By Peggy Jordan
Back in October 1988 a chapter called the Pace Arrow Wanderers was organized. Geographically, it encompassed FMCA members in the South Central Area. Interest-wise, membership in the group required ownership of a Pace Arrow motorhome.
But things changed over the years. Chapter president Earlene Amos, F209153, explained, “People were buying other coaches, so we changed the bylaws so you could join the club whether you had a Pace Arrow or whatever. That didn’t seem to make any difference. When people joined, they thought they had to have one.”
So, in October 2005 chapter members voted to change the group’s name to the South Central Wanderers. “Currently three members have Pace Arrows, and that’s it,” Earlene said. “Our latest member had a Pace Arrow when he joined, and sold it and got another brand.”
The chapter is looking to welcome new members. Approximately 22 member families belong to the group.
This relatively low number does not translate into a low level of activity. The South Central Wanderers live up to their itinerant name as they enjoy traveling together and exploring new sights.
Earlene provided a long list of different places the chapter has visited: they caravanned to Massachusetts and took a trip into Boston; held a rally in New York that coincided with FMCA’s 2003 summer convention in Buffalo (“We went to Niagara Falls and Canada with that one,” she said); and went to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, an excursion that included a lake cruise.
Locations near or in the South Central Area states of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri are also just as popular, as they are closer to home. “We had [a rally] in Biloxi, Mississippi, and toured the whole town,” she said. “Last month we were in Carthage, Missouri, and went to Precious Moments [Inspiration Park]. We have been to Lafayette, Louisiana, and had a swamp tour,” she continued.
The chapter previously visited Harlingen, Texas, and will do so again from January 8 through 13. They really like it. “We go over into Mexico and eat,” Earlene said. “They have a huge flea market down there [in Harlingen], too,” she added.
Chapter members also like to tour Harlingen. The town has a butterfly farm where visitors can feed the beautiful insects, and an aloe vera farm, too. From Harlingen it’s easy to drive over to South Padre Island for lunch.
When they’re not touring the area, chapter members like to play games and socialize. “We play Mexican Train or ’99’ or ’42’ or dominoes at night, or just sit around and talk,” Earlene said.
“The biggest part of our group is retired. Some are full-timers. We are still young at heart.”
The chapter traditionally has held three rallies each year. “Everybody said that was not enough, so this year we’re going to have more, like this one coming up in Harlingen, the next one in Fredericksburg [Texas, in April], and a rally prior to or after the Six State Rally in Beaumont.”
Talk of holding additional rallies in 2006 is still ongoing, so more will probably be announced later in the year.
Chapter dues are $20 per year. Members do not have to live in the South Central Area; but, obviously, with rallies in that area, it helps. Members receive a nametag and a newsletter that Earlene proudly noted took second place in a chapter newsletter contest at the 2005 Six-State Rally in Hutchinson, Kansas. And, she said, “Our photographer makes a CD of all of our rally photos and sends it to you if you want it, free.”
She summed up the chapter by saying, “We’re just a real friendly little group. We like to visit with people from all over.”
For more information about the South Central Wanderers, contact FMCA’s Chapter Services Department at (800) 543-3622.