African-American Campers Not Deterred
High gas prices did not stop members of the National African-American RVers Association from travel and recreation over the weekend. This year’s Southern Regional Rally, in Gadsden, Ala., at the River Country Campground, concluding Sunday (May 18), was lined with recreational vehicles belonging to more than 200 families, according to the Gadsden Times.
The Southern Regional Rally, which takes place once a year, brought together 15 local groups from the Southern region in areas including, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.
Lemuel Horton, director of the Southern Region of NAARVA and president of the Merrimac Sams group in Decatur, Ga., said he doesn’t think too much about gas.
“As an RVer, if you worry about gas, you’re in the wrong business. People probably take shorter trips now because of the price, but it doesn’t stop it,” he said.
Sydria Carter, member of the Jacksonville, Fla., group said while gas is high, she still is willing to attend these events.
“It’s a priority for us, so we make sacrifices,” Carter said.
Deloris Green, fellow member, said they don’t mind because they enjoy being around each other.
“This, what you see here, is only a fraction of the group; the national gathering is a huge thing,” Green said.
NAARVA, an organization known for being family-oriented, also fosters camaraderie and lifelong friendships. S.N. Campbell said that’s a large part of the attraction and what the organization is about.
It is that attraction that keeps people coming back every year.
“We are RVers, we enjoy this, this is what we do,” said Azell Johnson, of Palmetto, Fla. “My theory is, if we need to worry about gas, we don’t need the RV. If I want to go somewhere, I go,” Johnson said.
Johnson said they come out to these events for the fellowship.
The same goes for the Morrisons. Annette Morrison of the Rollin Buccaneers group in Baton Rouge, La., said gas prices matter, but it won’t interfere with the trips they have planned.
For others, the price of gas has changed how often they travel.
Tina Johnson, of Kentucky, said it hasn’t bothered them that much, but it is still something they consider.
“It’s pretty expensive, so we won’t go on all the trips,” Johnson said. “It makes you alter and pick and choose where you go, but for the ones you want to go on, you just suck it up and do what you have to do.”
Jean Betts, of Kentucky, said her family was planning a Northeastern tour after nationals, but decided to cut that out because of gas prices.
The family still plans, however, to go on a trip in July to Savannah, Ga.
“You pay the money for the (RV), so you can’t just let it sit there, you have to take it on the road and enjoy it.”