DFW & Friends Rally

RV Ranch, Burleson, TX
March 27 - March 30, 2008

RV Ranch Entrance - March 2008

Thursday - March 27, 2008

Terry, Steve, Leslie and I are heading out to the "DFW & Friends" RV.net rally at RV Ranch in Burleson. Steve and I are "Wagonmasters" for the rally. In other words, we're the hosts. The rally has been going on for many years. We attended one back in March of 2006, around a year after we purchased our Pilgrim. The rally was going to be a fun rally with a few "twists" that Steve and I have added with our newly acquired Dutch oven cooking skills. George, the original "wagonmaster" of the gathering, decided it was time to turn over the reins to someone else. Of course, I said YES, and then "persuaded" Steve to be my "partner in crime". I have a really hard time saying no when it comes to hosting and entertaining. I was raised in a home that we were constantly entertaining.

Around 5:30 I picked Terry up from work. On the way over to pick up the trailer we drove through one of our favorite fast food joints to grab a quick dinner. We arrived at Alamo RV Storage shortly after 6:00. We had loaded the trailer Wednesday evening so all we had to do was hookup and pull out. We arrived at RV Ranch and were assigned to site #96 which was right across from their "rally room". Steve and Leslie's site would be right next door to us.

Every though the rally wasn't supposed to start until tomorrow, several of the attendees had already arrived. Many of them came by our site to meet us. It was nice putting "faces" to all our online RV.net Open Road Forum friends. Steve and Leslie arrived shortly after 7:30. After they got settled in, Steve and I started unloaded our Dutch oven equipment and hauled it over to the covered pavilion that was attached to the rally room. We were planning on doing a lot of cooking throughout the weekend. Everyone was really excited to be able to watch and learn about the art of Dutch oven cooking.

Dutch oven cooking area all setup

Our Dutch Oven Cooking Area Almost Setup!

Marcia Buyers, a good friend of mine from work, and the owner of "Mobile Margaritas" delivered a margarita machine for our use during the weekend. The machine was going to be a major hit. After securing all of our equipment and locking up the rally room, Terry and I headed back to our trailer and turned in for the evening around 11:00. We were "dead tired" and knew we had a big day ahead of us tomorrow.


Friday- March 28, 2008

I woke up bright and early at 6:30. One of my first tasks, after showering and getting dressed, was to put on a pot of coffee. This morning, Steve and I were preparing homemade waffles on our Griswold cast iron waffle makers. They were made in 1908 and turned out incredible waffles that are really crispy. Terry woke up around 8:30 and wanted to know what's for breakfast and where's her coffee. When I told her waffles, she had a big smile! Breakfast was absolutely delicious! It always is when you're RVing. Breakfast when you're out camping, is my favorite meal of the day. There's something about the smell of coffee brewing and bacon cooking when you're outdoors.

At 9:45 I had my monthly radio interview with an RV friend of mine in Harvey, South Dakota. I call in once a month and we talked RV stuff. The audience in South Dakota loved hearing about the exploits of a Texan RVer especially when we're RVing and they're still socked in with snow on the ground. The interview went well. I told them about all the plans for this weekend's rally and all the fun stuff we had planned. All of the listeners were VERY jealous that down south we have a year-round camping season. In North Dakota, they only have a few months a year they get to RV. Of course, they don't have the 100 degree summer temperatures in July and August that we have here in Texas.

After the interview, we finalized the arrangements for our attendees and finished setting up our cooking equipment. At 2:00 Steve prepared burgers for the four of us. There's nothing better than a good ole homemade hamburger when you're camping. Steve and Leslie were very kind to prepare a late lunch for all of us. This evening we were having a "mixer" and game night for everyone and they were supposed to bring snacks to share. Around mid-afternoon the rally attendees had all arrived and gotten settled into their sites. Everyone was over at the rally room getting acquainted and making long-lasting friendships.

Food, Fun and Fellowship on Friday Evening!

