2015 RV Rallies

RVing can be even more memorable when it’s shared with other RVers at a rally.

Freightliner Club Rally
Freightliner Club Rally held at Lazy Days in Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

There are several different types of RV rallies including Good Sam Club National and Chapter rallies, manufacturer club rallies, and club rallies for RVers of similar interests.

Good Sam Club Chapters embrace RV fellowship and make lasting friendships through a shared sense of community and a love for RVing. Chapters hold campouts, plan social events, and organize community volunteer opportunities. There are nearly 1,500 Good Sam Chapters across North America.

Manufacturer clubs enhance the enjoyment of ownership by providing connections with others of similar interests. In addition to a national RV rally, most of these RV clubs and manufacturers host regional and local chapter rallies. The brand club rallies for owners of a specific brand of RV typically offer technical and lifestyle seminars, crafts, new RV displays, and opportunities to socialize.

Many RVers enjoy gathering with friends who have special interests or common goals. Similar interest clubs include Escapees RV Club for full-timers and Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) for motorhome enthusiasts. From singles clubs to an organization of military personnel, chances are good that you can find a club that’s just right.

FMCA Western Area Rally, Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, Indio, California
FMCA Western Area Rally, Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, Indio, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

With the numerous RV Shows and club rallies scheduled in Sunbelt regions you’re bound to find one that enhances your RV lifestyle.

FMCA Western Area Rally, Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, Indio, California, January 7-11

Winnebago 2015 Preview Rally, Lazydays RV Campground, Seffner, Florida, January 9-11

Newmar Kountry Klub Florida RV Show Rally, Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, Florida, January 13-18

Newmar Kountry Klub Gathering in the Desert, Quartzsite, Arizona, January 14-20

American Coach Eastern Regional Rally, Lazydays RV Campground, Seffner, Florida, January 14-18

Havasu Balloon Festival & Fair, January 16-18, The Island Golf Club at the Nautical Beachfront Resort, Lake Havasu City, Arizona, January 16-18

FROG (Forest River Owners’ Group) Rally, Sherwood Forest RV Resort, Kissimmee, Florida, January 19-25

American Coach Western Regional Rally, Las Vegas Motorhome Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada, January 29-February 2

FMCA Rally at Perry, Georgia
FMCA Rally at Perry, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

RV-Dreams Boondocking Rally, Turner Agri Civic Center, Arcadia, Florida, February 8-15

Born Free Rally, Lazydays RV Campground, Seffner, Florida, February 9-11

FMCA Southeast Area Rally, Sarasota County Fairgrounds, Sarasota, Florida, February 11-14

Passport America Fun Rally, Sarasota County Fairgrounds, Sarasota, Florida, February 17-20

Entegra Coach Rally, Lazydays RV Campground, Seffner, Florida, February 20-22

The Rally/Good Sam Phoenix Rally, Phoenix International Raceway, Phoenix, Arizona, February 26-March 1

Escapees RV Club Escapade, Pima County Fairgrounds, Tucson, Arizona, March 8–13

Nevada Good Sam Samboree, Nevada Treasure RV Resort, Pahrump, Nevada, March 11-14

Monaco International RV Club Rally, Pahrump, Nevada, March 17-21

WIT (Winnebago Itasca International) Club Florida State Rally, Central Florida Fairgrounds, Orlando, Florida, March 19-22

Passport America Fun Rally, Escambia County Equestrian Center, Pensacola, Florida, March 23-26

Commercial displays and sales are part of most RV rallies. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.
Commercial displays and sales are part of most RV rallies. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

Tiffin Allegro Club Rally, Central Florida Fairgrounds, Orlando, Florida, March 23-27

FMCA Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase, Fairplex, Pomona, California, March 26-29

Worth Pondering…

I would like to share this one for today with you…

Live one day at a time–

While you can plan for tomorrow, you can’t live it until it arrives. Most people spend so much time regretting the past and worrying about the future, they leave no time to enjoy today!

John Lennon once wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Decide to make the most of each moment.

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Snowbird Basics

Winter is a time for boots, snow shovels, and icy roads… unless you’re a snowbird who RVs to the Sun Belt.

On the Colorado River in the southwest corner of Arizona, Yuma’s been at the crossroads for centuries. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
On the Colorado River in the southwest corner of Arizona, Yuma’s been at the crossroads for centuries. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

As Neil Young once sang, “the summer ends and the winter winds begin to holler all around the bend…”

The cooler temperatures have us thinking about the coming winter: snow, ice, and bone-chilling cold. You’re familiar with the drill: dig out the snow shovel, take the snow blower on a test run, and pull out the warm winter sweaters, parkas, mitts, and snow boots. Such are the joys of a northern winter!

