Aug 252009

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.

Register Now For Our Ohio Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  5 Responses to “Benefits Of RV Clubs And Rallies”

  1. I also would not knowing join FMCA as I had my problems with them.
    I do feel that one group out there is LOWs, or Loners On Wheels who has a large membership and is great for single people. This is not a dating club but just singles getting together.

  2. Another “brand” only RV club where you can get tons of information on their web
    site is the They have also had national rallies at the
    Elkhart Fairgrounds and have chapters in each time zone where the directors
    hold rallies and some state directors also. If you own a Cedar Creek rv check
    it out.

  3. I personally feel close to as you do in the oppasite direction FMCA over Esscapees. We were at the Escapade this year and the ones next to us would not as much as say hello, they had a very fancy motorhome and we have a 14 year old bounder. It was our first Escapade, don’t know that we will make another. But I do think thay are a great organization.

  4. We belong to FMCA and go to their rallies only because we are BAC (Beaver Ambassador Club) members. This group is a purely social group which has rallies all over the country. We belong because we have a large number of friends in BAC and enjoy the occasional get together. BAC also has technical support from members for other members in need. Chapter involvement is really the greatest benefit of FMCA.
    We also are very involved with SKP BOF Genies. We get together to share and enjoy genealogy stuff. Lots of fun for those of us who enjoy that sort of thing. Peter belongs to several computer groups.
    We understand that each person or couple needs to find their own level of involvement. Many folks are loners, others like almost constant group activities. That’s why there are different groups for different folks. We do, however, enjoy reading the magazines of all the groups (Good Sam Highways and Motorcoach, FMCA magazine, the Escapees magazine, The Gypsy Journal).
    I do know, Nick, that you and Terry enjoy friends and company but also enjoy being free on your own. What you two have done is create your own RV group. What with the Gypsy Journal magazine, your rallies, your vending at many events you have all the ingredients that a chapter of FMCA or SKP’s have. Perhaps that is why you are some what reluctant to join another group. You have your own group, Mr. President. As members (Gypsy Journal groupies), we get to spend time with you when you vend or have a rally or we happen to see you on the road. I can see where you are very involved with your own club/group/or what ever you want to call it.
    One of the good things about joining WIT at least for a year or two would be to share information (at a rally) with other Winnebago owners about the peculiarities of your brand of coach. Might be something to consider. Connie B.

  5. Oops forgot. Ask any arthritic dog or cat who sleeps on a magnetic pet pad whether it works or not.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.