Discover an abundance of learning opportunities available during the “Navigate To The North Star State” convention.
By Doug Uhlenbrock, Associate Editor
Motorhomers who make their way to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul for FMCA’s 80th International Convention, July 14 through 17, 2008, will find an abundance of things to see and do during the “Navigate To The North Star State” gathering. Besides the motorhomes and merchandise available for inspection and purchase, the terrific daytime and evening entertainment, and the chance to socialize with friends, one of the highlights of the event is the impressive lineup of seminars presented.
Want to know more about your motorhome’s chassis? Having issues with your coach’s electrical system? Need guidance on a trip you’d like to take to Alaska? These questions and many more will be answered in nearly 100 educational sessions. Whether you are an experienced motorhomer or new to the lifestyle, you’ll find that FMCA’s convention seminars cover all of the bases when it comes to learning opportunities.
All About FMCA
During the St. Paul convention, FMCA executive director Don Eversmann, F240000, will provide a detailed explanation of “FMCA & Member Benefits” to inform attendees of all that FMCA offers and encourage them to take full advantage of their membership.
Mr. Eversmann will be joined by commercial services supervisor Maureen Mullarkey to welcome convention newcomers during an “Orientation For First-Time Attendees.” The duo will highlight the activities available to convention-goers and provide some helpful tips on navigating the convention program to find necessary information.
Attendees also can discover specific information about several of the services offered to them through their FMCA membership in separate seminars. Find out about the discounted rates available to members during “Coach-Net Emergency Road Service” and learn more about “MEDEX “” The Travel Program That Provides Travel Assistance, Emergency Evacuation, And Repatriation,” which is a no-cost benefit to each FMCA member family.
The “RV Driving Safety Program” provides attendees with helpful driving information and tips designed to make their driving experience a safer one. This two-session classroom experience (six hours total) will focus on driver awareness and help individuals gauge their own driving abilities. Attendees will learn to become more familiar with their vehicle’s size “” height, weight, and length “” and its impact on drivability, and gain a greater understanding of how different conditions can affect driving. Those who complete the program may be eligible for a discount on their insurance premiums, depending on their state of residence and insurance carrier.
The seminar is conducted and cosponsored by the Recreation Vehicle Safety & Education Foundation (RVSEF), C5999, an FMCA Three Star sponsor, and FMCA. Sign-ups will be held at the RVSEF RV Driving Safety Program registration booth in the Information Center, located on the ground level of the Grandstand, beginning Monday, July 14, at 7:00 a.m. and will continue until all sessions are filled. The cost is $20 per person.
The “RV Weight & Tire Safety” seminar, also presented by RVSEF, focuses on how to load and properly operate a motorhome; coach weights and carrying capacity; and factors that affect the life of radial tires. FMCA members can have their coaches weighed and receive a valuable weight report as they leave the convention. Sign up for the service beginning on Monday, July 14, at 7:00 a.m. in the FMCA Information Center, and then beginning on Tuesday, at the seminar, or at the RVSEF booth (#1229) in the Cattle Barn. FMCA provides a $15 subsidy to the program, so the cost to members for having their coach weighed is $34. Appointments are limited.
In “Fire & Life Safety,” a seminar sponsored by FMCA, veteran firefighter Mac McCoy, C7648, will explain the causes of most RV fires and how to prevent them. Attendees will learn about different types of fire extinguishers; which gauges and detectors enhance safety in a motorhome; aspects of engine and transmission overheating; and more.
Attendees will learn proper filling, testing, and safety instructions during a presentation by Bill Hazell titled “LP Gas Systems.” “Safety Systems For Recreation Vehicles” covers three categories of alarm systems that can alert motorhomers to potential problems in the vehicle: engine and generator fire detection and suppression systems; tire pressure monitors; and interior detectors for intrusion, smoke/fire, carbon monoxide, and propane.
“Safety Protection” covers personal well-being while traveling in a vehicle “” either your motorhome or towed vehicle “” as well as how to avoid having your identity stolen and what steps to take should you become a victim of this crime.
Looking for information about how your motorhome’s systems work and how to keep them in good operating condition? Then plan on attending some of the technical seminars offered during the St. Paul convention, where you can have your questions answered and get tips and maintenance recommendations from industry experts.
