What a Celebration!
It was time to revisit the past while enjoying the present as we met in Shawnee, Oklahoma, for the first Vintage Motorhomes Celebration hosted by GMC Motorhomes International. Not only did over 90 GMCs converge on this beautiful small town, but we were joined by four other vintage motorhomes: 1989 Winnebago Spectrum, 1974 FMC 2900, 1984 Airstream 300LE, and 1982 Revcon. Also, this year begins a year of celebration for the GMCMI as they begin their 35th year. On hand to help with the festivities were FMCA President Charlie Adcock and his wife, Gloria.
Before the official start of the convention, some attendees joined a bus trip to Oklahoma City, and the National Memorial Museum. This magnificent memorial recalls the tragedy on April 19, 1995, when an explosion rocked the Murrah Federal Building. The horror and the triumph are detailed with dignity and remembrances that were very powerful and yet touching. The unspeakable act by two individuals forever changed the area and left 168 people dead. It was a very special visit, and left us humbled and grateful.
Another trip was just down the street from the Expo Center, and was a true celebration of the workers in Oklahoma. We went to the Round House Overall Company. Here, a combination of state-of-the art machines and talented artisans create a full line of overalls. These durable garments are truly “Made in America”, and in several types of fabrics – but especially good ol’ blue denim. It was a treat to see this institution of the area, in business since 1902.
During the convention, many attendees enjoyed seminars regarding the vintage motorhome’s maintenance, upgrades, and “how to” sessions. Some were hands on activities such as a ladies driving course, weighing of the coaches, and a clinic on aligning and adjusting the steering column. Blankets were made for a local service organization, and crafts provided a chance to be creative and meet others. There was also a Pineblock Derby, where finely crafted vehicles that looked a lot like GMCs sped down the custom made track. It even had a computerized timing system! There were discussions on where to put everything, how to eat, and how to exercise when traveling. We even had two sessions with a retired pharmacist who decoded some of the mysteries of prescription medication. The weather cooperated with abundant sunshine, moderate temperatures, and minimal rain. Even when there was a tornado concern, the storms went around our site, much to our relief. The members clearly enjoyed being together, and the stars of the show, the vintage motorhomes, were on display during the open house. This gave everyone a chance to compare ideas and the creativity used to keep these 40-year-old vehicles on the road. Some attendees were actually looking to purchase a GMC, and this was a great opportunity to check out some onsite.
We enjoyed several catered meals that showcased the local tastes. And, due to the abundant attractions in the area, there was never a dull moment as our members saw the state capitol, museums, many local eateries, and shopping opportunities. The consensus was that it was a fun area populated by friendly people who were always willing to help and smile. Some of us who had never been to the tornado prone area were concerned about the warnings that appeared several times during our visit. But the locals calmly explained the details of the alerts and what to do – and not to worry!
FMCA President Charlie Adcock and his wife, Gloria, were invited to participate in all the activities, and they did! From dishing ice cream to attending seminars, greeting the membership at meetings and many personal conversations, they proclaimed, “we had a great time!” It was a pleasure to have them here to enjoy the fun.