“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” ~ Helen Keller
A bunch of NKK Fulltimers Chapter members had quite an adventure in the Virginias this summer. We had 105 people in 54 Newmar rigs at the 2021 Fulltimers Rally and Annual Business Meeting in Wytheville, Virginia July 10-15. Our five days there were jam packed with Fun and Friendship. Attendees ate well and played hard while meeting up with old friends and making new friends.
An important element of our chapter is humanitarian support. Every year the Fulltimers Chapter strives to leave behind a positive footprint in the area we visit. This year we chose HOPE Inc. and their programs Open Door Café – a pay as you can lunch restaurant and Hope Packs – a children’s backpack service supplying kids with food over the weekends.
Our enthusiastic and very generous group raised a total of $13,500 for HOPE Inc.; $5,000 of which was donated in matching funds by James Pakkidis owner of the Wytheville KOA the site of our rally. Another $1,000 came in the form of a grant from Winnebago Industries we solicited on their behalf. The chapter voted at our business meeting to contribute $1,000 from our general funds and a large part of our donation came from our drawing where we offered over $3,000 in merchandise. And of course, our chapter members wrote checks to help out.
After registration, orientation and a welcome dinner on Sunday, we sat down to a delicious meal and Mike Pugh the director of Open Door Café and Hope Packs, told us about their efforts to address food insecurity in the Wytheville area. Thank you to Evan and Debbie Hughes former Fulltimers Chapter President and current Members-at-Large for stopping by to say hello during registration.
Our business meeting was held on Monday morning and, with a few hick-ups, live streamed on Facebook. All officers were reelected. Tom & Roni Lehmkuhl remain as President, Hal & Lynn Fryer stayed on as Vice President, Tom & Barbara Palmer continue as Secretary, David & Debbie Seale will remain Treasurer. Barbara Nuehring agreed to continue in the non-elected position of Traveling Times editor. Congratulations to our officers.
After the meeting, a historical overview of the area was given by Michael Gilman from the Wytheville Museum Society who dressed in period costume and related the interesting history of Wythe County. Our visits to the F. Chiswell Animal Park may have been a little wet thanks to a couple torrential downpours during the safari but even that couldn’t dampen our enthusiasm.
We enjoyed a four course lunch and a show at the Wohlfahrt Theater. The Open Door Café in downtown Wytheville catered two dinners and a hot breakfast for our group which contributed another $4,500 to their organization. We had waffles and sausages another morning from the Wytheville Waffle House, thanks to Dan & Leah Woodley. Peggy Shafer SkyMed representative sponsored another breakfast. Additionally, we had an ice cream social one night with the proceeds going to KOA Kids.
We played Who do you know Bingo to get to know each other better. We also had a split the pot, and a Poker walk to raise funds for our humanitarian cause. And a roundtable to discuss subjects of common interest, a first timer at International meeting and a meeting on caravanning and parking as a group at International. We packed a lot of fun, entertainment, and knowledge into one rally.
The rally was culminated by a big anniversary bash that included a sparkling cider toast by long time member John Kelker and birthday cake. Our chapter’s 30th anniversary was in 2020, but we didn’t hold a rally that year due to the pandemic, so we were more than ready to party! We were then entertained by Wayne Taylor, Pat White and Adam Rose who put on a great show playing a mix of country, bluegrass, oldies and patriotic tunes. A huge thank you to the Vice President Hal and Lynn Fryer for making this happen.
Special thank you’s go out to our corporate sponsors – Mt Comfort RV Greenfield, Indiana who again sponsored a dinner for us and donated several items for our drawing. The Wytheville KOA for hosting the rally and their contribution to the humanitarian project. Randy Baldwin with ITR Oasis was very generous in donating Oasis maintenance kits and installations. MageShade donated mirror covers, Tire Minder gave us a Tire Pressure Monitoring system, Freightliner gave us some goody bag items. Thanks also to our members that contributed items for the drawing the Seale’s, the Fryer’s, the Lehmkuhl’s, the Newton’s, the Baker’s and the Palmer’s. A giant thank you to all the volunteers that helped in any way, the rally would not be a success without you!
One thing that worked well for us and we would like to suggest to others planning rallies, we rented a golf cart for the duration of the rally to assist those that needed a little extra help getting around the ca
mpground. John and Lynn Lodholz chauffeured our members around with what came to be known as the GUBER (Golfcart Uber) service.
To continue the fun, most of us left our Fulltimers Rally to attend the International Rally in Lewisburg, West Virginia. We had 66 Fulltimers Chapter member coaches in attendance at the Lewisburg Rally. Our Popcorn and Lemonade stand maintained a brisk business – we all know rallies make their attendees hungry and thirsty. The Fulltimers Chapter presented seminars on Wednesday and Thursday attracting over 70 people each day. Thanks to our presenters John & Nancy Kelker, Dick White, Joe Symmes and Tom Lehmkuhl and of course thanks to all that attended. Our chapter social held on Thursday evening had over 100 people enjoying hot dogs, cracker jacks and pretzels in our Take Me Out to the Ballgame themed get together.
Seemed like every time we turned around, we saw a familiar face as many of our members helped out on golf cart shuttles, registration, manning info booths and food service. If you want something done, just ask a Fulltimer and considered it done.
Thanks to the Newmar Techs that make the journey every year to maintain our Newmars. Thanks also to the International Directors, Members-at-Large, Regional Directors, State and Local officers for their work in putting on a monumental task.
Looking ahead, we have two more rallies in the works. The Holly Jolly Rally this winter and the rally before International next summer. Our plans for a Holly Jolly Rally to be held at the beautiful Creekside RV Resort in Punta Gorda, Florida, December 5-9, are coming together. Our co-hosts will be Chapter Vice President Hal and Lynn Fryer for this event. We have 30 sites reserved – all 50 amp Full Hookup. Tentative plans are for attendees to kick off the holiday season with a Harbor Cruise to view holiday lights and a Swamp Buggy Eco Tour, in addition to meals and activities at the campground. As of this writing, we still have a couple sites available. Check the NKK website’s Klub Calendar for availability.
2022 Fulltimers Rally and Annual Business Meeting. The rally will be held in Heber City, Utah July 10-15, before the International Rally in Rock Springs, Wyoming. We have reserved 60 sites, and registrations will take place through the NKK Website in February 2022. The rally will be held at Mountain Valley RV Resort. We are looking into venues and activities in the area. We’d love to hear your recommendations.
As we travel around the country, we’re on the lookout for the “F” decal on the NKK numbers on all those beautiful Newmars designating a Fulltimers Chapter member. It’s always a good time when we meet up with other members! We are so grateful to be a part of this great group.
Join the Fulltimers Chapter by accessing the application form from the Fulltimers web page at Membership Application and Renewal Form or contact Tom and Barbara Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom & Roni Lehmkuhl (F20913)
Fulltimers Chapter – Presidents