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Life on the Road: RV Rallies

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

RV rallies have become a popular way to meet other RVers while having a good time. A rally is simply a gathering of RVers at a particular destination. It may be a small get-together of a local RV club, attending an event like the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, or an assemblage of thousands of RVs where the participants attend educational seminars, take interesting tours and enjoy professional entertainment.

A large rally might include new RVs on display and vendor booths selling all manner of RV-related products and services. There might even be clowns, musicians and other forms of entertainment adding to the fun atmosphere.  

Participating in a rally is easy. Once you have signed up, you will receive a packet of preliminary information with detailed instructions and directions. Look over the schedules of tours, seminars and entertainment to determine the ones you want to attend. This might also be a good time to make any tour reservations; the more popular ones fill up early.

When you arrive at the rally, pay close attention to the directions of your particular camping area. Don’t blindly follow the RV in front of you. Their directions may be different than yours.

A rally’s camping accommodations can be anything from a luxury RV resort to a fairground’s parking lot, or simply an empty field. There are exceptions but camping at most rallies is usually accomplished without utility hookups. Here are a few tips to make dry camping at a rally just a little easier.

If your motorhome has a generator, you can ask to be parked in a generator area. You may be given your choice of camping in an area that permits 24-hour generator usage or one with limited generator usage  (7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., for example).  Either way, be prepared for the noise and exhaust fumes of your neighbors’ generators. Check and service your generator before leaving home. You want it to be in good operating condition.

If you do not have a generator or if you choose to camp in a non-generator area, you will be relying upon your coach battery(s) for electric power. Be sure to check and service all batteries before leaving home. Conserve your battery power at the rally by limiting your electrical usage. Use only the lights you absolutely need. Make coffee in a range-top percolator instead of turning on an inverter and using an electric coffee maker. Watch television in your neighbor’s motorhome.

Arrive with your water tank full! You will not have a water hookup. You might even consider arriving with a few two-gallon containers of drinking water. Be stingy with your motorhome’s fresh water supply. Do not let the water run while showering. At the shower head, turn on the water to get wet, turn off the water while you soap, turn on the water to rinse off. Don’t let the water run while washing your hands or brushing your teeth. Shave with a battery operated razor.  Wash dishes only once a day. Use disposable plates, cups and eating utensils.

Arrive with your holding tanks empty! You will not have a sewer hookup and there may not be a dump station available. Whenever possible, use the public restrooms, showers and portable toilets at the rally. Conserving water will automatically conserve holding-tank space.

Some of the larger rallies may have water wagons circulating through the campgrounds. They will fill your water tank for a fee. There may also be honey wagons that will empty your holding tank(s) for a fee.

Experienced RVers will tell you that a great way to conserve battery power, drinking water and holding tank space is to eat out more often. And, before you leave the restaurant, be sure to use the restroom facilities.

During the rally, in addition to comfortable walking shoes, wear layered clothing so you can adjust to any change in temperature. A tote bag or, better yet, a backpack will be handy for carrying an umbrella, camera, sweater, bottles of drinking water, snacks and small purchases.
Read the rally program. Pay attention to each day’s schedule of events. Look at the map. Plan your route through the rally to include the RV displays, vendors and events you especially wish to see.

Just remember – arrive at the rally with your propane and water tanks full and your holding tanks empty! And be prepared to meet a lot of friendly RVers while having a good time.
Visit Joe and Vicki’s website:  www.rvknowhow.com.

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