The entire history of the human race is largely a search for comfort. Warm southern winters certainly rate high on my comfort scale.

How about snowbirding?

Snowbirds are typically retired seniors who have the desire and financial ability to be away from home for extended periods of time.

The snowbird lifestyle is to our liking since we can take our home with us when the cold weather arrives and snow begins to falls. For us the snowbird lifestyle is the best of both worlds.

Planning

Rockport is known as “The Charm of the Texas Coast” and for good reasons too. It’s a quiet, little town on the coast of Texas just 30 minutes north of Corpus Christi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Rockport is known as “The Charm of the Texas Coast” and for good reasons too. It’s a quiet, little town on the coast of Texas just 30 minutes north of Corpus Christi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Preparing your home for an extended absence requires thorough thought and planning.

Before heading south, snowbirds need to take steps to secure and winterize their homes.

Creating a customized checklists is one way to keep track of your seasonal preparations.

Consider the following tips as a starting point when creating your winter-ready checklist.

Check expiry dates for travel documents, insurance, and credit cards.

Check with your insurance to determine how extended absences may affect coverage.

You are escaping the snow, but your home is not. Arrange with a neighbor, relative, friend, or snow removal service to keep sidewalks clear and your home secure.

Ask a friend, trustworthy neighbor, or relative to be the contact person for your home. It’s important to have someone check your home on a regular basis, remove sales flyers, and be available in emergency situations. Your home should look like someone is living there.

Provide the contact person and other neighbors, relatives, and friends with pertinent information including smart phone and email address, vehicle and home insurance, security system, furnace repair, description of RV and toad or tow truck and trailer with plate numbers.

The long-legged, S-necked Great white egret feeds in wetlands, streams, ponds, and tidal flats.
The long-legged, S-necked Great white egret feeds in wetlands, streams, ponds, and tidal flats. Photo above at Corkscrew Sanctuary near Naples, Florida. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Place a temporary hold on your newspaper delivery.

Receiving your mail in a timely manner can be a major concern for Snowbirds, full-timers, and other RVers who plan to be on the road for an extended period of time. Arrange with your local postal service to have your mail forwarded to a mail forwarding address. Trusted and reliable mail forwarding services include Good SamEscapees, and Dakota Post.

Unplug all electronics and electrical appliances—microwave, washer and dryer, stove, refrigerator, coffee pot, toaster oven, TVs, audio equipment, radios, and lamps.

Reduce costs and save energy consumption by turning the thermostat down to 45-50 degrees F (7-10 C).

Empty the refrigerator and turn it off. Unplug all electronics and electrical appliances.

Check to ensure that all smoke alarms are in working order and have fresh batteries.

Adjust the water heater thermostat to “pilot” or turn it off. Turn off the water supply at the main valve.

do your dream
Do Your Dream © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This list is a good place to start, but you may take additional steps to secure your home.

Be careful what you post on social media. Burglars have started crawling social media websites to find times when a house will be empty.

Worth Pondering…

It started out a dream

A simple someday soon

But we worked hard

and made it real

This snowbird life

behind the wheel.

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Plan Now To Attend FMCA 91st Family Reunion

Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) has fittingly chosen “California Gold” as the theme for its next Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase.

FMCA's regional rally hald annually each January at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio is well attended.  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
FMCA’s regional rally hald annually each January at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio is well attended. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

FMCA’s California Gold event will be held March 26-29, 2015, at a facility that is widely recognized as a premier entertainment venue — Fairplex, home of the Los Angeles County Fair, in Pomona.

Imagine going to one place where you can meet new friends, view new motorhomes, shop, learn technical information about RVing, and be entertained. That’s a FMCA Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase in a nutshell.

More than 2,000 motorhomes are expected to gather at this 480-acre complex for FMCA’s 91st Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase, according to a news release.

Dotted with palm trees and fountains, the beautifully landscaped venue boasts park-like settings and state-of-the-art facilities.

The 85,000-square-foot Conference Center, which offers the perfect balance between high-tech features and comfortable, inviting accommodations, will serve as an activity hub. Among other events, it will provide space for the more than 120 seminars that will be offered, covering a broad array of motorhome lifestyle topics. The center’s high-speed Internet access and closed-circuit LED screens will facilitate these sessions.

