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April 2012 Newsletter

      Greetings and salutations!! Hope everyone had a safe and healthy winter. It’s hard to believe that we’re getting ready for our spring, summer, and fall rallies already, but it’s also exciting because we get a chance to see each other again and the guys can get together and act smart and talk dirty!!! Not really, but I’m sure that a lot of “techeez” will be forthcoming.
     Ladies, we have some work to do also as we plan for hosting the GMCMI Ladies get together at Amana Colonies. We have a more specific theme, thanks to Brenda Gens, and several of us met in Shawnee, Ok to firm up more ideas, so it will be fun to share and create!!
     We took the long way around to get to Shawnee, spending time in Florida with family, met up with the Haseks, spent time with Bob and Yvonne Miller at Turkey Creek, some Great Lakers in Titusville, and thoroughly enjoyed exploring more of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and spending time with Fred and Sharon Hudspeth in Tyler, TX who we traveled with to Shawnee, OK. 

     For those of us who arrived early, we were met with 4 days of rain with one day getting 4 inches in 12 hours. Lots of red clay became rivers of Red mud and made a mess of our clothes and coaches. Fortunately, the sun came out and “dried up all the rain” so the attendees had better ground under them when they arrived. We had 100 coaches, 17 first timers (some of who presented), 2 live video tech sessions, one involving Dave Lenzi installing a wheel bearing and the second live demonstration was given by Todd Sullivan installing the Sully Airbag system. Both of those presentations were exceptional and the attendees were thrilled to be able to see these installations up close and personal. Larry Weidner was the capable cameraman with Dan Shaub from the Great Lakers doing the lights. GMCMI is pursuing the equipment requirements that will be needed for future presentations like these.
     The Expo Center was well laid out with two floors at our disposal. The area wasn’t as well prepared for our visit, as OK had so much rain they were a month behind and we couldn’t avail ourselves of the new sites, but we all managed. The restrooms were not well cared for so Jayne Hodges took it upon herself to clean the ladies areas so they could be used. Kim Weeks has made the set up easier by ordering table covers so “no more plastic” that has to be taped and falls down all the time”! 

     Marlys Drewes, Jane Hasek and I were among 20 who completed the CPR & AED Program as the GMCMI has purchased an AED (Automatic Electrical Defibrillator).
     All in all, it was a wonderful convention with the opportunity to spend time talking and laughing with folks, doing puzzles, sharing books and tips with each other. The Tulsa Lunch Bunch put on a chocolate lover’s filled afternoon, with plates of home-made chocolate confections, a video clip of “I Love Lucy” and the candy making episode, lovely handmade and hand painted bird houses by Dorie Broostin as center pieces which were auctioned off with the money going to a Tulsa charity, and each guest left with a wooden shape of OK with diffuser oil and sticks. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon and everyone had a great time. 
     It was great to have some of our Midwest Classics members at the rally: The Glennas, Whites, Sandi Renk, Haseks, Drewes, Dalls, Joe and Randy Johnson (without their coach), John Smyrski, and a surprise visit from Don and Angenette Denesia. We all had a ball together!!
     Before we traveled home we had the opportunity to spend time with some Great Lakers, the Lenzis, Bolzers, and Drubers. We traveled to Southern OK and one of the surprises we encountered during our stay was how lush and green it is with some beautiful clean lakes. We visited the National Memorial in Oklahoma City as well as the Cowboy Museum, which we highly recommend, the zoo and Science Museum. The Chickasaw Cultural Center was magnificent and we learned more history about the area and the Chickasaw and Choctow Nations.
     On our way home we got to visit with Wally Anderson and Sue Philbin in Omaha and the Drewes in Flandreau, SD. It’s a treat to stop and see where some of the members live, their homes and the areas they spend their time in. Of course, going out to dinner with the Drewes involves stopping every 10 minutes so they can greet someone or have someone greet them!! 

