From the pages of I RVing: Fall 2023

Self-Reliance Gets Radical at Burning Man

Burning Man is meant to be a spectacle. The weeklong camp in the Playa desert basin outside of Black Rock City, Nevada is an annual festival just before Labor Day where things are meant get weird and wild. But this year, according to CNN, heavy storms dropped two to three months of rainfall on the dry desert lake beds. That’s when things got weirder and wilder than ever trapping over 70,000 burners in an apocalyptic campground caked ankle-deep in mud. For many, the party was over.

Attendees were told to shelter in place and to conserve food, water, and fuel till the playa dried. Even so, Mad-Max-like convoys trudged through the mud toward the access road, attempting to escape. Some stalled out. The lucky ones raced through rain-made rivers, like Daniel Dumas, an editor for Esquire. Others went on foot across the desert back toward civilization. False rumors spread about an Ebola breakout, according to the Associated Press. For each and every burner, the festival’s very principles from “radical self-reliance” and “leave no trace” to “communal effort” and “immediacy”—were put to the test. But, given the conditions, an argument could be made that attendees should be graded on a curve.

8 RVs Go to Firefighters Who Lost Homes

When massive wildfires hit the Hawaiian island of Maui last August, a national emergency was declared. FEMA and the National Guard were called up. But the toll was tremendous. Over 100 people perished, and more than 2,200 buildings were destroyed leaving thousands of residents homeless, according to CNN. Among the displaced were over 20 Maui firefighters and their families. So their fellow firefighters in Los Angeles decided to do something.

Working with Emergency RV, a charitable organization that helps provide RVs for victims of national disasters, they were able to help send eight RVs to their fellow firefighters in Maui. Speaking to Colorado Public Radio, Woody Faircloth, who runs Emergency RV, says, “People want to help, they just often don’t know how to help.” He notes that the time to act is crucial. “FEMA and the Red Cross swoop in, and they do great work, but it’ll take FEMA a full year to get housing units there. That’s just too long to wait.” Now, eight families won’t have to. The first shipment of five RVs departed on Aug. 23, with the second shipment going out the following week.

THOR Partners with Girl Scouts to Pick Up America

THOR Industries is extending its partnership with the Girl Scouts of America through 2025, RV PRO reports. Girl Scouts participating in THOR’s Pick Up America Program help remove trash from state parks. Since the program’s inception in 2019, Girls Scouts have pledged to remove over 22 tons from public land. But Bob Martin, THOR’s president and CEO, sees an even bigger impact for the future: “Providing girls with outdoor experiences which build confident, courageous leaders.

FMCA Eclipses 60 Years of RV Fun

The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) may be big now, as the world’s largest not-for-profit association for RV owners. But that wasn’t always the case. Sixty years ago last July, a group of 26 families and “house car” owners met in Maine to witness a total solar eclipse. Bob Richter, a founder member, remembers that night, “It was an experience impossible to describe as we first heard—and then saw—the 26 coaches arriving, one after another, with our new friends.

The coaches varied from a simple school bus on its fifth engine with only a mattress, a crib, and a stove in it, to a lush executive coach costing well into the six figures. What a sight to see them coming up the hill! And what great people!” Sixty years later, the people are just as great, but FMCA is a lot bigger. Since its founding, FMCA has issued more than 543,000 memberships, touching many lives along the way. And more keep rolling in.

An RV Ambulance Hits the Road

Within a one-hour radius of Reading, Pennsylvania, you can call an ambulance—for your RV. And you don’t need to dial 911 to do it. According to the Reading Eagle, Bill D’Andrea, a master-certified RV technician and RV dealership owner with over 40 years of experience, is taking mobile repair calls at RV EMTs. Retrofitting an old ambulance with RV emergency gear, RV EMTs arrive ready to help with electrical, gas, maintenance, plumbing, towing, brake, suspension, and appliance repairs. D’Andrea doesn’t book many appointments, ensuring he’s available to react when people really need him. He says, “I was going to retire. I did this because I wanted to, not because I had to. I am actually enjoying helping people.”



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