Thanks To FMCA Friends
As many of you know, my husband, Eddie, and I traveled to Buffalo, New York, in July to attend the FMCA convention and the Governing Board meeting. On July 16, the first morning of the Governing Board meeting, Eddie became ill. He passed away 13 days later at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo.
I would like to express my sincerest thanks to all those who supported and assisted me in Buffalo: R.G. Wilson and Don Moore for relocating and hooking up the motorhome; Jeff Jefcoat for his comfort and support before and since Buffalo; Bill and Diana Gowen for their hospital visits and support; Jan and Don Barbersek for their hospital visits, transportation, support, and advice; our neighbors at the Erie County Fairgrounds for the drives to and from the hospital; and the many others who consoled and comforted me during this difficult time.
It was really scary and distressing to be that far from home in such serious circumstances, but our FMCA family in Buffalo and at home have wrapped their arms around me and comforted me in so many ways.
Many friends from the Perfect Circle, Scotian Roamers, and Maine Wheels chapters attended the funeral, visited our home, and sent memorials, cards, and wonderful tributes to Eddie. Many more from the Northeast chapters and other areas have sent cards and kept in touch through phone calls and e-mails. You are all such wonderful, special friends.
Hundreds of FMCA members were attending the Northeast Area Rally at Cabot Park, Prince Edward Island, while Eddie was hospitalized, and I know that during our absence all the Northeast Area chapters pitched in and often did double duty to ensure the rally was a success. I continually felt your prayers, deep concern, and support as we kept in touch each day.
Each little word spoken, every warm embrace, smile, or tear, touched my heart more than words can express. My husband and I always felt so privileged to belong to such a great organization, and I have many wonderful memories of our motorhoming lifestyle. My heartfelt thanks to all for being the special friends that you are. I will never forget you.
I’d like to also encourage all FMCA members to read about MEDEX. It’s a wonderful benefit offered to all FMCA members free of charge and included in your membership. You don’t realize how great it is and how well it works until you’re in a position like mine.
Carolyn Beers, F69979
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
More Garfield Facts
I was excited to hear that your magazine ran a story about the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in the August 2003 issue (“President Garfield’s ‘Lawnfield,'” page 86). Many of our visitors mentioned the article as a reason for touring the president’s home here in Mentor, Ohio. I recently obtained a copy of the magazine and was able to read the article myself. I found it to be very thorough and complimentary, and I thank your writers and staff for including us in such a fine publication.
The article had a few factual errors, which I have listed below for future reference.
1. Garfield was not ordained; at that time, all Disciples of Christ preachers were lay preachers. The church did not have an ordained ministry.
2. The statement that he could write Greek and Latin at the same time with his left and right hands is a great story, but not documented. It probably is not true.
3. Jim Garfield, the president’s great-grandson, retired from lawn mowing years ago.
The article also did not include our winter hours. The museum is open only on weekends between November 1 and April 30, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Mary E. Luoma
Assistant Operations Manager
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
The article “Safe Driving” (July 2003, page 78) by Jim Brightly and Cara McDonald included “27 safety tips you shouldn’t drive off without.” Although they were informative and, I’m sure, well-intended, I have some comments about them.
1. Never once among the tips did the writers suggest the use of turn signals. It may seem obvious to the writers, but not necessarily to the intended audience. Many of the other tips were very basic, simple, and obvious, so why not also mention use of turn signals? Tip number 9 in part advised to be courteous to other drivers; I cannot think of any better way to impart courtesy than to use a turn signal to tell other drivers your intent. Use of a turn signal should have been noted in the tips that mentioned entering a freeway, exiting a freeway, and shifting lanes; perhaps using a turn signal should have been given its own tip number.
2. I disagree in part with the advice in Tip 15 regarding travel in the right lane when traffic is entering a freeway. Watch any trucker and you will learn the appropriate course of action. Trucks have difficulty entering freeways, because they need to accelerate as much as possible. Truckers traveling on the highway in the right lane will turn on their left turn signal and move to the inside lane if it is open. The turn signal lets the trucker entering the highway know that it is okay to continue accelerating.
