We joined the Escapees shortly after getting our motorhome. It seemed like an important first thing to do, especially knowing we were going into full-timing. They are a group dedicated to the RV lifestyle and an important advocate for RVing rights around the country. As well as a great social connection.
Our first big Escapees event was the annual Escapade which was in Tuscon last March. (click HERE for a link to that blog). There was a wealth of information there and that’s where we learned about the BOF (Birds Of a Feather) group called Boomers. It’s a non-structured group of Escapees that are baby boomer age. Like us. We joined their newsletter so we could learn about events they have.
Their big one is called Boomerville and is a gathering of rigs in Quartzsite in January. Much like the Xscapers only…older. We were going to visit last January to check them out, but ran out of time. We felt a little old with the Xscapers, but we were wondering if we’d feel a little young with the Boomers. (Which is silly because we ARE baby boomers!)
When we found out they were having a “boomerang” event called “Crab-A-Rang” in Oregon in September, we were on the fence. Yes, we were planning on being north in September. But did we want to make another commitment to be somewhere specific on a specific date? And yes, we were wanting to check out the group. But what if they were no fun? Did we really want to spend a week with them? We decided to commit, and that is why we’ve been in Oregon.
Well, our fears were groundless. They are the most welcoming, fun loving, young-at-heart, like-minded group we’ve found yet. We had a fabulous time and made many great friendships and we look forward to seeing them all again when we go to Boomerville next January. We’re hoping some of our younger (not-boomer-age) friends will join us there as well. When I asked if they could, I was answered with “We have no rules!”. My kinda group.
We knew one couple going in – that we had met at Escapade. We met another couple the morning before we got there because they were our camping neighbors up the road. We saw them come out of their rig and I told Tom “They look like Boomers, maybe they’re going to Crab-A-Rang.” And they were! They became instant friends.
This was the fourth annual Crab-A-Rang, and it was held this year at Charleston Marina, near Coos Bay. And it’s all about the crabbing! That’s not exactly why I wanted to go, but when in Rome….
So as soon as we got set up, our new friends were introducing us around. A car pulled up and people piled out with buckets full of fresh caught crab. Apparently it’s been an abundant year. “Can I help?” I foolishly asked someone who was carrying a heavy looking bucket. “Sure”, they replied so I followed them over to the crab cleaning room. Keep in mind I’ve never caught a fish, much less cleaned one. And my one and only attempt at cooking live lobster ended with me in tears. And I’ve only cracked and eaten crab in the shell twice in my life. Not exactly a good resume for crabbing.
So a wonderful gentleman named Chris explained how they kill the crabs in the most humane way possible by smashing them in two against a metal bar. He was kind and insightful enough to explain it was like severing our spinal cord: quick death. Then he showed me how to rip them apart, shake their guts out, and pick off the icky stuff before rinsing them in water. I was hoping Tom would come to my rescue – or at least see proof that I was there! I could hardly believe what I’d gotten myself into. I sucked it up and said “I can do the rinsing part.” He smiled and continued to break crabs while I did the final washing. After a while he asked if I was ready to try the whole process. Luckily he didn’t persist when I quickly said “No thank you.”
So that was my introduction to Crab-A-Rang.
Our neighbor, Jim, caught more crab than he needed, so he gave us some to pick and eat, giving us picking pointers. Tom got his crabbing license and went out on a boat (where the biggest crabs were being caught), and got twelve (the daily limit) for our very own. I was able to explain (not show!) how to kill and clean them, and Jim gave him some pointers as well. By the twelfth one, it seemed easy. Everyone shared their crabbing and cooking gear, and the crabbing aspect was really good – fun and delicious!
But it was everything else that made us glad we’d gone. The happy hours, the morning visiting over coffee, the different group events. I went with a group of ladies (and one brave gentleman) to tour the Shore Acres Gardens and it was just beautiful.
I took Tom back later just to see the vistas and coastal rocks.
We had wonderful fireside chats and played group games and ate group dinners. So many of these Boomers have been full-timing for so long, it was wonderful to hear their stories. We weren’t even the youngest people there! It was a wonderful mix of life experiences and personalities. The week flew by and we spent hardly any time in our rig.
We did things on our own as well. Like going into the farmers market and hiking around the Cape Arago Lighthouse. I went beach combing to find treasures from the sea that I dried and made into a “Crab Queen Crown” for our non-leader Diana’s birthday party.
All in all it was a wonderful experience. I feel we made some new lifetime friends and I look forward to our paths crossing again. We’re even traveling down the coast a bit with our friends from the March event.
It’s stuff like this that makes us feel like we’re part of a giant community – of the best people ever. And we’re so grateful to have this lifestyle.
Peace & Love, Joy
PS – the final crab count is in – the group landed over ONE THOUSAND crabs! (1,071)