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If you waved this flag, it might set off a tidal wave

But is Camping World's Old Glory the biggest in the U.S.? Read on.

A large American flag flies over Camping World of Rochester Tuesday, March 2, 2021, near Oronoco. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

One of the guys that I work with drove by one of the RV dealers in Oronoco yesterday. They had (what he claims) the biggest American flag he's ever seen. It wasn't flying today (we're guessing it's too windy). Any idea which dealer and how big? -- Kevin

My boss flagged this question for me. The first job was to find out which RV dealer this was -- there are three of them in Oronoco for some reason.

It turns out the flag belongs to Camping World , a nationwide chain that flies big flags at all of its 227 U.S. locations. Camping World recently relocated to Oronoco to join Buy RV Sell RV , on the north side of town, and Hilltop Camper and RV , right next door.

ALSO READ: Why is there a grave behind the fire station on Viola Road?

General Manager Blaine Stackhouse, through his assistant Dani, told my assistant, who told me, that the flag is 40 feet by 80 feet, and the reason it wasn't flying when you drove by is that it was too windy or the weather was otherwise bad. They got the flag from Symonds Flags and Poles , which'll sell you your own nylon 40-by-80 flag for a pretty $3,100, plus $256 in Texas sales tax, plus shipping, I presume. (I wasn't brave enough to push any farther through the online checkout process.)


A large American flag flies over Camping World of Rochester Tuesday, March 2, 2021, near Oronoco. (Joe Ahlquist / jahlquist@postbulletin.com)

This, my friends, is a flag to salute. It's bigger than your run-of-the-mill Perkins flag (20-by-30 feet). But it is not the biggest one Symonds sells -- they have a 60-by-120 option. And even that is not the largest free-flying American flag in existence. From news reports, that distinction seems to belong -- or belonged -- to the Acuity Insurance flag, a 70-by-140-foot, 340-pound monster that flew over the company headquarters in Sheboygan, Wis., until it was ripped in half by a thunderstorm . If only the prudent flag-flying folks at Camping World had been around to advise.

Under the big oaks

I plumb forgot until now to share this follow-up to a column from a couple of months ago. But better late than never, as Pappy Answer Man used to tell me as I went out the door with my stack of overdue library books on a hand dolly.

This goes back to my Feb. 6 masterpiece about Fran Wheelock's horse Cashel's grave . Kerri Vangness, who grew up here and still lives in these parts, responded to that column with this note:

Dear Answer Man,

I really enjoyed reading the response to the question regarding the stone marker on the Viola Road fire station property. I had not noticed that marker yet when taking my son down that bike trail. I will look for it now. Because that property has special meaning to me. Each time my son and I go down that trail, I look at the old oak trees, and remember myself as a 14-year-old girl walking through that pasture, and to the horses. Mr. Wheelock was kind enough to allow me to board my horse there on his farm, back in 1990-1992 or so. He did have several horses, and though I don't remember Cashel in particular, she must have been there. In my couple of years at the farm, Mr. Wheelock's barn and land were home to me as I came up daily to spend time with my horse. His charge for board was such a modest amount, and allowed a young girl to have her horse dream.


Kerri Vangness
Kerri Vangness at the Wheelock horse ranch, unspecified date. (Contributed photo)

Mr. Wheelock was such a nice man, and helpful to me, and yes, loved his horses. He had such a great setup there.

It was sad to see the barn and house removed from that land. I knew the day would come where it would look completely different. I am glad that they named the street up there Wheelock Drive. And it is neat to find out one of Mr. Wheelock's loved horses is still there. I'll be looking for Cashel's grave come spring. And will keep reminiscing as we meander down that bike path under the big oaks.

Why are there so many RV dealers in Oronoco? That may be a question for another day. Send other questions for the Answer Man to answerman@postbulletin.com .

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