Wednesday, October 30, 2019

President's Message October 2019

Presidents Message by Jim Buelow    October, 2019
Jim and Rich making Wine

Hello Dogwood Family, hope all is well with all of you. Susan and I are recently back from the Wine Rally at Shenandoah Crossing followed by the Penn Coachmen/Dogwood combined Rally at Harper’s Ferry, and we had a great time at both rallies. Thanks to our hosts and to all who attended and assisted. More on these rallies under Rally Master article. 
Now for some Dogwood business. Many of the items we need to cover are included in other articles in this newsletter, so my message will be brief. Please take the time to read and enjoy the articles and thanks again to Paul Cummings for producing a great newsletter.
As we near the end of 2019, we still have two rallies coming up. Urbanna Oyster Festival on October 31 to November 3, and the Christmas Rally at Americamps on December 5-8. More info under Rally Master Report. Please join us.
During the Christmas Rally we have several administrative items to take care of. The annual audit of our Treasurer is due, and we need 3 volunteers to act as an Audit Committee. This is not a difficult task and only takes about an hour. Please contact me if you are willing to sign up. I would also like to meet with the Executive Board on Friday for a short meeting, and following that, a meeting with Paul Cummings, Pat Allen, and Jean Herbert to do a membership reconciliation
And as is usual at our Christmas Rally, we plan rallies for the upcoming year. Please bring your ideas on locations, dates, activities, and a willingness to host or co host a rally for 2020. It takes a little work, but it is not painful, and it’s very satisfying to see it all come together. Let’s “GET ER DONE”.
Hope to see you at Urbanna or Americamps and thanks for all you do.
Regards and SAFE travels

Treasurer's Report October 2019

  Treasurer’s Report by Pat Allen     October 2019
      Pat Allen

The balance in the Dogwood Treasury as of October, 2019 is $3,210.15

IMPORTANT NOTE: Dogwood dues for 2020 are due by January 1, 2020. Dues beginning in 2020 are $15.00 per year.

Please pay your dues at the December Christmas Rally or make a check payable to Dogwood, and send to:
Pat Allen
9507 Lakewater Court
Henrico, VA 23229

Thank you,

Rally Report October 2019

Rally Master Comments by Reid Saul   10.19 
Bluegrass Music Festival May 2019

The year is almost over!  Where does the time go?  We've had a fun year with numerous rallies.  Please put on your thinking caps for next year and consider hosting a rally in 2020.  Thanks to all who have helped host, as well as those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes! 

Upcoming Rallies

November 1-3:  Urbanna Oyster Festival, 
Thank you, Ed Fisher, Host

Hosted by Berkley and Karen Alexander.  Please contact them to see if spaces are still available. or 804-754-1308.

December 6-8:  Christmas Rally

Hosted by: Reid and Jenny Saul, Jim and Susan Buelow, Patti and Henry Kuiken, and Robi and Dale Robison. 
Although the rally doesn’t officially begin until the 6th, many members will arrive on the 5th. For those that do, we may have an informal gathering, and the campground provides a free dinner on Thursday nights for those staying in the campground.

Location: Americamps Campground
                  11322 Air Park Road
                  Ashland, VA 23005
                  804 798-5298  
We have 30 sites reserved for Dogwood. Please make your own reservations with the campground. Tell them you are with Dogwood. Our group rate is $50.00 per night plus tax. Cutoff date for reservations is November 15, 2019.

Rally Fees: Rally fees will be $20.00 per adult and $10.00 per children.

Tentative Schedule:       
Note:  We plan on doing a food drive at the rally for the local food bank. More to come later on this.

Thursday, Dec. 5, 5:00 p.m.   Informal get together and free dinner on campground.     

Friday, Dec 6, 5:00 p.m.  Social hour and full dinner provided by hosts. Last names beginning with A-M; please bring a light appetizer to share. A group game or activity will be planned for after dinner.

Saturday, Dec 7, 9:00 a.m. A full breakfast provided by your hosts.

Saturday, Dec 7, 10:00 a.m. Business meeting to include rally planning for 2020. Please bring your thoughts on rally locations, rally activities and a willingness to host a rally for 2020. Let’s make 2020 a great year for rallies.
Note: Possibly a group activity on Saturday afternoon. 

Saturday, Dec 7, 4:30 p.m. Social hour, last names beginning with N-Z, please bring a light appetizer to share.

