Airstream is but a tiny, shiny star in the RV universe—most are SOBs (Some Other Brand). ‘Streamers I recently polled guesstimate that Airstreams comprise only one to three percent of the market, both new and old.
As it was held in my backyard (Redmond, only thirty minutes from Bend), I dropped in on The Rally (sans DWR…no aluminum allowed*), the premier annual RV gathering, to see how the other (more than) half lives.
It looked kinda fun, if you have a White Box: an indoor trade show of RV goodies and gear, mountainous new mohos with their handlers from the dealership, seminars like “Controlling Odors in Holding Tanks”, and goofy activities like the dog and owner lookalike contest.
But what do I know. Meet Erin Floresca, @LittleSnowbirds on Twitter and BellaOnline’s RV editor. Homebased in Oregon, she travels with her family in a 32 foot 2008 Fourwinds Chateau. “I love the pace of RV trips,” she states in her online bio. “It gives you the opportunity to stop in and see the roadside attractions that otherwise might have been missed. There is always plenty of time to stop at places like Wall Drug to purchase some jackalope souvenirs—the campier the road trip, the better.”
I heart her. Erin, how was The Rally?
"When I first heard that the Good Sam RV Rally was being held just a few hours away from where I lived, I actually tried to talk myself out of going. Oh, I had plenty of excuses—it was taking place during deadline weekend, it wasn’t in our budget, you know the drill. But the more I thought about The Rally, the more I realized I needed to go.
It’s been almost a decade since I was a full-time RVer completely immersed in the wonderful world of RVing. In the past few years, my family has only taken a handful of RV trips. Since we haven’t been on the road that much, I’ve actually entertained the idea that perhaps we should sell our motorhome. We could always buy another one a few years down the road, right? But I didn’t want to get any further away from the RV lifestyle that I adored so much; what I needed was a better reason to get closer to it. And that reason came in the form of the annual Good Sam RV Rally.
We made the short journey to the 2011 Rally being held at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond, Oregon on a sunny Thursday afternoon. While driving toward our designated dry camping area, I was in awe of the surrounding view. And not because of the snowcapped mountains to the south and west. Spread out before us were rows and rows of RVs in every direction! (Rumor around the shuttle stops said the final count was around 4,500 RVs.) It was a sight to behold and instantly invigorated me. I knew before we were even settled into our site that going to The Rally was one of the best decisions I’d made in a long time.
Over the course of the next few days, we wandered around and partook in many of the offerings available to rally attendees. There were hundreds of seminars and exhibitors, live entertainment, and my favorite, the over 700 RVs for sale on display. I discovered many cool products and services available for the RV crowd. I really dug the new Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 5510 GPS device that was designed specifically for RVers. I also signed up for a free new service called WiFiRVFriends that not only helps you choose your next WiFi capable RV park, but acts as a social networking site too.
I was floored by the Bissell Perfect Sweep Turbo vacuum cleaner as well. It’s battery-powered, lightweight, and stores easily; just perfect for an RV. Priced at just $40, it’s hard to beat. I also fell in love with several Class A motorhomes like the 2011 Aspire 42DLQ by Entegra Coach and the 2011 Allegro Bus 43QGP. (It’s like a mini Caesar’s Palace on wheels, complete with raised bowl ‘his and hers’ vanity sinks in the bathroom! Love it!)
I was delighted to see an abundance of eco-friendly TRA Green Certified rigs on display (The Rally itself could have used a few recycle bins). I also learned that Pilot Travel Centers is partnering with the Good Sam Club to offer some exciting benefits to RVers. And let’s not forget the nightly gathering for entertainment with music icons like Bobby Vinton (who knew I knew so many of his songs?) and country music star Vince Gill. Fun, fun!
Overall, the Good Sam RV Rally was exactly what this little RVer needed. I needed to be inspired again by all of the cool rigs, products and services available to the RV crowd. I needed to be around other people who understood and appreciated the RV lifestyle. I needed to experience that feeling of being a part of the RV community—and that is exactly what I got.
I’m refreshed in my enthusiasm for all things RV thanks to the Good Sam RV Rally. Now, if I can only figure out how to get back on the road full time!"
Photo of Erin by Patrick Floresca; Allegro Bus photo on ‘Streaming home page courtesy of Erin Floresca
*kidding. Sort of.