Sunday, October 2, 2011

Presidents Message

It was about 2 years ago that Dogwood’s membership first voted on and unanimously approved the first set of Dogwood Standing Rules.  I wrote the rules because Dogwood's administrative procedures weren’t documented and also because it’s the approach recommended by FMCA.  If you think about your own life experiences in business, government or civic organizations, most have rules.  They may be called by other names like Policy and Procedures but in each case, they’re intended to document what the policy is and how to carry out the policy.  It’s an approach that has been proven to work.  The rationale goes something like this:  If procedures are documented and something goes wrong, you have the opportunity to determine the source of the problem and make corrections that will provide a documented path forward that is intended to avoid having the same problem again. 

Are Dogwood’s standing rules perfect?  Probably not, but they satisfy the intended purpose. The procedures also support processes that may not be obvious.  As an example, are you aware that records are kept of attendance at rallies? Are you aware that Dogwood's Treasurer is required to file an annual certification of revenues with the Internal Revenue Service?  These are just a couple of the reasons that expense reports are required for all rallies, even if no monies are collected and no expenses are incurred.  Why? They enable the officers of the chapter to do their jobs and make the work of the Audit Committee easier and more accurate.

 I’d like to encourage each member to read the Standing Rules.  If you feel that there is something that is conspicuously absent or if you wish to suggest changes for any other reason including things like clarity or spelling errors, I encourage you to do so.  Make your thoughts known.  You’ll have the ideal opportunity at our December business meeting when we consider changes documented elsewhere in eNews.

In the mean time, I promise that I will follow the rules to the best of my ability and my hope is that all of our membership will do the same.

Best wishes and safe travels,

Mann Duff

November Rally at VIR for Historic Races

By Mann Duff

Take a step back in time and watch cars from the 50s, 60s and 70s race on the tracks at VIR.  Join us November 4 - 6 for a Dogwood rally at the Virginia International Raceway in conjunction with the running of the Historic races. VIR is located between South Boston and Danville.

Camping: We will be dry camping on the grassy infield along the track. There are no designated "sites" and the place fills up quickly on a first come basis. The cost is $50 to dry camp for the weekend (Friday - Sunday).

Races run all day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 8:00 am every morning . 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 special 3 day ticket price of $20 has been negotiated. For those who 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.

Rally Fees: The rally fee will be determined later after we have a better idea of attendance and the wishes of the group. We may ask attendees to bring a side dish for dinners to simplify meal preparation. In addition to evening meals, we will definitely plan for happy hours and breakfasts.  Depending on attendee preferences, we may make reservations at the Oak Tree Tavern for for one of our evening meals.

To Register for the Rally:
1. Send an eMail ASAP but no later than October 15 with the heading “VIR Historic Races” to to commit to attend. Your pro rata share of costs will be due at the event. Payment by check is preferred.

2. Purchase and print your race tickets directly from
VIR by clicking here. Toward the bottom of the page under best available, enter the number of tickets desired and enter the promo code GCMD11 to receive the discounted price of $20 for the 3 day pass. The promo code is good through October 31. Click on Find Tickets, give them some payment information etc. You know the routine. The weekend camping pass is $50.00 and is payable at the gate.

We will communicate between now and then to work out the details. As things are firmed up, we’ll update this article. Contact Mann or Carolyn Duff (your rally hosts) if you have any questions.

Attendees (as of 10/8):
Mann & Carolyn Duff, Bobby & Barbara Dyke, Butch & Liz Jones, Donald & Carol Warthan

Schedule (as of 10/31):
Friday dinner:  BBQ pork (complements of Misty Mountain rally), everyone bring a side dish
Saturday breakfast provided by the Duffs:  eggs, sausage, biscuits
Saturday dinner:  Oak Tree Tavern
There will be no rally fees collected since everything is provided by attendees. 

November Rally at Urbanna

Dogwood will have a rally November 3 - 7 at Ed Fisher's garage in conjunction with the Urbanna Oyster Festival. In the past the coaches have parked around his garage then members congregated inside for meals and socializing. Most arrive on Thursday and depart on Sunday. The group will be dry camping (limited electricity available for some coaches), however, there is water, electricity and a bathroom inside the garage. Berkley and Karen Alexander are the hosts  for this informal rally.  Berkley collects monies for oysters for roasting and the attendees provide food to share at pot luck dinners and breakfasts.

