RVers find social networks in great outdoors

Farm Forum

Many RVers join special interest Recreation Vehicle groups to learn more about the RV life. Motor home owner Vivian Grybko of Kansas is a member of several RV groups, such as Good Sam, Family Motorhome Coach Association, Escapees and Wandering Individuals Network.

“In addition to learning more about the RV lifestyle,” said Grybko, “I selected these groups to meet people with like interests.”

A shy, independent widow, Grybko became a member of the Wandering Individuals Network (WIN) in 2002 about a year after her husband died. She decided she could no longer just “sit” for the rest of her life in the small prairie town where she and her husband lived for more than 30 years.

These days she is on the road eight months a year in her 1999 24-foot Jamboree Class C motor home, frequently joining up with other solo RV WIN members. She rendezvoused with 105 other WINers near Quartzsite, Ariz., and spent a month boon-docking (dry camping).

Annually WIN organizes about 100 caravans and active gatherings including traveling to Mexico, sailing, canoeing, horseback riding, hiking, ultra light flying, and spelunking. Contact: WIN (, PMB 8206, 914 SW Coast Hwy, #104 Newport, OR 97365; (303) 522-7661. Membership $70 first year, $60 renewal.

The world’s largest RV club with more than one million members, Good Sam Club was founded in 1966. Club members originally promised to help fellow travelers on America’s highways. Today nearly 2,000 local chapters throughout North America gather together for RV camp outs, fellowship and community service.

Since 2000, the Good Sam Club has staged 15 national and regional Rallies ( from the Florida coast to central Oregon. There are two planned in 2013 in Syracuse and Atlanta. Contact: Good Sam Club (, P.O. Box 6888, Englewood, CO 80155-6888; (800) 234-3450. Membership $25 a year.

An international organization with more than 80,000 members, the Family Motor Coach Association is limited to owners of self-contained motor homes.

FMCA offers a number of benefits including: a monthly magazine, trip routing, mail forwarding, and group rates on motor home insurance and an emergency medical evacuation plan. The 2013 national rally is set for June 19-22, in Gillette, Wyo.

Contact: FMCA (, 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45244; (800) 543-3622. Membership $50 first year, $40 renewal.

Known as the premier organization for full-time RVers, the Escapees RV Club also serves “part-timers” and “some-timers.” There are currently more than 32,000 active member. Barbara Summer and Ron Tyrrell of Forest Grove, Ore., joined Escapees soon after buying their 36-foot Tradewinds Class A motor home last fall.

“The Escapees’ RV parks provides a ready-made community of friends,” said Summer. “People are friendly and always willing to help with anything from travel information to RV repairs.”

The group, headquartered in Livingston, Texas, offers many valuable resources for a mobile population, including a system of member parks, low-cost mail-forwarding, discussion forums, interest groups, RV learning opportunities and discounts on affiliated services.

Contact: Escapees (, 100 Rainbow Dr., Livingston, TX 77351; (888) 757-2582. Membership $70 first year, $60 renewal.

North American Truck Camper Owners Association joins people with an online forum to exchange ideas about everything related to truck campers.

“Every time I log onto the forum,” said Rich Bain, of Colbert, Wash., “it’s like talking to my family.”

Contact: NATCOA (, P.O. Box 30408, Bellingham, WA 98228. Membership $24 first year, $15 renewal.

Two decades ago, the National African American RVers Association was formed to promote camping in recreation vehicles to African American families as a way of life and means to have fun.

“NAARVA is a family oriented, nonprofit organization which meets annually,” according to its Web site. “As a result, friendships that may have originated at a rally are kept alive, and new ones are developed among adult members and youth. The freedom of adventure, characterizes all the members.”

Currently there are more than 50 local clubs. The 2013 annual rally, July 14-21, is being held at the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, Mo. Contact NAARVA (, 614 Chipley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205; (704) 333-3070.

With nearly 2,500 members, RVing Women “is the only international support network solely for the woman RV enthusiast.” The association offers services, friendship, a magazine and rallies for its members. The Web site states that the group is “dedicated to sharing knowledge and support with other women. The 2013 National Convention is Oct. 8-13 in Sacramento, Calif.

Contact: RVing Women (, P.O. Box 1940, Apache Junction, AZ 85117-1940; (888) 557-8464. Membership $60, renewal $50.