Saturday, Dec 7, 5:30 p.m. Full dinner provided by your hosts.

Saturday, Dec 7, 6:30 p.m. Yankee swap game. Please bring a wrapped gift per coach, valued at $25.00 to participate, and be prepared to laugh and have fun.

Sunday, Dec 8, 9:00 a.m. Continental breakfast and rally wrap up.

Registration Form:

Name(s) of attendees:

Number of adults times $20.00 =      _________     
Number of children times $10.00 =  _________                                                                                                                                             
Total enclosed =                                   _________

Please mail registration forms to: Reid Saul
                                                            2445 Bybee Road
                                                            Louisa, VA 23093
Cutoff date for registration is November 15, 2019.
Please join us for “FUN, FOOD, AND FRIENDSHIP at the last rally of 2019.     

Maine Rally Summary (Rich Bonewitz)

The Maine Rally was held August 28 through September 4, 2019 in Boothbay, ME. Many attendees arrived earlier and left later. Hosts were Rich and Elle Bonewitz, and assisted by Berkley and Karen Alexander, and Fairleigh and Cil Schoolar. Attendees included the Alexander’s, Bonewitz’s, Buelow’s, Grove’s Hardett’s (guests), Pasetto’s, (guests), Schoolar’s, Sohles , Spain’s, and Tilman’s . 
The Passeto’s joined Dogwood at the rally. Welcome Rick and Marcella.
Rick & Marcella Passeto
The theme was “lobster, lobster, and more lobster”. And no one was disappointed. It was another great rendezvous. Shore Hills was super with their support of tables and chairs, and we finally found a flat area to accommodate all who were there. Thanks Jim and Susan for giving up your privacy.
A big shout out to Ed Tilman who kept everyone’s coach up and running. Add a thanks to Berkley for finding out why my TV air antenna didn’t work. It seems that the antenna was missing. No idea how it left the coach. And thanks to Bob Tiffin, we now have a new antenna.

And plans are to do it again next year. Tentative dates are August 28 to September 10, 2020. Again, it will be a shotgun start, so come when you can.Hope you enjoy the enclosed pictures. As they say, pictures speak louder than words.
Hope you can join us in 2020, and call me if you have any questions.
301 481-6003
Wine Rally Summary (Reid Saul)

The Wine Rally held October 11-13 at Shenandoah Crossings Resort in Gordonsville, Virginia, had a nice showing of 8 coaches.  The weather was perfect and the company was exceptional.  Some of the group had a wine tasting at Horton Vineyard and others shopped in the quaint town of Gordonsville. Dinner from the BBQ Exchange was yummy and the ghost tour was interesting, although no apparitions were spotted.  Thanks to all who attended!        
Harper’s Ferry Rally Summary (Jim Buelow)
A combined Penn Coachmen/Dogwood Rally was Held at Harper’s Ferry/Civil War Battlefields KOA in Harper’s Ferry, WV October 15-17, 2019, and attendees had a great time. There were a total of 48 people attending including 5 coaches and 10 people from our chapter. Dogwood attendees included the Buelow’s (and daughter Melissa Mitchell), Bonewitz’s, Chadwick’s, Paul Cummings, and the Pasetto’s. We also gained a new member at the rally. Welcome Brian McLarnon from Charles Town, WV.
Brian McLarnon Newest Member
We met new friends from the Penn Coachmen, toured the historic Harper’s Ferry area, visited wineries, played some fun games, had some delicious meals and of course enjoyed social time with new friends.
Phyllis and Eric Britz along with Sue and Gary Cipa from the Penn Coachmen did the majority of the planning to put this rally together and they did a super job.  Dogwood provided an Italian meal on Wednesday and Susan’s meat marinara sauce was a big hit. Thanks to all who assisted in making this a very memorable event.
We will definitely keep in touch with our Penn Coachmen friends, and have already discussed doing another combined rally. It was different and definitely fun
Hope to see you at a future rally in the near future, and thanks again for your support.
Reid, 804 539-7948 

Care Report October 2019

Care Person Report by Susan Buelow   October 2019

Hello Dogwood Family,
As you know Donald Warthan passed away on October 10, 2019 at the age of 79. He and wife Carol are charter members of our chapter, and made many friends during the 23 years they have been part of Dogwood. Donald was always willing to help fix whatever needed fixing on member coaches, and always had a story or joke to share. He was an outstanding picker and singer, and on many occasions over the years, he, whether it be alone, with others pickers, or with his Heritage Band, entertained the RV community, family, and friends, and he loved doing it. We will miss you Donald, Rest in Peace dear friend and “Play On”. 

