Last week, we were at the Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina, Ohio.  About 130 RVs gathered at the rally to meet, greet, and have fun, but also to learn.  They know that going to rallies and attending seminars is the easy way to learn.

Learning the hard way is having 3 tire blowouts your first year on the road before figuring out how to manage your tire pressure.  Learning the hard way is having a minor traffic accident that punctures and ignites your propane system before figuring out that you should turn off the propane while on the road.  Learning the hard way is to lose all your travel photos to a computer problem before you figure out how to make backups.

Learning the easy way is to take a seminar from someone with experience. 

They don’t get much more experienced than Joe and Vicki Kieva.  You probably know of them because they’ve been writing a column in Good Sam’s Highways magazine for many, many years.  I found their website, RVKnowHow, very useful even before we first got our RV. They’ve been writing and giving seminars on RVing for over 20 years – they say that they are now retiring from the seminar business, giving their last one at the Gypsy Journal Rally.  You’ll still see them on the road, they’re just not going to let the seminar circuit determine their route!  It was a real treat to get to see them again.


But, theirs wasn’t the only seminar.  Jim and I (Geeks on Tour) presented 6 different computer-related seminars in addition to our hands-on boot camp.    And there were dozens of others, including Nick Russell’s seminar with the same title as his book, “Highway History and Backroad Mystery.” 

Many attendees at this rally are full-time RVers like us.  One couple we met became fulltimers during the rally (they got the call that their house closed), and they took full advantage of the seminars.  Here’s what they wrote in their blog:

Here are a sampling of the classes Roger and I were able to attend (at the Gypsy Journal Rally):  RV weight safety, RVing Alaska, Managing Digital Photos with Picasa, Hosting in State Parks, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, "Don’t Replace, Refurbish," Google Earth, Highway History & Back Road Mystery, RV Travel & Camping Tips, Blogging, Beyond the Basics, Optimizing your RV Storage Space, and Volunteering at National Wildlife Refuges.  There were many more seminars available, so we needed to pick and choose those that were of most interest to us.

We can’t recommend seminars highly enough.  Within a month or so of buying our RV, we were lucky enough to be at Lazy Days in Tampa, Florida and attended seminars on the use of RV generators and the care of RV refrigerators.  It was all new to us then, and it felt great to get some knowledge.  And, after another couple months, we were able to attend ‘Life on Wheels’ in Moscow Idaho.  There we learned about the right tires, and about downloadable computer files to add Passport America Parks (and other points of interest) to our Streets and Trips. We hooked up and learned from several other Datastorm Satellite Users, and we saw Joe and Vicki Kieva for the first time.

If you’re reading this blog – you’re already convinced that learning from others is a valuable thing, but we encourage you to take it to the next level and find a rally with seminars on topics of interest.  We recommend  ‘The Rally’ as well as the FMCA Conventions (for motorhomers), and, of course The Gypsy Journal Rally.

  • Gypsy Journal Rally: March 8-12 in Yuma, Arizona
  • FMCA Convention: March 22-25 in Albuquerque
  • The Rally: July 22-25 in Louisville, Kentucky
  • FMCA Convention: Aug 11-14 in Redmond Oregon

These are just a few of the many valuable rallies available for RVers all over the country, all year long. 

What about you?  Have you been to any rallies where the seminars were good?  Let us know what you liked the best by leaving a comment.

Chris Guld,

Computer Education for Travelers

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  3. Chris,
    Thanks to you and Jim for coming to our rally, and for all of your great seminars. As always, they were some of the highest rated at the Gypsyu Journal rally.

  4. Darthvagrant

    I have driven various vehicles with absorption type refrigerators for over 40 years with the gas active for the refrigerator..
    NEVER a problem. In fact, the newer gas / 110 refrigerators for the last 12 years or so are very much more tolerant of off-level and vehicle movement than the older units were.
    As far as “puncturing my coach propane tank”, that’s an unlikely scenario considering the extremely heavy gauge steel or aluminum used in the manufacture of the tank.
    Of probably a higher risk level are my two fuel tanks, 40 gallons each (gasoline) , made out of some kind of relatively thin mild steel. Some road debris could puncture either.
    It always amuses me when I hear horror stories as to “what can happen with propane”. Sure-it’s damn dangerous, but so is the gasoline everyone takes for granted.
    I miss the three-way (12V/110V/gas) refrigerators of the ‘old days’. Practically no coach maker installs a three way now. Granted, the 12V-DC draw is rather high, but moving down the road this isn’t a problem. I can only assume there is concern the coach owner will stop somewhere and forget the ‘fridge is on 12V (battery), and come back to a dead battery (batteries). My current Norcold, at 17 years old, is wildy beyond any predictable service life but functions flawlessly. I’ve been obliged to make some electrical repairs, but the absorption unit (of which I could do nothing) keeps on keeping on.
    As a side note, after several catastrophic tire failures, I now have pressure monitors on all 6 coach tires. I can sure give them a “thumbs up”!

  5. DH Schlagel

    I thought you had to leave the propane on to keep the fridge cold while traveling or is there an alternative?

  6. Steve

    The Escapees have a boot camp a couple of times a year in Livingston, TX and Quartzsite, AZ. It is mostly for newbie RVers. Maybe you Geeks could present there. I don’t think they pay presenters, though.