In the spring of 1974, a group of motorhome owners gathered at Grueinger Motors in Woodlawn, Ohio, to to obtain information about forming a motorhome club in the greater Cincinnati area. At the second meeting of the group, a vote was taken to form an FMCA chapter. Volunteers were requested by the FMCA representative to act as officers of the newly formed chapter to officially promote its activities. Meetings were first held in the officers’ homes to select a name and to make plans for the first rally.
“Tri-State Traveliers” was selected because the scope of the area covered included Southwestern Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Southeastern Indiana. Fifty coaches were at the first rally at organizing officers were elected to continue for the ensuing year.
The chapter grew to nearly one hundred motor coach units (a unit can be an individual or a couple). We have enjoyed good fellowship and camaraderie over the years. Since the granting of the charter from FMCA, we have attempted to have a rally each month at various locations during the typical camping season. Dinner parties are scheduled for December, January, February, and March — the “off season.” Our rallies are usually at a campground or fairground within 100-150 miles of Cincinnati though that isn’t always the case.
Traditionally, FMCA has two national conventions each year, called Family Reunions. Generally, they are held in alternating sections of the country. In addition, the Great Lakes Motorhome Association (the regional organization of FMCA clubs) has an annual rally. Our chapter actively participates by volunteering for many duties at these rallies whenever possible.
Every July we celebrate our chapter birthday with a large cake and lots of ice cream. Every fifth year we make it a special year of celebration by having a special banquet or luncheon meeting. We also have an “off-site” rally that could be a five to seven hour trip from the immediate area. For instance, in July of 2009, we celebrated our 35th anniversary at Pleasant View Recreation Park in Van Buren, Ohio. This rally followed our participation at the summer FMCA convention at Bowling Green, Ohio. For our 40th anniversary, our rally was held in Asheville, NC, with a special group tour of Biltmore Estate in August.
Membership changes, of course. Some have had to give up motor homing, some have moved away or have passed on, but there is a nucleus of members who have provided a reason to continue on. There have been rainy, spring weekends when some coaches got stuck in the mud. However, there were always helpful members to provide assistance and we don’t let the rain stop us.
The greatest benefit of all is the lasting friendships we make as members. Though ownership of a motorhome may bring us together, the relationships we form keeps us coming back. All of this is what we want to share with others Tri-State FMCA members.