Do Florida RVers Need A Class D License?
As an FMCA member and an attorney, I have been asked by several of my fellow RVers about whether Florida residents need a Class D license to drive a motorhome. Some of my friends were concerned when they received mixed advice on driver’s license requirements for RVers. Apparently some Highway Patrol troopers and Department of Motor Vehicle personnel had differing views as to whether we needed a Class D license.
I wrote to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Office of General Counsel, and Kathy Jimenez of their office was kind enough to generate the following memo, which clarifies the law in Florida. The only requirement is a Class E license “” the normal operator permit used for driving any automobile.
Following is the memo:
“Do RV drivers of motorhomes and coaches require a Class D driver’s license?
“No. Section 322.01(7), Florida Statutes, defines a commercial driver’s license as a ‘Class A, Class B, or Class C driver’s license issued in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.’ Section 322.53(d), Florida Statutes, specifically provides that drivers of recreational vehicles, as defined in s. 320.01, are exempt from the requirements of obtaining a commercial driver’s license. Section 322.54(2)(d), Florida Statutes, provides that ‘any person, except a person who possesses a valid Class A, valid Class B, or valid Class C driver’s license, who drives a truck or truck tractor having a gross vehicle weight rating, a declared weight, or an actual weight, whichever is greatest, of 8,000 pounds or more but less than 26,001 pounds, or which has a width of more than 80 inches, must possess a valid Class D driver’s license.’
“Thus, drivers of recreational vehicles are specifically exempt from the requirements of obtaining a commercial driver’s license, defined as Class A, Class B, or Class C. Section 322.54(2)(d), Florida Statutes, specifically provides that someone who drives a truck or truck tractor must have a valid Class D license. Accordingly, a driver of recreational vehicles must have a Class E driver’s license, and there is no requirement that the person obtain a Class D license to drive a recreational vehicle.”
Richard Mellman, F310237
Pets Can Travel To Alaska, Too
There was a letter to the editor in the April 2004 issue (“Exploring Alaska,” page 20) that my husband and I want to respond to. We agree completely with points made in the letter. We traveled to Alaska in 1999.
However, my husband took issue with one comment “” the advice to “leave your pets at home.” We took our four dogs with us to Alaska. We had three miniature schnauzers and a giant schnauzer, and we had absolutely no trouble whatsoever. As a matter of fact, when our giant schnauzer was in the motorhome and we were gone for the day, we felt as though the coach was well protected.
The writer of the letter also mentioned that tires appeared to be a problem. We drove 10,600 miles with the motorhome, not counting the miles on our towed car, and had no problems.
We plan on taking a trip to Alaska next year in our new 2004 Dutch Star. We will be taking our four dogs with us. This time we have two giant schnauzers and two miniature schnauzers. We couldn’t imagine leaving our precious dogs behind.
Jim & Joanna Kemper, F241919
West Brooklyn, Illinois
4-Wheelers Chapter Includes Quilters, Too
The quilting “sub chapter” of the 4-Wheelers is very busy. The 4-Wheelers chapter has more than 300 family members, and we organize about six rallies a year in various locations. During a rally, the women who enjoy quilting get together one day and do charity projects.
We have made at least 12 quilts for children in need, and 17 walker pockets, which fit over the bar of a walker or over the arm of a wheelchair. The latter were donated to assisted-living residences.
We also have raffled quilts to raise money that was used in the fight against fee demonstration programs in the forests and on public lands, and we have donated money to our Land Use Fund, which is used to keep four-wheeling trails open.
Barbara Ransehousen, F199471
Vice President, 4-Wheelers
Albuquerque Repair Shop Helps Just In Time
We were at FMCA’s Albuquerque convention with my brother-in-law in March 2004 but couldn’t stay for the entire convention, because we had to attend a family wedding in Macon, Georgia, on Saturday, March 20.
We left the convention about 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, the 17th, and got about 10 feet from the exit gate when my brother-in-law’s coach lost its power steering. He has an older motorhome, so none of the commercial exhibitors at the convention could help with repairs. We called Statkus Engines (1623 Los Tomases Drive N.W., 505-765-1614), and had the coach towed there. They began repairs immediately and had us out of there by 5:30 p.m.
The staff was friendly and efficient, and the work was inexpensive. We never would have made it to the wedding without their help. We highly recommend their shop to anyone in the Albuquerque area.
