Thursday, October 12, 2017

President's Message October 2017

Hello Dogwood Family, 

I hope all is well with all of you.

Susan and I just returned from the GEAR Rally where we had a fantastic time. We are exhausted from the rally and trip, but doing well. More on GEAR later. As there is a lot of interesting and important information to read in other articles in this newsletter, I will keep my message brief.

The most important message I want to pass on to you is to VOTE. As you know, the FMCA Executive Board approved the proposal to allow all RV’s instead of just motor homes to be members of FMCA. The next step is to have the entire FMCA membership vote on this proposal. The September and October issue of the FMCA magazine includes a ballot form to cast your vote. All you have to do is complete the ballot and drop it in the mail. It must be received by November 30, 2017. This is your last chance to voice your opinion on this very important issue. Whether you disapprove or approve of this proposal, PLEASE VOTE AND MAIL YOUR BALLOT BEFORE THE CUT OFF DATE.
The T shirt order went very well and we had almost 60 shirts ordered. We showed off our new garb at GEAR and the shirts were well received. Thanks to all for your participation. 

I recently sent out an order form for Dogwood sweat shirts. Cutoff date to order is October 31, 2017, and we will distribute them at the Christmas rally. It would be nice to see all attendees at the rally in Dogwood shirts for our group picture.

We have only 2 rallies left this year, Urbanna and our Christmas rally. Susan and I will be at both, and we hope to see many of you at those rallies. Can’t believe this year is almost over. Come on out and support our chapter and have fun.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter.

Regards and SAFE TRAVELS

Treasurer Report October 2017

Treasurer's Report October 2017

As of Sept 30,2017, we have $2,360.27 in Dogwood acct. think an overage was incurred for Mt Airy but have not received.

Reminder, 2018 Dues are $10.00 and payable December 31,2017.  You can pay at the Christmas Rally

Pat Allen,Treasurer

Rally Master VP Report October 2017

RALLY MASTER REPORT     by Donna Hill   Oct. 2017  

Hello all from your rally master. Summer is over but we still have 2 great rallies planned for this year, and another in February, 2018. Please join us on the following dates and locations:
November 3-5, 2017
Urbanna Oyster Festival at Ed Fishers place.
Hosts: Alexander’s and Fishers
Please contact Berkley Alexander ASAP to reserve a spot as there is limited space at Ed’s place. No rally fee will be collected prior to the rally. Again, contact Berkley for information and specifics about the rally. Berkley, 804 754-1308
December 1-3, 2017
Christmas Rally at Americamps in Ashland, VA. More information in this newsletter on the rally. Come and celebrate Christmas with your Dogwood friends.
Hosts: your Executive Board
February 20-22, 2018
The Great Outdoors, Titusville, FL
Hosts: Sohles and Jones
IMPORTANT NOTE: At our Christmas rally we try to plan and schedule Dogwood rallies for the upcoming year, and we will do so at this rally. I have some thoughts and ideas for rallies for next year and will share them with you, but I need your help. We need your ideas and most importantly your willingness to sign up to host a rally. With your help, we can plan some great rallies for next year.


Urbanna Rally November 2017

Urbann Rally November 2017

Urbanna Oyster Festival is coming up on November 3rd and 4th.  Ed Fisher has graciously allowed us to camp around his garage for the weekend.  The area can hold about 12 to 13 coaches.  Call Berkley Alexander at (804)754-1308 if you would like to attend or want further information on the weekend.