Top motorhome manufacturers and dealers from across North America will display the latest models of vehicles while carpeted, climate-controlled indoor exhibition halls will house more than 300 booths packed with a variety of RV-related products and services.

In addition to touring exhibits and attending seminars, motorhome owners will be treated to three nights of top-notch entertainment and a variety of special activities. Attendees also will be given the opportunity to embark on group tours of local sites and attractions.

The 89th FMCA Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase was held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Georgia, March 2014 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The 89th FMCA Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase was held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Georgia, March 2014 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While the convention is organized for FMCA members, the organization also invites members of the public to attend and provides various admission options. The price for non-FMCA members is $255 prior to February 3, 2015, and $275 after that date; this non-member fee automatically grants a one-year FMCA membership or Family Motor Coaching subscription to the RV owner. The FMCA member price is $205 for early-bird registrations and $225 after February 3. (An additional fee is charged for electric.)

Details

Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) 

The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the recreational use of motorhomes.

With approximately 85,000 active member families, FMCA is the world’s largest motorhome owners group.

fmca_twin-oaks-rv-park-elko-perry-gaSince 1963 FMCA has issued more than 425,000 memberships to families who look to the association as their source of information about all facets of motorhome ownership and travel.

FMCA takes pride in the merit of its many membership benefits, which include a mail forwarding service, an emergency medical evacuation program, international conventions, chapter and area rallies, and a free subscription to Family Motor Coaching magazine.

FMCA recognizes approximately 500 chapters across the United States and Canada. Many of them encompass specific or general geographic regions. Others consist of FMCA members who own a particular brand or model of motorhome. And still others are based on a common interest, such as music, sports, coach conversions, or amateur radio.

FMCA National Headquarters address: 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45244

Phone: (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622 (toll free)

Website: www.fmca.com

Worth Pondering…

A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.

—Tim Cahill

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FMCA Confirm 2014-15 Rally Schedule

Cincinnati-Ohio-based Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is making final preparations for its 89th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase, set to take place March 17-20 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Georgia.

Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The RV-friendly facility is located just off Interstate 75, a prime north-south route for snowbird RVers.

More than 2,500 motorhome families and some 6,000 to 8,000 people are expected to attend.

All RV owners and members of the general public are invited to participate, according to a FMCA news release.

Various admission options are available for the Perry event. Activities include an RV show that highlights more than 100 display motorhomes, plus booths filled with RV components and accessories, as well as home products; motorhome-related seminars; organized tours of local sites and attractions; evening entertainment; and other social activities.

To register for the 89th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase at the Agricenter in Perry, Georgia, March 17 to 20, click here.

After the Perry event, it’s on to Redmond, Oregon, where the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center will host FMCA’s second Family Reunion of 2014, August 13-16. Click here to register.

The Madison, Wisconsin, Family Reunion will take place July 29 to August 1, 2015, at the Alliant Energy Center.

Deschutes-aerial-best“We had a fantastic event there in August 2011,” said FMCA President Charlie Adcock.

“We have been looking forward to returning ever since. The Alliant Energy Center is a terrific host facility, plus Madison and the surrounding area have so much for motorhome families to do and see.”

FMCA first hosted an event at the site back in 1984 when it was known as the Dane County Exposition Center. Various improvements made since then, including the addition of the 225,000-square-foot Exhibition Hall, have added to the appeal of the facility when it comes to accommodating an FMCA event.

The Madison gathering in 2011 drew a total of 2,143 motorhomes to the site. FMCA officials expect an even better turnout in 2015, given renewed interest in the motorhome lifestyle since the end of the recession.

Prior to the Madison confab, FMCA will make a return visit to Fairplex in Pomona, California, March 26 to 29, 2015, for the 91st Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase.

Details

Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) 

fmca_twin-oaks-rv-park-elko-perry-gaThe Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the recreational use of motorhomes.

With approximately 85,000 active member families, FMCA is the world’s largest motorhome owners group.

Since 1963 FMCA has issued more than 425,000 memberships to families who look to the association as their source of information about all facets of motorhome ownership and travel.

FMCA takes pride in the merit of its many membership benefits, which include a mail forwarding service, an emergency medical evacuation program, international conventions, chapter and area rallies, and a free subscription to Family Motor Coaching magazine.

FMCA recognizes approximately 500 chapters across the United States and Canada. Many of them encompass specific or general geographic regions. Others consist of FMCA members who own a particular brand or model of motorhome. And still others are based on a common interest, such as music, sports, coach conversions, or amateur radio.