If traffic in the inside lane keeps you from getting over for entering traffic, continue traveling at your current rate of speed in the outside lane. I practice this procedure routinely for both trucks and other vehicles. I cannot think of a more courteous way to treat other drivers.
Carlos Blacklock, F274732
Renfro And Kentucky’s Appeal
We read the article about Renfro Valley, Kentucky (“Music Still Reigns At Renfro Valley,” September 2003, page 118) with interest, since we were there this past Fourth of July weekend. We attended three mini shows on Saturday. We enjoyed the gospel and country-western programs, but the comedy mini show needed help. The auditorium was less than half full.
Under a tent, in 90-degree-plus weather, was the Old Joe Clark Festival. Not to take away from the facts of the article, but Renfro Valley seems like a tired, old, but comfortable shoe. Don’t expect another Branson.
We spent more than three weeks sightseeing in Kentucky, and we thoroughly enjoyed Bowling Green, Berea, Lexington, Frankfort, and Louisville. We will return, as there are many places we didn’t see. We highly recommend spending time in Kentucky seeing baseball bats, bourbon balls, brooms, Corvettes, and Toyotas being made, as well as horses on bluegrass pasture and Shakertown life. Kentucky offers much to see and do. We recommend the Kentucky Horse Park campground in Lexington.
We are on the road from May to October, so we call ourselves “Sun Birds.”
Allyn & Joy Smith, F261471
Power Blackout No Problem
At 4:11 p.m. on Thursday, August 14, I was sitting at my computer when the power went out. I figured that it would come right back on, but you know the rest. It was the big blackout that affected parts of Canada and the northeastern United States. It became apparent that the blackout would last awhile, so my wife and I knew we would have to “rough it.”
We live in the country and keep our 2000 Bounder 31W at the house. I pulled it into the driveway, set up the satellite dish on a tripod on the front lawn, and watched the news develop on TV. I had to work the next day, so I spent the night in the RV. I took some good-natured kidding at work because I was the only person there who was able to have toast, coffee, and a hot shower that morning.
Our power was back on when I came home from work, and my wife and I did our bit to conserve energy during the state of emergency. The following Monday we went to a provincial park for the week. Even while we were there we avoided using the air conditioning, and ran the lights on the 12-volt-DC system.
We have had many enjoyable times away in the motorhome, but this one certainly was special. Our coach even saved our food from spoiling, because we were able to take the contents of our home fridge and place it in the RV’s fridge, which runs on propane.
Terry & Sue Green, F282129
Milton, Ontario, Canada
Scam Targets RV Sellers
A scam is being perpetrated on motorhome owners trying to sell their RVs. It goes like this.
1. An offer to buy is made via e-mail.
2. The “buyer” asks for your bank account number and routing number.
3. He tells you he will wire funds to your account.
4. Instead, a check is sent to your bank for an amount in excess of your asking price. In my case, the check was for $65,000 more than I was asking.
5. In a subsequent e-mail, the “buyer” apologizes for an “accounting error” and asks you to deduct your asking price from the total and wire back funds for the difference. But the check is counterfeit.
In another case I heard of, the check the “buyer” sent was for $50,000 more than the asking price. The seller wired the money to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the “buyer” stopped payment on his check.
These scam artists make counterfeit cashiers checks, too.
Donald Traurig, F239836
When we hit the road years ago, we decided to go with RV Alliance America for our motorhome insurance. The insurance agent for our stationary home tried his best to get us to sign up with his company. Although we were pleased with our coverage, we thought we should try an RV-specific company.
Someone broke into our motorhome’s basement storage areas and stole all of my husband’s tools, as well as other items. Our claim was handled very quickly; we had a check within a few days. The representatives were pleasant, extremely knowledgeable, and very professional. Our rates have not been raised.