Jim & Norma Manning, F161377
Fridge Finally Fixed
We took off on a trip in our 1997 Foretravel motorhome from Texas to the FMCA convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After the convention, we were on our way to Seattle, Washington, when our refrigerator went out. We checked with the local RV repair facility, and they advised it would take a couple of weeks to repair and would cost around $2,500. We bought a 12-volt cooler and continued on our trip, checking on the way. Every place we called was booked up for two weeks to two months. And the price was all over.
As we were coming into the Seattle area, we remembered that my wife’s sister had bought an RV from Poulsbo RV in Auburn, Washington. I called them and got through to Brian in service. He has a great attitude and said that he could check our refrigerator out the following morning. He said it sounded like the cooling coils needed to be replaced, and if that was the case, they could order the parts and have them there the next day. He also said they had full RV hookups that we could use.
We went to Poulsbo RV, and everything worked out as Brian had described. He even brought us coffee the next morning. Everyone was really nice “” even the security guard.
Special thanks to Brian, and also to Karen, the service manager; Bill the technician; Patty in claims; and Leroy, the general manager. Our refrigerator was properly repaired, and we continued our trip.
Contact Poulsbo RV in Auburn, Washington, at (800) 568-1678; (253) 852-4383.
John & Dawanna Hughes, F313282
Kudos To North Texas RV
This is our first recommendation for an RV business in 30 years. We feel they warrant it.
We have purchased many new RVs since 1973, and the one we just bought has been the best experience yet. We ordered this motorhome from North Texas RV in Sherman, Texas (800-286-3486). The sales and service people were fantastic. Price alone was worth recommending to the members of FMCA.
Howard & Lois Walters, F34901
Good Service In Santa Fe
There are some good guys out there, and when we RVers are privileged to meet one in our travels, I feel we need to spread the word. My regular service and repair shop, Pedersen Repair & Fabrication, in Denton, Texas, advised me of a slight leak around the front seal of the transmission on my 2001 Tropi-Cal motorhome and referred me to Ford for warranty work.
Ford replaced the seal. However, a week later, while we were at Rancheros de Santa Fe Camping Park in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the gearshift lever refused to operate. I crawled under the coach and saw that a one-inch hose clamp had come loose. It was the clamp that held the gearshift cable shifting retainer to its bracket.
A man at the campground recommended Hal Burns Truck and Equipment Service in Santa Fe. I managed to replace the hose clamp and headed for Hal Burns.
David Burns, owner of the repair shop, put a man on it immediately and upon the work’s completion told me to have a seat while he made a phone call. He called Ford Motor Company and secured a purchase order to bill Ford for the repair, as it was in warranty and the Ford dealer who had replaced the seal had broken the cable housing retainer and should have replaced it.
Needless to say, I was extremely pleased to get such good service and treatment and then be told I didn’t owe a penny. The cost of a new shifting cable and labor, by the way, was more than $200.
I highly recommend Hal Burns Truck and Equipment for any RVer needing generator, air conditioning, or any other mechanical repairs in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They are located at 14 Camino Charro; phone (505) 471-1671.
James Odell, F303704
Thumbs Up For Allegro
We are the proud owners of a 1996 Tiffin Allegro motorhome. We have always been pleased with the quality and functionality of the unit and would recommend the Allegro to anyone interested in purchasing a motorhome.
We make cross-country trips during the summer and often stop at the Tiffin factory in Red Bay, Alabama. A campground is available with full hookups, a clean and bright bathhouse, and laundry services, as well as a camp store filled with accessories and supplies. While major repairs require reservations, several service bays are set aside to take care of minor problems and repairs.
This past December we called ahead and found out that repair work was on a two- to three-week waiting period, but that we could bring the motorhome to Red Bay, leave it there for repairs, and pick it up later. We made the 11-hour trip and set up the coach, filled out the necessary service forms, and stayed the night. We left for home the next morning. When we got back to our house, we had a phone message from our factory service technician, Roger. It turned out that they had taken in our motorhome a few hours after we left and started repairs. Roger said the needed materials were ordered, and he called us back that same afternoon to tell us the repairs were completed. While working on the coach, Roger found other problems we had not discussed, and he fixed them, too.
He drove the motorhome back to the campground and plugged us into electricity to power the refrigerator until we could pick it up.
After celebrating Christmas, we drove back to Red Bay. As always, we were extremely pleased with the quality of the repairs and the helpful members of the Tiffin family, from the campground hosts to the service techs.
