Update On World’s Biggest Teepee
“Beat Road Boredom With ‘The World’s Largest’…” (September 2004, page 108) noted that the world’s largest teepee was located in Malad, Idaho, and was 46 feet tall. After the article was published, Gene Hunzeker, F38199, told us that the teepee is no longer on the grounds of Red Hawk Trading (the company that made it). We have been unable to determine its current status.
Another reader, Bill Routh, F323370, pointed out that the world’s largest teepee is actually in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. It is 215 feet tall and 160 feet in diameter, and is called the Saamis Teepee. Visit www.bigthings.ca/Alberta/medicine.html to learn more.
The article by John Kavchar, “Final Trip And A Beginning Journey” (October 2004, page 112), surely touched many of us.
I lost my wife to cancer five years ago. It was a tough five-year battle and the final year fighting the cancer took its toll. We were lucky in that we had five years to review our lives together and discuss what the future might hold for me. We knew the end was inevitable, so we discussed what I should do after she was gone. She knew how much I enjoyed traveling in the motorhome and encouraged me to keep the motorhome and find a suitable companion to share my travels and life experiences.
To me, grief support groups simply do not allow a person to begin a new life. I’ll never forget my late wife and will always love her. However, I want and need a companion, a helpmate, someone to hold the flashlight and someone to read the map and navigate. I’m not afraid to love and be loved again.
As luck would have it, one day on the golf course a close friend mentioned there was a lady in his Sunday school class who had lost her husband and she had commented on how she missed the traveling they did in their motorhome. She said the coach was just too big for her to handle and, besides, she didn’t want to travel alone. My friend told her my story and made an introduction. One afternoon she and I had coffee at the local Cracker Barrel and we’ve been drinking coffee together for more than 18 months. We have just returned from a 15-week journey to the Canadian Atlantic provinces and are making plans to spend next summer in Alaska. Life is worth living.
Leonard H. Mays, F193159
Air Mattress Maintenance
We recently took a trip that led us over mountain passes. While at those heights, our motorhome’s Select Comfort air mattress exploded, and we were without a bed for several nights.
We want to warn fellow FMCA members about this possibility. We were not told about it and received no such warning when we purchased the mattress. The mattress company told us it was an act of God, but we could have avoided the problem if we had known about it in advance. So, we advise fellow RVers to let the air out of their mattresses if they are traveling in high altitudes.
If your air mattress is above the rear diesel engine compartment, the warmth of the engine can cause it to pop, too.
Robert & Vivian Fuchs, F316478
Select Comfort’s reply: We were sorry to hear that Mr. and Mrs. Fuchs had some trouble with their Sleep Number bed due to a change in altitudes. Fortunately, their situation is rare and preventable. When making extreme altitude changes, Select Comfort advises Sleep Number bed owners to reduce the air inside the chambers of their mattress. So, if your Sleep Number is 100 (the firmest setting), decrease it to reduce the amount of air inside the chamber. This is stated in the owners manual for new and replacement RV beds. If a customer ever has a concern, they should call our seven-day-a-week customer service line at (800) 318-2231. Select Comfort is committed to offering a quality product that helps our customers, including our thousands of RV owners, get a better night’s sleep.
Mr. and Mrs. Fuchs were able to get new air chambers quickly and easily for their bed and advised on how to prevent this from happening again.
Regarding the idea of heat from the engine compartment causing problems, we see this as highly unlikely, given the protective covers and shielding around engines and a bed platform underneath the mattress. The minimal amount of warmth radiating from the compartment will not damage the air chambers due to pressure from temperature change. Our beds are in thousands of motor coaches today without a single reported incidence of chamber damage caused by air temperature change.
Rapid Repair In Georgia
I am writing to let everyone know about an outstanding establishment for RV repair. We were fleeing hurricane Frances and experienced very rough shifting in our coach’s Allison transmission. I called Allison and they referred us to W.W. Williams Southeast Inc. in Albany, Georgia.
We spoke with Lee and he told us how to get there. When we arrived, he told us to park in front of the building and relax. Early the next morning, they took all the information about the transmission, solved the problem, and had us on our way in a little more than three hours.
Thanks to the service manager there, David Coulter, as well as to Lee and Mike, the service techs, all was fine and we continued to flee the storm. Incidentally, the price was right “” no gouging.
Bill Yaeger, F244967
Volunteers Pick Campgrounds And States, Too
Dennis Lower hit on a very good way to save on campground fees by becoming a campground host for state parks (“Readers’ Forum,” January 2004, page 22).
I have been doing this for three years now, and the good thing about it is that you can pick the campgrounds where you want to volunteer in areas that interest you. Most provide you with excellent sites, with all of the hookups. You have the opportunity to meet people from all areas of the country and some from other countries. And all of this for a minimal amount of work.
The states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho have a program that lets you send in one request for information and all three states will send you literature on their parks and hosting opportunities. If you are interested, please send me your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address, along with the names of the state or states where you may be interested in volunteering, and information will be mailed to you. I can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by postal mail at 14431 S.E. May Valley Road, Renton, WA 98059-3724.
