This will be my final communication as President to our fellow members of the Georgia Winnebago-Itasca

Travelers Club. At our May state meeting in Dillard, Steve Thomas will continue his service to our club in his

 new capacity as our President. We hope you will join us at River Vista for his installation as well as the election

of the 2005/2006 officer team for our club.


It is my hope that as you look back on our common experiences during our past two terms in office, you will find that we are a more vibrant and happy community than we once were and enjoy business meetings that are much shorter with less controversy. I hope when you critique our term in office you find a stronger and more supportive relationship between our organization and our sponsoring dealer, John Bleakley Motor Homes. It is also my hope that as you travel our great country in your Winnebagos and Itascas, you will discover that our annual state rally has a very strong and growing reputation as a well organized, well managed and hospitable rally where first timers and out of state guests are greeted and treated like family and enjoy warm fellowship with us and share in our fun.

 I hope, also, that you are satisfied that the organization has been left in a stronger financial position than when we arrived and you have received good value from your membership and financial support of our club.


As I have so frequently stated, it is not the purpose of our state rally to raise funds for our club activities and we do not host our state rally for the purpose of attracting out of state visitors. It is intended to be our private celebration of Spring with one another, but we conduct it in such a way that others feel welcome to join us at our annual party.


At our 2005 rally we hosted 19 first time coaches and 20 coaches from out of state (excluding ours, because we

still consider ourselves to be Georgians despite our Florida plates) and a total of 106 coaches. This compares with 106 last year and 99 in 2003. If any of the five no-shows had attended we would have set a new record for rally attendance this year. Participation in our rally is exceptional in a period of rapidly rising fuel prices. As usual, when ever we talked with our first time and out of state visitors during the rally, we were told how welcome we made them all feel. This is a tribute to your legendary Georgia hospitality!!!


As you are aware, we undertake an enormous financial risk each time we host a state rally. Our costs are never

covered by our revenues from rally fees and raffles. While out of state visitors assist in amortizing entertainment expenses, more than any other single resource, an extremely generous donation from our sponsoring dealer sustains our state rally (and quarterly state meetings).


As we are finishing the financial ledgers on our 2005 rally, it looks like your rally leadership team has expended over  $19,800.00 and  will  report a  modest  surplus  of about $400.00,  compared against a surplus of  $515.46 following our 2004 state rally. As you will recall we deemphasized fund raising during this year’s rally. We did not sell “Pot of Gold” raffle tickets and were less aggressive in selling chances to other fund raisers than in past years. We have the 2005 rally leadership team to thank for managing our rally expenses judicially.


We must continue to build on our organization’s relationship with John Bleakley Motor Homes and we strengthen that relationship by providing every reasonable opportunity to the Bleakley family to earn our business on the next purchase decision we make on our next motor coach. We cannot ever allow ourselves to take Bleakley’s support of our organization for granted no matter how far into the future we look.


I have talked with very few owners of Winnebago Industries products who consider their motor homes to be “perfect”.   A  majority of us experience a few issues  and  “service opportunities”.  We are fortunate to have an excellent dealer service department in Unadilla with the experience and expertise to fix these “very complicated homes with wheels under them” that make them slightly more complicated than our regular houses combined with the cars and trucks we keep in the garage. And I would encourage each of our members to take the few minutes required to send a quick thank you note when sales or service work is done well. We all know they always hear from “the other kind” and how nice it is to be paid a compliment when one is earned.


If you open your ears to the dealer  and service experiences  of other owners across the country,  you will soon

recognize how fortunate we are to have a dealer where integrity is the highest priority and most technicians are competent  and trying hard to get it right the first time  in a very complex environment.  Dorothy and I have had ample opportunity to observe the service issues of other dealers and owners across the country as we have traveled during the last four months “shaking down” our new coach.


How did our 2005 rally compare statistically with our 2004 rally?


We received 39 survey forms from our guests following our 2005 state rally (our highest return rate in the last four years of surveys). Here is a summary of the results:


A. 67% of respondents rated our 2005 rally as “Great” compared with 64.5% in 2004 and 60% in 2004. So we improved the overall perception of our rally in 2005.

B. 82% of respondents rated our rally facility as “Great” despite the dog noise and  “fertilizer” issues in 2005 compared with 88.6% in 2004 and 80% in 2003.  (As of writing this note,  I have yet to have my letters on your behalf acknowledged by either of the two dog show organizations that were responsible for the mess left behind at the Georgia National Fair Grounds or the American Kennel Club.)

C. 87% of our respondents rated our door prizes and the drawing process as excellent, the same as in 2004. The percentage on the same question in 2003 was 82%.

D. 100% of respondents rated our travel directions as excellent, identical to the rating in 2004. The percentage has increased from 97% in 2003.

E. Our exceptional parking team continues to improve in the opinion of our survey respondents with an  astounding 97% calling it excellent compared against 96.8% in 2004 and 91% in 2003.

F. While the series of questions rating catered meals changed this year, food service provided by the Yoder family remained exceptionally well received by our respondents.

G. For those who have attended each of our past three rallies, Lola Cagle received an “excellent” approval rating of 68% in 2003. Dave and Daphne received an “excellent” approval rating of 80.6% in 2004. The Cavaliers Big Band Orchestra received an “excellent” approval rating of 61% at this year’s rally.

For the first time since we instituted rally surveys, we did not have a single negative comment about fund raising.



Your support of our rally vendors continues at a high level and Wayne Welch tells me that he has already signed up and has received prepayment of vendor and camping fees from a record setting 10 vendors for our 2006 state rally.


So while there remain some opportunities for improvement, if you felt proud of our 2005 rally, your feelings were validated by the responses of other rally guests (and vendors) too. I will continue working with Steve Thomas and the 2006 rally leadership team he assembles to identify the improvement opportunities to ensure that our 2006 state rally is even better than the one we just concluded.


Your club has nominated and elected an exceptionally talented and energetic officer team for the 2005-2006 term and has a plan of succession which allows the entire officer team to develop the knowledge to deliver exceptional state rallies  in future years.   Our membership can look forward to strong club leadership  with even better state rallies lying ahead.


As Dorothy and I leave our term of service to the Georgia Winnebago-Itasca Travelers Club, we leave with the confidence that our favorite social organization is going to thrive and prosper in the years ahead. We thank you for the support we have enjoyed as we served you.


Doug Ripley




6200 Fairburn Rd.




(I-75 S Exit 122)


4411 Bankhead Hwy



Georgia State Rally 2005



Hello, my name is Steve. I’m selling these samples to buy food for my family.

We live in a small motor vehicle, and we haven’t eaten in a long time.

Thank You

Was that B43 or G43?

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