Sunday, March 7, 2010

President's Message

Greetings Dogwooders,

Ordinarily, our winter travels are the best of the year and I’d be saying something like “it’s tough work but somebody has to do it”. This year has been different. Weather almost everywhere has been cold or windy or wet or something less than we’d prefer. Places that Carolyn and I have been are no different, but when we look past the crummy weather, there have been lots of positive notes: grandchildren in Houston, TX, beef brisket at Peters in Columbus, TX, the Opry in Brenham TX, Cajun and Zydeco music in Eunice LA, great geocaching in Pascagoula, MS, and white sand beaches in Gulf Shores AL. Maybe things aren’t so bad after all. For those of you that have stayed in VA, we have followed the news there too so we know you’re ready for a change.

I know it probably seems early to be thinking about elections of Dogwood officers but fall will be here before you know it. Two years will have passed and it will be time to elect new officers for the 2011–2012 term. Your nominating committee (Jim Buelow, Nancy Cummings and Carol Warthan) will be beginning their work soon. If you would like to serve, throw your name in the hat by making a member of the nominating committee aware.

Spring is coming and it’s time to start thinking of the fun times we have at Dogwood rallies. We look forward to seeing many of you at VIR in April to kick off the 2010 Dogwood rally season. Speaking of rallies, we need rally hosts for the 2010 Christmas rally in VA Beach . There’s an abundance of help available so let Sheryl Wayman know if you’d like to volunteer to host the rally.

Y’all travel safe,


Rally at VIR for Rolex Races

Start your engines! Start off Dogwood's 2010 rally season at the Rolex races and enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow members.

The first Dogwood rally for 2010 will be held April 23 - 25 at the Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in conjunction with the running of the Rolex races. Donna & Carl Gruel and Shirley & Mo Martin are your hosts for the event. VIR is located between South Boston and Danville.

Camping: We will dry camp on the grassy infield along the track. There are no designated "sites" and the place fills up on a first come first serve basis. The cost is $50 to dry camp for the weekend (Thursday - Sunday). Call VIR if you interested in one of their 9 full hook up campsites (they book up quickly).

Races: Various car races are run during the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the main Rolex race being run Saturday afternoon. Everyone will need a ticket for the race each day you are there since we are camping within the actual raceway. You can set up your lawn chair along the track to view a race. A 3 day ticket to the races is $50 to $60 per person depending on how you purchase your tickets. They are less expensive if purchased in advance and more expensive when purchased at the gate. For those that have golf carts, bikes, four wheelers, etc, this may be a good place to use them. The track is over 3 miles around and part of the fun is seeing the activities from various vantage points. Lots of information is available at the VIR web site though you may find it easier to check the links at the end of this article.

Rally Fees: The cost of the rally is $20 per person (or $40 per coach with 2 people) and includes the following meals (and preliminary menus):
Friday dinner: brats & fixings, dessert
Saturday morning: French toast casserole
Saturday dinner: beef tenderloin, baked potatoes, salad, dessert
Sunday morning: muffins, donuts

To Register for the Rally:

1. Mail a check for your rally fees, payable to Donna Gruel, to Donna at 97 Barnes View Lane, Kilmarnock, VA 22482, . Include on a separate piece of paper the names of the people attending, phone numbers where you can be reached, your email address and amount enclosed. Please register by April 1.

2. Purchase your race tickets directly from VIR using one of these purchase methods: (1) purchase via the internet and print our own tickets ( scroll down to April 23 – 25, Bosch Engineering 250 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series; see notes below for promotion code for discounts) or (2) call the racetrack at 434-822-7700 ext 116 or ext 300 and they will mail your tickets or (3) purchase tickets at the gate. The costs vary slightly depending upon method of purchase.

3. Purchase your camping pass at the gate when you arrive.

More information will be provided closer to the rally. Contact Donna Gruel or Shirley Martin if you have any questions concerning the rally or Mann or Carolyn Duff if you have any questions concerning camping at the racetrack or the races.

Below are a few links for more information on various aspects of the weekend

Driving directions

Golf Cart rentals

About VIR including a nice aerial view of the facility


3/23 Carl Gruel said that if you buy your tickets to VIR online, enter Promotion Code GAMX10 to get the tickets for $35 (plus handling) each versus the "normal" $50.

