(Ken) May 14 – May 18, 2013. Prior to hitting the road, Jodi and I decided to attend the Recreational Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation Conference in Colorado Springs, CO. It was a perfect opportunity to learn more about RV’ing and be taught by the experts.
And…..since the conference wasn’t being held in Kentucky this year, it fell right on route we were taking to Cheyenne, WY. anyway. With it being scheduled at the perfect time and in the perfect location (for us anyway) how could we not attend!
With the conference scheduled for Tuesday through Saturday, we arrive in Colorado Springs on Monday afternoon and were able to get a reservation at the Air Force Academy FamCamp for the night. If you ever get the opportunity, we highly recommend a stay. The grounds are well maintained and the location is beautiful.
Knowing we were going to be boon docking in a parking lot for the next four nights, the stay at the Academy also gave us the opportunity to fully charge our batteries, completely empty our waste tanks, and overfill the fresh water tank.
Jodi had an RV driving lesson scheduled for 8:00 AM Tuesday morning, so we were up and out early. Once we pulled into the large ‘unleveled’ parking lot where her lesson was to take place about ten gallons of fresh water proceeded pour out of the overflow! What a way to meet the RVSEF Director, Walter Cannon.
The driving lesson went extremely well; once the water fall stopped. Jodi’s apprehensions about driving and parking a large motorhome have waned some and I think she will be willing to take over some of the driving responsibilities. Even though she has learned how to drive down a hill without using the breaks, she says she will drive just as soon as we get out of these steep mountains!?
After setting up and completion of the orientation meet & greet, Randy Biles, owner of Pikes Peak RV & resident RVSEF driving instructor had all of the instructors and conference attendees out to his dealership for a cookout. If we haven’t said this prior: Thank You, Randy! You, your wife and your staff put on a wonderful backyard barbeque.
The number of attendees at the conference was kept to a minimum providing optimal instructor/student interaction. With three or four classes per session and four sessions per day, Jodi and me split up each morning with pen and paper in hand ready to absorb as much knowledge as possible.
From general RV maintenance to specific RV systems, from the emotional aspects of full-timing to the importance of proper tire pressure and fire safety; we learned as much as we could. With each classroom setting being as small it was easy and convenient to speak with the experts one on one.
Oddly enough, though we had only been full-timing for 6 weeks at the time, and there were a number of attendees in the same planning situation we were in a year ago. It was great answering their questions; especially with the information still so fresh in our memory. While still feeling overwhelmed with our decision to go full-timing we were being asked questions as if we were the experts.
Not only being able to meet the industry experts and picking their brains about our specific scenarios, but meeting all of the attendees and discussing our indecisiveness and final decisions was a wonderful experience. Meeting everyone was a joy and will definitely be memorable.
Attending the Good Sam’s Rally in Louisville, KY. last summer was a fantastic learning experience for us; but it was “large” and we only got to meet a few people. Our recommendation is to attend a smaller conference like this. You get to meet the experts and ALL of the attendees who share your same RV’ing lifestyle ideals.
With expert instructors like the 3 Gary’s (Bunzer, Motley & Wheeler); Mac the Fire Guy; RV Geeks on Tour; Bruce from RVIA, Jim and Sherry McGlynn and the RVSEF crew: Walter Cannon, Howard & Linda Payne and Randy Biles – we would recommend attending this conference every year!
So, before we close and head off up the highway to Cheyenne, WY. we would like to thank everyone for a wonderful week in Colorado Springs. The knowledge we gained is invaluable and the people we’ve met will hopefully become friends for a very long time.
Until next time…………………Cheers