Last year we attended the Wanderlodge Owners Group (WOG) rally in Pine Mountain GA, and decided then that we wanted to come again this year. Hurricane Michael kind of threw a wrench into the plan. Several of the friends we met last year, ended up getting hit by the hurricane, and in some cases caused major damage. One of those friends was the WOG founder and his wife. WOGer's are such a good group of people that they had several people show up with tools and their busses to help get their place back into at least semi livable conditions. We thought about going down and helping, but they already had 8 busses along both sides of the street, and in their driveway, there just wasn't any more room for anybody else. They were able to get them at least some what better, but because of all the damage they were not able to come to the rally. It was the first time they had ever missed one. Many people were sad that they couldn't make it, and tried to make the best of the situation. We wanted to help, and prior to the hurricane, Jen had been in contact with Carol (the founders wife) about hosting a Norwex "party" during the rally. She really liked the products from last year and was excited to host a party. Well now that they weren't going to make it, Jen wasn't sure how she would proceed, but we decided to have the party anyway and all the "host" bonuses and rewards would still go to Carol, to help her out. It went pretty good, and she was very appreciative for it, as she wasn't expecting anything at all.
We arrived at Pine Mountain late afternoon, while we were pulling in, we were joined by another 3 Wanderlodges checking into the park. We got checked in and got set up. We had reserved a different spot than we had last year, and really like the new one. From out the front window we had a nice view of a little pond, and the sun as it set over it. We were also closer to the main rally room where all the daily activities were taking place. Our good friends who also moved to a different spot from last year were also going to be very close to us, but they had a condo in Panama City Beach that got damaged by the hurricane. The damage that was sustained at his place was minimal, but he decided to take his bus there and get working on securing what he could. There wasn't any room for us there, and the local RV park wasn't open, so we didn't make it down there. It also means that he wasn't able to come to the rally, bummer we were hoping to get to hang out with them.
Ok enough bad news, on to the fun stuff. Technically the rally doesn't start until Wednesday, and we arrived Sunday, but the park was already almost half full. We had a couple pre rally get togethers and I think they were pretty successful. Jen and I noticed that there were more people closer to our age this year, unlike last year where there was only a few couples, and most of the ones our age are also full timing. We got to spend several nights around a campfire telling stories about living in the bus, and how we all do things a bit differently. It was great getting to know more people that feel the same way about full timing in these wonderful machines known as Wanderlodges. This year, as in the past, they had several technical sessions covering many aspects of the mechanical, electrical, and pneumatic systems in our buses, and as usual they were very informative. There was originally supposed to be 150 Wanderlodges attending the rally, but ended up being 120 or so, still quite impressive.
One thing we were looking forward to was the bus tours, no not that kind of bus tours. Usually the organizers set aside one day of the rally where owners can open up their busses so other people can see what they're like. If you didn't know each Wanderlodge was custom built by Blue Bird with the owners input. So there are very few that are exactly the same. Last year we opened our up, but we never got to see any others. This year we decided not to open up so we could check out some of the other ones out there. Well mother nature didn't agree this year, and the afternoon that was chosen ended up raining all afternoon, so we didn't get out to see any until almost dinner time. We did get to tour a few, but next year the plan is to see more. Fingers crossed.
We got some video of a few of the busses leaving on Sunday morning, many of them like to play their musical horns or give a quick blow of the air horn. Hopefully I get them pieced together, and put up soon, heck maybe by the time this is live there'll be a link, or video right here.
We decided to stay until Tuesday, so we could get better prepared for our new adventure in North Carolina at our work camping gig. We also talked to our friends to see if they needed any help with Hurricane Michael aftermath, and there was some work still to be done, but we had committed to start work in North Carolina on that same Tuesday, and didn't feel right about asking for an extension, even though I'm sure they wouldn't have any issue with us being a bit late. So we were off to Murphy NC, and the start of some new experiences.
We have made our reservations for next year, but we're not sure where we'll be next October. As it is now we're planning on going back to Red River NM for the summer, and we want to head west for next winter maybe, that makes it a bit spendy to go from New Mexico to Georgia, then back west again. We're still weighing options.
If you are at all interested in getting a Wanderlodge, I would definitely suggest going to the WOG rally, and soak up as much information as humanly possible. I really can see us trying to make it there every year, if the timing works out.