RV Chapter Spotlight | FMCA
Changing with the times, this former ownership chapter now carries on a classy name.
By Charlie Atkinson, L10327
FMC magazine, December 2010
The Elite Travelers chapter was formed in September 1987 by Art and Terry Ludlum, F44491. At the time, you had to own a motorhome built by Elite Coach Corporation to join. That qualification has changed over the years.
Elite motorhomes were produced from the mid-1980s until 1992 in Southern California. After Elite Coach Corporation went out of business, an Elite owner tried to make a go of it, but failed after about two years. All of Elite’s assets were sold at auction.
After Elites were no longer being made, the chapter bylaws were changed so that new members didn't have to currently own such a coach, just be a previous owner. Later, the bylaws were changed again to allow any FMCA member who wanted to be an Elite Traveler to join, regardless of whether they had ever owned an Elite motorhome.
Our chapter is chartered in the Southeast Area, but, generally, members are from east of the Rocky Mountains. At this time we have 30 member families. Another Elite-focused chapter, called The Elitists, is located in California, FMCA's Western Area.
Elite motorhomes were very well-built, and customers could order them right at the factory. Most were rear-engine diesels built on Gillig chassis in lengths of 34 and 38 feet. Every now and then we still see one. A few years ago, the Elite Travelers were holding a rally in Port Clinton, Ohio, when a motorhomer arrived at our event driving a 1990 Elite. It was beautiful, as it had been garaged and had only 35,000 miles on it.
At our rallies, we usually take in all sorts of sights in the area. This past July we met at the Floyd County Fairgrounds in Charles City, Iowa. It was a combined rally with the Newmar Hawkeye Kountry Travelers Club (a Newmar owners group). We enjoyed great tours in the Charles City area, such as a visit to Zip's Truck Equipment Inc. in New Hampton, Iowa. This company builds tow trucks, including the super-big trucks that can tow buses and large motorhomes. We also visited the Floyd County Museum, which has a terrific collection of farm tractors. The world’s first gasoline-driven farm tractor was built in Charles City, and historic models built by Hart-Parr, Oliver, and White are on display.
For next year, we are considering a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, to explore all it has to offer.
Chapter dues are only $10, and we'd love for you to join us and become an Elite Traveler yourself. For more information, contact me, Charlie Atkinson, at (513) 856-7881; [email protected]. For general information about FMCA chapters, contact the Chapter Services Department at (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622; [email protected].
If you would like your chapter to be featured in Chapter Spotlight, contact FMC associate editor Peggy Jordan, (800) 543-3622, ext. 212; [email protected].