I have copies of Family Motor Coaching magazines from 1994 through 2001. The set is complete except for the January issues. If anyone would like to have them, they may contact me.
Robert Replogle, F72857
2520 Olson Drive
Kettering, OH 45420
E-mail: [email protected]
Information Versus Advertising
I am disappointed with two articles in Family Motor Coaching’s November 2002 issue. Product reviews are a sensitive area and I recognize that, but the articles about the personal watercraft (“Honda’s AquaTrax Personal Watercraft,” page 93) and the Pioneer Electronics dash-mounted navigation system (“Finding Your Way,” page 76) were advertising, pure and simple. Other RV publications also are careless in this direction.
I admit to being especially sensitive to the topic of personal watercraft since I live along the Fox River in Illinois, where personal watercraft are a plague. The newer ones are not as noisy as the older units, but are a definite nuisance on our rivers and lakes.
I suppose there is a fine line between providing information and advertising, but I think it was violated by those articles.
Leo L. Hunter, F73852
“Quick Stop” RV Parks Needed
We have traveled approximately 14 years in a motorhome, and we think there is a need for a new type of RV park.
Many RVers travel several days to reach a destination. It has been our experience that reasonably priced campgrounds usually are several miles (sometimes “country miles”) from the interstate or from our planned route, and many times we want only one night’s accommodation. So, we occasionally park at rest areas, truck stops, store parking lots, etc., but we’re never at ease in these situations except for short rest periods.
We like to drive five or six hours per day and then check into a park in the early afternoon. The only facilities we desire are electricity and a dump station where we can also take on potable water.
Based on our travels and discussions with many other RVers, we think campgrounds need to offer a chain of overnight RV stops. Simple pull-through sites with electric hookups and a dump station would be adequate. Easy access to gasoline and diesel fuel also would be an asset. No other amenities would be needed. These parks should be near interstates and charge a reasonable fee for an overnight stay. A reservation system would be a plus.
Based on some educated “guesstimates” using my years of experience in the building industry, I believe that even a small, 30-unit startup park could be profitable. I’d be glad to discuss my ideas with anyone interested.
Stanley Whitney, F279665
Ceiling Fan Considerations
I really enjoyed reading the article “Installing A Motorhome Ceiling Fan” by Ken Wilson (October 2002, page 76). I thought it was very well written and informative. However, I had a few concerns about the installation.
1. The outlet box that is used to hang a ceiling fan must be approved for that use. The box pictured in the article is an “old work” type box and not approved for this use. Even in a stationary house, where the load of a ceiling fan is static, this type of box is not acceptable, because of the potential for the fan to fall and injure someone. In a motorhome, a ceiling fan creates a much more dynamic load because of road vibration and bumps. A true ceiling fan box passes the load of the fan through the box to the ceiling frame itself and is much safer. This code was adopted years ago because of ceiling fans that fell when mounted on existing light-fixture boxes.
2. The author mentions using an approved wiring method to install in the cooling plenum, if needed. Although many approved methods exist for installing in a plenum for environmental air, keep in mind that it is a violation to install a ceiling fan outlet box in this area, and the wiring methods used in this type of area are pretty much limited to the equipment directly related to the handling of the air. This is intended to reduce the risk of smoke and fire being passed through the ductwork in the event of an electrical fire.
3. It is a violation to connect a metallic sheathed cable to a nonmetallic box. If a metallic sheathed cable is used, it must be connected to a metallic box with an approved connector. This ensures continuity of the grounding path.
I agree with the author that it is very important to follow electrical codes. I am attaching photocopies of the National Electrical Code Handbook pertaining to this. I hate to be critical of another author’s article, but it is important that these codes be carefully followed to prevent the risk of electrical hazards that can result in the loss of property or even life. This is why the National Electrical Code was written and is updated every three years.
My best advice to do-it-yourself electricians is to have a licensed electrician or inspector check your work. It is very easy for a person who is not experienced in the field to make a mistake in electrical wiring, which could be catastrophic down the road.
Craig Guest, F274321
We have a 2000 Newmar Dutch Star that came with a ceiling fan over the bed in the rear of the coach. The ceiling fan has been a real headache over the past two years. The brackets that hold the fan blades to the fan motor are made of pot metal, and road vibrations cause the blades to flex and eventually break off. Once, after we arrived at our destination, I turned on the fan and was nearly struck by one of the blades as it slipped out of its mount.
I think ceiling fans are nice over the bed, but I warn anyone planning to install one to make sure they are buying a quality fan, one with brackets made of something more durable than pot metal.
F.H. Parker, F297002
I thoroughly enjoyed Ken Wilson’s informative article about installing a ceiling fan. I had thought on multiple occasions that I would really enjoy a ceiling fan in our Pace Arrow, as we have stayed in campgrounds with limits on air-conditioner use. I never pursued the idea any further than that.
