I hope you’re having a safe and enjoyable summer living the RV lifestyle wherever you are, whether you’re heading to see family and friends, take in a unique destination, or attend a special event such as an RV rally—or all of the above. If you’re lucky enough to live in or visit the seven western states, you can find a free copy of RV Life at scores of distribution points. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll find yourself at one or more of the 100-plus rallies where we send the magazine for the attendees to enjoy and to take home to share with others.
I attended such an event in late June on the outskirts of La Grande, Oregon. We sent 70 copies of RV Life’s June 2011 issue to the Northwood RV Owners Association’s annual gathering, and I wanted to rub shoulders with some RVers who take the RV lifestyle seriously. This was my chance to see just how much fun an RV rally is for everyone who attends.
The Northwood RV Owners Association, known affectionately as NROA, staged its annual five-day rally at Eagles Hot Lake RV Park (eagleshotlakerv.com), a short 10 minutes away from downtown La Grande. It is a beautiful park with grassy 90-foot pull-through sites, various water features, fire pits, panoramic views, and many other amenities. Quiet and peaceful, it is within a few steps of the east-west wagon route of the historic Oregon Trail of the mid-1800s.
We had the most perfect weather imaginable for camping. Each day, the temperature hovered around 70 degrees, with lots of sun and a light breeze. Seventy rigs and over 150 people of every age group from all over North America were in attendance, and the fun never stopped. During the daylight hours, activities included a golf tournament, four-wheeling, hiking and biking. There was even an opportunity to learn quilting. One of the highlights was a potluck with some serious wine tasting to the tune of 30 or more bottles, and not a single drop went to waste. The evening ended with country western dance lessons set to some lively music. A great time was had by all.
Although not directly affiliated with Northwood Manufacturing, NROA has established a close relationship with the management—so much so that Northwood Manufacturing sent a team of technicians to the park to assist owners with any questions or concerns they had about their RV. For a special treat, there were factory tours of the nearby Northwood facilities to show how the products are built and to give owners a better understanding of their own vehicle.
The rally ended with a delicious barbeque hosted by the Northwood staff and all of its executives, who thoroughly enjoyed mingling with Northwood owners. The grand finale was a raffle conducted by the Northwood executives in which every registered RV (and its owner) won an RV-related prize. Then everyone was entered again to compete for the grand prize of a 110/12V refrigerator or freezer. Everyone went home a winner. It was a great experience to meet some of the most active RVers out there and to know that RVing is going and growing stronger every day.
We also dropped in on the Good Sam Rally in Redmond, Oregon, which took place July 14-17 at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center. There were almost 3,000 dry-camping RVs at the four-day event. Hosted by Camping World and the Good Sam family of affiliated companies, it offered nightly entertainment by outstanding musicians such as Bobby Vinton and Grammy Award winner Vince Gill. The Rally Dog Show was a highlight, with the Canine Swimsuit Contest, Doggie Musical Chairs, and even a dog/owner look-alike contest that was a real crowd pleaser. Each day the Hunt, Spin and Win! scavenger hunt kept RVers busy cruising the 350 indoor exhibitors’ booths for a chance to win great prizes. In a setting surrounded by the snowcapped mountains of the Cascade Range, the temperature lingered in the 70s. That is much cooler than the area’s normal 85 degrees, so it was a welcome relief to the thousands of RVers who attended The Rally.
There were well over 100 educational seminars on such topics as cooking, RV caravan tours, supplemental braking systems, towing safety, solar energy, RV financing and insurance, green RVing, hydronic heating, exterior coach care, RV mobile electronics and so much more. Wherever you turned, there was a wealth of free information for the new and experienced RVer alike.
The outdoor RV exhibits showcased the newest models of motorhomes, fifth wheels and travel trailers from many of the top RV manufacturers and their dealers. There were so many people looking at the RVs that many times you had to wait in line to get in and check them out. All in all, The Rally was a fabulous adventure for the RV enthusiast to experience everything to do with RVing in a beautiful, pristine setting. If you ever get a chance to attend, I would highly recommend it. The next Good Sam Rally will be held in Phoenix at the Phoenix International Raceway on March 22-25, 2012. Go to therally.com for more information.