A Memorial Service was held for Donald on October 19, 2019 at Memorial United Methodist Church in Charles City. Nine members from Dogwood attended, along with several hundred family members and friends. It was a beautiful service and the church provided a delicious meal after. A quote from Carol, “Not too many people get to sing at their own funeral, but Donald did”. And that he did, via one of his CD’s. And it was very touching.
We have been in touch with Carol, and she is getting along and taking things one day at a time. And don’t be surprised if you see her at Urbanna or the Christmas Rally. That’s Carol, and we hope to see her soon.
A card from Dogwood was sent to the Warthan family, and a donation in Donald’s honor is being made to the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA).
Please keep the Warthan’s in your thoughts and prayers, and keep me informed if you know of someone in our family who is having problems.

Thank you and take care,
757 876-8673

Director's Report

National Director’s Report  October 2019

Ed & Anke Fisher

By Ed Fisher

The Summer convention, 2019, which was number 100, was held in Minot North Dakota August 14 -17. In attendance were a total 1791 RV's, with 1608 being Family RV's and 183 being Commercial. 

FMCA's overall condition continues to improve. For the first year since the time period 2007-2008, net assets increased. Net assets increased in the range of $76,000 to $77,000.
There was another solid increase in net membership gain. Membership is about 88,000, with 5,000 of those being towables. 
After a multi hour discussion, an overwhelming majority voted in favor of a major ($25.00) per year dues increase. It was either the increase or or drop FMCAssist, our medical emergency and travel assist program. The FMCA Finance committee had worked for several months developing a balanced budget, to present to the Governing Board for discussion and approval in Minot, basing it on the estimated 15-20% price increase provided earlier by Four Corners, the plan administrator. At the last minute, Four Corners presented FMCA with a 73% increase, take it or leave it. They stated they had just realized they were loosing money on FMCA's plan, based on their new accounting procedure. 
The Governing Board recognized that FMCAssist is our flagship benefit, attracting many members, and must be retained. They also realized we could no longer finance operations from our reserves, which are uncomfortably low. Thus, the only choice was to raise dues. The $25.00 increase seems excessive on the surface, but the funds are needed right now, and many members pay up to 3 years in advance. Thus, the full impact of the increase will not be realized 
for up to 3 years. If expenses stay in line, then the increase will be used to fund reserve replenishment. 

The last order of business was the election of National Officers:
    President- Jon Walker
    Vice President- Rhett Porter
    Secretary- Kathie Balough
    Treasurer- John Reynolds

The convention was, as usual a fun and well planned event. Anke and I have noticed the number of quality vendors showing at the convention has declined, which is unfortunate, because we rely on them for information, and to learn of and purchase needed items. 
Ed Fisher 

When a Tire Leaves you Flat by Butch Jones

When a Tire Just Leaves You Flat
By Butch Jones

Photo #1 Car w/Flat Tire
Recently I received a call from a friend who was returning from summer traveling. He needed a floor jack. It seems that he had stopped at the local Home Depot on his way home. His wife wanted to continue home so he unhooked the car and she left. He received a call a short time later saying the she had stopped to get the car washed at the local drive-thru carwash and upon leaving the tire pressure monitoring system alerted her that one tire was flat. She stopped at a nearby restaurant and when he got there he noticed that the sensors for the coach/towed tire pressure monitoring system transmitter which is attached to the external valve stem was gone as was most of the valve stem.
He called his roadside assistance and was told that they could come out and remove the flat tire and install a spare. He has run flat tires, no spare and needed a new valve stem. This was beyond his roadside assistance scope so he did not use them. He called Butch’s Mobile Repair.
I took a floor jack and needed a 24” ½” drive breaker bar to loosen the lug nuts. Well we got the valve stem replaced and the tire back on the car and home. The sensor for his coach/towed tire pressure monitoring system mounted to the end of the valve stem in place of the valve cap. It stuck out further than the normal valve stem and got caught on the side rails of the car wash. I guess he is fortunate that all four valve stems and sensors were not ripped off.
This incident got me to thinking about flat tires and roadside assistance so in this article we will talk about how these issues affect safety. Obviously a flat tire is a safety issue and no one wants one at any time, but what do we do once the vehicle is safely off the road and we are staring at the remains of what was a several hundred dollar donut of rubber?