     I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in June in Fairmont and know that Brenda and Rod Gens are arranging for all of us to have a fun time together. Ladies are reminded to continue to collect Dr. Suess items and bring what you do have to the Fairmont rally so we can see if we’re missing anything. As always, if you ever have a concern or question, please feel free to contact me. Lucy Weidner, President 
     A MESSAGE FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT—YVONNE MILLER Time to start thinking about summer rallys. Rallys are a great time to get together to talk about and hopefully solve problems anyone is having with their coaches, visit and have a few laughs. Ladies let’s have a show & tell session regarding books, crafts, recipes, travels or anything you like.
     Sullybuilt Replacement Air Spring 
     Another great replacement bag system is now on the market. It is intended to replace the existing OEM single bag system that exists on our GMC’s. It is called the “Sullybuilt Replacement Air Spring” and is manufactured by Todd Sullivan of Seattle Washington. If you have access to the internet, here is the URL for the information to this system. If you do not have access to the internet, following is a description taken from that web site. The air spring suspension system on the GMC motor home produced from 1973-1978 has functioned well in its original design for decades. Many coaches are still supported by the original Firestone air springs. The original air spring design performs all of the leveling and weight support for the coach while driving down the road or adjusting the coach to a level condition while parked for camping. New replacement air springs were available through various distribution channels until recently when Firestone halted production of the original part number and have failed to offer a direct replacement to take its place. There have been many unique designs offered to replace the original GMC air spring system. These different systems vary in complexity, price, ease of installation, as well as similarity to the original system function. The Sullybuilt air bag mounting system is the least expensive replacement option available that retains factory like ride height adjustability. It is also the simplest and easiest to install. The Sullybuilt air bag mounting system is a refinement of a concept published by Mark Grueninger of Valmeyer, Illinois. In the course of his business, Mark had access to a number of different air springs and started doing research and tinkering. The original Markbag was the result. In building my own set I made a few discoveries of my own which led to several changes in design and construction techniques implemented for manufacturing. The Sullybuilt air spring system Is the result. The main changes made prior to production were: 
     1. The Diameter of the mounting plate standoff was increased to enlarge the mating surface between the bracket and the bogie arm.  
     2. The standoff was redesigned with a welded nut for mounting to the bogie arm rather than a bolt to allow for more flexibility with various air supply line configurations such as manual fill/shut off valves. 
     3. The standoff was redesigned to allow the fill port to be housed within the standoff to relocate the inlet line and plumbing from the direct debris field of the tire and resolve interference between the air line and the tire when the air spring is in the fully deflated condition. 
     4. The diameter of the backing plates was increased to add more protection to the air spring in the event of a tire blowout.
     Installation of the Sullybuilt air spring system is slightly more complicated than changing a tire but easier as Sullybuilt air spring bracket kits are available individually or as a complete set. A complete set will do both air springs. Individual spring kits can be installed on only one spring but I recommend replacing both air springs for an even, consistent ride and keeping one functional OEM spring on board the coach as an emergency spare. Individual bracket kits come with all needed hardware to install with the exception of one of the original air spring nuts and washers, which are retained from the removed OEM spring. Bare steel brackets, $175 per side or $350 for a complete set. Painted steel brackets, $220 per side or $440 per set. If only one side ordered, color will be gloss or flat black. If a complete set is ordered then more color options are available. Hot dip galvanized steel brackets, $200 per side or $400 for a complete set. Stainless steel brackets, $280 per side or $560 for a complete set. Shipping is $15 per side or $30 per complete set. Powder coated brackets.
     With the massive variety of powder colors/textures and manufacturers I am reluctant to offer a multiple of color choices. I can have them powder coated black if a complete set is ordered and the cost will be $125. If you want powder coat and want to pick a custom finish, I recommend purchasing the bare steel brackets and taking them to a powder coater of your choice near you so you can pick the color at the facility. I think that you will find that you can have a complete set done in the color of your choice for less than I have quoted here for black. Above pricing does not include the air spring itself.
     The air spring is a Firestone manufactured air spring part # WO1=358-9294. There are other cross referenced springs available. A cross reference sheet as well as a spec sheet on the Firestone air spring is available on the Firestone corporate web site and included with each side set of Sullybuilt air spring brackets. Available on the web from ~$118 each, here is a web search for the required air bags: As a source of reference, here are all of the bag systems available:
     JUNE RALLY; FAIRMONT, MN June 14, 15, 16, 17th, 2012 Rally Masters: Brenda & Rodney Gens  
     Flying Goose Campground: 2521 115th St, Fairmont, MN 56011. Tele # 507-235 3458 Their website Reservations need to be in by May, 15th, 2012. Everyone will need to call the campground directly to make their own reservations (make sure you tell them you are with the GMC group). They are holding campsites for our group, all in one spot and close to the building we will be using.
     COST: $35.00 + tax for Electric & Water (according to web site). 
     DIRECTIONS: Located approximately one mile southwest of I-90 at exit 107, or five miles East of Fairmont, or 125 miles East of Sioux Falls on Lake Imogene. Watch for our GMC Club sign. There are Pontoons, Paddle, Boats and Canoes for rent and a 18 hole- Mini-Golf Course. There are other interesting sites and activities available in the area.
     Thursday, June 14th (Flag Day) Arrive (Check In 1 pm) Group or individual        decision(s) regarding Dinner 
     Friday, June 15th 8:00 am -Breakfast: Oatmeal, Rolls and Fruit (bring a cup of fruit to share) 
     6:00 pm -Pizza and a ‘potluck dessert’ (Bring a dessert to share). 
     Saturday, June 16th 8:30 am -Breakfast: Egg Bake 9:30 am -Business Meeting followed by Tech sessions and Sharing 
     6:00 pm Catered Dinner 
     Sunday, June 17th (Father’s Day) 8:00 am -Breakfast: Oatmeal, Rolls and Fruit  Rally ends: (Leave at your own pace) Check Out 1 pm. Motels in Fairmont, MN are: Holiday Inn, Super 8 Fairmont, and Comfort Inn 

