Aliner Rally – Mid-Atlantic Region

September 23-25, 2005

Sandy and I pulled into Outdoor World Gettysburg Farm Campground in Dover, PA, early Friday afternoon. This would be our first camping trip in about 30 years and our maiden voyage in our 2003 Aliner LX, recently purchased on e-Bay. Our plan is to tour North America for about eight months during 2006 and we are anxious to make our Aliner work as well for us as possible. So, we were excited to meet fellow “Tin Tenters”, see first hand how they use their units and examine the modifications they’ve made to suit their camping needs. We were rewarded in spades. More than seventy people showed up at Rally 2005 towing 37 units including many Aliners, several Sportliners, a Cabin Cruiser and an Alite 400.

Aliners at Rally

We pulled into one of Gettysburg Farm’s self-selected sites and registered with Jo Ann Bryant who supplied us with name tags and a sign identifying our unit. We spent the rest of the afternoon introducing ourselves and beginning the process that would continue all weekend; taking notes and photos of all the great ideas that might find their way into our unit. At the campfire that evening we all gathered at the appointed hour, were introduced by Tom Bohacek and spent the rest of the evening talking, eating munchies, making smore’s over the campfire and consuming a variety of beverages. There weren’t many takers for the coffee, though, and we heard multiple requests of “Hey, Tom, push the coffee!”

Saturday was “on your own”. For some of us that meant heading to nearby Gettysburg National Military Park, the Eisenhower Farm or the huge farmer’s market in Thomasville. (Harley Davidson was sponsoring its “York Open House” so the popular plant tour was fully booked.) For many others it was a day to jawbone with fellow campers or to speak with Bill Horvath, General Manager of Columbia Northwest, who manufactures Aliners. Bill and factory technician, Gene, spent the entire day consulting with owners, solving problems and making warranty and other repairs. For Horvath it was also a weekend of getting to know his customers and what they are looking for in existing and new products.

That evening we all gathered in the campground’s activity hall for dinner. Jack & Patti Stone arranged for Scozzaro’s Old Mill Inn to cater the dinner and it was delicious! Yeah, I admit it; I was first in line for seconds. Dinner was followed by a few words from Tom, our illustrious leader, and Bill Horvath. If it’s possible to have too many door prizes to give away, we did, but it was fun, anyway. Finally we were entertained by members Linda Huber on her autoharp, ??, playing the hammered dulcimer and Jo Coates on guitar. Though they’d only met the evening before they did a bang-up job on a few traditional mountain tunes. Of course, we had to gather, again for another campfire and listen to more calls of “Hey, Tom, push the coffee!”

Sandy in front of Dry Dock

Although the nominal check-out time was 10:00 a.m., Tom employed his superior negotiating skills to move the deadline to midnight. That left the morning for coffee and pastries and tours of each other’s campers. Notable among the units that Sandy and I toured were Brad & Hannah Baile’s LX with many creative and craftsman-like changes, Jack & Lori Ensminger who had a photo album of their Aliner tour to Alaska and Russ & Nita Brindley who detailed some 60 changes they’ve made to their unit. Then there was Debbie Lichtenberg’s LXE, set up next to us. Complete with solar panels and a generator set-up, Debbie had to be the gear-head champ of the rally. Of course Linda Huber, in her tiny Alite 400, was a must-see. Finally, there was 97 year-old Lois Smith who dragged her daughter, Jackie Busch, along to the outing. We were privileged to receive a copy of Lois’ recently published autobiography, “Beyond the Mountains” about growing up in the mountains of Kentucky.

We hated to leave our new friends but we had to if were ever to complete the list of must-do projects we created over the weekend. Sandy and I had a great time and look forward to future Aliner events. We want, again, to thank Tom and Karen and all the other volunteers and participants who made the weekend a success. And, “Hey, Tom, push the coffee!”

Bill & Sandy Stine