Photo #2 Flat Tire

Photo #3 RV with Flat Tire
For some of us it is break out the jack and tools and remove the old tire and replace it with the spare. Well that may have been the case “back in the day” but things have changed.  As RVs have grown in size and heft so have tire sizes and many manufacturers have elected not to add the substantial amount of space and weight to install them on newer rigs. While most trailer tires are still in the 16”+_ range and most come with a spare, coach tires are now 19.5” and 22.5” and some gasoline powered and most diesel powered units do not have a spare tire/wheel. I would suggest that if you do not know or have not looked at your spare in your towed vehicle that you do so. Some come with full size spares, some have what are known as “compact spares” or “donuts”, some have a full size but smaller spare (my truck has 20” tires/wheels and a 17” spare from the factory), some have a can of sealant and an air compressor and some have no spare at all. So it would be a good idea to know what if anything is lying under the mat in the rear of your towed vehicle.

Photo #4 Tire Under Coach

Photo #5 Compact Spare

 I know of some diesel pusher owners that have mounted a tire or tire/wheel in between the frame rails under the coach in front of the
rear axle as seen in the photo above. This is often a void space and unused. However it presents the issue of how to get the spare tire or tire/wheel out and the damaged tire/wheel back in position. Even if your coach has a spare tire mounted on a wheel, manhandling the hundred+ pound combination has a trip to the emergency room written all over it for most of us. Then there is the issue of safely jacking the vehicle up to get the flat tire off. While your towed vehicle may not present much of a problem, safely jacking an RV weighing anywhere from 17,000 pounds to over 50,000 pounds may present a different situation. Add to that, the lug nuts on a Freightliner chassis with 22.5” wheels are tightened to 450 pound feet of torque. To put that into perspective, I had to use a ½” drive 24’ long breaker bar to loosen the lug nuts on my friends Cadillac small SUV. Each year as we reach the date of our birth we are reminded that we are not getting any younger. I found out a long time ago that as I got older the healing process took longer and longer. I don’t know about you but as I mature I begin to think of many things I would rather do than wrestle a hydraulic jack under my coach on the side of the road.

Photo #6 Shredded Tire

After getting the tire and wheel off the vehicle now what do you do with the mangled mess of a tire and wheel? If you are extremely fortunate the tire is intact and not too filthy or the tire will be completely gone from the wheel, but most likely it will at least be partially shredded and smoking. Not something you want on the inside of any vehicle. That is why some people have luggage racks on the towed vehicles. This may or may not be a great idea but it gets the assembly home or to a tire store while keeping it outside. Susie’s new SUV comes with a cable so you can tie the flat tire inside the cargo area to the top hinges of the liftgate. This allows the use of the third row seats.
Even if you are up for the exercise, there is a better way, Roadside Assistance. Now some of you are probably saying, “I’m not paying for roadside assistance, why I might not ever need it”. Well you might already be paying for it or it may be included in something that you are paying for now.
Here are some things to consider when evaluating roadside assistances plans:
Do you currently have some type of roadside assistance plan? You most likely have one or more plans. I checked and I had 6 different plans.  Some of the ways you might get or have a plan are listed below.

New Vehicle Warranties
Used Vehicle Warranties
Aftermarket Warranties
Insurance Companies
Auto Clubs (AAA)
Travel or Camping Clubs or Groups (FMCA, Good Sams)
Tire Stores (Pep Boys)
Credit Cards (Visa, Premium Chase)
Wireless Service Providers (Verizon, T-Mobil, AT&T
Automotive Services (BG Products has offer one with certain oil changes or other services)

Some of these may come with a bundle of services or extra cost.
If you have multiple plans try to evaluate what each offers and what you need.
Determine if you can opt out of any that may be a duplicate. If some have any type of deductible, determine if another can be used to pay the deductible.
Determine which gives you the most for your money.
Read the fine print so you know before you need assistance what is available and what you will pay extra to have. We will discuss this later.

