Cascadia RVW, June event at Yakima Nations RV Park
For our June gathering, we headed over to the sunny side of the state, to the town of Toppenish, WA. Fifty two women (including seven who stayed in local B&Bs or motels) with twenty eight rigs arrived and parked at the Yakima Nation RV Park, in the shadow of Mt. Adams where we enjoyed warm sunny days and cool nights with spectacular views of Mt. Adams as well as the top of Mt. Rainier. The theme for this event, in honor of the Native American population in the area, was Potlatch, a gift-giving feast held on the occasion of a major event.
Friday evening’s potluck featured “Mother Nature’s Gift” of seasonal fruits and vegetables and, as usual, produced a spread of creative and delicious dishes. We heard about the activities of the weekend and this month’s recipient of our gifts, Noah’s Ark, a homeless shelter and food bank for people in and around the town of Wapato. After dinner, people hung out by the campfire, played games, or whatever else they felt like doing.
Saturday morning the early risers headed to the clubhouse for a light breakfast and some socializing. At 9:00 the book group gathered to talk about The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Lots of lively discussion ensued around the topics of slavery and women’s rights and some of their historical connections. The book for July is Orphan Train.
The next event was a horse-drawn wagon tour to see some of the many murals in Toppenish, narrated by a local historian who told us the stories of the scenes depicted on the murals as well as some of the history of the area. We learned that Toppenish produces eighty percent of the hops (the plant that puts the flavor in beer) used around the world. We also learned about some of the Native American tribes who lived in the area and who now make up the Yakima Nation. It was a fun excursion. The rest of the afternoon was unscheduled so people stayed in town to browse through the shops, enjoy some of the local cuisine, or take another look at the murals. Others visited the casino or went back to the campground to relax.
In the evening we had yet another fine potluck with people bringing their gifts of food which we got to enjoy. A representative from Noah’s Ark joined us for dinner and spoke to us about the work being done there and the great need for food and shelter for people who are struggling. Members of Cascadia generously donated $260.00 as well as food, hygiene products, shoes, etc.
After dinner and dog walking, we all gathered around the campfire for a special event. Sage M., who planned the weekend’s activities, told us more about the concept of Potlatch which was followed by several people telling stories, either legends, or some other story they wanted to share. After that, we shifted to telling stories about Nancy and Diane who were the recipients of a special Potlatch gift because of their many contributions to our RVW chapter, as well as to the national organization, and because they are moving to Colorado. They were presented with a blanket, in keeping with the Potlatch tradition, and as a token of our appreciation. We got a bit teary-eyed realizing they were really leaving us the next day. We were each given a small potlatch gift from the club to wrap up the evening.
Sunday morning after breakfast we blessed/christened two new rigs and then again acknowledged Nancy and Diane and thanked them for being such active members of our Cascadia chapter. We also heard about some of the other things they have done in their working careers and what hobbies they enjoy. Clearly they will not be lacking for things to do in their retirement. We sent them off with much love and good wishes. Then we sang our now-traditional songs and said goodbye to all until we meet again in Westport in July.
Click here for more pictures of our group gatherings
Click here for more pictures of Cascadia Murals tour
Click here for on storytellin, firepit, and honoring Diane Nancy
Click here for pictures of christening and saying goodbye