Saturday, October 4, 2014

SMART National Muster, Hemet CA, Sept. 20-25, 2014

 September 20, 2014
After getting an early start, we finally arrived at the Golden Village RV Resort in Hemet, CA.  The resort is beautiful, with a great pool and clubhouse, but our site is all gravel and asphalt.  The dogs are looking for grass in vain.    We had a nice happy hour with other SE Regionals, the Pinettes and the Shields, before heading out to Marie Callendar's for a great dinner.
The pool at Golden Village
September 21, 2014
Day 1 of the SMART National Muster.   I spent time at the beautiful pool while Steve had the RV washed and waxed.  The opening ceremonies took place at 4:30, followed by happy hour and dinner.  The evening's entertainment was a hypnotist, James Kellogg, who was very good and very funny.  Steve and I got lucky at the door prize drawings, winning 2 prizes...both containing wine!
Great door prizes.

September 22, 2014
Day 2 of the SMART National Muster, but for Steve and me it was DANCING WITH THE STARS DAY!  We left about 11 o'clock for the 102 mile drive into Hollywood because our tickets said we had to be there by 3 p.m. and we wanted to allow ourselves plenty of time to get there.  We arrived and found the parking garage ($19)  by 1 PM, and wanted to check out the location before eating lunch.  Imagine our surprise when we rounded the corner and saw the long line of people stretching from the gate to the studio for at least a  block.   Steve got in line while I went to check out the situation, and I found that this was indeed the line for DWTS.  Naturally, our lunch plans fell by the wayside, and we stayed in line.

A little way down the line there was a stand that rented lawn chairs ($10 each) and would order food for you.   I ordered a burger for Steve and a quesadilla for me ($21) and a diet coke ($3) because no food would be allowed in the studio.  Unfortunately, neither of us did well with the food, and most of it went into the trash.  So, we stood in line until almost 4 PM, with a couple of exciting moments when our tickets were checked and a number written on them.  We did meet some interesting people in line;  one lady had flown in that morning from Omaha, NE and would fly back home the next morning at 6:45!  The people watching was also very good, but the standing was tiring.

Finally they let us into the studio gate and sent us through security where we were searched and scanned.  Those who had brought cell phones and cameras had to check them in (we had left ours in the car).  Then we waited almost another hour outside the studio.

When we finally entered the studio, we climbed some steep steps up to the second balcony where we watched the show from along the rail.  Steve found a place between 2 spotlights where we had an excellent view of the stage.  We were behind the judges and opposite the band.  There were chairs for us to sit in, but you could not see the stage from them, so we stood for almost the whole two hours.
Great tickets!
Once the show got started, there was non-stop excitement and entertainment.  It was wonderful to see the dancers without having to rely on the camera angles, and the judges were entertaining all the time.
The set changes were just amazing!!  What those guys could do in 3 minutes or less was beyond belief!  Seeing this show was absolutely awesome.   I could almost have forgotten all the hassle of standing  in line so long if my foot had not hurt so bad.  Steve said the wait proved how lucky he was to have two new knees.  Anyway, I would not have traded seeing this show for anything.  However, I doubt that Steve would say the same.

Leaving the studio, we were glad that we had not brought our cell phones as we did not have to wait in the LONG lines to retrieve them before our two hour ride back to the campground.

September 23, 2014
Day 3 of the SMART National Muster.  After breakfast and visiting the various vendors, we caught up on some chores around the RV.     Then the girls attended the Ladies Luncheon and fashion show, and the guys went to the men's Hot Dog and Beer Lunch, followed by a short shopping trip in Hemet.  After dinner, and "The Love & Marriage Game" the Pinettes won a jug of maple  syrup as a door prize.  It seems that people from Vermont do not eat maple syrup from Michigan so they gave it to me since I am less discriminating.   Later we visited with friends back at the rig.
The Michigan syrup give-a-way.  
September 24, 2014
Day 4 of the SMART National Muster.  After breakfast, I attended a craft class where I enjoyed learning to make a card holder.  We attended a meeting, then joined friends for lunch at Long John Silver's in town.   Steve went to another meeting in the afternoon, while Bonnie, Larry, and I sorted and boxed up a very impressive amount of school supplies that will be donated to two schools at Camp Pendleton, and some lap robes for wounded warriors  at the Camp Pendleton hospital.   Later we had  a pleasant evening and dinner with friends.  Please notice that Frank Pinette broke a front tooth on his way to California and has taken no end of teasing about his snaggletoothed smile with good humor.
"Festus"  and Becky with Larry photobombing.  
September 25, 2014

I woke up this morning to the sorrow of learning that my much loved  cousin, Asa Lassiter, Jr. (Sonny) has passed away in North Carolina.  I feel so helpless to be so far from my family at this sad time, and I need to be with them for my own peace and comfort, so I will fly there from San Diego sometime tomorrow.

Representing the SE Region.  
After the general membership meeting this morning, Becky, Bonnie, and I treated ourselves to lunch at Los Vaquero's Mexican Grill while the guys revisited Long John Silver's.
East Coast girls in California.

Installation of officers for 2015
Closing ceremonies were followed by some fun entertainment by The Bakers, an older couple (he is 89) who certainly know how to get the audience involved!


The Southwest Region can be very proud of hosting such an excellent muster.   Good food, good entertainment, good vendors, great people, and lots of fun!   Now let's get ready for the 2015 National Muster in Perry, GA, --Steve Colt, Muster Master.   

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