Family & Friends
After serving for eight years as the governor of Maine, Angus King became “king of the road.”
The day after he left office in January 2003, Mr. King; his wife, Mary Herman; and their two children “” Ben, 12, and Molly, 9 “” hit the road in a new 40-foot Newmar Dutch Star motorhome to see America. During the next six months, the family traveled 15,000 miles, visited 34 states, and enjoyed the trip of a lifetime before returning home in June.
Based on his experience, the former governor-turned-motorhomer offered some advice to other would-be adventurers. “Get on the road! See the country. Do it with the kids. It was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life.”
Mr. King and his family experienced their first taste of RVing five years ago, when they rented a motorhome during their kids’ spring vacation and spent a week driving around Arizona. That mini-trip was the inspiration for the Kings’ family trip across America.
“After that test run, Mary and I realized we could do it,” Mr. King said. “It also helped get our feet wet without making a big investment. So we started talking about a trip across the country after I left office.”
Mr. King also received a firsthand look at everything motorhoming had to offer when he attended FMCA’s summer convention in Brunswick, Maine, in August 2000. After welcoming FMCA members to the Pine Tree State, Mr. King rolled up his sleeves and joined other convention-goers, touring the exhibits and soaking in all of the motorhoming information he could. During his visit he continued to express a desire to go motorhoming after his final term as governor.
“We had both always been fascinated by RVs and we thought this would be a great family trip,” he said. “Part of the reason was that my job was so intense. Not that I neglected my family, but I just wasn’t able to spend the family time that I wanted. Our motivation for the trip was to see the country and be with the kids.”
The Kings appreciated the time they spent together during the motorhome journey. “A bonding takes place being together with family in an unfamiliar setting and working together,” Mr. King pointed out. The pace of travel also was a welcome change from the demands and stress of his job. “One of the big attractions of RVing is that your life simplifies dramatically. There were no meetings or deadlines to worry about. We weren’t burdened by the anxiety of getting anywhere. Life is simpler on the road. It’s relaxing.”
He said one of the keys to the successful trip was not having an itinerary. “If we liked a place, we’d stay a few extra days. If the weather was bad, we’d move on.”
The Kings’ journey circled the country. They first headed south through Virginia to Florida; then west through Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and into California; then north through Oregon and Washington. Returning to Maine, they traveled across the northern states “” Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan “” and through Canada.
“We learned a lot about our country and were impressed with how big it is,” Mr. King said. “We did it in bite-size chunks, driving one day and staying put for three or four days. We rarely drove more than 250 miles a day.”
The Kings’ Dutch Star was equipped with three slideouts that expanded living space with the push of a button. So the kids would have a comfortable place to sleep, the Kings had a sink and storage area converted into bunk beds. Mr. King said the motorhome was “one of the two or three most satisfactory products I’ve ever bought. I’m impressed by a device that has so much technology packed into it, and yet you can roll over bumpy roads at 65 miles an hour and everything still works when you get to the campground.”
Mr. King was first elected governor of Maine in 1994 and was re-elected in 1998. The state’s term limits prohibited him from running again. He recently joined a Portland, Maine, law firm as special counsel, and lectured at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, this past spring.
Red River Rovers Pose A Quilt Challenge
By Ann Bailey, F298361
Shortly after the formation of FMCA’s Red River Rovers chapter in 2001, members of the group decided that they wanted to wear uniform vests when they went to different rallies. They knew that the South Central Area’s Six-State Rally in Claremore, Oklahoma, was coming up and they wanted to stand out among the other FMCA members there. A vest project was started, and members of the Red River Rovers began cutting, sewing, and pressing the many vests that were needed. The ladies found that they enjoyed working on projects together “” especially if it involved sewing.
Many of the Red River Rovers’ motorhomes traveled across the country with sewing machines, material, thread, etc., on board. It was not unusual to see sewing machines and embroidery machines set up and running during our monthly rallies. The ladies discussed getting involved in charitable projects a number of times, but no decision on what to do was ever made. Then a miracle happened …
The group ended up in an RV park in Denton, Texas, for a four-day rally. The weather was cold and rainy, so we wondered what to do. The answer was to sew. One of the women brought her birthday present, a brand-new 11-pound sewing machine, to the rally and showed it off to others in attendance. Everyone loved it and set off to the local sewing machine shop, where seven more of the same machines were purchased. The next stop was for fabric. One of the women had her embroidery machine with her and used it to stitch their names on the cases that came with the sewing machines.
