Sunday, April 24, 2011

President's Message

Who among you knows the significance of June 8th?  Not many I’ll guess, so I’ll spare you the suspense.  It’s Dogwood’s 15th birthday.  We’re planning a celebration that we hope all Dogwooders, both past and present, will plan to attend. Carolyn and I along with Fred and Maxine Luxton will be hosting this event at Rockahock the weekend of June  24 - 26.  We promise to go out of our way to make it a great Dogwood event.  Sign up early to reserve your spot.  Attendance will be strictly limited to the first 1000 coaches or until all reserved space is taken which ever occurs first.  There’s an article elsewhere in this issue with all the details.  Mark your calendar and and make your reservations now while there’s still space available.

I'll look forward to seeing you there.

Rolex Race Rally VIR May 13 - 15

The Bosch Engineering 250 Grand-Am Rolex Race is at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) May 13-15.  The Duffs will host an informal Dogwood rally for the race weekend.  We will be dry camping, probably in the same location in the infield above turn 4 where we parked last year.

Mann has negotiated a special discounted price for tickets for the weekend.  The regular $50 weekend race tickets can be purchased online for only $30 by using the promo code GARVMD11.  The VIR code is active through May 10.  Camping for the 3 day weekend is $50 and must be paid at the gate.  Dinners Thursday and Saturday evenings and breakfasts Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings will be group activities and arrangements will depend upon the number of attendees and wishes of the group.  We will have dinner Friday at the Oak Tree Tavern.  If you wish to participate, you will need to:
  1. Send an email to indicating your plans to attend.  
  2. Purchase your race tickets on the internet. 
  3. Watch your email for details as plans are finalized.  We will let you know if there will be any rally fees to cover the cost of food.    
To purchase your tickets, click here and follow the on screen directions using the special VIR promo code for savings.  The promo code is case sensitive and must be entered as shown in Caps.

Birthday Celebration at Rockahock

Come celebrate Dogwood's 15th year of fun at a rally June 24- 26!  We will be camping at the Rockahock Campground, in Lanexa VA, which is located on the Chickahominy River between Williamsburg and Richmond.  The campground has full hookup sites and a pavilion for our group gatherings. Hosts for the event are Mann & Carolyn Duff and Fred & Maxine Luxton. 

Since this is Dogwood's birthday celebration, we would also like to extend an invitation to Dogwood alumni.  If you no longer have a motor home, you can just attend the anniversary celebration on Saturday night.  Or if you would like to join us for the entire weekend, the campground also has cabins and yurts for rent.  

We would like to see a big turnout for this event so be sure to mark your calendar, make your reservations and encourage your past and present Dogwood friends to do the same.  

Campsite: Make your campsite reservation directly with Rockahock. Rates are $42.75 plus tax per night or $95 plus tax for a 3 night stay. Includes water, electric (30 and 50 amp) and sewer. Call Jody at 804-966-8362 or online at Mention that you are with Dogwood in order to receive the discounted rate. Check out Rockahock's website Deadline for making reservation is June 10.

Rally fees for the weekend event are $20 per person and cover happy hour and dinner on Friday and Saturday and breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.  

The fee for those who will only attend the birthday celebration on Saturday evening is $7 per person.  

Send check, payable to Carolyn Duff at 2351 Castlestone Road, Midlothian, VA 23113 by June 10.

Friday 5:00 Happy Hour, BYOB
   6:00 Dinner - Taco Bar 
Saturday 9:00 Breakfast - eggs, sausage, biscuits 
   10:00 Business meeting
   5:00 Happy Hour, BYOB
   6:00 Dinner - Beef tenderloin, potato and broccoli salads 
Sunday:  9:00 Continental breakfast

Bring your own plates and eating utensils.  Coffee and juice provided at breakfast; bring your own beverage for other meals. 

Thursday Evening:  For those arriving on Thursday, we will be getting together for a bbq dinner.  Susan Buelow will bring bbq that was not used at the Fort Monroe rally and everyone attending is requested to bring a side dish to share.

Click here for a detail list of who is attending rally, Thursday dinner, dish bringing, etc.  

Attendees (as of 6/17):
Mann & Carolyn Duff, Fred & Maxine Luxton, Mo & Shirley Martin, Steve & Sue Sohles, Berkley & Karen Alexander, Dennis & Joyce Reid, Fairleigh & Cil Schoolar, Butch & Liz Jones, Wilt & Barbara Greenwood, Jerry & Millie Cohen, Jim & Susan Buelow, Clint & Pat Allen, Dan Moore, Bill & Marion Cockrell, Bill & Eileen Guttridge, Max & Barbara Hicks, Donald & Carol Warthan (Saturday only), Paul & Nancy Cummings (Saturday only), Steve & Judy Czarsty and Judy's sister (Saturday only), Amelia Winn (Saturday only)  


Registration Form for Dogwood Rally 

at Rockahock June 24-26, 2011

Names ______________________________________________

____  Number of people attending weekend event ($20 per person)

____  Number of people only attending Saturday's birthday celebration dinner ($7 per person)

Amount Enclosed

If you are not a current Dogwood member, please include your email address and phone number so that we may contact you for rally updates.  

