What Is A Family?
A family is an ever-growing life mobile; a formation center for human relationships; a perpetual relay of truth; a museum of memories. All these things a family is, and much, much more.
Have you ever thought about why we are called the Family Motor Coach Association? If you had been in my shoes this past July at the FMCA convention in Buffalo, New York, you would have no trouble answering this question. When the doctor told my husband, Bill, he had only a 25 percent chance of saving his life, he then asked him, “Is your family here?” Without hesitation, Bill said, “Yes; 4,000 of my family is here with me.” It didn’t take long for the doctor to understand Bill’s answer.
Outgoing FMCA president Jeff Jefcoat, L118344, and his wife, Jean, as well as incoming president R.G. Wilson, F21025, and his wife, Jeri, gathered with FMCA officers to start a prayer circle from coast to coast. A schedule was established to have three women with me every minute at the hospital. During a very critical night, Don Moore, F154921, took me to the hospital at midnight and sat with me for hours while we tried to assist the nurses.
You don’t find any instant formula for living with the reality of showing love, whether within a personal family or in the larger family such as the Family Motor Coach Association. Showing love that has depth and is real comes from the heart with hospital experiences “” tribulation, patience, and hope.
What is a family? A family is people treating other people with love, compassion, and understanding, and always offering a helping hand. The founders of FMCA were wise beyond comprehension when they chose our name.
The prayers of all of the dedicated and loving members who make up our FMCA have sustained me and Bill during his health problem, and he is now recovering. Most of all, the experience has caused us to stop and realize just what a family is.
M.E. Preston, F51004
Oregon Body Shop Is Pure Artistry
It was dark and I didn’t see that three-foot steel post at the corner. The accident ruined one bay door and a panel over the dual wheels of my motorhome. In just days, I was scheduled to leave on an FMCA trip across the United States; local body shops said it would take six weeks to get the parts, do the body work, and repaint the graphics. The coach looked awful.
Since I was going to Oregon anyway, I remembered Artistry in Motion, a shop in Junction City. I had met owner Roger Dahl at an FMCA convention and still had his business card. I called him and he said that he would see what he could do.
His shop was busy. Workers were painting and detailing an airplane, and a Prevost bus conversion or two were awaiting special graphics and paint, plus other work. Yet, Roger was willing to help. He pulled two workers from their jobs and joined them in repairing my coach in just hours. They even worked past closing time.
Roger’s empathy and helpfulness were above and beyond what anyone has a right to expect. Artistry in Motion is a spotless shop with the latest equipment, as well as talented technicians. While I was there I noticed photos and autographs on the wall from Ernest Borgnine, who had “Sunbum,” his Prevost conversion, detailed and painted there, too.
Don Tallman, L1956
Thanks From Habitat Official
The Clermont County, Ohio, chapter of TriState Habitat for Humanity would like to express its appreciation to the Family Motor Coach Association and the FMCA Chapter: Habitat for Humanity®, which funded and constructed a Habitat house in Bethel, Ohio, during the last three weeks of September.
This was also a unique important experience for Paul and Shirley Marion, site manager and volunteer coordinator for Clermont Habitat, respectively. Shirley arranged for three weeks of food service from Bethel churches, restaurants, and individual Habitat supporters. Paul and his local crew had completed the foundation and subfloor prior to the FMCA build. He then only had to schedule materials and arrange for inspections. A highly skilled group of 20 to 40 FMCA volunteers did all of the construction of a four-bedroom home. Ray and Jewell Hebert coordinated the FMCA chapter, so that all had a good time.
This was the best-skilled group of volunteers that the Clermont chapter has had the pleasure of working with. The FMCA volunteers connected with the Campbell partner family during the build. Those who were not hammering were making quilts and curtains for the Campbell family.
Tears and hugs abounded at the house dedication as new friends knew they’d soon say good-bye when the chapter members were on the road again. We’re hopeful they will return to do another build or join us for another construction “hands-up” in the near future. Without assistance from the chapter, the Campbell family would be waiting another year for their house to be built.
