2013 Jekyll Island Rally Fire Side Chat
Photo by Eric Sandstrom
2010 Best of Michigan Caravan
Photo by Mary Solberg
2011 Creede National Rally
Photo by Forrest Seavey

Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club

Our Club History

The Born Free Leap'n Lions RV Club was founded by John Dodgen in 1999 as an RV Club exclusively for Born Free Motorcoach owners.

JOHN N. DODGEN
Founder

John Dodgen is the Founder and President of Dodgen Industries, Inc., located in Humboldt, Iowa. The company manufactures the Born Free Motorcoach and through it’s Mobile Technologies Division also manufactures commercial vehicles.

1999

The Born Free Club was formed as a FMCA Chapter during the homecoming held July 23-25 in Humboldt, IA. The officers were John Dodgen, National Director; Bob Oliff, President/Alternate National Director; Norman Kinzie, Vice-President; Doris Wolf, Secretary/Treasurer; Bebe Murray, Advisor.

2000

The 1st meeting was held on April 15 -16 in Myrtle Beach, SC. President Bob Oliff introduced the new officers as follows: President, Norman Kinzie; Eastern VP, Joe and Betty Kost; Western VP, Ron and Cathy Johnson; Secretary/Treasurer, Marianne Kinzie.

The next meeting was held at the FMCA National Rally in Brunswick, ME, August 18-20.

2001

An Eastern Region meeting was held in Brooksville, FL at the FMCA S.E.A. Rally, February 7-10 and was hosted by Joe and Betty Kost.

A Western Region meeting was held in Tucson, AZ at the Voyager Campground on Feb. 24-25 hosted by Norman Kinzie. The Born Free Motorcoach homecoming was held in Humboldt June 21-23 to celebrate John Dodgen’s 75th Birthday and was the third rally held in 2001. New officers were elected for a two (2) year term at the meeting. President, Ron Johnson; Secretary/Treasurer, Cathy Johnson; Eastern VP, Paul Wolf; Western VP, Vance Blair.

A Western Region Rally was held in Sisters, OR at the Mountain Shadows RV Park on August 21st and was hosted by personnel from the Born Free Motorcoach factory. A chapter meeting was called to order by President Ron Johnson.

A rally was held in College Park, MD on October 18-21 and was hosted by Eastern Region Paul and Doris Wolf. At this rally, Reggie Clay suggested we have a name for our Born Free Chapter. He suggested the Leap’n Lions and everyone in attendance liked the name and voted to have Paul and Doris contact Ron Johnson. There was an on-line vote to adopt the name. Jan Preston suggested the badge design and drew up the outline for our pins.

The club’s original internet web site was started in 2001 by President Ron Johnson.

2002

A Western Region Rally was held in Quartzsite, AZ on January 18-20 and was hosted by Vance and Cathy Blair and Ron and Cathy Johnson.

An Eastern Region Rally was held in Myrtle Beach, SC on April 18-21 and was hosted by Paul and Doris Wolf.

An Eastern Region Rally was held in Wales, MA on August 23-25 and was hosted by Roy and Sandy Wetherby.

At a later event, a vote was taken by President Ron Johnson on if the club should either stay affiliated with FMCA or stand alone. Members were not renewing their FMCA memberships and therefore could not remain in the club. On November 8 we were no longer an FMCA chapter.

Adamstown, PA near Lancaster was the site of an Eastern Region Rally held September 19-22 hosted by Paul and Doris Wolf.

A Central Region was added in 2002 with Howard Norlin as VP. Newly elected officers for 2003-2005 were President, Ron Johnson; Secretary, Cathy Johnson; Eastern Region VP, Logan Mathis; Western Region VP, Jeff Jahraus; Central Region VP, Howard Norlin (through June 2004).

A Western Region Rally was held in October 10-12 at the Albuquerque, NM Balloon Fiesta and was hosted by Gary and Loretta Richins.

2003

A Western Region Rally was held in Quartzsite, AZ on January 17-19 hosted by Vance and Cathy Blair.

A Western Region Rally was held in Chula Vista, CA on April 3-6 hosted by Vance and Cathy Blair.

An Eastern Region Rally was held April 24-27 in Cleveland, SC and was hosted by Jim and Betty Edwards.

An Eastern Region Rally was held May 20-23 in Twin Mountain, NH and was hosted by Roy and Sandy Wetherby.

A Central Region Tulip Time Festival Rally was held in Holland, MI on May 7-10 hosted by Howard and Barb Norlin.

A Born Free pre-rally prior to the FMCA Summer Rally held in Buffalo, NY was held on July 18-20.

A Western Region Balloon Fiesta Rally was held in Albuquerque, NM on October 9-12 and was hosted by Jeff and Linda Jahraus.

An Eastern Region Rally was held on October 29 thru November 3 in Umatilla, FL Rally and was hosted by Dean and Jan Preston.

2004

A Western Region Rally was held in Quartzsite, AZ on January 16-19 hosted by Jeff and Linda Jahraus.

A Born Free get-together was held in Brooksville, FL on February 3-8. It was held at the same time as the FMCA S.E.A. Rally and was hosted by Logan and Andie Mathis.

An Eastern Region Rally was held in College Park, MD on April 29 thru May 2 at Cherry Hill Park and was hosted by Logan and Andie Mathis.

In April, President Ron Johnson resigned, due to health problems. Cathy Johnson also resigned as the club’s Secretary/Treasurer. In May, Howard Norlin volunteered to finish the term as acting President until June 2005. Mary Findlay became acting Secretary/Treasurer. Bill Lyon then became the new Central Region VP.

An Easter Region Rally was held June 10-13 in Mystic, CT and was hosted by Mel and Connie Wilbur.

Approximately two months later the Central Region was split into a new NC Region with Don Cannistraro serving as VP and a new SC Region with existing VP Bill Lyon serving that region.

A Western Region Rally was held in Durango. CO on September 7-11 hosted by Jeff and Linda Jahraus.

A St. Ignace/Mackinac Island, MI Central Region Rally was held September 15-18 hosted by Howard and Barb Norlin. Acting President Howard Norlin proposed at this meeting that the club bylaws be changed to divide the club into 6 regions to replace the previous 3 regions (Eastern, Central, and Western). This proposal was sent to the membership for vote with a voting deadline of November 5th and it passed. Also at this meeting, six Regional VP positions were established with the following six members being appointed into these acting positions at that time:

NE Vice-President:
Mel Wilbur - new
Cranston, RI 02920
SE Vice-President:
Logan Mathis - no change
Lavonia, GA 30553
NC Vice-President:
Don Cannistraro - no change
Northville, MI 48167
SC Vice-President:
Bill Lyon - no change
Shawnee, OH 74804
NW Vice-President:
Jack Herber - new
Redmond, WA 98052
SW Vice-President:
Jeff Jahraus - no change
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

In November, Don Cannistraro resigned from the NC Region VP position due to health problems. This position then stood vacant until February 2005.

