Sierra Nevada Airstreams -|- Sierra Nevada Unit, WBCCI

Enjoyment of the whispering winds, the zephyrs, the airstreams of the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin areas of the United States in a recreational vehicle.

August 2014

Rally Issues

The topic of SNU rallies came up at Obsidian. There seems to be some concern about the lack of participation of a number of SNU members. It was mentioned that maybe we should try some new sites, including full service RV Parks and also that maybe we should seek input and ideas from all SNU members, including those who haven't participated in a rally.

It is critical to the vitality of the SNU to encourage new people with new ideas, to try new things and maybe revisit some past efforts. It is also important to seek input from all members. In order ensure the most success for any efforts in this direction it is very important to review what has happened in the past and understand the concept of rallies from the SNU point of view.

Everything anyone wants to know about SNU rallies is publicly available on the website. This includes an online survey for members to provide input.

For the past 12 years, the SNU has made a conscious effort to seek member input into the the types of rallies, rally sites, and rally activities through surveys, letters, newsletters, the website, and one on on conversations. Since 2004, every suggestion made by any SNU member regarding a potential rally site or activity has been followed up on. Among others, these include:

*Rally at Twin Lakes with a special guided tour of Bodie

*Rally at Unionville, with brunch at a local bed and breakfast

* Rally at the Fly-in and Airshow at Silver Springs and assisting with the pancake breakfast.

* Rally at Ft Churchill Orchard with a tour of Buckland Station

* Rally at the Portola Railroad museum with special train ride

* Rally South Lake Tahoe with special museum tour and dinner cruise on the MS Dixie

* An annual rally at Death Valley with sight seeing tours and other special activities

* Rallies at the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival

* Rally at Weed Heights in conjunction with A Night in the Country Music Festival.

There have been five members of the SNU who have offered to host a rally. These people, in cooperation with all SNU members, chose the site and made any necessary arrangements. All five of these people have hosted more than one rally. Their rallies are included on the above list. These five, along with a few others have suggested and scouted out potential rally sites, most of which have been the site for at least one SNU rally.

The SNU has checked out several full service RV Parks as potential rally sites. Some, such as Walker River Resort, Weed Heights and South Lake Tahoe, (although designated as campground, it provides full services) have been the site of at least one SNU rally.  Two rallies were held at the Churchill County Fairgrounds which had electric hook ups and water and sewer available. Others, because of issues with the park, lack of interest or minimal potential for participation have not worked out.

Concern was expressed that the 2014 and 2015 rally schedules didn't offer new members any special activities like those at some past rallies. Efforts to encourage participation by new members has always been one of the factors in planning an annual rally schedule.

* Some rallies are close to the Reno/Sparks/Carson City areas so that people could stop by for a day visit if they aren't able to come to the rally. If they aren't sure about the types of rallies the SNU prefers this provides a good way to come find out.

* The July rally has been held at a full service RV park, in part as an attempt to appeal to those members who prefer RV parks. In 2014 the July Weed Heights rally was held in conjunction with the Music Festival in an attempt to provide a special event along with the rally. This rally was promoted in several SNU newsletters, on the website and in local newspaper announcements.

* The August 2014 rally at Obsidian offered the opportunity for members who prefer more services to reserve a site at Mammoth Mountain RV park and come visit Obsidian for the day. Again this option was promoted in several SNU newsletters, on the website and in local newspaper announcements.

There was concern expressed that the 2015 rally schedule was the same as 2014 and didn't offer anything of interest to several of the members who have not yet participated in an SNU rally. The 2015 Rally schedule, as are all SNU rally schedules, a collaborative effort. The rally (and luncheon) sites chosen for 2015 were suggested by various SNU members. There are several unique opportunities included in the 2015 Rally schedule.

* One of the highlights for 2015 is the first ever joint rally with another Unit. While several Units hold rallies in the Reno/Sparks area, none have ever contacted the SNU or offered to do a joint rally. Earlier this year the SNU was contacted by NorCal and invited to consider a joint rally. NorCal is a much bigger Unit and has a much different rally culture than the SNU. This joint rally will be a great opportunity to share ideas and experiences. NorCal has chosen the date and the rally site. NorCal and the SNU will be deciding on rally activities after the first of the year. There is an opportunity for an SNU member to act as spokesperson and work with NorCal to put this rally together.

* 2015 will be the 10th Anniversary rally at Obsidian Dome. All though the dates are set, again, there is an opportunity for someone who would be willing to step up to the plate and assist in plans to make this rally special and unique.

* The 2015 Region 12 rally will be held in Gardnerville at a full service RV park. Several SNU members will be working on this rally. In order to support this rally, the SNU has not scheduled a Unit rally in October so that as many SNU members as possible can participate in the Region rally.

Opportunities for member input into rally planning are varied and always available to all SNU members. The SNU rally structure was designed specifically to support participation in whatever way most suited the individual. It is up to each individual to choose their priorities. If they choose to provide input and to participate in rallies, and better yet offer assist in planning and carrying out a rally, then those people will have the most voice in the rallies scheduled by the SNU. If members chose not to utilize any of the means available to contact the SNU and not to provide input or even visit or participate in SNU rallies then they will have to be satisfied with the decisions made by the participating members.

“The idea is to get out and have fun with your RV - with friends who share common interests." - Bryan Leipper, 2007


The SNU clearly identifies it's preferred rally sites and style of rallies. A description of SNU rallies is in the materials sent to potential and to new members. The website and newsletters provide clear descriptions of SNU rallies.

Many of the current SNU members who most actively participate in the SNU are ones who chose to join the SNU in large part because of the rally locations and the flexible and informal style of SNU rallies.

The SNU is aware that it's preferred locations and style of rallies may not suit everyone. We encourage members to participate in other unit rallies and in rallies presented by the region, the international organization and other Airstream groups. It is hoped that this experience will enhance the enjoyment of the Airstream adventures and that also they may bring ideas to the SNU that the SNU might consider to enhance it's own rallies.

Responses and comments from SNU members

Jerry & Dyann

One of the things that I think was also lost was that one of the ideologies behind the choice of sites was to try and stay within 200 miles of Reno to enable those who still work or have children or themselves still attend classes can also come or visit. Another consideration is that boondocking allows those with limited or fixed income to attend.


The distance limit is also linked to the cost issue.  A 200 mile travel cost could amount to more than an RV park fee.  A distant RV park coupled with a large travel distance would be a double cost whammy.  However, it seems to me that many of our most distance boondocking rallies have been quite well attended.

Personally, I find it difficult to make a rally every month.  With all that is involved its a time committment of a week with all the preparation before and all the work after each rally.  That's nearly 25% of the month.  So alternating between an RV park and boondocking each month would provide the number of boondocking rallies that we can comfortably make.  The counterargument is that if we would have to miss a boondocking rally some month it would be a long stretch between the rallies we attend.  I'm conflicted.


Marlene contacted many of the members that don’t regularly attend rallies to get ideas about ways to make the rallies more attractive to them. While I don’t remember all the responses that were given, it seemed that a few said they didn’t like boon-docking. Perhaps this term indicated a very remote location far from civilization. Such is not the case most if not all are within cell phone coverage of some provider and most location are within a 5 miles of a major highway. Most of our dry camping sites are visited by the responsible ranger during our stay.

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