Saturday, February 19, 2011

President's Message

Listen up Dogwooders.  There’s none of the usual dribble this month.  What I want to share with you is a revolutionary finding that will improve your life immeasurably. It’s guaranteed. You probably think I’ve been smoking some funny smelling weed. No, I haven’t completely lost “it”. What I will share is more akin to alchemy than anything a completely rational person would ever dream of.  It’s sort of like making Gold from pot metal.  I really have figured out how to get something for nothing if you’re an avid motor homer.  Bear with me and I’ll paint the picture.

If I back up more years than I care to remember, I recall the time when I first had my own car.  Being short of cash, it was important to make that car go as far as possible on every dollar invested in gasoline (less than 30 cents a gallon).  The car in question was one of the first VW beetles imported to this country and if I recall correctly, the fuel capacity was about 10 gallons including the one gallon reserve.  It had no fuel gauge, just a valve to switch when it sputtered on empty to allow one more gallon to get me to a service station. If I was lucky, I or one of the brave souls with me had a few cents to buy another gallon or two.  Back to the real subject, I was fascinated with the potential for almost infinite fuel mileage (sort of like getting something for nothing).  I studied my Warshawsky and J. C. Whitney catalogs for hours on end marveling at the many available fuel mileage improvement devices.  I always dreamed of stumbling upon some heretofore undiscovered principle of physics or thermodynamics.  I thought that if I had magnetic fuel line ionizers, vapor injectors, vortex generators and water injectors each promising 30 to 50 percent improvements that I could actually have a car that would produce fuel while I was cruising the streets of Charlottesville terrorizing all the locals.

Fast forward to 2011, a life long friend recently wrote an article in his car clubs newsletter explaining how he had saved many $$ over the years heating his home with free wood which he labored to cut, split and feed to the wood stove he installed in his basement.  In fact, he had saved enough on home heating to allow him to buy a beautiful 1917 Buick Touring Car.  Upon reading this story, I said to myself, Self, there’s a principal here that you can build on. It’s a lot like shopping at Krogers.  Every time we shop, we get a receipt that’s several feet long, most of it tallying the savings realized by using my loyalty card, senior discounts, sale savings etc.  I’ve finally figured out that the more we spend, the more we save.

So, if you’ve gotten this far, I’m about to reveal the miraculous secret that’s guaranteed to make a huge difference in your life.  Here’s how the secret works for me.  When we leave for the winter, I turn off the water which saves me about $50 every month. I cut the heat way back which saves me an average of about $400 every month. I load the motor home and drive south buying fuel at Flying J with my loyalty card which saves 3 cents a gallon and using my Capital One rewards card which saves me 5 percent or about 17.5 cents per gallon at today’s prices.  When we’re away from home, we tend to spend less, on average about $700 less each month. I speculate that this saving results because most campgrounds tend to be in remote areas away from stores and besides, we have no space for purchases. We try to stay in Thousand Trails when we can.  Those nights cost essentially nothing so we realize another savings averaging about $30 a night or about $900 each month.  You’re probably beginning to see where I’m going with this. I’m saving so much that I can’t afford to go home.  It’s a dream come true.  It’s just like the car I dreamed of making fuel that overflowed the tank.  The more you spend, the more you save.  What’s the value of your experiences?  Mine are priceless.   Use your motor home at every opportunity and you’ll be richly rewarded. 

Fort Monroe Rally April 14-17

Dogwood's spring rally will be held April 14 – 17, 2011 at Fort Monroe in Hampton Virginia. For those of you that have not attended a rally here in the past, it is a great location and there is much to do on and off the Fort. Your rally hosts are Jim & Susan Buelow and Donald & Carol Warthan.

The rally does not officially start until the afternoon of the 15th, but if you would like to come in anytime after 3pm on the 14th, you may do so for an additional $5.00 campsite fee. There are no planned activities on the 14th. Informal activities are welcome and there are a lot of restaurants in the area.