FMCA National Headquarters address: 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244

Phone: (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622 (toll free)

Website: fmca.com

Worth Pondering…

A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.

—Tim Cahill

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FMCA Announces 2014-15 Rally Dates

Cincinnati, Ohio-based Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) announced the dates and locations for the group’s two 2014 Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase events, as well as for the first event of 2015.

FMCA-logo-219x145FMCA will be making repeat visits to several venues that seem tailor-made for the “cities on wheels” that take shape during its motorhome rallies and shows.

In March, FMCA’s 89th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase will come to life at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry. This will mark FMCA’s eighth visit to this RV-friendly facility. FMCA held its first event in Perry in March 1996. The fairgrounds has continued to add buildings and to make other improvements over the years that have resulted in the location becoming even more attractive for an FMCA event, said Charlie Adcock, FMCA national president.

“The combination of a first-rate facility — located just off Interstate 75 and along the path of many snowbirds — and the Southern hospitality we always experience in Perry makes this a not-to-be-missed event for motorhome owners,” said Adcock.

Approximately 2,500 motorhome families and some 6,000 to 8,000 people are expected to gather for the March 17 to 20, reunion. All RV owners and members of the general public are invited to participate. Various admission options are available.

The Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond, Oregon, will play host to FMCA’s 90th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase August 13 to 16. This is another venue that lends itself well to an FMCA event, and one to which the association is making a repeat visit – its fifth, said Adcock.

Deschutes-aerial-bestThe 132-acre Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center was designed using a circular plot, which makes the grounds easy to navigate and puts the activity centers in close proximity. Well-kept buildings, beautifully landscaped activity areas, and spectacular views of seven mountain peaks are other hallmarks of this site, he explained.

“The folks at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center are great to work with,” said Jerry Yeatts, FMCA executive director.

“And the city of Redmond, as well as the surrounding Central Oregon communities, welcome FMCA with open arms.”

March 26 to 29, 2015, FMCA will make a return visit to Fairplex in Pomona, California. Fairplex also provides a nearly ideal setting for an FMCA event, including paved parking for not only the motorhomes that are on display but also for all of the families attending in their homes on wheels, said Yeatts.

Set on more than 480 acres, Fairplex is billed as the “largest multi-use playground in Southern California.” The event — FMCA’s 91st Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase — will mark FMCA’s seventh reunion at this popular, first-class facility, he added.

gI_82663_GA14_entertainmentPlans are in the works for FMCA’s summer 2015 event as well, and the dates and location for that gathering will be announced in the near future.

Activities abound at these get-togethers. One of the important elements of these reunions is an exhibition of motorhomes. Major manufacturers and dealers gather to display their vehicles, and motorhome components and accessories also are available for inspection.

In addition, a wealth of informative seminars centering on topics of interest to motorhomers — including motorhome chassis maintenance and microwave-convection oven cooking — are held. Opportunities for taking part in various social events — among them morning coffee hour and an ice cream social — present themselves to convention attendees.

Organized tours of local sites and attractions take place. Evenings are filled with entertainment presented by top-notch performers, as well as other social activities.

To register for the 89th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase at the Agricenter in Perry, Georgia, March 17 to 20, click here.

Details

Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) 

The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the recreational use of motorhomes.

With approximately 85,000 active member families, FMCA is the world’s largest motorhome owners group.

Since 1963 FMCA has issued more than 425,000 memberships to families who look to the association as their source of information about all facets of motorhome ownership and travel.

FMCA takes pride in the merit of its many membership benefits, which include a mail forwarding service, an emergency medical evacuation program, international conventions, chapter and area rallies, and a free subscription to Family Motor Coaching magazine.

fmca_twin-oaks-rv-park-elko-perry-gaFMCA recognizes approximately 500 chapters across the United States and Canada. Many of them encompass specific or general geographic regions. Others consist of FMCA members who own a particular brand or model of motorhome. And still others are based on a common interest, such as music, sports, coach conversions, or amateur radio.

FMCA National Headquarters address: 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244

Phone: (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622 (toll free)

Website: fmca.com

Worth Pondering…

A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.

—Tim Cahill

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5 More Christmas Gifts For the RVer

Following are 5 more gift ideas on what to give the RVer in your life or even add them to your own Christmas wish list.

1. Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory

Big-Rigs-2013-Cover_x-200x300Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory includes a blend of 1150 upscale resorts, overnight stays along the interstate, destination parks, and suitable public parks.

Serving the RV community since 2001 with a user friendly spiral bound guide—504 pages, lays flat, quality paper, and large print. All parks personally visited by the authors.

The user friendly guide includes forty-nine states, eight Canadian provinces, a separate Alaska Highway section, selected diesel fuel stops, and notable restaurant tips.

The Directory is also available in an online version—detailed park listings with GPS physical addresses, color maps, fuel stops, restaurant tips, and more.

The 13th edition of the spiral bound book is available for $24.95 + shipping/handling; on-line version is available for $24.95 with a $15.00 annual renewal option with updates thereafter; spiral bound book and online version with a $15.00 renewable option with updates thereafter is available for $40.00

To order Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory, click here.

2. Emergency Kit

Fisrt-Aid-KitBuy a pre-assembled emergency kit or assemble one yourself. Be sure to include an American Red Cross First Aid Guide, a variety of adhesive and non-adhesive bandages, butterfly wound closure, gauze dressing pads, gauze roll, triangular sling, antiseptic towelettes, alcohol cleansing pad, antibiotic ointment packs, flashlights with spare batteries, light stick, candles, matches, flares, emergency blanket, a small pillow, scissors, tweezers, gloves, rope, and duct tape, whistle with neck cord, emergency poncho, and hand warmers.

A variety of first aid kits are available from the American Red Cross; to order, click here.

3. GPS Navigation Device

RV9365T-LMB-0-Large-Pop-up-ImageA global positioning system (GPS) is the perfect gift for RVers. A GPS will help you get where you want to go, make restaurant suggestions, and locate a landmark.

Magellan, a leader for innovative GPS navigation devices, has several RoadMate RV GPS navigators to help RV drivers get to their destination safely and stress-free.

The 5-inch Magellan RoadMate RV5365T-LMB and 7-inch RoadMate RV9365T-LMB provides RV-friendly functions and trip-planning features to drivers of recreational vehicles.

RV specific features include customizable RV route settings, car/RV dual usage mode, Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory, Sani RV Dump stations, and AAA Tourbook

The Magellan RoadMate RV5365T-LMB and RoadMate RV9365T-LMB are now available for $279.99 and $349.99, respectively.

For additional information and ordering details, click here.

4. Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA)

fmca_logo_smallThe Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the recreational use of motorhomes. With approximately 85,000 active member families, FMCA is the world’s largest motorhome owners group.

Since 1963 FMCA has issued more than 425,000 memberships to families who look to the association as their source of information about all facets of motorhome ownership and travel.

Membership in FMCA brings with it a wealth of benefits and services including a mail forwarding service, an emergency medical evacuation program, international conventions, chapter and area rallies, and a free subscription to Family Motor Coaching magazine.

FMCA recognizes approximately 500 chapters across the United States and Canada. Many of them encompass specific or general geographic regions. Others consist of FMCA members who own a particular brand or model of motorhome. And still others are based on a common interest, such as music, sports, coach conversions, or amateur radio.

Membership dues are $50 for the first year and $40 per year thereafter.

To join FMCA, click here.

5. National Parks Conservation Association

npca-logo-testBy giving a gift membership, not only do you save yourself from the stress and crowds of department stores, but you’ll help protect America’s most treasured lands.

The National Parks Conservation Association offers gift memberships starting at only $25. Gift members will also receive a fleece blanket as a welcome gift, plus a year’s subscription to the award-winning National Parks magazine.

To introduce family, friends, or RVers in your life to the stunning beauty and rich history of our national parks, click here.

And don’t forget the ultimate holiday gift—a new RV sitting in your driveway!

Please Note: This is Part 1 of a 2-Part series on Christmas gifts for the RVer

Part 1: Top 5 Christmas Gifts For the RVer in Your Life

Worth Pondering…

A hug is a great gift—one size fits all!!!

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RV Trip Wizard Updates Features

RV Trip Wizard (RVTW), a visual planning tool designed for RVers by RVers, listens to its users.

RV Trip Wizard Anim“Since its introduction, RVTW has encouraged users to suggest capabilities that would make their planning activity more fun and effective,” said Rick Sayers, president of RVTW in a news release.

“One such request was to add a way to output turn-by-turn driving instructions.”
Research was done by polling users; the results indicated that about half wanted this feature, so the RV Trip Wizard design team created the capability.

