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Pineknot I 2005

Background by Paul Stringer

My first RV rally of any type was the first “big” Blue Bonnet, held in Kerrville, Texas in the Spring of 2004.  Bob Hunt and Norman Biggs, the co-wagon-masters, did a fantastic job of organizing the event and providing great entertainment and informative seminars and demonstrations relating to our little trailers.  However, Bob and Norman announced at the Saturday evening session that they would not be taking on the responsibilities for any subsequent rallies.  After asking for a volunteer to coordinate the 2005 gathering, a gentleman whose name I cannot remember offered his services. The details of the situation that followed escape me, but to put it simply, because of his circumstances, this person had bitten off more than he could chew.  As things continued to decline, it started to look like Blue Bonnet was going to go by the wayside.  There were hard feelings expressed on both the internet forums.  I tried to smooth things over and get folks to reconcile their differences.

It was then that I sent up a trial balloon on the forums to determine if there would be any interest in having a rally in East Texas in the Fall of 2005.  The Fall of the year was chosen for several reasons, the first being so that we could not be accused of trying to replace Blue Bonnet, and also because the weather is usually moderate in East Texas in October and November.  East Texas was chosen because—I am a tad selfish—it was where I had lived most of  my life, and I wanted others to see the area that I had loved for so long.  (Eventually, the man who was trying to organize the 2005 Blue Bonnet stepped down, someone else took it over, made it a great success that still continues).  Several people responded that they would indeed be interested in participating in a Fall rally in East Texas. “OK, Dummy,” I said to myself, “you stuck your neck out, so now you have to follow through!”  

Finding a place to have a rally in East Texas was not as easy as I thought it would be. After some internet searching and a couple of road trips, I accidently discovered a quaint little campground in Northern Nacogdoches County called Camp Tonkawa Springs. (   Upon visiting with the manager, we set a date and an “official” announcement was posted on August 30, 2004 for the “first-ever-maybe-never-again PineKnot Fiberglass RV Rally to be held October 13-16, 2005. (  Gene Layton ( provided us an on-line registration form that served our purposes well.  However, responses were seemingly slow coming in, but it was not long until we quit worrying and began to look forward to a good turnout.  About forty rigs eventually registered, although several of these did not come.  We ended up with about thirty.

Numerous individuals helped in making PineKnot-1 a terrific success.  Everyone who was asked to participate did so with enthusiasm.  Robert Elling made excellent suggestions for entertainment and checked into lining up various performers.  Others passed ideas on to us and we incorporated most of them into the program.

Our beloved Lindy Webber presided over a discussion on “Mods and Problems” on the Thursday afternoon.  Robert and Karen Conner entertained us with their music and skits that evening after a delicious pot-luck dinner.  Friday afternoon provided us with a roundtable discussion about anything related to our trailers.  Also, Mike Blackwell led a discussion on “Tows: Choosing, Care, Gas Mileage.”

On a personal note, Mary, my wife, had to admitted into the hospital on Thursday.  This stopped me from being at the campground as much as I wanted.  We were very lucky to have Dick and Lynda Freed of Pennsylvania in attendance.  They stepped up and went beyond the call of duty by handling the registration and in keeping everything on a smooth course.  Lynda led a “Make It & Take It Crafts” seminar for the ladies on Friday.  Richard entertained us with his musical abilities around a campfire that evening.

Saturday noon saw us at Barnhill’s Buffet in Nacogdoches where most of us over-indulged.  After a “Tour of Eggs,” a group picture down by the spring, a leftovers potluck, and more entertainment by Robert and Karen, PineKnot-I became a pleasant memory.  Everyone we asked said, “Do it again next year.”