By Jerry Yeatts, F390000
Dan Fogelberg was a singer-songwriter most popular in the 1970s and ’80s. His soulful voice and songs could make even the most stressful day bearable. Years ago, my wife and I saw him in concert at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Columbus, Ohio, and later made the journey again to see him in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one snowy winter day. The first dance at our wedding reception was to the song “Longer.” I still hear it once in a while on the radio.
Similar to many FMCA members, Dan was a true adventurer. Born in Peoria, Illinois, on August 13, 1951, he was the son of a band director and a singer. He would write songs while sitting among the ancient pines overlooking the Illinois River. Later, while traveling from Chicago to California with $200 in a rented pickup truck, he ran out of money in Estes Park, Colorado, and fell in love with the area, referring to it as “the most stunning place in the world.” His journeys led him to some of the most wonderful locations that the United States has to offer, one being Eggemoggin Reach, Maine, or, as Dan affectionately called it, The Reach.
Dan’s song “The Reach” tells the story of a lobsterman and his son on a cold and damp autumn day in Maine, but my thoughts turned to Dan’s outlook on life. He once said about the success of one of his albums, “Nether Lands,” that he wanted to have an opportunity to “step away from the madness for a moment, and create an album that celebrated the pure joy of making music.”
In a similar vein, motorhoming gives us an opportunity to step away from the madness for a moment, and to be part of a lifestyle that celebrates the pure joy of adventure and freedom. FMCA helps to nurture that sense of adventure through chapter involvement, rallies, conventions (“Family Reunions”), discussions on FMCA.com, articles in Family Motor Coaching magazine, and many other member benefits.
It is always interesting in a campground to walk by motorhomes that display the FMCA emblem and to strike up a conversation with members. Many of you have fascinating stories, but the one common thread is your sense of adventure and freedom.
So, what does this have to do with the title of this month’s column? Family Motor Coach Association’s “reach” is very broad. FMCA has members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, 10 Canadian provinces, two Canadian territories, and 17 other countries. FMCA members own Type A, B, and C motorhomes. According to FMCA’s latest survey, the median age of our members is 69 years. And, yes, many of us are boomers and are still in the workforce. We are married, single, divorced, widowed, partnered. We represent different races, religions, and political parties. Some like to ride horses, while others like to bet on the horses.
Motorhome enthusiasts’ interests don’t just lie with camping. Many are involved in pursuits such as NASCAR, speed boating, dog shows, horse shows, golf, fishing, hiking, and tailgating at collegiate and professional sporting events. My wife, daughter, and I attended the Holiday Bowl in San Diego in late December. Although we didn’t really have an allegiance to the teams that were playing, Cal versus Texas, we did see in the parking lot a sea of motorhomes with tailgaters drinking their favorite beverages; dining on burgers, brats, hot dogs, and ribs; playing football; listening to music; and having a great time with family and friends.
You may belong to professional, social, and civic organizations that have members who own motorhomes. Possibilities include Rotary, Kiwanis, the YMCA, or even your church. You may also belong to other RV-specific groups, such as the National African American RV Association. Extend the hand of friendship and invite a new group of families to join Family Motor Coach Association. If you need supporting material or would like the FMCA national office to make contact with a club, organization, or other group or activity that may have some ties to motorhoming, please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan said, “You’ve got to just follow your heart and do your best work. For better or worse, I have followed my heart. There is no doubt in my mind or heart that everything I’ve done is exactly what I intended to do.” Dan Fogelberg lost his life to advanced prostate cancer in December 2007. His wife, Jean, and friends celebrated his birthday in August 2008 by spreading his ashes in his favorite spot in Eggemoggin Reach, Maine. Jean later wrote, “We turned “˜Free Spirit’ around and headed back across The Reach to her mooring, our hearts filled with emotion, and everyone recounting the incredible beauty of what we’d just experienced. As we neared the mooring, we sang “˜Happy Birthday’ to Dan. The sun had dropped behind a bank of clouds on the horizon, lining them in red and gold.
“Dan was so many things: passionate sailor, incredible musician, loving husband, true friend, and a wonderful and unique human being.”
See how many of Dan’s songs bring back memories for you at www.danfogelberg.com.
Remember . . . Great Friends, Good Times . . . . FMCA!
Looking for a Mascot
This summer, FMCA will begin a yearlong celebration leading up to our 50th anniversary in July 2013. What better way to show your enthusiasm for FMCA and the motorhome lifestyle than to provide some ideas for an FMCA mascot?
On page 29 of this issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine is an announcement about a quest to select an ambassador of friendship. Please submit your ideas for a mascot through March 31, 2012, to email@example.com or send them via mail to FMCA, Attn. Mascot, 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45244.
FMCA’s talented graphic artists will select some ideas from all the entries and will create some mascot designs for all of you to see and to vote on at FMCA.com in the coming months. The winning mascot will be unveiled at FMCA’s 87th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase in Indianapolis, Indiana, August 27-30, 2012. A random drawing from all the entries will be made, with a winner receiving a complimentary registration with 50-amp electrical service and full hookup at the Indianapolis Family Reunion.