Wednesday, March 8, 2017

President's Report


Hello Dogwood members. I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday and that you are off to a great start for 2017. Susan and I enjoyed time with family and friends over Christmas and New Years, and then prepared for a 5 week trip to FL. We traveled with the Cumming’s for 3 weeks, and stops included the Tampa RV show, Lazy Days Resort, The Great Outdoors, and a week in Sebastian FL. From there, we headed to Patrick AFB in Cocoa and the Cummings headed to the Orlando area. We had the opportunity to visit with the Allen’s, Duff’s, Alexander’s, Joneses, Gruel’s,Chuilli’s, and Tilman’s. Susan and I also spent a day with the Sohles, and the Cummings had dinner with the Dykes. It was great to see everyone and we had a great trip. Home now and back to reality and some Dogwood business.
This is the first newsletter produced since your new Executive Board took office and it includessome new things Thanks to all who have provided inputs, and a special thanks to Paul who hasspent considerable time putting it together. We hope you enjoy it.
One important area that I believe FMCA at all levels needs to put additional emphasis on is SAFETY. As your President, it is within my authority to establish committees. With that said,and effective immediately, we will have a Safety Committee. Butch Jones has agreed to chair that committee and if he needs additional assistance, I will appoint additional members. Butch will include safety articles in each of our newsletters, and speak on safety at rallies he attends. This newsletter includea safety checklist developed by Butch. We hope you print it and use it in your travelsThank you Butch for stepping up.
At the Christmas rally we mentioned that the Cummings suggested getting shirts of some type for our chapter. A tentative design is being developed along with suggested colors and we hope to have it out to the membership in the near future. Thought is to start with T-shirts.
Over the past year or so, there has been much discussion about serving coffee at rallies. Some like coffee being served, others bring their own etc. To get a reading on the desires of club members concerning coffee, a questionnaire was sent out to all members with a suspense date of March 1st. The results of that questionnaire are included in this newsletter.
Other items/issues we will work on throughout the year include: totes, rally expense forms, and By-Law and Standing Rules changes. More later.
As we get into Spring and throughout the year, we have numerous National, Area and local rallies to attend and participate in. Let’s make 2017 a great year for Dogwood by hosting and supporting our rallies, and finding some new members along the way. Having fun will be great to.
Regards and SAFE travels,

Natural Bridge Rally 2017

Natural Bridge Safari Rally 2017

Our second rally of 2017 will be something a little different – a weekend in the Natural Bridge area, with the highlight being a prepaid private wagon tour through the Virginia Safari Park.  The dates are May 5-7 (Friday night through Sunday morning), and your hosts are the Greenwoods, the Tilmans, and the Sohles.  We’ll be based at the Natural Bridge/ Lexington KOA, immediately adjacent to the Virginia Safari Park.
Due to the seating capacity of the wagons at the Safari Park, we are limiting the entry to this rally to 15 coaches, including the hosts.   This will allow for the occasional child or grandchild, if you care to bring one.  A description of the Park can be found on their website, at .
Campground Reservations: Make your reservations directly with the Natural Bridge/Lexington KOA, at 800-562-8514before April 5.  Tell them you are with the Dogwood rally to get the special rally rate (also available for early arrivals and late departures).  A block of 15 sites has been reserved.
The KOA is located at 214 Killdeer Lane, Natural Bridge, VA 24578.  From the Richmond area, follow I-64 West to I-81 in Staunton, then follow I-81 South to Exit 180B.  The campground entrance is right across from the end of the off-ramp, just to the left of the gas station.  You can check out their website at .
Rally fees for the weekend will be $40 per person ($80 for a coach with two adults) and include the $20 per person admission fee to the Safari Park, dinner Friday night, a catered lunch Saturday, and a full breakfast Sunday morning.  Extra adults in a coach will also be $40, children under 16 will be $30. Other meals will be on your own at a wide variety of local restaurants or in your coach.  There will be no pot lucks, except that you may certainly bring a snack to Happy Hour if you like.
Please register with Reid Saul as soon as possible, but no later than April 5.  You will find a registration form at the end of this article.
Schedule (some items subject to change):
5:00 PM Friday, May 5 – Happy hour in the Pavilion next to the Game Room.  BYOB.

