Family & Friends
By Anita Price, F203773
Members of FMCA’s Golden Spike and Western Bounders & Buddies chapters have enjoyed many good times at rallies and different outings throughout the years. But every so often there is one exceptional rally that will be talked about long after it’s over. Such was the case on May 3, 4, and 5, 2002, when the two chapters joined for a wonderful weekend of fun in Southern California.
This outing was sponsored jointly by the Golden Spike chapter and the Western Bounders & Buddies (formerly Western Bounders) chapter. Wagon masters for the event were Ed and Anita Price, F203773, and Bob and Dottie Poole, F285461.
Coaches began arriving early on Thursday afternoon at the Destiny RV Park in Anaheim, California. After getting parked and settled in, we gathered for an early dinner at Knott’s Berry Farm, just a block north of the campground. For a small price our meals were very large. Many rally attendees carried their dessert back to the campground for the yummy ice cream social, where guests were introduced and weekend plans were discussed.
On Friday morning, a light breakfast of rolls and coffee was served al fresco — we didn’t want to spoil the spectacular repast that awaited us later that day at Disneyland. Hidden away in New Orleans Square is a little-known restaurant called Club 33. This was to be Walt Disney’s private dining room where he would entertain dignitaries from around the world. Unfortunately, he died five months before it was completed. Today, Club 33 is an exclusive members-only restaurant. The buffet contained the most elegant array of delights you can imagine, and we were able to visit both Disneyland and Disney’s new California Adventure theme parks after our meal. Some members stayed and played far into the evening.
On Saturday morning, the carpool brigade lined up to transport us to Knott’s Berry Farm for breakfast. It’s hard to imagine a bigger breakfast for the small price we paid. This was followed by a business meeting back at the RV park’s town hall. Then we headed for the Anaheim Amtrak station in time to catch the Pacific Surfliner train to Fullerton, where the fourth annual Fullerton Railroad Days celebration was in progress. We spent two hours exploring the event, which featured railcar displays and locomotives, music, food, railroad layout exhibits, and information booths, before meeting at the southbound track to board our train to San Juan Capistrano.
Sleek and shiny, our private railcar quietly glided by the ocean to San Juan Capistrano. Once we arrived, some rally-goers chose to explore the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano, while others shopped or visited the O’Neill Museum. Still others relaxed on the patio of El Adobe de Capistrano restaurant where our banquet room was set with seating for 33 rail travelers.
Since we had placed our dinner order earlier, we had plenty of time to welcome new members. Don Tallman, F1956, national director and treasurer of the Golden Spike chapter, presented each with a crystal-like locomotive. Following our delightful meal, we had time to wander back to the train station and visit the old section of San Juan Capistrano, the Los Rios Historic District, where homes date back to the 1700s and 1800s. As the sun dipped below the horizon and the evening lights began to twinkle, we again boarded our private railcar for the trip back to Anaheim.
During the return, each participant received a packet of information, schedules, puzzles, and brochures. Included was a bar of soap custom-made in the form of a locomotive engine.
On Sunday morning, Bob Poole took care of coffee; Bill Strong, F274544, flipped sourdough pancakes; Ed Price cooked sausage; and a “Zippy Eggs” casserole was served. With the weekend ending all too soon, we promised to get together at the next rally.
The Golden Spike chapter unites those who have an interest in railroading, and usually includes an adventure at every gathering. The Western Bounders & Buddies, previously a chapter for owners of Bounder motorhomes who live west of the Mississippi River, has now opened its membership to those who own other brands of motorhomes.
Cruisin’ Cajuns Develop Emergency Assistance Program
By Cruisin’ Cajuns Board of Directors
FMCA’s Cruisin’ Cajuns chapter has more than 300 family members, and sometimes more than 200 motorhomes are in attendance at its rallies. Because of these large gatherings, chapter officers realized the group needed some type of formal emergency response plan to assist members who became ill or injured at a rally until an ambulance or paramedics could arrive. Having a plan was particularly important at night when there is typically little activity in the campgrounds at which the chapter meets. (Some of the buildings are locked at night for security reasons.) And since some rallies are held in smaller communities, paramedics are not always readily available.
As part of that emergency response plan, in May 2001, the Cruisin’ Cajuns board of directors approved the purchase of an automated external defibrillator (AED). This device is used to help restart the heart of a person who has gone into sudden cardiac arrest. For someone in cardiac arrest, every minute counts. Statistics show that after approximately 10 minutes, there is very little chance of successful rescue if defibrillation has not been performed. But quick action with an AED increases the chances of a victim’s survival.
To acquire an AED, the chapter needed a medical doctor to underwrite the purchase of the device. Fortunately Dr. Richard Zimmerman, F44875, a member of the Cruisin’ Cajuns, offered to sponsor the program.
