By Don Moore, F154921
FMCA’s international conventions are a great reason to pack up the coach and get moving. You cannot find a better place anywhere to shop for motorhomes and related merchandise. You’ll also discover an amazing list of topics discussed by motorhome experts and others during the seminars. Add daytime and evening entertainment, some special events, plus the happiness that comes from socializing with other motorhomers, and it’s hard to put a price on what you can enjoy at an FMCA international convention.
Attending this month’s “Georgia Jubilee” convention at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Georgia, March 19 through 22, is an excellent way to begin your spring travels. The early bird registration deadline is February 26, but if you’ve missed that date, it doesn’t mean you can’t join us. I believe you’ll be glad if you do. Up until Friday, March 9, you can register online at FMCA.com or by calling the FMCA Convention Department at (800) 543-3622. After that date, in-person registration will begin at the convention holding area in Perry on Friday, March 16, starting at 7:00 a.m.
If you have any questions, visit FMCA.com or give the Convention Department a call. We all hope to see you in Perry.
We put lots of miles on our 6-year-old motorhome as we use it to travel to FMCA international conventions and area rallies, convention site visits, and business meetings. We’ve had the coach in for scheduled repairs between trips. But while we were en route to Indio, California, in late December for the Western Area Rally, the coach demanded immediate attention. We were on Interstate 10 near Benson, Arizona, on Saturday, December 30. That’s when we lost power steering and the engine started heating up.
I pulled over to the side of the road and checked all hoses and fluids, and everything was fine in that regard. We called our roadside service, Coach-Net, and they were very helpful. They made sure we were in a safe place and checked to see whether we needed anything. They also called back later to ask whether we were pleased with the service. Coach-Net offers FMCA members a discounted rate, and I highly recommend them if you are interested in road service.
Since it was the Saturday afternoon before New Year’s Eve, no service facility that could handle our coach was available. We were lucky that there was a campground 1 mile off the interstate, and Coach-Net called for us and made a reservation. We let the engine cool down and then maneuvered slowly toward the campground. If you have no power steering, it takes a lot of muscle and strength to drive a motorhome and go around corners! It was good the campground had a large entrance.
When the tow truck came, the coach was taken to a repair facility in Tucson. Turned out the power steering pump had failed and the part had to be ordered. We were unable to stay in our coach in the lot at the repair facility, because all gates were locked overnight (for security), and we wouldn’t be able to get out in case of an emergency. So, we stayed in a motel.
Fortunately, we still got to the Western Area Rally in time for all the prerally activities. The newly elected Western Area vice president, Tom Ainsley, F182814, and his wife, Joan, did a super job. They had received plenty of pointers from the previous area vice president, Tony Vincent, F161584, and his wife, Betty. I believe this experience is very important when the outgoing and incoming parties work well together.
It was another successful rally, and I thank the Ainsleys, the Western Motor Home Association officers, and all the volunteers for their hard work in ensuring that everyone had a good time. Several chapters invited us to meals, and we all enjoyed the food and fellowship. We extend a big thanks to them, too.
The weather was a little colder than usual for California, but the weather everywhere has been unusual this year. Regardless, rally organizers were very pleased with the attendance: family coaches, 1,420; display coaches, 188; passports 93; and day passes, 2,200.
The theme this year was “Get Your Kicks On Route 66.” The decorations carried out the theme, and included the stage backdrop “” and were great as usual. The Apollo Amigos chapter does the decorating every year. I don’t know how they come up with all the ideas. The Western Area always has an outstanding parade. It gets bigger and better each year. I was pleased to present the President’s Award to the winners.
Several hundred women attended the Red Hat Tea, and the fashion show was very successful, with several vendors showing their merchandise. The ice cream socials (both of them) were enjoyed by everyone, and many participated in the Chapter Fair.
Joan Ainsley was in charge of three evenings of entertainment, and she worked closely with Paul Lennon of National Performing Artists. Paul works with many FMCA area rallies, finding entertainment that fits each budget.
The Frustrated Maestros were on hand each morning at coffee hour to entertain us, playing the songs we love to hear and paying tribute to all branches of the armed forces. On Sunday morning the Crown City Dixieland Band performed. We fondly recalled Bob Gobrecht, L14273, the founder of FMCA’s Frustrated Maestros and a member of the Crown City Dixieland Band, along with his daughter, Carol Gobrecht Andreen, and her husband, Phil. As many of you know, Bob passed away last year. His wife, Betty, was at the Western Area Rally visiting with her FMCA friends.
I flew to Redmond, Oregon, on January 14 to check out the site of the 2007 summer convention, to be held August 13 through 16 at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center. I traveled along with Charlie Painter, F23514, chief of convention parking, as well as Donzella Leahy, F234822, Northwest Area vice president, and her husband, Bill. In Redmond we met with Jerry Yeatts, director of FMCA’s Convention Department, and the newest FMCA staff member, John Renda, sales director. Jim Rosenberg of Hale Northeastern, the show decorator, also joined us.
We returned to Indio Tuesday night and traveled in our coach to Pomona, California, on Wednesday morning for a site visit there. FMCA will have its 79th International Convention at Pomona’s Fairplex February 25 through 28, 2008. Charlie and Ginger Painter, Tom and Joan Ainsley, and Darlene and I joined Jerry Yeatts, John Renda, and Jim Rosenberg in looking over the facility.
On Saturday we all departed for our next journey. As I write this it’s still January, and we are in Yuma, Arizona, waiting to see whether Interstate 10 is safe for us to continue on our trip to Florida. We plan to attend the Southeast Area Rally in Brooksville, February 7 through 11.
By the time you read this, though, that will be past. But please don’t let the “Georgia Jubilee” “” FMCA’s 77th International Convention “” slip by. It is not too late for you to make plans to go. And I’m sure it will be fun for us all.
Notice Of Annual Membership Meeting
Family Motor Coach Association’s annual membership meeting will be held August 16, 2007, during FMCA’s 78th International Convention at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond, Oregon.