Centennial National Rally in Chicago
June 2005

From Wagon Masters George and Jerrilynne

Dear Rotarian RVers,

In just three days it will be a month since we arrived at Soldier Field to begin our "great adventure" with holding a rally in a blacktopped parking lot in downtown Chicago. Jerri and my efforts to unwind were somewhat stifled courtesy of the arrival of a good friend from Malmo, Sweden just two days after the end of the convention. We put him on the airplane today; so my thoughts are now returning to the rehashing of our 2005 Rally, and we are both starting toslow down.

First of all, I want to offer our thanks to some special people. In my view, it would have been an impossible task to accomplish what we did without the advise, assistance, encouragement, and expertise of Ken and Laura Calderwood. Laura did an absolutely wonderful job as registrar and both she and Ken worked tirelessly hosting the Continental Breakfasts and the Happy Hour gatherings even after the Rally ended. Next, I want to express Jerri and my great appreciation for the many e-mails, cards and personal comments thanking us for a job well done. It was immenselygratifying considering that not everything worked out as originally planned. Lastly, to all of you who just came over and offered your assistance in performing any task that needed to be done, I wish to commend you for yourgreat Rotary spirit and your gratefully accepted assistance.

Ken and I have had a chance to discuss the rally, and we both agree that most everything worked out splendidly well. I know for a fact that there were numerous folks who paid a whole lot of money for hotel rooms then subsequently envied our splendid location and our cozy campground. For the first time at an International Convention, the RV Fellowship was blatantly obvious to most Convention attendees. I believe that this may have been a factor in stimulating interest in our Fellowship and enhancing new membership applications at the Convention.

There were a couple of unforeseen glitches which worked out to our advantage in the long run. Originally we had planned to have our Continental Breakfasts and Happy Hours at the Gate 1 Stadium entrance. It would have entailed a substantial walk in both directions for Rally goers. A conflict in stadium scheduling precluded our use of the Gate 1 area and resulted in having tables brought to our campsite for our gatherings and a much a more appropriate location being provided for our Pot Luck Dinner and our Break Away Breakfast. We were extremely fortunate to obtain "The King N Trio" who provided an absolutely delightful evening of entertainment which was enjoyed by all. Their cost to the RV Fellowship was the chance to enjoy the Pot Luck Dinner with us! Our Welcome Dinner Chicken Fry would not have been nearly as much fun withoutPresident Kevin Meade and his contingent from the Chicago Near South Rotary Club who did a yeoman's job cooking our chicken on the awesome smoker that Jerri and I found in Rockford, IL. Charcoal grills that were available in Chicago were vastly more expensive, and would not have worked nearly as well. George's Special Recipe beans along with Sam's Club potato salad and Chicago's own "Sweet Baby Rae" barbeque sauce were enjoyed in abundance. The appearance of the representatives of the Chicago Convention and Tourist Bureau to welcome our group to Chicago and provide suggestions for a successful visit was most appreciated.

Kohler did an outstanding job of providing us with more than ample electricity. Of course it was not overlooked by anyone, that the weather cooperated, and I don't believe that a single air conditioner was turned on until Tuesday or Wednesday. The original estimate of fuel use was throwninto a cocked hat and the consequence will be a refund for all who paid for electricity.

I believe that a better job could have been done by the folks at Soldier Field in safeguarding the water hose where it crossed the highway. If I had known ahead of time what we would be facing, I would have built a wooden ramp to protect the hose. I asked the management to do this but they failed to follow through.

All in all, I received wonderful cooperation from the Soldier Field people as well as the manager of the parking lot. Several campers were allowed to stay on through Friday at no extra cost. I was able to negotiate that with no indication of objection. Our figures on site occupation and amounts paid were accepted without question by the Soldier Field management, and we and they both seemed to be satisfied with the final figures.

It was particularly gratifying to me that there were no incidents of accident or injury. We were certainly well covered for that eventuality by the mandatory insurance, and both Kohler and Soldier Field were happy with the insurance policy that we provided. It was an unexpected and unanticipated expense, but we were adequately prepared with our charges to cover the cost.

Jerri and I worked very hard to make the very best of what originally appeared to be a very bad situation. I think that the final result was to everyone's liking, and I find that to be very gratifying. My only disappointment is that I would have liked to see more of our members taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity of attending the Spectacular Centennial Convention of Rotary International as well as enjoying the great friendship and fellowship of fellow Rotarian RVers in the mix. I am convinced that those of you who attended had a great time. I know that Jerri and I did.

Yours in Rotary Fellowship,
George and Jerrilynne Partlo, Wagonmasters,

Al-Briegers-Coach-in-the-Parade
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Al Brieger's Coach in the Parade

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RV parking

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Chow Line Thursday Eve

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Cooks get Pres Ken's thanks

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Jim's pictures on way to Dinner Cruise

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Ken and George at the Generator

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Jim shooting en route

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Pres Ken addresses the crowd

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Speakers table view on Thursday

 
 
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