November 16, 2015

RV family relates run-in with escaped NY convict

Last summer, while many New England residents were on pins and needles, waiting for an end to the run of two escaped convicts, some RVers dealt with their own terror related to the case. Only recently has information on the matter been brought to the public's attention.

Richard Matt - NY State Police
It all started when 48-year-old Richard Matt, a convicted murderer, serving a 25 years to life sentence, broke out of the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York. Matt broke jail along with 34-year-old convict David Sweat on June 6, 2015. For 20 days heavily armed authorities combed the countryside looking for Matt and Sweat, while many residents lived behind locked doors, fearing the worst.

For Brett and Dottie Gokey and five of their friends and family, "the worst" came on Friday, June 26. The group was divided between three pickups, pulling a boat and two fifth-wheels, heading to Meacham Lake Campground, in upstate Franklin County – a nice place to scare up northern pike and yellow perch. Meacham Lake is about 50 road miles southwest of the Clinton Correctional Facility – and it proved to be way too close.

Driving in caravan style, the Gokey group motored along Route 30 when they heard what Brett Gokey described as a "crack." Thinking he'd blown a tire, Gokey pulled over, investigated, and found nothing amiss. Shrugging it off, they continued on eight more miles to the campground. It was there the source of the "crack" noise was identified. A slug from a 20-gauge shotgun had blasted through one of the fifth wheels, cleanly making the trip straight into and out the other side. Fortunately, no one in the party got in the way.

The Gokeys turned around and headed back from where they'd come until they ran into a law enforcement team at the south end of the lake. Officials eyeballed the matter and determined the family rig had been shot, and advised the Gokeys to keep their mouths shut – out of a "safety" issue. They did – for a very long time – waiting for some official to say something publicly about just who had been shot at. Within hours, aided by the Gokeys' lead, border patrol officers tracked down escaped convict Richard Matt. When Matt pointed a 20 gauge shotgun at them, one of the officers dropped him with a gun of his own, fatally wounding him.

First speaking with the media, two months after the frightening encounter, the Gokeys are still haunted by it. Telling Boston's WCVB TV station about their recollections, "That could have been us,” Brett Gokey said. “We could have been killed, our families, everybody that was camping with us could have been killed. It wasn’t just a shot at an RV. It was our families."

Brett's wife, Dottie Gokey, feels the state should be held accountable – suspecting that Richard Matt was armed, Dottie feels the state should have closed the campground. And she feels slighted, "thrown away" that while the state's governor credited "campers" with the reporting that led to Matt's final capture, never has the Gokey family been mentioned by name.

The Gokeys have retained an attorney, asking for a portion of the reward that was offered in connection with the capture of Matt and David Sweat.

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July 3, 2014

Watch this fun drone flyover video of an RV resort

In this fascinating flyover video by David Bott of, you will see Southwoods RV Resort in Byron, N.Y., with its large, well-kept spaces, great areas for recreation and a hilltop RV group area. David adds that the park owners and staff are all willing to go the extra mile.

April 7, 2014

Salem museum exhibit features classic Airstream

Gotta penchant for following modern history? If your travels take you out Massachusetts way, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem may be your ticket of interest. Step into the museum's atrium and feast your eyes on one of the RV lifestyle's icons: A pristine Airstream Clipper trailer, straight out of the 1930s.

The museum's current exhibit, "California Design, 1930 – 1965: Living in a Modern Way," brings not only Wally Bayam's dream trailer to life again, but over a couple hundred more objects that take you on a living history program through the Golden State's golden age.

For those who'd like to take a trip back in time, clean across the country, here's the opportunity. The artifacts in the exhibit include a diverse array of furniture, textiles, fashion, industrial and graphic design, ceramics, jewelry, metalwork, film and architecture, this exhibition celebrates the innovation and pervasiveness of midcentury modern design. The work of legendary designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Richard Neutra, and Greta Magnusson Grossman are explored, as is the sociological and geographical context which gave rise to this unprecedented design movement. Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), this exhibition is the first major study of California midcentury modern design – or so says the news release.

Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm
Open the third Thursday of every month 10 am-9:00 pm
Closed Mondays (except holidays)

East India Square
161 Essex Street
Salem, MA 01970-3783 USA
Phone: 978-745-9500, 866-745-1876
For the Hearing Impaired: 978-740-3649

photo credits: Distant Shot: © 2014 Peabody Essex Museum. Photograph by Allison White; Detail Shot: © 2014 Peabody Essex Museum. Photograph by Walter Silver