Christmas Rally 2017


2017 by Jim Buelow
The annual Dogwood Christmas Rally will be held December 1-3, 2017 at the Americamp RV Resort, 11322 Air Park Road, Ashland, VA, 23005. Your hosts are your Executive Board. That’s what you call really serving your members (LOL).
Campground Reservations: Make your own reservations directly with the campground at 1-804-798-5298. Tell them you are with the Dogwood Chapter to get the special rally rate of $40.00 per night for 50 amp full hookups. These rates also apply if you come early or leave late. A block of 30 sites has been reserved for Dogwood. Cutoff date for making your reservations is November 13, 2017.
Directions: Take exit 89 (route 802 – Lewistown Road) off I-95. From the south, turn right at the end of the ramp and then immediately right again onto route 809 – use care, this is a tight turn. From the north, turn left at the end of the ramp, cross over the interstate, and turn right onto route 809. Follow 809 a little less than a mile to the campground on the left.
Note: We are tentatively planning on doing a food drive or similar type of donation for the needy at the rally. More info on this later.
Rally Fees: Rally fees for the weekend will be $20.00 per adult, and $10.00 per child. For those attending only the Friday or Saturday night functions, the cost will be $10.00 per person per meal. Cutoff for registration is November 13, 2017.
As usual, please bring your own drinks and utensils to all meals.
Thursday: Although the rally doesn’t officially begin until Friday, many will arrive on Thursday.  We will have a Social Hour from 5-6 pm. Please bring a snack to share. The campground will also provide a free meal for those who are interested. The campground also provides a free waffle breakfast with juice and coffee on Thursday and Friday mornings.
Note: Something different this year. On Friday and Saturday, we are asking attendees to bring a snack to share. However, we will ask only half of the attendees to do Friday and half to do Saturday. A little less cost to attendees and we always have plenty of snacks.

Friday: 5:00 pm – Social Hour – BYOB and a snack to share.
Friday: 6:00 pm - A full meal including desert will be provided; specific details on menu will be forthcoming. After dinner we will have some fun games and also a little test of your knowledge. Prizes will be awarded. Be sure to sharpen your memory and brain skills before you arrive (LOL).
Saturday: 9:00 am – Full breakfast to include eggs, waffles, bacon, sausage, potato casserole, biscuits, fruit, juice, and coffee will be provided.
Saturday: 10; 00 am – Business meeting
Saturday: 5:00 pm – Social Hour – BYOB and a snack to share.
Saturday:  6:00 pm - A full catered meal including desert will be provided. Specific details on meal will be forthcoming. After dinner, we will have our usual and fun Yankee Swap, and a raffle. Please bring a gift valued at approximately $25.00 to swap.
Sunday: 9:00 am – Continental breakfast to include biscuits and sausage gravy, pastry, fruit, juice coffee, and leftovers. Rally will conclude after breakfast.
Come join us to kick off the Christmas Season with family and friends.

Registration form – Christmas Rally, 2017, Americamps
_____ Number of adult attendees at $20.00 per person equals  $____________
_____ Number of child attendees at $10.00 per person equals   $____________
_____ Number of attendees at $10;00 per person for meal only $____________  
Total Amount Enclosed                                                                          $____________
Make checks payable to Jim Buelow and mail to:
Jim Buelow, 112 Don Juan Circle, Yorktown, VA 23693
Cutoff date for registration is November 13, 2017

GEAR Update 2017

GEAR RALLY, OCTOBER, 2017         by Jim Buelow

The 2017 GEAR Rally was held in Lewisburg, WV October 4-8, 2017, and for those that did not attend, you missed a GREAT TIME. Dogwood attendees included the Alexander’s, Buelows, Cummings, Greenwoods, Hills, Kuikens, Phillips, Rasmussen, Scholars, Sohles, Tilman’s, and Warthans. It was the biggest showing of Dogwood members in years. There were 314 coaches at the rally, a good showing.

Highlights of the rally include:
The viewing of the DVD that Paul Cummings produced commemorating 30 years of EAMA/GEAR was really special. Hundreds of GEAR attendees viewed the video after the Ice Cream Social and it was awesome. Many members in attendance were in the video and that brought lots of responses and clapping. Paul did a tribute to our Military and our Country at the very end of the video, and during the viewing of it, all attendees stood up, many with hands over their hearts. It brought tears to my eyes. Paul spent many hours of his time producing this, and did an outstanding job. Thank you very much Paul.

Chapter Fair: At each GEAR Rally there is a chapter fair. It is a time where chapters set up a booth to show off their chapter, mingle with other chapter members, and entice FMCA members to join your chapter. This is the first time that Dogwood has set up for the chapter fair in many years and we done good. GEAR gives prizes for the best 3 chapters, and out of 14 chapters participating, Dogwood was 2nd. We won a big red ribbon and $15.00 in cash. Way to go Dogwood and thanks to all members who participated to make this happen. We had a very good attendance at the fair. Special thanks to Susan Buelow, along with Paul and Nancy Cummings and Steve and Sue Sohles for setting up our booth. Sue and Steve were the cheerleaders of the group and did a great jog recruiting new members. As of now, we have 2 new members and expect a few more as a result of the fair. Again, many thanks for the effort.
Dogwood Get Together: On Saturday afternoon, we had a chapter gathering. All Dogwood GEAR attendees, EAMA officers, and guests of the Phillips and Tilman’s, along with the Heritage Band members attended. We had about 40 attendees at the gathering, and what made it really special was to welcome back Donald and Carol Warthan. And yes, Freckles made the trip also. Thanks to Connie for setting this up and to our members for providing a delicious meal. No surprise there.

