Volunteers Needed In Florida
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Division of Wildlife, is offering RV sites with full hookups in exchange for volunteer work at its Bull Creek Wildlife Management Area. The Bull Creek area is located west of Melbourne and south of Orlando. This is the 10th year of this popular program, and many volunteers are returning for their eighth season.
Volunteers are needed during the managed hunting seasons that begin in late September and run through April of the following year. Volunteers work flexible hours; however, we need coverage for a total of 112 hours per week for a short period of time, and considerably less for the remainder of the year. Work hours will depend on the number of volunteers assigned to the area; whether duties are shared by a spouse; and the type of public recreation allowed in that area. Volunteers are permitted to remain in the area between hunting seasons and can use the available facilities when not working. We ask for a minimum stay of 60 days; however, consideration will be given for longer stays to those volunteers who commit to a late September arrival.
Please contact me for additional information.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
151 N. Orlando Ave., No. 237
Winter Park, FL 32789
NASCAR Article Elicits Comments
Lazelle D. Jones’ article about the Daytona Motor Speedway, titled “The Birthplace of NASCAR” (February 2002, page 78), was very interesting. However, it did not mention one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers.
Marvin Panch was the winner of the 1961 Daytona 500 and drove a 1960 Pontiac. Marvin was known as “Pancho” around the racing circuit. He was elected to the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1987 and was named one of the top 50 drivers by NASCAR in 1998.
Charles N. Griffith, F273007
Lincoln University, Pennsylvania
First, let me say that as a new member of FMCA, I love FMC magazine. We look forward to getting it each month and putting to use its many suggestions on how to make our RVing experience easier on our wallet and nerves and far more enjoyable. It is like sitting around the campfire every month with seasoned RVers and getting the benefit of their years on the road. Which brings me to my reason for writing to you.
When I saw the words “Daytona And Motor Sports: A Winning Combination” on the cover of the February issue, I couldn’t wait to read the article. I was sure that it would follow suit with the rest of the magazine’s focus and provide me with interesting RVing tips, such as the dos and don’ts of attending the Daytona 500 and possibly even the rest of the Winston Cup racing series with my RV. The first paragraph showed genuine promise, but after that, it seems the author completely lost sight of the article’s focus and purpose. The story was moderately interesting, but only if you were looking for yet another of the million versions of the history of the Daytona 500 that fill sports magazines at this time of year.
If this was what I wanted to read, I would have subscribed to a magazine dealing with the racing sports, not RVing. Where are the tips, the suggestions, and the personal insights based on the author’s RVing experiences at these events — information that I, as a reader, as well as many others, I’m certain, expected to see?
When looking for one of the “many RV campgrounds that pop up to accommodate . . .” that the author alludes to, will information about who designed the track really help me, or anyone else? Will knowing in detail about a particular driver’s racing record assure us a decent and safe stay in Daytona? Four pages after reading that campgrounds and facilities are provided for RVers at these events, I was no closer to learning about them or anything else with regard to RVing to Daytona for the race than I would have been if I picked up my road atlas.
This article, though reasonably well written, had no place being published in Family Motor Coaching magazine. It was like settling down to read a piece about secondary country road hazards and winding up with an article on how to properly field dress a deer. I don’t mean to be critical, but I believe that an article in an RVing magazine should enlighten and perhaps educate me about RVing. Instead, I was left to scratch my head and stare at the magazine cover, asking, “Huh?!”
Andrew Laird, F302226
Glocester, Rhode Island
Full-Timing Is The Life
The full-timing articles in the February 2002 issue were excellent indeed. My wife, Leola, and I identify with all of them. We’ve been there, and done that.
In October 1988, at age 46, we began looking for a used motorhome and settled for a 25-foot Superior. We named him “Zeek.” Since then we have toured every one of the Lower 48, plus Canada and Mexico. We have put 160,000 miles on Ol’ Zeek. We have backpacked across more than 800 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in California, Oregon, and Washington. In February 2001 we were on the beach at Key West, Florida, and in July we were in the North Cascades of Washington. February 1999 found us in San Diego, California, and we spent Labor Day week on Cape Cod.
We probably could not be considered full-timers, because we have a home base, and being Montanans we have to be home for hunting season in the fall.
About a year ago a close friend asked when we were going to mature and get a real job. Well, we are fast approaching age 60, and we finally got a real job in Billings, Montana. A few weeks ago I started up Ol’ Zeek, let him warm up, and backed him up about 10 feet, then drove him back into his winter spot.
Yes, we have matured and have a real job now, and it’s the sickest thing I’ve done in all my 59 years. I’d just like to be on the road again.
I enjoy and read your magazine every month.
Corky Harkins, F172190
Reading E-Mails In All Caps
I read Family Motor Coaching every month and enjoy it very much. I have been an FMCA member for about three years now.
I must take issue with a statement in the “FMCA.com” column titled “Contact Us,” which appeared in the February issue (page 146). It said that using all caps in an e-mail can be very annoying and hard to read. What is easier to read than large, well-formed letters of equal height? Maybe it’s a matter of sophistication rather than anything else.
As we grow older, it becomes more difficult to read small print. Large print certainly cannot be described as annoying.
Albert H. Rodemann, F247237
World’s Longest Covered Bridge Not To Be Missed
I enjoyed the “Baker’s Dozen” column titled “Covered Bridges” in the November 2001 issue. Certainly these historic landmarks are worth a visit and make great places to steal a kiss from your sweetheart as suggested.
The Christies pointed out the covered bridges in Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada, but they overlooked the most notable of all. The Hartland covered bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick, is the longest covered bridge in the world. It spans 1,282 feet and crosses the St. John River in central New Brunswick.