Urbanna Oyster Festival will be held on Friday and Saturday (November 4 & 5). Click here to link to the festival's web site.

Space is limited, so if you are interested in attending or have any questions, contact Berkley Alexander 804.754.1308 or ( ).

Attendees (as of 10/8):
Berkley & Karen Alexander, Paul & Nancy Cummings, Fairleigh & Cil Schoolar, David & Jackie Gilbert, Steve & Mary Hall, Wilt & Barbara Greewood, Barbara & Max Hicks, Regis & Terrie Johnson, Jim & Susan Buelow, Rich & Elle Bonewitz, Ed & Anke Fisher

Christmas Rally

The Christmas Rally will be held December 2-4 at the Outdoor World Campground in Williamsburg VA.  Your hosts for the weekend are Donna & Carl Gruel, Joyce & Dennis Reid, Sue & Steve Sohles and Pat & Clint Allen.

Campground Reservations:  
  • Williamsburg Outdoor World Manager:  Gary Bock
  • Reservations:    Make your reservations directly with the campground at (757) 566-3021.  Be sure to tell them you are with the Dogwood group to receive the discounted price of $38.50 plus tax per night.  If you call the regular reservation number for Outdoor World, the charge will be $42.50.  
  • Some members may have access to better prices  if you have memberships with Outdoor World, Passport, Thousand Trails, etc.  You will need to check the details for your specific membership.   
  • Campsite selection is on a first come first server basis, however, the park is typically not busy this time of year.
Directions:  From I-64, take exit 231A (Norge exit; same exit as American Heritage).  Travel 200 yards then turn right on route 30 North. Go 1/4 mile to campground entrance on the left.  If there is no attendant outside, proceed to the gate and page the ranger via the intercom.  The address is 4301 Rochambeau Drive, Williamsburg VA 23188. 

Rally fees for weekend are $25 per person to cover cocktail hour snacks and dinners for Friday and Saturday and breakfasts for Saturday and Sunday.  The menu is a surprise and will come in your welcome bag at Friday night's cocktail hour.  Bring your own beverages, plates, and utensils; your hosts will provide the rest.  Please register with Pat Allen by November 18.  

This year's Yankee Gift Swap will have a new twist.  Bring a wrapped "regift".  Here is your chance to get rid of that wedding, anniversary or Christmas present that you will never use.  Let's have some fun with this guys!   

Attendees (as of Nov. 27):
Cil & Fairleigh Schoolar, Ed & Anke Fisher, Mike & Suzanne Greenfield, Mann & Carolyn Duff, Liz & Butch Jones, Richard & Elle Bonewitz, Susan & Steve Sohles, Clint & Pat Allen, Carol & Donald Warthan, Donna & Carl Gruel, Berkley & Karen Alexander, Marna Seal, Mo & Shirley Martin, Jim & Susan Buelow, Steve & Mary Hall, Dennis & Joyce Reid, Wilt & Barbara Greenwood, Paul & Nancy Cummings, Max & Barbara Hicks, Dan Moore, Michael & Mary Meyer, David & Jackie Gilbert. Regis & Terrie Johnston


Dogwood Christmas Rally at Outdoor World in Williamsburg VA 

December 2-4, 2011

Names:  ____________________________________________

__________________Number of people at $25 each

__________________Amount enclosed

Mail check payable to Pat Allen, 9507 Lakewater Court, Richmond, VA. 23229


GEAR (Greater Eastern Area Rally) will be held in Winston-Salem NC October 19-22.  Max Hicks is asking for volunteers to drive the trams (6 person golf carts) and Berkley Alexander is asking for volunteers to monitor seminars.  The Buelows have agreed to host a Dogwood happy hour.  If you plan to attend, please reply to

Attendees:  Max & Barbara Hicks, Berkley & Karen Alexander, Wilt & Barbara Greenwood, Dennis & Joyce Reid, Butch & Liz Jones, Pat & Clint Allen, Jim & Susan Buelow, Mo & Shirley Martin, Reggie & Patsy Collins, Bill & Eileen Guttridge.

