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FMCA Motorhome Rally Primer:



What is FMCA? What is a motorhome rally? What do you do there? Why should I go? If I want to go, when, where, what, why? I don't know anything, help me! Our long-time friends, now motorhome traveling friends had some of these questions. Others will also, so this travelogue will help those who want to know.

FMCA is the Family Motor Coach Association. This organization was formed in 1963 when 26 families in their "house cars" met in Hinckley, Maine to view the July 20th solar eclipse. Participants came from Massachusetts and Michigan. Since then FMCA has registered 425,000+ members of which about 75,000 are active. These families come from and travel all over North America. They love learning about their homes, travel locations and meeting people. To this end they have rallies. Rallies are jammed with activities, seminars, vendors, RV services and just plain fun.

We have been to three types of rallies: 1) FMCA Regional Rallies, 2) an FMCA Convention and 3) a Monaco Company Rally. Our first rally was in January 2007; Western Area regional rally in Indio, California. There were 1,700 motor coaches, some shown below. The rally is open to FMCA members and guests.


In February 2008 we attended the Monaco Pre-rally with our friends Ben and Sid in Lancaster, California. Manufacturers hold pre-rallies before the nationwide FMCA conventions. They hope you'll purchase a new Monaco motorhome a week before you attend the convention where all manufacturers are present. 477 families attended this rally. These rallies are available to Monaco coach owners.


The 2008 FMCA International Convention in Pomona, California started the day after the Monaco Pre-rally ended. Over 2,600 families came here. In 2007 there were over 5,000, but 2008 was the beginning of the economic slow down.


What constitutes a "motor coach"?  Back in 1963 most motor coaches were modified buses or converted delivery trucks. Today, high-end coaches are manufactured on a new bus chassis. They are Class A motorhomes. Motorhomes are of three types. 1) Class A motorhomes like the MotherShip. 2) Class B motorhomes built on a van chassis. 3) Class C motorhomes are a house built on van cutaway chassis. All three can come with or without slides that add more living space when parked.


What do you need to know about a rally? Using mostly the Indio Western Rally as an example, we'll explain. We have been to Indio in 2007, 2015 and 2016. We also attended the FMCA Rocky Mountain rally in Farmington, New Mexico in October 2008. First, you need to know when and where the rallies are. Join FMCA and you will have this information. The web sites lists all the regional and national rallies. Each will have its own pricing and sign up procedure. You may have an option to purchase parking with a 30 amp power connection or a dry camping spot. There will be other options possibly for meals and activities.

Sign up and you will receive your registration information by mail or will call as we do. You are ready to attend. The Indio rally starts on a Wednesday and ends on Sunday. The first year we came on Wednesday and it seemed like everybody had been there for a few days. And they had!  You can come to this rally as early as Sunday, which we did the second year. When you arrive some of the hundreds of volunteers will guide you through the entry process as shown below. The "will call" tent is right at the entrance. You will be guided to your parking location by a lead golf car.


Once you are settled in, the fun begins. Optional daily activities include morning coffee, donuts, devotions and music. You can have lunch in your coach or purchase from the food vendors or head downtown.


Nightly on Thursday, Friday and Saturday there is entertainment. 1) Comic magician Dana Daniels and parrot Luigi performed in 2015. 2) The Grand Marshall parade Award was given to the California Coasters club for their Out of this World float.


Nightly performances are in the Fullenwider Auditorium. This John Denver tribute band did a fabulous job.


There are lots of other optional activities. 1) The Coaches for Christ invited us to their dinner in Indio. 2) Ellen joined the line dancers at the Pomona International Convention.


There were 100+ vendors at this years 2016 Indio rally. Booths have RV related products and services as well as local area vendors selling personal items.


1) This 1928 Rolls Royce was used to advertise a waterless cleaning system. The car is valued at around 2,000,000 dollars. 2) The Pomona Convention has several huge buildings to house the hundreds and hundreds of vendors.


This year we had a booth at Indio to sell our web site memberships. Tell Me Daily is Your Life Scheduler and Big Rig Bible is the Full Time Motorhome Living Guide. We also hosted a one-hour seminar for Full Time Motorhome Wannabes.


Vendors also provide on-site services. In 2015 RV Glass Solutions replaced our windshield on Tuesday. This is why we came early to this rally.


Other services include wash/wax, installation of tires, oil changes, awning repairs, electrical repairs and more. Additionally many vendors will schedule future services such as furniture and cabinet remodels, new flooring, roof sealing, tank flushes, new drapes and window screens, led light replacements or a replacement or service for just about every part of your coach.


Every rally will have new and used coaches for sale. The year 2016 Indio rally had about 100 coaches for sale. The 2008 Pomona Convention had over 500!  If you are a motorhome wannabe, rallies are a great way to see lots of manufacturers from many dealers. In 2005 we traveled for four days to see only 14 coaches.


1) This 20 foot Class B motorhome is fully contained with kitchen, bathroom, shower, sleeping area, eating table, air conditioning, everything and it gets about 18 miles per gallon. 2) No, this is not the interior of that Class B coach. This coach is over 40 feet in length.


We liked this 2008 Monaco Dynasty at the Monaco rally. But the MotherShip was just under two years old and we love her.


Joining a motorhome club has many perks. There are hundreds of clubs, each with it's own focus. 1) This club is for Class B motorhomes. These members have similar homes and can help each other learn about and fix their homes. This year we joined California Coasters. Members are mostly from the Cal Coast. However, some members have since moved to other areas or even other states. Regardless, they have similar interests and travel together to many western states. These clubs will come together to rallies and usually volunteer to help. Cal Coasters provided tram services for all rally goers. Our trams were 6-seater golf carts. Others provided travel with the larger trailers.


The costs for the 2016 Indio Rally was $210 for a 30-amp site for Wednesday to Sunday. That included all the entertainment, seminars, vendors, motorhome exhibits, ice cream social and fun. Joining the Cal Coasters was $38 to start and $18 per year. For $150 we got Sunday to Tuesday 30-amp service and nightly meals with club. Our corner vendor booth was $380 plus $168 for liability insurance, in case someone tripped over our business card.

All the clubs stay together. We are parked here next to Steve and Susan. 1) Fortunately our sites were on hard surface as we had quite a rain on Wednesday that made a mess of those on grass or dirt. 2) Our little party area was used each day for happy hour and pre-paid meals.


The Cal Coasters have a few fun traditions that we learned of. One is that everyone is fined $2 for some behavior violations. Pete was fined for riding his scooter in the cold morning wearing only shorts and sandals. Wow! Pete won't do that again, NOT! Another tradition required those who bought a new or different motorhome to host a happy hour with hors d'oeuvres. Susan was the life of the party!


While we have traveled full time for 10 years and even gave a 1-hour seminar, we also learned much at this rally. Specifically, we learned not to have our sewage tanks pumped during and next to happy hour!


If you ever travel in a motorhome for a short trip or full time you can learn so much at these rallies.

We hope you enjoyed this class. Please raise your hand if you have any questions.

Love, Pete, Ellen and Mandy