Below is basic information about the great Spring Convention in Dothan, Alabama! Check out the pictures on this website and links to photos under the “GMC Gallery”.
140 | Is the number of total attending registrants; 14 were partial attendees, 5 without motorhomes, 26 first timers and 30 additional day passes.
15 | Is the number of technical sessions, including an “Ask the Experts”, a round table on EFI and Weigh Your Coach.
15 | Is the number of non-technical sessions, including an Build Your GMC Derby Racer, Food Preservation and Dehydrating and so many more.
37 | Is the number of blankets made at the convention. Since the ladies started making blankets, they have made a total of 836! Fantastic job ladies!
11 | 1973 GMC Owners received from GMCMI a license plate frame in honor of the 40 year old vehicle!
>> Article Submitted to FMCA by Janet Frey
Dothan, Alabama, was the site of the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the GMC Motorhome. 1973 was the first year that the General Motors Corporation manufactured this classic, sleek motorhome.
History of the GMC
On January 3, 1973, the GMC Motor Home was introduced to news media representatives at Anaheim Stadium in California. This began six years of the production of a unique vehicle that has provided much joy and fun for those of us fortunate enough to own or have owned a GMC. Built in Pontiac, MI, they came in 23 and 26 foot lengths. All GMC motor homes were in the top luxury class, and in 1973 started at $16,500. By 1978, they were in the $40,000 range. The luxury motor homes, which resembled buses on the outside, had all the comforts of home inside.
The 455 cubic-inch V-8, 4 barrel carb power package was being used in the Toronado, a luxury auto with front wheel drive. The front section of the frame made use of the Toronado design and bolted up to the center section “C” channel side rails. In addition, the GMC motor home offered a 3-speed automatic transmission and a 6-wheel braking system, and independent air suspensions on the rear wheels. This design allowed for a low profile and low center of gravity, with handling and ride improvements as compared to a truck chassis. In 1977 and 1978, the 403 engine was used, starting the GM downsizing and contributing to the end of the GMC motor home. The total production for 1973 – 1978 was 12,921.
The celebration attracted over 275 attendees, including 26 first timers who were attending their first convention. The GMCMI has been dedicated to providing critical information on the care and feeding of this special vehicle. This enables many members to keep their motorhomes on the road for continuing enjoyment and fun.
After 40 years on the road, it was no surprise that many of the 1973 GMCs were no longer “original,” but remodeled. This included everything from repainting the exterior to a complete gutting of the interior and replacing headliner, cabinets and/or upholstery. Some members retained the original layout, but updated appliances and color schemes. One favorite event of the GMC conventions is the Open House Tour, and it was especially fun this year. Even members of the nearby community were invited to the “party.”
Many of the activities at this convention also celebrated the peanut. There were peanut games that used the foam peanuts – so no real peanuts were harmed in the events! Also, the ladies from the local GMC chapter, Dixielanders, hosted a Ladies Social. As expected, their members created many delicious goodies that all included peanuts in some form. The ladies enjoyed the fellowship and fun while the Dixielanders educated all about the south’s tradition of peanuts, RC Cola, and Moon Pies! The stories were heartwarming and hilarious, and were greatly appreciated. And, the GMCMI members were treated to two catered meals that also recognized the unique tastes of the south – chicken, pulled pork, a real southern boil (shrimp, potatoes, corn and spicy sausage), and desserts of pecan pie and key lime pie. A presentation by the Alabama Peanut Growers Association included messages from two princesses, more peanuts and grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (try it!).
Many thanks to the warm reception by the Dothan area for a fun and tasty time at the convention.
If you are an owner of a classic GMC, consider joining GMC Motorhome International. There is information on service and parts, and fun and fellowship at the two conventions each year. For more information, go to www.gmcmi.com. Thanks to William Bryant for the information on the GMC Motor Home.
>> Notes From the Convention Manager
Technical Line Up
A special thank you to the following presenters for making the informational technical sessions possible: Jim Bounds, Chuck Boyd, Bob Drewes, Joe Ekl, Dan & Teri Gregg, Ken Henderson, Fred Hudspeth, Jim Kanomata, Dave Lenzi, Tom Phipps, Kerry Pinkerton, Jeff Sirum, Byron Songer, Ray Swartzendruber, Randy Van Winkle and Larry Weidner.
A big thank you to Byron & Martha Songer for organizing Martha’s Famous Pancakes. Always a hit, were the Ken Frey & Friends that served Omelets to Order. A special thank you to all organizers and volunteers for our other food offerings.