As Fort Monroe is a military installation, a pass is required for entry. It will be issued at the gate when you enter. Pets are allowed. Special requirements / restrictions include:
  1. Each person must present a picture ID for entry into Fort Monroe.
  2. Vehicle registration and proof of insurance are required.
  3. No weapons are allowed.
  4. Bicycle riders must wear helmets.
We will be dry camping in a large open area, and you can park your coach right up against the sea wall. No restrictions on generator usage others than those we impose if we wish to do so. The view of the water and the ships passing is beautiful. We have a large covered open sided pavilion with water and electricity to use as a gathering place.

The total cost of the rally will be a campsite fee ($10 for Friday arrival or $15 for Thursday arrival) plus $20 per person for rally fees. The rally fee includes a full meal Friday evening, a full breakfast Saturday morning, a full meal Saturday evening, and a Continental breakfast on Sunday morning. The rally fee also includes the cost for a $150 pavillion rental fee. A full menu and attendee list will be provided prior to the rally. Of course, we will have our usual social hour activities prior to dinner each day and a business meeting on Saturday morning. No cost for the fun and great time we are going to have.

To register for the rally. Complete the registration form at the bottom of this article and mail the form along with a check for your rally fees to Jim Buelow.

The deadline for registration is March 31st. Due to the fact that we have to provide attendee lists to Fort Monroe Security prior to the rally, we will not accept registrations after the 31st. So please register on time.

Please come out and join your friends for the first Dogwood Rally of 2011. See you in April.

For any questions contact Jim or Susan Buelow at home: 757-596-4648; Jim cell: 757-876-7399; Susan cell: 757-876-8907

Directions to the Rally
  1. Travel to Hampton VA. using interstate 64.
  2. Take exit 268 in Hampton, and go to top of hill
  3. At top of hill, make a left turn onto east Mallory Street.
  4. Follow east Mallory Street to Mercury Blvd.
  5. Turn right onto Mercury Blvd. (route 258).
  6. Follow Mercury Blvd to entrance to Fort Monroe, (stay in right lane).
  7. Stop at gate to get visitors pass.
  8. Follow McNair Dr. to stop sign.(McNair changes to Fenwick Rd. at stop sign).
  9. Follow Fenwick Rd along water and to campsites on left.
  10. Our rally will be on the right side of Fenwick just across from the campsites.

Registration Form for Dogwood Rally
Fort Monroe, Hampton Virginia
April 14 - 17, 2011

Please include the name (as appears on ID) of each individual attending for Fort Monroe security list purposes.

Name ______________________________________________

Name ______________________________________________

Name ______________________________________________

Arrival date: Friday or Thursday (circle one)

$____________ Campsite fees ($10 for Friday arrival; $15 for Thursday arrival)

$____________ Rally fees = _____ # people attending X $20

$____________ Total Amount Enclosed

Please mail registration form along with check (payable to James R. Buelow for registration fees to James R. Buelow, 112 Don Juan Circle, Yorktown VA 23693

Attendees (as of April 5):

Jim & Susan Buelow
Mann & Carolyn Duff
Bobby & Barbara Dyke
Carl & Donna Gruel
Butch & Liz Jones
Fred & Maxine Luxton
Mo & Shirley Martin
Fairleigh & Cil Schoolar
Steve & Sue Sohles
Donald & Carol Warthan

Schedule and Menu
5:00  Social Hour and Snacks BYOB, snacks will be provided
6:00  Dinner to include: build your own sub, chicken, salads and dessert

8:00  Coffee
9:00  Full breakfast to include: eggs, bacon, sausage, potato casserole, biscuits, fruit, juice and dessert.
10:00  Business meeting
4:30  Social Hour and snacks BYOB and please bring a snack to share
6:00 Full dinner to include: pulled pork BBQ, baked beans, salads, slaw and dessert.


