Wednesday, August 15, 2012

President's Message

Greetings Dogwooders,

For those of you that missed the Rockahock rally in July, you missed an excellent RV Fire Safety presentation by Butch Jones.  Butch has an extensive background in fire safety and experience as an RVer.    With this experience, he brings a uniquely qualified understanding of the potential risks that we all face.  The handout that was used can be viewed by clicking here.  I encourage each of you, even if you saw the presentation, to review the handout  and be certain that in the event of a fire, you have your plan in place  and have practiced. 

Until we meet again, Carolyn and I wish each of you smooth highways and safe travels.


Highlights from Solomons Rally

Eighteen coaches gathered at the Naval Recreation campground in scenic Solomons Maryland the weekend of May 31 - June 3.  Click here to view rally photos.  Our hosts showed us some real Maryland hospitality.  Thursday evening we gathered at the Solomons Yacht Club for happy hour, then attendees ventured to the local restaurants for dinner.  Friday night attendees enjoyed a crab pickin.  Steve Hall continually made the rounds to replenish crabs for those pickin.  Saturday morning the group gathered for a breakfast of egg casserole, bacon, sausage and fresh fruit.  Saturday evening we enjoyed a boat cruise around the area on the Tennison.  Sunday morning, we gathered for a continental breakfast then packed up and headed home.  During the days attendees checked out the sights in the area including historic Solomons Island.   

A special thanks to our hosts Richard & Elle Bonewitz, Steve & Mary Hall, David & Jackie Gilbert, and Regis & Terrie Johnston for all the hard work they put into making such an enjoyable weekend to all who attended.  Richard said that if there was enough interest, they would do it again in 2014.

Highlights from Rockahock Rally

The weekend of July 13-15, members gathered at the Rockahock campground in Lanexa for an informal rally.  Attendees provided food for a covered dish dinner Saturday night, breakfast Saturday morning, and several happy hours.  As usual, Dogwood is known for its good cooks and abundance of food at gatherings.  Attendees also enjoyed eating at local restaurants and shopping in Williamsburg.   Click here to view rally photos.  

FMCA Convention in Indianapolis

FMCA's International Convention will be held in Indianapolis Indiana August 27-30.  Richard Bonewitz is organizing a Dogwood caravan before, into the fairgrounds, and after the convention.  

If you will be attending the convention, but not participating in the caravan, please contact Richard at or 301-481-6003 so he can let you know if the Dogwood group has any get togethers.  


GEAR (the Eastern Area rally) will be held in York Pennsylvania October 10-14. There are no organized Dogwood activities associated with the rally.  If anyone is interested in parking together as a group, contact Mann or Carolyn Duff or reply to  

During the 2009 Dogwood rally in Williams Grove, several members enjoyed attending the Apple Harvest festival near Gettysburg.  The festival is held the first 2 weekends in October, so you may want to check it out when you are in the area for GEAR.  Click here to link to their website.   

Berkley Alexander needs volunteers to monitor seminars at GEAR.  Contact him if you are interested.

Attendees (as of Oct. 2):  Alexander, Greenwood, Gruel, Jones, Sohles, Czarsty, Tilman, Duff

Christmas Rally in Williamsburg

Dogwood Christmas Rally
November 30 - December 2, 2012
Williamsburg KOA Campground
Williamsburg Virginia
Exit 234 off I-64, left on 646
Follow 646 to KOA registration office on right

Please make your reservations with KOA @ 1-800-562-1733
Name of group:  Dogwood Chapter FMCA
Contact Person:  Fairleigh M. Schoolar

Colonial Section
Full hookups 50 amp $36 per night
Full hookups 30 amp $31 per night

Make your own campsite reservation now.  
Rally details will be provided closer to the rally.

Other upcoming rallies

Richard Bonewitz is planning a Dogwood caravan to Alaska in 2013.  If you are interested, contact Richard at or 301-481-6003   

Fire Safety

Motor Coach Fire Safety
Butch Jones

I would like to thank all of the Dogwood members that attended our presentation at the Rockahock Rally. I hope that we didn’t scare anyone so badly that they are tempted to leave motor homing. Fire awareness and preparedness can be scary stuff. However, it does not need to be petrifying.

As a result of the presentation several members came up with some excellent suggestions.  As an addendum to the presentation I have included these suggestions.