Losing our possessions was an awful experience, but RV Alliance certainly did their part to remedy the situation. In the process they have insured two more enthusiastic advocates for their company.
Rich & Cheryl Gerhold, F281622
After 10 Years, Doug Thorley Warranty Comes Through
I have Doug Thorley headers on my 1981 Apollo motorhome. Awhile back I noticed an exhaust leak and isolated it to the driver’s side header. I pulled the header and found it had a cracked tube on the number 5 cylinder. It looked like the metal had crystallized.
I called California Performance Warehouse, where I had bought the headers in November 1993. I was going to order new ones. While talking to the lady there, I told her that my old headers had failed.
The lady told me to call Doug Thorley, because they might help with their warranty. I talked to a lady named Jenny, and she asked me to fax a copy of the sales slip or other proof of purchase, which I did. A couple days later, I talked to Randy Miller at the company and explained the problem. I told him that I did not expect any consideration since the headers were almost 10 years old, but he said they were under warranty. All it would cost me was shipping, since their warranty does not cover that. I was flabbergasted.
These folks are so nice it is hard to believe. It is amazing in this day and time to find a company that will go this far to make a customer happy. Believe me, they succeeded. This is the kind of company (and employees) that is to be lauded for commitment to its customers and the industry it serves.
Donald Butler, F122667
West Columbia, Texas
Kind KOA Owners
These days it’s always nice to find helpful folks who sincerely care about RVers on the road who have a problem.
We want to thank Dale and Bonnie Whitley, owners of the Rock Springs KOA in Rock Springs, Wyoming, C6654, for their help in correcting a mechanical problem we knew nothing about.
Our water pump was new, but it was not functioning correctly. We tried to troubleshoot it, to no avail. Then Dale offered to help. He almost immediately knew that the pump had to be primed first. He corrected the problem and got us on our way. This was on a Sunday morning, and he would not take remuneration of any kind for his help.
We highly recommend this campground to anyone in that area, as Dale and Bonnie certainly go above and beyond what one would expect. Plus, the campground and facilities are top-notch.
Bob & Lore Canales, F317671
Surfside Beach, South Carolina
Friendly Connecticut Repair Facility
I would like to commend Ed White of Mal’s Auto & Truck Repair of Old Saybrook, Connecticut, for prompt and courteous service provided to us when we were broken down on Interstate 95 near Exit 71.
Our 2002 motorhome experienced engine oil pressure failure, and we were towed to Mal’s that evening. Ed White replaced the oil sending unit the next morning, and by noon we were well on our way.
We highly recommend the friendly service of Mal’s Auto & Truck Repair, and also appreciate the assistance we received from the Connecticut state police.
Adrien Turcotte, F102475
Tiverton, Rhode Island
Alabama Repair Relief
I experienced a problem with the engine in my motorhome’s Chevrolet P-30 chassis while returning from a trip. It was a Friday afternoon so I stopped at a campground south of Birmingham, Alabama. I waited until Monday morning to call the toll-free Chevrolet customer assistance number. Unfortunately, they were unable to help me. Then a friendly fellow camper suggested that I look in FMCA’s annual membership directory. There was my solution, in the Business Directory. I called Prattville Auto and RV Repair Center, C8940.
Gary Ebert, the owner, was most helpful and told me how to “limp” my coach to his location approximately 60 miles away.
I can’t say enough good things about Prattville RV. They do things the old-fashioned way: customer service first. As busy as they were, they managed to work us in and diagnosed our problem within 30 minutes. I strongly recommend them and will drive the distance to have my coach worked on there in the future.
Curtis Hissong, F322177
Impressed With Triple E
I own a 1998 36-foot Triple E Empress motorhome, and last year while I was visiting the Triple E factory in Winkler, Manitoba, Canada, I was informed by the service department that the fiberglass exterior on our motorhome had a small crack in it that I hadn’t noticed.