Heritage Band: Donald Warthan and the Heritage Band were the headline entertainment on Saturday night, and what a show they put on. Carol addressed the crowd before the group started and shared a short story of their experience during the past year. To sum up her message, she and Donald are very grateful to GOD and all of the friends, family, and medical folks for their help and support, and for getting through this. The band was scheduled to perform for 90 minutes, but stayed for over 2 hours and they had the group singing, clapping and laughing. You have to ask the Schoolar’s to share their experience during the performance. "It was a hoot. I’m sure a good time was had by all".  
Habitat for Humanity: Thanks to Rob and Donna Hill along with Henry and Patty Kuiken who spent an entire week before and a week after GEAR participating in a Habitat for Humanity project along with about 20 other FMCA members. They helped rebuild damaged dwellings for victims of the major flood that occurred in the Lewisburg area last year. Great job and thanks again.
The GEAR Rally would not be possible if it wasn’t for the hundreds of volunteers that put it together and make it happen. Dogwood members were a big part of the volunteer group that made this a very good rally.
In closing, I want to say that Susan and I had an exhausting, but great time at GEAR, as I am sure most everyone did. I hope that next year we can entice more of our members to attend the GEAR Rally in York PA in early October. I am very proud of what Dogwood members did at GEAR. We definitely had a presence.

Mt Arie Rally Update

Mount Airy Rally 2017

by Pam Phillips
On September 15th through the 17th, Dogwood held a rally at the Mayberry Campground in Mount Airy, NC.  

Upon arrival to Mayberry Campground we found that the pavilion was not available. Our camp sites were scattered and small, so we gathered at the Alexander’s since they had a large level site.  The Phillips put up their 10 x 20 tent for the Dogwood's' gatherings. The weather was pleasant enough to do some sightseeing in the little town of Mayberry.  Friday's dinner included steak, baked potato, salad and dessert.  Saturday morning breakfast included eggs cooked to order, sausage, sausage gravy, biscuits, grits and juice.  The rest of Saturday was spent sightseeing and touring the town of Mayberry.  We learned that every 3rd Saturday there is an antique car show so the guys really enjoyed looking/drooling over the vintage cars while the ladies enjoyed the shops.  Saturday evening, we gathered for a dessert social at 8:30. Sunday morning breakfast was continental which included boiled eggs, fruit, bagels, muffins and juice.  September was another successful rally lots of fun by all.

The attendees were: Phillips, Ward’s (guest of the Phillips) Buchanan’s, Allen’s, Alexander’s, Herbert’s, Moore and Kuiken’s.

News from the Road October 2017

News From The Road

On Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 10:13 AM Richard Bonewitz wrote:
Thanks to Tiffin we have purchased a new Allegro Bus 45 OPP. We purchased it from North Trails RV in Fort Myers Florida. It will be coming off the assembly line around October 13th We will be picking up our new motorhome in late October. Will look forward to seeing everyone at the Christmas rally. Thank heavens this summer is over. Richard and Elle


Robert and I (Nancy) traveled in our bus to Palm Coast, Florida to be a part of a Feeding Kitchen with Virginia Baptists following Hurricane Irma. We worked Monday, Sept. 18-Saturday, Sept.23 from 6 am to 8 pm cooking food that was then distributed by the American Red Cross. A week of sweat and meeting other Baptists from Virginia and Florida helping their fellow neighbors in their time of need.
Nancy C. Greene

Hi from Sue and Steve Sohles.

Our Virginia Summer was pretty much focused on rebuilding the screened porch after discovering that termites had made it a happy home for several years.  

