An Interview with The Campoholics: Why You Should Attend RV Rallies
Posted: July 25, 2022
Categories: Travel & Lifestyle
An Interview with The Campoholics: Why You Should Attend RV Rallies
As Brand Ambassadors for Lippert, Mike and Missy Cook (better known as The Campoholics) are full-time RVers who sold it all to exchange it for life on the open road in their 2020 Grand Design Momentum. They believe life’s too short not to go out and adventure, so they love to travel, attend RV rallies and make new friends along the way. We recently caught up with them to ask about their mobile lifestyle and why RV owners should consider attending rallies.
A Little Backstory
In 2017, Mike and Missy decided to downsize their belongings and look for a smaller house. At the same time, they purchased a small RV for camping. After about a year of downsizing to a rental home and camping in their rig, they started to seriously consider doing without the house and just living full-time in their RV.
“In 2017, we started ‘weekend warrioring,’” Missy said. “We sold our house in May, bought our first rig in September, and camped in September, October, November and December — as long as we possibly could. Then, we ended up buying a different rig in March and probably from March to December, we were gone almost every weekend and a week here, a week there. We lived only like 20 minutes from a state park, so we were just constantly, you know, shooting down there and just hanging out for three or four days and then sometimes even going to work from there.”
They enjoyed being out in nature and meeting new people so much that they finally decided the house was unnecessary. They would try living in their new rig for a while just to see if it would suit their lifestyle.
“We see other people doing it, life is short, our kids are grown... Let's go for it,” Missy said, recalling the moment they decided to hit the road.
Shortly before they were fully ready to embrace the full-time RV lifestyle, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Missy was sent home to work remotely.
“I worked for a school district,” Missy said. “Mike was retired and already running a handyman business, so when the school district sent me home because of COVID, we went to the campground about an hour and a half away, and I just worked remotely from there. Because of that, we got to do a good three or four-month shakedown of living in the RV full-time. And that was kind of the ‘Aha!’ moment. Yes, we knew we were going to do it, but we didn't know we really could do it. So, when COVID hit and we went to our local campground, we were there April, May and June. We came home in July, went back in August, and then again in, I think, October. So, we got to live in the rig, you know, without really having to give up everything at home. That was really our ‘Yeah, we can do this’ moment.”
Shortly into their full-time adventures, Mike and Missy discovered RV rallies through Grand Design, the manufacturer of their RV. They began attending the rallies and immediately recognized the long-term benefits, especially as unseasoned RV full-timers.
What are RV Rallies?
Simply put, rallies provide a source of education and networking to RVers. Larger rallies are often put on by RV manufacturers and take place in central locations at fairgrounds or RV parks. They invite RV owners to come take part in activities and seminars that aim to help owners be self-sufficient with their rigs while building a close-knit community.
“You basically just get to meet other people with your type of rig, share experiences with them, find out what they've done to their rig, what they don't like about it, what they do like about it and how they’ve made their rig work for them,” Missy said.
“Rallies are a learning experience because you’re figuring out how to operate your rig, especially for a newbie who has no clue,” Mike said.
RV rallies aren’t always organized by RV manufacturers, however. There are plenty of organizations within the RV industry that put on non-brand-specific rallies so that owners with rigs of all shapes and sizes can get together. Groups like the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), Fulltime Families, Escapees etc. will put on everything from large rallies, conventions and expos to small meetups, hangouts and fireside chats.
Why Are RV Rallies Important?
There are a few pieces that make rallies important for RVers. They offer opportunities to learn new skills, get new upgrades and make new friends. Especially in the full-time community, it's hard to make new friends because you're constantly moving. Rallies provide a way to meet new people and experience new things, which opens the door to even more opportunities.
“The best thing about it is that you come away with new friends at each rally.” Mike said.
After a few rallies, you’ll probably end up seeing some familiar faces, too! That sets the stage for new friendships that you never would have had the chance to make if it wasn’t for rallies.
What Makes Each Rally Different?
Once you’ve gone to one, you’ve been to them all, right? WRONG! There are several different components that make each rally unique.
Depending on who the organizers are, you could go to brand-specific or non-brand-specific rallies for your RV. In addition, the organizers will sometimes pack your schedule over several days with activities and seminars. Other times, it’s more laid back and less social.
This really sets the tone for the rally. If you’re at a large RV park that’s packed with amenities, your experience could be a little different than if you’re at a smaller campground.
Sometimes rallies have a ton of vendors selling items of all kinds and other times, there may only be one or two vendors.
There are so many different people who attend RV rallies. Each person has their own story and their own personality, which makes rallies a great way to connect with other RVers and build new friendships.
How to Find a Rally to Attend?
Being Grand Design influencers, The Campoholics look at the Grand Design rally schedule to see which events they can attend along their travel route. Since they don’t travel with intention, they tend to make it to a lot of rallies. In fact, they’re committed to 14 rallies this year, having already attended half that amount since the season started in April.
For a new RVer or an owner who hasn’t attended rallies before, Mike suggests going to your manufacturer’s website or Facebook page to see their rally schedule. If you stick to a rigid travel schedule, try to find the rallies that are on the way to your next destination. If you don’t travel with intention like The Campoholics, feel free to attend as many rallies as you want! More is always merrier at rallies.
If you’re looking for a list of RV rallies in 2022 that you’d like to attend, try these websites as well:
Advice for Rally Newbies
“You gotta go!” Missy said, excitedly. “You have to put yourself out there because you just don’t know what you’re missing. You don’t have to attend, but there are so many newbies out there that you definitely won’t be the only one.”
Even if you’re not a social person, you should at least attend the seminars and the how-tos, then go back to your campsite if you want. The information available to you at rallies is second to none. You’ll probably never get all the information you need from your dealer. Plus, at a rally, you’ll likely find somebody there who has had the same questions or issues because let’s face it, everyone started off as a rookie RVer.
“Not every rally is fun-filled doing stuff every day,” Missy said. “But it could be that one seminar you go to about your tire pressure monitoring system or your braking system that is an ‘Aha!’ moment for you, and it makes your camping experience much better. That’s what your goal is – you're trying to have fun and not be working every time you’re out there with your rig. You want to make your experience memorable, and knowledge is power!”
If you ask any seasoned RVer, they’ll probably tell you that camping is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. However, if you have the opportunity to obtain the knowledge and tools to make it a little bit easier, why not seize that opportunity?
Rallies help you become self-sufficient with your RV. Not only that, but they also allow you to learn from a community that is ready and willing to help you and make your RV life more enjoyable.
“You just have to get out there,” Missy said.
Mike and Missy can’t say enough about RV rallies. They believe rallies get you excited about the RV lifestyle while allowing you to learn new skills, find new hobbies and make new friends. You go to rallies to learn and come out a better RVer. Plus, you can often get your RV equipment fixed or get new installations by qualified technicians and vendors.
“The summary of it all is that rallies are the best way to meet new people and learn,” Mike said.
If you’re curious where Mike and Missy are headed next or want to follow their adventures at rallies and beyond, be sure to follow them on social media!