BOCI Mini-Rally Hagestown, MD – Oct 8th – 12th, 2012

Monday October 8th 2012 five rigs belonging to BOCI members appeared at the Yogi Bears Jellystone Park in Hagerstown, Maryland.  BOCI owner members the Dunn’s, the Henley’s, the Peters, and the Rutherford’s and associate member C. Neighbor had arrived for five days of touring the nearby Civil War Battle Sites of Antietam, Gettysburg and Harpers Ferry.  The weather that afternoon was not super nice, but it did not last long.  The rain stopped and the skies cleared and things warmed up for the rest of the week.  The campground was very nice and the full service sites were clean and flat.  The only problem was the Wi-Fi was not working, but that was soon fixed by the campground staff.  

After set up was complete, we all went to a local restaurant while enjoying a good meal planned our week’s activities.  In an area rich in Civil War history, the campground is ideally located for day trips to multiple historic battle sites as well as many other places of interest.

We spent one day touring the Antietam Battle Field where 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln's issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

We spent one day visiting Gettysburg Pennsylvania, the site of an epic three day battle that many view as a turning point in the Civil War, where the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North.  Often referred to as the "High Water Mark of the Rebellion", Gettysburg was the war's bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties.  It was also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln's immortal "Gettysburg Address".   We also visited the Eisenhower National Historic site which was the home and farm of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Located adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield, the farm served the President as a weekend retreat and a meeting place for world leaders. With its peaceful setting and view of South Mountain, it was a much needed respite from Washington and a backdrop for efforts to reduce Cold War tensions.

We spent one day touring the historic town of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.  The history of Harpers Ferry is more than one event, one date, or one individual.  It is multi-layered - involving a diverse number of people and events that influenced the course of our nation's history.  Harpers Ferry witnessed the first successful application of interchangeable manufacture, the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown's attack on the Federal Arsenal and slavery, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.  We also hiked a portion of the Appalachian Trail (the AT), as it passes through Harpers Ferry.

Touring the area and sharing our backgrounds and experiences with each other led to many interesting discoveries for me.  At the Rally in Kerrville, I discovered that the ship on which I held my Navy Retirement Ceremony on was the same ship that Sue Peter’s dad had served on in WWII.  At the mini-rally I also found out that Rich Peter’s served on the same ship at the same time as my brother.  I discovered that I had a common interest in electronics with Jay Rutherford and Mike Henley showed me some more improvements that I can make to my Bigfoot.

The mini-rally was a great experience for all involved, and to my surprise it was not difficult to put together.  I can truthfully tell you that it is a lot easier than planning our annual rally.  I had previously been in the area and checked out several potential campgrounds.  I spoke with them and made the arrangements for our group with their Group Reservations Manager.  Jay Rutherford and I exchanged emails with ideas about what to do and where to go while in the area.  Jay still has a list of things to do that we did not have the time to do at this mini-rally and we are saving them for the next one.  We have members all over the country and in Canada; I would encourage anyone who has never been to a mini-rally to think about having one of their own.  If you have a favorite place and would like to meet with other Bigfooter’s, let us know and we can get an email with the details out to members in the area.  I am working on putting together a guide or checklist for holding mini-rallies and if anyone has input it will be gratefully appreciated.

Art Dunn