This FMCA build illustrates the wonderful heart and soul of Habitat folks, especially the FMCA Chapter: Habitat for Humanity. We express our thanks to all who made this build possible.
God bless you.
TriState Habitat for Humanity
Editor’s note: An article describing this Habitat build appears in this issue.
Thanks From Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island hosted the 2003 Northeast Area Rally at Cabot Park this past July. The rally committee recently held its final wrap-up meeting, and as a result of that I would like to make mention of a few items.
First, we want to thank the rally masters and the rally committee for their excellent effort and the professionalism that was shown during the many months (years!) of organizing this event. A special thanks to the many volunteers from all parts of Canada and the United States who made the event so successful.
And thanks to all those who traveled to Prince Edward Island (FMCA members from 43 states and five Canadian provinces) and made this, we believe, the largest RV gathering ever held in Canada.
Kevin MacLaren, PEI Provincial Parks
Grant MacRae, Tourism P.E.I., C9034
Prince Edward Island, Canada
Las Vegas Service No Gamble
On a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, from our summer property near the Grand Canyon, I noticed a distinct steering pull to the right and decided that when we arrived in Las Vegas, I would need to get it addressed. Based on a recommendation from our trusted, longtime RV service provider, we contacted Ewing Brothers and made an appointment for an alignment check.
Their service was prompt, fair, and, most importantly, thorough. The technician, Randy, determined that the steering pull was due to a very strange tire wear pattern and that the front axle alignment was within specs. But more importantly, he determined that the tread wear was caused by a one-inch misalignment of the coach’s rear drive axle. This problem had apparently existed since day one, and had likely contributed to the coach’s excessive front tire wear and the need to replace the front tires about every 20,000 miles.
Randy completed a full four-wheel alignment and had us on the road in a couple of hours.
But that is not the end of our Ewing Brothers saga. A few days later, as we were leaving Las Vegas, we noticed a strong odor of brakes dragging. When we pulled off the highway and checked, our left rear brake was smoking. I contacted Coach-Net Emergency Road Service. After a series of calls to service providers in the greater Las Vegas area, the Coach-Net technician concluded that we needed to have the coach towed to a repair facility. At that point, I again thought of Ewing Brothers, because it is Las Vegas’ oldest truck towing firm. When they checked, Coach-Net found that Ewing Brothers’ price was about a third of their estimated cost to have me towed, so they were pleased to contract with them.
My experience with Ewing Brothers’ towing service was exactly in keeping with the alignment “” prompt, fair, and thorough. When the lowboy arrived, the driver was extremely careful, spending more than an hour to ensure that no damage was done to the coach as it was winched onto the bed. When the coach arrived at Ewing’s Las Vegas shop, another technician quickly determined that an antilock brake valve was trapping air and not fully releasing. He ordered a part and had us ready to be on the road within another couple of hours.
Based on our experiences, I would enthusiastically recommend Ewing Brothers for any alignment or mechanical work you might need on your coach while in the Las Vegas area. They are located at 1200 N. A St.; phone (702) 382-9261; www.ewingbros.com.
Glenn & Betty Perkins, F206961
Merritt Island, Florida
A Big Beef
We have just returned to the United States from a two-month trip crossing Canada on the Yellowhead Route, (Trans-Canada 16) and had a marvelous time. However, we had a rude awakening when we came to the U.S. border. Although we had read a lot in Canada about the plight of the Canadian ranchers since the “mad cow disease” problem, we were unaware of the prohibition against bringing processed or fresh beef into the United States.
At the border, our galley cabinets and refrigerator were searched and all dinners with beef were confiscated. Startlingly, our dog’s dry dog food was taken, because we did not have the original package. She weighs two pounds, and we bring along food for her in a plastic bag.
