Roadtrek Rally - Kitchener, Ontario

July 22-26, 2003

Roadtrek International is a club of Roadtrek owners that Nancy and I belong to. The club was planning to hold its 10th anniversary rally in Kitchener, Ontario, near the location of Home and Park, which manufactures Roadtreks. We planned our Maritime Provinces trip so that we could stop by the rally on our way home. While regional rallies, such as the Door County rally we attended in June, allow you to get to know other Roadtrek owners better, the larger national rallies usually have factory reps that can do seminars on technical issues connected with Roadtreks. We were especially interested in touring the Roadtrek factory to see how these lovable little RVs are made.

The rally was well-supported by Home and Park (the company that makes Roadtreks) and by representatives from companies that make generators, RV refrigerators, and other equipment used in Roadtreks. Here, a representative from Onan is discussing generator maintenance.


I found it interesting to see a generator with the cover off, so we could easily push and poke at the various parts. In my RV the generator is under the vehicle and seeing what you are doing when working on it while lying on the ground is difficult. So this was helpful.

I was very impressed with how much Jeff Hanemaayer (chairman and owner of Home and  Park, George Clements (well known to Roadtrek owners on the Cyberrally), and others of Home and Park made themselves available at the rally to answer questions and deal with concerns of Roadtrek owners. They even had technicians available to look at specific problems of owners. We had traced our problem of those little mosquitoes in New Brunswick to a small gap in the corners of the window screens. (Wisconsin mosquitoes must be bigger, or stupider, since they never made it through the gaps.) George Clements gave us a screen gap repair kit that fixed the problem. Many thanks to George, Jeff, and the rest of the Home and Park crew; they did a great job and really added much to the success of the rally.

We had a tour of the Roadtrek factory, which I was really looking forward to. Other people at the rally reported that their tour was very good, but I was disappointed with ours; we didn't have a very good tour guide. Here, a worker is putting the finishing touches on a limited edition Roadtrek prepared specially for their 30th anniversary, which is next year.

It was interesting to see that, starting with the basic van from Dodge or Chevrolet, the conversion to a Roadtrek is basically done by hand, with little automation.


The company brought a selection of new models to the rally for us to look at. It was interesting to see what was new, and what was the same as in our 2 year old model. Something were improved, but we had our doubts about some of the changes. We didn't see enough improvements to cause me to sell our Roadtrek and buy a new one now. We think we will drive it until it is worn out, and then replace it with a new one at that time.

There were about 500 people at the rally, so taking a group photo of the participants is a challenge. The rally organizers enlisted the assistance of the Kitchener fire department; they brought a ladder truck and raised the photographer high above the crowd. This is what it looked like from our position in the crowd; I wonder what the photo looked like from his angle.


The factory also brought out this 1978 Roadtrek, so we could see how the RVs have changed over the years. One important difference is that it didn't have the three windows above the windshield that has since become a very recognizable feature of all Roadtreks.

The 1978 Roadtrek had the dinette/bed in the middle and the kitchen and bathroom in the rear. This is rather different from the present configuration of all Roadtreks now, with the kitchen in the middle and the dinette/bed in the rear.


In addition to learning more about Roadtreks, the rally offered tours and recreational opportunities. St. Jacobs, which is a (mostly) Mennonite community nearby offered interesting shops; this shop made corn brooms and other straw products. St. Jacobs has an excellent Mennonite museum that traces the history of Mennonites from the 16th century to the present.


The final dinner at the rally was an Oktoberfest celebration. A three-person band played German and other music suited to the dominant age of the attendees, i.e. old guys like us.