International FMCA 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 thoughts are to meet at a campground around Elkhart, Indiana for a couple days to visit the RV museum and several RV surplus places.  Then the group would head to Madison.  In order to make firmer plans, he needs to know how many people are interested.  Please contact Richard at or 301-481-6003 and let him know if you are interested in the pre-rally activities in Indiana and/or caravaning into the fairgrounds in Madison.

This sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to get to know your fellow members.

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 Events for 2011

September  The Dykes and Schoolars will be hosting a rally which will incorporate a visit to Tangier Island.  Details to come.

October 19 - 23  Mark your calendars for GEAR (Greater Eastern Area Rally) which will be held once again in Winston-Salem North Carolina .

Max Hicks wrote that he and Barbara just attended the planning session and to "Please encourage all our members to plan on going to GEAR as this a great venue and a good time should be had by all. I am doing the Trams again this year and am looking for Volunteers. Anyone wishing to drive a Tram (a six passenger golf cart) for a couple of two hour shifts can get that privilege by emailing me at or calling me at 757-375-9400." 

December 2-4  We had thought that this newsletter would include the location for the Christmas rally .  Members attending the rally at Fort Monroe agreed to move the location back to American Heritage in Williamsburg for 2011, then to look elsewhere for 2012.  Unfortunately, even though we had had tentatively reserved the weekend, another group who is guaranteeing 25 coaches made a reservation, and American Heritage no longer seems interested in us.  We would get the smaller room for our activities and the other group gets first choice of the campsites.  We still have Holiday Trav L Park in Virginia Beach reserved for the weekend and we're exploring other Williamsburg locations.  So, more information will be provided in the next newsletter. 

Highlights from the Fort Monroe Rally

Dogwood kicked off the 2011 season with a rally at Fort Monroe.  Click here to view photos.  Ten coaches started the weekend parked along the seawall to enjoy the spectacular view.  Hosts for the weekend were Jim & Susan Buelow, Donald & Carol Warthan and Steve & Sue Sohles.  Steve & Sue did an excellent job as first time hosts and we will be calling upon them again in the future!

Several coaches arrived on Thursday and shared a spaghetti dinner. The rally officially kicked off on Friday with a happy hour followed by dinner  of chicken and make your own subs.  We then celebrated Carl Gruel's 29th (?) birthday with cake and ice cream.  

Saturday was a full day of eating.  We started off with a breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, muffins and more.  Then we got together for lunch as there was plenty of food left over from Friday's dinner.  After a little siesta we got back together for happy hour and a bbq dinner.

Mother Nature wasn't the most cooperative for the weekend, but we are fortunate it wasn't worse.  It was windy the entire weekend and a severe storm was forecasted for Saturday.  On Saturday six coaches moved to the perimeter of the pavilion to block the wind and rain.  Fortunately the weather didn't hamper our activities.  Everyone was a bit apprehensive Saturday and followed the updated weather forecasts.  We escaped the storm's path, however Gloucester and other nearby areas had significant damage due to tornadoes.  

Of course Sunday morning was beautiful just in time to pack up and head home.  A good time was had by all.  Thanks again to our hosts!

Highlights from Perry

Dogwood was well represented at the FMCA International Convention in Perry Georgia in March.  Click here to view photos.  Seven coaches caravaned into the fairground and parked together for the week of festivities.  We enjoyed the seminars, vendor exhibits, coach displays and entertainment.  Comedian Jeanne Robertson had everyone in stitches (you need to check out her you tube video on bungee jumping naked).  Laughter sure is a great medicine.  The only problem with these international rallies is that we always spend too much money. As Mann says, "they have solutions to problems I didn't know I had".

Cil & Fairleigh Schoolar and Liz & Butch Jones hosted the official Dogwood happy hour.  Eastern Area President Otho Tew and his wife Alice joined us as well as former Dogwood members Elizabeth and Nick DeMonte. We were also pleased that several Dogwood members (Steve and Judy Czarsty, Bill and Eileen Guttridge, Kenneth and Bernice Wyatt) whom we haven't seen much of lately joined us. 

Thanks to Fairleigh Schoolar who organized the caravan.  The group enjoyed daily happy hours as well as many other impromptu gatherings. 

