A Bit of RVCG's History...
In the late 1970's, a group of wanna-be adventurers began discussing how to live and travel the country in a recreational vehicle. One of the first questions asked stymied all of us: "What do we know about the safety of these vehicles?" No one had a clue. Thus, armed with paper and pen, we ventured to local dealerships where we were soon totally confused — primarily because it was very evident that the dealers didn't know any more than we did on the subject.
After founding Base Camps Wilderness Institute (BCWI) in 1982 and spending several years gathering information, JD and Connie Gallant, along with Bill Willette, Mary Malone, Charlotte Landolt, Leo & Maria Bernardo, Terri Burnett, and Al & Sunie Weaver, began putting it all together and sharing it with the public through special workshops at community centers, public schools, and campgrounds.
In the mid-1980's, JD Gallant began studying the RV industry by working as an RV salesperson in several dealerships for a number of years. Among many things, he learned that RV salespeople are generally uninformed and often give the wrong information simply to make the sale.
In the late 1980's, we began visiting RV factories to look closer at the process manufacturers were following. All of the shows, dealerships, and factories we attended were documented in video or photographs so that we could make comparisons later and study pluses and minuses of quality, workmanship, and materials. The amount of data being collected was rapidly overwhelming the small group. It was then decided to build a database so that we could manage it easier. In the early 1990's, we established RV Consumer Group as a dba of BCWI in Washington State.
JD checking underneath a motor home chassis.
The long road we chose to take at that time has led us to what you see today on these pages. We are very proud of our accomplishments and knowing how much we have helped thousands of consumers in the selection and buying process of their RV, in addition to increasing the awareness of safety issues.
We have raised eyebrows within the industry and persuaded manufacturers to make safety improvements in their products. We have testified at senate hearings when manufacturers wanted to "self-guard the chicken pen". We have been expert witnesses in RV accident trials where families of victims thanked us for representing consumers.
We have happily given RVCG 20+ years of our lives. We hope that by the time we get ready to make our exit as the organization's original founders, we can find skilled, dedicated, and hard-working folks to replace us. The pay is definitely not competitive, the hours are long, the frustrations many, but the rewards of knowing that we have made a difference in an unregulated industry without compromising our dignity and convictions helps us sleep at nights. However, the biggest reward we have enjoyed is getting to know thousands of kind and decent folks who have so much in common with us: the RVing lifestyle and the desire for adventures!
Although the majority of our friends who helped to organize RVCG are now deceased, the spirit of commitment and dedication to the pursuit of a safe and enjoyable RVing lifestyle remains at the core of our current team's objectives.
Finally, we would not be where we are today without your belief and support. Thank you!
Connie Gallant, President