“The new feature makes navigating a trip a breeze even when no cell or computer connections are available,” according to Sayers.

This newest update is one of a number of features suggested by users and implemented by the RVTW team. Because RV Trip Wizard is a site based service, updates become available to all users immediately.

Featured in the May 2012 issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine, and in the current Passport America online newsletter, RV Trip Wizard addresses the often difficult task of how to plan long, multi-stop trips.

The visual way in which the system works makes trip planning fast, easy, and fun, says Sayers.

Also with RVTW, campground owners have the ability to enter and update information about their campgrounds for free, insuring better visibility to potential customers.

Targeted smart ads are also available to campgrounds. These are banner ads that appear only when the planner is within 50 miles of the campground or RV dealer. Thus, users aren’t barraged by ads that would never help them locate a campground or dealer that they could reasonably travel to.

RV Trip Wizard enewsletter_images_rv_trip_wizard_headerRVTW is accessible from all PCs, MACs, tablet computers, and smart phones. There is no software to buy, maintain, or update.

A subscription includes a 15-day free trial.

How The Wiz Works

How long does it take you to plan a trip of 300, 500, 1000 miles or more?

A long time, right? You may well use numerous campground directories, CDs, and online planners.

The frustrating problem is that most of these tools list only the campgrounds affiliated with the publisher! Or they provide you a “plan” only by email. And, like so many RVers, you may have several campground memberships and need to use many “tools” requiring considerable time when planning a trip.

Campgrounds and RV parks in the RVTW include: Good Sam, KOA, Yogi Bear, Encore, Best Parks in America, Escapees, FMCA, BLM campgrounds, Passport America, Happy Camper, Thousand Trails, Western Horizon, Coast to Coast, AOR, RPI, Resorts of Distinction (ROD), North American Camping Club. Recreation USA, Corps of Engineers campgrounds, city and county campgrounds, Military family campgrounds, National Park campgrounds, State Park campgrounds, Canadian National and Provincial Park campgrounds, and AAA.

The Wiz is a VISUAL planning tool that lets you actually SEE your route and ALL the parks as you plan.

In other words, doing things the way YOU want to—just click and GO!

Details

RV Trip Wizard Inc. (RVTW)

RV Trip Wizard head1RV Trip Wizard Inc. (RVTW) is a small group of devoted RVers and supporters who feel they have found a need and are filling it. They’ve done the baseline work and now to make things even better, need the help of all you RV Wizards around the country.

Once you begin using the system help to make this tool ever better by giving your feedback to make the site better, your suggestions, campground corrections, and additions.

Address: 13432 NW 135th Drive, Alachua, FL 32615

Phone: (941) 870-2297

Website: rvtripwizard.com

Worth Pondering…

I hear the highway calling. It’s time for a road trip.

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FMCA Announce 2013 Rally Schedule

The Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) motorhome events in 2013 will provide the “perfect opportunity for motorhome manufacturers and RV suppliers to come face-to-face with an enthusiastic group of motorhome owners,” according to a news release.

fmca_logoDuring FMCA area rallies and family reunions, motorhome owners socialize and enjoy seminars, entertainment, and other scheduled events. Motorhome manufacturers and RV display product, giving attendees the chance to shop for a variety of motorhomes and RV-related merchandise all in one location.

Family reunion and motorhome showcase events are coordinated by the FMCA national office, and each area rally is organized by FMCA members in the respective area.

FMCA’s 2013 Area Rally dates and locations include:

  • Western Area Rally: January 9-13, Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival Fairgrounds, Indio, California
  • Southeast Area Rally: February 6-10, Hernando County Airport, Brooksville, Florida
  • INTO Area Rally (International Area): March 20-23, Lazydays, Tucson, Arizona
  • Midwest Area Rally: July 24-27, Delaware County Fairgrounds, Manchester, Iowa
  • Northwest Area Rally: August 8-11, Linn County Fair & Expo Center, Albany, Oregon
  • South Central Area Rally (Six-State Rally): September 11-15, Missouri State Fairgrounds, Sedalia, Missouri
  • Great Lakes Area Rally: September 18-22, 2013, Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, Goshen, Indiana
  • Eastern Area Rally: October 9-13, York Expo Center, York, Pennyslvania

88th Family Reunion is in Wyoming

FMCA's regional rally hald annually each January at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio is well attended.  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
FMCA’s regional rally hald annually each January at the Riverside County Fairgrounds in Indio is well attended. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In addition to the area rallies, FMCA’s 88th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase will take place June 19-22, at CAM-PLEX Multi-Events Facilities in Gillette, Wyoming. This will be FMCA’s first visit to Gillette for an international event and it is especially significant, as it will mark the culmination of FMCA’s 50th anniversary celebration. The association was founded in July 1963 by 26 “house car”-owning families.