To ensure the maximum availability and effectiveness of the AED, it was recognized that a number of chapter members would have to be trained in its use, and that the AED device would always need to be readily accessible.
To meet this criteria for the AED, and to offer other assistance to members in need, the Cruisin’ Cajuns initiated a formal plan with five points of emphasis.
1. Teams of two (who attend the rallies in the same coach) will be trained to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), choking rescue, and the operation of an AED. These teams will be called Emergency Coordinators.
The training was performed by qualified instructors from the Baton Rouge General Medical Center. The instructors came to our rallies and gave hands-on instruction using an AED, mannequins, audiovisual aids, books, and other materials to members who agreed to serve as Emergency Coordinators. The instruction also included CPR training approved by the American Heart Association. In all, 64 people volunteered for the training. By having such a large number of people involved, we should always have a team available at rallies to administer emergency medical assistance if needed.
2. At each rally, an Emergency Coordinator team will be on duty. This team’s motorhome will be parked near the entrance of the rally headquarters building (in the normal handicapped parking area). A large flag on a pole will be flown above the motorhome indicating that it is the Emergency Coordinators’ vehicle. The AED will be stored in an unlocked bin or compartment under the motorhome with a label on the door indicating that the device is inside. This will ensure that AED is always available, day or night, during the rally if needed.
Also during the rally, both team members will carry portable handheld radios for instant communications with each other.
3. At night or after hours, the motorhome of the Emergency Coordinator team on duty will be the designated location for chapter members to go to obtain help for anyone who becomes ill or injured.
4. If someone becomes ill or injured at night, the Emergency Coordinator team on duty will go immediately to the motorhome or the site of the person who needs help. One team member will take the AED and be prepared to use it, perform CPR, or offer necessary first-aid assistance until medical help arrives. Simultaneously, the other team member will call 911 on his or her mobile telephone and then direct the ambulance and/or paramedics to the site of the person who needs help.
If members ever have an emergency, we encourage them to turn on their vehicle’s headlights and/or emergency flashers so medical help can locate the site easier.
5. At each rally a large poster board is displayed that lists the names of all of the Emergency Coordinators who are trained in CPR, choking rescue, and the use of the AED. The names of the Emergency Coordinator team that has volunteered for the particular rally also are displayed on this board; their names also are included in the rally notice that is mailed to members before the event.
The plan’s effectiveness was demonstrated during the South Central Area’s Six State Rally held at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Missouri, in September 2001. Cruisin’ Cajuns secretary and treasurer Leah Saizan, F143500, and her husband, Al, were the Emergency Coordinators and had the new AED device with them in their motorhome. During the event they were called to help a member who appeared to be suffering a heart attack. Fortunately, the AED was not needed. But it was readily available with an emergency team who had been trained just prior to the rally. Dr. Zimmerman also was on the scene to attend to the patient before paramedics arrived.
Mitch Epps, F112358, a member of the chapter’s board of directors, was instrumental in creating the program and getting volunteers trained. He continues to monitor the program to ensure that it is functioning as intended. If you would like more information about how to develop a similar program for your FMCA chapter, Mitch would be happy to help. He can be reached at (225) 622-2755.
The Reibels: At Home On The Road
By Pamela Selbert, F195400
Jim and Jo Reibel, F128297, have visited all but one of the United States, have spent many summers as camp hosts in several locations, and always seem to be having a good time. Their life as off-and-on full-timers for the past 12 years is an extension of the adventurous, on-the-move lifestyle they’ve enjoyed throughout their 49 years of married life.
Although the couple has been married nearly four times as long as they’ve been FMCA members (13 years), they still enjoy joking that their union may not be legal. Both laughingly say that they still might bail out one of these days.
Jo explained that they had planned to marry on her 19th birthday, May 8, 1953. But Jim, who was three months younger, needed his mother’s written consent before a marriage license could be issued. The wedding was to take place in Evansville, Indiana, Jo’s hometown. However, Jim’s mother lived in Haubstadt, Indiana, miles away, which meant he had to make a long drive to get the papers signed, Jo said.
“He had no time to make the trip, and, consequently, our wedding had to be postponed,” she said. “People would ask us why, and we’d tell them we had to wait for the baby — another of our little jokes — and that really set the tongues wagging in my community.”
But it was Jim’s mother, not Jo, who was the mother-to-be. The couple wanted her to be at the wedding, and so they waited for the baby to arrive. In the meantime, however, they still had to get that consent form signed.
“To simplify everything, we asked my mother to forge Jim’s mother’s signature,” Jo said with a smile. “That’s why we kid each other that we may not be legally married — still, we’ve been together 49 years, so I guess it’s for good.” When the wedding took place on June 2, 1953, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Evansville, Jim’s mother and other family members were in the pews, she added.