We found that we were relatively lucky. In Oregon, we met a couple from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, who were beginning their maiden journey as full-timers. They were stopped at the Interstate 5 entry and were unlucky enough to find themselves at the hands of a “trainee” border guard. She not only searched the refrigerator and cabinets but went through drawers and unpacked all the kitchen areas of their coach (they lost the stew she had prepared for their first night out). After taking their dog food, the guard asked this woman whether she had any canned meat. Thinking the guard was referring to dog food, the woman said, “No.” The guard continued looking through the cabinets, and when she found soup with meat products in it, she fined the couple $100 for “lying.” The couple spent one-and-a-half hours at the border station, and many more hours repacking their fifth wheel.
I was embarrassed that they were subjected to such treatment by U.S. representatives. What is surprising to me is that I have seen nothing in any of the RVing magazines about this confiscation of beef at the border. If I had, you can bet we would have had only chicken or buffalo when we arrived. Be aware, fellow RVers, you might run into another “trainee.”
Tom & Barbara Jarvis, F201469
Editor’s note: The U.S. ban on beef and beef by-products from Canada was imposed May 20, 2003, after a cow tested in Alberta was found to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease). No further incidences have been found since then. As of November 2003, the United States still banned most consumer beef products from Canada, but indications existed that the prohibition eventually would be removed.
For more information, visit www.customs.gov and click on “Questions.” Or, phone the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, Import Division, at (402) 221-7400.
We would like to use this “forum” to address campground owners and operators. As owners of a 40-foot diesel motorhome, we do not want to drag our coach through trees, limbs, or branches in order to get to our campsite. Nor do we want trees rubbing against our unit while we are parked. We also would like a clear view of the southern sky so that our satellite dish will function properly.
Shade is not a priority for us. Trees have consistently been our biggest problem, at commercial and government campgrounds all over the United States. We can live with the occasional ill-placed utility hookups, but having the motorhome scratched or covered with sap and other droppings is unacceptable. We prefer to stay in campgrounds, but because of these problems we often stay overnight at Wal-Marts and other such places. We prefer to avoid conditions that will damage our coach.
Brian & Sharon Barksdale, F314231
Kansas City, Missouri
Tech Tip Works Great
The “Tech & Travel Tip” titled “Alternate AC Power For Refrigerator” sent in by John McHale in the August issue (page 33) was of great interest to me. I have never liked using propane gas, for safety reasons.
We just returned from a short trip using the new inverter system, and it worked great. I did install a larger alternator, as the amperage draw of the inverter was more than 35 amps and maxed out my charging system when all electrical equipment was being used “” air conditioning, lights, towed car charging, wipers, charging of coach batteries, etc.
I figure my total cost to be about $300 plus two days of my time.
This also gave me the opportunity to clean out the gas roof vent and flue, and to insulate the refrigerator compartment.
If anyone would like a bill of materials and where to buy the parts, they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dore Montes, F258427
Warner Robins, Georgia
Missing Part? No Problem
While traveling in a caravan through Saskatchewan, Canada, on Highway 3, our motorhome developed a leak in the power steering hose “” a serious problem that would hold up the group. We arrived in Melfort, Saskatchewan, and the friendly gas station attendant gave us directions to the Ag Com Transport Company, which repairs trucks and motorhomes.
The mechanics came out and checked our coach. Since they did not have the part in town, they drove to a local outfit and made the part we needed to get us home. They bent over backward to get us on the road again. Not only did they fix our coach within the hour, but they gave us a gift for being so patient.
I’d like to say thanks to them.
Klaus Trampe, F157251
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Warning Came Just In Time
Thanks to Donald Traurig’s letter in November’s “Readers’ Forum” regarding a counterfeit check scam (“Scam Targets RV Sellers,” page 169), I’m not out $22,000. I read the letter about an hour before a check arrived from Deira Dubai, United Arab Emirates, via Sky Net Worldwide Express for $57,000, to pay for a 1975 GMC motorhome I had advertised for $34,900. I contacted the bank in Lake City, Florida, and was advised that it was counterfeit. I was told to alert the U.S. Secret Service.
John & Betty Anne Clark, F133807