Mann Duff suggested that we might want to keep the Emergency Bag in the towed so it will be outside and ready when needed. If you do that make sure that you leave the hammer inside to assist in breaking out a window or skylight and you have the towed keys if you keep it locked.

Pat Allen observed that if you or your spouse has the need for glasses, contacts or a hearing aid make sure that those are kept with you along with your keys, cell phone, wallet and purse. Even if you wear reading glasses you should keep them handy.

Wilt Greenwood has come across a small extinguisher with a sprinkler head that can be placed in the outside refrigerator compartment to help extinguish a fire before it spreads to the interior.

Installing a suppression system in the engine compartment is a great way to limit engine bay fire damage.

I have thought about the fact that I am not getting any younger. Using the bed comforter or spread as a rope or slide might be something to consider for anyone that feels that they cannot climb down a ladder or climb out the window.

I’m sure that many of you have had thoughts on this subject. Send me your ideas and I will pass them along. Fire safety is an ongoing process. Even after you have developed your plan you may change it as your situation changes.

The following are two articles I came across which I found interesting.

Three killed in northwest Arizona motor home fire
KINGMAN, Ariz. - Three Lake Havasu City residents were killed in a fiery motor home accident about eight miles north of the northwestern Arizona city Monday.
The Department of Public Safety said the 2006 motor home towing a Jeep blew a right front tire about 12:05 p.m. on Arizona Route 95.
"The fire started on the right front wheel, which is directly adjacent to the main doorway that you come in and out," Desert Hills Fire Chief Matt Espinoza said. "In that case the primary entrance and exit was blocked by fire which basically forced the occupants to the rear of the RV."
Espinoza said the bodies of the occupants were all located in the rear of the motor home.
The victims were identified as John P. Thomas and Susan L. Thomas, both 63, and Joyce Lowry, 73.
           A right front tire blowout at less than 65 mph on I-95 in South Carolina 2005
A right front tire blowout at less than 65 mph on I-95 in South Carolina resulting in our 2000 Newmar Mountain Aire coach burning (it) to the ground, on Friday, April 22, 2005.

I was traveling Northbound on I-95, in the right lane and the coach was climbing an overpass and at about 300 feet from the top, the right front tire blew out. The coach immediately pulled hard right into the parking lane and it took a lot of strength to keep the coach in that parking lane and not going off the right edge of the road and into the grass and down the grade. I was able to regain control and bring the coach back into the right traffic lane so that I could continue over the overpass and miss the narrowing guard rail. After returning to the right lane and while on the overpass, I was able to begin to apply the brakes and slowly moved to the right and back into the parking lane on the down grade. At this point I already noticed flames in the right rear view mirror. I was unable to stop in the next 600 ft., because of the guard rail adjacent to the parking lane, which would have made it impossible to open the exit door, which is located in front of the right front blown, burning tire. I was able to stop about 600 ft. past the end of the guard rail and off the road in the parking lane. By the time I stopped, the flames were over the top of the exit door, and it was now impossible to exit via the front door. As I attempted to get the FOAM filled fire extinguisher from behind the passenger's seat, I noticed flames between the front door and the passenger seat about a foot high in the coach. I couldn't believe the volume of fire which had developed within less that 1 minute from the time of the blowout. Without any further expectations of possibly being able to extinguishing the fire, my immediate interest shifted to how we were going to get out of the coach. Since the traffic was still screaming by us without stopping, the bedroom emergency exit on the driver's side was out of the question, so the bedroom non-emergency window on the passenger side was the only one left. Exiting the coach via this window wasn't bad, but the edge of the grass was on fire from the end of the guard rail, 600 ft. back to the front of the coach and I had to jump clear of the fire. I jumped first and beyond the flames, and ended up several feet down the steep grade because of the overpass. I climbed back up to the flames and kicked dirt on the fire with my stocking feet. Then I lifted my wife from the rear window to safety. I had her run to the back of our toad and I proceeded to unhook the car. Needless to say, that took less than another minute, and out came the brake buddy, and we were out of there.
For the next 15 minutes we watched our coach burn with all our possessions, jewelry, cloths, identification, money, computers, everything, until the fire department arrived and by that time the coach was fully involved. The fire department couldn't do anything but cool the ashes. I-95 was blocked for about 2 hours and we just stood there, thankful we were alive and trying to figure it all out.
I wanted everyone to know, that I was very safety conscious, and never expected that this could happen to us, but it did. I thought I had thought of everything and prepared for most everything, but never expected it could happen to us. With all the safety preparations we still lost everything. Now there is more, the insurance issues, contents coverage. When you are a full-timer or a most timer we carry a lot of STUFF. We have more than you think you have. Our coverage may not be enough. And of course then there is the insurance for the Motorhome itself. Believe me, I am an insurable person, and I still may have missed things. My insurance is via Mendota, and my homeowner's in Florida is Allstate. I hope I can help better prepare someone better than I was, if we can ever be better prepared.

