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MikePaddack

New member's Questions About FMCA Family Reunion

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Hi everyone! 

We just joined FMCA and will be heading to New England states from southern California on June 5th.  During my browsing of the FMCA website, noticed that there is a Family Reunion in August when we're in the West Springfield, MA area.  But, I can't find a lot of information and hope you can help me. 

Can any FMCA member attend, or do we have to join an area chapter first? 

Does registration include a RV site and all the events?  When will there be more info on the seminars, etc? 

If we can't get a site, can we still attend the seminars/events/activities ... what does that cost? 

We also would appreciate any information you want to share about your experience at these type of FMCA events :)

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Mike, Cathy and Cali,

Welcome to FMCA and the Forum!  All FMCA members are welcome to attend the FMCA Family Reunions (aka conventions or rallies) and I would encourage you to do so.  They are wonderful events.  There should be a registration form on the website in short order.  Found it, look here.  I'd expect a reply from someone at the office with a more definite answer on that. You can register with or without a site but if possible I would register for a site.  That will put you close to the seminars and exhibits, etc.  If you don't register for a site, you may find it hard to get a campground anywhere near the rally.  It will be dry camping, come with full water and empty waste tanks.  Generally there is a waste tank pumper for pumping out tanks available, the cost is about $20 per visit.  With some planning you can get through the rally without needing any additional water or waste pumping.  At some of these national rallies there are showers available which takes care of the greatest water use and waste water generation.  You can get electrical power (usually 30A) and it is at an additional cost.  If you want the electric, register for it early, it is sometimes booked up and not available at the last minute.  If you don't want to pay for the electric hook-up which comes from rented commercial generators then you can ask to be parked in the generator area and you will be allowed to run your generator during certain hours of the day.  Otherwise if you go for general parking, no generators are allowed.  All of that will be in the registration information and it may be different from what I have given which is based on our general experience from past national rallies.

Registration includes most events.  There are a few seminars that have an additional fee.  There is a two day safety seminar which is excellent, covering safety information, mostly driving, some maintenance such as tires.  It is offered by the RV Safety and Education Foundation (RVSEF).  This usually fills up early so if you are interested, sign up for it as soon as offered.  Your insurance company may give you a discount for completing the course.  You will receive a certificate of completion.  There is usually a driving class for ladies, a one day event I believe.  Louise found it most helpful.  You may find some other special events on the registration form that have a fee. 

You don't mention if you are new to motor home ownership.  If so there will be excellent workshops on engine, chassis, tires, safety, etc.  You will want to register as a first time attendee at these meetings as you get a special ribbon for your badge, an introductory workshop to help you decide what to attend and answer your other questions about the event. 

There have been a few glitches.  Our first rally was in Hutchinson, Kansas.  We were parked on the athletic fields (grass) at the state fairgrounds.  The second day of the rally it started to rain.  Our next-door neighbor packed up and left.  He said he had been caught in one of these in Perry, GA.  When it rained everyone was stuck.  Sure enough he was right!  We stayed through the whole rally, enjoyed all the workshops.  We also waded through flooded streets in the fairgrounds.  It rained for the last three days of the rally, heavy rain, thunderstorms!  There were coaches that were parked where there was a puddle of water around the entire coach, no way in or out without wading.  Once the ground was soaked, you were there until someone pulled you out.  A few people tried to move on their own and the rear wheels simply went down deeper into the mud.  This was Kansas and farmers came from miles around with the big John Deere and other tractors.  At the end of the rally they swarmed the fairgrounds and were pulling people out as fast as they could (for $50).  We had a towing service so I called them and believe it or not, I had a regular wrecker pull us from the mud, no charge since we had the towing service.  We didn't even have to wait long, I think it was about 30 minutes from the time I called until they showed up to extricate us.  You just have to keep your sense of humor about these things, not everything runs smoothly.  When you arrive there is a specific set of instructions for parking.  Needless to say it can run very smoothly or can be a near complete disaster.  Follow the instructions to the letter.  You will display your parking information in the front window of the coach before you reach the parking area.  The parking crew will direct you onto your assigned parking area and put you right in your spot.  If everything goes smoothly, you will drive in almost without stopping.  Sometimes that doesn't happen!  Just smile!  They will get you there as soon as they can.

It is truly an amazing event when you think about it.  If there are 2000 coaches at the rally, they will come in within a day or two before the rally.  In no time at all you have a city of approximately 4000 people, all with their own utilities on board.  After a week the entire assembly scatters to the wind!  Poof, there is a city, poof, it is gone!  Woodstock on wheels!  Or am I dating myself?  We attend these whenever we have time and like you if we are in the area.  I would never pass one up if it were convenient. 

 

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Wow TBUTLER what a response ... thanks!  So this event is worth $185 to boondock?  When we attended an annual event in Quartzsite, AZ the first January after we bought our 2013 class A RV it was practically free to camp on BLM land.  I'm such a wimp when it comes to heat (funny coming from a southern California resident), but humidity can be unpleasant especially when you have COPD.  So, not sure what to do about the electricity option?  Sounds like most of the rigs will be in the dry camping area.  We are really interested in attending an event where there are so many RVers ... love to meet new people :)

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Our first time was a real hoot! Lots of information, great people, a few duds too, a lot of fun. Volunteered too and that kept me busy and met more people.

 

Bill E

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I just double checked my facts and I was wrong there is 24 Hr. generator but you don't have to be a HP  it's first registered first served I believe go on the main website page click on conventions west Springfield, Ma. and then click on  mail in registration and it gives registration details. Welcome to the forum, and hope  to see you  there. It will be our first convention also....

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