Representatives from the major chassis manufacturers “” both gasoline and diesel “” will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about maintenance guidelines for their chassis. Owners of diesel-powered motorhomes can attend separate seminars presented by representatives from Caterpillar, Cummins, and Detroit Diesel, who will discuss operating and maintenance procedures for their engines. New or potential diesel motorhome owners will want to join Jim Brightly, F358406, technical editor of Family Motor Coaching magazine, and officials from the three diesel engine manufacturers listed above for “RV Diesel 101.”
A panel of experts will explain how to tow a vehicle safely behind a motorhome during the “Towing Roundtable.” The discussion also will include information about towing equipment; which vehicles can be towed four wheels down; and related accessories. At a separate seminar, “Supplemental Towed Car Braking,” reps from towed vehicle braking systems manufacturers will explain how their products work.
The “RV Doctor,” Gary Bunzer, whose “House Calls” column appears in Family Motor Coaching magazine, will prescribe helpful doses of RV knowledge through several seminar presentations. “Winterizing Your RV” will provide step-by-step instruction on how to prepare the motorhome for an extended period of non-use, while “The Spring Shakedown” guides owners through the steps necessary to get the coach ready for travel again. Find out how to keep your motorhome in tip-top operating condition during “Ten Maintenance Tips Every Motorhome Owner Should Know,” and discover how to be prepared for unexpected problems in “Spare Parts & Key Questions.”
Other technical seminars will focus on satellite TV equipment and operation; generator use and maintenance; RV batteries and charging systems; refrigeration; hydronic heating systems; toilet and water tank maintenance; steering and suspension issues; Allison transmission operation; and motorhome tires.
Convention-goers will find a wide array of seminars that pertain to making the motorhoming lifestyle more fulfilling and enjoyable. Here are several that might stir your curiosity.
If you’ve imagined taking a once-in-a-lifetime motorhome adventure outside the contiguous United States, FMCA’s seminar lineup will include several seminars to help you learn how to make this dream come true. Discover the natural beauty that awaits you in the 49th State and how to plan for such a journey during two presentations: “Caravan Alaska “” The Last Great Frontier” and “RVing To Alaska.” If a trip to Canada is more to your liking, plan to attend “RV Travel To Canada 2008,” where you’ll learn about border crossing and passport requirements, what you can and cannot bring into the country, and what to see in each province. Prefer a spicier excursion? “RVing In Mexico” and “Mexico By RV” will cover border requirements, safety issues, insurance, water treatment, and must-see places south of the border. Find out how to tour Europe or other parts of the world by motorhome in “International RV Travel Opportunities.”
The widespread availability of high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi has made it worthwhile for folks to include a computer as part of their standard travel equipment. In St. Paul, FMCA will offer a variety of seminars to help folks realize the potential benefits of having a computer on the road. Sessions such as “Don’t Be Afraid Of Your Computer,” “High-Speed Internet,” and “Practice Safe Computing” detail how to utilize your computer’s many features, get online, and safely access vast resources of information.
Those who are interested in turning their laptop into a GPS navigation system will find a wealth of information about the topic, along with standalone GPS systems, during the “Mapping Programs Roundtable.” In addition, other presentations will provide details about free software programs and useful Web sites. “Google Earth” will show attendees how to see places anywhere in the world via satellite using a free downloadable program. “Managing Digital Photos With Picasa” will discuss how users can organize and edit their photos with this free software and then share them with others. “Every RVer Needs A Blog!” will instruct folks how to use the free Blogger Web site provided by Google.com to create their own travelogue, including stories and photos, that can be viewed by family and friends.
Many FMCA chapters have their own Web site that they use to disseminate information about their group’s membership, activities, etc. If you’d like to create a Web presence for your chapter, you can discover how to get started during the “Chapter Web Sites” seminar.
To enjoy the motorhome lifestyle fully, it’s important to stay both physically and mentally healthy. Unfortunately, keeping oneself in good shape isn’t always easy when traveling. But seminars such as “Back Health,” “Knee & Shoulder Health And Exercise,” and “Joint Health & Living With Arthritis” will provide stretching and strengthening exercises that can be done in the motorhome, while “Avoid The Brain Drain” will offer tips on how to stay mentally sharp. “Health Considerations For Hypertension, Diabetes, And Coronary Heart Disease” will focus on how to understand and control these conditions; “Sudden Cardiac Arrest And The Use Of The AED” will explain what sudden cardiac arrest is and instruct attendees on how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED); and “Prostate Cancer And Erectile Dysfunction” will provide diagnosis and treatment options available to those with prostate cancer and discuss the causes and treatments for erectile dysfunction.
