Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Wings and Wheels" Rally Virginia Beach

Just got word from Stevie Giffin about the rally she and Hank are planning for us, and as we all know, Stevie and Hank do great rallys.

Click here to open Stevie's announcement. Note that at the top right of the page you can download it to your computer by clicking the down arrow: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5a14p0PXviiUHdIZ05ubnA5OWc/view?usp=sharing

You can take care of your rally fee with PayPal below:

Member Status

Monday, March 20, 2017

Way Down South

Here is a picture of Skip and Marilyn Saunders visiting their 7th continent: Antartica - forwarded to us by Gerry Conway:

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Rally Report - Anchor Down RV Resort and Kentucky Horse Park

We all had a great time at our rally last week. It all started off with a pre-rally at the new Anchor Down RV Resort in Dandridge TN. It's  just west of  Sevierville TN but quiet and so beautiful there. Our Rally Coordinator Charles McGairty had recommended this new place and we all had a wonderful stay. Most of us were in the upper section with the best views.  These stone fireplaces were at each spot.

 On the pre-rally were Sanders, Bordes, Cassingham, Conway, and Loftfields. 

​The five of we SECCers were joined by 18 Nor'Easters who had caravanned down to join us before 
heading up to Lexington. It was hard to leave such a peaceful place. 

The Kentucky Horse Park Rally was a joint SECC rally with CCI. Our own Velma & Hollis Williams' 
permanent home is in Lexington and Velma headed up the organizing of this amazing rally. Velma 
was really enjoying herself. She retired this year.. once again...and says some of these places she 
had never visited even though she grew up in Lexington. 

​We were able to fit in a social hour for SECC. We had 18 coaches at the rally and  two
 who could not make it. ​Buddy and Ann Bordes have an outdoor TV so it was a great place
 to get together and still allow the football fans to follow their game. By the way, that lady 
sitting on the left with the curly blond hair is Marta. Her hair has grown back in curly!
We were kept busy with great tours: a local winery with 
​lunch & ​
entertainment, Keeneland Race 
track, Shaker Village, a stud farm, 
​downtown Lexington, a drive along country roads with the 
iconic stone fences, and ​
Buffalo Trace bourbon brewery
 the oldest one in the country 
d back in the 1700s.
One of the best tours was the Toyota manufacturing plant, their largest at over 1300 acres, the size of 156 football fields. We were glad we were driven around in a tram. 
It produces 2,000 cars a day. We were not allowed to take any photos. Could not even take a cell phone into the plant. It was incredibly enormous and busy all around and overhead. ​They aren't just an assembly plant like most car plants are now. They even do 
​their own ​
The stud farm visit was fascinating. It is a serious business. This stallion, Shackelford, ​
was brought out for us to see fairly close. Stallions are very hard to handle and he was 
constantly trying to bite his handler. Shackelford commands a $20,000 stud fee and he 
must perform 3-5 times a day
 almost every day of the year. However, they are only paid 
once each foal is born strong and healthy. That is only around 60% of the births.

​We lunched at Buffalo Trace Brewery & the toured the buildings. ​It was a good thing we came
 in 3 buses as there were whole cases of bourbon and their new Bourbon cream that came home 
with the members. 

​An SECC rally would not be complete without dancing with Chris. The last evening we had some 
light bluegrass ​entertainment and Chris could not help himself. He was right up on the dance floor 
motioning members to join 
him. Last time we saw Chris his legs were giving him a bad time, but 
his new braces are making a big difference.
​ It was such a nice end to our rally.

Click for pics from the rallys: https://goo.gl/photos/tQyeQDKYQ1stFgiT9

And thank you as well to CCI Rally Coordinator & SECC member Tammy Toalson.​

Janet Sanders, President
Southeast Country Coachers

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Pre-Rally Announcement

CCI Lexington Kentucky Horse Park PreRally
October 2, 2016-October 5, 2016
Anchor Down RV Resort
Dandridge, TN
The CC Nor’Easters and the SECC Clubs welcome you to a great time at a great location. The
Anchor Down RV Resort is an exceptional facility set near the beautiful Smoky Mountains on
the shores of sparkling Douglas Lake. The resort is near the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area as
well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are plenty of attractions to keep you
and your friends busy and entertained.
Arrival is October 2 and departure on October 5. The drive to the Kentucky Horse Park for the
CCI Rally is a short 200 miles. The CCI Kentucky Horse Park Rally starts on October 6th so we
will be one day early.
Call Anchor down to make your reservations today. http://www.anchordownrvresort.com/

We look forward to seeing you.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Galax Rally Video

Gerry and Bonnie did a marvelous job planning, organizing and executing the Galax Rally. The food was good and the caterer very pleasant, so I started the video with them. The day in Mt. Airy was interesting and fun as we recalled watching the Andy Griffith Show in the 60's and got a tour of the North Carolina Granite Corporation and Andy Griffith's boyhood home all in a Mayberry patrol car.

