The 40th anniversary Roadtrek corporate rally is going on this week in Branson, MO, with more than 500 Roadtrek owners and 250 coaches gathered for a week's worth of fun celebrating the four decades the very popular Class B motorhomes have been sold.
Attenders from across the US and Canada were greeted with cloudy skies and heavy rain warnings on arrival Monday, but that didn't deter many from taking advantage of a free Roadtrek wash organized by the company.
Roadtrek President Jim Hammill, Sales Director Paul Cassidy and Chief Engineer Jeff Stride were all on hand, making the long trip to Branson from company headquarters in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
Chris Deakens, Roadtrek's tech support guru, answered questions and scheduled on-site technician visits for those who want some tweaking and easy repairs while in Branson.
Every Roadrek model is parked here, with the oldest (a 1985) to the newest (a new CS Adventurous that just rolled off the assembly line late last week).
There is food, with big communal breakfasts and dinners. There's nightly entertainment at the campground, as well as a trip to one of the big shows this resort community n the Ozarks is famous for.
For most though, visiting and hanging out seems to top the agenda.
The ABC campground we're staying at is very hilly. Most of us are doubled up with two to a site but since the sites are all pull-through, no one is complaining.
Jennifer and I have been meeting people and giving tours of the eTrek. It's been fun to put real in-person faces with the names we've been visiting with for months on our Facebook group. It's hard to overstate how tight the Facebook Roadtreking friends have become. People keep using the word family to describe it and, indeed, watching us all hug and greet each other, you'd see why we feel that way.
We also got a chance to visit with many members of the FMCA's Roadtrek International Chapter, which wrapped up its 40th anniversary rally just as the corporate rally bagan. Many of the chapter members stayed over for the corporate gathering.
Frances Griffin, the chapter president, told me about a song called “Three Little Windows” that was written by Roadtrek owner Mark Sickman. Mark took photos from his travels across the country and accompanied it with an original song named after the three up-top windows that are distinctive to each Roadtrek. You can see and hear his slideshow and music at http://threelittlewindows.com
There was lots of excitement Monday night when a severe thunderstorm swept through the park. Thunder boomed and lighting crackled all around as wind flung driving rain that was horizontal at times. Several roadtrekers retreated to the basement of the campground office until it passed. But pass it did and the worst was but a memory by bedtime.
Meantime, here's some scattered photos of what the Branson rally is like …. with more photos, stories and video to come later this week. Just click on any photo to see it larger. And for you Facebook friends, I have added photos of many of the regulars who are here. Right click to save it to your hard drive.