Highlights from Misty Mountain Rally

What a great weekend to kick off the fall season.  Click here to view photos.  22 coaches gathered at the Misty Mountain Campground in Crozet VA in the Blue Ridge foothills to enjoy a weekend of fun, great food and great camaraderie.  We were glad to have new members Reggie & Patsy Collins and guests Dan & Linda Pollard, friends of the Allens, to join us.   Thanks to our hosts Barbara & Bobby Dyke and Cil & Fairleigh Schoolar for a great rally.  After scorching summer weather, the crisp mornings in the 60s were a welcome relief.

The rally officially kicked off Friday with a happy hour followed by a lasagna dinner and topped off with make your own sundaes.  Afterwards members sat around the campfire and toasted marshmallows.

Saturday morning we enjoyed an egg and sausage breakfast followed by a business meeting.  Saturday evening there was a happy hour followed by a pork tenderloin dinner.  Following a continental breakfast Sunday morning, members packed up and headed home.

During the day, members ventured to nearby attractions such as Carter's Mountain Orchard, Michie Tavern, Kings Winery, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Barbara Dyke stated "The Schoolars and the Dykes would like to thank everyone who helped make Misty Mountain Rally such a success.  Especially thanks to Susan Buelow and Berkley Alexander who assisted every day in the kitchen.  It would be nice to hear from members via newsletter about what they enjoyed doing in the Charlottesville area.  We got a new member from guest, The Stansburys."

Attendees were pleased with the meeting facilities and agreed they would like to return to the campground for a future rally; possibly a Christmas rally.

Highlights from Madison

By Steve Hall

The Rally to Madison was a smashing success by any standard.  Trip planning provided by wagon master Bonewitz was practically flawless.

1st rendezvous was on a Friday, in Washington, PA, where 7 of the 8 coaches attending the rally gathered to ready themselves for the days ahead. Plan was to run as a group to Elkhart, Indiana – purportedly to scope great bargains. Traveling with 7 coaches proved far more challenging than anyone anticipated. However, modern technology prevailed as we all arrived in Elkhart – group intact. Most of the time there, Saturday and Sunday, was spent renewing old friendships and developing new ones. Potluck meals prevailed, resulting in some great meals.

Monday morning began the final run to Madison with a short stop at a Flying J to pick up the 8th coach and arrive at the rally as a group. After a few delays, caused by weak bladders, malfunctioning toll scanners, wrong turns, etc., we arrived at the Farm Park and were positioned in the front row with a great view of the park and lake – also plenty of room to move around. The rally appeared to be a great success as our group of eight did their best to jumpstart the Madison economy.

After Madison, 6 coaches continued the trip – next stop Wisconsin Dells, where we took in the beautiful scenery and a boat ride up the Wisconsin River. After the Dells, 5 coaches proceeded to an Indian reservation casino campground where we tested our gambling skills. Next stop was St Ignace, MI where we enjoyed views of the great lakes as well as a side trip on the ferry to Mackinac Island.

A great time was had by all. In fact, we had so much fun, considering doing another caravan to FMCA rally in Indianapolis in August 2012.

Photos by Dennis Reid.  Click on photo to enlarge.

2012 Rally Schedule

By Fairleigh Schoolar, VP of Rallies

March:  Outer Banks for swan migration; Cummings
May:  Solomon Island; Bonewitz
Summer:  FMCA Indy
Fall foliage: Luray or GEAR in York PA
Christmas:  Misty Mountain; Dykes & Schoolars

Dogwood's National Director reports on Governing Board Meeting - Madison, WI

To:  Mann Duff                                                                                                  September 15, 2011

