FMCA West Springfield MA – Setup

Our First Rally: Setup

FMCA Family Reunion at West Springfield Massachusetts

We left Louisville, New York and drove 146 miles to Lake George just east of the Adirondack Mountains.  It was nice having my co-pilot back in her seat instead of driving the Pilot.  However, when we got to Lake George the magnetic tow vehicle light cable had broken, and and we decided Christine would drive the Toad the 157 miles  to the FMCA convention in West Springfield.  We arrived Monday August 1st in the early afternoon.  We expected warm weather so we upgraded to an electric site.

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Monday night it rained like crazy.  One of our neighbors said we had 3 inches of rain, and accused Jeff of doing an Oregon Duck rain dance! Hahahaha

What to do with pets

It is not practical to take pets with you for every activity when you are in the RV.  The biggest concern is heat.  The second concern is damage done while you are out.  The third concern is noise from excessive barking.

Kickin\' back in the RV
The Dog House

When we were in Oregon last Thanksgiving we stayed at the American Legion in Eugene, Oregon.  The few times we socialized with folks at the Legion and left the dogs in the RV we had at least one barker.


We keep a safe environment for our dogs by leaving the A/C or heat on while we are gone.  If you have full hookups, just set the A/C at a safe temperature or keep windows open and fans going to keep the air circulating if the outside temperatures are not too high.  Remember, an RV like an automobile can quickly heat up when sitting in the sun even if the outside temps are comfortable.

As a backup to shore power, many generators have an automatic mode that will monitor if shore power has failed and the A/C needs to be turned on.  Test this function before relying on it.  Our Cummins Onan generator has an AutoGen function that provides this functionality but Jeff needed to go through the process a few times to verify.

If you are not connected to shore power then you can use your batteries to power a small cooling unit such as the Dyson Blade.  Remember that your inverter and the cooling unit will draw lots of power.  Most A/C units draw too much power to run off of batteries.  Our A/C unit requires either shore or generator power to even start.

Last, you use your generator to run your A/C if you don’t have shore power available.

Besides regulating the heat inside the RV always keep water available for your pets.


On Monday we left the dogs in the RV a couple of times for 15 minutes, and they were fine.  Our routine at our sticks and bricks house was to give the dogs a Kong treat with apple, carrot and peanut butter, then leave.  They get more excited about getting a treat than having separation anxiety.  We did the same for the FMCA rally plus turned on the TV for them for some background noise and it worked.  On Tuesday we left them a couple of times for an hour or two and didn’t have any problems.

We thought one of us would need to be with the dogs in the RV during the entire rally, but after a couple of days they were fine.  Now both of us can attend seminars – divide and conquer if necessary!

Volunteer Orientation

Jeff volunteered to help with seminar setup & monitoring and attended an orientation Tuesday evening.

Overall Impressions

General check-in for the rally was Monday and Tuesday.  It’s amazing to see a couple of thousand RVs congregate in one location and not see havoc.  A few times we saw 15 or 20 RVs in the staging area, but they were quickly parked in their assigned area.  The setup crew that came in the previous weekend had the lots and streets labeled.  FMCA has the routine down.  We heard a few grumbles about mistakes made, but those seemed to be few and far between.

Happy Trails from the Trippin’ Engles

One Reply to “FMCA West Springfield MA – Setup”

  1. Sounds like you’re doing great! And having fun too! I know you’re meeting tons of people. That is great. Bob says hi to you two! Miss you! ?

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