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Mt Gambier, SA

S 37°50'17" E 140°48'08"

Mon 13 - Sun 19 Mar 2006

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CMCA 20th Anniversary Rally

Monday 13th

We had to choose which way we were going to take to Mt Gambier. The main road is said to have some bad hills, the southern route is 30 km (20 miles) longer. The most direct route is a C road. I chose to use the direct route. It was a very good choice as the road was quite good and we saved a significant amount of fuel.

We reached Mt Gambier at lunch time and chose to stop off in a parking area and take the Little Motley into town to replace the fruit we had had to dump when we crossed the state boundary.

When we got to the rally site, we found ourselves parked next to John and Vicki Samin. We had both travelled 1500 km from Barraba via quite different routes and had finished up by chance parked next to each other.

When we had set up, I went to the office to check that all the arrangements for the Self-containment stand were in place. I was horrified to find that no-one knew anything about the arrangements.

I managed to organise a place for the stand sharing it with the guy from Keep South Australia Beautiful which seemed somewhat appropriate. With help from a colleague, I eventually located the documents which had been sent from National Headquarters. They had been addressed to The Office for my attention but had been put the a shed a fair distance from the Office but whoever had put them there had not told the people in the office.

When I had finished this, I returned to the Motley and tried to find the preferred site for the Chapter happy hour. I couldn't find anybody from the committee so I put the flag pole up on the front of the Motley. This turned out to be a good choice and we had a very pleasant happy hour with several members and some visitors.

Tuesday 14th

I took the Terios to the shed and picked up all the documentation, When I arrived at the Trades Hall to set up the stand, I found that nothing had been done. No-one seemed to know how to fix my problem. I eventually came upon the Rally Co-ordinator. He radioed to someone to get me a table and chairs, When I got back to the allocated place, I found the guy who had been asked by Bruce to fix the problem for me. One of his helpers said "But your table is over there" pointing to the other room. I said once again that I needed a power point so we moved the table to the place I had requested yesterday afternoon. I found myself serving customers immediately. I had arranged to meet all my volunteers at 12 o'clock because I had it in my mind that the Trades Hall wasn't open until the afternoon. When the volunteers turned up, I was able to set up a roster for manning the stand so that I could attend to other stuff.

Jean had tried to find me to borrow the car but hadn't gone into the second room of the Trades Hall. I guess this might indicate that those members who are looking for us might not find us either. Luckily Jean came across one of our friends who was going into town and she accepted the offer of a lift.

Wednesday 15th

I set my volunteers to work and went to the Chapter General Meeting. This was a bit strange because another chapter was having a meeting in the same marquee. They didn't disturb us but I think we might have disturbed them because there was much laughter at out meeting. I received a round of applause for my brief report on the progress of the Self-containment Scheme.

We had to go to town because Jean needed some warmer clothes. When I got back to the stand after our trip to town, I found everything going well.

Ross and Chris Kassebaum turned up. Their motorhome is in repair after a catastrophic engine failure so they came to the rally in the ute, We arranged for them to come to the Motley for a cup of tea and a chat before they went off to find a motel room.

The Trades Hall closes at four o'clock, so I was able to get back in time for happy hour.

Thursday 16h

Up early to go off-site for the meeting with Ross and Phil. As I was leaving I was bailed up by two directors of the club who said that that they wanted to attend the meeting and they wanted it to be held on site. I went to the motel where Ross and Phil were staying and took them back to the rally for this new meeting. After this meeting had finished, Ross had to go to another meeting. After lunch, I went back to the motel for my original meeting with Ross and Phil.

I the evening we went out for dinner with Phil, Ross and Chris and had a wonderful bottle of wine from Ross's nephew's winery in the Barossa.

Friday 17th

All the formal meetings concerning the Rest Area activity had been programmed into one day.

The first meeting of the day was a Self-containment Inspectors meeting at eight o'clock so I had to out very early. The meeting went well and most of the attendees were happy.

The meeting of the NRAEC State Co-ordinators had been redefined to include anyone interested in the activity. Notice of this change had to go out over the morning radio broadcast and the morning tea announcements which meant that some people at the rally didn't get the message. The meeting was attended by people who had been personally invited.

The meeting went well and the opportunity for people who had only ever communicated by phone to meet face to face was a bonus.

The third meeting of day was the "National Rest Area and Environment Committee Committee" meeting. This had been relocated from the Main Marquee to a small meeting room as there were only five participants.

One of the attendees had told some people that this meeting was an open meeting. He claimed that there had been such a meeting at every rally and he clearly was looking forward to the opportunity to big note himself in public again.

The meeting didn't seem to have an agenda so I proposed a topic for discussion and then another. In the end my agenda became the meeting agenda. All these items seemed to elicit proper discussion so I must have been pretty close to the mark. Some significant actions came out of the meeting though the conversion of the Draft Terms of Reference for the NRAEC to a formal document wasn't one of them,

After the meeting, The Chairman of the NRAEC asked me to a private meeting where he told me that he had been asked by the Chairman of the Board and the CEO to remove me from the committee. I said that that would be his decision and he didn't confirm that that was what he was going to do. I will wait and see if he follows up or not. I have written a note to him that amounts to a letter of resignation with a detailed explanation of my reasons for leaving the committee which I will give him if he doesn't indicate that he wants me to stay on.

I'd have to say that our long and expensive journey to Mt Gambier to participate in the "important" work of the NRAEC had turned into a pretty pointless enterprise. While we have enjoyed the company of many good friends on our trip, I don't think I will choose to commit so much time and effort to such a thankless cause again.

Saturday 18th

I spoke to Ross who tried to encourage me to be positive. He later told me that he had confirmed his view that the Chairman of the NRAEC was not going to implement the request for my removal from the committee. I was heartened but will await a communication confirming that that is true before I withdraw my decision to resign.

I spent the day tidying up the paperwork from the inspections.

At happy hour, I was asked by a lady to read a poem which she found very moving but which she didn't feel able to present to the group. It was a moving piece about an old lady asking people too see her inner self rather than her ageing body. It was well received.

We went to dinner with Ross and Chris and had we a pleasant conversation. We made a bad choice of venue because there were two large tables of young females celebrating something. When they had had something to drink, they became very, very, noisy.

Sunday 19th

I put the tidied paperwork in a box and left it in the office for transport back to NHQ.

We went to the evening entertainment. It was a "Rock and Roll" concert by Jade HurIey. He was quite entertaining but his signature "run a finger right up the keyboard" became a bit irritating when he used it too much. I went home after about half an hour as I was getting a headache. Jean came home a bit later.

We were quite relieved to have got to the end of the rally.

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Created: 13/3/06 and last revised 23/3/06
Author: Robin Chalmers Copyright in all the material on this site is asserted by the author
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