Rv'ers join forces for fun - new chapter of Good Sam Club arrives in the Boundary
When Paul Pinard first decided to join the Good Sam Club he was interested in their discounts for camping with his recreation vehicle (RV). But as he looked further into the Club, he discovered that they have a lot to offer RV owners. After being a member for so many years now he’s been rewarded with a lifetime membership, Pinard and a group of Sam Club members have created a local branch of the club for the Boundary region.
The California-based club has groups across North America usually based geographically by state or region. “I used to belong to the chapter in Castlegar called the Columbia River Sam, so I got the idea to look at starting our own group here as Grand Forks and area. I met some of the people who are Good Sam members and we decided to set up a club that covers everything from Christina Lake to Rock Creek,” explained Pinard.
Since the Kettle River covers the region, Pinard’s group decided on the name Kettle River Ramblers. Their first meeting was on held Nov. 26, 2009. They organized their rules and bylaws and got the chapter going. Then they invited all Good Sam members in the area to get together on Jan. 24. Sixteen rigs, mostly from Midway and Grand Forks, come out for that meeting. “We’re hoping that people from Greenwood, Rock Creek will join as we grow and get better known,” said Pinard. Their goal is to bring the group up to 30 members.
On Mar. 7 the club had a planning meeting to discuss options for activities for the year. Chapters get together to design an annual plan for members for camping and attending different events. The plan can include short and long trips to different areas, and opportunities to attend the larger Samborees across the continent. There’s no obligation to attend the events, and no minimum number for the trip to be a go either.
One of the ideas the Ramblers are considering for this year is to go to Ione, WA for their river days in July. On the first night of river days a train takes people to Mettaline Falls. The train ride includes dinner in Mettaline, and return travel. The festival continues through the weekend including a skidoo race across the river. Other ideas are to attend the June strawberry festival in Tarrys near Nelson, and the corn festival in Nelson in August, along with the annual area Samboree, being held in Armstrong this year.
Different people in the club organize each event and members can choose if they want to be a part of the trip or not. The Good Sam Club is primarily a way for people who travel with RV’s to connect and travel together, although club members’ benefits include: insurance discounts, warranty extensions, and a quarterly magazine highlighting destinations, samborees, equipment reviews, advocacy for warranty issues, and groups’ updates.
“Last year we ended up in Leavenworth, WA for Octoberfest. We also had a group that went to Moses Lake and Soap Lake. We went to Metawa to dig for petrified wood that you can take home.” Pinard explained that it’s a great way to discover new places since the groups’ executive research and put together the trips each year. The club also organizes caravans for longer trips such as the Rosebowl caravan where they reserve tickets for the game and parade for club members.
The Samboree is an annual large club get together. Last year, the Samboree was held in Midway, and one of Pinard’s goals is to bring the Samboree to Grand Forks.
“I hope to bring a Samboree to Grand Forks, it’s quite a boost for the city economically,” said Pinard. “Midway’s a small town. We had 150 rigs and 395 people. People go to restaurants, they go to stores – everywhere! We also need a building. The only place I can see in Grand Forks would be the land behind the curling rink. That would hold a lot of people.”
At the Samboree club members also gather for breakfasts, and a big dinner. That means a caterer, and a large rental space. “That’s in the future. There’s a lot of work to be done, we’re just a new chapter. We’ll need a lot of people involved,” said Pinard.
Anyone interested in more information or joining the Kettle River Ramblers can contact: Paul Pinard 250-442-2575; West Boundary/Midway Richard Battersby 250-449-2349; or Cliff Schuh 250-442-2895.