There was much for the ladies and gentlemen to participate in at the convention. Check this out: Building Your GMC Pineblock Racer Clinic, Sunday Worship Choir, Crafts, Geocaching, Book Exchange, Living in Your GMC, Napkin Folding, Journey from Tragedy to Triumph with Jean Price, An Overview of Popular Music in America, Food Preservation and Dehydrating, Cooking with Ken Frey, Navigating Life, GMC Parts Exchange, Craft & Flea Market, Bookworms & Their Diet, Let’s Get Acquainted, making blankets for charity and the ladies social “All Things Southern: Peanuts, RC Colas & Moon Pies” hosted by the Ladies of the GMC Dixielanders. Thank you for a great job ladies! (see “Ladies Page” for additional information) and Bingo.
GMCMI was happy to bring Mark Alan, Magician and Comedian, from St. Augustine, Florida for the opening evening.
We would like to thank everyone that attended, volunteered, supported and enjoyed the convention. Keith and I appreciate the opportunity to meet and serve you all. We both look forward to sharing time with you at the Fall Convention in Branson, Missouri!
>> A Big Thank You to Our Vendors
Thank you to the vendors for all of the time and support that your give our club! Check out the vendor/product list below. When looking for that part or information, call upon them.
Jim & Janie Bounds
Fire Fight Products
Gene & Joan Dotson
New Windows, Aluminum Radiators, Macerator Pumps and Glasses
Joe & Fran Ekl
Cut Keys, Key Fobs, Barbie Coach, Steel Wheels and Jeep Air Bonnets
Ken & Janet Frey
GMC Service, Parts and Repairs
Tom & Nina Lee Hampton
Grandview Motorhome – Service to Restoration
Frank & Jeanne Jenkins
Fiberglass & Aluminum Parts for GMC
Ken & Elaine Henderson
Electric Windshield Wipers, Misc. Items
Jerry & Audrey Holloway
GMC Parts, Purses, scarves, Table Runners, etc.
Jim & Grace Kanomata
Applied GMC – Full Service Supplier
David & Mary Lenzi
Hubs, Knuckles, Steering Components, Rebuilt Steering Gears, Copper Gaskets
Oswald & Shirley McNeal
Custom Instrument Panels
John & Rita Nicholls
GMC Paraphernalia – stuff
Metal Shapings, Misc. GMC, Manny Brakes
John D. & Linda Richardson
GMC Motorhome Oil Products, Motorhome Parts
Ken & Jeanne Robinson
Steering Wheels, Lighting, Emblems and lots of Misc. GMC Parts
J.R. & Jeanne Slaten
Leveling Valves, Oil Cooler Line Hoses, Misc. Parts
Paul & Joan Smith
Steering Wheels, Lighting, Emblems and lots of Misc. GMC Parts
Mel & Dorean Woods
Captain Chairs & Misc. GMC
JR & Janet Wright
SS Bumper Bolts, Bolt Sets for the Coach, Misc. Parts
>> Tentative Tech Session Lineup
FRIDAY | MARCH 22
Early Bird Roundtable – Randy Van Winkle
Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) – Roundtable Discussion
SATURDAY | MARCH 23
Maintaining the GMC Motorhome – Owner Experiences and Recommendations – Fred Hudspeth
“Power On” – original, alternative or even no generators for our vintage RV – Jim Bounds
New Owner Orientation – Jeff Sirum
Briggs and Stratton Locks and Keys in the GMC Motorhome – Joe Ekl
SUNDAY | MARCH 24
Gear Ratio – Jim Kanomata
Ask the Experts – Panel Discussion
MONDAY | MARCH 25
Upgrading the Upper Steering Column – John Sharpe
“Are You Fire Safe on the Road” RV Fire Safety Seminar – Jim Bounds
Fuel Delivery Updates – Bob Drewes
Metal Shaping 101 – Kerry Pinkerton
Weigh Your Coach – Alex and Jeff Sirum
TUESDAY | MARCH 26
Towing a Vehicle with a GMC Motorhome – Dave Lenzi and Larry Weidner
Installing New Electrical Panel – Ray Swartzendruber
WEDNESDAY | MARCH 27
Designing a Paint Scheme for Your GMC – Byron Songer
>> From the Ladies Page of the GMCMI Newsletter
I am sitting here looking out the window from our mountain “winter camp” at the falling snow. Here it is April 13 and it started snowing last evening and is still snowing. It’s the snow our local farmers call “the poor man’s fertilizer” because, in a few days the warming of the sun will melt it into the earth, and the sprouting of the clover and green grass will begin, and summer is on its way. Yippee!! Now how’ s that for a lesson in nature from the north country? Larry just said, “Yes, and we still have 3 feet of the ‘darn’ stuff to melt.”
Now for a report on the terrific convention we had in Dothan, Alabama. It was one of the best….excellent facilities and seminars, excellent food and best of all….wonderful friends to visit with again. What more could one ask for?