Tab Tabacek, F155438
Northwest Parks Ambassador
Kudos For Kwikee
During the FMCA convention in Redmond, Oregon, this past August, I went to the Kwikee booth in the exhibit tent. I explained that I had a 1992 Gulf Stream with a Kwikee automatic step that would go in and out while we were driving if the step or related electronics got wet. Dan Eckenroad provided several suggestions as to how I could fix the problem. I had talked to their technicians previously and followed their suggestions without results, so Mr. Eckenroad suggested replacing the electronic box.
I asked how much a new, sealed box would cost. He said the cost was zero and gave me a complete package to replace the current electronics box. I tried to give him some money but was told that he was not permitted to accept any. Then, Dan Doyle, a local Kwikee representative, provided a set of connecting cables and a new door switch.
Considering the age of the product (12-plus years), the free support to fix this intermittent problem was unbelievable. Kudos are in order for the Kwikee product personnel for their support. If you need an automatic step for your motorhome, I suggest you purchase a Kwikee product.
Bill Zebrow, F140955
Campground Extends Care During Hurricane
We live in Winter Haven, Florida, and hurricane Frances was forecasted to pass directly over us. We decided to evade the hurricane in our motorhome, with our two African gray parrots and our dog.
We spent a couple of nights in Ocala, Florida, and then went on to Lake City, and finally to Paradise Lake RV Park in Brookfield, Georgia, just east of Tifton, off of Interstate 75 on U.S. 82.
We were trying to stay at Passport America affiliates, and when we arrived at Paradise Lake, we saw a big sign welcoming Passport America members. We asked whether they had room for us for one night as a Passport America member, but they said they were not honoring Passport America. I said, “What?” They said that because of the hurricane they were letting everyone stay at half price, for $10 per night. They were doubling up on sites and letting guests share 30-amp and 20-amp sites. Water and a dump station were available.
The hosts, Mike and Debra McKuhn, and the owner, Jackie Copeland, were very helpful, welcoming guests as rain fell in sheets, and trying to accommodate all their needs, as some folks wanted to stay and others just needed to dump.
This is the type of campground that we should support by visiting even when we are not in dire need of their services.
We arrived back home with little damage other than what hurricane Charlie had already done.
Thank you very much, Paradise Lake RV Park, for caring.
Bill & Marty Legant, F247520
Compassionate Customer Service
On Friday, August 13, I was 10 miles outside of Toppenish, Washington, driving to the Yakama Indian Nation RV Park to meet with members of the Puget Sounders chapter. Our chapter was getting together prior to volunteering at the FMCA convention in Redmond, Oregon, the following week.
A car passed me and the driver yelled that my towed car had a flat tire. I called on my CB to friends and then pulled over to call for a tow truck. My friends, Bill and Pennie Burns, went on to the campground where we were staying, and when Bill got there, he asked the manager for the name of a reputable place to have the car repaired. He suggested Ruggles Auto Repair in Toppenish.
This was my first solo trip in the motorhome, as my husband, Arden, died unexpectedly in October 2003. The day had already begun in an emotional manner. After looking at my car’s front tires, I was in tears. The damage report was extensive: everything from the axle outward “” tires, rims, calipers, brakes, seals, bearings, and even the tie-rods “” was gone. I was so upset, thinking about the cost. Shop owner Lynn Ruggles told me to file a claim with the insurance company and go on to the rally and try to have a good time.
We returned the following Friday but the car was not ready, because the insurance adjuster had just arrived at 4:00 p.m. the day before. Mr. Ruggles had all the parts ordered except for the tires and rims. Those, he said, would take a couple of days to get there. He offered to drive my car from eastern Washington over to where I was staying in western Washington the following weekend.
Lynn Ruggles went above and beyond what he needed to do to help make my first solo trip end on a great note. The good Lord is definitely sending friends and strangers to watch over me.
If you need repairs in Toppenish, call Ruggles Auto Repair (411 Washington Ave., 509-865-4626). Mr. Ruggles does great work, is very reputable, and gives customer service with compassion.
Linda Apted, F206555
East Wenatchee, Washington
“Stoppin’ Spots” Leads To Help And New Friends
While vacationing in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, in late June 2004, we had the misfortune of almost losing our motorhome to a fire. As a result of a broken rear cross member, all of the coach’s air lines and electrical lines were severed, and a serious electrical burn-down took place. After contacting my towing service, and while waiting for them to arrive from the United States (two miles from the border), I realized I had my January issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine with the annual “Stoppin’ Spots” directory. I found only one name listed in the Abbotsford area, and thank the Lord it was Lyle and Sonya Taylor, F23915.
When I called, Sonya said to hold on because Lyle was under their coach, working on it. I knew then I had called the right people. They arrived within minutes.
