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FOTR Rally

FOTR WEST COAST RALLY - February 19-22, 2009

With 14 families - 28 adults and 38 kids - attending the FOTR West Coast Rally, it was impossible not to have FUN!!


Back in November I had the idea of putting together a rally on the West Coast. I put it out there onto the FOTR Yahoo Group to see if there was any interest. Over the next couple of months interest started to grow and before I knew it I was organizing a rally for 15 families! We found a great campground - Newport Dunes - in Newport Beach, California (


We were centrally located on the coast, making it easy for families to come from all over the state. Turns out we had people coming from everywhere though - California, Oregon, Arizona, New York, Indiana and even Canada. It was a great turnout and an awesome array of families with different traveling styles. It was so cool to see so many fellow travelers gathered in one spot! 

           Mel & Maryann Malkoff                        The Lin Family                       Curtis & Kim Robinson

             The Weeks Family                       Cole & Tamri Shaw                     Dave & Joleen Dudley

            The Chinchen Family                      The Clark Family                       Eddy & Gayle Bennett

On Wednesday evening, Maryann held a pre-rally gathering for the teens that were starting to arrive in Newport. She also invited some of the teens from local homeschool groups, which made for a full house. She had an awesome potluck for the kids and they enjoyed playing games and getting to know one another! It was the perfect way to start the weekend.


The Rally officially started on Thursday night with a Pot-Luck get together. After some jostling of sites and getting everyone situated, it was time for some fun! We enjoyed meeting all the families and introducing Dylan and Christian to all the kids. 

              Nothing beats a yummy pot-luck gathering!     Noah, Dylan, Stone, Conner, Jonathan, Jayden

                         Ayden Weeks                  Sierra & Ocean Robinson              Isabelle Sloan

                 Kelby Evans & Saylor Buxcel  Avery Chinchen & Zoe Weeks             Dylan DeMichiel

                           Edie Malkoff                Cole with Dylan & Christian             Anika Chinchen

                 Abby Bennet & Cassie Shaw      Sage Buxcel & Sage Shaw    Stone Buxcel & Conner Evans

                  Zoe Evans & Her Pal Daisy      Cedar and Ocean Robinson               Jackson Shaw

As it started to get dark, the party naturally flowed down to the beach where Dutch started a great bonfire. Steve and Jason pulled out their guitars and Curtis brought down the Marimbas for some amazing music. Before we knew it, Katie and I were dancing around the fire to an amazing drum circle. Karen supplied all the kids with glow sticks and they had a blast dancing, beating drums, playing the marimbas, climbing trees and just plain running around. It was a great night and the parents really had a chance to bond with one another. At that point, we all knew we were in for a magical weekend!



On Friday morning, in hopes of keeping the kids occupied, I asked seven of the families to prepare an activity station. With
such a wide array of personalities, ages and schooling philosophies - it was no easy task to accomplish! However, the families pulled it off with flying colors and the activities were a huge success! We broke the kids into small groups by age and then rotated them every 20 minutes to a different activity station. Each family set up an activity at their trailer and helped each group as they came by. The kids had a chance to meet friends of their same age and spent a few hours playing and learning to cooperate with one another. It was a good chance for them to get to know each other! The activity stations included:

















All the kids had a GREAT time and the parents did an AWESOME job with their stations!!!  After activities it was time for some serious R&R poolside. We all enjoyed the beautiful sunny Southern California weather. The kids splashed in the pool and loved making "kid soup" in the hot tub.

Newport Dunes is a beautiful resort and had plenty for the kids to do. They ran from the pool to the playground to the beach to the arcade. There was bike trails, trees to climb and games to play. It was an awesome resort and one that we would highly recommend if ever in the Newport Beach area. Later in the day, Jason and some of the dads loaded a bunch of the older boys into the cars and headed off to a nearby skate park. They all had an amazing time and enjoyed watching Kaleb show off his stuff. Christian and Dylan are convinced they are going to run into Tony Hawk out here, so they are determined to hit all the skate parks in search of him. It was a great way to spend the afternoon and we really appreciated Jason pulling it all together!

