While Heartland Owners Club rallies are held all year round, spring through fall is the busiest time for get-togethers. So, it's time to gear up and start getting registered to attend some rallies near you!
When you joined the Heartland Owners Club (HOC) or when you DO join…you will choose a state as your 'home' state and that state will become the state chapter you belong to. Most often it is the state of your residence but if you are a full-timer, like us, you can choose any state.
When we purchased our Landmark Key Largo fifth wheel we purchased it in Florida and met the Florida Chapter Leader at that time; so we chose to become Florida Chapter members.We were living in Alabama at the time of our purchase, but there wasn't an Alabama Chapter at the time, another reason we chose Florida. A few months later a combined Alabama and Mississippi Chapter was created so we opted to change to the newly formed chapter, affectionately known as AlaMissiBamaSsippi.
As full-time RVers, we could change our chapter to just about anywhere, but our heart is still with our original AlaMissiBamaSsipi chapter members, even though we haven't been able to attend a state rally since Michael retired from the Army. Luckily, we have been blessed to visit with several of them over the years at other Chapter, Regional and National rallies.?
We attended our very first rally in October 2011 (about 6 months after we picked up our 5th wheel from the dealer). The rally was held at Piney Grove Campground near New Site, Mississippi, and just a short drive from Tupelo.
We had NO idea what to really expect from a rally but our attendance at that very first rally got us hooked. We met some of the best people in the world, who became friends for life. We had so much fun and laughed so much that we could hardly wait for the next chapter rally scheduled the following April.
Our chapter usually scheduled two rallies per year…one in the spring and one in the fall, but once we were bitten by the rally bug, two a year just wasn't enough! So, we started branching out and attended a couple of chapter rallies in nearby Georgia. But we needed MORE.
After Michael retired and we were traveling, we'd check the rally schedule to see how it fit into our travel plans. We attended rallies in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Utah and Missouri – two of those being regional rallies.
The thing is…you can attend a rally in any state or region…doesn't matter what chapter is your home chapter. That's part of the fun…you get to meet other HOC members from all over the country AND Canada too!
Each rally is different but similar.
Nearly every rally has a potluck of some sort. An appetizer Meet & Greet is a good way to start a rally, giving everyone a chance to meet new attendees. An impromptu breakfast potluck starts any day off right! And of course, the standard dinner potluck boggles the mind with the variety of tasty dishes set forth.
Often there is a dinner 'out' planned for those who choose to participate. Most often it's at a local favorite that specializes in certain type of food: fried chicken, barbecue, fish fry, Mexican, etc.
Many times, a group outing is also planned. We've seen theater plays, air shows, music shows, wine tastings, gun range outings and golf outings scheduled.
Normally, there are some kind of games that are played in the rally hall or even on someone's picnic table at their site. Mexican Train is very popular as is a good game of Pickleball. Several years ago, the Oklahoma Chapter played a card game called, Golf that we enjoyed enough to teach our sons and their wives.
There are a variety of camper models at any one rally. Heartland owners are proud to show off their rigs to anyone interested in viewing them. It's a great time for viewing models you might not be familiar with – Bighorn, Cyclone, North Trail, Sundance, Big Country, Prowler, Road Warrior, etc. See something you like? Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to the owners and ask if they'd mind showing off their 'baby'.
Chapter leaders are great at planning their rallies in areas with lots to see and do. You're left with plenty of time to explore the area on your own or with friends.
Oh…and there is almost always some kind of 'man get-together' to fix something, see how something works or learn how to perform some sort of maintenance. At least that's what they tell us women…I kinda think they're just trying to get out of working on their 'Honey-Do lists', personally.
A nightly campfire with a large group (or several small campfires) is a great way to finish off a day of rallying. The Wisconsin chapter always has fresh popped popcorn done over the fire...delicious!
Keep in mind, you DO NOT have to be a member of the Heartland Owners Club to attend a rally. You will just be asked to pay a small fee to help cover costs.
I leave you with one of my favorite pot luck recipes…I always go home with an empty dish!
Seven Layer Salad
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 c shredded carrots
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 c cauliflower, chopped
1/2 c red onion, diced
1 – 10 oz pkg frozen peas
1 1/2 c mayonnaise
2 T white sugar
1 pkg (2 c) shredded cheddar cheese
12 slices crisp bacon, crumbled
Cook bacon until crispy and set aside. In a large clear bowl (trifle dish works well), layer first 7 ingredients as listed. Combine mayonnaise and sugar and spread evenly over top of salad. Sprinkle cheese and then crumbled bacon over top of Mayonnaise mixture. Cover and chill approximately 24 hours. Toss Salad before serving.