2005

A Quartzsite, AZ Rally was held January 21-24 and was hosted by Jeff and Linda Jahraus.

A Born Free get-together was held in Brooksville, FL on February 1-5 at the same time as the FMCA S.E.A. Rally and was hosted by Logan and Andie Mathis.

In February, Pat Dittmer of Ellison Bay, WI 54210 took over the NC Region Vice-President position.

A Holland, MI Tulip Time NC Region Rally was held on May 11-15 hosted by Barb and Howard Norlin.

A Door County, WI Rally was held on July 14-16 hosted by Dick and Pat Dittmer.

A Maine Yankee NE Region Rally was held in Newfield, ME on September 9-11 hosted by George and Sue Boley.

A Canadian Maritime Caravan began July 15 running for 33 days starting in Ellsworth, ME.

The Sleep’n Lions Overnight Parking Host List was initiated in March.

The club’s first National Rally was held October 12-16 and was hosted by the South Central Region. It was held in Branson, MO with Ed and Judith Leswig organizing the event. They also hosted the Pre-Rally at Eureka Springs, AR on October 10-12. Election of new club officers for years 2006 & 2007 also took place in Branson as follows:

President:
Mel Wilbur - new
Cranston, RI 02920
Secretary/Treasurer:
Mary Findlay - no change
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
NE Vice-President:
Jerry Fay - new
Scituate, MA 02066
SE Vice-President:
George Boley - new
Inverness, FL 34450
NC Vice-President:
Pat Dittmer - no change
Ellison Bay, WI 54210
SC Vice-President:
Bill Lyon - no change
Shawnee, OK 74804
NW Vice-President:
Jack Herber - no change
Redmond, WA 98052
SW Vice-President:
Jeff Jahraus - no change
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

In mid August, the club’s new website (www.bornfreervclub.org) went online with phase one, the discussion board, thanks to Mary Findlay and Mel Wilbur. In September, Bill Hemme accepted the task of co-ordinating phase two which was up and running by early December 2005.

2006

A Quartzsite, AZ SW Region Rally was held again this year on January 20-23 and again was hosted by Jeff and Linda Jahraus.

A Born Free Get-Together at the Brooksville, FL FMCA Rally was held again this year on February 1-5 and was hosted again by Logan and Andie Mathis

A Holland, MI Tulip Time NC Region Rally was held again this year on May 9-14 and again was hosted by Barb and Howard Norlin.

A NC Region Iowa Rally before Homecoming was held June 19-21 at the Webster County Fairgrounds near Fort Dodge, IA.  This event was hosted by Bill and Marilyn Hemme and was attended by a total of 78 Born Free coaches.

The Born Free factory’s Homecoming event celebrating company president John Dodgen’s 80th birthday was held June 22-25 on the factory grounds in Humboldt, IA.

An Alaska or Bust Caravan was held July 20 – Aug 28 run by Tracks to Adventure with George and Sue Boley acting as tailgunners.

A NE Region Dutchess County, New York Rally was held August 24-27 during the Dutchess County Fair and was hosted by Bob and Winnie Markarian.

A SC Region San Juan, Colorado Rally was held August 25-30 at the Ouray, CO KOA Campgrounds and was hosted by Bill and Mary Lyon.

A Best of Michigan Caravan covering both the upper and lower peninsulas of the state was held September 7-28 and was hosted by Howard and Barb Norlin.

A NW Region Washington State Eastern Cascade Rally was held September 13-17 at the Pine Village KOA Park near Leavenworth, WA and was hosted by Pat and Jack Herber.

A SC Region Albuquerque, New Mexico Balloon Fiesta Rally was held October 11-15 on the Balloon Fiesta grounds and was hosted by Gary and Loretta Richins.

2007

Two thousand and seven brought the sixth annual Quartzsite, AZ rally on January 18-21. This desert odyssey gathered 44 Leap'n Lions to share chili and campfire conversations. Hosts were Jeff and Linda Jahraus.

On January 22, club members went on the Mexico Copper Canyon Caravan. This 26 day trip was organized by Pat and Dick Dittmer, who took 18 coaches with them.

Next the club gathered at Umatilla, FL on February 22-25 for a Riverboat Rally. Eighty-two members showed up, with others waiting for a vacancy. The riverboat was sunk by a tornado two weeks before the rally, but hosts George and Sue Boley pulled a rabbit out of the hat and found an excellent replacement. This rally produced our first white elephant auction with the proceeds going to charity.

We next turned our attention to California, where hosts Bob and Carol Newby put on the Pasco Robles Rally in the heart of wine country. It was attended by 30 ralliers on April 11-14. This rally was so well received; it is planned again for 2008.

On May 31-June 3, thirty-seven people attended Ron & Bobbie Warmbier's rally in Port Republic, NJ. Attendees enjoyed free time to explore the many attractions of the Jersey Shore and in the evening were entertained by a great music group, The Pine Barons.

Not long after, on June 9-11, the club attended the Amana Colonies Rally in Iowa, hosted by Craig and Vickie Ditsworth. There were several interesting tours that the 47 attendees enjoyed. As with most of our rallies, Dodgen Industries provided a great meal.

In the meantime, 20 Born Free coaches were getting ready for the club's second caravan to Newfoundland and Labrador, organized by George and Sue Boley. Caravaners boarded the ferry on August 11th for a 28 day journey back in time.

On the way to Newfoundland, many members stopped in New Brunswick at the Miramichi Music Festival Rally, hosted by Gary and Hope Keighley. There were 38 Leap'n Lions there to enjoy a weekend of Arcadian music and hospitality from Aug. 5-9.

In Gunnison, Colorado the cry was heard "gentlemen start your engines" as the second annual jeep rally headed for the narrow mountain trails. It was August 20-25 when hosts Bill and Mary Lyon gathered their team of 34 dare devils together.

We traveled further west to attend the Lewis and Clark Rally in Astoria, Oregon, hosted by Jack and Pat Herber and assisted by Coleen Lorance. There were many tours associated with this September 12-16 rally. Once again, the Born Free factory hosted a great banquet for the 32 club members who attended.

Meanwhile, Howard and Barbara Norlin were hosting "The Best of Michigan Caravan". This 22 day tour started September 6 and took in much of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, highlighting such places as Henry Ford's Museum, Holland's Dutch Village and Mackinaw Island.