Since the article came out, I have completed the installation. It was difficult, but possible. I used hard conduit (placed in short sections with couplings) for the wiring. I found my fan at Lowe’s.
I don’t recall Ken mentioning a slideout in his article. They definitely complicate things, as the space above the bed is significantly narrowed. It continues to be possible, however. Centering the fan to leave a 1-inch clearance from the closed slideout, I found the other edge to be even with the foot of the bed. I am 6 feet 4 inches tall, which poses a potential problem, but I’m quite sure I have this under control.
Thank you again, Ken, for a most informative and timely article.
O. Ray Dodson, F255085
Editor’s note: Ken Wilson replies: “Mr. Guest points out several things that did not follow the codes. I should practice what I preach. They all are correct, and I overlooked them when I was working on the article.
Mr. Parker had an interesting comment. Our fan has been in its place for more than three years, and during that time we have driven more than 30,000 miles, including two trips to Alaska. We have had no problems such as his. Perhaps we were lucky when we selected our fan.
“Singles Gather For Thanksgiving
The Singles International chapter had another wonderful Thanksgiving campout in Clermont, Florida.
Hostess Susan Collins was ably assisted by chapter president Diane Gouge, wagon master Bob Love, and many volunteer “elves.” We were wined and dined for five days with home-cooked goodies, including a traditional Thanksgiving feast.
We enjoyed two seminars; danced to tunes supplied by a disc jockey/golden oldies trivia expert; and visited flea markets and Florida attractions “” that is, when we weren’t fiercely competing in LadderJack, Rummy Kube, beanbag baseball, or golf.
Forty-five RVers were in attendance, including four who arrived as guests and left as new chapter members. All in all, we had many reasons to give thanks, not the least of which was the friendship and fun of this great FMCA group. Please join us. For more information, e-mail us at [email protected].
Barb Sawyer, F258595
Seeking European Travel Info
We are planning a six-month trip to France and Germany next year. We would like to purchase a 20-foot motorhome over there privately or from a dealer and then sell it at the end of our visit. Another option would be for us to ship our motorhome to France and try to sell it at the end of our trip.
We are wondering whether any other FMCA members have experience with either of these scenarios and can give us some advice.
Norm and Shirley Shier, F317777
Bethel Island, CA 94511
Mexico Experiences Differ
Having spent half of the last nine years traveling independently in my motorhome throughout Mexico, I was happy to see the October 2002 articles in Family Motor Coaching about that fascinating and beautiful country. I do disagree, however, with some of the statements made in these articles.
“Riding The Rails In The Copper Canyon” (page 100) stated, “Many practical reasons make it wise to visit Mexico by RV caravan,” implying that it’s unwise to visit otherwise. It’s a matter of preference. A caravan is not the only safe and smart way to travel.
All the information a caravan may offer about entering and traveling in Mexico can be gleaned easily by a little reading, as the list of Mexico travel books (on page 111) makes clear. The piggyback train tour of the Copper Canyon can be done only by caravan, but caravan companies that put their clients on passenger trains instead will tell you about the disadvantages of the piggyback train, which the article did not mention. Anyone can drive his or her motorhome to Creel, the center of canyon activity, where a KOA campground is located. Anyone with a towed vehicle can drive to El Divisadero, where trains stop for the best views, or even to Batopilas, on the canyon floor, where trains do not go. The series of canyons are not in “colonial Mexico,” by the way, as the author claimed.
I disagree with points made in the El Tajin piece also. True, most tourists do drink bottled water, but many motorhomers simply chlorinate the water in their fresh water tanks and use a filter to remove the chlorine taste at the water tap. I use an ultraviolet purification system in my coach.
The authors recommend bringing “favorite foods” but did not specify what they were. Almost all foods available in the United States also are available in Mexico. The old adage “Peel it, cook it, or forget it” is so outdated. To enjoy lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, or other unpeeled or uncooked vegetables or fruits, soak them for a few minutes in water that contains a few drops of a purifying agent; these are available in all grocery stores and impart no taste to the food.
I do not agree with the advice of using only premium gasoline in Mexico; if you’ve used regular unleaded in the States, it should work in Mexico, too.
As shown on the article’s map, Hotel Playa Azul is south of Veracruz. In their first mention of Playa Azul, the authors may have been referring to the campground at the Hotel Playa Paraiso, which is between Tuxpan and Tampico.
Kenneth G. Crosby, F167401
Mountainous Arizona Roads
“Old Mines And Ghost Towns In Central Arizona” (December 2002, page 108) brought back some old memories. Back in 1972 we were in Flagstaff, traveling in a 27-foot Travco. We wanted to see Oak Creek Canyon and Prescott. From the map, it looked easy. No signs were posted on State Route 89A advising RVers not to use that road.