8:00  Coffee
9:00  Continental breakfast to include sausage biscuits, fruit, pastry and juice.  
12.00 Rally concludes

Note – Please bring your own plates and utensils to all meals

Christmas Rally - what is your preference?

We want to know what you prefer.

The last two years the Dogwood Christmas rally has been held in Virginia Beach at the Holiday Trav-L-Park. Prior to that the Christmas rally was held at the American Heritage campground in Williamsburg for a number of years.

If you haven't been to American Heritage, there are 2 adjoining meeting rooms each with a small kitchen. There was some general discontent with American Heritage as we felt that they were not attentive to the needs of Dogwood. In particular, they would not guarantee Dogwood use of both meeting rooms unless we guaranteed that we would have at least 30 coaches attending the rally. At that time, we typically had attendance of 25 to 30+ coaches, but couldn't guarantee 30. We felt though that we needed both rooms to accommodate our group. Attendance at the Christmas rally has dropped to 15-20 coaches the past 2 years. Our reduced attendance may be a result of location or other factors such as decline in economy, snowbirds have already left town, or for other reasons.

Prior to selecting Holiday Trav-L-Park, a group of members checked out campgrounds looking for other options for the Christmas rally.  A requirement for this rally is that there be an indoor meeting room for our festivities.  If you have any other suggestions for locations for this rally, and are willing to follow up on them, please let us know.

Below is a generalized summary of the pros and cons of the two locations currently being considered for the 2011 Dogwood Christmas rally.

Virginia Beach - Holiday Trav-L-Park
+ Nice large meeting room with kitchen facilities.
- Members must climb stairs to get to the meeting room on the second floor.
+ No extra charge for use of the meeting room.
+ Nice large, paved campsites with full hookups including cable tv.
- Navy jets flying overhead can be noisy.
+ Cost of campsite per night is $38.42.
+ We have reserved this site for 2011. 

Williamsburg - American Heritage
+ Area activities = outlet shopping, Colonial Williamsburg, Grand Illumination
- We can only have one meeting room unless we can guarantee 30+ coaches will attend; however one room may be sufficient to accommodate us if have less than 20 coaches. If there are 2 rally groups, the larger group gets the larger room.
+ No extra charge for use of the meeting room.
+ Campsites have full hookups including cable tv.  Sites are shaded so some may have problems getting satellite reception.
- Cost of campsite per night is $42.90 if 10 or more coaches register or $51.98 (or $46.78 if you have a Good Sams, AAA, AARP or Active Military card) if less than 10 coaches register.   
+ Location is more centralized for the majority of Dogwood members

We need your input on the rally location. Williamsburg is currently a choice but may not be available unless we make a commitment soon.  As usual, the voice of the majority will rule.  Let your voice be heard by emailing or calling Mann at 804-873-1328.  

We still need volunteers to host the Christmas rally, so if you are willing to help call Fairleigh Schooler at 804-443-3844 to put your name on the list. 

FMCA International Convention in Perry

The FMCA International Convention will be held in Perry Georgia March 14-17.  Be sure to let us know if you are attending so that we can keep you posted of Dogwood social gatherings.    

In order for members to park together, Dogwood will have a caravan into the Fairgrounds. The Dogwood caravan in scheduled to enter the fairgrounds at 2:50 pm Saturday March 12 and to park in the generator section. We will meet at Walmart (see directions below) at 1:45 pm to receive instructions and caravan passes.

Plan A: We will meet at the Walmart in Perry exit 136 on I-75. From north turn left or from the south turn right.
1009 Saint Patricks Dr.
Perry,Ga. 31069

Plan B: If Walmart is jammed, go past Walmart. Take left fork and go to Perry City Hall.
Perry City Hall
1211 Washington Street
Perry, Ga. 31069-2555

If you have any questions, please contact Fairleigh Schoolar (home 804.443.3844; cell 804.314.7631).

