On this weeks show my guest is the co-founder of Sisters on the Fly , Maurrie Sussman. The Sisters on the Fly is the largest outdoor women’s adventure group in the country with over 8 thousand members. She and her sister Becky Clarke founded the group over 20 years ago and have been having “more fun than anyone” ever since. Maurrie is here today to talk about the groups beginnings, the coveted trailers, their bucket list trips and the women who join them.
For about two years I have been cajoling RV dealerships into hosting what I call “Camper College.” For those that don’t know what a Camper College event is, it’s an opportunity afforded to us by dealerships that “get it” to find out what is involved in owning, operating and towing a travel trailer.
In all the mail I receive from listeners of the Girl Camper Podcast, the fear most often expressed in them is the fear of towing. Additionally, there is a lot of concern about the trailer coming detached from the car. At Camper College, dealerships walk would-be Girl Campers through the process of hitching up a trailer. The hands on demonstrations let the attendees do the whole operation themselves. The dealership also takes everyone on a scaled back version of a trailer walk through showing them where water goes in, comes out and how the trailer gets its “energy.” For those that are new to the RV lifestyle these lessons help demystify trailer ownership and give the confidence needed to make an eventual purchase. It’s the first step into joining the Girl Camping movement with confidence.
It’s been great to have the support of Little Guy Worldwide who often co-host these events with me. This last event was epic though and we created a bit of a circus by inviting our Camp LIke a Girl Meet Up site members to Take Over Tom’s Camperland in Mesa, Arizona. Women from other Meet-ups in the Phoenix area as well as our event partner Sisters on the Fly, all came out to do a Friday night meet and greet with a demonstration and then an all day Saturday Open House. Tom’s is a huge dealership with over 42,000 square feet of covered display space. They were gracious enough to treat us to a great dinner on Friday night which made those traveling directly from work to the event very happy! On Saturday we got to eat the biggest pizza pie I’ve ever seen along with lots of healthy snacks and cookies to keep our energy up as we toured the largest selection of lightweight towables in Arizona.
The staff at Tom’s Camperland could not have been more gracious and I thank them for sharing their knowledge and for their gracious hospitality. I’d also like to thank Chris Baum of Little Guy Worldwide for coming out to join us. Chris is always cheer leading for us and although he was outnumbered, he held his own! We think he has magic shoes! A special thanks to Maurrie Sussman the co-founder of Sisters on the Fly, the largest membership based outdoor women’s group in the United States, for coming and sharing fishing stories, towing stories and inspiration with all those new to Girl Camping. My final thank you is to owner Brad Leach for believing in the idea of mentoring and for operating the kind of business that wants customers for life and that is willing to serve those customers before they even make a purchase. When I remarked to Brad during his demonstration that I was told that a power surge protector was an absolute trailer necessity he quickly replied that I must have been at “Camper ‘Junior’ College.” He was a heck of a good sport and fun to boot!!
On this week’s episode I share the inspirational stories of the women who are making the Girl Camping world a better place to live. Behind the scenes act of kindness and encouragement are happening everyday and lives are brighter and campier because of them. I also announce the winners of some contests and talk about my Riverside Retro purchase. Campfire Chat is all about the Go RVing upcoming seminars on camping hacks at the Country Living Fairs.
The sisters on the Fly were nice enough to ask me to guest blog for them on their site’s “On Age and Attitude” blog spot. I was so happy to do that because the older I get the more I feel that age really is just a number. The Sisters on the Fly prefer to think of themselves as ageless. If not ageless, then co-founder Maurrie Sussman says she’s 12! ” Twelve was my favorite age. We were in awe of everything! We had no boobies yet, hadn’t been kissed yet and boys were a pain!” Pretty much sums up 12 in our day.
Maurrie Sussman, co-founder of Sisters on the Fly, who began fly fishing when her kids left the nest.
This week I read about 90 year old Norma who refused cancer treatment and instead sold everything show owned and with her son Tim and daughter in law Ramie, took off to see the country in a 36′ motorhome. Now that’s age with attitude! That’s the kind of woman I want to grow up to be! Her son started a Facebook page, Driving Miss Norma chronically all of her excellent adventures. She is proof that age really is what you make it. I imagine Miss Norma has always been a lady with a good attitude that took a pragmatic look at life and said, “oh well!” to things she had no control over. I’ll wager she “moved on” from life’s disappointments, not wasting time with “should’ves and could’ves.” Thank you Norma for reminding me that I have to start now becoming the woman I want to be when I am 90!
I am following Miss Norma and hoping to be just like her when I grow up!
I am so excited to share the dates for this year’s Country Living Fairs . Mark your calendars and save your vacation days because it’s going to be a Girl Camper destination! The Country Living Fair is a lifestyle event in which the “pages of Country Living magazine come to life.” It’s not just a “fair!” The vendors hail from 25 different states and bring with them beautiful, handmade, one of a kind items. The food is not your average “fair” food. Hamburgers made from grass fed beef! Organic food, vegan food and cake rolls fill the food dreams of every fair goer. Guest speakers provide lots of inspiration for those Pinterest, Facebook and social network followers. Rhee Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, and Mike Wolfe of American Pickers were at last years shows and this year’s lineup is sure to please.
Throughout the day the Country Living Kitchen stage is giving hands on tips from our favorite bloggers and authors on how to do all things “kitchen”. Canning, preserving, soap making …. you won’t want to miss them!
Go RVing is a Country Living Fair sponsor and is on site to let you know how easy it is to join the RV lifestyle. You can tour their beautiful RV, enter to win a great prize and discover how you can find your “AWAY YOUR WAY!”
One of my favorite vendors from the Rhinebeck Country Living Fair last June! 2 Chix and a Barn owners Leslie Brighthaupt and Kim Rodrigues have curated a selection of things you will want to have! Plus, their vintage Airstream is awesome and they don’t mind showing it to you!!
Our cast iron cooking seminar was a great success! Plus we got to eat the demo!
Last year sponsor Go RVing added mini seminars on the RV lifestyle. Here I am sharing my tried and true knowledge on how to make pizza at the campground in your cast iron skillet. Irene Rawlings book for the Sisters on the Fly on cast iron cooking was a give away prize.
The Girl Campers will be on board again displaying their vintage trailers and sharing their tips for finding, buying, renovating and using these vintage treasures. Suz Q Landis, aka be back soon love mom, always has a new project to share with fair goers and will be at this year’s Rhinebeck show with her latest trailer!
Go RVing’s panel of Girl Campers will be on the Main Stage on Saturday at 2 PM to share all the fun and shenanigans they have on the road with friends. Anita Wallace, a Georgia sister on the fly and curator of camper happiness for the Atlanta and Nashville shows, is pictured here with me and Country Living Magazine’s Crystal Simon. Also on the stage at last years Nashville show were honored guests, Sister on the Fly founders, Becky Clarke and Maurrie Sussman.
Food, finds, demos, speakers, Country Living beauty! Mark your calendars and reserve your hotel, B&B, or campsite now! Do things!