When the idea for a Spring Flamingles Rally was first suggested last winter, nobody knew how many RVer’s would plan to attend. As new members, we (Eddie and Linda Quinn) spend the winter at Travelers Rest RV & Golf Resort in Dade City, and suggested it as a possible location. We booked it for April 1 – 4, and crossed our fingers that we would have the requisite six rigs to be eligible for the rally rate.
Our worry was for naught, because we hosted seventeen rigs and thirty-five Flamingles members at a very successful rally.
The rally was scheduled over a weekend so that members still working could attend. Rigs began to arrive on Friday, April 1 in the late morning, and by the time we held Happy Hour at 4:00 p.m., we had a full house. Our rigs were parked on Golf View area at Travelers Rest (affectionately known as TR), an area designated for short-term visitors and rallies. Registration and Happy Hour took place in the Golf View Pavilion, a sheltered area next to the sites.
Pat and Art Dubuc, chapter leaders, cooked pizza in the kitchen in Busch Hall, and everyone enjoyed a dinner of pizza, with salads supplied by attendees. At dinner we all introduced ourselves, our rigs and where we live in Florida — and for some where in the U.S.we spend our summers.
Breakfast the next morning was a delicious egg casserole, again prepared by Pat & Art — a perfect start to a soggy day. Around 11 a.m. the rain started, and it did not let up until late afternoon. In spite of the rain, we actually had a very enjoyable day.
We were assigned an indoor facility and spent much of the day chatting and playing games. By Happy Hour the rain had stopped, and for dinner Art and Pat served made-from-scratch pulled pork sandwiches, accompanied by delicious salads again made by the attendees.
Following dinner we were entertained by a movie, The Longest Ride, on a large screen TV and enjoyed popcorn popped in TR’s professional popcorn machine.
We awoke to sunshine on Sunday morning, and after a continental breakfast and a morning on our own, we reconvened in the early afternoon for a business meeting. Sunday Happy Hour was preceded by a group photo taken with picturesque Vanishing Lake as a backdrop. We enjoyed a barbecue dinner, hosted by TR residents Eddie and Linda Quinn, at the Snack Shack pavilion nestled in a wooded area next to the lake. Eddie grilled hot dogs, Linda supplied sauerkraut and homemake onion sauce, and salads were, as always, provided by the attendees. It was a perfect ending to a beautiful day.
Monday morning we meet for coffee back at the Golf View Pavilion to say our good byes and wish everyone safe travels. The unanimous opinion was that TR was a perfect spot for a rally, and we booked a fall rally for November 11 – 14. The plan is to find an equally congenial location on Florida’s east coast for a Spring 2017 rally.
It was our pleasure to share and host the rally at TR. We have stayed here for over 15 winters and find ourselves enjoying it more every year. Hopefully when we have the rally here in the fall, you all will bring your bathing suits, golf clubs, tennis racket, bocce ball score cards, shuffleboard expertise, tennis rackets and just about any outdoor activity you love and enjoy it here as we do.
Remember we have a really nice rails-to-trails for bike riding only 9 miles away.
We are very lucky to have Pat and Art as our chapter leaders because their work ethic was fantastic and it helps that they both are really nice caring couple. It also helped that Art loves to cook and is a really good chef. Yummy! Hope to see you all in the fall and stay healthy, safe and enjoy the summer.
By Linda & Eddie Quinn
It’s true. On any given Saturday, while the rest of the clan is out taking the grandchildren to the “interactive farm”, I’m probably underneath our RV. Maybe I’m checking for hairline cracks in the ABS pipes. But it’s more likely that I’m just hanging out down there – thinking up new projects.
Knowing that, it shouldn’t surprise you that on our recent road trip, I convinced Stef to take a very minor, 1200 mile detour to Winkler Manitoba to check out the Leisure Travel Vans factory. This was a chance to see the RVs before they were finished, to understand why they’re built as they are, to see inside the walls, so to speak, and to ask questions. How could we not go?!
We were met at the LTV front desk by Dean. If you’re seen his videos and wondered what he’s really like… I’ll tell you, it’s not an act. He’s the same guy in person that you see in the videos and he’s pretty passionate about the Leisure Travel Vans products. His enthusiasm and my inquisitive nerdism (is that even a word?) combined to make what I thought was an extremely informative tour.
Dean, explaining to us that manufacturing the Serenity is much more difficult, because everything has to go into the RV through that door. (Without scratching it up!)
We were at the factory for about four hours. We hit all the major departments, and followed the process from bare chassis to completed RV. You can check out the video for the complete story, but here are a few of the things I remember most from our time there:
Keeping it In-House: One thing that impressed us was that they try to keep as much of the manufacturing process as they can under their roof. We saw them making their own fiberglass molds, all the cabinetry, and even fabricating their own tiny metal brackets. They stop short of mining their own copper and drawing their own wire, but I bet they’ve thought about it.
Attention to Detail: Stef would tell you I’m borderline OCD*, and even I was impressed with some of the little touches I saw going into the RVs they were building. Much of it was things that, as a consumer, you’d never notice. Things like, sealing up openings around wires that most people would think were negligible, and burning 15 person-hours just to mask off a single Free Spirit SS for painting. You may never notice these things, but trust me, you appreciate them. *Stef here: There’s no borderline about it.
Check out Those Walls: For both the Unity and Serenity, they really pay attention to the walls, and to adding the strength where you need it. The Unity walls (and roof… and floor…) are vacuum bonded – where they take multiple layers of material, insulation, metal framing, and resin and fuse them into a single piece. It’s super strong, and you can see the whole process in our video. But what impressed me the most about the vacuum bonding is that they’ve taken the time to figure out where they’ll need to screw things down later – and they reinforce those areas with additional sheet metal that’s also vacuum bonded right inside the rest of the wall. On the Serenity side, they take a similar approach. The walls and roof in the Serenity are solid fiberglass. On the areas they need to reinforce, they use core bonding or solid wood and lay that up and bond it right into the fiberglass walls.
I could keep going on about the factory tour, but Stef will be editing this article for me and I can just picture her eyes glazing over as I extol the virtues of vacuum bonding, so I’ll stop at that.* The rest of the tour is captured in our video. If you own, or are considering purchasing a Leisure Travel Van, you really owe it to yourself to head up to Winkler and schedule a factory tour. But if you can’t make it up there right now, our video is the next best thing.
*Stef again: Actually, you lost me at “fiberglass…”
That’s me (in the black shirt) helping move a Unity down the line. If that’s your TB… you’re welcome!