Last year (2006) a new position was added to the club, with the appointment of George Boley as our first Rally/Caravan Coordinator. George's job is to make sure at least one rally is planned for each of the six national regions and to organize outside vendor caravans for the Leap'n Lion members. Under George's guidance, 2007 saw our first rally/caravan survey.

The club ended the 2007 year at our National Rally in Nashville, TN, where Logan and Andie Mathis hosted 145 ralliers. There the Born Free factory debuted their newly designed 2008 model coaches with much fanfare. The rally included the Grand Old Opry and Riverboat shows, nightly entertainment, and one of the club's popular technical seminars. At this September 19-23 national rally, club officers were elected/reelected as follows.

Officers:

President (Second Term):
Mel Wilbur
VP North East region:
Gary Keighley
VP South East region:
Karen Birt
VP North Central region:
Ron Bash
VP South Central region (2nd term):
Bill Lyon
VP North West region:
Coleen Lorance
VP South West region:
Robert Newby
Treasurer/Secretary:
John O'Brien

Appointed Positions:

Newsletter Editors:
Dick & Nancy Simpson
Website Administrator:
Bill Hemme
Rally/Caravan Coordinator:
George Boley

2008

Even though gasoline fluctuated to over four dollars a gallon this year, interest in our club's rallies remained strong. The club hosted over 400 ralliers during the year, a testimonial to all our rally hosts, many of whom have developed a strong following. We would also be remiss if we didn't thank Dodgen Industries for sponsoring so many banquets at our rallies. There is not another RV club that receives the kind of factory support that we do.

We started out the year at Quartzsite, Arizona at our seventh annual desert campout. On January 18-21, hosts Jeff and Linda Jahraus served hot chili to forty-one ralliers under a cold night sky around a campfire. From here we traveled east......

To the next extreme, where we found ourselves camped out in Florida at the February FMCA rally. There Logan and Andie Mathis hosted seventeen coaches. This group also partook of chili, but a much different type. The temperatures may have dipped, but not the group's enthusiasm. Once again we headed west where......

On April 11-14, spring blooms early in the California wine country. For the second year club members migrated to the Paso Robles Rally. There hosts Bob and Carol Newby led a wine tasting and fine dining tour for forty-two followers with like palates. Meanwhile back......

In the dairy country of Pennsylvania, on May 12-15, thirty-six Born Freers met with hosts Gary and Hope Keighley at Intercourse, to take in the Amish community. Yes, it rained the first day, but that didn't dampen the spirits of the friends that had gathered there. The highlight was a home cooked meal at an Amish farmhouse. Leaving the farmland we traveled to......

The shores of Lake Erie. There on June 5-8, hosts Ron and Mary Bash had made arrangements to ferry us all out to the old world charm of Put-in-Bay Island and later treated us to a private concert by a talented harpist. Our annual meeting was also held at this rally. There being no new business, it was adjourned.

While fifty-one of us were enjoying Ohio......

Others were congregating at Renfro Valley to the south. This rally was hosted by Karen and Jim Burt for all to enjoy Kentucky's Country Music Capital. Held June 12-15th, eighteen folks attended. In the meantime......

George and Sue Boley were putting the finishing touches on a new concept, the Lake Winnipesaukee, NH seven-day "rolling rally". This September 8-14 rally took in three camping sites and many of the Lakes Region's attractions. The maximum reservations (50) filled up quickly leaving forty-eight people on a waiting list. While some of us were having fun in the northeast, those in the northwest were attending......

The Island Odyssey Rally in Washington, hosted by Coleen and Murray Lorance. It was September 10th when thirty-nine Leap'n Lions greeted old friends on Whidbey Island, part of the San Juan chain. Ferry rides, quaint shops and golf were only a part of what they had come for and none were disappointed. While this rally was at sea level the next one was anything but, as the club ventured to......

Colorado, where longer than anyone can remember, club member and professional off road guide Mike Barmettler, along with rally hosts Bill and Mary Lyon, led a jeep caravan across the mountains of Breckenridge. Believe it or not, thirty-one white knucklers showed up on September 18th to try their four wheeling skills. While these hardy folks enjoyed the mountains, others preferred the flatter land of......

Prince Edward Island, on which Gary and Hope Keighley hosted forty-five ralliers at the International Seafood Festival on September 18-22. Bus and boat tours, chowder fests and Arcadian music were but a sampling of the fun we had. While the sun was starting to set early in the Canadian Maritimes, it was still bringing warm days on the west coast where the last rally of the year was taking place at......

Oakhurst, California. This rally organized by Bob Newby, Joanne Ledbetter and Erlaine Gregory hosted twenty-six members on October 6-10. Included was a Born Free caravan to Yosemite Valley and a steam train ride through the mountains. Sadly this rally ended the Leap'n Lions season, after which many of us put our Born Frees to sleep until next year. But, we shall all be forever young as long as we have something to look forward to. SEE YOU IN 2009!

Officers and Committees:

President:
Mel Wilbur
Secretary/Treasurer:
Bob Markarian
VP North West region:
Coleen Lorance
VP South West region:
Bob Newby
VP South Central region:
Bill Lyon
VP North Central region:
Ron Bash
VP South East region:
Karen Burt
VP North East region:
Gary Keighley
Website Administrator:
Bill Hemme
Rally/Caravan Coordinator
George Boley
Newsletter Co-editors
Dick & Nancy Simpson

2009

On January 16 -19, Jeff & Linda Jahraus hosted the Quartzite, Arizona rally. As usual the add-2-it chili was a big hit with all attending.

The Brooksville, Florida rally in conjunction with the Southeast Area FMCA rally February 3-8, hosted by Logan and Andie Mathis also gave everyone a chance to check out the new Born Free Coaches along with the entertainment and vendor displays at the FMCA rally.

The San Luis Obispo, CA rally, April 27 through May 1, was hosted by Bob & Carol Newby. John Dodgen and Jim Downing attended and put on a pork and chicken BBQ which was enjoyed by all.

June 3 - 7 made Wallowa, WA home base for another great rally hosted by Coleen & Murray Lorance. The spectacular scenery was matched by the program provided by the hosts.

Karen & Jim Birt hosted a return to Renfro Valley, KY June 11 - 14 which once again proved to be an excellent choice as everyone enjoyed the music along with catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

June 18 - 21 brought 165 happy Born Free owners to Ft. Dodge, IA for the clubs 3rd biannual national rally. The hosts, Mitzi & Bob Scott, outdid themselves in organizing and conducting a rally that had something for everyone to enjoy. Following the Sunday morning catered breakfast most all attendees traveled about 20 miles to Humboldt for the factory homecoming and birthday party for John Dodgen.