The Tiffin family is supportive and helpful long after the initial sale. They work hard to keep their motorhomes functioning at top efficiency and safety. There is never a question or concern too small to warrant an answer.
We give a big “thumbs up” to the Tifffin family. Keep up the great work.
Lise & Anita Webb, F217431
Greensboro, North Carolina
Coach-Net Comes Through
We carry FMCA’s Coach-Net Emergency Road Service and have once again experienced excellent assistance after having problems on the road. We left January 27, 2004, on our annual trip to Daytona Beach, Florida. We developed power problems at 3:30 p.m. that same day near Shawnee, Oklahoma. We contacted Coach-Net, and they made arrangements for us to receive service at Oklahoma City Freightliner if we could make it back there through rush hour traffic. Otherwise, they would get a tow truck.
They provided the phone number and name of a contact at Freightliner (Nathan), who gave us excellent directions to the Freightliner facility and told us we would have an electrical hookup overnight in their lot. We were able to use the auxiliary battery switch, so we had enough battery power to go the 30 miles or so to Oklahoma City.
The folks at Around the Clock Freightliner Group were great. We had an Easy Care extended warranty on our Monaco Executive coach, which required notification and approval before the parts for the problem could be ordered and installed. The Easy Care folks did their best to be supportive to us and the Freightliner technicians.
Freightliner either had the parts in stock or on overnight availability. Troy and Richard were the technicians who worked on our coach. Bob Stewart, the shop manager, was supportive and courteous during our stay, making sure the technicians were doing everything they could to get us back on the road. The cause of the problem was elusive, but the mechanics were knowledgeable and had a lot of fortitude.
The FMCA Emergency Road Service team always has been courteous, helpful, and knowledgeable when we have called with a road service problem. As we travel across the country, we tell other motorhomers about our excellent experiences.
Customer service is often promised but not always provided, so it is refreshing to know it is readily available through Coach-Net. Keep up the good work.
Gerry Harrison & Donna Spicer, F26999
Damon Provides Quick Response
I am writing to let Damon Motor Coach know how much I appreciated their quick response to my dilemma. We have a used 2000 Damon Intruder with 4,500 miles and have always had a leakage problem around the floor vent in the bedroom between the bed and the bathroom wall. After we made numerous trips to the repair shop, the problem was determined to be a hole drilled in the 2-inch PVC pipe leading from the shower to the gray water tank. This hole had to have been made during the construction of the motorhome.
I asked Damon whether they would consider some financial reimbursement. Within 30 days, they had given me a full refund for the cost of the repair. It certainly is nice to know that some companies still stand behind their work.
Sue Hall, F293111
Appreciates La Mesa RV
I am writing this letter in response to treatment I received at La Mesa RV in Mesa, Arizona.
In January 2003 my motorhome’s electrical transfer switch was replaced by La Mesa RV while under warranty. In September 2003 that switch burned out while I was in Oregon, and I had it replaced.
When I returned to Arizona in November 2003, I went to La Mesa RV to see whether they would cover any part of my expense. The treatment I received in the service department was unbelievable. A service writer (Rocky) looked at my paperwork showing services provided by La Mesa and the Oregon company, along with the bad switch, which I took in with me.
In approximately 15 minutes they made a decision to reimburse me. Two weeks after my visit to them, I received a check in the mail for a full refund.
I cannot say enough nice things about this company. I have never dealt with a company before that left me with a feeling that I needed to advertise for them.
Gary C. Bright, F334451
Great Job In Wilmington
While traveling to the FMCA convention in Buffalo, New York, last July, I did some fiberglass damage to my coach. Mike’s RV Collision Center of Wilmington, North Carolina, had a booth at the convention. The representative went to our coach, gave us an estimate, and told us to call him when we would be in the Wilmington area.
He had all of the paperwork taken care of when we arrived. Full hookups were available, so we could stay in the coach while the work was being completed. All of the personnel were very friendly and helpful, and they did a great job on the coach.
From the experience I had, I highly recommend Mike’s for RV coach repair and painting. Contact Mike’s Collision Center, 1716 Castle Hayne Road, Wilmington, NC 28401; (800) 621-1618, (910) 762-8963.
Chuck Hogue, F98507
Disappearing Pay Phones
Having traveled around the United States this past winter, we are alarmed at the removal of pay telephone services from parks and other camp areas in virtually every state.