In the case of my friend, he was not able to use his roadside assistance but he did use Butch’s Roadside Assistance. While on the subject of what is covered, I have what is called a Tire and Wheel Contract for our coach and Susie’s SUV. It will pay for having tires repaired or replaced if they cannot be repaired as well as repairing, refinishing or replacing any wheel damaged as a result of a road hazard, (they also have roadside assistance included). If you have priced a 22.5” aluminum wheels you will appreciate the cost of this coverage.  Check with the plan administrators to see if they have mobile apps, this may speed your access for service.
Make sure both the coach and towed vehicle or tow vehicle and trailer are covered by the plan. At least one plan requires a separate plan for Class 6, 7 or 8 tow vehicles. These are vehicles over 26,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight.
If the plan has towing how many miles does it cover?
There are several online sources that allow you to compare plans. Be aware that some are sponsored by one specific plan so they may be slanted toward that plan.  If there comes a time that you need to use the roadside assistance plan there are some things that may help expedite getting help to you. I have listed some things below:

Have the make, model, length, width, weight and height (from the ground to the top of the tallest item on the roof) available. Some of this information may not be needed for and automobile or SUV but will for anything else. If you have a large diesel pusher and you think it may need something special, such as special tire changing equipment or if towing might be needed, reiterate to the call taker and the service provider that it is a large bus. Sometimes when you a motorhome it does not compute how large some of our rigs actually are and most Class A and C motorhomes should not be towed from the rear as the front suspensions are not designed to carry the added weight generated by that configuration.  Have the make and model of the transmission (in the event a tow is necessary).
The type of braking system. (hydraulic or air)  Give as much detail as possible as to your situation. Speak clearly and concisely.  Get the name of the call taker and if they do not ask, give them your cell phone number just in case you get disconnected.  Ask the call taker to read your information back to you to make sure it is correct.  Ask for a reference or call number. This will allow you to more quickly gain access if you need to call back.  Ask the call taker to have the service provider call you before they respond. This allows you to make sure the proper information was transmitted. It is better to wait a few minutes for the response provider’s call than to have them respond only to find out they are not prepared to provide what is needed for your vehicle.  If your vehicle needs to be towed, especially if it is the motorhome, do not take for granted that the wrecker driver will know exactly how to hook up to your vehicle. It is not a bad idea to check with your motorhome manufacturer or a forum of owner of the same vehicle as yours to determine attachment points on the vehicle.  If the motorhome must be towed, make sure that the driveshaft is disconnected. This may sound silly, but insure that the driver disconnects the driveshaft from the correct end. On a diesel pusher it should be disconnect from the rear axle which is in front of the engine not behind as on most every other vehicle. Some drivers have, in their hast to get under way, slid under the vehicle and disconnected the driveshaft from the rearmost point (which is usually the rear axle, except on a diesel pusher where it is the engine) then safely wiring it to the frame and gone on their way. They usually do not get far before the driveshaft comes loose and begins to beat itself into oblivion as well as anything else it contacts as it spins under the vehicle. I know of at least two occasions in which this has happened. Better safe than sorry.

A roadside assistance plan may not be for everyone but it can help get you safely back on the road, if you have the right plan. I have copies of the checklist mentioned in this article. If you would like one just email me ( and I will them to you). So remember Better Safe than Sorry.

For Sale

FOR SALE                     October 2019

The Warthan family has the following vehicles for sale.
Prevost/Country Coach Bus: 1991 Prevost bus professionally converted by Country Coach.
Motorcycle: 1992 Honda trike conversion motorcycle.
If you or someone you know is interested in one or both of these vehicles, please contact: Donnie Warthan Jr.
                804 387-3798

Thank you,
The Warthan Family

New Rally Web Site

New web site for Rally information

Keeping up with the Dogwood Chapter Rally schedule just got easier, one click to this site will update you on scheduled rallies.  This new site will also post last years rallies as a reminder of  the fun. Each rally had special moments that answers the question, why are we doing this?  Click the link below and save in your favorites,


Mirror Covers with Dogwood Logo

Mirror Covers and Shirts by Jim Buelow  October 2019

Good news, after several years of not having a source for Dogwood mirror covers, it now looks like that problem is solved. Peggy Groves has made a new cover which looks great, and Nanette Meyer is also working on a new cover. Plans are to have some covers available at the Christmas Rally. Thank you very much Peggy and Nanette.
And if you are interested in Dogwood sweat or T-shirts, we will have order forms available at the Christmas Rally. Or if you have a shirt of your own preference that you would like printed with the Dogwood logo, bring it along, and we can take care of it.