Dothan is certainly an interesting area. It is called the Peanut Capitol of the World. The area grows the best quality peanuts in the world and 90% of its peanuts go into making peanut butter. It takes one acre of peanuts to make 300,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
Anyway, we started off each day with the coffee hour of donuts, bagels, waffles and English muffins. Our honorary chef, Ken Frey, even had omelets made to order and Martha’s famous pancakes, bacon and sausage were great. Ken even had a cooking class. We also enjoyed two catered meals, a luncheon and presentation put on by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, three ice cream socials and a strawberry shortcake social. So we sure didn’t have a shortage of meals.
Our church service on Sunday morning was well attended. We did miss our organist, Carol Baxter, who was home recovering from surgery. Byron Songer, our choir director, and Dale & Jane Ropp gave a very enlightning service. A great way to start off the week and give thanks to our God.
We ladies had a variety of non-technical sessions, starting off with the GeoCache Bash, under Margie Van Winkle and Mary Collie’s direction. These gals (and guy) are really serious and it is fun to watch them scurring about. There were a couple of new ladies this time and they really had fun.
The “Let’s Get Acquainted, Ladies” under Sharon Hudspeth’s direction is always a popular one. We have some very interesting ladies in our Chapter and we love hearing about their hobbies and interests in life.
The Book Exchange, under Marlys Drewes supervision was once again very popular. Some folks actually exchanged a book one day, read it and brought it back to exchange the next day. Thank you Marlys for supervising this exchange.
Jean Homrich, a founding member of our GMCMI, is another interesting lady. She drives her own motorhome and has some very good ideas and advice about living in your GMC. This seminar is one that all ladies should listen to. Even the guys could pick up some good advice!
Another very interesting “upbeat” lady is Jean Price. This lady always has a smile and she lights up a room when she enters. Here is her personal story, entitled “From Tragedy to Triumph”. ……
…” On August 11, 2000, a lady crossed into their lane on the highway and hit them head on. Fred was seriously injured while she was the “walking wounded.”
Fred spent 3 months in hospital and 3 years in rehab learning how to walk again. Jean took on the self-imposed job of “Superwoman” caring for everyone, except herself. They did eventually TRIUMPH and learned many lessons along the journey – the greatest of which is that life is precious and you should live every day as if it were your last – being present
NOW! A few of the other life lessons were:
• being grateful;
• perspective – Do you see the events in your life as challenges or opportunities?
• humor and laughter are absolutely necessary for healing;
• Foregiveness – “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” Buddha;
• Balance your body, mind and spirit;
• Celebrate YOU – Celebrate LIFE!
If Jean puts on this seminar at the next rally, be sure to attend. You will come away with a wonderful feeling about living life the way we all should.
While still on the subject of living life to the fullest, Lucy Weidner also gave two very uplifting and “making you think” seminars, with very good advice on how to look at various happenings in our lives, and also how to stand up to situations in a good way.
Here is something to think about…
Simplifying the Principles
THINKER – We create our experience of life with our thinking
KNOWER – Every person has wisdom within
NOTICER – Human beings have awareness, the ability to bring thought to life…
(Kathy Marshall, NRRC)
Busy as we were, many ladies took part in the popular craft sessions, under Jeanne Robinson’s guidance. Jeanne has looked after crafts for many years and we certainly owe her a debt of gratitude.
Here is her report…“A nice variety of crafts were offered and a big THANK YOU goes out to all of the ladies who volunteered to teach and share their time and skills with us. Phyllis Holley brought sweatshirts, complete with fancy-cut appliques and fabric to bind the edges and create lovely jackets. Kay Marciando taught us how to make braided leather hat bands and lanyards. Sally Fillion brought supples and helped her class make lovely natural bath salts. Pat Bode offered two sessions teaching the fine art of folding cloth napkins – fun for your next tea!! Jean Homrich brought dainty lace angels to make and Jeanne Robinson brought “peanut fabric” for making scarves, hat bands, or hair ties for the ladies’ social. Again, a big thank you goes out to all the ladies who taught and all who participated in the craft program.” This time, there were 37 blankets made and bottles of peanut butter donated to a local charity. Well done, ladies!
Here is Sally Fillion’s recipe for Natural Bath Salts – “Turn your bath into a luxurious relaxing “Time Out” – Run a warm, not hot bath. – Release ONE Tablespoon of bath salts under running water. – (Two, if you feel decadent.) – Lay back and enjoy. –(Ingredients: non-iodized sea salt, Epson salts, baking soda & essential oils of Lavender or Mint or essence of oil and no scent.) – Try it sometime when you need “to unwind.”
