This is not just a story about the big North Ranch festival that we enjoy each year but also about volunteers. This major event came about to celebrate the receiving of our deeds in year 2000. Many of the first landowners, like me, bought into Escapee Rainbow Park with its 436 deeded lots and a 107-site campground, as early as 1992. We were very excited when deed time finally came and someone threw out the idea of celebrating the occasion every year.
This requires a head someone and lots of subcommittee someones and even more someones to help draw it all together. This year a Friday evening gathering in the “Cactus Club” (our big Activity Center) included a dance with our own talented musicians playing, variety show skits where no one escapes making fools of themselves, and a brief recognition of the Rainbow Builders.
Saturday began with Veterans riding on a float in the parade. Other floats represented various winter activities like the Busy Bakers, Beaders, Linedancers, Woodcarvers, and you name it. They were dressed up and in line for the fun. The Congress Fire Department provided a truck, followed by antique and classic cars, bikes, plus antique and classy people. Our local Ham Club made sure everyone was safe and didn’t get lost (tongue in cheek here- mostly).
After that, there were exciting games like Marshmallow Golf, Bean Bag Baseball, Pie-Baking and Cake Baking Contests, and a lunch for $5 that included pulled pork, cole slaw, and brownies. They fed over 300 people. My interest was having a craft table to sell books and give out free RV Life magazines, the most recent issues and a stack of old ones. I sold a few books, had nice comments on the new novel, and wonderful conversations about Alaska, Newfoundland, and other fascinating places. Craft tables sported unique purses, jewelry, photography, custom artwork, and carvings, but the most fun was rehashing adventures with those strolling by.
Saturday night was the conclusion with a major campfire. We took our chairs, drinks, goodies, and dressed warm per instruction. Again, our own musicians, who get better every year, provided the live music for this magnificent starry desert night. Accolades to the many volunteers who took care of the outrageous number of details.
Now, let’s get back to explaining the Rainbow Builders. The roads, canals (AZ has flash floods on that rare occasion when it rains), sheds, and the small cement pads in front of them, wiring, water, sewers, etc. to the small lots, and other things I have long forgotten, were all done by the wonderful Rainbow Builder volunteers with the help and backing of their wives and others. A paid contractor oversaw all this but it was amazing what was accomplished. It continues to astound me on a daily basis what volunteers still do to keep North Ranch in good repair like the ditches, roads, parks, and general maintenance. Well, let’s just end this with a God Bless Volunteers Everywhere.
Winter in the Wilderness, the first e-book novel published by Minshall, is offered at most Internet book sites, soon available as a print edition. The fourth edition of RVing Alaska and Canada is available through Amazon.com.
At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”