All Family Reunions offer seminars, entertainment, and socializing, but special commemorative activities in Gillette will make it a gathering that members will not soon forget. CAM-PLEX is a 1,100-acre convention, exhibition, and performing arts center with six separate RV park venues encompassing 1,730 sites with electrical hookups. The association is expecting approximately 2,500 motorhome families to take part in the golden anniversary festivities at Gillette.

“We’re looking forward to FMCA’s 50th anniversary celebration this June in Gillette, Wyoming. Not only that, but with FMCA events taking place at varying times and locations, motorhome owners should find that they don’t have to travel very far to participate,” FMCA President Charlie Schrenkel said.

“We invite them to join us at one or more of these exciting locations and to experience the fun, seminars, entertainment, and the motorhome and related product displays among people who share their love of the motorhome lifestyle.”

In 2014, specifically March 17-20, FMCA returns for an eighth time to Perry, Georgia, for a Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase. The 1,100-plus-acre Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter has become a popular place for RV rallies, with its spacious parking facilities; expansive meeting, exhibition, and entertainment venues; and convenient location just off Interstate 75. Dates and location for the summer 2014 Family Reunion have not yet been announced.

Details

Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA)

fmca_online_logoCincinnati-based Family Motor Coach Association is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the use of self-contained, motorized recreation vehicles known as motorhomes.

The association maintains its national headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently has more than 80,000 active member families. FMCA offers its members a number of benefits for motorhome owners, including a subscription to its monthly magazine, Family Motor Coaching, trip routing, mail forwarding, group rates on motorhome insurance, a roadside assistance program, and an emergency medical evacuation plan.

Address: 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244

Phone: (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622 (toll free)

Website: fmca.com

Worth Pondering…

Friends are the most important part of your life. Treasure the tears, treasure the laughter, but most importantly, treasure the memories.

—Dave Brenner

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The Iceman Cometh! Are YOU Ready to Flock South?

We have chosen to be reasonably warm year-round, so we are snowbirds.

The end of another day along the Florida Gulf Coast. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Every year when I hear the honks of the Canada geese overhead at our home in the Great White North, something in my genes starts pulling my inner-compass to the South. And an inner voice whispers: “Surely you’re as smart as a goose.”

Feeling that I am at least as smart as a silly goose, I line up the motorhome with that compass pointer and head for the Sun Belt.

Preparing your home for an extended absence requires thorough thought and planning.

Whether you’re new to taking extended RV trips or a veteran Snowbird, creating your own customized checklist is a great way to keep track of your seasonal preparations.

In the previous post, six tips on securing and winterizing your northern home were discussed.

Following are 10 additional tips to consider when creating your own winter-ready checklist:

Mail

On the Colorado River in the southwest corner of Arizona, Yuma’s been at the crossroads for centuries. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Receiving your mail in a timely manner can be a major concern for snowbirds, full-timers, and other RVers who plan to be on the road for an extended period of time. Arrange with your local postal service to have your mail forwarded to a mailing forwarding address.

We use the service provided by FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association). Other trusted and reliable mail forwarding services include Good Sam and Escapees.

Newspaper
Place a temporary hold on your newspaper delivery.

Smoke alarms
Check to ensure that all smoke alarms are in working order and have fresh batteries.

Furnace
Reduce costs and save energy consumption by turning the thermostat down to 45-50 degrees F (7-10 C).

Water
Turn off the water supply at the main valve.

Water heater
Adjust the gas water heater thermostat to “pilot” or turn it off.

Upon returning home, relight the pilot if you turned it off, and gradually turn the thermostat to the appropriate setting. Don’t forget to turn the water back on before restarting the water heater.

Appliances and electronics
Unplug all electronics and electrical appliances—microwave, washer and dryer, stove, refrigerator, coffee pot, toaster oven, TVs, audio equipment, radios, and lamps.

Refrigerator

Empty the refrigerator, turn it off, and unplug from wall receptacle. Place a fresh box of baking soda on a shelf to absorb odors and drape a towel over the doors to ensure they remain partially open.

Home security
Check outdoor security lights to ensure the motion sensors are functioning correctly.

