Caravan Winners Return With Thanks
We recently completed a 41-day caravan tour of Alaska with Creative World Rallies and Caravans. We won the trip in a drawing during the 40th anniversary festivities at the July 2003 FMCA convention in Buffalo, New York.
It was truly the trip of a lifetime, with each day throughout the tour better than the day before. We tell everyone that a Creative World Caravans tour is the way to see and experience Alaska.
Thank you so much for your part in providing the opportunity to us. We are truly grateful.
Charles & Myneka Everitt, F316112
More Wild Turkey Facts
I would like to compliment Lowell and Kaye Christie on their article about the wild turkey in the October 2004 “Window on Nature” column (page 138). It was well researched, informative, and well written.
We live in the North Georgia mountains where the wild turkey is abundant and we see them all the time in our area. There is one small detail Lowell and Kaye missed. The “beard” on the breast of the Tom turkey is not a “tuft of feathers.” It is actually a growth on the breast similar to a small, thin tail and is covered in very, very coarse hair, much like horsehair. The “beard” is considered a trophy for avid turkey hunters, similar to a “nice rack” on a trophy buck deer.
David Walker, F219329
During a trip to Redmond, Oregon, we drove through Lassen National Park, where we stopped for a short break. When we were ready to leave, my motorhome starter was dead. I turned on the emergency flashers and proceeded to check fuses and voltages.
Two hours later, around 3:30 p.m., with no cellular service and no help, we feared we would be spending Sunday night in that lonely spot. A car passed going the other direction; stopped; and returned.
A couple nicely dressed in casual clothes offered to help. The man was a retired firefighter and had experience with various trucks and his own motorhomes. After checking under the hood, he crawled under the engine to check the starter, which looked normal. He then began moving wires under the hood, where a spark showed a loose contact on the battery. Five minutes later, with the battery terminal tightened, we were ready to leave.
They were the only ones who stopped, and they saved us from serious problems.
Many thanks to Norm and Verna Morris, FMCA members F292912.
Mel E. Denney, F213165
Bob Highsmith’s article “A Do-It-Yourself Dinette Extension” (October 2004, page 70) was extremely useful to us. The materials list, the explanation, and the pictures made this project easy to understand and execute. We would like to see more articles like this in the future.
Thanks for a great magazine.
Ron & Meredith Walker, F327085
FMCA Mail Forwarding
The 10 Canadian Provinces
I read the October 2004 issue of FMC magazine with much interest as I do all issues, but this one contains a bit of misinformation. On page 128, in the “Full-Timer’s Primer” column, Janet Groene writes about FMCA members: “In 17 years of full-timing they have explored 49 states and 12 Canadian provinces ….” In Canada we have 10 provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland/Labrador. In the far north we also have three territories: Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut Territory. Just for the record.
Clayton & Darlene Read, F321720
Orono, Ontario, Canada
Onan’s Equinox Inverter-Charger
Thanks for your inverter article (“The Ins And Outs Of Inverters,” November 2004, page 74). I installed an inverter you did not mention in the article: an Onan. I am delighted with it. It has many useful features, including battery charging, battery equalization, and, for diesel motorhomes, an automatic generator start with the ability to set quiet hours.
The Onan has an additional advantage: I always know where to go to get service if needed!
Jane Young, F227314
Editor’s note: Thank you for pointing this out. Onan entered the inverter-charger market when it introduced the Equinox inverter-charger in 2003. The device is available in 1,500-, 2,000-, 2,500-, and 3,000-watt sizes. The Equinox is said to have an easy-to-use interface and a straightforward users manual. These inverters are sold through local distributors. To find one, check your local phone directory; call (800) 888-ONAN (6626); or visit www.onan.com.
Close-Knit Camping Family
I would like to let FMCA members know what a close-knit family the motorhoming community is. My father, his dog, and I were attending the FMCA convention in Redmond, Oregon, in August. I am a national director on the Governing Board, representing my chapter, Great Lakes Converted Coaches.