6:00 PM – Dinner (furnished) in the Pavilion.  BYO drinks, plates and utensils.  Orientation meeting.

Early AM Saturday, May 6 – Breakfast on your own in your coach, or just up the road at the Pink Cadillac
if you can get moving early enough.  Note that we need to leave the KOA for the Safari Park by 9:45 AM.

10:00 AM – Gather at the  Virginia Safari Park Gift Shop for a 10:15 departure on our Wagon Tour.

12:00 Noon (approximately) – Fried chicken lunch (furnished) from Kenny’s, a Lexington institution.  BYO drinks – Kenny’s will provide plates and plastic utensils.

Afternoon and evening – On your own, including for dinner. Our suggestions:
1. If you go South on Rt. 11, Natural Bridge and the Natural Bridge Zoo are less than 5 miles away.  Natural Bridge has recently been converted to a Virginia State Park, so entrance fees are low, and it’s well worth seeing, even if you’ve been there before.  The Zoo is quite nice too, and if the weather permits, they offer elephant rides!  If you take the southern option, food and drink are available at the Bridge complex – we recommend the Natural Bridge Hotel.

2. If you go North on Rt. 11, the town of Lexington is about 10 miles away.  There’s something here for almost everyone: Stonewall Jackson’s House, the Virginia Military Institute, carriage tours, and a vibrant downtown with interesting shops and a variety of restaurants of every type.

5:00 PM – Optional  happy hour in the Pavilion.  The rallymasters will be there, but don’t worry if you’re having too much fun elsewhere to come back to the KOA – we’ll see you at breakfast.

9:00 AM Sunday, May 7 – Full breakfast at the Pavilion, including eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee, juice, etc.  BYO plates and utensils.  Short business meeting after breakfast, at the discretion of the  President.

Dogwood Natural Bridge Safari Rally
May 5-7, 2017
Names _________________________________
___  Number of adults @ $40 each = $________
___  Number of children @$30 each = $_______
Total enclosed ………………………………. =$________

Make checks payable to Reid Saul, and mail to:
Reid and Jenny Saul
2445 Bybee Road
Louisa, VA 23093

Cutoff date is April 5, but please confirm as soon as you can so we can get an accurate count for the campground and the Safari Park.

Coffee Pot Survey 2017


In January a questionnaire was sent out to all members requesting their input on having or not having coffee provided by the chapter at rallies. A total of 40 members responded. The results of the questionnaire are as follows:

OPTION                                                                                                                                VOTE
Option 1: Buy a Keurig and not use the 2 pots we currently have.                              24
Option 2: Continue using the 2 pots we currently have.                                                 01
Option 4: Do not provide coffee at rallies at all.                                                               15
Note: No one selected options 3 or 5.
The member inputs for this questionnaire are on file and will be kept for future reference. 

The results indicate that the majority of members prefer using a Keurig. Our thought is that the Buelow’s will buy a Keurig and try it at a few rallies. If it works for the chapter, we will continue to use it and the chapter will pay for the Keurig. If it doesn’t work, the Buelow’s will keep the Keurig or auction it off. The coffee pods, to include regular and decaf, will be purchased by the chapter. If you prefer other flavors such as tea, chocolate etc, please feel free to bring your own pods. Let’s give this a try, and if it works, we are good. If not, we will regroup. Thanks to all who participated.

Safety Check List by Butch Jones

A Safer Road Ahead
Butch Jones

I was asked by Jim Buelow if I would act as the Dogwood Safety Representative and provide and present safety topics in our newsletters and at rallies, and I have agreed to do so. The intent is to keep safety in the minds of all of our members and offer some suggestions that may make RVing a little better. This first article will focus on a general RV safety overview and we will get into more specific areas as we go. If you have any questions or topics to cover, please either send me an email @ or call me @ 1-804-514-4458 or 1-321-225-4066. This edition we will start with a pre-trip checklist. Some people have been doing this so long they have a mental checklist. However, as our mental computers get a bit older, sometimes our information storage capacity begins to delete some things. This checklist is just a reminder and double check to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Pre-Trip Safety Checklist
Before Every Trip
1. Engine Compartment
 Fluid levels – oil, engine coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, any specific fluids i.e. hydraulic
 Belts – check for cracks or loose fitting
 Check for leaks in, around, and under the engine.
 Check for debris lodged in or around engine components i.e. leaves
 Check radiator for debris and damaged coils
 Check all hoses for cracks, leaks, and tight fit
 Check engine charging batteries for fluid level, corrosion, and tight connection

