Clarence “Doc” Jones bought his first recreational vehicle 15 years ago because he was angry.

“True story,” laughed the vice president of the Virginia Camping Cardinals in an interview with the Virginia Gazette. The 120-member RV club is rolling in 50 RVs to American Heritage Campground in James City, Va., today for a weekend rally. It’s the largest club of its kind on the East Coast, with primarily minority families.

Jones runs a salvage business in Middlesex County. He recalled the day he bought the rig at a salvage auction.

“I had won several bids, and after winning another, one of the other bidders said, ‘Doc, I figured you’d be broke by now.’ That made me mad. The auctioneer told us he had two more vehicles for bid. One was a Lexus and the other an RV. I decided I was going to buy them both just to prove I wasn’t broke.”

The RV was barely a year old but had suffered light fire damage when the ceiling air conditioner malfunctioned. “I took it home, cleaned it up and replaced the air conditioner,” Jones noted. “Then I told my wife that on our next vacation we were going camping.”

With that, they were hooked. The details vary, but the allure is the same across a club that enjoys the outdoors.

“It is very relaxing,” said club member Julia Perry of Chesapeake. She began RVing in 1967.

She captured the perspective. “You learn a lot about yourself. You learn to enjoy life without all the comforts of home. And you enjoy meeting people. Everywhere we go, we meet people who are interesting and inspirational.”

“We hunt,” explained Marian Hartman of Hampton, who with her husband bought their first RV in 1993. “We’d go to the clubhouse at the end of the day, but I was the only woman so we couldn’t spend the night.”

To read the entire article in the Virginia Gazette click here.