This week Terry and I are vending at the Carriage Travel Club RV Rally at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, Indiana. Since the fairgrounds is only about 30 miles from Elkhart Campground, and we will only be vending for four days, we are staying at the campground and driving the van over to the fairgrounds to vend.
We have attended many RV events at this fairgrounds, and it is one of the nicer ones around the country. In fact, the Escapees RV Club regularly holds rallies in Goshen, and will be back again in September 2010 for Escapade. They have lots of RV parking, from dry camping to 50 amp full hookup sites, and some very nice buildings for seminars and indoor vendors. We are thinking about holding one of our Eastern Gypsy Gathering rallies there one of these days.
Several people who are members of the Winnebago-Itasca Travelers Club (WIT) commented on my blog post a couple of days ago about joining, now that we have our Ultimate Advantage motorhome. All seem to be very happy with the club and the rallies associated with it.
While Terry and I have never been joiners, just for the sake of joining something, we have tried out many of the well known RV clubs out there. When we started fulltime RVing over ten years ago, we joined the Good Sam Club, Escapees, Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), and then Bus Nuts when we bought our MCI bus and started to convert it.
We dropped Good Sam after the first year because all our membership got us was a ton of junk mail. The bus crowd has been a lot of fun to get to know, but we’ve been there and done that, and haven’t been to a bus rally in quite some time. We are still members of FMCA, but I doubt that we’ll renew that membership. We just don’t fit in with that crowd, and I won’t belabor the reasons why we feel the way we do, we’ve covered that here before.
We always tell people that we belong to several RV clubs, but we are Escapees. To us, the Escapees are more than just a club, it is an extended family, and we have always felt the benefits far outweighed our annual membership dues. Like all families, we have our disagreements from time to time, but we get through it.
There are general interest RV clubs, such as Good Sam and Escapees, which welcome all RVers, as well as special interest clubs such as FMCA, which requires you to have a motorhome to qualify for membership. Many RV clubs are brand specific, such as WIT, the Carriage Travel RV Club, and the Newmar Kountry Klub, just to name a few.
There are also RV clubs that cater to people with special interests or needs, such as Families on the Road, SMART (which is for retired military veterans), and Handicapped Travel Club, for people with physical challenges.
One of the greatest benefits any RV club can offer its members are RV rallies. These can range from a small get together of less than a dozen rigs, to mega-rallies where literally thousands of RVs show up. Rallies give members an opportunity to socialize, to attend educational seminars, to shop vendors offering all kinds of interesting RV items for sale, and in the case of brand specific rallies, many times factory representatives and techs are on hand to deal with problems and repairs.
Just like you don’t always buy the first pair of shoes you try on, sometimes you have to try out a few different RV clubs and rallies before you find the ones that fit you best. And there is no one size fits all! You may find that you really enjoy and benefit from an RV club or rally that we don’t, and vice versa.
Check out our RV Calendar of Events page on our website for RV rallies that you may want to attend. Someone asked me the other day why, even though we don’t like FMCA rallies, we have them listed on our calendar. That’s because, as I said above, there is no one size fits all, and some of our readers may very well have a great time at one of their events.
Look at it this way – I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and I hate vegetables. But that doesn’t mean I begrudge Miss Terry from having a salad when she wants one.
Thought For The Day – Drive with care. Life has no spare.