Diesel engines
 Check air filter indicator
 Check fuel filter for water (if equipped with a clear bowl and moisture drain)
 Check air tank moisture (if not equipped with a moisture ejector)

 Check oil level
 Check coolant level
 Check for leaks

2. Tires – check cold, 3 hours without usage
 Sidewall cracks
 Tread depth – 4/32 steering tires, 3/32 others
 Rims/bead for damage
 Valve stem, cap, and extensions
 Proper air pressure

3. External Lights (I usually check these just before we pull off)
 Headlights
 Fog lights (if equipped)
 Clearance lights
 Driving lights (if equipped)
 Parking lights
 Turn signals front, back, and side
 Docking lights (if equipped)
 Tail lights/brake lights
 Emergency flashers
 Reflectors
 Towed Vehicle brake lights
 Towed Vehicle turn signals
 Towed Vehicle emergency flashers
 Towed Vehicle tail lights

4. Glass
 Windshield – Make sure that you have a clear vision throughout the windshield. Ensure that it is clean, and there are no large chips or cracks.
 Driver’s side glass – Make sure that you have clear vision and you can see the mirror. Make sure there is no fogging interfering with you vision.
 Passenger’s side glass – Make sure you can see the mirror clearly and there is no fogging interfering with your vision.
 Mirrors – check to ensure they are secure, clean, and adjusted properly/working for driving
 Clean all brake lights, turn signals, backup lights, and headlamps
 Windshield wipers – ensure they are working, good blades, and fluid

5. Exterior Walk Around
 Awnings – retracted and locked
 Slides – retracted and secured
 Jacks – retracted
 Hookups – valves closed, hoses drained, disconnected, stowed, and compartment secured
 Compartments – all items stowed, secured, lights off, compartments shut, and locked
 Visual Inspection under coach, look for anything that was not there when you pulled into the site
 Check for loose items i.e. lawn chairs
 Check for rocks, logs, or large items
 Look for any fluid leaks
 Check chassis for loose equipment or wiring
 Height – look for any possible obstruction while leaving, make sure all antennas are retracted and stowed for travel
 Noises – with the engine running, check for unusual noises
 Shut of propane at the tank
 House Battery – check fluid level, corrosion, and connection
 Electric Step – Ensure that step is retracted when entry door closes

6. Towed Vehicle
 Tow bar connection – check connection at the motorhome, at the vehicle, and safety chains
 Lights – includes in check above
 Tire pressure – ensure proper inflation, sidewall condition, tread depth
 Proper towing procedure – i.e. unit is in neutral, fuses removed, etc.
 Emergency brake – disengaged
 Auxiliary braking system – unit is operating properly
 Lock the doors
 Mirrors - If vehicle has folding mirrors, fold mirrors into car (this helps reduce rock chips and one      less obstacle to dodge when you are working around the car)
7. Interior Walk Around
 TV antenna – retracted (this is a double check) I have a strap (an insurance company promo item) that snaps on the antenna handle when traveling and snaps on the steering wheel when parked  with the antenna up, to remind me to lower the antenna.
 Secure all loose items inside the unit
 Close all doors and cabinet drawers
 Verify driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance
 Check First Aid Kits, fire extinguishers, smoke and CO alarms (change detector batteries once a year). You do not need a detector beeping (low battery) as you are driving 
 Emergency Information – prepare a list of emergency phone numbers, personal information i.e. contact person, medication and dosage

