What it's like to attend a rally, from a first-timer

Discussion in 'General Rally Info' started by NH-popper, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. NH-popper

    NH-popper Boldly going camping!

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    Mar 10, 2010
    This is a post I've been wanting to make for a while, but life keeps me busy. I thought I'd share my story of what it was like for me to be attending a rally for the first time, to meet with people I had never met - or even talked on the phone with - before. Maybe it will encourage some folks who haven't attended a rally yet to give it a try.

    I have to admit, I had reservations about attending a rally. After all, I didn't know any of these folks. I have a wife who has only just learned to enjoy camping PUP style, and a son whom I'd prefer not to expose to the wrong crowd. We have plenty of fun camping on our own. My past experience of camping groups was a bunch of people making noise later than they should be, and imbibing too much alcohol in the process, which is not what I'd enjoy or want my kid to see. And I didn't want to be the boat-anchor to a rowdy crowd as the only person with a kid there, either, or be made to feel I didn't fit in.

    Nonetheless, I had been communicating with a few folks here on the Portal as I got my new-to-me PUP operational. I was new to PUP camping, and these folks seemed to be both friendly and of course helpful. So once I knew the PUP would be working, I signed up for my first rally, Fisherman's in Narragansett.

    I actually met my first portal member on the road, literally, as we both got stuck in traffic just after Worcester. Getting off the Mass Turnpike, on a ramp to Rt 146, I saw several vehicles ahead of me a pickup towing a pop-up and going the same way I'd be going. Sure enough, it was Mercman, and he was heading my way. I pulled up along side and I asked if he was heading to Fishermans, and he said yes, you must be NH-Popper! So already folks were keeping an eye out for me, which was pretty cool.

    A few hours later we got to Fishermans (late), and we set up and headed out to dinner before going to bed. The next day, it wasn't long before I met most of my fellow rally folks, as we were right near most of them, and found them all really friendly and an eclectic bunch from all over and with varying backgrounds. My son turned out not to be the only teen at the rally, and all the adults were happy to have him along, which we all appreciated.

    As we'd planned before coming down, my family left the campground to explore the area for the day. What was nice is that you can be as much a part of the group for the weekend as you want. We could have gone kayaking with some of them, or perhaps joined others at the beach, but we weren't required to do anything with anyone. This wasn't a guided tour or such. I appreciated that I wasn't locked into anything.

    That night, we got to join the rest of the group for the pot luck dinner. Someone brought his propane fired steamer, and we had a delicious meal of steamed clams, with veggies and corn, plus spaghetti in clam sauce, and desserts - basically, good food and lots of it. A blazing fire and lots of good conversation followed. To me, it was just right - not too sedate, not too rowdy. Everyone turned out to be campers considerate of their neighbors but who understood the value of having fun at the campground. We made sure we were quiet when we were supposed to be. (By the way, yes, there was some alcohol, but it was pretty discreet. We're not tea-totallers.)

    The next morning I found out (a bit late since I'd eaten already) that someone had broke out the coffee urn and donuts at one of the campsites and thus breakfast was underway. Of course, I found this out taking care of some stuff outside, and after a while my son came looking for me. After a while longer, my wife was wondering what happened to BOTH of us! Then she wound up joining us for breakfast too.

    It was a short weekend, and over too soon. It was lots of fun, and I'm looking forward to my next rally, at Mystic next weekend (I hear there might be some spots still available, by the way). And, I've decided to organize a couple of rallies on my own. So, if you've never gone to a rally, my advice is: give it a try! You have nothing to lose, you might save some money if the campground is giving us a group discount, and you might make some new friends along the way.

    I hope I get to see you at one of the 10 New England Rallies we're organizing for 2011! [:D]

    - Mike

    2011 New England rallies: http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=40842.0
     
  2. Countryboy5711

    Countryboy5711 New Member

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    Sep 12, 2010
    A good, comprehensive report Popper. Thanx for that. :)
     
  3. windstar

    windstar New Member

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    Aug 19, 2010
    It's good to know that you and your family enjoyed and had fun.
    As human beings we tend to judge until we experiment the feeling, your post makes to thing otherwise. Thanks for "report".
    Happy camping.
     
  4. NH-popper

    NH-popper Boldly going camping!

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    Mar 10, 2010
    I hope it convinces a few more of the New Englanders to join the rallies - for that matter, a few folks to attend a rally wherever they live! If we got even a quarter of the New England portal members to join the rallies, they'd be huge. :)

    Y'know, Umbagog's near the Quebec border, for you Canuckians out there who aren't too far from that area ;) ....
     
  5. 01YZF6

    01YZF6 Dothan, AL

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    Mt. Washington, NH
    well, you know I would attend as many as possible......... if I still lived up there.... lol
     
  6. Countryboy5711

    Countryboy5711 New Member

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    Sep 12, 2010
    I'd love to slip down into the States occasionally but it takes a passport to cross from Canada. [:(] And they only last five years.

    My plan is to do a few years of Canada and then spend five years seeing more of the US. :)
     
  7. Deskpilot

    Deskpilot Member

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    DITTO!!! Diane and I had the EXACT same experience @ Codorus with the PA group. HIGHLY encourage all who may be intimidated to come out and join us. We practice what we preach when we're together, responsibe, clean camping in a VERY family friendy environment. NO STRINGS attached, until the next post on the Portal.
     