To say the least, it was a thrill. Once we began heading up the hill prior to entering Jerome, the switchbacks started. At one point I didn’t know whether our Travco would make it. I had to back up on the curved portion of a switchback while going downhill. I asked my wife and children to get out of the motorhome “” I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t go off the edge “” and my wife guided me.
I was surprised that the article did not mention these conditions. Today 89A is noted in the Mountain Directory West guidebook as being “narrow and winding with sharp curves and very tight hairpin turns.” U.S. 89 between Congress and Prescott also is listed as having many curves and a couple of hairpin turns. I think anyone driving a motorhome in this area should be cautious.
Edward Wiseman, F1492
Santa Monica, California
When traveling recently through Gulfport, Mississippi, on Interstate 10, we experienced a breakdown as a result of electrical problems with our diesel motorhome. We were towed to Empire Truck Sales and Service, a Freightliner/Cummins/Caterpillar repair facility on U.S. 49 North in Gulfport. Jim Lowe, the service manager, had a technician immediately begin working to diagnose and repair our coach. He thoroughly checked the electrical system, including fuses, relays, and wiring, from one end to the other to locate and repair the problems.
Should any of you find yourself in need of repair work in the Gulfport area, we highly recommend this facility for their professional and efficient manner in handling motorhome problems.
Dwight and Carole Hutcheson, F105046
Punta Gorda, Florida
Repair Assistance In Nova Scotia
While we were traveling with a caravan this past summer in the Canadian Maritimes, our towed car became separated from the RV. The hitch and all of the support brackets broke off from the chassis, and the car rolled off the road into a big ditch. During the process, the car rolled over the tow bar, the hitch, and the brackets, and sustained quite a bit of damage.
The break was so clean and quiet that we didn’t know it happened. When we checked the rearview monitor and no longer saw the car, we stopped immediately.
I managed to turn the motorhome around and began searching for the car. We met a resident who turned out to be the fire chief of that locality, a town called Shubenacadie. After we found the car, he and a woman directed traffic and called the local towing service. The car was delivered to a body shop in Halifax.
We left the car there for three weeks while continuing on our caravan. Although we missed having the car, the folks at the rally were really great in helping us. Everyone offered to give us rides. The caravan wagon master offered his own personal car to us.
Everything on our car was repaired, as if it had never been in an accident. In another day and a half we had a new hitch, welds, brackets, wires, etc. installed on our RV, and we were on our way.
We want to thank Coachworks, the body shop in Halifax, and B. Millers Towing Service, and Ernie Lively for their assistance, as well as the fire chief and his partner for directing traffic. We’re thankful that no one was injured during the accident.
Our Canadian friends are not only our close neighbors, but our best neighbors.
Norman Greenberg, F179955
FMCA Mail Forwarding
Hearty Recommendation For Texas RV Park
While traveling on U.S. 287 between Fort Worth and Amarillo, Texas, we found a little dot on the map called Goodlett. There didn’t seem to be too much there; it was a small farm community. How delighted and surprised we were to come upon the Ole Towne Cotton Gin RV Park.
This is a fairly new park, established in May 2001 by Norma Trolinder. First to grab your attention is a large steel building with corrugated sides and a rusty roof. Inside the building are the remains of an original cotton gin as well as live cotton plants covered with fluff. The building also has dining tables and chairs; a deck on the front and back with rocking chairs and swings; and a wonderful view. An old-fashioned general store has supplies, collectibles, and works made by local crafters, all presented in and on antique furniture from the cotton gin era.
This RV park has a large, equipped exercise room, a hot tub, an outdoor swimming pool, and all of the recreation equipment you will need, from volleyball to croquet “” plus free videos. A huge gymnasium with 7,200 square feet of space is available for shows and meetings, as is a theatrical stage.
The campground amenities are unbelievable: full hookups; paved, level, pull-through sites; cable TV and phone hookups (they even loan you a phone at no charge); modern picnic tables; a free laundry; and air-conditioned rest rooms with showers. Trash pickup is provided at your site. A free continental breakfast is served each morning.
Ms. Trolinder has thought of everything at this beautiful park. We encourage all FMCA members who are traveling in the area to stop and visit. Ole Towne Cotton Gin RV Park is at 230 Market St. in Goodlett; phone (888) 446-7275, (940) 674-2477; e-mail: [email protected]; www.oletownecottonginrvpark.com.
Vincent and Kathy Rundgren, F299173
Orange City, Florida
An Audiobook Note
Jonathan Lowe, author of “Take The Scenic Route With Audiobooks” (November 2002, page 120) recently informed us that an audiobook Web site mentioned in the article no longer exists; audiobookcafe.com has been changed to www.audiobookstoday.com.