3/23 VIR writeup on the Bosch Race weekend

3/27 Evidently promotion codes for discounts don't always work so you may need to search the internet for a valid code. To get the 3 day pass for $35 Connie Tilman used promo code GAPOR10 and Mann Duff used promo code GAMAZ10.

4/3 Members who have signed up to attend the rally: Carl & Donna Gruel, Mo & Shirley Martin, Wilt & Barbara Greenwood, Mann & Carolyn Duff, Terry & Judy Davis, Butch & Liz Jones; Bobby & Barbara Dyke, Ed & Connie Tilman, Fairleigh & Cil Schoolar

VIR write up on Bosch Race Weekend

The Bosch Engineering 250 Is Coming!

The Bosch Engineering 250 Weekend presents the best of sports car racing on America's finest natural terrain road course. With dozens of great spectator viewing areas, a family friendly environment and late night fun too - you just can't beat the Bosch Engineering 250.The event takes place on April 23-25, 2010. The racing includes GRAND-AM's top-tier Rolex Sports Car Series that has established itself as the most competitive professional road racing championship in North America. The Rolex Series Daytona Prototype category has attracted the attention of superstar drivers and universally recognized teams through its extremely raceable and relatively affordable format, and has revolutionized sports car racing with plentiful battles at the front of the field and close finishes in virtually every race.

Like the Daytona Prototype class that has redefined prototype sports car racing, the Rolex Series GT class has done the same for high-performance, production-based sports car racing. With an eye toward the cost-containment and close competition that has propelled the popularity of the Daytona Prototype class, the GT category provides a stable battleground for the world's top automobile manufacturers. Perhaps best of all, the Rolex Series' two-class format allows race fans with just two easy-to-distinguish classes of race cars - Daytona Prototypes and GT.Also featured that weekend is the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, featuring straight-from-the-showroom American muscle cars and the hottest imports. Still more racing is on tap for the weekend, with the SCCA Pro Jetta TDI Cup, featuring Diesel Powered VW Jetta TDI's having a double race weekend. There is also the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, the Mustang Challenge and Skip Barber National, so there will be racing from almost dawn to dusk. New this year, VIR will have 2 big screens (one in the paddock and one across from turns 4-5) for fans to watch the live speed feed of the action.Off the track, there is also tons of stuff to do! Come early and camp for the entire weekend and bring the family (15 and under are free!). For kids, there will be a kids zone with inflatable activities. There will even be a soccer clinic for young fans that want to try to something a bit different during the race weekend. Visit the VIR Go-Kart track and try your hand at racing yourself. Fan laps will get you on track in your own car (sign up required at the VIR store). The pre-race grid walk will get you up close with the cars and drivers before the Rolex and Continental races.Admission includes paddock access, so you can see the cars and drivers up close all weekend long. On Friday night, there is a celebrity pro-am go-kart race to benefit Camp Boggy Creek and fans will be picked to part of the action. On Saturday night, there will be a battle of the bands for some after hours fun. The Pagoda grill is open during the day and Oak Tree Tavern every evening.

Rally Schedule for 2010

Click here for 2010 rally schedule.

We still need hosts for the Christmas rally. It is recommended that 2 or more couples host a rally and that members who have hosted before team up with those who haven't. And remember to chip in at rallies - set up, cook, clean up - so that the burden is not placed solely on the hosts and everyone can have a good time.

Member Concerns

Donna Tolson wrote: It is with a heavy, but rejoicing heart, that I inform you that our good friend and motor home traveling friend, Ralph Parsons, has passed away up in Spotsylvania, VA of ALS. His wife, Janice, and family were with him when he peacefully passed away Feb 15th. We sure will miss this gentle giant of a man! I know he enjoyed his time with the Dogwood Chapter too.

Janice’s address is: 11204 Field Circle Spotsylvania, VA 22551-4657

Ralph W. Parsons Retired U.S. Army Col. Ralph W. Parsons, 75, of Spotsylvania County died Monday, Feb. 15, 2010, at his home. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at Chancellor Baptist Church. The arrangements are being handled by Covenant Funeral Service, Fredericksburg. More information is posted at"

Mann received this news on March 4 so there was no opportunity for earlier notification.

