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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Branson Pleasure-Way Connect Rally

We dumped the waste tanks and then took nice hot showers before leaving Robinson Point. It always feels good to get showered after messing with the holding tanks.

We didn't have a long drive scheduled, so stopped and stocked up on groceries in Mountain View, Arkansas. Next we stopped for fuel in Flippin, chuckling at all the church and business signs that preceded their names with Flippin. We discussed that we would love to know the story behind how some of these towns were named as we passed through through Yellville and finally crossed into Missouri.

Arriving in Branson a little early, we ate lunch and washed the van so it would look good for the rally. By 1:30 we had checked in at America's Best Campground (ABC) and found our site for the four day rally.

So what goes on at a Pleasure-Way Rally? After checking in with the campground and getting settled into our site, we walked to the pavilion where we were greeted by Bobbie Bergstrom (PWRVC East President), Nancy Saunders (PWRVC West President) and Phil Nickel, Pleasure-Way Warranty and Service Manager (and all around good guy). After hugs and handshakes we left with a Branson welcome kit and a schedule for the rally.

The first evening, after everyone had checked-in, a wine and cheese social provided time to meet other owners. Pleasure-Way also took the time to share what is going on at the factory and even announced a new model, the Tofino, aimed at younger travelers.

Four seminars were offered over the next few days, one on component operation, another on maintenance and upkeep, one on how to use your convection/microwave oven, and on the last day, a general Q and A session for anything that hadn't been covered.

Pleasure-Way provides a huge help to owners at many of these events. You can sign up to have someone come to your van, answer your questions, and help troubleshoot any problems with your motorhome. It doesn't matter if the van was converted by them in 1987 or last month, they will come and give advice. Phil sometimes does this by himself, but this time he had help from a couple of technicians from Van City's St. Louis and Denver dealerships. I heard one of the guys talking about how exhausted he was and wondering how Phil does this on his own.

The best part of these rallies, to us, is meeting other owners. We like learning how they use and pack their vans, what modifications they might have made, and hearing about their adventures. These conversations take place around campfires, over meals, and just by wandering around and saying hello. With eighty vans in attendance, there were plenty of people to meet.

Van City brought three new vans for all of us to tour. We liked many of the new features for 2019. Magnetic latches for the shades, a soundbar under the television, the Lagun table system, and a larger galley sink were nice additions. Here's a link to all of the new features: 2019 Model Changes.

Pleasure-Way and Van City both provided prizes that were given away to those that paid attention in class along with a few based on the luck of the draw. Lots of folks left with new Pleasure-Way apparel and one couple even won an inflatable bed for their cab. I don't believe anyone left without a new Van City hat.

The five rallies we've attended always take time for a group photo. With over one-hundred people, it is sometimes like herding cats, but this group was cooperative and it came together quickly. Thanks to Beth Haskell for organizing everyone.  Thanks are also due to Scott Sitler who flew his drone and captured some great photos from a new perspective.

Drone Photo by Scott Sitler

Entertainment was a hoot here on Friday night. A hillbilly themed party invited everyone to dress up. The Homestead Pickers came over from Silver Dollar City providing stories, comedy, and music.

A "best hillbilly" contest boiled down to three finalists from the audience getting a chance to show off their musical talent playing the spoons, washboard, or jug. We, and the contestants, were laughing so hard it almost brought us to tears.

The most memorable part of the evening may have been a rendition of "Ghost Chickens in the Sky" with Phil Nickel standing in with the band singing the part of a Rooster. The Homestead Pickers drew everyone in with comedy, then went on to prove that they are really fine musicians.

We spend lots of time eating at these rallies. Often there is a potluck dinner scheduled, but for this one ABC had a friendly staff that served brunch and dinner Thursday through Saturday and a continental breakfast on Sunday morning. We didn't need to worry about cooking or cleaning up our little galley for four days!

So, to sum it up; socializing, education, food, and fun are the focus of Pleasure-Way rallies. They are a great way to learn how to get the most out of your motorhome and the travel lifestyle it enables.

Many more photos from the Rally are in this linked album: Branson Connect Rally

We only left the campground twice during the rally. Once was to take a walk to burn off some of the good Missouri food. An undeveloped office park adjacent to ABC had sidewalks in, but no buildings, so we enjoyed the exercise and views without worrying about traffic.

We left again when Trish and Duane Stewart invited us to see a little of Branson - that really meant that Trish and Beth wanted to visit this huge quilt shop.

This was the best rally we've attended yet. Many thanks to Bobbie, Nancy, and Phil for pulling it together. We are already looking forward to the Sarasota Rally in November.

1 comment:

  1. FANTASTIC write up Mark and great pictures-as usual!! Thank you & Beth for taking the pictures, I really appreciated it:)


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