When we ask why, we get the same response: the phone companies offering the service don’t make enough money, and cell phones are increasingly popular.
As we write this, we are in a north Georgia state park that had pay phone service last fall. It has now been removed. The park, like many, has fringe or no cell phone reception, and the nearest pay phone is now more than 10 miles away.
What could be done if there were an emergency after the park office was closed for the day, with no pay phone or cell phone service available to seek help? Is access to a telephone in today’s society not considered an essential service? Obviously not, from the revenue-hungry phone companies. What are our local and state governments doing about it?
Gary & Nancy Grant, F247804
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Wayne’s World Saves The Day (And The Awning)
We were camping in our motorhome in Ocala, Florida. It was a beautiful day with a slight breeze. Suddenly, a gust of wind came up and sent two-thirds of our coach’s awning up over the roof, as it twisted the main rafters off at the rivets.
When we arrived in Panama City Beach, Florida, my husband, Bob, tried Wayne’s World RV Center. Wow, what a place to visit! They had one of the rafters in stock and we were told the price was $20, but soon we learned that was wrong. Joyce said they would honor the price anyway. Bob insisted on paying the correct price, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the whole assembly would cost $25.
However, we needed two and they had only one. A man named Travis made a phone call and promised to have the second rafter at our campsite in 15 minutes. Since we needed to be sure the part was the correct length, Travis and Joyce told Bob to take the rafter back to the motorhome and try it. They let him leave with the part in his hand without paying!
Ten minutes later, Travis arrived at the campground with the second rafter. The men verified that the parts would work and Bob wrote a check. Thirty minutes later, the awning was repaired.
God bless Travis and Joyce of Wayne’s World in Panama City Beach. We were happy to do business with them.
Bob & Naomi Rymer, F330304
Business Directory Points The Way
I accidentally raked the side of my motorhome while leaving a fueling island. After calling several body shops in the south Florida area, it dawned on me to look in the FMCA Business Directory. A new commercial member, CTI Specialty Painting & RV Repair, C9432, was listed in Fort Lauderdale. I called the owner, Jason Tabasky, who had me come right in. I was in no hurry, so Jason kept my coach for several days. The work was done extremely well, and the price was reasonable.
I highly recommend CTI Specialty Painting for anyone living or traveling in the south Florida area. They offer complete RV service in addition to body repairs. (They also can paint your boat, 18-wheeler, helicopter, etc.)
See their listing in FMCA’s Business Directory (published in the January and June issues of Family Motor Coaching and online at www.fmca.com) “” they’re at 2359 S.W. 34th St. in Fort Lauderdale; phone (954) 583-8801.
Hal Fogt, F12647
Arkansas Travelers Find Assistance
A couple of days into our “snowbird” trip to the South, we realized that our refrigerator was not working. Naturally, it was completely full of food that we did not want to lose. We were in Rogers, Arkansas, and no help could be found. We bought plastic foam coolers, iced the food down and drove to Fort Smith.
We pulled into a dealership/campground named Outdoor Living Center. The service manager, Russ Pennington, dropped what he was doing and came to our rescue. After the refrigerator was checked, it was determined that it needed to be replaced. That was accomplished the next day.
We stayed two nights in their campground and got other maintenance work done in short order. If you have mechanical problems in this part of the country, we highly recommend them. Outdoor Living Center is located at 1716 Fayetteville Highway in Van Buren, Arkansas; phone (800) 828-2243. A second facility is located in Russellville, Arkansas (800-828-7706).
Dick & Coleta Norris, F289455
FMCA Mail Forwarding
Washer-Dryer Combo Works Again
We have a 1995 Holiday Rambler Navigator that we bought in 1998. It came with a Kariba washer-dryer. This year, while on vacation in the Florida Keys, we had some trouble with the washer.
We were referred to Westland Sales (the parent company of Splendide Laundry Centers, 800-356-0766, 503-655-2563), and a very nice man named Ryan answered the phone. I asked him if he knew anything about the machine and he said he did. I told him about the problem, and he said he thought he knew what was wrong.
He told us to get the machine out and take the top off. He then told my husband what to look for and what to do. With his help, my husband was able to get the machine working again. I’m not sure how much money he saved us, but probably at least $250 on a service call. We feel very fortunate to have found someone so helpful.
Larry & Nancy Bullock, F261003