From:  Ed Fisher

Subject:  2011 National Directors Report

Acting President Judy Czarsty called the meeting to order the morning of Aug 10, 2011 at the National Convention in Madison WI., noting that a quorum was present, with 373 chapters of a possible 487 (76.5%) represented. Judy did a masterful job of conducting the meeting throughout the day.
Without going into minute detail, the treasurer's report provided a good indication of the path FMCA is following. From a high of 122,000 members 10 years ago, the current membership has steadily declined to 89,000 today. Convention attendance has declined from a high of 10,000 families in 2005 to 4,000 at the present. These declines, coupled with even more dramatic declines in FMCA magazine income have required heavy operations cost reductions. With constant efforts to cut costs, FMCA maintains a strong balance sheet with more than adequate reserves. In that regard, a 2011 income tax refund exceeding $1,300,000 which accumulated over the past few years was applied to the reserves and not used for operations. Losses in budget year 2009 were $163,027, in 2010 were $1,943, 617 and are estimated to be $342,000 in 2011. The budget is expected to balance in 2012, and every effort will be made to make that happen.
In recent years, there has been an average net financial loss on the conventions. For this reason, certain items have been deleted or reduced from the conventions. In fact, the 2012 Winter convention in
Pomona CA has been cancelled, but the 2013 Winter Convention may be held there since a deposit will be lost if not used by 2013. The 2012 Summer convention will be held in Indianapolis, IN, and the 2013 Summer Convention will be held in Hutchinson Kansas.
Elections were the last business of order for the day. Results were as follows:
President: Charlie Shrinkle was elected over Judy Czarsty by a vote of 189 to 176 with 3 invalid
Senior VP: Alan Rein was elected over Ross Boyer by a vote of 219 to 148
Secretary: Vicki Ferrari was elected over Wilma Jean Alexander by a vote of 294 to 73 
Treasurer: Will Young was elected over Dan Couch by a vote of 226 to 141.

I was extremely impressed by the slate for all the offices.  So impressed, in fact that FMCA would be in good hands, regardless of the outcome. Of course, I was very distressed that Judy was not successful in her bid for President.
Respectfully Submitted

Ed Fisher

Response to Audit Report

Response to Dogwood Audit Committee Report of June 2011
By Mann Duff

Special thanks go out to Dogwood's Audit Committee (Liz Jones, Mo Martin and Cil Schoolar) for their work and the resulting report of their findings during the audit of Dogwoods financial records.

Dogwoods Executive Board met on September 16 and discussed each of the findings and suggestions included in the report. Present were:  Mann Duff, President; Fairleigh Schoolar, VP Rallies; Carolyn Duff VP Communication and Treasurer; Carol Warthan, VP Membership; Karen Alexander, Secretary.  Ed Fisher, National Director was absent.

Below is a summary of the discussions and unanimous conclusions of the officers present.

  1. The audit detailed some missing and or incomplete Rally Expense Reports.    Those that were missing were either misfiled or not completed due to apparent misunderstanding of Dogwoods Standing Rules.  All reports as submitted are now a part of the Treasurers records and are available for review by the committee. One report remains incomplete with missing totals, receipts or explanations, signature and approval.
  2. One of the primary procedural suggestions involved cash transactions between a rally host and rally attendees. It’s not practical to correct this now but going forward, the Board agrees that the Standing Rules covering accounting procedures for rally hosts should be followed.
  3. Reports for miscellaneous expenses should include more detailed explanations for expenses. Explanations should detail not only what the expense was but should also explain the reason for expenses if not obvious from the nature of the expense. Standing rules will be amended to cover this point.
  4. There was at least one example of a rally where no monies were collected and no expenses incurred. The Audit committee recommends that an Expense Report be completed for every Dogwood Rally to facilitate audits and record keeping for the Treasurer. Standing Rules will be amended to cover this point.
  5. The VP Rallies should provide the required forms to rally hosts well ahead of the planned event so that the form may be completed as payments are received and as expenses are incurred. By doing this, it is only necessary to summarize the form at the conclusion of the event. This is covered in existing Standing Rules and rules will be followed in the future.
  6. The audit committee recommends that Dogwood's Treasurer be required to utilize Quicken for maintaining Dogwood’s financial records. This will help with continuity as Treasurers change. This is also the tool recommended by FMCA in the Treasurers guidelines. Standing rules will be amended to cover this point.
  7. Standing Rules will be amended to include requirements for backup procedures for chapter records maintained on magnetic media.
  8. The Audit Committee recommends changing Dogwood's Standing Rules regarding refunds of rally fees in cases where the member is unable to attend after paying for an event. Given that this has not been an issue, the board feels that the current rule covering this point is sufficient and allows appropriate discretion for rally hosts.

The text of the Audit committee’s original report is contained elsewhere on Dogwood's web site. Dogwood members are encouraged to read the report and this response and voice any concerns.

The original June 2011 Audit Report and this response will be retained in the Treasurer’s file for reference during future audits.

Dogwood Standing Rules Changes

As mentioned at our last business meeting and elsewhere in this issue of eNews, Dogwood's Standing Rules require change to clarify some existing procedures and to incorporate changes that were recommended by the Audit Committee and the Dogwood Executive Board. Click here to see the revisions. Any text that is being deleted is shown with a strike through and new or changed text is shown in red. In accordance with Dogwood's Standing Rules, proposed changes are being announced in advance and will be voted on at the next business meeting on December 3, 2011 at Dogwood's Christmas rally.

