as they were only 30 minutes behind.
We realized after talking to Freightliner, that our issue might not be an easy fix, so we called home and had suitcases delivered to us, sitting along the interstate, so we could transfer clothes and necessities for a hotel visit.
Brenda & Randy arrived and volunteered to transport anything we needed to their coach. In preparation for the rally, Beth had prepared a traditional West Virginia ramp dinner for Saturday evening; cooking ramps, fried potatoes, bacon and sausage cutting down on the prep time. We were very glad the beans and cornbread had not yet been prepared. Thank goodness Brenda & Randy had room in their fridge for all the prepped food. The gods smiled again!
After saying our goodbyes and hoping to get to the campground as soon as possible, we sat, and sat, and sat. Finally, after a 5 hour wait, the tow truck arrived and hooked us up in about another hour. After inspecting his work, he decided he would abort the tow. He did not feel that he could safely tow our unit.
Back to calling tow trucks. We called another company and they said there would be a long wait, but they would be there. Almost two hours later, the driver called us and asked us if we were a 45-foot pusher, which we affirmed. He then informed us that we are too big for his truck. Back on the phone for try number three. Long story short, if you need a tow in north central West Virginia, call Hillbilly Towing. It took twelve hours to move us thirteen miles to Cummins in Fairmont. We finally made it to a motel around midnight. After a short night, we finally made it to the campground with only our pickup truck, loaded to the brim with everything for the weekend.
Now to pause and give a shout out of appreciation to Marv & Von Visser, Michigan State Directors, who, along with Region Six Directors Chuck & Michelle Steenwyk and all the rest of the participants in our rally, that assisted in setting up their tables and benches for us to use for the whole weekend and helping in any way they could. It is amazing how Newmar owners pitch in and help for everyone’s benefit, even if you are holding a rally out of the backseat of your truck. Someone will volunteer to help dig through whatever you have lost, piled in boxes and crates.
Thank you again to everyone at our rally! We could not have done it without you, and we are extremely appreciative of everything you did! Needless to say, it’s always an adventure, but running a rally out of the back of a pickup is high on the list of unusual adventures!
But the show must go on. So, after we ate our catered lasagna dinner on the Visser’s lot, we went off to the West Virginia Black Bears baseball game; we went. The Black Bears team is a draft showcase for aspiring players for the major leagues. They are affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and they were playing against the Williamsport, Pennsylvania team that they had beaten for the league championship last season. Although the Black Bears led most of the game, the final score did not reflect that. It was still a fun evening, especially with the Bears mascot sitting with our group for a photo opportunity.
Everyone returned to the campground, except us. Off to the motel, we went. Tomorrow will be a better day.
On Friday we visited Arthurdale, a planned community with communal living, brought to the area by Eleanor Roosevelt as a part of the New Deal. It was a very informative visit. This was one of Eleanor’s many pet projects to help residents of poor communities have a better life. She visited Arthurdale many times through the years, occasionally bringing President Roosevelt with her. She was loved by the community, and she loved them back. The tour included a delicious lunch, prepared by the volunteers from the historic site. A trip to Morgantown is not complete without a trip to the Morgantown Farmers Market on Spruce Street and a visit to the Don Knotts statue at the Metropolitan Theater. More photos with Barney Fife! The Farmer’s Market is very well attended and there is lots of variety of products. Bill was able to buy a loaf of his favorite Salt Rising Bread! The rest of the day, everyone was free to explore the area, shop, or just rest, until the ramp dinner was served. Ramps are a West Virginia wild plant that is very aromatic. It is a cross between a wild onion and garlic, sometimes called a wild leek. It was well received by those who had never tasted them before, as was the raw kohlrabi that we purchased at the farmer’s market.
Then the time we had all waited for arrived, Beth’s games and her fabulous prizes. This year she pulled out her prize ball and a new game, the bow challenge. Everyone participated; everyone was a winner of many fabulous, one-of-a-kind prizes!
The moral of this story is: if you want a real camping adventure that you will never forget…run a state rally out of the backseat of a pickup truck!
We’re looking forward to the West Virginia Chapter Rally in Beckley and the NKK International Rally in Sedalia, Missouri. God Bless you all.