RV Podcast #183: Why you need to attend an RV Rally or Gathering this year

RV rallies and gatherings are wonderful ways to connect with other RVers, to become a part of the RV community and to sharpen your RV skills, develop more practical, on-the-road and camping knowledge and to truly enhance your RV Lifestyle.

Every RVer is really missing out if they don’t take advantage of these special gatherings and in this episode, Jennifer and I are going to offer a guide to finding an RV rally or gathering this year that is just right for you.

Plus lots of listener questions, RV tips and much more.

Click the player below to Listen Now or scroll down through the show note details. When you see a time code hyperlink, you can click it to jump directly to that segment of the podcast.

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Show Notes for Episode #183 3/14/18 of Roadtreking – The RV Podcast:

WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”2:08″]

We’re on the road in Texas this week, enjoying all this great state has to offer. Headed to Waco this weekend and will be planning an impromptu meet-up Saturday afternoon, March 17 in Waco. We’ll be at the I-35 RV Park and Resort in Elm Mott, Texas, which is just off I-35 at Exit 346, a few miles north of Waco. We’ll share more details on the Roadtreking Facebook Group but let’s plan from 3-6PM Saturday. Bring a chair, some food or refreshments and we’ll all hang out. And yes, for his fans…. Bo will be with us.

Not Getting Enough Sleep? Go Camping

As much of the country deals with the after effects of daylight savings time this week, I got to thinking of a study on sleep I saw last year. Do you know that camping outdoors has actually been found to be good for you sleep-wise? Turning off the artificial lights, getting outdoors and rising and sleeping with the sun actually improves your  health, the study showed. So if you're groggy this week from springing forward, get outside! And to learn more of the study click here or here.

Congress proposes ways to solve $12 billion national parks deferred maintenance costs

Congress is beginning to discuss the nation's rapidly growing need for maintenance in the national parks system, but like much in Congress, disagreement on how to proceed dominates. Currently there are at least three different bills  proposing ways to fund the $12 billion and growing backlog, including one that proposes gas and oil drilling on federal land. To read an overview, click here.

This portion of the Podcast is brought to you by Campers Inn, the RVer’s trusted resource for over 50 years, the nation’s largest family-operated RV dealership with 19 locations and growing

 JENNIFER'S TIP OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”11:35″]

Jennifer shares a great tip from Tom Burkett about making a photo memory book on your next RV trip.

Tom Burkett shows us one of the Photobooks he has made of his RV journeys

Here are the services Tom uses to make his photobooks:

Shutterfly – https://www.shutterfly.com

Photo Book America – http://www.photobookamerica.com/

Meanwhile,  be sure to send me your tips and suggestions for the RV lifestyle. You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Roadtreking.com. Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile devise to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

I love hearing from you!

Jennifer's tip of the week is brought to you by RadPower Bikes ,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping  To see our Rad Power Bikes in action, just click here.

LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK [spp-timestamp time=”17:39″]

Sarah is considering an RV and has some questions about boondocking and traveling with a dog.

John asks about the Hollywood brand rack we have on the back of our 2017 Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL 4X4 to hold our two Rad Power Bikes ebikes. He wants to know about opening the rear doors.

And a listener wants to know about some the model year designation for RVs versus the model year for the chassis.

Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV  Bringing You the largest Inventory of class B’ RVs with locations St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Kalispell, Montana and now… Colorado Springs, Colorado..

INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK – Why you need to attend an RV rally or gathering this year! [spp-timestamp time=”33:14″]

RV rallies and gatherings are wonderful ways to connect with other RVers, to become a family-like part of the RV community and to sharpen your RV skills, develop more practical, on-the-road and camping knowledge and to truly enhance your RV Lifestyle.

Every RVer is really missing out if they don’t take advantage of these special gatherings and in this episode, Jennifer and I are going to offer a guide to finding an RV rally or gathering that is just right for you.

This is a drone shot of one of the FMCA's big International Convention and RV Expo rallies

There are many different types of RV get-togethers, ranging from super-sized, fairground-filling mega events attended by thousands of RVers to small regional and local rallies limited to a few dozen RVers.  Each type of rally has its place. We have attended just about every kind you can imagine, and we’ve been enriched by them all. We’ve also met other RVers who have become dear friends who we continue to see year after year all across the country.

Lets’ start out by talking about the mega rallies. A great example of that is the one going on this week – March 15-18, 2018 – in Perry, GA. It’s sponsored by the FMCA, a large, international group whose initials stand for Family Motorcoach Association. It’s been around more than 50 years and this year, it recently opened its membership up to all RVers, even those in trailers. And their rallies, which they call an International Convention and RV Expo, are held twice a year. Since it may be difficult for you on short notice to drop everything and drop in to this week’s rally at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, you may want to check out the summer FMCA convention July 18-21 in Gilette, WY.

We have attended many different FMCA convention and we can attest to big and fun they are. Cost is typically a little over $200 per couple and includes on-site camping for your RV and full access to the many educational seminars, displays and excellent evening entertainment.

The seminars at these events are what draws us back to them. You can learn everything there, from how to plan an RV trip to Alaska, to understanding your RV’s electrical system, to staying fit and healthy on the road and many, many more topics. There are trams and golf carts whisking attendees from one event to another all day long, strolling musicians and new RVs on display to tour. They also have huge areas filled with vendors who sell just about every type of RV appliance or accessory you could ever hope to have.

So the FMCA has two big, international conventions each year. But the FMCA is made up of various chapters around North America and those regions also hold smaller-scale rallies and activities throughout the year. These gatherings are frequently held on weekends, and they are often organized locally, so long trips aren't necessary. Each FMCA chapter develops its own personality and ways to have fun.