The Molsbee's, LeRoy and Lois chose the Chipmunk Crossing RV Park in West Plains, MO for their June 12 - 15 rally. Along with the other highlights the group was entertained by an Ozark mountain blue grass group that had everyone tapping their toes with the music.

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada was the destination for the 2009 Les Grande Feux (International fireworks competition) rally August 10 - 13 hosted by Gary and Hope Keighley. A luxury coach tour of the city plus a cruise on the St. Lawrence River was topped off by reserved seating at the fireworks competition between 5 countries, a pyrotechnic spectacular.

A repeat of George and Sue Boley's rolling rally in New Hampshire Sept. 14 - 20, was again quickly filled. It started with everyone meeting in the parking lot of a local church followed by a delicious supper put on by the church youth group. Other highlights included visiting a steamboat meet, a tour of The Castle in The Clouds and a scenic train ride which included a turkey dinner as it rolled through the countryside.

On October 15 - 18, Bob and Carol Newby hosted the final club rally for 2009 in Oceano, CA. Everyone enjoyed the Melodrama show and the BBQ dinner. As one member stated "it was our first rally and we enjoyed every minute of it"


2010

The Brooksville Florida FMCA convention rally hosted by Logan and Andie Mathis, was once again the kick-off for the 2010 calendar which totaled 12 rallies.

Next up was the Florida "Deja Vu" rally in Umatilla which as always was another super time hosted by Sue & George Boley.

May featured two rallies, the first being the Amish Country rally hosted by Gary and Hope Keighley, followed by the Gettysburg Battlefield rally with hosts Ron and Bobbie Warmbier.

Ron and Mary Bash hosted the June Rock & Roll rally in Ohio which took everyone to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Cedar Point Amusement Park.

August was a busy month with four great rallies starting with the Folk Harbor Rally in Nova Scotia hosted by Gary and Hope Keighley and the Newfoundland Ferry Crossing rally also hosted by the Keighley's.

Next in line was the Newfoundland Twillingate Village rally hosted by George and Sue Boley and the Black Hills South Dakota rally with hosts Bill and Rosella Meier.

Co-hosts Don and Bev Bedard & Bill and Nancy MacLean started the September rallies with their Lake Tahoe Rally.

Back on the east coast Gary and Hope Keighley hosted the Fall In North Conway rally and to finalize a busy 2010 Coleen and Murray Lorance hosted the Washington state Discover Westport rally.


2011

The first event of the year was the FMCA Brooksville, FL Get-Together hosted by Logan and Andie Mathis

The first rally of the year was the April Fools Day Rolling Rally from March 30 thru April 2nd beginning in Deland, FL and hosted by Dean and Jan Preston. Fourteen coaches and 26 members attended this event.

Next was the Southwest Region Born Free Rally held at the Chula Vista RV Resort & Marina in Chula Vista, CA on April 11 - 15 and hosted by Bret and Shari Dattke. 16 Born Free coaches with 31 members attended this rally.

Our third rally was the Key West Florida Rally started on May 1st and hosted by Gary and Hope Keighley. 15 born free coaches and 30 members attended this event.

Our fifth event was the Born Free Leap'n Lions National Rally at the Mountain Views at Rivers Edge RV Resort in Creede, CO on June 26 - 30 and hosted by Bill and Mary Lyon. A total of 82 coaches and 161 members attended this event.

Our next event was the Medora North Dakota Rally beginning on July 5th and hosted by Gary and Hope Keighley. Eight Born Free coaches with 16 members enjoyed this rally.

The next rally was The Covered Bridges of Lane County Rally at the Casey's Riverside RV Park in Westfir, OR on September 7 - 11 and hosted by Coleen and Murray Lorance. A total of 18 Born Free coaches with 34 members attended this event.

The 7th rally of the year was the Vermont Foliage Rally held at the Limehurst Lake Campground in Williamstown, VT on September 29 thru October 3. Ron and Bobbie Warmbier hosted it with assistance from George and Sue Boley. A total of 23 Born Free coaches with 45 members enjoyed this rally.

At the same time, The Big Wine Crush Born Free Rally was held at the Far Horizons 49er RV Resort in Plymouth, CA on September 29 thru October 3. It was hosted by Natalie Bradford with 7 coaches and 13 members attending.

Club Officers:

(as of December 31, 2011)
President:
Dean Preston
VP North East Region:
(position open)
VP South East Region:
Eric Sandstrom
VP North Central Region:
Mike Batmettler
VP South Central Region:
LeRoy Molsbee
VP North West Region:
(position open)
VP South West Region:
Bret Dattke
Secretary/Treasurer:
Jay Clark
Newsletter Co-editors:
Dick & Nancy Simpson
Website Administrator:
Bill Hemme
Rally/Caravan Coordinator:
Ronald Warmbier

2012

Our 1st rally of the year was the Leap'n Lions Florida RV SuperShow Rally at the Florida Sate Fairgrounds in Tampa, FL on January 10-15 Sixteen Born Free coaches with 32 members attended. Although this show was full of entertainment, it was reported that the best entertainment was the night George Boley auctioned off items for charity. Hosts for this rally was Eric and Sue-Ann Sandstrom.

The 2nd rally of the year also hosted by Eric and Sue-Ann Sandstrom Was the FMCA Brooksville, Florida Rally on January 1st thru February 5th at the Hernando County Airport in Brooksville, FL. This rally, of which the Born Free Leap'n Lions is a subset, was complete with motorhome displays and dealers, supply and food vendors, great entertainment, and very informative seminars. Twenty One Born Free coaches with 42 members attended this rally.

Our next rally was the Texas Hill Country Spring Rally at the Fredericksburg RV Park in Fredericksburg, TX on April 12-15 and hosted by Neal and Mary Priestley. Twenty-one Leap'n Lions attended this event. The main attractions in Fredericksburg were the George H. W. Bush Gallery National Museum of the Pacific War and the Admiral Nimitz Museum both of which can't be adequately toured in only one day. Eleven Born Free coaches with 23 members attended this rally.

Our 4th rally was the SW Region Newport Beach Rally held at the Newport Dunes RV Resort in Newport Beach, CA on April 23-27 and hosted by James and Phyllis Howard. Fifteen Born Free coaches with 28 members attended this rally. Activities centered on the bay and ocean, including two naturalist-led walks, outrigger canoeing, and a bayside catered barbecue.

A 5th event of the year hosted by Vern & Anne Beeson was the Western Oregon Get-Together on May 9-12 at the Stub Stewart State Park located near Buxton, OR. Eighteen Born Free coaches with 33 members enjoyed this rally. A highlight for many was exploring the easily-accessible trails into the surrounding Coast range that originate from the campground, including a portion of the first "Rails-to-Trails" trail in Oregon.