Irene and I are bluegrass fans and had visited the Rex Theater before, but the show there Friday Night was great, and I am so glad that I captured our most enthusiastic flat foot dancers on video: Bonnie, Mary Lou, and Lenny. Hard to tell which one was the instigator. I was not caught on video dancing, so I deny any such accusations, and my probity remains intact. My hat is off to Gerry for joining in on the dance floor.

Bonnie mentioned in the pre-rally interview how much she loved the people of the area. I can certainly see why after seeing how much they love their particular version of mountain music and dancing. The 88 year old lady you will see dancing in the video as well as the young boy are good examples of that zeal. The dancing lady is actually from Jacksonville, FL and has a house in Fries. She and her husband traveled in a 36 ft. diesel pusher for many years. The last 12 years he was blind and she did the driving.

If I have any fellow train fans out there who would like to join me in being sentimental about the demise of the Fries train that used to bring cotton to the now defunct Fries textile mill, here is a poem about the train that hangs in the Fries theater:

Hope you enjoy the video and the music. Be sure to play full screen:

Play Video


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Member Spotlight - Gerry and Bonnie Keen

By George Harper

Gerry and Bonnie will soon welcome us as hosts for the Galax, VA, rally May 18-22. Bonnie is actually a native of the area as she grew up in Boonville, NC, only 38 miles SSE of Galax. Her family still has a "mountain home" near Galax and she has fond memories of spending time there. Her father's family were tobacco farmers. One of the places Gerry and Bonnie enjoy traveling to is Simcoe ON, Canada because during the depression of the 30's Bonnie's mother’s family moved there along with many other tobacco farmers to find work in Canada's newly developed tobacco farms. They were welcome advisers because they knew how to cure tobacco.

At their mountain home near Galax 

At their Lake Norman home near Charlotte

Gerry is also a native North Carolinian, growing up in Wilson, NC. Gerry and Bonnie met in Winston Salem and lived there for 18 years. Bonnie and her cousin were looking for a place to live and the manager of an apartment complex told them about two apartments that were available. The manager said one of the apartments had two guys living on one side, and three guys on the other. Bonnie quickly replied, "We'll take that one." Sure enough it turned out that Gerry was destined to become her special one.

While living in Winston Salem, Bonnie worked in accounting for L'Eggs Hosiery, but now she does volunteer work. She prepares tax returns for AARP, and works with Meals on Wheels. She also volunteers with her church, but one of her favorite things to do is being with her grand kids. The Keens have two sons. Scott and Nicole have Bonson and Grace and they live in nearby Denver, NC. Scott is a pilot for American Airlines. Son Paul and Audrie have Christopher and Gracie. Both Scott and Paul are pilots like their dad.

Bonnie with grandson Bonson

Gerry grew up around airplanes as his dad had two planes, the last being a Taylorcraft. Gerry didn't take a straight line into the aviation industry though. He began working in the financial industry with GMAC in Rocky Mount NC in the mid sixties. However, working in finance could not compete with the beautiful Martin 404 passenger planes he would frequently see at the airport. "I loved the sound of the engines" Gerry says. He was hooked. That's when he decided he wanted to be a pilot.

The Piston and Propeller Era:

A Martin 404 like the ones that Inspired Gerry to become a Pilot

He took some pilot training in Rocky Mount, but then trained in St. Petersburg/Clearwater, FL  winding up with a multiple engine rating and was certified to teach flying and instrument rating. He then went back to Rocky Mount and took an entry job as a flight and instrument instructor. His career really took off when he was hired by Piedmont Airlines where he initially flew the Fairchild FH-227 and the Nihon YS-11 turboprops of that era. Later in his career he flew Boeing 727's, 737's, and 757's. At the end of his career he was flying the Boeing 767 on the trans-Atlantic route to London, Paris, Frankfort, and Madrid.

Piedmont Airlines merged into US Air in 1989 and  Gerry retired from US Airways is 1999.

Turboprop Era of Gerry's early career with Piedmont:

Fairchild FH-227

Nihon YS-11

The Jet Age:

Captain Keen and 727 at Tri Cities Airport NC, c. 1979

Boeing 727 Cockpit Crew with Gerry in the Left Seat, c. 1988

Last Flight:

A Poignant Moment in London as Gerry Prepares to Make his Last Flight in the 767, c. 1999

Now that they are retired Gerry and Bonnie are enjoying a lot of time RVing, but their RV career began in the early nineties. They had a van and attended motorcycle races. The next step came through a friend of Gerry's whose father lived in Anchorage, AK. He set up an itinerary for them to tour Alaska, and they rented a Class-C. It was a great trip that caused them to want to buy their own Class-C in 1997. Through the years they progressed through Class-A, Class-A diesel, and then finally to Country Coach.

Gerry and Bonnie are looking forward to showing us the mountain area that is so special to them. They want to share the beauty of the area, the music, and the culture, as well as the many activities.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Rally Pics/Feature Article

Dear SECC Members

Please see the Feature Article about the Bowens and their bus conversion in the post below.
Also, view my photos from the Orange Beach rally Orange Beach Rally Photos