  8. Retired Alex

    Retired Alex New Member

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    Oct 2, 2003
    Limoges, Ontario
    That is the nice thing about the 'ralleys" that we throw together here. Nothing is really planned except for the pot luck, which may be a supper or brunch. You are not expected to attend everything that is going on as nothing is usually planned until the last minute. Very relaxed get together and you don't have to go home at the end of the weekend to recover from having your weekend planned out for you from Friday night to Sunday noon. Just good friends, good food and good conversation.
     
  9. Craig57

    Craig57 New Member

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    Mar 29, 2009
    Mike,
    That is some great info on your experience with your first rally. We'll be attending our first rally in just about two weeks, the Florida Fall Rally. Can't wait to go. Really looking forward to it and even more so after reading your experience.
    10 rallies for 2011! U'all really know how to to do it in NH.
    Craig57
     
  10. Wizfisher

    Wizfisher New Member

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    Mar 5, 2009
    NH-popper, perfect "report" of a rally for a first timer. We attended out first rally this past spring and had a great time.
    My wife was a little apprehensive about attending since we like to camp by ourselves.

    The group was great and we are all looking forward to the fall rally in less then two weeks.
     
  11. efh

    efh New Member

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    Sep 22, 2010
    Mike,

    I can relate to many of the reservations that you have addressed. You have given me a few things to think about. We really enjoy camping, and I too have a wife and kids that I would prefer not to expose to the wrong crowd. Thanks very much for the great report. I will definitely take your comments into consideration as we make our plans.

    Thanks,
    Eric
     
  12. 01YZF6

    01YZF6 Dothan, AL

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    Apr 5, 2008
    Mt. Washington, NH
    The best thing is that there is NO OBLIGATION ,perceived or pushed onto, any of the members who attend Rallies.

    In fact, you will see real quick that most of the GATHERING time is at the Pot Luck suppers.

    as for the "Bad Element" factor, enough PuP members know that this is geared towards friends and family atmospheres, and not towards the "WOOOHOOO PARTY TIME" mind set.

    Mike offered one of the best insights so far as to what a rally FEELS like. but there is no substitution until experiencing it for yourselves.

    I personally can not wait until we can go camping again and attend another rally. it just figures that these events are Hopping off the Map, and so close to my NH house, AFTER we moved to Alabama........ hahahah
     
  13. JamesRL

    JamesRL New Member

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    Nov 1, 2007
    Brampton, Ontario
    Actually Frank if your drivers license is up for renewal, you can get the enhanced license for a few bucks more and you won't need a passport. Of course I already had one before this option was available.

    One of my friends had no passport and crossed anyway on the weekend at Niagara Falls. They did delay him while they did some searches, obviously he had government picture ID in the form of his license, but in the end they let him through. Canadian customs gave him a bit of a hard time, asking about purchases he might have made in the US, but didn't do anything more.
     
  14. NH-popper

    NH-popper Boldly going camping!

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    Mar 10, 2010
    I can guarantee that if you go to the spring rally posted in PA you will meet some great people, I've met some of them already, and the others I know by communicating on the board.
     
  15. Steve A

    Steve A A bad day camping beats a great day at work!

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    Jul 9, 2010
    Good reading especially as we will be heading to the Fall Rally here in Nawth Kakalaki in a couple weeks.
     
  16. NH-popper

    NH-popper Boldly going camping!

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    Mar 10, 2010
    Did you get another PUP, Steve, or did you just have one before?
     
  17. mercman

    mercman Go Ahead, Be That Happy Camper!

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    Western MA
    I've attended many rallies over the last few years, planned a couple myself, including the first one in New England(shameless plug). I have met many people at them, have become friends with quite a few of them and always have had a good time, if not a great time.
    I think it's the combination of new campgrounds and places, meeting new people, good times and experiencing some great food that makes it special.
    We all love camping, How can you not have a good time socializing around a roaring campfire surrounded by new and old friends sharing a common interest?
    Like the saying goes...
    Where the Virtual Campfire Meets Reality

    -Chris
     
  18. benfrench

    benfrench Woodbridge, VA

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    Jun 19, 2008
    Woodbridge, VA
    We attended our first rally a couple of years ago. I was very apprehensive as I was always told don't talk to strangers and then it was out into the woods with a bunch of people I met on the internet.... [LOL] We had a great time at our first rally and eagerly joined more and more. We absolutely love the crowd. See you at Mystic.
     
  19. Steve A

    Steve A A bad day camping beats a great day at work!

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    Jul 9, 2010
    No new camper (yet), NH. I had booked to go to that rally before I had a PUP and planned on tenting then. I'll still be tenting, but I'll have the satisfaction of knowing I was once a PUP owner. LOL
     
  20. mtn_bikers

    mtn_bikers Northern NJ

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    Green Township, NJ
    NH-popper: Great write-up.

    We attended our first rally 3 years ago at French Creek (PA), when I first suggested it to Joe all he could say was "great [;{}], let's go meet your internet friends"...we had very similar reservations about meeting a bunch of people we didn't know - and being around them for an entire weekend. But as you said, it all turned out well, we had a fantastic time, met a great bunch of people, enjoyed the potluck dinner, and had fun around the fire :) We still joke around about our "internet friends", but the truth is, since that first rally we've camped with members of the portal more times then I can count - and feel that many of the friends we've made have become more like extended family then camping buddies.

    So, anyone who hasn't tried a rally yet - give it a try, you may just get hooked [;)]
     

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