September 25, 2019

The 2019 Outdoors RV Owners East Coast Rally - An Excellent Adventure!

In March of 2017, Alan and I purchased our second travel trailer – a Creek Side 26RLS made by Outdoors RV Manufacturing (ORV) in La Grande, Oregon.  If you’re interested in the why and how of that whole complicated story, you can find the details in the post from March of 2018 called "Today is Our 1st Anniversary! (link HERE)  At the time we were researching our purchase, it became apparent that there was a strong sense of customer loyalty among the owners of ORV travel trailers and fifth wheels, and that this small company worked hard to remain connected with its customers. 

Every year in June, ORV hosts a get-together for the owners of its rigs at an RV Park in Eastern Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains near the ORV manufacturing facility.  While I have to admit that the setting is, indeed, beautiful, I also have to say that a round trip of more than 5,000 miles to attend a three day owners’ rally is a bit far to travel.  However, since the majority of ORV customers reside in the states of the Pacific Northwest and the provinces of western Canada, it certainly makes sense to hold the gathering out there.  But what about those of us in the eastern part of the United States who enjoy our rigs just as much as our counterparts in the west, and who would love to get together with other ORV owners to trade stories about our RVs and our travels?  Granted, there are far fewer of us in the east than in the west.  But, thanks to an ORV owner in Ohio, the Outdoors RV East Coast Rally debuted in 2018.  Sadly, Alan and I missed that inaugural event due to the ongoing construction project at a rental property.  But, with the construction project behind us, we decided we weren’t going to let 2019 slip by without making a valiant effort to attend this one!

Luckily, our calendar indicated that we would be home on the weekend of the East Coast Rally.  Unluckily, we had planned to fly in from Alaska on a red-eye the day before the Rally began, giving us just 24 hours to fit in some sleep, rush through some laundry, pack up the travel trailer and be on the road to Danforth Bay RV Resort in Freedom, New Hampshire, on Friday morning.  Luckily, we were up for the challenge and planned to pack the trailer ahead of time - with the exception of fresh food and (hopefully) clean clothes.  Unluckily, we ended up cancelling our Alaska adventure.  (More on that in a future post.)  Luckily, that gave us more time to prep for the Rally.

The site of the 2019 Outdoors RV Owners East Coast Rally

Very unluckily, last Wednesday (two days before we were scheduled to leave for the Rally), we had a major problem with the trailer brake system in the truck – as in no trailer brakes.  When we dropped it off at the dealer first thing Thursday morning without an appointment, we knew our chances of getting it back before the weekend were slim, and we felt awful.  The thought of losing over $100.00 in reservation fees and, even worse, missing out on getting to know some of the other ORV owners on this end of the country made the drive home from the shop an extremely depressing one.  Luckily, we have the best GMC dealer EVER!  They squeezed us in on Thursday morning and had the truck repaired by mid-day, despite the fact that they were shorthanded and they hadn’t been able to order parts the entire week due to a strike at GM.  I can’t begin to tell you how much we appreciated the service team’s efforts since we knew we wouldn’t be able to make the Rally without the truck.  Before we went to retrieve the truck, we stopped in town to pick up the largest tray of cookies we could find as a small token of our gratitude to the entire service department.

Unluckily, the nonsense with the truck set us back hours on Thursday which meant that, instead of checking in at 1:00 p.m. on Friday and enjoying the afternoon and evening with the other Rally attendees as planned, we ended up battling traffic on the Mass Pike and the greater Boston area through the Friday rush hour (YIKES!), arriving barely before dark.  (Just so you know, it is against my religion to set up camp after dark and, for a while there on the Pike, it looked like things might be turning ugly that evening.)  I have to say, it was very much fun, and quite a relief, to point out a road sign and say, “Look!  Only 18 miles to Freedom!” 

We were averaging 40 mph on the Interstate.  Sigh.

Luckily, we had no more mechanical issues with the truck, the weather for the entire weekend was absolutely gorgeous and, best of all, we met five exceptional couples who are also happy owners of a fifth wheel or travel trailer made by ORV.

Our HUGE site at Danforth Bay RV Resort - #B16

Four of the other couples were retired and one couple was still working.  All shared stories of their travels, the ways their RVs enhanced their lifestyles, plans for future travels and tips for particular destinations or campgrounds.  I don’t want to say that instantaneous bonding occurred but, really, every single one of us chose to buy a specific brand of travel trailer geared toward the outdoor enthusiast that is not readily available in the eastern half of the country.  That places us in a category all our own.  Folks in the east look long and hard to find a used one here in our neck of the woods or travel a great distance to purchase one at an ORV dealer many states away.  Well, except for those two couples from Texas (yes, TWO!) – they had it a lot easier than those of us over here on the east coast.  You lucky ducks!  Still, when you walk into a group whose members have focused on a less common product made for a specific type of camping, you already have the foundation of commonality on which to build a friendship.  Were there differences among us and the way we camped and traveled?  Absolutely.  But our similarities outweighed our differences, and the dozen of us all got along fabulously.  Well, at least we did in my opinion.  You’ll have to ask the other attendees for theirs.  Wink, wink.  Alan and I found the East Coast Rally to be a delightful adventure, with a perfect combination of group activities and quiet time.  A round of well-deserved applause goes out to the couple who organized this year’s event!

