The Ozark Winnies October meeting was held in two locations; Rutlader RV Park in Louisburg, KS and Balloon Fiesta campground in Albuquerque, NM. Seven units attended the meeting in Kansas on October 5-7 and five attended the meeting in New Mexico, October 4-12.
Some of the Rutlader attendees arrived as early as Tuesday. Most arrived on Thursday. Attending this segment of the meeting were Bergant, Huff, Mastis, Parsons, Stone, Van Meter and Wollin. The weather forecast for the weekend didn’t look good for our planned activities; 40% to 100% chance of rain every day. Thursday afternoon found many of the attendees sitting at a picnic table visiting and trying to stay warm. A north wind was blowing pretty good. Although it was chilly, the rain held off on Thursday. That evening ten of the group went to Lucille’s for dinner.
Friday was to be a free day to take in some of the things Louisburg had to offer; antique stores, Marais Des Cynges Federal Wildlife area, the local winery and others. Once again the rain went north of us and many of the group took advantage and went to the Louisburg Cider Mill to get their cider donut fix. That afternoon several visited some of the antique stores available. On Friday evening we met in the Community Center for a pot-luck dinner. Even though the group was small, no one went hungry. After dinner we held a short business meeting and then played dime bingo. The game was new to some, but seemed to be enjoyed by all. Well, maybe enjoyed by those who went home with the most dimes. Right Jerry?
The plan for Saturday morning was to attend the 40th Annual Louisburg Ciderfest, but because of the forecasted rain for the weekend, that event was postponed. Although it was a little on the cool side that afternoon, the rain held off and we were able to tour the animal sanctuary, Cedar Cove. They currently have 26 animals they are caring for; tigers, lions, cougars, bobcats, wolves and others. The tour guide we had was very informative, giving us a history of the particular animal we were seeing and the state of those animals in the wild. At 4:00 PM they fed the animals. Most of our group only saw the tiger feeding. The volunteer was so interesting that most of us opted to listen to him instead of following the feeding of the other animals. At 5:30 we met at Timber Creek Bar & Grill for dinner. The rain returned before we had placed our order. After dinner we returned to the campground. No one wanted to battle the weather and opted to spend the rest of the evening in their respective motorhomes.
On Sunday morning the hosts provided a continental breakfast of fruit cocktail, bagels, various breads, orange and V-8 juice. After breakfast, Chaplain Stone presented a short devotional entitled The Gift of Time. It was then time to hit the road and try to stay ahead of the weather. The area around Louisburg received four to ten inches of rain over the weekend. Although it was a wet one, we were able to do most of what we had planned.
The Albuquerque attendees, Eaheart, Kelling, Mahaffey, Murphy and Wallis/Hill were a part of the Winnebago Outdoor Adventures Balloon Fiesta tour. Chip and Nanise left GNR and toured all points west before meeting the group in New Mexico. The rest of the group met in Tulsa and caravanned to New Mexico. Mahaffey and Murphy arrived in Tulsa on Thursday, September 27. Skip and David decided to surprise the wives with a little side trip to Pawhuska, OK, the home of Pioneer Woman and the Pioneer Woman Mercantile, a destination shop, restaurant, and bakery. Or maybe, it was the wives forced Skip and David to make the side trip. You decide the real story. Regardless of how the trip originated, they got to meet Pioneer Woman’s husband, Pioneer Man, aka, Ladd Drummond and had a great time. Even the guys. The motorhomes weren’t overweight when weighed at the September meeting, but the weight was in question when the trip west continued. Eaheart and Kelling arrived in Tulsa later that day.
On Friday, Dee and Darrell went to Pioneer Woman and the rest of the group attended the Tulsa State Fair. On Saturday the caravan headed west. They arrived at the Balloon Fest campground on Tuesday, October 2. WOA activities started on the 4th and the Balloon Fiesta on the 6th. In addition to unbelievable sight of approximately five hundred fifty balloons launching in a very, very short period of time, this group experienced some great tours and some really good food and entertainment. Some of the activities included a tram ride to the top of Sandia Peak, a trip to Santa Fe, Old Town Albuquerque, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and other sites. If you have never been to the Balloon Fiesta, this needs to be on your bucket list. Joy and Nanise had scheduled a balloon ride, but the weather didn’t cooperate and the rest of the schedule was full; a bucket list item that will have to wait for another day.