Family & Friends
The Susquenago chapter’s annual Labor Day Invitational Rally, held September 1 to 4, 2017, doubled as a celebration of the chapter’s 40th anniversary. It was the 37th consecutive year the rally took place at General Clinton Park in Bainbridge, New York.
With more than 1,200 member families, Roadtrek International is FMCA’s largest chapter. As it celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2018, here is a look back at how the chapter got its start.
On June 23, 2016, torrential rains caused devastating floods that resulted in 23 deaths in West Virginia, including 15 in Greenbrier County alone. Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed. Twelve counties were declared federal disaster areas, which allowed for federal funding through FEMA.
Members of the Thousand Trails of Texas chapter returned to the place where the chapter was founded — Medina Lake RV Campground in Lakehills, Texas — to celebrate the chapter’s 30th anniversary from November 17-19, 2017.
Four dozen exhibitors, 38 seminars, and 22 craft sessions, as well as entertainment, activities, and socializing, highlighted the 44th South Central Area Rally, held October 25-28, 2017, at Four States Fairgrounds in Texarkana, Arkansas. The event drew more than 600 people and 318 motorhomes.
The GMC Motorhomes International chapter held its 35th anniversary convention from September 15 to 21, 2017, at Elkhart Campground in Elkhart, Indiana. Some of the attendees could recall the chapter’s first convention, held in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1982. Others were attending their first GMCMI convention. Regardless, everyone shared a common goal: to celebrate GMC motorhomes and their owners. Jon Walker, FMCA national president, was an honored guest.
Jean Pryor had two families, and she loved them both. She was connected to one family by blood, and to the other — Family Motor Coach Association — by a bond that spanned more than 40 years. Her children readily acknowledge that aside from her kin, FMCA was the most important thing in Jean’s life.
Colorado Columbines members gathered July 6-9, 2017, at Mountaindale Cabins & RV Resort for a special event: the chapter’s 25th anniversary celebration. The location was significant. Founding member Dick Greener explained that the idea to form the chapter was hatched in 1992 at Mountaindale, which is just south of Colorado Springs.
The Lone Star chapter celebrated its 50th anniversary with a rally September 7-9, 2017, at the Durant/Choctaw Casino KOA in Durant, Oklahoma. Lone Star received its charter in June 1967 and is the ninth-oldest chapter in FMCA.
The Travlin Texans chapter received its FMCA charter on June 6, 1987. To commemorate the chapter’s 30th anniversary, members gathered October 3 through 6, 2017, for a rally at North Texas Airstream Community in Hillsboro, Texas.
The Over the Hills chapter held a rally September 20 to 24, 2017, at Sunset Lakes RV Resort in Hillsdale, Illinois, which is just east of the Quad Cities area. Members arrived in 17 motorhomes for the event.
The Northwestern chapter celebrated its 50th anniversary in the beautiful Yakima Valley of central Washington over the 2017 Labor Day weekend. A ring of forest fires in the mountains above the valley, along with eerie skies and unusual sunsets, did not hinder the festivities. Twenty-eight members and guests, along with 14 motorhomes, convened for the event, held at the Yakima Elks RV park in Selah, Washington. Kathie Balogh, FMCA national vice president, Northwest Area, presented the 50th anniversary award and certificate from FMCA.
The Maine Wheels chapter celebrated its 30th anniversary June 9 to 11, 2017, at Wassamki Springs Campground in Scarborough, Maine.
The Midwest Prairie Schooners chapter (MWPS) celebrated its 40th anniversary August 10 through 13, 2017, at Arrowhead Point RV Park & Campground in Osceola, Missouri. The chapter, which covers the Greater Kansas City, Missouri, area and points beyond, was chartered as the GMC Prairie Schooners on July 28, 1977, but the name was changed to Midwest Prairie Schooners in 1979.
It’s about 900 miles from The Villages, a community in central Florida, to FMCA’s campground in Cincinnati, Ohio. That’s how far David and Sandy Fuller, F331444, traveled in their 2004 Monaco Holiday Rambler to escape Hurricane Irma, the powerful storm that pounded the southeastern United States in September.