We stayed at the Colonies RV Park at Fort Monroe VA over July 4th for the festivities, fireworks and holiday activities.  And attended our first Winnebago VA State rally at Rockahock Campground in September, followed by the GEAR Rally in Lewisburg WV.  While at GEAR we toured "The Bunker", a formerly top secret facility completed in 1961 to house Congress for up to 60 days. Located under the WV wing of the Greenbriar Hotel, the facility was kept in a state of readiness for 30 years, until phased out in the early 1990s. Even individual eye prescriptions and medications were stocked.  Great tour to see where some of our taxes were secretly spent. We are grateful that our port at The Great Outdoors in Titusville FL survived Hurricane Irma, and for the safety of our friends and neighbors there.  

Looking forward to our Winter in FL, and hosting the first Dogwood Rally at TGO in February. And we have already signed up for the FMCA Rally in Perry GA next year.

New Members

Welcome New Dogwood Members

Skip and Gabriella Rasmussen
I was born in Montana my wife in London UK, In 1966 we married and moved to TX. In Feb. 1968 I got out of the Navy . We moved to CA. Was with  United Airlines SFO  for 34+ years. Gabriella worked for the school district. We have two children. Moved to  Vegas for 14 years. Now live in VA.

Care Person Report October 2017

CARE PERSON REPORT   by Susan Buelow     Oct. 2017

Hello Friends,
Just wanted to share an update with you on a few of our members.
Donald and Carol Warthan: We had the pleasure of welcoming Donald and Carol back to our Dogwood family at GEAR. Donald and his band were the entertainment for Saturday night, and Carol, along with Freckles came along.
We had a chance to sit and talk to Carol for awhile while the band was setting up, and the band had dinner with us at the Dogwood get together. Carol just finished her last physical therapy treatment, is doing fine, and gets around really good. Donald had surgery on his hand awhile back and it has really helped with his guitar playing. And they are looking for a new bus. If you know of a good used Prevost for a reasonable price, let them know. Good luck and welcome back Carol, Donald, and Freckles. We missed you very much.
Bobby and Barbara Dyke: As many of you know, the Dyke family is going through some rough times. Their daughter Brenda is suffering from serious cancer and Brenda’s daughter Katie, is suffering from major complications due to Addison’s disease. Katie is now home but insurance will not pay for much of her care. A fund has been set up for Katie, and if you would like to donate, please contact Barbara. We miss you Bobby and Barbara and good luck.

Connie Tilman: Connie is having serious problems with her hips because of a previous illness. She had one hip replaced recently and that hip is doing fine. She is scheduled to have the other one replaced in late October. Hang in there Connie, and good luck with your next surgery.
Henry Kuiken: Henry was participating in the Habitat for Humanity project at GEAR and came down with a serious infection in his hand and arm. He spent several days in the local hospital, but was released and was able to come to our Dogwood get together. He is doing much better. Get well Henry.

Please keep our friends and others who are suffering in your thoughts and prayers.


October Safety Article 2017

RV Refrigerator Maintenance
Butch Jones
Butch and Friends in the His Man Cave

Since the RV refrigerator has been involved in quite a few motorhome fires it is important to have a regular maintenance program for these appliances. Newer motorhomes are offering either as standard equipment or as an option, residential refrigerators. These offer several advantages other than total electric operation. These units keep the temperature at a more constant level, operate more efficiently, most have a larger interior volume, most cost less than 120Volt/gas refrigerators and they are not as level sensitive. However, they do require extra batteries and an extra inverter, in most cases.
This issue we will look at some maintenance items for both types of refrigerator. We will begin with the 120 volt/gas units. Here are some things that seem to be common for this type refrigerator.
Once a Year
1. Check the 12-volt battery system and wiring. Battery problems can adversely affect your refrigerator causing intermittent operation or dim interior lighting. Look at the battery terminals, electrolyte level, amount of charge, etc. A normal operating voltage is 10.5 to 13.5 volts DC.

2. Inspect the door seals. Clean with soapy water if they are dirty. Test the seals by closing each door on a piece of paper. If the paper can be easily pulled thru the seals they need to be replaced.

3. Check the refrigerator compartment (behind the refrigerator on the outside of the coach), make sure the area is clean and there are no soot or scorch marks on the walls or components.

4. While in this compartment check the wiring. Look for chaffed or frayed wiring, loose connections and any sings of water or water damage. The photo below shows a typical refrigerator compartment.