Two years later Jim joined the Navy and made it his career. After his training at Great Lakes Naval Base in Chicago, Illinois, during which time Jo remained in Evansville, he served in numerous ports — Norfolk, Virginia; Brooklyn, New York; Bermuda; New London, Connecticut; Oahu, Hawaii; and San Diego, California — where Jo was able to join him each time.
He also served a six-month tour of duty in Vietnam, where his ship’s job was to pick up American pilots shot down at sea. He remembers eight such saves, and also recalls that the appearance of the sky, as battles raged all around, was nearly always colored with the fiery hues of exploding shells. Today a large sticker in blue and gold, embossed with the words “United States Navy” decorates the door of the couple’s 37-foot 1998 Kountry Star motorhome.
For 14 years Jo also was a Navy employee — but she emphasized that she was “with” the Navy, not “in” the Navy. At various sites where Jim was stationed, she worked as a budget clerk and later a budget analyst. With her typical good humor, she explained that no sooner would she get a promotion than he would be transferred, and she’d be “back to the low end of the totem pole.” After Jim retired in 1975 as a chief ship serviceman, she worked six years for the Social Security Administration in Tampa, Florida.
While in Tampa, the couple bought a home and built an elaborate 20-foot-long pool with a re-creation of the Hawaiian Islands in their yard, complete with palm trees and working volcanoes, to remind them of their pleasant stays in the Aloha State. The pool, which Jo designed, was once featured in the local newspaper. She keeps a laminated copy of the story and a color photo on hand to show visitors.
During their nearly half-century together, the Reibels raised three children: Jeff, who lives in Evansville; Paula Kimmich, who resides with her family in Ohio; and Layne, a retired Navy chief, who calls Florida home. Layne is an accomplished marathoner who has competed in more than 100 races.
The Reibels’ motorhoming days began 25 years ago, when they bought a new 22-1/2-foot Pioneer coach.
“At the time, from 1975 when Jim retired until 1978, we were running the post exchange at a boys’ military academy in Solano Beach, California,” Jo said. “When the school closed for the summer of 1977, we set out on a seven-week trip in our new coach, visiting Minnesota and Indiana, then Lookout Mountain in Tennessee, where we had spent our honeymoon.”
The school, which had a student body of 250 boys, closed the next year. The couple began to talk about full-timing, but “kept waiting for me to retire, and that took 14 more years,” she said.
During the wait they traveled extensively during vacations, and every few years acquired a new coach. They drove the Pioneer until 1981; traveled by car the next nine years; then purchased a 36-foot Georgie Boy Encounter, which became their full-time home in 1990. Four years later they traded it in on a 1991 37-foot fifth-wheel trailer. It was their home for a mere eight months, “because I didn’t like it,” Jim said with a grin. Later that year they bought a 1991 40-foot Fleetwood Bounder.
During that time, the couple gained their first experience as camp hosts, at an Army Corps of Engineers campground near Alma, Arkansas.
“We had seen an ad and decided to give it a try,” Jo said. “We were hosts at the camp for six months, through the winter of 1990-1991, and found it was work we really enjoyed.”
They then learned that the St. Louis RV Park, a 100-site facility set amidst the buildings of the city’s downtown, was seeking camp hosts for the 1991 summer season.
“We went (there) intending to stay for one season, but liked it so much we came back to work for six more,” Jo said with a smile. “But by the end of 1997, Jim thought he’d had enough of full-timing, so we went to Henderson, Nevada, where we bought a house, then sold the motorhome in May 1998.”
Fifteen months later, Jim’s itchy feet got the best of him. So once again the Reibels hit the road, this time traveling to Florida, where they bought their current motor coach (which includes a living room slideout for a roomy home).
“We drove back west to winter in Yuma, Arizona, and then in March 2000 we began a marathon trip that took us 8,345 miles across 22 states, to Kissimmee, Florida, where we spent the winter,” she said. “Jim loves catch-and-release bass fishing and spends a lot of time at East Lake Fish Camp there.”
In 2001 the Reibels spent the summer working at the Sundermeier RV Park and Conference Center in St. Charles, Missouri. While there, Jo registered guests and handled other office duties while Jim led RVers to their sites. Although they enjoyed meeting the other campers, they still had places to go. So after another winter in Florida, the couple embarked on a 4,411-mile excursion up the East Coast where, among other places, they stopped in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, three of the four states they had never visited (Alaska is the only other). They then headed south to Cherokee Village, Arkansas, where they bought a house and are taking a break from their full-timing ways.
Although they’ve settled into a permanent residence, that doesn’t mean the Reibels have stopped traveling. In fact, this past summer the couple enjoyed a 3,371-mile tour that took them through Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
To prepare for these trips, Jo says much of her travel information comes from Family Motor Coaching magazine, which is one of the main reasons they joined the association 13 years ago.
“Jim makes fun of me for saving so much, but I keep plastic tubs in our basement storage with information about all the states, including years of articles from the magazine,” she said. “There are just so many new places we want to see.”