8. Start-up
 Air Bags – If air bag leveled, make sure they are in travel mode
 Air Bags – If air suspension, make sure bags are in travel mode
 Jacks – Make sure the Jack Control Panel indicates that all jacks are completed retracted
 Start engine (some manufactures require engine to be running to raise jacks)
 Make sure that all gauges read properly
 Insure that the driver’s seat is properly adjusted and you have a comfortable driving position
 Insure that steering column (if adjustable) is in a comfortable position and locked in place
 Insure that pedals (if adjustable) are in a comfortable position
 Check both mirrors to ensure you can see adequately to the rear
 If you drive with the backup camera (if equipped) on, ensure that it is on and adjusted
 If you are using a GPS device make sure that it is on and has the correct driving directions loaded and ready for use 

9. Buckle Up
 Make sure all occupants are buckled up
 If you travel with pets, it is best to have them secured. A travel harness that attaches to a seat belt can be lifesaving
9. Look around one more time. Now it is time to be “on the road again”.
There may be some items that you may want to add or subtract from this list; however, if it got you thinking about motorhome safety then we are on the right track.

Membership Care


Susan Buelow
As all of you know, Donald and Carol Warthan were in a terrible accident returning from Florida in January. We have kept you updated on how they are doing and have another recent update. On Monday February 27th, Jim and I, along with the Cummings, visited both Carol and Donald at Autumn Care in Mechanicsville, VA where Carol is being cared for. Also spoke with both of them on Saturday, March 4th.
Donald now has the casts removed from his hand and foot, and continues with therapy. Said his foot is still very sensitive but getting better.
Carol has the casts removed from her arm and leg, but still wears a boot for support. She will meet with doctors next week to discuss future therapy and how and when to proceed with the prosthesis for her foot. She also figured out how to get in and out of a car. Go Carol!
These two people are just amazing. They are both in good spirits and doing their best to get better all the time.
They want to thank everyone for all the prayers and good wishes.  They have many friends and a wonderful family that have been there for them all the way. They welcome your calls and visits. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Treasurer Report

Treasurer Report

Balance in treasury is $2372.90 as of 3/2/2017.

Pat Allen, Treasurer

Florida Dogwood Folks

Florida Visit 
January 2017
  Butch's Garage (Man Cave)
Liz's  Domain
Air Boat Ride Looking for Alligators
Lunch with Mann & Carolyn Duff , Tampa
  Looking to trade for a new RV at the Tampa RV Show

2017 Rally Schedule

                                                                2017 Rally Schedule

  • March 30, Pre-Rally, Martainsville, Va NASCAR, see Donna's Note 
  • March 7-10th FMCA's 95th International Convention
    Rawhide Western Town and Event Center at Wild Horse Pass
    Chandler, Arizona
  • April 6-9th Host: Fishers @ Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • May 6-8th Host: Tillman’s/Greenwoods/Sauls, Reid & Jenny @ Natural Bridge, VA
  • July12-15th FMCA's 96th International Convention
    Indiana State Fair Grounds, Indianapolis, IN
  • Sept. 8-10th Host: Buchanan’s/Phillips location TBD
  • Oct. 4-8th GEAR Rally @ Lewisburg, WV
  • Nov. 3-5th Host: Alexander’s @ Ed Fishers / Urbanna Oyster Festival
  • Dec. 1-3rd Host: Executive Staff @ Americamps RV Resort 
April Pre-Rally at the Races. Rob and Donna Hill plan to attend the Martinsville NASCAR race the weekend prior to the April rally in Charlotte. They always park in the Tractor Supply parking lot, cost $150-$200 on pavement, less in grass areas for dry camping. It is an easy quarter mile walk to the track and several fast food restaurants are near too. The Hills plan to arrive there on Thursday March 30th and invite all others to join them for dinner at Clarence's Steak House (Dutch treat) which is a favorite of the race teams. Tickets are readily available at the box office or can be bought online. Come see what racing was meant to be at the oldest and best short track ever. (Note Martinsville is roughly 100 miles from Charlotte, NC.

Did You Know

From RV Advice

It is impossible to lick your elbow.
The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime TV wereFred and Wilma Flintstone.
The first novel ever written on a typewriter was “Tom Sawyer”
The only food that does not spoil:  Honey.
The San Francisco Cable Cars are the only mobile National Monuments.
The cost of raising a medium sized dog to the age of 11: $16,400
The state with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska
And lastly, 75% of the people who read this will try to lick their elbow (LOL).