Terry checking everyone in on Friday evening
Snacks out for all to enjoy Checking in the attendees
Snacks setup for our "mixer" Enjoying the snacks!
Bruce & Kathy enjoying a margarita Relaxing and getting to know each other
Bruce & Kathy enjoying a margarita Chatting & getting to know each other

As everyone arrived, Terry checked them in, gave them a lanyard and nametag and collected their RV site fees. The margarita machine was whirling and churning and was an absolute hit with the crowd. Combine that with the snacks everyone brought, it was a perfect evening. Everyone had a great time playing game, getting to know each other, relaxing, and just having a good time. The attendees broke into Mexican Train groups and played until around 10:30. The majority of the group decided it was time to call it a night. Steve and I secured the rally room, turned off the lights and locked it up. It had been a long day and we were both dead tired. Before leaving, we got the 42 cup coffee pot ready to be plugged in so we wouldn't have to fool with it in the morning. Coffee was a necessity first thing in the morning!

Saturday - March 29, 2008

Today was going to be a very busy day, I had a full schedule planned for the attendees. Our "DFW & Friends" rally will be in full swing starting with our potluck breakfast. I woke up around 6:30, showered and headed over to the rally room to plug the coffee in. Our potluck breakfast this morning was scheduled to begin at 9:00. Steve was already up and about as well. The two of us are both early risers. He was at the back pavilion making homemade biscuits for breakfast. I was preparing "Praline Amaretto French Toast Casserole" in the Dutch oven as well as sausage gravy to go with Steve's biscuits. Leslie joined the two of us around 7:30 to make sure the two of us weren't getting into trouble. Steve and I have been known to get into trouble if we're not supervised. Leslie and Terry are very wise individuals not to trust the two of us when we're together.

Terry joined us to help me with the final prep of the "Praline Amaretto French Toast  Casserole". This was the first time we'd prepared this recipe and it looked to be a "keeper". If you'd like the recipe, drop me an email and I'll be glad to send it to you. Breakfast was incredible. For breakfast, there was a huge variety of food prepared. If anyone went away hungry, it was absolutely their fault. The rest of the afternoon was free time until 2:00. At 2:00 I had a representative from Camping World scheduled to present a product demonstration and talk. Right after that, one of the attendees was going to give an egg roll making class.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Potluck!

Good stuff cooking in the Dutch ovens Steve icing the "cook's cinnamon rolls.
There were no complaints from the cooks! French toast breakfast casserole!
Bruce and Steve discussing the world's problems. Terry cooking a "mess" of sausage patties.
Nice selection of breakfast dishes. And the selections continue!
What to choose? No one went away hungry!

At 2:00 Saturday afternoon, Ron Meyers, one of the service managers for Camping World, presented an informative seminar on the changes coming in the satellite world after February 9, 2009 when all signals would be changing over to a digital format. He stayed with us an hour and half and also covered many of the other RV service concerns and questions the attendees had for him. Ron was extremely cordial and very helpful. After the seminar was over, several of the group broke out the dominos and started some Mexican Train games. You think they're addicted? I went back to our trailer and took a short nap before we started preparation for our TexMex potluck this evening. The nap felt good and it was refreshing and just what the doctor ordered.

A Very Informative Seminar!

Ron Meyers from Camping World An attentive audience

After the seminar, one of our rally attendees volunteered to give a class on making egg rolls. There were several who stayed for the class and from what I understood, the outcome and samples were delicious.


Making egg rolls! 

For this evening's TexMex potluck Terry was preparing a "taco bar" with all the fixin's and I was preparing a Mississippi Swamp Cake in the Dutch oven. The TexMex potluck was wonderful! Everyone loved the theme of the evening. It was just like a fiesta! There were all sorts of delicious TexMex recipes prepared. And the margaritas were a perfect addition to the evening's festivities. It's always amazing to me how potlucks always work out. Without anyone signing up for specific items, there always seems to be a perfect balance of dishes prepared.

Saturday Dinner Prep and the "Fiesta TexMex Potluck"

Steve working on the enchilada casserole with Lee looking on Bruce and Kathy prepping something really delicious 
Steve working on his enchilada casserole  What are you making? 
A hungry bunch of folks!  Look at all the food! 
Cheese please ... enchilada casserole!  Mississippi Mud Cake! 
Happy Campers!  No one went away hungry! 

