Later in the week, the wheels will roll for the National African American RVers Association Eastern Region rally.
Members will start pulling into town Sunday to help with preparations for this 17th annual rally, May 4-7 at Lakewood Camping Resort, 901 S. Kings Highway, between Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach. Families in 150 to 200 recreational vehicles are expected.
With its national headquarters based in Charlotte, N.C., the Eastern cluster comprises members from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Checking in last week after arriving to set up camp for an RV club gathering in Virginia, Elaine Standifer, the regional public relations officer, mapped out some details on this group, returning for another rally on the Grand Strand and a third time at Lakewood. Reach her at 703-402-2817, or email email@example.com, and get more details at www.naarva.com/eastern.
Q: How many years has the RV regional rally rolled into the Grand Strand, and what makes this corner of the coast a repeat destination for the association?
A: The association’s Eastern Region comprises predominantly Northern states on the East Coast, with numerous clubs per state. Our regional rallies are held in the early spring, therefore with South Carolina being both the last state in the region and the first state with pleasant weather, that time of year is a perfect choice.
The campgrounds located further north are usually going through their spring thaw, which will result in excessive flooding. Myrtle Beach has many campgrounds and resorts allowing us to choose the best for the majority of our members.
Q: What’s different about the whole experience when parking and camping oceanside vs. in a forest, or a state or national park?
A: I know the saying is “size doesn’t matter.” Well, when it comes to RVing, it does. Our members do camp at other facilities, but because 99 percent of us own large RVs – 40 feet or longer – and this campground is what is called “big rig friendly,” we don’t have to worry about not being able to fit in a site, whereas in a government hosted campground, most of them can’t accommodate our rigs.
Q: When sharing time on the road and camping, how do the joys of sharing and promoting family values bring other rewards, such as the people you meet camping, even parked next door, and maybe even combining with neighboring RVers for shared cookouts and the like?
A: Our rallies are more than just sharing time on the road; they are “family reunions.” We look forward to seeing one another, catching up, and like any family reunion, there will always be the four Fs: family, friends, food, and fun.
Q: What extra front seat for Mother Nature’s sights and sounds adds to the memories and things to discover when touring by RV?
A: RVers are a different breed of people; you can’t be in a hurry and be a true RVer. We only fly when it is absolutely necessary, because we stop to smell the roses. On the way to Myrtle beach, RVers have the opportunity to stop at a little roadside produce stand or run into a little craft fair. Depending on the time of day they leave or arrive, Mother Nature can provide a beautiful sunrise or sunset with beautiful colors changing the scenery one mile at a time.
Q: The association has been so generous in charity. What local causes will benefit from the 2017 rally?
A: Food banks in the area, a Boys & Girls Club and the Community Kitchen.
Q: Is there a special, secret ingredient of a thing to pack for travels that is universal among RVers? A journal? A certain map? Book? Guide?
A: I don’t think there’s a universally packed item by all RVers. A member of one of our clubs says she has to have her camera – she calls it her American Express card – “She never leaves home without it.” But seriously, I think every RVer must pack an open mind, a sense of wonder and adventure, and oh yeah, a journal and a GPS or map will be helpful.
Contact Steve Palisin at 843-444-1764.