5. The most important thing is to keep it clean and prevent any obstructions in the venting system. That is, clean out the soot and rust particles that accumulate on the inside surface of the flue.
Road vibrations will loosen these deposits and they crumble and fall to the burner below. The finer particles fall into the burner itself, while the larger pieces remain on top of the burner and cause problems with the flame sensor. As the fine particles build up inside the burner, they will create problems with the flame and reduce the heat output of the burner. No flame, no cooling. This may sound strange, but it is true.

6. There are a few items that may be best left to a certified technician. These are checking the gas pressure, checking for gas leaks, cleaning the flue tube and burner jet and checking the LP gas safety shutoff.
Here are a few Safety Tips:
A. If your refrigerator is located between the sleeping area and the exit door keep a fire extinguisher in the sleeping area near the bed. This can be used to provide some extra time to use your escape plan and exit thru the Emergency Window(s) should an issue with the refrigerator or some other need to evacuate the coach arise. You do have a plan, right?

B. If your coach is kept inside a garage or port it is not a bad idea to unplug the refrigerator and shut of the LP tank when storing.

C. Before each trip and during the trip, look inside the refrigerator compartment and see if there is an excessive amount of heat or any evidence of any smoke or charring. Also look for melting or damaged wiring.

D. If you have a 120 volt refrigerator it just like the old RV refrigerators need time to cool down before loading them with food. So the day before a trip they need to be turned on and allowed to get to the proper temperature. This time could take from 12-24 hours.  

E. Any time you are going to leave your coach after traveling or using it, place some towels in the bottom of the freezer and refrigerator portions to absorb water created as it warms and defrosts.

F. When dry camping try to open the refrigerator as little as possible to keep help keep the temperature low.

G. There are some good videos on the internet covering refrigerator maintenance. The iRV2 forum and YouTube are good sources.

Now let’s talk about residential refrigerators in motorhomes. These are becoming more popular and gaining favor with more RV owners. The trend toward a totally electric or non-propane RV is coming.
​Here are a few maintenance items that will help keep your unit running properly. Your refrigerator manufacturer or RV manufacturer may have additional maintenance items so always consult the owner’s manuals.
1. The residential refrigerator will need the maintenance of your home unit and a bit more. Since it may be turned on and off more frequently than your home unit it will be defrosting so the same recommendations as seen in E above apply.

2. Even if you have a frost-free residential refrigerator it may occasionally need manual defrosting, so check the buildup of ice in the freezer periodically when it is on for an extended period of time.

3. Watch the batteries. While most coaches have dedicated batteries and a separate inverter, keep an eye on the battery condition. If you are using wet cell batteries pay close attention the electrolyte level and keep it topped off. Make sure that the batteries stay charged. If you dry camp a lot an automatic generator start system may be a worthwhile consideration.

4. Keep the area under the refrigerator clean and if possible clean behind the unit from time to time. Dust build up in the coils causes the unit to work harder to cool.

For anyone interested in replacing their RV refrigerator with a residential unit the Heartland RV owners group has put together a good booklet covering the subject. It is available online at
Remember, there may be additional items in the owner’s manual for your refrigerator and/or your coach, so consult them before beginning or have any maintenance performed.

Rob and Donna Hill, Mission Report 2017

Working to help people rebuild their homes.

In June of 2016, Greenbrier County experienced severe flooding that resulted in dozens of houses being damaged and 24 people losing their lives.  For a week before and a week after GEAR 2017, a total of 44 people from FMCA, contributed their labor to help repair or replace some of those houses.  Included were Dogwood’s own Henry and Patty Kuiken and Donna and Rob Hill, Eastern Area Motorhome Association President, Bill Mallory, and several members of the FMCA Habitat for Humanity chapter.  The effort was facilitated by the FMCA Energized working group.

Working with the Greater Greenbrier Long Term Recovery Committee, the team built a wheelchair ramp, replaced porch railings, stained playground equipment, benches and a deck. We helped a man with a 130 year old house that had had 4 feet of water in it by finishing the sheetrock and primer painting the new walls.  We also worked on two new houses in “Hope Village” a new neighborhood being built to replace a neighborhood that had been located next to the creek that flooded in White Sulfur Springs.  In total, we provided more than 2000 hours of labor to the community.  In addition, through a grant provided by the state and additional Federal matching funds, we generated more than $50,000 to be used for the purchase of materials throughout the communities in WV affected by the floods.

Bob and Donna Hill