-Tony & Mary, Pembroke Pines, Fl. NEWMAR CLUB, DATASTORM

These bring it home that we need to BE PREPARED.

We received our Kidde Emergency Escape Ladder and Berkley and I tried it on his and Karen’s Dutch Star as well as our Discovery. It worked well but was quite a bit longer than needed. I cut 5 rungs off and I believe that will work better. I have an extra rung in case the coach is on more of an incline. 

I have included several pictures of the ladder in the packaged and installed mode.
If I can be of any assistance to anyone in evaluating their coach, developing their plan, deciding which detector or extinguishers to buy, practicing their plan or anything else relating to fire safety just let me know.

Business Reports

A business meeting was held July 14.  Click here to view the secretary and treasurer reports.

Nominating Committee Update

Paul Cummings stated that the nominating committee has a full slate of officers, however, to let him know if you are interesting in volunteering for an office for the 2013-2014 term.  Elections will be held electronically this fall.

Member Updates

Dogwood currently has 46 members.  Welcome to new members Jerry and Starr Eastwood who joined at the Solomons rally.

Most of you know that Dogwood members have an attraction for Crocs (shoes).  I couldn't resist sharing this article (click here) about a grizzly bear attacking a woman in Alaska.  For those of you going to Alaska next year, remember to wear your Crocs (or as Mann says make sure you are with someone who runs slower than you do)! ... Carolyn


Sausage and Cheese Crescent Squares from Karen Alexander

2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury crescent dinner rolls or 2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury crescent recipe creation refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 pound spicy or mild bulk pork sausage
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 oz)

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. If using crescent rolls:  Unroll 1 can of dough into 2 long rectangles.  Place into ungreased 13x9 pan (3 quart) glass baking dish; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.  If using dough sheets:  Unroll 1 can of dough; Place into ungreased 13x9 glass baking dish; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.  
  3. In skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink.  Remove sausage and discard drippings.   In same skillet add cream cheese.  Cook over low heat until melted.  Add sausage.  Stir to coat.  Spread evenly over crust.  Top with cheese.
  4. If using crescent rolls, unroll 2nd can of dough on work surface.  Press to form 13x9 rectangle; firmly press preforations to seal.  Carefully place over cheese.  If using dough sheets, unroll dough on work surface.  Press to form 13x9 rectangle.  Carefully place over cheese.
  5. Bake 21 to 26 minutes until golden brown.  Cool 15 minutes.  Cut into small squares.
Makes 32 servings.  

A Working Wine Vacation

Carl Gruel shared this article by Dr. David Eifrig from the Palm Beach Letter.   

A Working Wine Vacation That Feels Free
If the idea of working on vacation seems interesting, you should consider the idea of a “crush” vacation. Working the crush means helping a winery pick, de-stem, press, and move juice, barrels, and waste during the harvest. It is one of the most unique cultural experiences you can imagine. I’m not going to lie... this is a physically demanding vacation. But in the end, you get a vacation and a few bottles of good wine to take home.

For the 2007, ‘08, and, ‘09 harvest, I traveled to Calistoga, Calif., and stayed with my friends, owners of the Mutt Lynch Winery. Their Sonoma winery produces some of the best unwooded (fermented in steel tanks rather than traditional oak ones) chardonnays I’ve ever tasted. The description on their website says it all: “Fresh, juicy fruit aromas and flavors of peaches, pears, and apples, with a creamy and zingy finish. The fruit ‘jumps out of the glass’... .”

For more than a week, I worked for the Lynch family. I did everything from helping the grape pickers pluck dead leaves under a warm September sun, to dumping the pomace at the end of the day. I didn’t get paid a thing and the work conditions were sometimes a bit difficult, but the benefits included room, board, and a great experience. Most importantly, I learned about winemaking—from world experts.

