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An RV gathering of friends

Please do not call it a rally. There was no itinerary. No organized programs. And no nametags.

groupshotAOWe all made our own reservations and the only coordinated planning was letting the word out on our Roadtreking Facebook Group that a bunch of us were going to meet on a particular weekend at a particular campground in Michigan.

It was more fun than any of us expected and a great example that great RVing times can be spontaneous and as easy as just showing up and  gettingtogether.

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Some of the Class B Roadtrek motorhomes at our gathering

In all 10 coaches pulled into the Addison Oaks Campground in Oakland County, Michigan. We had 20 people show up, from Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, New York and Ontario, Canada.

Many of us knew each other from either Facebook or the Roadtrek rally in May in Branson, MO.

So in that sense, this gathering was more of a reunion than a rally. Maybe a better word is rendezvous. Whatever it was, it was very good.

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Skyping a visit with one of our RV friends recovering from knee replacement surgery

We mostly just chilled, forming a huge circle of chairs in the shade of a willow tree. On Saturday afternoon, a half dozen or so headed into nearby Rochester, MI to take advantage of a Farmer’s Market and a gourmet food shop. We all brought our own food, but shared a dish at dinnertime.

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Thumbs up for Ketchup Flavored Potato Chips, imported from Canada

At a time when there is so much polarization in our culture, our group was warm, welcoming and harmonious, despite the fact that we are all over the place politically. Some were conservative, others liberal. Some were religious or spiritual, others agnostic.  Those differences were not important. What bound us together was our love for travel, particularly travel in small motorhomes.

One couple was on their very first camping trip in their new motorhome. Another couple had covered over 20,000 miles in their Roadtrek Class B coach just since January.

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There was lots of talk under a full moon and around a campfire

We laughed a lot and shared stories of our adventures and just hung out together. One of our friends, Lisa Gruner from Huntsville, AL, was recovering from a knee replacement surgery. So since she couldn’t be physically in our circle, we Skyped her from our circle of chairs.

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There was no danger of running out of food

But what amazed me the most was what we learned about each other when we visited around the campfire. In our midst were nature photographers, boaters, a model train hobbyist,  a couple of golfers, a knitter, a basket weaver, a fitness fanatic, Scuba divers, cyclists, fishing lure makers, a family liaison volunteer for a U.S. Marine battalion in Afghanistan, a master gardener, a beekeeper and a very busy community volunteer.

And that’s what hit me about this group: Though we ranged in age from the mid-fifties to near 70, some were retired, others still working, everyone was extremely active and connected. And that’s why we all chose our Class B small motorhomes. Because we like to be on the move and on the go once we get wherever we’re going, hiking, kayaking, exploring.

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That was one pretty moon we gathered under

Except for this weekend. This weekend was a time to enjoy each other’s company.

I came away with three takeaways from this weekend.

1 – RV gatherings need not be complicated. Just announce a time and place and people will come. You can send emails, post to Facebook or pick up the phone and call people but that’s about as organized as you have to be. I’d say 20 people is about as big as you want. Any larger and it will be hard to get to know everyone.

2 – Social media is great. But nothing is as fulfilling as connecting with people as real face time. There is something very satisfying about getting to know someone shoulder to shoulder.

3 – We are all much too busy. Even when we RV, we spend a lot of time rushing from place to place, sight to sight, campsite to campsite. Sometimes, it’s very good to just stop, sit and chat for a spell.

That’s what 20 of us did this weekend. I didn’t know everyone when we first met Friday night. But when we all returned to our homes Sunday, we left as very special friends.

I’m betting there will be a reunion of our reunion.

 


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27 comments

  1. Jim Diepenbruck

    It was Addison Oaks which is an Oakland County (MI) campground just north of Detroit. Click on the link in Mike’s story for more information. The campground was chosen to be somewhat central for those coming from west Michigan and those coming from Ontario but Laura R. won the prize for coming the furthest…Kansas City. Her prize for making the journey is a guided tour along west Michigan and the U.P.

    Reply
  2. Laura H Postema

    Nice recap. Laura and I are parked in a national forest campground on Lake Superior. We are already reminiscing about this past weekend… I’m game for a reunion reunion!

    Reply
  3. Carolyn Willis

    Hi, You are so right about “a gathering of friends”. You can call it just getting together or a “club” what ever you want. We are members of a club, FCRV is the National and our club is the Peach Rollers. We meet once a month from March until December. We usually have a wagon master to set up the weekend. No rules! We have bonfires, pot luck dinners, play games and puzzles. The commonality for us is friendship. We are a combination of motor coaches, pull-behinds and 5th wheels. Most of us meet about 5 years ago. Clubs get a bad rap but folks shoul look at it as a reason to GO CAMPING!

    Reply
  4. Les Shanteau

    Hmmm. Did you ever think about a career as a reporter? I think you covered the event perfectly. It was a great time of meeting with others.
    Loved it. Loved the time of sharing with others. Found out things about ours and other RTs we didn’t know. Better than that, things about other people. What a great group of people. Thanks to whoever put this event together.

    Reply
  5. Nancy Sears

    I enjoy reading about you on Facebook. We have a 29 ft 5er. Love it. We do not travel as much as I would like to do, a number of reasons why, number one…we do need to earn a little income, SS by its selfe is not quite enough. So I live though you at the moment. Thank you, enjoy your articles.

    Reply
  6. Laurie Brett

    We have friends that have a class B camper. I think that’s what it might be called. They are hardly ever home, ’cause they’re always traveling. They post some of the pic along their travels, and it always looks so much fun . Maybe one day we will join all of you, looks like we could meet alot of nice people out there in our age group. Thanks for sharing. (Hutto, Tx)

    Reply
  7. Paul Konowalchuk Pogorzelski

    Indeed, a Gathering is spontaneous. Bet Mike Wendland didn’t expect an invite to ride on the Mayor’s Mardi Gras float?

    Take my word, just put the word out on FB land and they’ll will come, have fun and help out. Yan Seiner and Tim Mallon can back me up on this. All three of us can answer questions on our Gatherings.

    Reply

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