Member Travels

This winter mother nature redefined the term "snow bird". Southern states from Florida to Texas reported the coldest, wettest winters in years. Despite the bad weather, Dogwood members enjoyed their travels.

Wallace & Nancy Twigg: Nancy and I spent a couple of weeks in Florida this winter. We arrived in Port St. Lucie just after the first cold snap. Although the temperatures had moderated the wind continued to blow the entire time we were there. From Port St. Lucie we traveled over to Polk City and spent the majority of our time with friends at Mount Oliver Shores North. What a wonderful community. We had strawberries in Auburndale, visited Lakeland and Winter Haven and made out first visit to LazyDays. I’m still at a loss for words to describe that place. Everybody needs to go there once whether you buy anything or not. I still have 3+ years to retirement but I think we’ve narrowed down the area of Florida where we want to spend our winters. Safe Travel,

Mann & Carolyn Duff; As we headed south in January, we joined Donald & Carol Warthan for dinner in Gaffney South Carolina. We spent 2 months in the Houston area visiting with Mann's daughter and her family. On our trip home we spent time in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Donald & Carol Warthan: From one "snowbird" to another...when we left home it was 18 degrees...and it never got out of the teens at night until we got to Ocala, FL. We are now in Palmdale near the southern end of Lake Okeechobee and it's still hanging in the mid 30's at night. However, it does warm up pretty quickly...71 degrees at 8:00 this morning. So much for "global warming"..."Climate Change" I can accept but have trouble believing all the hoopla about global warming. We will be heading back north in a couple of weeks.

Steve & Judy Czarsty: We are in the Southwest, not as warm as we would like it but all in all enjoying what we get. We are on the way to Albuquerque for the show, hope to see some people from the east but I guess not many. We had a good time at the Southeast Rally in Brooksville, saw a lot of folks there, snowbirding in Florida. We will be heading to South Carolina as quick as we can to help Steve and April get ready to bring the newest Czarsty into the world, talk about getting excited we are! See you all soon...

Carl & Donna Gruel: We were in Texas this Winter for about 10 weeks and we did not find any "suitable" weather. But, we keep in mind that it was a tough Winter all over the country, we know from all the news reports that it could have been and would have been worse somewhere else. We are looking forward to the April Rally and being Hosts along with Shirley and Mo Martin. We'll be begging ovens during the weekend to make it all come together in the dry camp situation.

Butch & Liz Jones: We left early for our trip to Florida and missed the first big snow storm. We stayed south a month missing all of it and it sure was good to have the freedom to decide to stay away (Butch recently retired). We spent three nights on the way down in Charleston, did a lot of tourist bit, then on to St. Augustine for two days and rest of time in Nokomis, Fla. where we spent lot of time on beaches and touring towns Sarasota to Venice. Even though it was the coldest winter "they can remember" as some said, the days in the 60's with sunshine were just fine with us.

Jim & Donna Venable are in central Florida for the winter. The local weatherman said that the first two months of the year were the coldest in the last 58 years. We are still having the best time possible with all the cold weather. We are looking to go to the Strawberry festival on March 4 , senior citizen day and enjoying all of the sights and strawberry short cakes. Hope that the normal weather Florida comes soon.

Members who will be attending the FMCA International Convention in Albuquerque: Steve & Judy Czarsty, Wilt & Barbara Greenwood.

Wilt & Barbara Greeenwood are in Benson AZ at the Escapees park at the moment, recovering from our $9000 transmission replacement in Birmingham, AL. We missed Quartzsite and the INTO rally, but are OK now and expect to attend the Monaco International pre-rally in Tucson and the FMCA Convention in Albuquerque. Back home in early April .


Membership statistics for 2010:

  • 69 members on role as of 12/1/2009
  • 7 members elected not to renew for 2010
  • 62 total members (52 who have paid their 2010 dues)

If you have not already done so, please send a check for $10 for your 2010 dues to Barbara Dyke.

Be sure to check out the Photo Directory and Member Photo Catalog which allows you to print multiple pictures per page (this file is large enough that it may be a problem for dial up access). If your photo is missing (or you don't like the one that is there), feel free to send one and we will include it.

The current edition of the Member Directory (addresses and phone numbers) is dated March 6, 2010. Please notify Carolyn Duff at if there are any changes to your personal information.