The Club: GMC Sunshine Statesmen

In bridge clubs and in councils of state, the passions are the same.
                 – Mason Cooley 

There are quite a number of organizations out there to help a new RVer get their bearings, but if you have a vintage, collector, or relatively rare vehicle then the gold standard is a club specifically created to support your type of rig.  Since I have received great support from Saab and Suzuki forums, and exceptional benefits from being a member of  the Isuzu Vehicross community, I sought out a similar group for our classic GMC Motorhome.  These GMCs have rabid owners all over country with regionally organized clubs that have regular rallies.  I found the Florida based club, the GMC Sunshine Statesmen, just in time to attend their first rally of the 2013-2014 season.  Once a month the rally host coordinates a discount rate at a carefully selected RV park and arranges food, entertainment, events, social hours, technical sessions, arts and crafts, outings, and more.  We could not have asked for a more welcoming or supportive group.  Arriving at dusk for our first rally, Jeff Sirum noticed right away that I was having a problem with a sticking throttle, and made sure that it was sufficiently reliable to get us home.  Member after member went out of their way to greet us during the weekend, and we had the opportunity to tour a score of other GMCs and thus get a flavor for the wide variety of internal options and styles even in these relatively small motorhomes.  After our departure on Monday we stopped by Jim Bounds’ GMC Coop shop and spent the day getting a number of things inspected or repaired, and had the opporutinity to work side by side with his mechanics so that I could learn what was actually going on under the hood.  Having a support groups, whether for the collective knowledge of the hive mind or just for the social opportunities, is an invaluable asset for an RVer regardless of experience.

First Adventure: Bahia Honda

Still thrumming with excitement at taking a tangible step towards our RV life with the purchase our “Training Motorhome,” we could barely wait to get it out on the road for at least a weekend trip.  Despite living in Southeast Florida and having visited quite a number of the Florida Keys, Rose and I were both ignorant of the RV parks on the islands, so it was with some excitement that Rose stumbled upon Bahia Honda State Park during her research.  One of the best rig friendly spots in the Keys, Bahia Honda bosts what many consider the islands’ best beach, electrical and water hooks ups with a dump station, snorkeling, kayaking, and an affordable cost.  We wanted to go as soon as possible.


Unfortunately, Bahia Honda is quite popular and has a limited number of RV spots, and the experienced patrons reserve a year in advance.  We had put Bahia Honda in the “maybe someday” file, when on a whim I checked the Reserve America website that handles reservations for all of Florida’s State Parks on the chance they had an opening due to cancellation for the coming weekend, and we nearly wet our selves with excitement when we were able to lock in one night.  Thus 13 days after getting The Silver Shell home, we were able to take her out for a weekend in the Keys.


We had a wonderful time.  The beach and cove are fantastic, the wild life abundant, the water clear, and everything is exceedingly picturesque.  In addition to the joy of being in this beautiful natural setting, we had our first opportunity to interact with other RVers, and you could not ask for a more welcoming unofficial community.  As obvious neophytes, we took advantage of the experienced neighbors to ask questions and seek advice.  In our short day and a half stay we learned more than we thought possible.  We gained familiarity with the idiosynchracies of our rig, and were able to start a list of things we needed to upgrade, repair, or purchase to make things smoother during future trips.  Probably the number one lesson: You need bicycles.  Many of these parks are quite large, and even getting from your spot to the concession area, much less to all of the places worth seeing, can be quite a hike.

As for the park itself, it has much to recommend it.  The camping/RV spots are sufficiently large such that you dont feel like you are right on top of your neighbors, and each has a significant amont of vegitation growing between each spot.

Relatively large and private Bahia Honda RV spot

Relatively large and private Bahia Honda RV spot

The sunsets are fantastic…

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And even when it rains it is beautiful…

We had a blast!!!!!
It was a great 1st trip 🙂