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The Rally 2009: Left Turn in Albuquerque

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

This wasn’t just any rally. It was the 10th anniversary of the Greatest RV Rally in the
World. Yeah, we got our kicks on Route 66, but what really made The Rally so special this
year was its eco-friendly message along with the many wonderful RVers gathered together
solely for the experience of celebrating the RVing lifestyle. Sponsored by Trailer
, Camping Life and MotorHome magazines, Trailer Life
, Woodall’s Publications, the Good Sam Club, Coast to Coast Resorts
and the Camping World President’s Club, this year’s Affinity event was at the Expo New
Mexico in Albuquerque, and this was no doubt the biggest and best RV event of the year. It
attracted 3,112 registered motorized and towable RVs, about 400 suppliers and 30
manufacturers and dealers with around 500 units on display. One of the main attractions on
the fairgrounds was full-time RVer and renowned outdoor adventure and survival expert Brian
Brawdy and his very eco-friendly Lance 1181 camper, which sits atop a Ford F-350 Super Duty
4 x 4. Brian was center-stage for the entire event, continuing with his message to live
life like you mean it! He showed rally goers how he catches and filters rainwater and
utilizes solar panels and a wind turbine for alternative energy in his camper. He connected
with those who enjoy the open road, all the while demonstrating how anyone who is a novice
or a seasoned full-timer can practice conservation through exploration. You can stay
connected with Brian at his Web site, www.brianbrawdy.com or follow his bogs at www.buriedlogic.com. This Rally
showed that the “Go Green” theme isn’t just for hard-core nature lovers anymore, and anyone
would agree after checking out the packed room at Bob Difley’s seminar, Camping and
Boondocking on Our Public Lands. He discussed how boondocking forces conservation and is a
way to be more responsible and conscientious in the use of natural resources. After scoping
the hundreds of other RV-related seminars, checking out the exhibit halls packed with the
latest RV products and participating in the numerous fundraising activities for Good Sam’s
official charity Hole in the Wall Camps, the nightly musical entertainment rocked with
names like Rita Coolidge, The Osmond Brothers and headliner Neil Sedaka. Before the evening
entertainment on Friday, Sue Bray, executive director of the Good Sam Club, introduced
Richard Daniels, the Good Sam Club’s 2008 RVer of the Year, who was recognized with a
standing ovation for the animal-rescue shelter he founded. Other RVers chose to rescue a
pet themselves during the two pet-adoption days, and all were invited to show off their
pets at the sixth annual Dog Show. Winning Best in Show was Gary Shapiro of Evergreen,
Colorado, and his two talented dogs, Dash and Lily. But our favorite affair at The Rally,
of course, is always RV Publications Day, a great event for RVers to connect with staffers
from their favorite RV publications and to learn what’s new in the RV industry by receiving
complimentary magazines and some of the coolest and newest products on the market. Carl
Ackerman from Amarillo, Texas, has been to “every Pub Day since 2002 in Pomona,
California,” and he was excited to get his free embroidered ball cap along with 3,000 other
attendees who were first to arrive. Rally goers also scored lots of other giveaways,
including a variety of literature, ice cream by local vendor The Cruisin’ Cow and awesome
raffle prizes – all valued at more than $20,000. Three lucky winners got their hands on a
new Spot tracking unit, so they can now stay connected with their families via satellite
GPS messenger no matter where their RVs take them. Another lucky winner went back to her RV
with a Roadmaster Sterling All-Terrain Tow Bar, and another with a cool EnGenius wireless
network adapter from TengoInternet. Hundreds of others won prizes such as portable power
supplies from Xantrex, RV-care products from Protect All, In-Line Filters from SHURflo,
Sensar DTV upgrade antennas from Winegard, straw doormats from Patio Mats, cool
Motion-Proof Putty from Ready America, a variety of must-have cleaning wipes from Thetford
and much, much more. But winning the coveted Tracks to Adventure grand prize RV Tour to
Branson, Missouri, is what each member of the crowd eagerly anticipated, and Good Sam
Member Carol Fabritius of Tucson, Arizona, had the winning ticket. She had never been to an
RV Rally before, so she was speechless at first, and then she began chatting about whom she
will decide to bring with her on the tour. Pub Day also offered free temporary tattoos by
local vendor Dancing Dolphins Face and Body Art. Shop owner and artist Cindy Farslow, along
with Jim Freese, airbrushed hundreds of arms, chests, backs, faces and, er, other body
parts (like ankles) for all of those daring enough to sport a new look. This was a big hit
with rally goers who declared, “My kids have them; why can’t I?” Yes, living life like you
mean it is what it’s all about. Maryland State Director Linda Hankins and her husband
George of Middle River attend The Rally each year to “see this great country, meet new
friends and support our organizations” by volunteering at many of the events. And rally
goers Deana and Thomas Emineth of Pensacola, Florida (that’s just where their mailing
address is) are full-timers who claim that home is where their RV is. Last year their home
was in Perry, Georgia, and this year in Albuquerque. Chances are their home will be in
Louisville, Kentucky, on July 22-25, 2010, for the 11th annual Rally next year. We’ll be
looking for you all! Check out www.therally.com or call (877) 749-7122 to make your early-bird
reservations. We Salute You!
We’d like to announce a special “Thank-You” to all of our supporters! The Pub Day raffles
would not have been possible without the kind and generous support of the following
companies: Tracks to Adventurewww.trackstoadventure.com
Ready America Inc.www.readyamerica.com
Roadmaster Inc.
Protect All Inc.www.protectall.com
SPOT Tracking Systems
Xantrex Technologies
TengoInternet Inc.
Thetford Corporationwww.thetford.com
Patio Matswww.patiomats.com
SHURflo, RV Products Division
Winegard Co.
Good Sam Club

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