Some of my friends and family think I am crazy. I’m a 40-something-ish married woman obsessed with RVing. I can’t say I don’t disagree with them sometimes; I fully own my fascination with RVing. I’m not a full-time RVer, but I’m also not a weekend warrior. I’m not strictly a solo-female RVer, but I RV a good chunk of the time on my own. I’m an RVer in the middle of the mid-life crisis of the RVing community. I’m a dual-rig RVing woman who is always searching for the next RV adventure, whatever that may be. Somehow, I stumbled upon my next big adventure, and my stumbling happened because my husband and I did what so many RVers do after owning a rig for a while; we traded up.
About two years ago, Pat and I traded our Heartland Road Warrior 5th wheel for our Fleetwood Southwind 35K motorhome. When we upgraded to our motorhome, the dealership, La Mesa RV, sent us home with a packet full of goodies, most of which we set aside and forgot to do anything with. One of the items in the bundle was a one-year, free membership, to the Family Motorcoach Association (FMCA). At that time, I hadn’t even heard of FMCA, probably because up until the time we joined, FMCA was strictly an organization for motorized RVs. We added our membership to our pile of other free or paid memberships, and we didn’t think twice about FMCA for quite some time.
After buying our motorhome, we started to receive the magazine FamilyRVing. After reading a few issues, I found myself increasingly excited to read the magazine each month. At the time, I didn’t realize that the magazine was a benefit included in our FMCA membership, but the more I read the magazine, the more I became curious about FMCA. I don’t remember when, exactly, but I remember why I switched from a casual reader of FamilyRVing to a more-involved reader.
My FMCA interest piqued reading one of the issues that talked about the upcoming 99th International Convention and RV Expo in Perry, Georgia. The convention, hosted by FMCA, was a gathering of RVing enthusiasts meant to inform, educate, and support people involved in the RV lifestyle. Pat and I found the concept of an RV rally or convention fascinating. For a few months, we talked about traveling to Perry to attend the convention. The idea of escaping the Colorado cold and hanging out with other RVers intrigued us, but in the end, we couldn’t swing a trip to Georgia at that time of the year, so we set our sights on the next convention, the FMCA’s 100th International Convention and RV Expo.
Usually, Pat and I travel to Sturgis, South Dakota every August to participate in the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This year, I felt restless. While I like riding on the back of the Harley, I wanted to do something different. I remembered that we had talked about attending an FMCA convention a few months back, and now, the thought of going to the upcoming 100th International Convention and RV Expo help put my restlessness to sleep. I decided to ask Pat if he’d be willing to give up Sturgis for a year to try something new. I can’t say this move to switch up the trip wasn’t a little bit calculated, because I’m always actively searching for a way to cross another national park off of my bucket list. What better way to get to North Dakota than to go for a rally and Theodore Roosevelt National Park?
Thankfully, Pat agreed that he wanted to try something new, too. He thought that attending the rally would be a great way to get our feet wet with FMCA. We knew if we went to Minot (the city hosting the 100th International Convention and RV Expo), and we hated our experience, that we could stop wondering about all of these fabulous conventions we read about. We also knew that if we loved the experience, that we’d probably become hooked on these conventions, and we’d want to spend at least one of our vacations each year heading towards the next host-city.
Within a few days, we’d registered for our site in Minot, at the North Dakota State Fairgrounds, and we shuffled our plans from South Dakota to North Dakota. Once again, our friends called us crazy. I mean, why would we give up a week of motorcycling and sightseeing for Minot, North Dakota? I’d always respond with, “Don’t you KNOW me? I’m going because of the RVs and the chance to hang out with other RVers.” And when our friends would ask Pat why we’d made the switch? He’d say, “Sully Sullenberger is the keynote speaker, and the Spinners are performing.” And every time he’d mention the Spinners, he’d launch into his rendition of Rubber Band Man, and he’d dance this little jig.
To our friends and family, we’d obviously lost a few nuts and bolts. To us? We’d just signed up for what we hoped would become the beginning of something much bigger and much more fun than we imagined.