I was told that if I brought the motorhome back at a future date they would replace the sides at no cost. I was skeptical as to what the workmanship would be, knowing that this would be a huge job.
I returned to the Triple E plant in April, and it took six weeks for them to complete the job. But when I picked it up, I can’t begin to explain how impressed I was with the workmanship. All of the graphics were repainted, and the unit was spotless inside and out.
We have been to the factory three separate times to have warranty work done “” all small repairs “” and each time the service department fixed the items I requested. Plus, they inspected the coach and did other work and improvements that weren’t included on the motorhome originally, but were included on newer models, and all at no cost to me.
Brad Wall, Steve Harder, and the rest of the staff in the service department are always courteous, do an excellent job, go the extra mile, and are to be highly commended.
When I hear about the problems other people have trying to get warranty work done on their coaches, I am very happy that I own a Triple E, built by a company that totally stands behind its product. I highly recommend that anyone looking for a motorhome should check out Triple E products.
Arnold O. Johnson, F238817
Trenton, New Jersey
Be Prepared For Fire Hazards
Most RVers have no inkling of how dangerous a fire can be in an RV. I have seen an RV become fully involved within 60 seconds after fire was first detected.
Most RVs come with a single, very small fire extinguisher, located next to the main entrance door. The problem with this is that the fire may be between you and the fire extinguisher, especially if you are in bed. In this case, your only choice is to climb out a window and let the RV burn.
The extinguisher most often furnished by RV manufacturers is a type BC, which is for oil/grease and electrical fires. This is unfortunate, however, for most RV fires are fueled by structural material, and the most effective extinguisher for a structural fire is a type A. Therefore, a type ABC extinguisher, which addresses all three types of fire, is the best choice for an RV.
To be adequately protected, an RV should have three large extinguishers “” one in the bedroom, one by the door, and one outside in an unlocked compartment.
If a fire occurs while you are in the bedroom, you should immediately open a window for escape and for fresh air. Obviously, the first priority should be ensuring the safety of everyone on board. Do not attempt to fight the fire if it will endanger your life. If the fire is small, the last person on board can try the extinguisher, but if the extinguisher doesn’t put the fire out immediately, that person should also leave the RV.
If you can reach a door, everyone should exit immediately. Don’t stop for the extinguisher by the door if it means you would block the exit for others. In either case, once outside, you can make a decision as to whether to fight the fire with an extinguisher, using either the one by the door or the larger ABC one from the storage compartment.
One final thing. Most motorhomes have a single smoke detector located near the kitchen. It would be much safer to have a second smoke detector on the ceiling near the entrance to the bedroom.
In summary, you need three larger type ABC fire extinguishers: one in the bedroom, one by the door, and one in an unlocked exterior compartment. You also need a smoke detector in the bedroom. Please make sure everyone in the RV knows how to use the extinguishers, too.
Rod Atkins, F288514
Editor’s note: RV Alliance America offers the Fire & Life Safety seminar, cosponsored by FMCA, at most area rallies and all international conventions. The course includes instruction on what to do in case of a motorhome fire as well as proper use of fire extinguishers. Seminar attendees also get practice putting out a real fire.
Thanks To Colton RV
During our trip to FMCA’s 70th International Convention in Buffalo, New York, I found that I had four warranty problems on our new coach that needed to be resolved. I approached representatives from Colton RV, C6442, of North Tonawanda, New York, on the final day of the convention to see whether they could help. Two of their service technicians inspected the coach and said they would have to order several parts to do the necessary work.
When we pulled into the service area the following Friday (we stayed Thursday night in the company’s new full-hookup facility), Rick Kane, one of their service technicians, got right to work on our list of problems. He completed the work by noon in an efficient and thorough manner. I tried to give him a tip, but he refused.
Everyone at Colton RV was very courteous. Both my wife and I were amazed at such service, especially since we didn’t purchase our coach there.
Jim Hazard, F212809