The 6th rally was the NC Region Summer Starter Rally held at the Eugene Mahoney State Park near Ashland, NE on June 4-8 and hosted by Mike and MaryBeth Barmettler. Highlights of this rally were the tours of Father Flannigan's Boys Town, the Strategic Air & Space Museum, and the Lee Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari operated by the country's top class Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. Fourteen Born Free coaches with 27 members attended this event.

On August 23-27, the Berkshire Rally was held at the Woodland Hills Campground near Austerlitz, NY and was the 7th rally for the year. Bruce and Judy Gregory and Gary and Suzanne Gulbranson hosted it. There were 35 members in 18 Born Free coaches in attendance. Highlights of this rally were tours of the Hancock Shaker Village, Norman Rockwell Museum and especially the concert at the Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra where the attendees experienced a celebration of fine music performed there including Beethoven's 9 Symphony. Eighteen Born Free coaches with 35 members enjoyed this rally.

Our 8th rally was the San Luis Obispo Autumn Rally hosted by Bob and Carol Newby at the Chorro Regional Campground near San Luis Obispo, CA on September 10-15. Attending were 14 coaches, 24 members, 10 dogs and four cats. Highlights of this event were visits to San Luis Obispo's Wine Country, Botanical Gardens, Famous Farmer's Market, Firestone local Beer Brewery, Baileyana Winery, the historic Mission and up and down the coast from Avila, Cambria to San Simon, and as far as to the Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas Beach, as well as Pismo Beach. Then there was the trip to the California Native Plants Nursery, Las Pilitas north of San Luis Obispo in the Foothills above Santa Margarita.

Our final event for the year was the Aspen Spectacular Get-Together on September 23-29 hosted by Mike Barmettler and Jeff and Linda Jahrus. This event was for the 4-wheeling members of our club and was held this year in the San Juan mountain areas of southwestern Colorado and was based out of Ouray, CO. Eight Born Free coaches with 15 club members tackled this caravan. Memories and white knuckles were created four wheeling over Imogene Pass, Black Bear Road, Cinnamon Pass, Corkscrew and others. Trail Leaders were chosen each day from veteran off-roaders in the San Juans. Sixteen Born Free coaches with 32 members enjoyed this 4-wheeling caravan.

Club Officers:

(as of December 31, 2012)
President:
Dean Preston
VP North East Region:
Bruce Gregory
VP South East Region:
Eric Sandstrom
VP North Central Region:
Bill Meier
VP South Central Region:
LeRoy Molsbee
VP North West Region:
(position open)
VP South West Region:
Bret Dattke
Secretary/Treasurer:
Jay Clark
Newsletter Co-editors:
Dick & Nancy Simpson
Website Administrator:
Bill Hemme
Rally/Caravan Coordinator:
Ronald Warmbier

2013

January 15-20 - The Florida RV Super Show at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa was the beginning of a wonderful year of rallies throughout our beautiful country. The largest RV show in the country was hosted by Eric and Sue Sandstrom. There were 14 Born Free coaches at this event.

February 5-10 - Was the FMCA Brooksville Florida S.E.A. Rally hosted by Logan and Andie Mathis. The event took place at the Hernando Co. Airport. There were 13 BF coaches. Thanks to Eric and Sue Sandstrom for filling in for Logan whom was under the weather.

April 2-5 - The Annual Migration of the Sandhill Cranes at Windmill State Recreation Area in Gibbon, Nebraska. There were 16 BF coaches at this spectacular event. The agenda included a trip to the Great Platte River Archway Monument which is the site where the Mormon California and Oregon trails crossed Nebraska, visiting Norris Press where a large variety of cookbooks are printed, the Classic Car Museum and time watching the Sandhill cranes feeding during the day and the spectacular return of the cranes returning to the river at sunset. Hosts were Bill and Rosella Meier.

April 4-7 - Meet Us at the Rez Rally was the first of three rallies in April. Joel and Sandy Lefkowitz hosted the rally at Big Cypress RV Resort in Clewiston, Florida, where twenty attendees were greeted by April showers. Starting out the 4-day event was a very wet swamp buggy ride to see the vast array of animals that call the Everglades their home. The following day's events included a fast and wet air boat ride, a story in song of the boyhood life of a Seminole and a visit to the Seminole Museum.

April 9-13 - Jekyll Island, Georgia Rally was hosted by Bruce and Judy Gregory at the Jekyll Island Campground. The group toured beautiful Jekyll Island to see where the rich and famous spent their winters from 1886-1942, then on to the Georgia Turtle Center where they care for sick and injured sea turtles.

April 21-24 - the Temecula Valley Southern CA Wine Country Rally was the third rally in April. This event was hosted by James and Phyllis Howard at the Pechanga RV Resort. Highlights were the tour to 4 wineries and a hot air balloon ride.

May 29 - June 1 - was the Northwest Born Free Get-together at South Beach State Park, hosted by Len and Judy Maki.

June 9-11 - The Leap'n Lions Biennial National Rally at Webster Co. Fairgrounds in Fort Dodge, IA., was hosted by George and Sue Boley and Ron and Bobbie Warmbier. Highlights were the ladies tea arranged by Ramona Birdsell and the Technical Seminar organized by Bill Hemme. Lifetime Honorary Membership to the Leap'n Lions RV Club was awarded to Mel and Connie Wilbur. There were 60 coaches at this meeting.

June 12-14 - Factory Homecoming at Humboldt, IA. Another wonderful, fun filled and entertaining time was presented by the Born Free Company and staff. And of course all the delicious food. A beautiful presentation of the New Born Free coaches was awesome. August 18-24 - Annual Colorado Four Wheelers Get-together at the Base Camp Colorado Dream RV Park in Almont, CO., hosted by Mike Barmettler.

August 26-30 - Watkins Glen Rally at the Clute Park and Campground in Watkins Glen NY., was hosted by Charlie and Helen Hathaway. Highlights included a tour of The Bully-Hill Vineyards, The Glen Curtis Museum, The Corning Museum and The Rockwell Museum of Western Art.

October 16-20 - Carson City NV Rally hosted by Bev and Dob Bedard and Nancy and Bill MacLean at the Gold Dust RV Park in Carson City.

October 31- November 3 - Octoberfest Rolling Rally hosted by Dean and Jan Preston began at the Orange Blossom Opry in Weisdale, FL and ended at DeLeon Springs. The group was entertained at the Orange Blossom Opry, toured the Florida Carriage Museum, enjoyed the German Band and dancers at the Oktoberfest Party, and made their own pancakes at the Old Spanish Sugar mill at DeLeon Springs. Thirteen rallies and events in 2013! Wow, what a year. Thanks to all the hosts for planning these wonderful, fun, entertaining and educational events.