Roadtreks at a Roadtrek International chapter rally

Often, chapters hold gatherings in conjunction with a notable event or attraction that chapter members can enjoy, in addition to the traditional rally activities like potlucks or campfires. Some of the chapters are made up of owners of a particular brand of RV. For example, Roadtrek International is one of the FMCA’s largest chapters and is made up by owners of Roadtrek brand motorhomes.

The FMCA is just one of the big national organizations that hold rallies. Three others include:

  • The Good Sam Club, which holds state and provincial rallies across North America.
  • The Escapees RV Club, which is holding a national rally May 27th through June 1 in Sedalia, MO. The Escapees club has almost 60 chapters, all over North America and many of them also have smaller rallies on a regional scale. In episode 161, Mike did an interview with the leaders of Escapees.
  • Passport America is an RV club that offers discounts and lots of campgrounds across the country. It too sponsors rallies. They have a big one scheduled for Nashville June 25-29, 2018. They call it the Music City Mega Rally.

The mega events can be quite congested

So those are the big mega or statewide events. Another organizer of rallies are the various manufacturers of the RVs themselves or clubs made up of owners of a certain brand, like the Roadtrek International FMCA chapter talked about earlier. We can’t mention all of them but almost every RV manufacturer has a club for its owners. For example, Airstream, which makes trailers and motorhomes, has the Wally Byam Caravan Club International. They have 122 chapters in 12 regions and are really active, with rallies and gathering held every month, sometimes twice a month. Owners of Winnebago RVs have Winnebago International and they have an annual rally on the grounds of the Winnebago factory in Forest City, IA. This year’s event is July 23-28. They also have smaller state events, too. Leisure Travel Vans has an owners’ club. Their Annual Fall Rally is scheduled for Sept. 5-8 in Manitoba, Canada. Then there’s the FROG Club – the Forest River Owner’s Group. They have a huge rally planned for August 12-14 at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, IN. The Forest River club has several regional rallies scheduled this year as well across North America.

Now all these rallies that we’ve been talking about are very organized, with scheduled activities and seminars. And those formal gatherings are great.

But sometimes, we just want to get together with others to enjoy an area or just hang out. That’s how our Roadtreking RV Lifestyle gatherings came to be (Here’s a link to our schedule). Our gatherings include things like boondocking for several nights on the grounds of a winery in Sonoma, California in May; taking photographs at Glacier National Park in June, and white water rafting in North Carolina in July. Our gatherings are for everyone.The featured photo at the top of this page is an example. You don’t have to have a certain kind of RV or belong to a club. We usually talk and plan them on our Facebook Group.

Mike conducting a training session at an FMCA rally

Sometimes, individual members of that Facebook Group just say, hey, I’m going to be camping in such a such a place on a certain weekend and others decide that sounds fun and show up, too. We’ve got one such gathering that happened just that way that we’ll be joining this November, at Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World in Florida. Again, owners of any and all kinds of RVs are welcome to our Facebook Group, which, with 16,000-plus members, has launched more RV friendships over the years that could be counted.

We hope all this talk has given you some ideas and inspires you to get together with a group of other RVers this year. There is a rally or a gathering happening this year that will fit every RVers needs.

So pick one and reserve a spot. Many people even plan out extended road trips to and from the Rally, using it as a launchpad to tour certain areas of the country, with lots of stops to and from the rally.

Hope we didn’t give you too much information. But most of all, Mike and I hope to see you out there with us at one of those rallies. Thanks for listening!

The interview of the week is brought to you by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new or used Roadtrek motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country

TRAVELING TECH TIP [spp-timestamp time=”47:35″]

Steve Van Dinter

By Steve Van Dinter
Verizon Wireless

Ever have one of those moments when you wished you had your camera out but realized there just wasn’t enough time to pull out your smartphone? I’m pretty sure all of us have.

A new gadget, by Google, aims to reduce the number of times we experience this with a unique camera that you can set to be “always on”.

Google Clips

It’s called Google Clips and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Using it’s kickstand you can set or clip this tiny battery powered camera onto anything. And the next part is where things get interesting. Clips will hang out and, using Google’s artificial intelligence engine, it’ll watch for you, your family, friends or even pets to do something cool. Then it’ll automatically take a short video of the action and send it to your phone.

So where would this come in handy? How about in the kids playroom while they’re just being kids. Or watching over your pets while you’re away?

Or how about special events like family gatherings, weddings, vacations…you’re probably getting the picture.

These short video clips can be shared online as gifs or you can go frame by frame and export high quality stills as well.

Google Clips is compatible with many Android and iOS devices and available now at your local Verizon store or VerizonWireless.com.

This part of the podcast is brought to you by Verizon, which operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 112 million retail connections nationwide.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT- Texas!   [spp-timestamp time=”50:09″]

We’ve been talking about our trip to Texas. Listener Dan called in a bunch of them that will keep us quite busy!!!

This part of the podcast is sponsored by Steinbring Motorcoach, Roadtrek’s newest dealer and a third generation family business in Minnesota’s beautiful Chain of Lakes region built on quality motorhomes and excellent pricing and service.

RV SHOWS THIS WEEKEND [spp-timestamp time=”56:26″]

Flint Camper & RV Show

March 15-18

Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center

Flint, MI

 

East Kentucky Sport, Boat & RV Show

March 16-18

East Kentucky Expo Center

Pikeville, KY

 

Great Rockies Sportshow

March 16-18

Adams Center at University of Montana

Missoula, MT

 

Memphis RV Show

March 16-18

Memphis Convention Center

Memphis, TN

 

Mid-Atlantic RV Expo

March 16-18

Meadow Event Park

Doswell, VA

 

Montana RV, Boat and Powersports Show

March 16-18

MetraPark Expo Center

Billings, MT​​​​​​​

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