The women laughed, talked, and worked on “string quilts” all weekend, just like an old-fashioned quilting bee. By the time the rally was over, they knew each other much better than before. On the final day of the event they named themselves the Red River Rovers “Sew E-Z” group, and they decided to challenge the other South Central Area chapters to make quilts for children.
This is the challenge that went out:
A Quilt Challenge is being planned for the Six-State Rally in Gonzales, Louisiana, September 21 through 24, 2004. The Red River Rovers would like to extend a challenge to all FMCA RVers in the South Central Area. Plans are for each chapter to make small quilts that will be presented to the local community on volunteer recognition night. They will be given to an area quilt guild that will distribute them to local police, fire, and community agencies who in turn will give them to children in crisis situations. These quilts can be sewn, crocheted, knitted, or made from fleece and tied. They should be anywhere from 42 inches square to 54 inches square. They should be made in colors that are pleasing and happy for children. In numerous situations, children are removed from their homes with only the clothes on their backs. These quilts will be something that not only will be comforting, but also will be something that belongs to them.
We have contacted the president of the local quilt guild, and we have been told that there is a tremendous need for this type of support. Children in every community need extra care and attention.
All quilts made will be displayed in a show-and-tell area during part of the Six-State Rally where everyone will enjoy looking at them. Think of the joy these quilts will bring.
If you have any questions, please contact Ann Bailey at (903) 564-6228; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturns In Tow Members Enjoy An “Eggstra” Special Anniversary
By Anita Price, F203773
FMCA’s Saturns in Tow chapter celebrated its seventh anniversary with an “eggsciting” gathering at the Anaheim Vacation Park in Anaheim, California, April 21, 22, and 23. The rally took place during the week after Easter and featured an egg theme.
Members began pulling in mid-afternoon on Tuesday, April 20, and were met by wagon masters Ed and Anita Price, F203773. The registration table was decorated with baskets filled with eggs and folders listing the event’s activities. Each member was given a goody bag decorated with eggs and filled with chocolate eggs, handmade egg-shaped soaps, and brochures describing all the exciting things to do in the area. It also included an 18-page cookbook featuring egg recipes, and a collection of puzzles, word games, and mental challenges in a folder titled “What to Do When There is Nothing to Do.”
Fortunately, finding things to do during this rally was never a problem. With beautiful, clear weather, our first adventure was dinner at the famous Knott’s Berry Farm on Tuesday evening. The senior special was so large that we all brought our pie back to the RV park to enjoy at our evening ice cream social. The day concluded with games in the campground lounge.
Early Wednesday we enjoyed a continental breakfast, followed by a board meeting and then a general chapter meeting. A hat beauty contest and a book swap came next. The ladies all joined a special crafts session where they each created a magnet “” egg-shaped, of course.
Later in the day teams were chosen for beanbag baseball, where the ladies beat the men by a thin margin. Happy hour brought jokes, finger food, and fellowship before we headed to the clubhouse for a potluck dinner featuring, of course, deviled eggs and egg-shaped muffins. Naturally there was ice cream to go with our egg-shaped cake and its seven candles. Games completed the evening.
Breakfast on Thursday was a real treat. If you have not had a do-it-yourself breakfast of “omelets in a baggie,” you’ve missed some camping fun. After the eggs were whipped to perfection and poured into a resealable plastic bag, each person then added other ingredients, such as ham, cheese, green onions, red peppers, salsa, and so on. Then the bags were tightly sealed and dropped into boiling water to cook. Muffins and fruit completed the meal.
Choices for activities that day included trips to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Hobby City, shopping, the beach, or just relaxing at the campground. There were many options for Thursday’s dinner, and the group chose Pat and Oscar’s, a nearby salad, pizza, and rib restaurant. Not only did we have a delicious meal, but the waitresses entertained us with a breadstick-tossing contest, with some of our group participating.
Since there was no official cohost at this rally, each member selected a job from the egg basket when they arrived. One member arranged the car pools, while others performed setup and cleanup duties. With everyone pitching in, the workload was light and the rally ran smoothly.
The local Saturn dealership also helped out by furnishing nice key chains, toy Saturn cars, American flags for our cars, free oil changes, and tote bags for all who attended.
Saturns in Tow began as a chapter for those who, as the name suggests, tow Saturns. The membership now is mainly composed of retired couples who live in the Southern California area. We welcome all inquiries and new members and would be extremely happy to include others in our fun. For more information, contact Ed and Anita Price at (714) 998-3343.