Fall 2014 Gathering, Milford, Michigan

September 25, 26, 27, 28

This event is  turning into weeklong carnival!  Kim and I rolled into Camp Dearborn Thursday just before noon, thinking we’d gotten an early start on the weekends fun, only to find the park at least half full of TCT revelers!  We usually arrive too late to participate in the Thursday dinner, arriving late in the afternoon, but this year we were ready.  I took Wednesday off to get the trailer packed, the lawn mowed, and the truck washed, we had our contribution to the desert pot luck ready, and our party clothes packed.  We were early for us, but not early for the weekend.

We enjoyed a beautiful sunny early fall day drive over to the east side of the state, quickly landed and were treated to brunch by Steve Brown and Sandy Mastin at the big grey Vagabond, who brought enough food to feed the entire camp.  Thanks guys!  We barely had time to let brunch settle and get ready for the Thursday afternoon pulled pork barbecue, and once again the caterer, the usual great crew Forrest and Jeri have, was first rate.   TCT members brought desert “Pot Luck”, and  there was plenty of dessert for that night, Friday morning breakfast, Fridays dinner, and Saturday mid day snacking!  We tried our best, but could only sample two or three pieces of the pie brought by Dale and Kathleen…

Many new members this fall were welcomed by Forrest before dinner. The handshake, song,  and password were shared and sworn to secrecy (we could tell you what it is, but we’d have to kill you…).  After dinner Al Hesselbart presented a brief history of the RV world as we know it, with a great powerpoint presentation and informative commentary about some rare and unusual rigs, and things we didn’t know about the common ones.  Thanks for sharing Al.

Thursday evening was time for campfires, renewing old friendships and making new ones under the stars.  It was the first evening of an entire weekend of beautiful Michigan fall weather.  We visited several campsites, and saw lots of our friends doing the same thing, going from campfire to campfire to visit and catch up on all the summers activities with families, friends, and summer stories.  And maybe share a libation or two, and toast our friends who couldn’t be with us.

Friday morning Forrest and Jeri, Terry and Michelle were up before the sun to fix us coffee and get the caterers going on another great breakfast.  After that a walk around the camp to browse the flea-market bargains and chat with folks we hadn’t had a chance to talk too yet.  I was lucky to find another vintage work shirt with someone else’s name on it (I’m “Smitty” now), and thanks Gene for bringing my new wide whitewalls, and taking a third party, post-dated check for them!  Now I’ll probably have to buy a car with a Chevy bolt pattern to put them on…  It looked like we all had fun trading junk back and forth!

Mike Green, TCT member and RV manufacturer, held an early afternoon seminar on electricity and water, the two systems in our elderly rigs that frighten and intimidate home builders the most.  Mike did a great job striking fear in our hearts related to our own work, and probably unknowingly increased his work load substantially, as we will ALL now bring all those jobs to him.  At the very least, we’ll all be calling him with questions, not just Ron and and I!

In the afternoon Terry and Michelle arranged for a local canoe livery to provide a canoe or kayak paddle down the Huron river through Milford.  Kim and I and participated, along with 20 or so others, and it was a beautiful, easy paddle down the river.  We saw many

herons, a couple of white egrets, lots of turtles sunning themselves on branches, and Terry Bone saw enough bass in the river to lament not bring his fishing gear.  It was an unexpected treat to paddle down the beautiful Huron river through the picturesque town.  Thanks Terry for thinking of this.

After dinner, Bugs Bedow and the Cool Stuff Band blew our minds, and our wigs off, at the “Wig out With Bugs” party.  Holy Cow, the band rocked the tent with their own brand of blues/rock/soul fusion, driven by Bugs and his bad to the bone trombone.  His sister joined the band and did an impromptu version of “Hit the Road Jack” with vocalist Marvin that brought down the house.  To say it’s a treat to listen this group at the TCT gatherings is an understatement.  During one of the bands breaks, TCT cancer survivors gathered for a group photo.  Wigs off to these folks, we’re all in awe of your courage and strength.  Thanks to Bugs and the band for coming out to Camp Dearborn to have some fun with our little band of trailerites, you made our night GREAT!

Saturday, once again the coffee was ready at 8 (or earlier, that’s as early as I got up for it!), the donuts were there for the glucose buzz in order to ready everyone for the open house.  This year, Kim and I left the Spartan unattended and took the opportunity to visit and view other trailers.  I don’t know the numbers, but it certainly looked like a fair number of people came out to see the trailers and enjoy the day.  The park was pretty full of people strolling around taking in the sights.  Thanks to Delores and Brian for the little Spartan snow-globe when we visited you!  It’s so much fun to see what everyone else is doing with their projects, the level of craftsmanship and the diversity is amazing and inspiring.  We came away with lots of ideas and inspiration, thank you all for sharing your vision.

Saturday evening I took my first swim in the pond, and later Kim and I played a couple rousing games of “Yard Scrabble” with Jake and Tami Moomey and their beautiful daughters, who handed us our hats three games in a row.  Note to self, DO NOT OVEREAT before playing yard games with an 8 year old!  You guys need to market that game, it’s a riot, even if I am still out of breath…

In the evening, Bingo for Door Prizes was a new game for the group, and was lots of fun.  Lots of great prizes, a couple of pretty funny “white elephant” gags, and class clowns (Baron LeBlanc and myself) performed an encore performance of the skit Baron’s wife Terri found tucked in a used book she’d bought.  I hope everyone enjoyed hearing it as much as we did reading it.

Sunday morning saw some folks packing up and leaving for home, and others of our group who didn’t have so far to drive home having a lazy morning.  Pat and Joan invited us to join them for a bike ride, and we went for a beautiful ride around Kensington lake on the bike path, accompanied by several thousand (I’m not exaggerating) walkers participating in a charity walk.  Happily, we were early enough to get around the first wave and had a great ride.  It’s an eight mile ride on the paved path around the lake, and 4 miles each way to the lake from camp.  The bike path is newly connected to Camp Dearborn, no longer requiring flirting with death to ride down GM road to get on the path.  Another first for us, we’d been on the bike path but only to ride into Milford before.  Thanks for including us.

Sunday night there were still several of us there, campfire wood was scavenged and Kirk Olmsted, who’d never built a campfire before, got his merit badge for pyromania!  We had a campfire you could see from space!

From Kim and I, and all of us around the fire,  a heartfelt thanks to the Bone family, and to all of our TCT family, who work so hard so we can come and have such fun.  Thank you all, and see you in the spring!

Brian McCool

AKA “Jim”






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