Club Officers:

(as of December 31, 2013)
President:
Dean Preston
VP North East Region:
Bruce Gregory
VP South East Region:
Eric Sandstrom
VP North Central Region:
Bill Meier
VP South Central Region:
Bill Lyon
VP North West Region:
Janet Rogers
VP South West Region:
Bret Dattke
Secretary/Treasurer:
Jerry Fay
Newsletter Editor:
Dick Simpson
Website Administrator:
Bill Hemme
Rally/Caravan Coordinator:
Ron Warmbier

2014

January 14-19 - Leap' n Lions Florida RV Super Show - Rally hosts were Eric and Sue Sandstrom in Tampa, FL. There were 10 coaches at the Rally. Brandon and Julie Dodgen, Ed Newman and Scott Cran from Born Free, and Carl Harr from Liquid Spring, LLC joined the group for a Lasagna dinner sponsored by Born Free and prepared by Eric and Sue. A tour of the Florida Aquarium, a boat ride on Tampa Bay to see the dolphins, great evening entertainment and great food and fellowship were highlights of the RV show along with seeing all the new RVs.

January 29 - February 2 - FMCA Brooksville, FL SEA Rally - Rally hosts were Logan and Andy at Brooksville, FL. There were 7 coaches. The attendees visited many of the vendor's tents and attended several seminars. The wind, cold, and rain didn't stop everyone from having a good time. The sun came out the last day. Next year (2015) this rally will be at Sarasota, Fl.

February 21-23 - Tuscon/Layzdays Born Free Rally- Layzdays RV Sales and Born Free Factory hosted the rally in Tuscon, AZ.

March 6-9, 2014 - Florida Treasure Coast Rally- Rally host were Joel and Sandy Lefkowitz. Twenty coaches met at Marsh Landing eatery in Fellsmere. Touring the Navy Seal Museum at Fort Pierce was on the agenda for the next day. Joel and Sandy cooked eggs in a bag for everyone for breakfast

March 21-23, 2014 - Tampa Layzdays /Born Free Rally- Layzdays RV Sales and Born Free hosted the rally in Tampa, FL.

April 9-13 - Born Free Branson, MO Factory Rally - Born Free owners and staff met at the Branson Lakeside RV Park for fun, great food and entertainment. The event included several shows, a riverboat dinner cruise, fun and fellowship. Scott Cran and Ed Newman were the "Grill Masters."

May 14-18 - San Luis Obispo/El Chorro Regional Park Rally - Rally hosts were Bob and Carol Newby. Twelve coaches were in attendance for this 4-day rally at El Chorro Park. Russ Kimmell "The Guru of Generators" answered lots of questions Wednesday evening. The men attended a RAMS (Retired Active Men) group meeting where they were treated to a presentation about Lewis and Clark and some history of the indigenous Native American tribes. The women attended an elegant Morning Tea at the Newby family "Quail Creek Ranch". Other activities included lunch and tour of the Madonna Inn grounds pool and spa, the Botanical Gardens and a free day to visit other areas or just relax and enjoy the beach.

June 10-13 - Born Free Factory Homecoming - Lots of fun, laughter, food, games, line dancing, entertainment and great fellowship was enjoyed by all at the annual Homecoming. The horse and buggy rides were again a huge favorite for the Born Free family. Other highlights were of course the presentation of the new coaches, and the outrageously funny and entertaining Water Ballet by CT and the Born Free Staff.

June 17-21 - South Central Regional Rally -Rally was hosted by Bill and Mary Lyon in Shawnee, OK, at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center. There were 21 coaches with 41 members from 16 states attending The rally began with a tour of Shawnee, then on to the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, the local Farmers Market, a presentation by Linda Capps, Vice Chairman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation on how the Nation's leaders are improving the economic and social condition of their people. Other activities included a tour of the National Weather Center at Norman, OK, and a half day at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. One evening was a trip to Braun's a local ice creamery where everyone enjoyed some delicious ice cream treats and a visit to see Bill's classic car collection.

September 7-12 - Cape May Rally - Rally hosts were Bruce and Judy Gregory and Lynn Engleman, at Cape May, NJ. Activities included a tour of the Edmund Physic Estate, trolley tour of Historical Cape May, tour of the Naval Air Station (NAS) Wildwood Aviation Museum at the Cape May Airport, The Cape May County Park and Zoo, a salt marsh boat tour to see the wildlife, the Caper Mat Light house and an afternoon shopping at Washing Square Mall. Lunches were enjoyed at the Mad Batter Restaurant, the Flight Deck at Cape May Airport and the Lobster House.

September 13-27 - Factory-led Caravan to Maritime Provinces, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island -The caravan began at Portland, ME and ended at New Brunswick. The 16 day caravan tours included whale watching, a pewter factory, winery, creamery, distillery, historic gardens and lighthouses. Villages and cities visited included Annapolis Royal, Bear River, Luenburg, Halifax, Pictou, Talamagouche and two days at Prince Edward Island. Hosts were Brandon and Julie Dodgen.

September 21-27 - Colorado Caravan- Mike and Mary Beth Barmettler hosted the 5 days of four wheeling through the high passes of the summit area for beautiful views of the great aspen trees in their beautiful Fall colors.

October 1-5 - Santa Barbara Coast Rally - Rally host were Southwest Regional VP Phyllis Howard and husband Jim. Sixteen coaches and 31 Leap' n Lions and guests met at Ocean Mesa above El Capitan State Beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean. They enjoyed a 2-hour boat cruise into the Santa Barbara Channel where they saw several different species of aquatic wildlife. Other highlights included a free day to visit Santa Barbara, dinner and theater, hiking and a visit to Santa Barbara's Reagan Ranch Center. Lots of fun, food, games, and laughter filled the evening sunsets overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

October 30 - November 2 - Central Florida Fall Rolling Rally- Hosts for the 90 mile Rolling Rally were Jerry and Sally Wagner and Dick and Marie Holt. The rally started at the Orange Blossom Opry in Wiersdale, FL., then on to Umatila for a free day to explore the local attractions. The rally ended at the Wagner's in Astor, Fl where a pontoon boat cruise on the St. Johns River was planned.