FMCA members Stan and Connie Filarski live in Eugene, Oregon, which was just outside the path of totality for the August 21, 2017, solar eclipse. So, the couple traveled about 50 miles north to a prime viewing spot at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Corvallis, Oregon. The Filarskis said the event was “truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!”
John Richard Morris, L4372, who served as FMCA’s national president from 1977 to 1979 and as national treasurer from 1975 to 1977, died February 7, 2017. He was 84.
Some dedicated FMCA members were recognized at the association’s 2017 conventions in Chandler, Arizona, and Indianapolis, Indiana.
WesTex chapter members experienced a bit more excitement than we expected this past spring. We were at the Mill Creek Ranch Resort in Canton, Texas, for a rally during the first week of May, with 17 coaches attending. Many of us were there early, having arrived the last week of April.
King deBord, L16686, was a familiar face at many FMCA international conventions. As a volunteer with the parking layout crew that guided motorhomes into their spots, he always arrived early to make preparations. And he was one of the last to leave, because he worked the entire convention.
Genny Jennings, L26, was presented the Kenneth T. Scott Pipe Dreamer's Award by Charlie Adcock, immediate past national president, and Jon Walker, newly elected national president, on July 18 in Owosso, Michigan, following FMCA’s 96th International Convention. This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptionally worthy and beneficial service to the association and to motorhome owners. Ken Scott, L63, was FMCA's first executive director and dedicated years to nurturing the association.
FMCA national president Jon Walker and his grandson, Jack Graham, along with FMCA national secretary Gaye Young, met author Al Hesselbart during the introduction of his new book, RV Capital Of The World: A Fun-Filled Indiana History. The event took place at the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, Indiana, this past June.
Memorial Day was created in the United States to remember fallen military members. Sadly, for many people that meaning has been lost amid start-of-summer celebrations, mega sales, and neighborhood barbecues. But the true meaning is never lost on the families who have lost loved ones in service to our country. Memorial Day is for the American troops who did not get a homecoming party and who did not retire from the service. They instead returned home in flag-draped coffins.
We decided to push back the clock and publish this 1987 photo. And speaking of pushing, it shows members of the Ohio Nomads chapter attempting to push start a GMC 4106 bux conversion. (They were successful.) The photo exemplifies that the can-do spirit and camaraderie of FMCA members was as great 30 years ago as it is today.
The GMC Motorhomes International chapter’s spring convention, held March 24 to 30, 2017, at Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, allowed members to revisit the past and enjoy the present. Not only did more than 100 GMCs converge on beautiful Shawnee, Oklahoma, for the event, but we were joined by RVers in four other vintage motorhomes: a 1989 Winnebago Spectrum 2000, a 1974 FMC 2900R, a 1984 Airstream 300LE, and a 1982 Revcon.
By Beverly Martin, F324152
Rally in the Pasture, or R.I.P., is an FMCA chapter that holds an annual rally hosted by FMCA national president Charlie Adcock and his wife, Gloria, in Searcy, Arkansas. This year the Rally in the Pasture took place April 24 through 28. Once again, we enjoyed several days of fun and friendship.
By Martha Cavanaugh, F242623
The Carolina Guroos chapter held a rally February 16 to 19, 2017, at Southern Palms RV Resort in Eustis, Florida. Attendees consisted of 26 FMCA members in 13 motorhomes, along with six guests, including C.B. Edwards, an officer for FMCA’s Eastern Area Motorhome Association …
By Phyllis Avella, F424750
As we grow older and fondly remember our youth, maybe sometimes we wish we could go back in time and relive some of those moments. Well, people had an opportunity to do just that at the South Texas Renegades rally held April 6 to 9, 2017, at Braunig Lake RV Resort in Elmendorf, Texas. The rally was a celebration of the chapter’s 38th anniversary.
Darrell and Grace Gilliland, F153488, retired in 1992, bought a motorhome, and joined FMCA. As much as Grace relished the opportunity to travel, she delighted in the lasting friendships that formed along the way.
