By Charlie Schrenkel, L140050
I was sitting in the Allegro Campground laundry room at the Tiffin motorhome factory in Red Bay, Alabama, watching the washer and two dryers spin and slosh our belongings around. Why? Because the sign over the appliances said so. That’s right, “Do not leave washers or dryers unattended”! I thought about this for a minute and wondered why? If we left, would they quietly stop running? Were they of the type that needed human company in order to do a good job? Don’t know; haven’t found that out yet, but what I did learn was that while Jean and I sat there patiently listening for one of the machines to cry out for assistance, we both were busy on our cell phones, playing games and passing the time.
After a short while three other folks joined us, dutifully obeying the instructions set forth on the wall, and looking at their cell phones also. Suddenly, almost at the same time, we all looked up and started to laugh. At each other, and at ourselves! We had voluntarily isolated ourselves from each other during the course of our housekeeping duties; so much so that we had overlooked the perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to TALK with a fellow motorhomer! And what a conversation it turned out to be.
We all had a lot in common. Some of us were full-timers; some were season-timers, if that is a category; but all of us were RVers. We did not formally introduce ourselves. We didn’t have to; we are motorhomers.
We also ran into a couple we had met before, Doug and Sandra Trafton, F61447. Doug and Sandra are from Canada and were on their way to Florida but stopped at the Tiffin service center to have some work done on their coach. We have known Doug and Sandra from volunteering at various rallies. Again, small family.
Just think, if we had all planned to meet in this laundry room several months ago, we could have established a better connection sooner.
Connection! Every day we likely miss opportunities to connect with each other “” yes, you and me, motorhome owners. FMCA has a Campground Connection program whereby campgrounds can sign on and help the association to recruit new members. The Tour Connection program, powered by Fantasy RV Tours, provides FMCA members discounts on tours and caravans “” and now cruises “” throughout the continent and beyond. FMCA’s monthly magazine and our Web site “” FMCA.com “” including the forums, provides us an information connection. In particular, members are encouraged to visit the forums on FMCA.com to discuss ideas and solutions to everyday RV-related issues and to pass on to each other helpful hints about subjects such as full-timing; the best places to stay; and what to do and see as we travel all over the United States and Canada.
I am always excited to meet new people and to listen to their tales of travel and the exciting places where they have been “” including places Jean and I hope to visit someday.
As this New Year begins, I would like to hear from you out there in member land. Share with me your experiences; your ideas for benefits and services that would enhance our motorhome lifestyle. This is your association, and I would appreciate your input. You can send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me using the FMCA national office address.
If you have an interesting anecdote about RVing, pass it along so we can share it with others. Every trip is an adventure to be cherished and shared with each other. That’s what brought us all together in the first place. Granted, some trips we would just as soon forget, as we all have faced the issues resulting from driving a house on four wheels down the highway as it experiences the equivalent of a 7.2 earthquake each time it moves for several hundred miles. But let’s try and share the good things, the things that brought us to this point in our lives that we enjoy and look forward to “” the next trip to Disney; the deserts of the Southwest; the beautiful scenery and shoreline of Baddeck, Nova Scotia; the stunning, seemingly endless shoreline of the coasts of northern California and Oregon. There is much to see out there and much to enjoy, but it is even more rewarding to share with each other, to connect!
And while we are talking about connecting, let’s all try and connect with fellow motorhomers who are not yet members of FMCA, and to bring them into our organization so all of us have the opportunity to listen to and to share in their stories. We may learn even more!
Safe and healthy travels.