After cleaning up the potluck tables, Terry and I went around and visited with everyone, especially the "first-timers"!  Throughout the afternoon, the "experienced" RVers had been going around answering questions that some of the "newbies" had about their RVs. The "first timers" were so grateful to be included and have the opportunity to make new friends. Many of them were also grateful to have the opportunity to "learn" from some of the more experienced and seasoned RVers. That's what it's all about, fellowship and sharing knowledge.

After dinner it was time to break out the dominos for Mexican Train. I told you they were all addicted! Mexican Train IS the consummate game of RVers. Every rally that Terry and I have attended, Mexican Train is the game that everyone wants to play. I'm not sure how it happened, but it did. Some do like to play a variation on Mexican Train called "Chicken Foot". But it's no where near as popular as regular ol' Mexican Train.

Terry was very tired. She headed back to the trailer around 9:00 to relax and get into her comfy clothes. I too was tired from the long day of playing host to our new found friends. Since game night was in full swing, I gave the key to the rally room to one of my RV buddies and gave him instructions on how to lock up. I asked him to leave the key on the table outside my RV so I'd be able to open up fist thing in the morning. Before I headed over to the trailer, I got the 42-cup coffee pot prepared for tomorrow morning's breakfast. We had a treat planned for the group on Sunday morning. Steve and I were preparing homemade doughnuts for the group. When I got over to the trailer, Terry was already in bed and fast asleep. It didn't take me very long to be fast asleep as well. We both slept soundly throughout the night.

Sunday - March 30. 2008

I woke up at 6:30, showered, got dressed. and headed over to the rally room to plug the coffee pot in. I also get some of what the girls call "cowboy coffee" brewing outside in our cooking area. Steve, Leslie, Bruce and Kathy joined me shortly. Terry was just waking up and came over around 30 minutes later. We figured out a "production line" for cranking out the (almost) homemade doughnuts. Of course, the "girls" were the ones who got the production process organized. Us guys just did what we were told to do. I got the idea of the homemade doughnuts from one of our NTXCA (North Texas Camping Association) campouts when one of the couples made doughnuts for breakfast one morning. They were so delicious I wanted to make them for this rally. All the "helpers" agreed and jumped right in.

A little after 8:00 folks started showing up for coffee and curious about the doughnut production line. They were all amazed the "finely-tuned" production machine. (We put on a good show!) We started frying doughnuts around 8:30. The procedure is very easy. You take canned refrigerated biscuits, flatten them out a bit, cut out a hole in the middle and then fry them. To cut the "holes" I use a Pampered Chef apple corer. Don't forget to also fry the "holes", those are favorites as well. Personally I love doughnut holes. After frying, the doughnuts can be dipped in melted butter then sugar, or cinnamon sugar or even powdered sugar. Don't forget to have a can of chocolate frosting on hand to  have chocolate frosted doughnuts. There's nothing better than a chocolate frosted doughnut! YUM The "doughnut buffet" and morning coffee was a hit with all the rally attendees. The "production crew" had a tough time keeping up with all the hungry mouths!

Sunday Morning Doughnuts and Fellowship!
Cutting out the doughnuts! Doughnuts ready to fry!
Steve and Bruce frying up the doughnuts. Looking good!
Kathy coating and dipping the hot doughnuts. Chocolate anyone?
Can I lick the spoon? Food, fun and fellowship and the end of a wonderful weekend!

Everyone was so grateful and happy I had put the rally together. New friendships were forged and old friendships renewed. The rally was hit and all had a great time. We sat around a while visiting before cleaning and packing up all our cooking equipment. I pulled the truck around to get everything loaded up and went back over to the trailer to "dump and flush". I let the folks at the RV Ranch office know how well everything went for our group. They were happy we had used their facilities and hoped we would return again soon.

We were hooked up and ready to pull out and head to Alamo RV Storage to drop off the trailer. We had another trip the following weekend at Cedar Hill State Park. It was going to be a busy year of RVing. I thanked Steve, Leslie, Bruce and Kathy for all their help, said our goodbyes to the last remaining rally members, pulled out and headed north on Interstate 35. Another successful rally was in the books.

Authored by Chuck and Terry Mencke

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"RV Ranch - March 27 - March 30, 2008 was last modified: January 1, 2015

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Chuck and Terry's Pilgrim 281 RB-S Adventures