[Vision2020] Life on Wheels, Dead at the U-I

B. J. Swanson bjswan at moscow.com
Sat Mar 8 08:02:54 PST 2008

How much more negative publicity can the U-I and Lloyd Mues generate before
the U-I administration gets a clue.  And we wonder why student enrollment
and everything else at the U-I is spiraling downward.  The last sentence
says it all.  


B. J. Swanson


RV Life on Wheels Conference takes its business elsewhere

Annual conference will take place at Lewis-Clark State College instead of UI

By Hadley Rush, Daily News staff writer

Saturday, March 8, 2008 - Page Updated at 12:00:00 AM

An event that has annually brought an estimated 400 people and $500,000 to
Moscow for the past 13 years will take place in Lewiston this summer.

The RV Life on Wheels Conference is scheduled for July 6-11 on the
Lewis-Clark State College campus. The event previously took place at the
University of Idaho, but organizers opted to seek a new location because of
a contractual discrepancy with the UI, according to a LCSC news release.

Moscow Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Darrell Keim said local
businesses looked to the event for an economic boost during a slow time of
the year.

"That is unfortunate," Keim said. "I know it's been a big" economic boost.

Lloyd Mues, UI vice president for finance and administration, said the
conference simply didn't renew its contract with UI.

"We would love to keep Life on Wheels in the Moscow-Pullman area, and at the
same time we do have to follow certain protocols when it comes to contract
arrangements," he said. "As public stewards we can't allow an operation to
occur on UI property without a contract. This year we just didn't have a

Mues said there was no fallout between UI and Life on Wheels.

"There was no debate, there was no arguing over anything, it just boiled
down to we have to get it on paper and it didn't happen," he said. "We look
forward to the potential of having them back again next year, but we'll

Gaylord Maxwell, founder and director of the Life on Wheels conferences,
stated in a news release sent to the Daily News on Friday that the event was
founded at the UI as a joint venture between himself and the university's
now-defunct community enrichment program in 1996.

In addition to the UI, four other college campuses around the United States
host the event each year.

This year, the conference in Lewiston will offer more than 100 seminars to
RV travelers from across the nation, many of which will be presented by
authors of RV books and magazines.

Courses include RV cooking ideas, how to work from the road while traveling,
prime RV travel locations, how to park an RV and how to properly repair and
maintain one.

Maxwell stated that he's disheartened the conference won't be in Moscow this

"Moscow has been my 'hometown' for many years ... the attendees at our
conferences have enjoyed the friendly reception merchants have given them
and they've appreciated the barbecue the chamber of commerce provided every
year," he stated. "And I and the staff of Life on Wheels have enjoyed and
appreciated the wonderful assistance we have received from many of the UI
staff. It is with regret that we must leave."

Keim said local grocery stores, restaurants, hotels and even hardware stores
will suffer a loss now that the conference will be in Lewiston. Any time an
event as significant as Life on Wheels stops coming to a town there's bound
to be decreased economic activity, he added.

"Especially tourists (who) come with money to spend," Keim said. "I don't
know about you, but when I go on a vacation I bring money (planning to)
spend it there."

Keim said he hopes the event's relocation won't have a detrimental effect on
local businesses, although he said that's a likely outcome.

"It could have a fairly substantial impact."

LCSC President Dene Thomas said the campus and Lewiston community are
looking forward to the conference.

"I am very excited about the RV Life on Wheels coming to Lewis-Clark State
College," Thomas said. "We will be able to highlight our wonderful college
with its beautiful campus."

Thomas said Lewiston will benefit greatly from the flood of vacationers who
will be traveling to the area.

"The RV people will substantially benefit the local economy with purchases
of everything from gas and food to souvenirs and memorabilia," she said.

Thomas said the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers make an ideal
setting for travelers to "stop, rest, and learn about the area."

"I plan to greet each and every one personally and welcome them to the
valley," Thomas said.


Hadley Rush can be reached at (208) 882-5561, ext. 239, or by e-mail at
hrush at dnews.com.


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