Lock windows and doors, and set the security alarm.

Rockport is known as “The Charm of the Texas Coast” and for good reasons too. It’s a quiet, little town on the coast of Texas just 30 minutes north of Corpus Christi. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Medical insurance
Don’t leave home without it!

In conclusion

This list is a good place to start, but you may take additional steps to secure your home.

Happy Snowbird Travels!

Note: This is the second of a two-part series on snowbird preparations

Part 1: Flocking South for the Winter? A Home Checklist for Snowbirds

Worth Pondering…

As Anne Murray sings in the popular song, “Snowbird”:

“Spread your tiny wings and fly away

And take the snow back with you

Where it came from on that day …

So, little snowbird, take me with you when you go

To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow…”

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Newmar Makes Motorhome Driving Easier with Comfort Drive

Five years ago, Nappanee, Indiana-based Newmar Corp created the ultimate combination of advanced technology and intelligent design.

The Newmar Comfort Drive Steering System is one of the most significant innovations in motorcoach drivability ever… and it’s another innovative feature that defines the Newmar difference.

Comfort Drive Steering is an intelligent steering system that decreases driver fatigue often associated with operating a typical diesel pusher over long distances. It also aids a driver to maintain a straight path by compensating for cross-winds and crowns in the road.

Comfort Drive creates a positive on-center feel which reduces parking efforts and improves reversibility when backing up a motorhome.

Newmar first introduced the Comfort Drive Steering System on its 2007 Luxury products.

With Comfort Drive, you’ll exert less effort turning the wheel when you drive, back up, and turn. This advanced technology responds to your steering—then makes your driving experience easier.

Comfort Drive removes friction from the steering process so you steer with a light grip, making long trips less tiring. It makes your motorcoach handle more like a car with a self-straightening wheel and lane change sensor adjustments that make it easy to stay in a lane once you’ve committed to it, even at high speeds.

With Comfort Drive you can fine-tune the system’s resistance and responsiveness with a touch of the adjustable Comfort Drive controls right on the dash.

This standard feature was developed by TRW Automotive, Spartan Chassis, and Newmar.

The Newmar Comfort Drive Steering System comes equipped on the following models:

  • Ventana Diesel Pusher
  • Dutch Star Diesel Pusher
  • Mountain Aire Diesel Pusher
  • Essex Diesel Pusher
  • King Aire Diesel Bus

During the recently concluded Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) National Convention at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Newmar Corp. provided 72 attendees with test drives as part of its Comfort Drive Steering promotion.

Participants were awarded $100 in free fuel once they completed a test drive and a survey.

“Comfort Drive Steering is an innovative feature that makes driving a Newmar diesel motorhome a much more comfortable and easy experience,” said Matt Miller, Newmar’s president.

“Unlike a slideroom, however, Comfort Drive Steering can only be properly demonstrated during a thorough test drive. So we decided to allow our visitors to experience Comfort Drive Steering first hand at this event.”

The test drives conducted by Newmar personnel lasted about 40 minutes and covered roughly 23 miles. The course included secondary roads in addition to interstate roads conditions. Newmar made 80 test drive appointments available using four of its diesel motorhomes.

“I felt completely at ease driving the Dutch Star with Comfort Drive Steering,” commented Allen Polka, from Comfort, Texas.

“Driving the Newmar motorhome required me to place so much less pressure on the steering wheel to keep going straight or making a turn. It was like driving on auto pilot.”

2013 Dutch Star Diesel Pusher

On a personal note, when I first got behind the wheel and road tested my 2012 Dutch Star Diesel Pusher at Midtown RV, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Details

Newmar Corp.

NEWMAR: When You Know The Difference

Established in 1968 Newmar is an innovator and leader in the RV manufacturing industry and recognized for its excellence in quality.

Newmar Corp is privately owned and has a dealer network that spans across the United States and Canada.

Newmar Corp is located at 355 N. Delaware Street, Nappanee, Indiana.

Newmar Corp currently manufactures Class A gas motorhomes (Bay Star Sport, Bay Star, and Canyon Star), Class A diesel motorhomes (Ventana LE, Ventana, and Dutch Star), and luxury Class A diesel motorhomes (Mountain Aire, Essex, and King Aire).

Address: 355 N. Delaware Street, PO Box 30, Nappanee, Indiana 46550-0030

Phone: (800) 860-0086

Website: newmarcorp.com

Worth Pondering…
In every thought and action, think excellence.

—Byrd Bagget

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