The bridge is still open to foot and vehicular traffic. Although I was reluctant to drive our motorhome across it, it provided a great walk from end to end.
To get to Hartland, follow Trans Canada Highway 2 north of Fredericton, the provincial capital.
Shawn, Clark, Elli, & Jesse Chamberlin
Ancaster, Ontario, Canada
Retired Police Officer Provides Safety Advice
I commend Charlie Siler for cautioning RVers after two separate robberies occurred as RVers were en route to a rally (“Readers’ Forum,” February 2002, page 21). My parents were robbed in Miami, Florida, in 1984, and this led them to sell their RV and cancel all travel plans.
My wife and I retired in September 2000 and have been motorhoming as much as possible since then. I retired from law enforcement and much of my experience was in the area of violent crimes, such as robbery. Mr. Siler’s letter serves as a warning to all of us, but it is my wish that reports of crime include more detail. In the two incidents described by Mr. Siler, I would have liked to know what time of day the crimes took place, whether other people were present during the robberies, and to have a description of the offenders.
I would suggest that fellow RVers who fall victim to such a crime should call out to others as soon as it’s safe to inform them what just took place. Many times a plainclothes officer or off-duty officer may be in the area but won’t know anything happened until the marked police car arrives. Victims also should report the incident immediately so they can increase the law enforcement agency’s chances of apprehending the suspects.
Because of my experience as a police officer, I am much more cautious than most, but the better informed we are, the better we can protect ourselves and each other.
In closing, I would suggest that RVers carry the bulk of their cash in a secret place in their vehicle. They also should keep a written record of their credit card numbers as well as the phone number(s) needed to report them stolen or lost.
Mike Thompson, F287282
Count Your Fire Extinguishers
Our thanks to FMCA for its education program, because it helped us save our motorhome from what could have been a disastrous fire. A special thanks to Mac McCoy for his fire protection seminar. He teaches that we should have five fire extinguishers on board: in the bedroom, in the kitchen, in an outside bay, at the door, and inside the towed vehicle. We had two inside the towed car for a total of six extinguishers on this trip. By the time our fire was out, I was down to three small extinguishers.
While on our way to the Rose Bowl Parade, we stopped for the night in Grant, New Mexico. It was after dark and the temperature was dropping into the teens. I hooked up only to electricity. At 1:30 a.m. we were awakened by the sound of our backup alarm and diesel engine starting. I saw flames in the engine compartment, grabbed a fire extinguisher, and yelled for my wife to get another one ready. I used up my extinguisher, and the one my wife had. By the time I had the fire out on the motor side, I realized there was still fire on the other side of the firewall electrical panel, so I attacked that one with another extinguisher.
Mr. McCoy said that when a fire occurs, your fear and adrenalin take over and can hinder your actions. You do not think very clearly. Believe me, you react. Only after it’s over do you reflect on your actions.
A shorted-out solenoid was the source of the fire. More than 40 electrical wires had melted where they touched the grounding strap. The campground owner contacted a local mechanic who helped me to replace the wires and the damaged solenoid, and the motorhome could be driven again.
My grateful thanks to the owners of the Bar S RV Park and to mechanic Paul Rowe. I believe divine Providence led us to Grant, where these fine people were able to help us.
I shudder to think about what would have happened if we had not been prepared with all of those fire extinguishers. If our coach had gone up, with 40 gallons of propane and 200 gallons of diesel fuel, it would have wiped out several neighboring RVs. As it was, the people near us slept through the experience.
We have five fire extinguishers on board again.
Barrett Norris, F255437
Goose Creek, South Carolina
Prepaid Phone Cards Have Many Advantages
I always enjoy Janet Groene’s “Full Timer’s Primer” column, and find it enlightening and helpful. However, I would like to comment on her November 2001 column about prepaid telephone cards (“Hang Up On High Phone Costs,” page 184).
I do not agree with either of the two disadvantages she listed, and doubt whether she has ever bought or used such a card.
First, there is no problem in “re-charging” these cards. Every time I use mine, I am given the option of adding time, using a major credit card. At the same time, I am told how many minutes are still available on the card.
Second, she states that “you’re never fully aware of the exact per-minute fee you are paying.” This puzzles me. I pay $14.16 for 240 minutes every time I recharge my card. This is 5.9 cents per minute. There is a two-minute charge when I use a pay phone, but this 11.8 cents is much less than most phone credit cards, isn’t it?
Hope I have cleared up any misunderstanding. I find my prepaid card is a great convenience. I never have to write a check, or guess how much is going to be on my credit card account each month.
Judy Baird, F177469
Editor’s note: Janet Groene replies: “I do use prepaid phone cards, and I stand by my comments, which include the fact that you don’t really know what you are paying for per minute unless you use a stopwatch to time your calls and log each one. Different companies charge in different increments of as much as a full minute. Ergo, you may pay for a full 60 seconds even if your call ends 6 seconds into the final minute. On a 400-minute card used for 10 calls lasting 39 minutes and 6 seconds each, you could “lose” up to 10 minutes. The more calls you make, the more you pay for partial minutes. She admits she pays extra for access from pay phones. Does this also apply when the number is busy or the party you’re calling does not answer? It may.
“Second, I said it can be inconvenient to be faced with an unexpected recharge. Say you ran to the pay phone at the campground to call home on your prepaid card but haven’t brought your credit cards with you. You learn when you place the call that you have only a few minutes left on the card, so you must dash back to the coach to get your credit card, lest you be cut off.
“I suggest that Ms. Baird time all of her calls to the second, from the moment the party answers to the time they hang up, then do the math for an entire cycle. In this ever-changing landscape, all any of us can do is to keep shopping, questioning, and comparing.”