Kent and Carol - Mobile travel blog

Winnebago Rally - Factory upper edge of photo

****A delay getting this entry posted to the web site. ******

During the Calgary Stampede tour, we found out that two other couples were heading for Forest City, Iowa and the big Winnebago Rally, as Carol and I were. We decided to caravan together on our way to Forest City, so the three of us left together at about 8:30 am, Wednesday, July 11, 2007. We figured that if we traveled about 310 miles for the first four days we would make it to Minneapolis, MN by Saturday evening. Then Sunday it would be about a three hour drive on into Forest City, Iowa to arrive at the Rally Grounds by mid-day. So, Wednesday our first leg of the trip, we headed almost due east out of Calgary, Alberta on Highway 1. We arrived at the Ponderosa Trailer and RV Park in Swift Current, Saskatchewan by late afternoon.

Thursday, we headed for Estevan, Saskatchewan, which is just north of the US Boarder, above western North Dakota. We arrived at the Hidden Valley Golf and RV Resort by mid-afternoon. This campground had a full golf course, miniature golf course and go-cart track. We didn't take advantage of any of these after two full days of driving.

Friday morning we arrived at the U.S. boarder and had to step out of the RV so they could look around inside. They asked if we had any hamburger and if it was purchased in Canada. We told them it was purchased in the states and that it was in plastic baggies. Since it had no identifying markings they said they did not know where it was purchased so they would have to take it. So they took 6 bags of hamburger and a package of steaks. After we left the boarder Carol said, "they must have needed lunch for the next few days". The other two couples also had to step out of their RVs for inspection. One couple also had their RV x-rayed because it had a safe inside and they wanted to check it out. We lost about an hour of driving time for all three of us to get through the boarder inspection. A few miles inside the States, we stopped at a little town for Diesel fuel since it was cheaper than in Canada. We paid $2.91 per gallon. We arrived at the Grand Forks Campground in Grand Forks, North Dakota by late afternoon. It was a long day with the long boarder crossing delay and fuel stop.

Saturday, we headed south on I-29 and I-94 and arrived at the southern edge of Minneapolis, MN by late afternoon. We parked at the Town and Country RV Park. After arriving there, Carol and I remembered we stayed at this same park last summer and did not recognized its name when we were planning our route with the two other couples. That evening we drove into Minneapolis to a hamburger restaurant that one of the couple wanted us to visit. They knew the owner, which did not happen to be there at the time, but we indulged in the juicy hamburgers. All three couples then went to the Wal-Mart near the campground, because this was the first Superstore we had seen since leaving the states.

Sunday was a short drive compared to the last four days. We arrived at the Winnebago Rally grounds by mid-day. We had signed up to park on the computer club row that Carol and I belong. We were parked, by the parking crew, between the President and Treasurer of the computer club. Most everybody had arrived earlier in the week and had set up camp. We arrived on the opening day of the rally and I think these folks were hoping this nice open space between their two RVs would remain open to give them plenty of room. The parking crew told them that I was parking there and so I was directed into this spot. They were cordial, but I could tell they were disappointed that their open space was filled by our RV.

The Winnebago Rally was the same rally we went to last summer and Carol and I decided to attend again this year. It is a huge gathering of about 1450 Winnebago RVs in a field across the street from the Winnebago Factory. This field has room for 1600 rigs and electrical hook-ups for everyone. You have to use the water from your own fresh water storage tank. There are a few water hydrants throughout the grounds, so if you consume all your water in your tank, you need to hook together several hoses to reach the hydrants. If you fill your waste-water tanks you can either drive your rig to the dump stations on the grounds or pay for the septic tank service which will drive to your rig and empty your tank for $15. Since we did not arrive early, we did not need to do either of these things. This rally has been held here for many years and we were told this is the only RV manufacture rally that has this large of a facility and the only one that is held at the factory location. The grounds have several permanent buildings such as: restroom/showers buildings, amphitheater, vender display building, restaurant and about 10 amusement rides for the kids. They also set up several temporary tents for this event. There are many seminars offered which talk about the operation of your RV systems. Some of them are: Caterpillar engine, Allison Transmission, Freightliner chassis, Oran Generator, inverter/converter, furnace, hot water heater, HWH leveling jacks and slide rooms, satellite receivers, microwave and others. There are also seminars put on by Winnebago technicians, who help to answer your questions. The computer club put on several computer workshops also. Most of the venders do some service work on the spot. I had my awning adjusted and the Blue Ox vender checked over my tow-bar for the Jeep, both services were free. Winnebago service bays are also open and they service several hundred rigs through the week. I used this service last year but did not need it this year. There were also many craft workshops to attend, Carol went to one of them and to the microwave\convection oven class. There was also a craft judging competition, sports competition and two RV driving competitions. One of the driving competitions was comical. It was for a couple, where the driver of the RV was blindfolded and the other person was outside with a walkie-talkie directing the driver to back the RV through some parking cones. One funny lines was: "You're doing fine honey, you have just wiped out three cones, but just keep on coming" or the other common line was "No, the other right". The RV was provided by Winnebago, so everybody used the same RV. The Winnebago Factory also had many tours of various parts of the plant. I was able to schedule two of those during the four-day rally.

Friday morning, July 20th was the closing ceremonies of the rally. We left that morning even though you could have stayed for free through Monday morning. Carol wanted to attend a horse event near Fort Dodge, Iowa to see her horse riding buddies. We stayed there for Friday night and Saturday, July 21, 2007 we headed for the Kansas City area.

***It may be a while before the next entry to the web site.******

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |