Friday, June 7, 2013

President's Message

From the Oblong Office
Butch Jones

I will assume that our snowbirds have returned to their middle Atlantic nests. The first rally of the year at Hatteras was a success and we are now officially into the Dogwood Rally Season.

This year I hope that we will have more of our seasoned members return to rallies and help the newer members learn what FMCA and Dogwood are all about.  We have some excellent locations for this year’s rallies. And there should be some really good times ahead.

I have attached the results of our Dogwood Survey. The Board would like to thank those that responded to the survey. This type of information is helpful to the Board in plotting our course and ensuring that we stay the course of the membership’s choosing.

The 88th FMCA Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase will be kicking off this month and some of our members will be attending this event in Gillette, Wyoming. We wish safe travels to all.

Our next Dogwood rally is in Galax and we hope to see many of you there.

We received 20 completed Dogwood Surveys.  We were glad to see that most gave some serious thought to their answers. The results are interesting and some were surprising. There were quite a few questions left unanswered these are listed as “No Answer” in the results. The answers are indicated in red for clarity. I did not include all of the answers given as many received only one response.  These results will be used in guiding the chapter and planning for next year. Thanks to those taking their time to provide us with their input.

Dogwood Chapter FMCA Participation Survey
1. In the last 3 years, which Dogwood Rally did you enjoy best?
Solomon’s Island was the number 1 pick followed by Camp Hatteras.

1a. What did you like best?
“Location” was listed as number 1

2. In the last 3 years, which Dogwood Rally did you enjoy least?
“No Answer” was the number 1 response followed by Rockahock

2a. What did you least like?
No scheduled meals or activities received the most responses.

3. In the last 3 years, did you attend a non-Dogwood rally that you particularly enjoyed?
10 respondents reported having attended non-Dogwood rallies.

3a. What specific thing(s) were most enjoyable?
Although more respondents did not respond to this question, those that did indicated that seeing old friends was most enjoyable.

4. How many rallies do you think Dogwood should have each year?
Again more did not respond than responded to any specific number. The number of rallies receiving more than 1 response ranged from the following:
“Same as last year” and anywhere from 3-4 to 6-8 were listed most often. So we can surmise that about 6 rallies seem to be the number of which most are comfortable.

5. Do you like rallies with structured meals (rally fee covers some meals, predetermined times) or unstructured (no meals and flexible times)?
More responses were received for having structured meals than not.

6. Would you like to have a 1 hour or less seminar at Dogwood rallies and if so how often (every rally once a year, etc.)?
Most of the respondents were in favor of having seminars. Having a seminar once or twice a year was the most often given frequency.

7. Please list any topics that you would enjoy.
“No response” and “RV topics” were the most often given topics. History of local area and both RV and non RV topics were next.

8. Would you like to have a preplanned side trip included in a rally? This could be a winery tour or historic place or other place of interest?
This question received an overwhelming “yes” response.

9. What other activities would enhance Dogwood rallies?
Although “no answer” was given in almost half of the surveys, having a game night was the next most listed answer.

10. What is preventing you from attending Dogwood rallies?
“Other commitments” and “nothing” responses were given the most to this question.

11. What is preventing you from hosting a Dogwood rally?
Even though “have done so in the past was the most often given response, “don’t know enough about it” received the next highest number of responses.

12. How far are you willing to travel for a Dogwood rally?
Dogwood members responded that they were willing to travel between 150-200 miles as a maximum for a rally.

13. What is the maximum number of days for a Dogwood rally?
The survey indicated that Dogwood members like rallies to be 3-4 days in duration.

14. What should the maximum cost of a rally (including rally fee and meals both provide and not provided and campground cost)?
Once again “no answer” was the most often not given response. Cost was not an issue was the next most often given response, however, 250-300 dollars was the top response with a dollar figure. 

15. Would you be in favor of a Thousand Trails (TT) rally (since they allow groups with non TT members)?
Overwhelmingly the responses were positive to a Thousand Trails rally.