After analyzing my situation, Lyle took over and contacted a local towing service, which gently moved our motorhome approximately 1/4-mile to a truck service repair establishment. Lyle reassured us he had people who could repair our coach and make it as good as new. He returned at 7:30 the next morning and literally set in motion all the needed repair services, and treated us like family, including bringing us lunch and giving us much-needed moral support.
Not only did the remote service repairman fix our coach to like-new condition, but they did it in literally 14 hours. My own initial estimate was it would cost me several thousand dollars and four to five days. The final cost and time needed were a fraction of that estimate.
Lyle and Sonya Taylor proved to be people with many friends, both personal and business relations. Our contacts with them only confirmed that the Taylors are very well thought of and respected in their community. Lyle personally converts Eagle buses, and what a beautiful job he does! Their own Eagle is absolutely gorgeous, with every amenity and convenience of any bus on the road.
As you can tell, we were very impressed and pleased to have met and befriended this wonderful couple. We hope to maintain a personal relationship for years to come. I have put off being included in the “Stoppin’ Spots” section, but I now know the importance of having someone around to help in time of need. Since we have several full hookups and can help on most mechanical issues, we wish to be listed in “Stoppin’ Spots,” too.
Phil & Linda Houghton, F176255
Mystery “Miracle” Worker
Eight years ago we purchased a new 1996 Safari with a Norcold refrigerator. Since then, whenever the weather outside was above 90 degrees, the inside temperature of the refrigerator would soar to 70 degrees. This would happen only while we were dry camping and using propane to power the refrigerator. Otherwise, the unit worked to perfection.
We are full-timers and have had the refrigerator serviced many times by people referred to us by either Safari or Norcold. Each time, we were told the unit checked out okay. They believed we had a problem, but couldn’t offer any help.
Finally, during the FMCA convention in Redmond, Oregon, a Norcold representative checked our unit and fixed it. We do not know the name of the service team representative to thank. He was super busy, but very knowledgeable. He was at our coach for less than 10 minutes, but in that limited time, he performed a miracle. When he arrived, the inside of the unit was 65 degrees. By morning it was 37 degrees. Today it is still hot outside, and the refrigerator is operating perfectly.
We hope our note of thanks will somehow reach the miracle worker. Perhaps he can tell the other service people how he did it.
Leon & Betty Martin, F211179
Praise For Free Post-Warranty Work
When we were getting ready to start full-timing in early 2000 we decided to purchase a Newmar Dutch Star. We ordered a Splendide combo washer-dryer for the motorhome, and Newmar inadvertently left the shipping brackets attached inside the machine when they installed it. As a result, the machine shook violently and finally bit the dust in the spring of 2001 as we were traveling out West.
Newmar authorized repairs to the machine at a dealership. At the time, the Splendide service manager suggested I ask Newmar to install a new washer-dryer, because he couldn’t guarantee that there wasn’t additional damage inside the machine that wouldn’t show up until later. Newmar said they would not install a new one but would note it in the record of our Dutch Star.
Our three-year warranty on the Dutch Star ran out in May 2003 and we are now in year five. In the spring of 2004 we noticed our flooring was starting to buckle, but we were never able to detect where water might be coming from, since we never saw water leaks inside the coach. When my wife, Diane, was doing some cleaning, she removed the drawers in the bathroom sink cabinet and saw water on the floor. We wiped it up, and then she did a load of clothes and found the water was coming from the washer.
I traded a few notes with Newmar, and they said service techs would look at the problem when we were at the Newmar rally in Du Quoin, Illinois, in June. Diane and I met with the warranty manager, who told us he had read the documentation I provided from the 2001 timeframe, and immediately said Newmar would give us a new washer-dryer and a new floor. We were very pleased, but the story gets even better. Diane had decided she would rather have the stacked washer-dryer in our next motorhome, so we asked whether it would be possible to use that instead of another Splendide (which was actually a less costly solution for Newmar). He said that if a stacked unit would fit in our closet, they would install one instead of the combo machine. Newmar currently installs other types of flooring as standard equipment, so we were able to get a “marble look” floor as a replacement for the damaged wood floor.
We are ecstatic that Newmar stepped up to the problem and they corrected it better than we could have imagined. Needless to say, provided we aren’t priced out of the market, Newmar is the choice for our next motorhome.
Rich & Diane Emond, F277947
Goodyear Good Improvement
We recently purchased six new Goodyear G670RV tires for our 37-foot Holiday Rambler Endeavor motorhome and all I can say is, “Wow, what an improvement!”
The ride is considerably better. The tires took all of the wander out of the steering and improved tracking tremendously. Even the fuel economy has improved by one mile per gallon.
After consulting with Goodyear, we opted to increase the size from 245/70R22.5 tires to 275/70R22.5 tires. They sent us an inflation table and we have adjusted the tire pressures according to our coach’s weight. Getting your motorhome weighed with the car hooked up sure does pay off. Thanks for the tip and thank you, Goodyear, for an outstanding new product.
Mal Henderson, F337462