There were community breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and a shared campfire on Friday and Saturday nights that included much laughter and wonderful storytelling.  We all enjoyed a boat cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee aboard the Mount Washington out of Wolfeboro on Saturday mid-day and a pot luck dinner on Saturday night.

The Mount Washington approaches the dock in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
The views from the cruise boat were phenomenal with multi-million dollar homes dotting the shoreline and pleasure boaters zipping across the sunlit waters, waving to those of us on the cruise.

From the deck of the Mount Washington, we saw views like this . . .

. . . and this!  (I like this view better!)

Sunday, our one working couple headed for home, while others enjoyed the Mount Washington Cog Railway and the tourist town of North Conway.  Alan and I joined another couple for a bike ride on the Cotton Valley Rail Trail in Wolfeboro which we quite nicely finished off with delicious (and I mean really delicious) ice cream at Bailey’s Bubble on Railroad Avenue in Wolfeboro.

A gorgeous view from the Cotton Valley Rail Trail
I would consider Bailey’s a “Do Not Miss” if you’re ever in Wolfeboro unless flavors like Coconut Chip with Almond Joy, German Chocolate Cake and Maine Black Bear don’t tickle your taste buds.  It was SO good that I think you should consider buying one ice cream when you arrive in town and another before you leave for the day.  And if you’re staying right in Wolfeboro, better yet.  Really.  It’s that good.  But, I digress.  Sunday evening at the Pizza Barn in Ossipee closed out the weekend Rally in a tasty and companionable way.  I sincerely believe that a good time was had by all. 

On our way to the docks in Wolfeboro

Based on the photos I’ve seen of the West Coast Rally, I’d guess that it draws probably five times the number of people this East Coast Rally did.  (Unfortunately, two couples who had made reservations to attend the East Coast Rally this year were unable to make it, so there were six couples attending instead of eight.)  Of course, it would have been fun to travel to Oregon and a pleasure to meet even more owners of RVs made by ORV.  But, honestly, I think being part of a small group allowed us to make deeper connections and get to know each other a bit better than we would have been able to over the course of just a weekend with a larger group.  Even Alan (who admits that he’s terrible with names) remembered who everyone was before we left on Monday morning.

The Wolfeboro waterfront

When Alan and I were researching the purchase of our travel trailer, it was the knowledgeable, welcoming and good natured group of owners who gathered on the Outdoors RV Owners Forum on that provided an enormous amount of information and encouragement to us as potential buyers.  At this year’s East Coast Rally, a couple who are currently researching Outdoors RV products drove from their home two states away just to talk with current ORV owners and see their rigs.  They’re hoping to purchase an ORV unit within the next year.  My understanding is that a couple who visited last year’s East Coast Rally now has an ORV rig of their very own.  The tradition of offering a hand to those following in your footsteps continues, as many of us who were potential buyers are now current owners, and find ourselves offering info and encouragement to others who are searching for that special rig just like we did.
Dreams are born, shared, nurtured and, eventually (with luck and effort) come true.  Acquaintances are made, friendships bloom, and bonds are deepened.  I am not saying that the ORV owners group is the only one with something special going on.  However, considering the fact that Outdoors RV Manufacturing employs less than 300 people and Jayco, for example, employs more than 3,500, I do believe that our small “family” allows for a more personal connection between owners, whether near or far.  Staff, too, for that matter.  (I’ll bet that the percentage of RV owners who know the name of the Service Manager at their manufacturer's factory is very small.)  It has been a pleasure to share a forum – and a campfire – with these fine folks.

Happy campers!

To think, had the service team at our GMC dealer not gone above and beyond in their efforts to get us on the road, Alan and I would have missed the East Coast Rally and the excellent adventure we enjoyed.  Hmmm.  I'm thinking that maybe another delivery of cookies is in order.

I've asked the Rally attendees for permission to post our group photo on Reflections Around the Campfire.  I've held off adding it to the post as I'm waiting for one more couple to respond.  If you'd like to see our smiling faces, please do check back in a day or so or hop on over to the Outdoors RV Owners Forum at for a brief summary of the Rally plus pics (link HERE).

EDIT:  Mission accomplished!  Thank you, all!


  1. Hi, my name is Kathy and my husband and I also own a Timber Ridge and live on the east coast. Unfortunately we missed both rally's. Last year because my husband took ill on the way to the rally and this year because of work schedules. Yes we still have a couple of years to work. I'm glad you all had a great time and hopefully will be able to join you next year. On the forum I'm hikermom718 and we are from Long Island, NY. I've also seen your blog before as I think we believe to some of the same blog groups. I just started mine a few months ago. Hopefully one day we can meet in person. So glad you all had a great weekend!

    1. Thanks for your note, Kathy - I'm glad you took the time to chime in. I recognize your hikermom718 handle from the iRV2 forum and happily look forward to the time we can connect in person - with luck it will be at next year's Rally! Alan and I were really, really happy we managed to get there this year because it was just the nicest group of Rvers. Just wait, you'll see. Our "happy campers" photo was taken in front of Mr. and Mrs. Santana's rig - they did a great job organizing the event. Meanwhile, on behalf of the group, I'll thank you and your husband for continuing to feed the Social Security pool for the rest of us. We teased Mr. and Mrs. Leaf-Peeper mercilessly about the same thing, but it was all in fun and they were good sports about it. We were sorry to see them leave on Sunday, but glad that we were able to meet them and spend some time getting to know them - which is true of the other four couples, too! What's the name of your blog? I'd love to check it out!


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