- 1,000+ RVers enjoyed a week of community and education at 61st Escapees RV Club Escapade
- Local musicians entertain hundreds of RVers during week-long event
- Though turnout is the lowest of recent years, Escapade proved worthwhile for many attendees
Escapees RV Club, one of the oldest RV clubs in North America, hosted their 61st Escapade in Lebanon, Tennessee last week. With 489 RVs and more than 1000 RVers in attendance, turnout was the lowest it’s been in recent years. Many members cited elevated fuel prices and record-high temperature forecasts as their primary reasons for canceling or not attending this year. These factors didn’t stop those who attended from having a great time sharing and celebrating the RV lifestyle.
When asked what made this Escapade unique compared to past events, co-director Jean Mathes stated “It was great that we’re able to get some really good entertainment, some awesome bands with high energy. Most of them were from the local area. It was really fun to have them, and people really enjoyed it.”
Live entertainment included Charlotte Pike from Nashville, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys from eastern Tennessee, Charlie’s Bad Habit from Franklin, and Cornfield Mafia from Danville, Indiana, in addition to the club’s annual talent show, Escapade’s Got Talent. Each band brought their own flair to the event, offering everything from original country music and bluegrass to 70s-90s covers, to Americana, and had attendees dancing in the aisle.
When asked about their experience, first-timers Pete and Maureen Crisman shared “It was our first Escapade and we did it all! From Boot Camp to the extra day of the Nashville HOP. We had a great time and learned so much. Now back to sell our home and go full time with more confidence and more friends.” The Crismans weren’t the only ones to leave with more RVing friends. Daily socials and happy hours hosted by both fellow attendees and companies like Winnebago and RV Country offered plenty of drinks and snacks and a friendly environment in which RVers could mingle and get to know one another. RV Country’s daily happy hours included RV tours of the many models available for purchase at the event. Winnebago’s team of planners and designers brought several new and prototype RVs for exploration and feedback, learning from participants what kinds of features they enjoy in their RVs as well as testing ideas for future designs.
As the Crimans mentioned, the club’s optional HOP events following Escapade offered more opportunities to explore the local area with RVing friends. Organized by the club’s HOP director, the two post-Escapade HOPs encouraged attendees to get more familiar with the area and its history. Friday, attendees headed into Nashville to explore the local flavor including tours and tastings, while Saturday, they were guided through the area’s Civil War history. The club offers excursions like this after each Escapade, encouraging those traveling to the rally from around North America to learn more about the host area’s local culture and history.
Glenn Puckett, another first-time Escapade attendee, capitalized on the opportunity to learn from industry experts and fellow RVers through the 60+ seminars available to attendees. “This was my first Escapade. My goal was to meet like-minded people, to get a feel for how they are working their way through this life. And to start learning the technologies everyone is using to make this work better. The results were much better than expected.” Some of the more popular topics this year included mobile connectivity, lithium power systems, towing technology, the future of generator-less RVs, fire and life safety, and more. Discussion panels centered around boondocking and full-time RVing are always a hit with attendees, and this year expanded to include a discussion of volunteer opportunities that are ideal for traveling RVers. For additional questions before and after seminars, attendees spent a lot of time in the Escapade market, talking with vendors and representatives about their products and services.
It’s always sad when the week comes to an end, but many take the beloved “see you down the road” literally. Several clusters of attendees made plans with RV friends to meet up again and again as they head to their next destination, whether that’s a home base or their next adventure. This year was no different as attendees departed to nearby RV parks, taking advantage of their eastern location to continue their exploration of the East Coast.
With the club’s next Escapade coming quickly in March 2023, “down the road” isn’t very far away, either! Escapees RV Club returns to Tucson, Arizona in March 19-24, 2023, for the 62nd Escapade. More details coming soon on escapade.escapees.com.
About Escapees RV Club
Since 1978, Escapees has been a leader in supporting those who pursue the RVing lifestyle. The club was founded by full-time RVers, Joe and Kay Peterson, at a time when there was no support group for full-timers. Today, the club continues to grow and transform itself according to the needs of its members, supporting them through benefits and educational and social opportunities. Learn more about what is available to Escapees RV Club members at escapees.com.