Members Experience Tire Blow Outs

Two Dogwood members recently experienced blowouts in their coaches.  Donald and Anke Longest were on their way to Perry and Carl and Donna Gruel were returning home from Perry.  Fortunately everyone is ok and the coaches can be repaired.  Thanks to Carl Gruel who describes his experience below:

Donna & I experienced a blowout of the left-front coach tire at 65 MPH while northbound on I295, about 4 miles North of the Varina Bridge about 10:45am Tuesday, 22 March 2011.  I had taken the RV Safety seminar at Perry where the seminar leader covered that it was IMPORTANT to "keep on the gas pedal for a count of three" if you experience a blowout, in order to let the coach stabilize, then steer as straight as possible, brake lightly and get over in traffic to the roadside and stop.  I did these 'not-so-easy' steps and let the coach go over to the inside shoulder (paved in that stretch of I295), got out of the travel lanes and stopped.  The tire was shredded, and a 6 foot length of separated tread was still in the travel lane about 1/2 way from where the blowout happened to where we got stopped.  There was nothing in the roadway that we "hit", no chuckhole, nothing.  There was no warning, no feeling of the tire going "mushy", nothing.  Just your everyday, unexpected, out-of-the-blue blowout at speed on the roadway.

Once we were stopped, Donna got out the RV Insurance folder and called GMAC, who called the on-the-road assistance local to the area who dispatched a service truck from Ashburn, VA (about 25 miles away).  My RV carries a spare, so when the service guy arrived about 1 hour later, we used the RV stabilizer jacks to lift the RV, he got the spare out from underneath the back, and mounted it on the front wheel, then hung the rim with shredded tire back underneath the back.  His truck had a gasoline driven air compressor onboard, and he had a heavy-duty air-driven air gun to get the lugnuts off and on - they are so tightly on that there is not any way a single person with a hand wrench can loosen them!  So, about 2-1/2 hours later, we were back on our way home.

I have since replaced all 6 tires with 2010-year manufactured tires - the one that failed had been manufactured in 2003, so they were 8 years old when it failed.  The coach is a 2005 model, so I had planned on replacing the tires for age this summer- so replacement happened for cause a few months earlier than planned!

Damage to the coach is a broken fiberglass fender where the flailing tire broke sections out, and a damaged basement door (the front one on that side) - where the separated tread hit the door before it left the coach.  Repairs are underway - Winnebago had to manufacture the panel and door, and Bill's Auto body shop in Lively is OK'd by GMAC to do the repairs for $2,900 plus my $250 deductible.  Several club members viewed the Duct-taped damage at Fort Monroe as repairs are not yet completed.  But, we're still operational!!!

Another note of possible interest to the club:  I got out the roadside flares I carry in the RV, and lit 3 and spaced them on the roadside and into the high-speed travel lane, and separated about 100 feet apart upstream toward the oncoming traffic to warn the oncoming traffic that I was just out of the high-speed travel lane and broken-down.  After about 1 hour, a state policeman came up, told me NOT to use flares, and for Donna and I to get ourselves into the median at the side of the RV "for safety".  We did so: he left.  This stretch of road is a 70MPH limit area, and 80% of traffic went by us at speed, without slowing down or moving into the center lane.  I was surprised at how many failed to move over as I always try to move over and not pass a stopped vehicle while at speed - as you can imagine, the coach rocked strongly every time a large vehicle or van passed.  Lesson to take away: don't get flares out, and get out of the vehicle and into 'safety' in the median or shoulder at the side of your vehicle!


Member Updates

June Gausman wrote that Norris Jones, a past member of the Dogwood chapter,  passed away on March 9, 2011.  Click here to view his obituary.  

Nancy Cummings had surgery to replace both knees and will be in rehab for several weeks.  We wish Nancy a speedy recovery!

Our sympathy is extended to Bobby and Barbara Dyke on the death of Barbara's mother and the death of Bobby's sister.

Missing crockpot.  Last seen at either the Urbanna or Virginia Beach rally.  Please contact Dian Hughes if you know of its whereabouts.


Shrimp Waldorf Salad from Sue Sohles

1 - 14 oz. bag of Dole Coleslaw or any brand of coleslaw
4 oz. - Marzetti low fat slaw dressing (If low fat not available, use Marzetti original slaw dressing)
1 - Green apple cored but not peeled cut to a half inch dice
1 - Green pear cored but not peeled cut to a half inch dice
1 Cup - Chopped walnuts
1 Cup - Golden raisins
1 lb. – Medium cooked shrimp

Mix all of the above, except the shrimp, so that the slaw dressing just coats the ingredients

Salt and pepper to taste, add a dash of curry powder starting with a pinch and then adding more to taste, toss the salad one last time. If you do not like the curry powder spiciness use some ground cumin which has a similar taste but is not spicy hot. (For the rally, I used the curry powder.)

Finally add a pound of medium sized shrimp that have been in boiling water for about 90 seconds or till pink in color. Do not over cook. (I used the cooked frozen shrimp)


Business Reports

A business meeting for the Dogwood chapter was held on April 16, 2011.  Click to link to the secretary's report

New officers were elected at the meeting to fill openings.  Carol Warthan was elected to the office of Vice President of Membership and Carolyn Duff was elected to the office of Treasurer.  Both were elected for the balance of the current term ending December 2012.