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Whidbeydavid

Whidbey Island, Washington State

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Posted: 03/17/13 08:33am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Last week while at Calico Ghost Town near Barstow, CA, my wife and I happened to camp near a group of FMCA members who had arrived early for their weekend rally. In speaking with them - and politely fending off their insistent attempts to get us to join FMCA - it turned out these campers were "the leadership" of the local chapter including their "wagonmaster". when we arrived, they were sitting in a group drinking and having a good time. No problem so far.

A short time later the group broke up with loud announcements that they were going into town for dinner. These plans changed somewhat when one of the planned drivers fell getting out of his motorhome, resulting in facial injuries and significant bleeding. As I helped him up, I smelled a strong smell of alcohol on his breath, noted that his speech was slurred, and saw that he was unable to get off the ground without help. After he refused help for his wounds and went back inside to clean himself up, the rest of the group piled into the wagonmaster's car and headed off into town. A bit later the man who'd fallen also got into his car, along with his wife, and headed into town.

The next morning I approached the wagonmaster and told him I had a complaint about his group's behavior. I told him that I objected to members of his group, including himself, drinking alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a car, especially as the dinner trip had been pre-scheduled prior to the drinking. He, and another woman in the group, did not deny drinking before driving, but told me I didn't know what I was talking about since they didn't have that much to drink. I informed them that I am an ER nurse and deal with drunks frequently, and am in fact in a position to assess this, then I pointed out that their original driver was literally "falling down drunk". The wogonmaster tried to tell me first "I know my limits", then "it's not illegal to drink and drive, it's only illegal to have a blood alcohol level over a certain point". He also tried to threaten me, saying "be careful who you accuse of drinking and driving - it might expose you to liability". (I invited him to go ahead and try to sue me.) Eventaully I walked away when the woman with the wagonmaster became aggressive and hostile, shouting at me "What an arse!" repeatedly, then shouting across the campground that "you're not the kind of people we WANT in our group". (Oddly, the day before this same woman had been telling us about how the FMCA accepts all people).

Since these people went out of their way to represent themselves as members of the FMCA, and my approach to their leader was clearly presented as a complaint about the group behavior, I'd have expected a more professional response. Instead, I got denials, arguments, and then outright cursing and taunting. Needless to say, I won't be joining FMCA anytime soon, and I have written to the national leadership of the group requesting a personal response.

* This post was edited 03/17/13 08:46am by Whidbeydavid *

mowermech

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Posted: 03/17/13 08:41am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had a similar experience with the "wagonmaster" of a Good Sam group many years ago. He insisted our church group had to leave early (we had the site reserved until noon) so HIS group could get set up. Our last member left at about 11:58 AM. (Yeah, it was ME!)
It has been said that I tend to carry a grudge. I disagree. I keep a grudge until it dies of old age, then I take it to a taxidermist, have it mounted, and hang it on the wall!
From what I have seen of the RVs sporting the FMCA placards, they aren't my kind of people anyway. I have no desire to join the organization.


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mockturtle

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Posted: 03/17/13 08:50am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If the woman said, 'What an arse!', rather than 'What an ass!' she must have been either Canadian or British. [emoticon]

It's been my experience that people are much better behaved when not in groups! [emoticon]


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2oldman

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Posted: 03/17/13 08:55am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good story.

People are just insane sometimes...and boy do they hate being called out on their mistakes!!

blackeyed1

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Posted: 03/17/13 08:58am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It was probably a little too early for you to open up to the group. I usually visit a few times and watch the interactions before I voice my opinions about anything.

Ozlander

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Posted: 03/17/13 09:00am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Never try to tell a drunk that he's a drunk.


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peaches&cream

Northwest Georgia

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Posted: 03/17/13 09:08am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I commend you for being concerned. Someone could be killed by a "drunk driver". I think the best course to take would be call Law Enforcement, give them a discription of the vehicle (tag # if possible), and let them handle the problem. I am a member of FMCA and I do not condone DWI. I would never hesitate calling the authorities and let them handle it.





Whidbeydavid

Whidbey Island, Washington State

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Posted: 03/17/13 09:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ozlander wrote:

Never try to tell a drunk that he's a drunk.


That's why I waited until the next morning to speak to the group leader.

As for calling Law Enforcement, I don't have a lot of faith in that for several reasons: I didn't make note of type of car or license plate numbers, remote area - longer response time, lack of cellphone service in area (I carry only a cheap Tracfone)

For those of you who are members of FMCA, especially the California Chapter, I encourage you to take your leadership to task for their behavior. My one encounter with these "leaders" has resulted in about a hundred views of this post in just about an hour. THEY are the ones giving your club a black eye!

coolbreeze01

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Posted: 03/17/13 09:18am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With approximately 85,000 active member families, FMCA is the world’s largest motorhome owners group.

I didn't know what FMCA is, so I looked it up. Bound to be a bad apple or two.


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Whidbeydavid

Whidbey Island, Washington State

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Posted: 03/17/13 09:30am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

coolbreeze01 wrote:


Bound to be a bad apple or two.


Agreed, and simply being a member of an organization shouldn't tarnish the group itself. However, in this case, the individuals represented themselves as OFFICERS of the organization, on an official sanctioned rally, and the wagonmaster was approached with a complaint about the group in his capacity as an officer of the group.

All of that makes this a problem for FMCA itself.

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