One of the experts I learned from, Phyllis, is half owner of a winery called Deux Amis that shares space with Mutt Lynch.  I watched (and helped) Phyllis and her colleague Brenda measure levels of sugar and pH in the fermenting juice and “punch down” grape skins floating in the nascent wine to ensure a uniform fermentation. Seeing them monitor and adjust the winemaking process to tease the flavor they want from every unique batch of grapes taught me how much of an artist’s touch great winemakers bring to their work. It’s not the sort of perspective you get from reading the Wine Spectator.
Phyllis and her partner Jim have been in the wine business of northern California for more than 70 years combined. It was an honor to learn from them.
It turns out there are dozens of small local wineries like Mutt Lynch and Deux Amis around the world who desperately need help during the harvest season. These tiny wineries simply can’t afford to pay for full-time help. Instead, they offer free room and board to ordinary folks who are looking for a memorable experience.
In most of America’s wine-producing regions—including Napa and Sonoma in California, Willamette Valley in Oregon, and New York’s Finger Lakes region—you can work a crush. If you’re interested in a wine-country vacation, I recommend you contact your favorite vineyard directly.
For example, some smaller and less-known vineyards of Ohio love having volunteers help them with the harvest. Simply register your interest prior to the season by contacting the individual winery, or just visit the winery on public picking days that get advertised in local newspapers. In Ohio, you can try these vineyards:
Debonné Vineyards in Madison, Ohio (tel.,
Troutman Vineyards in Wooster, Ohio (tel.,
Rainbow Hills Vineyards in Newcomerstown, Ohio (tel. 740-545-9305; no website), and
Slate Run Vineyard in Canal Winchester, Ohio (tel. 614-834-8577;
By the way, my friends at Mutt Lynch specialize in dog-themed wines. Their wines include names like Merlot Over and Unleashed Chardonnay. Give them a call or check out their website.

And it goes without saying, by mentioning their info I get nothing from my friends... other than a thanks.

The Ford House Car

Bill Guttridge shared the following article on the Ford House Car.

This is one of only six Ford House-cars said to have been made per year in the mid-30's at the Ford plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, according to an article in a 1993 "Old Cars" magazine.  Very few others--perhaps none--remain on the road and certainly not in such amazing original condition!  When discovered in a garage under a heavy cover in northern Minnesota in August of 2001, it had only 19,000 miles on the odometer and the owner's manual was still in the glove box in like-new condition!  The RV had always been garaged and treated with much 'TLC' as a collector vehicle. 

The all wood lined interior was still the way it appeared in the '30's complete with framed photos of the original owner on his travels, mainly to Florida, and his cabin in the North Woods. It also had other memorabilia from that era.  The Ford House-car was built on a '37 Ford Pickup frame and cowling and was powered by a 60 horse power, flathead V-8 with aluminum heads. The rear framing is all wood, with the metal skin wrapped around it. The roof structure is all wood over which the heavy, waterproofed canvas top is still very securely fitted. The structure of the body is solid, appearing to be all oak hardwood and it's still in a remarkably unaltered, undamaged condition!  The door frames are thick, solid oak as are the window frames although those have been painted over.  This House-car was a big hit at this campground once we got that great old 'flattie' V-8 hummin'! Note the expanding roof (it's that 'extra' roof piece barely visible in the picture) and the original dark green color, which has been repainted. All four side windows open while the back one tilts out in three positions. The windshield also tilts open at the bottom for 'natural' AC while driving. 
It's a slice right out of 1930's just as the original owner had it. All the windows have curtains for privacy and there are pull-down shades on the back window, as well as on the driver's and passenger door windows. Note the wide storage cabinet under the bed. 

The wood headliner gives the 'cabin' a warm and inviting rustic feel. You can also see it has a ceiling vent and the canvas expanding roof portion visible in this picture. Four wood pieces securely support the expansion when it's in the 'up' position, while clamps secure it when it's down while traveling. 

Note the cedar branches hanging in the corners to give the cabin a natural, north woods aroma. Cabinets and the aluminum sink, that includes a wooden cover insert, are visible on the left. All the antiques inside, as well as on the walls, came along for the ride. Also note the collapsible table behind the driver's seat. 

It's amazing how simple vehicles were back then! No computerization to be concerned about, eh?