By Charlie Schrenkel, L140050
FMCA National President
March: the adage is, if it comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb; or, if it comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion; or perhaps none of the above. What is certain is that the month of March is a transitional month. The changeover to daylight-saving time occurs in most of the time zones on the continent. Also, the first day of spring falls on the 20th — when the green fingers of spring start spreading north on the continent toward Canada, slowly loosening the handshake of winter as they go.
I can remember when Jean and I were still working and lived in Connecticut. I would go out in the driveway where our Pace Arrow 37J was sleeping under a 50-foot blue tarp, and I would loosen a few of the bungee cords and slip into the coach. I would sit for a while, contemplating the warm weather and the weekends to come when we could enjoy the motorhome lifestyle once again. As the month of March slid toward warmer weather and the smell of the early growth of spring vegetation permeated the air, we would sleep out in the RV occasionally on the weekends. We were preparing for the first rally of the season, where we would meet with our FMCA chapter and get caught up on all of the news from each member, as we hadn’t seen them since the previous fall.
Speaking of getting caught up with family members we haven’t seen in some time, while sitting with friends in front of our coach at a recent rally, we began reminiscing about past international conventions. In the category of “you just can’t make this stuff up,” I recalled an incident that happened at the July 2000 convention in Brunswick, Maine. I was a security volunteer and received a call on the radio from one of the parking crew members about a missing person. Many of you will recall that more than 7,500 motorhomes attended that convention.
In response to the call, we interviewed the operator of a large motorhome who stated that she had lost her husband. We asked when she had last seen her husband, to which she replied, “Two days ago.” It seems the couple was traveling from New York to Maine and had to unhook their towed car in a small New England town so they could maneuver it through the tight streets. They then decided that they would continue and would meet at a predetermined location to hook up the towed car again. The husband didn’t show, so she continued on to the convention site in Brunswick. When asked why she waited two days before reporting him missing, she explained, “Oh, I thought he would show up sooner or later.” It was now later, and he did; he was waiting patiently in the convention holding area for his wife to arrive. As I said, you just can’t make this stuff up!
March also brings celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day — the “wearing of the green,” it is sometimes called, when everyone is Irish for a day. There are parades, of course, but this also is a time when a number of first chapter rallies of the camping season are held in many parts of the continent.
As the days lengthen, the snowbirds are also getting ready to return north to their summer nests. Last-minute checks are completed; service to the motorhome is scheduled; winter friends are wished the best for the coming summer, with promises to keep in touch throughout the year.
Belonging to a Family Motor Coach Association chapter cements relationships and opens up exciting and interesting places to go, allowing you to enjoy your motorhome to its fullest potential. It also brings opportunities to volunteer in many areas of the organization where you can reap the rewards of self-satisfaction, fun, and enjoyment of the lifestyle. To learn more about chapter membership, visit FMCA.com/chapters, or call the FMCA national office at (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622 and ask for someone in the Chapter Services Department.
Tip of the month: If your motorhome is equipped with any type of Sleep Number bed or inflatable mattress and you are traveling cross-country, such as from Key West, Florida, to Indio, California, be aware of the altitude changes that you will experience during each segment of the trip. A mattress inflated to your comfort number or pressure at sea level gets pretty darn firm (hard) at 5,000 feet! Crossing the Rockies may be a completely different story! You may want to start each day with a pressure of around 30 pounds.
Safe and healthy travels.