     JULY RALLY; BLACKHAWK PARK, DESOTO, WI July 15th (early arrival), 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 2012 Rally Masters: Jane & Wayne Hasek
     BLACKHAWK PARK (US Army Corps of Engineers) DeSoto, WI E590 Cty Rd B1, DeSoto, WI 54624. Their web site is Tele # 877444- 6777 Everyone will need to call the national registration number and make their own reservations for Blackhawk Park, DeSoto,WI as soon as possible. You can ask for campsites # 46 thru 51, or 62 thru 66 or 70 thru 73 or any Electric sites. If those are taken then reserve any campsite and the Park Ranger will rearrange us so we are together. Please send me an email, note or call when you are registered so I can communicate and coordinate with the Park Ranger.
     COST; $24.00 per night (They accept Golden Age Passport, Access, and other Senior and special discounts – usually ½ off) 

     DIRECTIONS; Located adjacent to the main channel of the Mississippi River, the park is three miles north of DeSoto, WI and 30 miles south of La Crosse, WI, just off Wisconsin State Highway 35 on County Road B1. Blackhawk Park is the largest public use facility in the Mississippi Pool 9. Watch for our GMC Club sign. Visitors commonly see a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, blue herons, ducks, geese, whitetail deer and wild turkey. The site was designated in 1983 and was the location of a Black Hawk Indian War battle.
     Sunday, July 15th Early Arrival – Check In 2 pm  
     Monday, July 16th 
     8:00 am -Rolls and Coffee 
     6:00 pm -Pot Luck Dinner. Bring your own plates, utensils, meat and a dish to share. Grills available. 
     Tuesday, July 17th 8:00 am -Breakfast in a bag, Rolls and Fruit. (Bring a cup of fruit to share). Coffee. 
     9:00 am -Business Meeting followed by Tech sessions and Sharing. 
     5:00 pm - Narrated Boat Tour on Mississippi Explorer Cruise Boat & Dinner at Lansing, IA. 
     Wednesday, July 18th 8:00 -am Breakfast: Oatmeal, Rolls and Fruit. 
     9:00 -am Private Tour of Lock & Dam 8 at Genoa, WI Afternoon – Optional tour (1 – 1 ½ hr) of the Genoa National Fish Hatchery, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (near Blackhawk Park) Lake sturgeon and pond management. 
     6:00 pm Dinner -Great River Roadhouse 
     Thursday, July 19th 8:00 am – Rolls, Fruit, Coffee Rally ends: (Leave at your own pace) Check Out 2 pm If anyone needs overnight accommodations/motel contact Jane Hasek. 

     FALL RALLY: This rally will be at the International GMCMI at the Amana Colonies at Amana, IA, September 22-28, 2012. We are hosting the Ladies Luncheon. You can get more information from the GMC Motorhomes International web site:
     Midge Glenna is sunshine lady so send her the name of anyone needing a little sunshine and Midge will send them a card.
     For paying dues, change of mailing address, or Email changes: Please notify Treasurer, Larry Johnson, 14451 Highway 23, Cold Spring, MN 56320-4613



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