Nina Lee Hampton once again chaired Bookworms and their Diets. “Highlights from the Dothan Bookworms: We had a discussion on poetry, reading old favorites and several faith based authors. The mentioning of O’Reilly’s book “Killing Kennedy” led to some fun stories about where we were when we learned about the assassination. There were lots of new and old books suggested for the Dothan reading list. It is always fun to hear about some new gem to read (or listen to). If you would like a copy of the reading list, contact Kim Weeks.”
Nina and Sara Halley also shared some of the tips and tricks they have learned by Dehydrating Food. As they said, through trial and error.
“If you stop to think about it, we use dried foods every day. You can dry in a dehydrator (should have a fan in it), or an oven if you can keep the temperature low enough, or outside on a screen. To keep your foods dry, they like a vacuum sealer with a manual control button. It’s nice to be able to stop the vacuum before your food is completely flattened. Your sealer has many uses, so leave it out for easy access. Glass jars with tight fitting lids are also good for storage. Herbs and fruit leathers are very easy to do in an oven. Anytime you find a bargain on fruits or vegetables, dehydrating is one way to store foods for the future”
Thanks ladies, very interesting and good to know.
And now, the Ladies’ Social, the highlight of the week. Here is Nancy Berry’s report……“All Things Southern: Peanuts, RC Colas and Moon Pies” The ladies at the convention in Dothan were hosted at the Ladies’ Social by the GMC Dixielanders. Elaine Henderson was the planner and organizer behind all the preparations.
At the reception area, there was a peanut information board with health facts relating to peanuts. Guests were asked to bring a jar of peanut butter that would be donated to the Food Bank. A pyramid of peanut butter jars was formed with the donations. The last table had two large jars full of peanuts or goobers (another name for peanuts), one with shelled peanuts, and one with non-shelled ones. The attendees were asked to guess or calculate, depending on how determined they were to win, how many peanuts were in the jar.
Once past the reception area, the ladies chose their seats at tables that had been beautifully decorated with peanut shaped placemats, a bookmark with a poem “Ode to RC Colas and Moon Pies” on it, bags of peanut brittle, and of course, the all-important MOON PIE. The tables had a charming centerpiece of flowers made from burlap and other material with, of course, peanuts in the vase. Each table also had a yummy treat for the birds made from peanut butter, bird seed and pine cones.
Elaine Hunderson opened the social by welcoming the first timers and guests and all the other ladies. She thanked the ladies of the GMC Dixielanders for all their hard work. She mentioned that March, known as the National Peanut Month, pays tribute to the great peanut industry and that was why she decided peanuts should be part of the Ladies’ Social.
Elaine and the Dixielanders wanted to share a very southern tradition of what peanuts, RC Colas and Moon Pies meant to them growing up – the words “LOTS of MEMORIES, LOTS of FUN” sums it up.
Stories were then read to show this. All were based on how peanuts, RC Colas and Moon Pies affected their lives. These were both funny and heartfelt. For example: When times were tough, you knew you would have enough to eat since Moon Pies and RC Colas were 5cents each. Children gathered eggs after school and ran to the grocer to barter for the much loved Moon Pies. It was a comfort food during WWII. Moon Pies went along on fishing trips and Santa, in the South, ate Moon Pies and drank RC Colas! A large assortment of goodies, all of which had peanuts as an ingredient was prepared by the Dixielanders.
While the ladies sampled their treats and dropped peanuts in their RC Cola to watch it fizz, the winners of guessing the number of peanuts in the jar was won by first-timer Elaine Gardner and Kim Weeks.
A three minute peanut trivia quiz with 10 questions was also tried, and the winners were Janice Wersel and Jacqui Ring.
Elaine thanked Kris Whisler for the beautiful table flower arrangements, and Linda Richardson for the pine cone bird feeders, Ada Galbavy for the peanut bulletin board, Joan Dotson for the guessing jars and display, Mary Robertson for the individual bags of peanut brittle, Al Hamilton for the photography and Nancy Berry for writing this article. Elaine also thanked Byron Songer for designing the beautiful placemats, bookmarks with an Ode to RC Cola and Moon Pies poem on it. Door prizes were drawn and awarded to 33 lucky winners.
Ada Galbvy thanked Elaine for all her effort. The Ladies’ Social was a truly fun-time. LOTS OF MEMORIES, LOTS OF FUN!
In closing….thanks to all the ladies who taught crafts and gave seminars, and who helped out with the cooking classes, and also the Dixielanders who hosted the Ladies Social.
So in closing, from our house to yours, we wish you a wonderful, happy summer and look forward to seeing you in Branson, Missouri in September.
Margie McLaughlin (& Larry too)