Other seminars will cover cleaning the motorhome, saving money, becoming a full-time RVer, the history of RVing, high-definition TVs, arts and crafts, and much more.
With the number and variety of seminars presented at the “Navigate To The North Star State” convention, it’s almost a certainty that you can find more than one on the list that pique your curiosity.
St. Paul Convention Seminars
The following seminars were scheduled as of press time. Last-minute changes could alter the list. Please check your convention program for dates, times, locations, and seminar descriptions.
Aqua-Hot And Hydro-Hot Heating Systems
Basics Of Refrigeration
Dealing With RVers’ Least Favorite Task
Detroit Diesel Engine
Driving With The Allison World Transmission
Freightliner Custom Chassis Preventive Maintenance
Generator Maintenance Roundtable
Introduction To RV Satellite 101
LP Gas Systems
Motorhome Tires: What You Need To Know To Take Care Of Them
RV Charging Systems
RV Diesel 101
RV Inverter/Charger Systems
RV Weight & Tire Safety
Satellite TV Technical Talk
Spare Parts & Key Questions
Spartan Chassis Maintenance
The Spring Shakedown
Steering, Suspensions, Coach Ride & Handling
Supplemental Towed Car Braking
Ten Maintenance Tips Every Motorhome Owner Should Know
Toilet Maintenance & RV Chemicals
What Every Motorhome Owner Should Know About Tires
Winterizing Your RV
Workhorse & Late-Model Chevrolet Chassis Maintenance
5 Insider Tips On Saving Money On Your RV Insurance
100 Years Of RVs In America
Avoid The Brain Drain
Bare Facts & Sun Fun
Basic Battery Maintenance
Beautifying & Protecting Your Coach
Caravan Alaska, “The Last Great Frontier”
Care And Purchasing Fine Jewelry
Caring For Your RV: Using The Right Cleaning Tools For The Right Job
Chapter Web Sites
Chicken Soup For Meetings
Coach-Net Emergency Road Service
Confessions Of A Professional Eater
Coping With Medical Emergencies At Home And Away From Home
Digital Diesel Instrumentation And Diagnostics With SilverLeaf
Don’t Be Afraid Of Your Computer
Don’t Go Without Velcro
Every RVer Needs A Blog!
Fire & Life Safety In Your RV
FMCA & Member Benefits
Governing Board Training
Health Considerations For Hypertension, Diabetes, And Coronary Heart Disease
Honey! Let’s Clean The RV
How To Turn Your RV Into A Tax Deduction
Insight Into The HDTV Revolution
International RV Travel Opportunities
Introduction To Geocaching
Joint Health & Living With Arthritis
Knee & Shoulder Health And Exercise
Making A Difference Through Habitat For Humanity®
Managing Digital Photos With Picasa
Mapping Programs Roundtable
MEDEX “” The Travel Program That Provides Travel Assistance, Emergency Evacuation, And Repatriation
Mexico By RV
Microwave-Convection Cooking “” Beginner ABCs For Sharp Oven Owners
Microwave-Convection Cooking On-The-Go
Orientation For First-Time Attendees
Photo Story 3
Practice Safe Computing
Prostate Cancer And Erectile Dysfunction
RV Driving Safety Program
RV Electrical Circuits
RVing In Mexico
RVing To Alaska
RV Travel To Canada 2008
Safety Systems For Recreation Vehicles
Selecting the Right Motorhome For YOUR Needs
Sudden Cardiac Arrest And The Use Of The AED
Pavements, Pounds And Potholes: A Look At The U.S. Highway And Roads Network
The Six Percent Solution
There Is A Part For You In Our Show At The Walt Disney World Resort
What You Should Know About Windshield Chip Repair
Windshield Safety 101
Country French Basket
Paint Along With Josephine
Rubber Stamped Greeting Cards
Wire Wrapped Spoon
Fun, Games & Exercise
Early Morning Workouts For All