May 292009

Escapade is over, and are we tired! Standing around in a vending booth for eight hours a day may not seem like hard work, but believe me, it takes its toll. Poor Miss Terry has it much worse than me, because she gets stuck in the booth most of the time while I’m off visiting with the other vendors, trying to drum up advertising business and support for our own Gypsy Gathering rallies.

In terms of sales, this was our absolute worst Escapade ever. We had better sales at our very first Escapade, back when nobody knew us and the only things we had to sell were our Guide to Free Campgrounds and subscriptions to the Gypsy Journal.

Most of the other vendors I talked to were also reporting dismal sales. Part of that no doubt is because of the economy, but a lot had to do with the terrible weather and the fact that attendees were parked a long distance from the vendor building and had to either wade through the mud to get here, or wait for the open golf carts or the handful of minivans they were using for shuttle trams.

Having put on quite a few rallies ourselves, we know that you can’t control the weather, but everyone seemed to agree that the logistics of getting people transported around the fairgrounds could have been handled better.

I think the only folks who made any real money at this Escapade were the local tow truck drivers, who have been busy for three days pulling people out of the mud. Our friends Ron and Brenda Speidel came over for a couple of days from St. Francois State Park, where they have been hosting, and once we closed our vendor booth down yesterday, we drove around watching the action. It took a while to get this beautiful Allegro Phaeton out of its parking place, but the tow truck driver really knew his business, and he got the job done, then moved on to the next stuck rig.

Even though the Escapade was a bust financially, we did have a great time seeing so many friends we have not crossed paths with in a long time. RVers love to eat, and we had dinner out every night with one group of friends or another. I think I put on at least five extra pounds this past week!

From here, we had planned to go to Albert Lea, Minnesota for an FMCA rally. But, after looking at the forecast attendance numbers, and knowing how poorly past FMCA area rallies have been for us, we have decided that driving several hundred miles north and spending several hundred dollars to hopefully break even just doesn’t make sense. So instead we are going to wander over toward Mark Twain Lake, near Hannibal, Missouri for a while, and then head further east to vend at the Heartland Owners Rally in Goshen, Indiana in early June. By the time we get that rally behind us, we’ll be ready to get the next issue of the Gypsy Journal printed and mailed out.

Thought For The Day – Borrow money from pessimists – they don’t expect it back.

Register Now For Our Ohio Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  13 Responses to “Escapade Was A Bust”

  1. Hey Nick

    Two items:

    1) Now that you didn’t make a profit or get rich at Escapade, do you realize that you are now entitled to go buy a newer motorhome? You are. I checked with a famous but anonymous RV financial expert.

    2) Can you explain what this quote from yesterday’s blog means:

    “…when Lexa is not busy doing acrobatics and back flips from lawn chairs.”

  2. Hi Nick & Terri
    Great to finally meet you.
    I think we were the first one to be pulled out of the mud.
    As fsr as the Albert Lea rally, we went to the Midwest rally in Iowa a couple years ago and it was a better experience as far as we were concerned. There were 3000+ motorhomes, more venders the Sedalia.
    We are not going to Albert Lea, as we only have so much Vacation and wanted to try an Escapee rally.

    Tom & Lynn
    Currently at Country Roads

  3. When you get to Hannibal, MO, give our mutual friends a hug from us:-) Good choice to skip the next rally. We finally had to do that in our vending business. Some venues we really enjoyed, but the money just wasn’t there. Tough to do sometimes.

    Have a great trip to MO.

  4. Nick,
    Too bad you are not going to Albert Lee— Nancy and I will be there, and hoped we would see you there too!!

  5. George,
    On item #2 above, I could tell you, but then Lexa would have to kill me. Let’s just say that I’m not the only klutz in the RV world.

  6. Give Smokey and Pam big hugs from us too as well as Buster and Bailey.


  7. I enjoy following your blog & am still trying to learn from experiences of others before my wife & I buy our first rig & hit the road.

    I thought the Escapees were one of the more sophisticated & knowledgeable RV groups & was recently told that an Escapade was a valuable place to learn about RVing, but do you know any of the reasons why the full-timers insisted on leaving when it was so muddy and why the Escapade planners didn’t know what would happen to a grassy field when we get our spring rains in Missouri?

    Based on your postings for this Escapade & the recent New Mexico rally, I am thinking that rallies are to be avoided for a new RVer since it seems to me the planning for them is questionable. I would think they would plan for rain & cold weather and then be ecstatic when the sun shines & it is warm.

  8. We’re headed to that area on Monday. Right now we are at the Excel Family Reuion at Smith Center, Kansas. There are 325 coaches here.

  9. The Escapade Boot Camp is a great learning experince for newbies, as will be the RVSEF clinic in Harrisburg, PA in September. We also try to include a lot of educational seminars at our Gypsy Journal rallies for all RVers from newbies to veterans.

  10. Can anyone stop in at the Heartland Rally in Goshen? We plan on going full time soon. Trying to sell house and get a class A, so we are interested in everything relating to R V’s. We were at the Life on Wheels Conf. in Sept. 2008 and now we are just playing the waiting game. Anyways we live in Elkhart, In and could run over to Goshen for the day. Just wondering. Thanks Linda

  11. Linda,
    I’m sure if you stopped over, they woudl be happy to welcome you, and you can see some of the rigs on display. Heartland makes a great product, which is why in our ten years of publishing the Gypsy Journal, they are the only manufacturer whom we have accepted advertising from.
    Nick Russell

  12. Nick, Is it feaseable for rally planners to make arrangements for tow trucks rather than individuals getting scalped ? !

    Seems to me it could be part of the rain contingency planning.

    Just a thought .

    Thanks for your efforts .

  13. Linda,

    While the Heartland Owners Rally is a rally of Heartland product owners, please consider stopping by the ECCC building Thursday and Friday (June 11-12) to set in on any seminars/presentations, visit the vendors we’ll have their and check-out the display coaches we’ll have there (all towables – no motorized units).

    Jim Beletti
    Heartland RVs, LLC

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