16. If Dogwood established a “Members Only” section of the chapter website would you be receptive to having a password to enter the section?
The responses to this question were almost evenly divided between yes and no.

17. Are you interested in Dogwood establishing a Facebook account as a means of communications?
“No” was the overwhelming response to this question.

18. Are you interested in having rallies planned around events such as races, festivals or concerts?
Most of the responses were yes to this question.

19. How important are full hookups for a three day rally?
We are evenly divided on this question with one response pushing full hookups to the very important factor at a rally.

20. Is dry camping okay for a few days?
Once again the same number responded “yes” as “no” to this question with several “depends” and one “up to 7 day” responses.

21. Are you interested in planned activities?
Most of the respondents were in favor of planned activities.

22. If so, should they be included in rally cost an extra charge?
Overwhelmingly the responses were in favor of making extra activities an additional charge for those wishing to participate.

Additional Comments (Please list any additional comments to the above questions or any other Dogwood related topic):
Prefer smaller rallies where we get to spend more time developing friendships.
We will be unable to attend the May rally. We have a prescheduled event with our family.
Maybe it is worth paying for campground facilities, if we have small group.

Galax Rally

On the weekend of July 19 - 21, Dogwood will hold its next rally at the Cool Breeze Campground near Galax, VA.  This is a quaint campground that is a favorite of bluegrass music lovers and other RV clubs.  The campground has nice amenities, as well as being close to Galax and the parkway.  

On Friday night there is a live radio broadcast from the Rex Theater in Galax. The show begins at 8:00 pm and tickets are on a first come first serve basis.  

On Saturday there is a barbecue cook off in Galax.  Click here for more information.  

Also, at 12:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Saturday there are concerts at the Blue Ridge Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway (click here to link to their web site). 

I'm sure we will have a busy weekend with plenty of activities in the Blue Ridge Mountains. More information will be provided in your welcome bags as it becomes available.  The hosts for the rally are Steve & Susan Sohles and Dennis & Joyce Reid.

Click here to see what is going on in Galax during the rally weekend.

Campground Reservations: Call the campground at (866) 342-0300 to make your own reservations. Campsites are $30 per night.  Be sure to tell them you are with the Dogwoods.  Click here to link to the campground's website. 

Directions: Their mailing address is 2330 Edmonds Rd. Galax, VA 24333.  Please use this address when using the GPS.  If you are coming from Galax, their mileage is from the stop light at Hwy 89 (Main St.) & the truck route from Hwy 58.  Go Hwy 89 south 5 miles and turn right on Edmonds Rd.  Go 2 miles & they are on the right.  The total mileage from Galax is 7 miles.

Rally Schedule:
  • dinner - Heavy Hors D'oeuvres.
  • morning - Eggs to order, link sausage, pancakes, etc.
  • dinner - On your own (due to the "Smoke on the Mountain" cook-off and the concert on the parkway)
  • morning - Continental breakfast
The rally fee is $10.00 per person. Please bring your own eating utensils, plates and beverages.

Deadline for reservations at camp ground and rally fees is July 5.

Attendees (as of 7/9):  Buck & Linda Buchanan,Jim & Susan Buelow, Bob & June Chinery, Mann & Carolyn Duff, Bobby & Barbara Dyke, Mike & Suzanne Greenfield, Wilt & Barbara Greenwood. Butch & Liz Jones, Dennis & Joyce Reid. Fairleigh & Cil Schoolar, Steve & Sue Sohles, Ed & Connie Tilman, Mike & Marcy Vreeland

Reservation Form
Names _____________________________________________
Amount Enclosed ($10/person) ___________________________

Send form and check payable to Susan Sohles at 77 Oyster Cove Landing, Hartfield, VA 23071

Highlights from the Outer Banks Rally

The Dogwood Spring Rally was held the weekend of May 17 at the Camp Hatteras RV Resort.  There were 26 people in attendance and a good time was had by all.  The hosts for the rally were Dennis & Joyce Reid and Steve & Susan Sohles. 

Click here to view photos from the rally.  

After a windy start to the week, Mother Nature co-operated and we all enjoyed a beautiful weekend.  The kite surfers were out in force with increased winds and provided quite a show for the attendees.  

On a personal note.  After seeing all of my fellow Dogwooders TV upgrades, I was forced to upgrade mine upon returning home.  Peer pressure is painful.  Thanks a lot guys!!!  .... Dennis

At the rally, we welcomed new members Bob & June Chinery and welcomed back members Jim & Vicki Henry whom we had not seen in a while.  We also celebrated Susan Buelow's birthday (click here to view video).

Dogwooders travel to Alaska

A group of Dogwood members are traveling together to Alaska this summer.  Last weekend the Gruels said they were in Medicine Hat, Alberta Canada and planned to meet up with the others around Saskatchawan.  The Alexanders said they, the Bonewitzes and Gilberts were in Sioux Falls.  Richard sent an update that the Halls had joined them and, after visiting Deadwood and Sturgis, they were headed to WY.

To follow their travels, click here to link to the Bonewitz's blog.  We wish everyone a safe, enjoyable trip.  

Membership Updates

Welcome to new members Bob & June Chinery who joined Dogwood at the Outer Banks rally.

Dogwood currently has 44 member coaches.

Welcome to Dogwood's newest 4 legged members:  Dixie Cummings, Freckles Warthan, and Syd Greenfield.  (These are the ones I knew about; let me know if there are others.)  

Dixie enjoying the sunset at the Dogwood Outer Banks Rally

Things to do at the Galax Rally

GALAX Rally – JULY 19 – 21, 2013
Cool Breeze Campground

What’s going on in the area?

  • Friday, July 19 and  Saturday, July 20:
    • In Galax: Smoke on the Mountain BBQ Championship, 11 a.m. to ?

    • In Sparta, N.C.: Alleghany County Fiddler’s Convention, Higgins Agricultural Fairground, 1585 U.S. 21 North (about 30 minutes from the Campground)
Admission:  Friday $6, Saturday $7, 2-day pass $10
Friday’s Competition: 6 p.m. Competition for all categories
Saturday’s Competition: 7:30 p.m. Senior band playoffs (top 15 bluegrass and top 15 old time bands compete for the grand championship senior band).
Parking is free, event held rain or shine.  Bring a chair and enjoy hot pickin’ bands

  • Friday, July 19:
    • Friday Night - Rex Theater, 8 p.m. Admission $5, suggest arriving early for a seat,113 East Grayson St. (More info: 276-238-8130)  Band: True Grass

  • Saturday, July 20:
    • Blue Ridge Music Center, MP 213 Blue Ridge Parkway, Galax
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. WHITETOP - PASSING IT ON: Crooked Road Ramblers / Whitetop Mountaineers. There must be something in the water on Whitetop mountain that creates great musicians. This concert will celebrate the high country and two bands led by siblings Martha and Kilby of the Spencer family. Their parents Emily and Thornton raised them to the sounds of the popular Whitetop Mountain Band. Now this new generation of musicians are leading their own bands. Come hear the beautiful duet songs from the Whitetop Mountaineers and the big string band sound of the Crooked Road Ramblers. Admission $10, Free Parking (More info: 276-236-5309)
Bring a chair and a picnic and enjoy the music and beautiful surroundings.

Bluegrass Jam Sessions:
  • Wednesday, July 17 – 6:30 – 9 p.m. Independence Music Jam, Historic Courthouse 100 Main St., Independence, VA.  Either at the gazebo or inside the historic courthouse if raining.  Bring a chair. Free, donations accepted.  (More info 276-773-3711 or www.historic1908  Approx. 20 miles/30 minutes from the campground.

  • Thursday, July 18 – 6 – 9 p.m. The Crooked Road Thursday Night Jam Session, Fries, VA, Fries Recreation Center, 316 West Main St. Bring a chair. (More info 276-744-2531) Rain or Shine