Members signed up for the caravan:
  • Doug & Jeri Carroll
  • Mann & Carolyn Duff
  • Carl & Donna Gruel
  • Butch & Liz Jones
  • Donald & Anke Longest
  • Dennis & Joyce Reid
  • Fairleigh & Cil Schoolar
  • Steve & Sue Sohles
Other members who plan to attend:
  • Vern & Margie Davis (handicap electric)
  • Bill & Eileen Guttridge (handicap)
  • Steve & Judy Czarsty
  • Wilt & Barbara Greenwood
  • Max & Barbara Hicks
  • Kenneth & Bernice Wyatt
Former Dogwood members who plan to attend and would like to meet up with Dogwooders:
  • Nick & Elizabeth De Monte
March 9 Update:  The current plan is to have a Dogwood happy hour on Tuesday.  Check your email or the rally bulletin board for the location and time.  

March 13 Update:  The happy hour will be Tuesday from 5 to 6 in the Dogwood caravan area.  We are located in lot A, 9th street.  Look for the blue Dogwood mirror covers.  Bring your own beverage and chair.

    May 13-15 Rolex Sport Car Series & the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge

    The Bosh engineering Rolex Race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) is May 13 - 15 this year.  The Duffs plan to go and are thinking of organizing a Dogwood rally if there is enough interest.  We would be dry camping, probably in the same location in the infield above turn 4 that we used last year when we were at VIR.  Tentatively, we would plan a covered dish meal for Friday evening, dinner at Oak Tree Tavern on Saturday evening (they served a delicious dinner at a very moderate price last year), breakfast provided on Saturday morning and Sunday morning. If there is sufficient interest, Mann will negotiate a discount for tickets.

    The Rolex race and the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at VIR promises a great weekend of racing at a very modest cost.  Last year, tickets for two for a full weekend of racing was about $80 and camping for the weekend was $50.  Prices this year should be similar.  Here are links to the VIR website  and a few photos from last years race. 

    The question is, who wants to go?  Send an eMail to to put your name on the list.  More later if there's interest.

    FMCA International Convention in Madison Wisconsin

    Richard Bonewitz is coordinating pre-rally activities and a caravan for the FMCA international convention in Madison Wisconsin August 10-13.

    His plan is for interested Dogwood members to rendezvous for two days in Elkhart, IN to visit the RV museum and several neat RV surplus places. Then we would depart for Madison the 9th (or whenever our assigned entry date is).

    These are just ideas and are just in the initial planning stages. Contact Richard at or 301-481-6003 and let him know if you are interested in caravaning and/or the pre-rally activities.

    If you are planning to go to the convention, you may also want to check out these events in nearby areas. The EAA fly in will be held in Oshwosh Wisconsin July 25-31. Click here to view their web site. A Dulcimer Festival will be held in Evart, MIJuly 14-17, 2011. Click here to view their web site.

    Other 2011 Rallies

    A tentative schedule for 2011 rallies were developed at the August and December business meetings.  Click here to link to that schedule.

    Barbara Dyke is planning a rally in September where we would camp on the mainland and take a boat cruise to Tangier Island for the day.

    We don't have any firm plans for rallies during the summer or any volunteers for hosts for the Christmas rally.  If you are willing to host a rally or have any suggestions for rally locations, please contact Fairleigh Schoolar at 804-443-3844.

    Member Updates

    Since Bill and Rachel Ferebee have sold their coach and are giving up motor homing, Bill has resigned as Dogwood's VP of Membership. Our membership committee is currently looking for a replacement. If you are interested in serving as our VP of membership, please contact Paul Cummings, Pat Allen or Barbara Greenwood (or email

    Evelyn and Ryland Watts wrote "we regret that we will be unable to continue our membership in Dogwood Chapter. We have reached the point where age and health problems have "grounded" us! However "we're fine, for the shape we're in!!!

    If you haven't already done so, please pay your 2011 dues to Carol Warthan. Those who have not paid will be receiving a reminder within the next week.