Club Officers:

(as of December 31, 2014)
President:
Dean Preston
VP North East Region:
Bruce Gregory
VP South East Region:
Eric Sandstrom
VP North Central Region:
Bill Meier
VP South Central Region:
Bill Lyon
VP North West Region:
Janet Rogers
VP South West Region:
Phyllis Howard
Secretary/Treasurer:
Jerry Fay
Newsletter Editor:
Dick Simpson
Website Administrators:
Bill Hemme, Jerry Fay and Mel Wilbur
Rally/Caravan Coordinator:
Ron Warmbier

2015

February 9-11 - Lazydays / Born Free RV Tampa Rally was hosted by Lazydays &Born Free and held at the Lazydays RV Campground in Seffner, Florida. Forty six members attended in 23 coaches from 8 states. Members competed in entertaining games for prizes and bragging rights. They attended seminars on RV maintenance, convection oven cooking and vehicle towing. They also submitted improvement ideas on a Customer Advisory Panel and they learned what changes and innovations were happening at Born Free under new management. Additionally, they enjoyed good food including a chuck wagon dinner party and good entertainment including a 4 piece band playing oldies/pop – it was a great rally.

February 11-14 - FMCA Sarasota SEA Rally was hosted by Eric (VPSER) & Sue Sandstrom and Joel & Sandy Lefkowitz and held at Sarasota County Fairgrounds in Sarasota, Florida. Thirty four members attended in 18 coaches from 9 states. Participants attended numerous seminars and enjoyed several evenings of great entertainment provided by FMCA. They also held their own social events including some potluck dinners and spent one evening at the highly regarded Amish ‘Der Dutchman Restaurant. Everyone had a delightful time.

March 6-8 - Lazydays/Born Free Tucson Rally was hosted by Lazydays & Born Free and held at the Lazydays & KOA Campground in Tucson, Arizona. Forty four members attended in 22 coaches representing 8 states. Members competed in enjoyable games for prizes and bragging rights. They attended seminars on maintaining your RV, cooking with a convection oven and driving with a towed vehicle. They also submitted improvement ideas by participating on a Customer Advisory Panel and learned what changes and innovations were occurring at Born Free under new management. Additionally, they were treated to good food and entertainment.

April 8-12 - Lone Pine & Alabama Hills Rally was hosted by Jim & Phyllis (VPSWR) Howard and held at the Boulder Creek RV Resort in Lone Pine, California. Thirty six members attended in 18 coaches from 5 states. Participants enjoyed the spectacular terrain of the Alabama Hills, the Museum of Lone pine Film History, the Eastern California Museum, Manzanar National Historic Site, the tule elk viewing area and a beautiful chateau and its surrounding grounds. They also star gazed and attended the Alabama Hills Day event in Lone Pine. What an amazing rally.

June 9-12 - Born Free RV Homecoming Rally was hosted by Born Free RV and held at the Born Free Factory in Humboldt, Iowa. It was attended by 190 members in 102 coaches from 25 states. Owners had minor repairs done on their coaches by the expert factory personnel and they offered improvement ideas on the Customer Advisory Panel. Attendees competed for prizes and bragging rights in the Born Free Olympic Games, line danced, painted pictures, golfed, took factory tours, attended several presentations and enjoyed good food and entertainment. Highlights were seeing all the wonderful Born Free employees again, meeting Jeff Butler (new President and CEO) and unveiling of the new 2016 Born Free Motor Coach models. Everyone had a great time renewing friendships, enjoying a relaxing time, and seeing the new 2016 models – it was a great place to be.

June 15-19 - Discover Door County Wisconsin Rally was hosted by Pat & Dick Dittmer and Mary & Dick Holt and held at Bailey’s Grove Campground in Bailey’s Harbor, Wisconsin. Seventy members attended in 36 coaches from 18 states. Participants visited the Maritime Museum, the Door County Museum and the Seaquest Market. They also took a relaxing cruise on Green Bay aboard the Captain Charlie’s Washington Island Ferry. Additionally, attendees enjoyed a traditional Door County Fish Boil at the campground and the “Infamous” chefs from Born Free provided a bar-b-que. This was a wonderful rally.

June 22– July 25 - North to Alaska/Yukon Caravan was sponsored by Born Free Motor Coach. For 33 days Bob Newby led 21 caravaners in 11 Born Free Motor Coaches from 10 states over 3,600 miles from Dawson Creek, BC up the Alaska Highway and beyond through British Columbia, Alaska, the Canadian Yukon Territory and back to Dawson Creek. They drove over paved, gravel and dirt roads, cruised on calm and turbulent waterways and walked on rugged hiking trails to experience the most majestic, beautiful and dense wilderness scenery of this last frontier. Along the way they developed great friendships, enjoyed good meals together and entertained each other around campfires. They ate delicious cinnamon buns at the Shepard’s Inn, relaxed at Laird Hot Springs, crossed the continental divide, took a 12 hour bus tour of Denali National Park and had a wildlife spotting/glacier viewing cruise out of Valdez. They ferried their coaches across the Yukon River, took a relaxing dinner cruise at Dawson City and had a wildlife spotting/dinner cruise to and from Juneau. They observed breathtaking landscape at almost every turn in the road and/or bend in the river and viewed several massive glaciers. They a saw lots of wild life including: bears, bison, caribou, eagles, falcons, fox, geese, goats, lynx, moose, sheep, sea lions, sea otters, whales and a small herd of wild horses. It was indeed an awesome experience and truly an adventure of a lifetime.

September 14-18, Biennial National Rally was hosted by Jerry & Mary Breu and held at Cherry Hill RV Park in College Park, Maryland. It was attended by 90 members in 46 coaches from 23 states and the District of Columbia. President Dean Preston chaired the biennial business meeting and recognized all club officers for the great job they are doing. Highlights of the meeting may be summarized as follows: 8 of 11 executive board members are continuing for another 2 year term, Charles Hathaway is replacing outgoing Bruce Gregory as VPNE Region, the position of Rally/Caravan Coordinator and the position of VPSE Region previously held by Ron Warmbier and Bill Lyon respectively are both now open for replacement. Along with holding the biennial business meeting, club members enjoyed: delightful food with Born Free RV making a sizeable donation towards a main dinner meal, good weather, wonderful sightseeing trips to the Washington DC area, a special and entertaining benefit auction(thanks to George Boley), a benefit raffle (thanks to Mel Wilbur) and great fellowship. The auction and benefit raffle contributed $2,200 to the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children – outstanding

September 20-27 - Colorful Colorado Caravan was hosted by Mike & Mary Beth Barmettler and held high up in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado with home base at the Ouray KOA in Ouray, Colorado. It was attended by 15 caravaners in 6 coaches from 7 states. For 5 days Mike Barmettler led the 15 member Jeep caravan from Ouray up and down rugged, narrow, steep and curvy roads and trails, with mountain walls on one side and nothing but breathtaking view over the other side. They journeyed to silver and gold mines of long ago now just ghost towns. They trekked through those beautiful and breathtaking passes Ophir, Black Bear, Imogene, Engineer, Cinnamon, Corkscrew and California. They explored historic places like Telluride, Ophir Townsite, Red Mountain Town, Animas Forks, Alta, Trout Lake, and Yankee Boy Basin. It was truly a magnificent and spectacular fall adventure.

