President's Update


As of 31 August, 2022!

I started this update sitting in the shade outside the rig while attending the Safari So Good rally in Salem, Oregon in mid-July. It was extremely refreshing to no longer need to hide inside with the A/C running full blast to offset the brutally hot temperatures that I had experienced during my round trip to Hell (Texas)!


In mid-June, I had set out on a 5,000-mile round trip to visit an eye specialist in Arlington (within the Dallas – Fort Worth MetroPlex) and in-process to conduct a validation test of my solar / lithium battery bank upgrade on the rig. My goal had been to gain the ability to successfully power the rooftop A/C from the new solar and battery modifications without needing to run the generator while driving....and I’m pleased to report that it worked!!!


I am NOT pleased to report that the driving conditions were hideous and as a result of several REALLY severe pothole encounters on that excursion, I had to spend four days in Grants Pass Oregon and significant $$$ in late August replacing one damaged steer tire and several critical front suspension components. Kaiser’s Brake and Alignment in Eugene was able to schedule me for an alignment in late July prior to my planned trip to northern Washington, however, when they discovered that there were damaged suspension components needing replacement, they couldn’t get me onto their calendar for repairs until October!


I replaced the damaged tire, made a “shade-tree” adjustment to the toe-in to compensate for the suspension damage so I could make the round trip north, then was able to get into Henderson’s Line Up after I returned from my Washington trip. A bent passenger-side lower control arm, ALL 4 tie rod ends, a damaged drag link, a damaged bell crank, and a damaged driver-side upper control arm shaft were all replaced....and only then could the very capable folks at Henderson’s re-align the suspension and send me on my way properly repaired and adjusted.


I have to tell you that my experience with both Henderson’s and Kaiser’s was completely different! At Kaiser’s, while I was treated fairly, my experience while at Henderson’s was Kaiser’s, the estimated cost for repairs was higher than at Henderson’s and included several “upsell” additions, as well as a small fee for their Henderson’s, the initial estimate was less expensive, but still reasonably substantial considering the scope of anticipated work, however, when additional suspension components were discovered damaged during the alignment, Henderson's re-evaluated the scope of work and REDUCED my estimated costs by nearly $500! Additionally, the initial inspection and a 4-wheel weighing were included without additional charge. Henderson's final position was that since I had been through their shop less than 18 months prior, they felt an obligation to warrantee a portion of their prior work in both parts and labor! I am very certain that this action on their part would NOT have been replicated at Kaiser’s. At Kaiser’s there is neither a convenient customer lounge nor overnight 30A electrical hookups provided as exists at Henderson’ can guess which facility and organization I would clearly refer!


Enough about my personal adventures, let’s discuss issues affecting Safari International!


I am disappointed to report that despite our best efforts and intentions, there will be no Safari International regional rally in any of our three regions this year....the Western Region VP, Shane Cotter, remains in the Eastern time zone and may not get back to the west coast before the end of the year....the Central Region VP, Norb West, has completed his back surgery and is recuperating well at home now in Wisconsin with a fairly lengthy recovery path yet before him....the Eastern Region VP, Pamela Whitehorne, has just about completed the rebuilding process following tornado damage to her home, so her focus has shifted to pulling together a Pre-Rally for the FMCA Convention in Perry Georgia next March....and we haven’t seen any volunteers step forward to fill the need for a rally master to organize a Safari International function this year while the regional VP’s havw been side-lined. It is disappointing, but not surprising when viewed through the lens of our past 2 years in pandemic there anyone else besides myself who is starting to feel like it’s time to come back out?


Time to review progress on plans for our 35th Anniversary celebration next year! It’s 2 steps forward, 1 step back at this point....the Hutchinson Kansas fairgrounds look like a wonderful venue for a mid-continent gathering with good facilities, many interesting things in the local area, a great relationship with management and plenty of factors on the positive side of the ledger. I made the trip to walk the venue personally and spent the 4th of July onsite....I can CLEARLY say that July in Kansas should be avoided! It was really HOT! Beyoond that, did you know that Safari International has only a few members within a 500 mile radius of Hutchinson and NO members within Kansas at all?


In my Fall Trails article this time around I talked about a poll of Safari International members that I was able to conduct while at the Salem Safari So Good fun club rally in July....the results of that informal poll showed me that a single-site mid-continent venue would NOT be likely to draw folks from the west effectively. Not one of the dozen Safari International members present felt that they would make the trip to Hutchinson! Even if our attendance percentages ran close to the past results of our 30th Anniversary rally in Shawnee, then we would be very fortunate to anticipate a turnout of 25% of current membership at best. Putting together a celebration mid-continent that would be attended by LESS than 50 rigs at best just seems to be the wrong way to your Executive Board is re-thinking how to best approach this issue from a different direction. More on this topic later!



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