Friday night we joined back up for a Retro Dance Party Night. Justice Dudley, a simply amazing kid, celebrated his 14th birthday with his new FOTR friends and his parents had a yummy cake for us all to enjoy!


After a little bit of limbo dancing and showing off our disco moves, we dubbed Eric and Bobbi Weeks the Disco King and Queen. The screeching of Boogie Nights blasting out of the Loud Family outdoor speakers sent us all running for the beach once again. We decided this crowd was much more up for drum circles than a night of Disco Duck!


We retreated to the beach, marshmallows in hand. Much to our delight, a toy hauler parked along the beach was showing High School Musical 3 on the back on his trailer. It was really cool and looked like a drive-in movie theater. I asked him if he minded our kids coming over. When he happily agreed, all 40 of them came running over. I don’t think he knew what hit him, but he didn’t mind!!

The kids enjoyed a 2 hour movie and the adults enjoyed a quiet evening of adult only conversation by the fire. You couldn’t have asked for a better babysitter! When it got late, security threw us off the beach, so we returned to the campsites and enjoyed a “campfire in a can” - compliments of Eddie!

In the midst of our busy day, our buddy from Delaware, Lee, decided to fly in for a visit and spend the night with us. It was so awesome seeing him again and we were thrilled to have him there sharing in the rally experience with us. It was fun letting him see what life on the road is all about! He had a lot of fun helping the kids with crafts, hooping on the beach and sitting by the fire. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back in Delaware right now looking to buy a bus for himself! 


Saturday morning we repeated the activity stations with the remaining families. The kids were a little more laxed this time around, as they had gotten comfortable with one another by this point. They grouped up with their friends and enjoyed running around to the stations. Saturday's activity stations included:













All of the families did an amazing job at keeping the kids busy and they all had another really fun day of activities! In the afternoon, Katie led a tour to the Dana Point Tide Pools. This is a cool little area where the kids can climb on the rocks, play in the water and search for sea creatures.


Turns out EVERYONE decided to go except for me. I was ready for some down time so sent them all on their way without me. As the cars were pulling away, Bryce saw me standing on the corner and literally dove from a moving vehicle. She decided that if I didn’t have to go then she didn’t have to either. We spent some quiet time alone, unwinding, and then met up at the hot tub again. Turns out Joleen had the same idea and didn’t go along, so the three of us spent the afternoon at the campground with Captain Morgan! Needless to say, by the time everyone got back we were pretty relaxed!


We were supposed to get set up for Family Feud Game Night, but instead decided to go pick up some pizza. Kati drove the train of crazy women to the local Domino’s. Details are sketchy and not fit for reprint but let’s just say …. well let’s not - we know what happened! We returned with a stack of pizzas and enjoyed one another’s company. We played a condensed version of Family Feud and some of the guys played penny poker. We then decided it was time for another beach bonfire - our favorite activity!

Before we knew it, Sunday had arrived and it was time to say goodbye to our newfound FOTR friends. It was an amazing FOTR Rally!!

       Justie, Jayden, Zoe, & Jackson               John & Dutch                               Bryce & Katie

                  Jason & Dutch                            Cole & Edie                             Karen, Kara & Rita

                Eddie & Kelby                  Eddie, Gayle, Bryce, Steve, Katie     Conner, Connor & Christian

                Dutch & Gayle                                 Dylan & Max                         Tamri, Rita & Katie

Everyone was sad to say farewell with promises of keeping in touch! Several of us decided to stay on for a few more days, as we weren’t ready to let the fun stop yet! So, we spent the next couple of days sitting by the pool, making bonfires on the beach and just plain HAVING FUN! It was an amazing FOTR West Coast Rally!! We made new friends and reconnected with old ones! We can’t wait for the next gathering!!!





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