October 1-5 - Columbia Gold Country Rally was hosted by Jim & Phyllis (VPSWR) Howard and held in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at the 49er RV Ranch in Columbia, California. It was attended by 33 members in 17 coaches from 3states. Members explored Columbia State Park, the town of Murphys and Railtown in Jamestown (backdrop for such movies as “High Noon” and “Butch Cassidy…”). At Railtown they took an authentic steam train ride into the scenic country side. Additionally, the group enjoyed good food including a dinner at the historic National Hotel sponsored by Born Free and entertainment like “Always Patsy Cline” performed by the acclaimed Sierra Repertory theater players at the historic Fallon House. This was a terrific rally.

Club Officers:

(as of December 31, 2015)
President:
Dean Preston
VP North East Region:
Bruce Gregory
VP South East Region:
Eric Sandstrom
VP North Central Region:
Bill Meier
VP South Central Region:
(Position Open)
VP North West Region:
Janet Rogers
VP South West Region:
Phyllis Howard
Secretary/Treasurer:
Jerry Fay
Newsletter Editor:
(Position Open)
Website Administrators:
Bill Hemme, Jerry Fay and Mel Wilbur
Rally/Caravan Coordinator:
(Position Open)

2016

February 25-29 - Nevada Balloon Festival Rally was hosted by Jim & Phyllis (VPSWR) Howard and held at the Wine Ridge RV Resort in Pahrump, Nevada. Twenty six (26) members attended in14 coaches from 4 states. Participants enjoyed the spectacular Third Annual Pahrump Balloon Festival. This included early morning multi-colored balloon ascensions, brilliant evening balloon glow light shows, carnival, food, art and craft booths and entertainment. They also enjoyed a private tour and excellent wine tasting at the Pahrump Valley Winery, a trip to the Pahrump Valley Museum, and a vintage luncheon. Some members gave stellar performances at the karaoke event. After the rally several members caravanned to Death Valley where they toured the visitor’s center, Furnace Creek ranch areas and the Borax Museum. It was a very spectacular and wonderful rally.

March 21-25 - Spring Rolling Rally was hosted by Jim & Ramona Birdsell and Dick & Marie Holt and held at the Olde Mill Stream RV Resort in Umatilla, Florida. Twenty seven (27) members and guests attended in 17 coaches from 8 states. Orange grove owners John and Diane Whitaker welcomed attendees to their lovely plantation lake home, conducted a tour of their large groves and all were treated to a very delicious catered barbecue. Attendees also participated in a painting class, wine tasting seminar and were entertained by the very talented October Mountain Band. Attendees also caravanned to Weirsdale, Florida to attend a very entertaining jam session at the Orange Blossom Opry and spend the evening socializing and dry camping in the opry parking lot. Everyone just had a grand time.

March 30-April 2 - Annual Migration of the Sandhill Cranes Rally was hosted by Bill (VPNCR) & Rosella Meier and held at the Windmill State Recreation Area in Gibbon, Nebraska. Twenty three (23) members attended in 12 coaches from 9 states. Participants met each morning for breakfast in the Meier’s ballroom. They toured the Classic Car Collection (approximately 200 cars), the Museum of Nebraska Art, Morris Press Cookbooks (nations #1 publisher of cookbooks) and the Archway on I-80 (a structure that recaptures the site where the Oregon trail, Mormon trail, California Trail and Pony Express all crossed Nebraska). However, the highlight was visiting the Rowe Sanctuary and viewing thousands (estimated 500,000 each spring) of magnificent Sandhill cranes converging on Nebraska’s Platte River valley to rest and refuel prior to continuing north to their nesting grounds. It was a very impressive rally.

August 23-26 - Born Free Homecoming Rally was hosted by Jeff Butler & the Born Free Team and held at the Born Free Factory in Humboldt, Iowa. Eighty three (83) members and others attended in 47 coaches from 18 states. Owners enjoyed the opportunity to have minor repairs done on their coaches by expert factory personnel and some owners offered coach improvement ideas on the Customer Advisory Panel. Attendees competed for prizes and bragging rights in the Born Free Olympic games. Additionally, they line danced, decorated cakes, golfed, played bingo, had chair massages (oh those chair massages), took factory tours and enjoyed great food. Entertainment included karaoke, a movie night and the fabulous Avery County Showtime Band. Highlights were interacting with all the wonderful Born Free team members again and reconnecting with each other. Everyone had a great time renewing friendships, enjoying a relaxing time, and seeing some of the new 2017 models – it was a great place to be.

September 12-16 - Genesee Country Rally was hosted by Charlie (VPNER) and Helen Hathway and held at Genesee Country Campground near Caledonia, New York. Twenty eight (28) members attended in 15 coaches from 12 states. Attendees toured Letchworth State Park (renowned as the Grand Canyon of the East), had a delightful lunch at the park’s outstanding Glen Iris Inn and enjoyed the beautiful grounds of this award winning state park (winner of USA Today’s “Best State Park in the United States Award”). Attendees also toured the 600 acre 19th century Genesee Country Village, the George Eastman House and the Genesee Brewery which included a tasting and a very delicious lunch. President Dean Preston was presented an award for his many years of distinguished service to the club. It was truly a fantastic rally

October 10-14 - Trinidad Bay Rally was hosted by Jim & Phyllis (VPSWR) Howard and held at the Emerald Forest RV Park in Trinidad, California. Twenty three (23) members attended in 10 coaches from 3 states. Participants enjoyed the absolutely beautiful forest setting camping among the tall ageless redwoods and surrounded by surf scoured beaches. They caravanned to the Patrick’s Point State Park, toured a recreated Yurok Indian village and visited the historic village of Trinidad browsing through shops enjoying food from various cafes and wine tasting at the Bergeron Winery. They hiked through the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, ate at the Samoa Cookhouse, visited the Blue Ox Museum, had a great dinner and were entertained by the terrific Blue Lotus Jazz at Celebration Hall. It was a very delightful rally and a great way to end the summer.

Club Officers:

(as of December 31, 2016)
President:
Dean Preston
VP North East Region:
Bruce Gregory
VP South East Region:
Eric Sandstrom
VP North Central Region:
Bill Meier
VP South Central Region:
(Position Open)
VP North West Region:
Janet Rogers
VP South West Region:
Phyllis Howard
Secretary/Treasurer:
Jerry Fay
Newsletter Editor:
Helen Hornbake
Website Administrators:
Bill Hemme, Jerry Fay and Mel Wilbur
Rally/Caravan Coordinator:
(Position Open)