Over the years, my wife, Barbara, and I have come to cherish two activities: camping in our motorhome and riding our tandem bicycle. Our love of bicycling came long before we bought our coach. For the better part of three decades, we have particularly enjoyed riding on rail/trails, those linear parks that have sprung from abandoned railroad lines all across the country.
Last fall, while staying at Lassen RV Resort in McArthur, California, my husband, Andrew Richardson, and I had the strangest day of exploring. Our visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park ended at the front gate when we discovered that the park was closed because of snow. Feeling disappointed, we headed back.
Little did we know 40 years ago when we purchased our first camper, a 16-foot travel trailer, that we would be enjoying the RV lifestyle as we are today. Since we first towed our little Fleetwing to county parks for the weekend, we have owned seven RVs, each one a bit bigger than the last. Six years ago we sold our primary residence and became full-time motorhomers.
My parents, Henry (Hank) and Kathleen Baron, F908, were part of what could be called FMCA’s “first generation.” In 1963, with hard work and an exceptional spirit and vision of family fun and opportunities, this couple from Edina, Minnesota, converted a 1946 Aerocoach bus into a 33-foot motorhome.
The Monaco Northwest chapter held its fall 2016 rally at O’Sullivan Sportsman Resort in Othello, Washington, from September 12 to 16. Kathie Balogh, FMCA national vice president, Northwest Area, presented the chapter with its 30-year certificate.
Less than three weeks before Houston, Texas, hosted the 2017 Super Bowl, members of the WesTex chapter held a rally in the area. The rally, from January 17 to 20 at Advanced RV Resort in Pearland, was attended by 39 chapter members. Hosts John and Virginia
In November 2016, members of the Allegheny Mountain chapter were saddened by news of the devastating wildfires that were consuming thousands of acres in the beautiful Gatlinburg, Tennessee, area and much of Sevier County. The flames caused 14 deaths, nearly 200 injuries, and hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. One chapter member went online, found the phone number of a church in the affected area, and called to see whether it was providing direct help to fire victims. That call resulted in one of those small miracles we often take for granted.
- The Sand Dollars chapter held its first rally of the 2016-2017 season October 25 through 28, 2016, in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. The group stayed at San Carlos RV Resort & Marina, which offered beautiful views of the water.Members of the Central Alabama Travelers arrived in 16 motorhomes for a rally to celebrate the chapter’s 15th anniversary. It was held October 17 through 20, 2016, at Leisure Acres Campground in Cleveland, Georgia.
The Cuatro Estados chapter held its 30th anniversary rally September 9 through 14, 2016, at Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The park maintains the look and feel of a trading post from the 1950s and ’60s. Forty-six people attended the anniversary party on September 11.
2016 marked the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Niagara Frontier Travelers chapter. To commemorate this milestone, chapter members gathered October 14, 15, and 16, 2016, in East Aurora, New York, where they were joined by members from neighboring chapters for a weekend of special events.
Members of 20th Century Wagontrainers (TCW) celebrated the chapter’s 50th anniversary with a rally September 30-October 2, 2016, at Old Mill Stream Campground in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.Travelers in some 166 motorhomes converged on McGee Park, San Juan County Fairgrounds, in Farmington, New Mexico, September 25-28, 2016, for the Rocky Mountain Area Rally — affectionately known as the Rocky Mountain Ramble. FMCA members from several chapters came from Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.Families arrived in 37 motorhomes for the Badger chapter’s 50th anniversary rally, held September 22–25, 2016, at Recreation Park in Tomah, Wisconsin. Torrential rains on Wednesday and Thursday gave way to dry skies on Friday and Saturday.
What is the recipe for fun, relaxation, and camaraderie within an FMCA chapter? It’s easy to define. Variety is the one key that will keep existing and new members participating rally after rally. Mix it up! Plan new events! Liven up old events! Make sure all members have FUN.
Fifteen motorhomes from the Colorado Columbines chapter arrived on May 11, 2016, at the Holiday RV Park and Campground in North Platte, Nebraska, for the group’s first rally outside the Mountain time zone. What a rally it was!The GMC Greater Midwest Classics chapter celebrated its 25th anniversary at a rally held July 7-10, 2016, at St. Cloud Campground & RV Park in St. Cloud, Minnesota.