WinnieBs Ridgway Rendezvous
The WinnieBs club recently sponsored a Rally at Ridgway State Park just outside of Ridgway, CO. For anyone not familiar with the group, it is the official WIT Club for Winnebago's Class B RVs including the ERA, Paseo, Revel, and Travato owners. The WinnieBs organized four rallies this year in addition to our meet up at GNR. Ridgway was the third of our four official rallies, with the last one happening in October in Cape Cod. Then in March 2019, we'll have our first-annual WinnieBs Van National Rally ('BNR') in Scottsdale, AZ!
While several of the attendees of this Colorado rally live locally, we had participants travel in from all over the country including Texas, North Carolina, California, and as far away as Massachusetts!
As a preamble to the event, a few of us -- who were all generally traveling from the same area -- took the opportunity to break up the drive by spending the night in Salida, CO. A winery which is a member of the Harvest Host program, was gracious enough to allow four vans from our group to overnight at their facility. We enjoyed great wine, tasty food, and the chance to get to know each other more before the big event officially kicked off. The highlight of the evening was definitely the beautiful sunset we were treated to from the winery's front patio. (Read my tips for wine-loving RVers here).
A Long Weekend of Van Life Fun!
On a sunny and warm Thursday evening, twenty-one vans rolled into Dakota Terraces Campground for a weekend of comradery. We started out the rally with a pot luck dinner -- a common occurrence with this group. It was a great time to catch up with friends who we've met in our travels as well as make new ones.
One of the best parts of being a Class B RV owner is that you can just pick up and go, and we took full advantage of this throughout the weekend. Friday was Ridgway day -- which is a scenic town at the edge of the San Juan mountain range. Many of us trekked the eight miles into the town of Ridgway in our rigs. Ridgway has a great farmer's market every Friday. You would be surprised by the number and variety of stalls given the size of this small community.
After picking up some goodies, we all headed over to Eatery 66 -- just about the only place in town big enough to hold our group! Afterward people explored the shops and landmarks of this historic community founded in 1891. We ended the evening back at the campground with Trivia night and a 50/50 raffle (another WinnieB tradition). As the host of the event, I surprised everyone with a special treat, a full Bloody Mary bar consisting of 100% Colorado ingredients.
Saturday, we ventured out a bit further to the town of Ouray, about 30 minutes from the campground. Ouray, established in 1184, was originally a mining community during both the silver and gold rushes, but now is considered the ice-climbing capital of the U.S. While heading to lunch, we ran into fellow Travato owners visiting Colorado from Florida and invited them to join us for lunch at Brickhouse 737.
After lunch, we divided and explored the town. Some of the group explored this quaint city including its shops and hot springs. Others were a bit more adventurous and joined the San Juan Jeep Tour company for a guided ride.
The Jeep tour ascended up Governor Basin Trail over 12,000 feet to the site of the old Virginius Mine. On the way back down, we even spotted a Revel in the wild and waived to them like crazy people. We finished our day in Ouray with a cold beverage at Ouray Brewery, famous for the views from their rooftop deck.
Upon returning to the campground that night, we enjoyed outdoor movie night -- a staple of the Wine-o-bago's travels (that's what I named my RV). Someone had picked up the movie True Grit, featuring John Wayne. Many of the scenes from this movie were actually filmed in Ridgway, CO. The group made somewhat of a game out of picking out various spots we had seen throughout the weekend, including the town square where we had attended the farmer's market on the previous day.
Sunday was a relaxing day. Many of the group took the opportunity to make the rounds around our loop and check out each other's rigs. While Winnebago does a great job in outfitting these tiniest of RVs with everything you might need, that does not stop this creative group from coming up with modifications and tweaks to make things more personal or functional. One of the big hits of the tours was the custom solar installation done by one of our members. It did require a little creativity to view his masterpiece .... climbing atop the picnic table for a better view.
Many packed up on Sunday to scatter back across the country while others stayed another day or two to enjoy the changing Aspens and the scenic mountain vistas.
With almost perfect weather, the changing Aspen leaves, and now thirty plus lifelong friends, I will always remember Ridgway State Park fondly. Cheers until next time, WinnieBs!
Looking for your own RVing group? Check out Winnebago's WIT Club for more information on the WinnieBs and other groups that meet up regularly across the country. And if you are a campervan owner, don't forget to check out the WinnieBs Van National Rally ('BNR') in Scottsdale, AZ, from March 21-24, 2019 -tickets are sold out at this time, but get your name on the waiting list to be part of this first-ever national Winnebago van rally.