Also, the Rally Expense form has been changed to incorporate suggested simplification. Click here for the revision.

Business Reports

A business meeting was held September 17.  Click here to view the secretary's and treasurer's reports.

Member Updates

Welcome new Dogwood members:  Reggie & Patsy Collins, Regis & Terrie Johnston, Mike & Suzanne Greenfield, Doug & Diane Stansbury and Michael & Marcy Vreeland.  Dogwood currently has 53 members.

Carol Warthan, VP of membership, worked with FMCA to email FMCA members in Virginia, east of the Blue Ridge, and to tell them about the Dogwood chapter.  She has had several responses, including new members Michael & Marcy Vreeland.

Dave Gale, a former member of Dogwood, passed away in August.  We extend our sympathy to his wife Judy.

Madison Misadventures

By Dennis Reid

Our trip to Madison started out on a sour note when our microwave died on the way to the rally.  We hooked up with the "microwave lady", who likes to sell her seminar units to keep from shipping them back home, and procured a new microwave for $500.  With the help of my new found friend David Gilbert, we had it installed in no time.  After many fellow RVers experienced a variety of problems, I was confident that we had "paid our dues" by having to buy a new microwave.

After touring the upper peninsula of Michigan with the leadership of our hosts, Richard & Elle Bonewitz, we all left St. Ignace, MI heading for home.  On RT 23 at around 3:00pm on Friday the 19th, all hell broke loose.  It seems like every light and bell on my dashboard went off.  There was apparently a problem with overheating.  After consulting with technicians at Good Sam's Emergency Service, they made arrangements to have us towed to Cummins Bridgeway just west of Detroit.  After a 5 hour wait on the side of a major highway and a 30 mile tow to the dealer we arrived at 9:00 pm.  We never saw a cop for the entire time we were broken down.  In her infinite wisdom, Joyce had already informed me that "you know this is Friday don't you".  She was right again.

On Monday morning the parts necessary to perform the repair was evaluated and special parts were ordered for next day delivery.  By noon on Tuesday all parts had been received.  Since the coach could not be started, we had to order another tow truck for Wednesday morning to back the coach into the garage.  The mechanic did not get to start work until noon.  Prior to moving, we were able to stay in the coach with a 30 amp connection.  After the coach was moved into the garage, we had to go to a motel for 2 nights.

Since we were marooned, we decided to make the best of a bad situation.  We took in all of The Henry Ford attraction including a factory tour of the Ford F150 assembly plant.  We also visited Walmart twice, Homedepot, and saw two movies.

On Friday morning we departed the dealership after paying a repair bill for $5,045.21.  This was after a complimentary discount of $530.  There was $2,500 worth of labor and $2,600 in parts.  The most expensive part was $1,400.  With all that happened we feel fortunate that there was no more damage than what occurred.

What happened you ask?  The fan hub, that controls the fan, broke loose from the engine.  The mechanics said that two of the 4 bolts broke off in the engine block.  When that happened, the belts gave way, the fan damaged an oil cover, the alternator was damaged, etc., etc.

At our first stop at the Flying J, I discovered a blown o-ring on my HWH hydraulic pump with fluid leaking down the side of the coach.

We spent Friday night in a nice little campground in Cambridge, OH.  In the morning we broke camp and drove 1 mile to the Pilot station to top off the tank.  After Joyce paid the bill, she noticed something leaking from under the rear of the coach.  Yep, it's anti-freeze, coming from somewhere around the radiator.  After deciding that it was not the radiator cap or the overflow tube, we made the decision to return to the campground for an extended stay.  Remember, since we only breakdown on weekends, no one will be available until Monday.  Since the people who repaired the coach near Detroit, have a location close to us in Canton, I chose to have them make it right before I left the area..

Thanks to all of our caravan friends for their concerns.

Dennis & Joyce

PS: I threw a couple of matches in the fuel tank and then I realized that diesel fuel doesn't ignite as easy as gas.

Followup:  In recognition of their misadventures, Richard Bonewitz presented Dennis and Joyce "On the Road Again: shirts (which Elle had designed) at the Misty Mountain rally.