We finished the Governing Board meeting Monday. Tuesday we were getting ready to go to a seminar called “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” when I received a phone call from my wife telling me my sister-in-law had collapsed and had been taken to the hospital emergency room. She died from sudden cardiac arrest. I told Dad the news and we began the process of leaving the convention. A security volunteer at the gate was very helpful in getting us out of the convention grounds.
We were 2,300 miles from home. We started driving to the nearest regional airport while my wife tried to get us airline tickets back home to Elkhart, Indiana. We got to Boise around midnight and learned we could get a flight early the next morning. The only problem was that the airlines require a current health certificate for pets. I stopped for help at the first campground I saw, and woke up the owner of Mountain View RV Park, Jeff Clark. I told him my problem. He said to set up the coach and he’d make some phone calls. When I got back to the office at 12:30 a.m., he said he’d contacted his veterinarian and that he’d see us immediately to get us the certificate for Dad’s dog. He also found a 24-hour store where we could purchase a dog crate. He even had a map drawn for us telling us how to get to the vet and the store. When we got back to the RV park, Jeff said he’d take us to the airport. We tried to pay him for the parking, but he refused to take any money. He said we’d settle up when I was able to retrieve the coach. In the meantime, he’d look after the motorhome and Jeep. He also told me to give him my return flight information, and he’d pick me up at the airport when I returned.
I could not believe that complete strangers were doing all of this on our behalf. Several weeks later, my son and I returned to Boise to pick up the coach. Jeff’s wife, Dori, met us and said everything was fine with our coach. I tried to pay them for their help, but they refused again. They said the only payment they wanted was the good feeling of helping someone. I will never forget their kindness.
We also received calls from FMCA friends and got a beautiful card signed by members of our chapter. We even got e-mails from people offering to help us get our coach home. It certainly is nice belonging to a group like FMCA.
Jon Walker, F268778
MEDEX Works Everything Out
On the way to Oregon for the FMCA convention, I ended up in the hospital in Rock Springs, Wyoming, for nine days. I had three broken ribs and a cracked vertebra. The doctor there did not want me to leave without oxygen. After much talk, MEDEX flew me home. I left Rock Springs by ambulance with a private nurse to Salt Lake City, Utah. There I was transferred to a plane to Cincinnati, Ohio. From Cincinnati I took a plane to Lexington, Kentucky.
An ambulance met me in Lexington to bring me home to Paintsville, Kentucky. All the way across the country I had oxygen and was assisted by Patrick, my nurse. I neither wanted nor needed for anything during the day-long trip because MEDEX had worked everything out.
I have nothing but high praises for MEDEX and FMCA. Our dues were well spent when FMCA signed up for this program. I never could have stood the trip home in our motorhome.
Wilnah Dixon, F37558
Reliable Internet Access For Full-Timers
This is in response to Janet Groene’s September “Full-Timer’s Primer” column. In the “Feedback forum” section (page 134) she defended full-timers who are not on the Internet because of limited access. Well, I was one of those who needed defending, until recently.
As is the case with 99 percent of full-timers, the Internet disappeared for us when we sold the house four years ago. I looked into several ways to get back online, but nothing seemed viable. Well, technology has caught up, finally.
At a rally recently, I found the answer in a Voicestream wireless modem. It uses T-Mobile service, and it’s great. It slides into the PCMCIA slot in a laptop, is faster than dial-up, doesn’t hook to your cell phone, and doesn’t use cell phone minutes. There is no limit on usage, and no long distance charges.
Software installation was even easy. It works no matter where we park (if not too far from civilization) and it even works going down the highway. There are various sources for this modem; I got mine through PCRV.US.
Gary Osburn, F284758
Canyon Lake, Texas
KOA Workers, Campers Weather The Storm
My wife, Mary Ann, and I decided to take our first extended RV trip to Florida this past November. Oops! That was a big mistake. We hit Hurricane Ivan on the way down and Hurricane Jeanne when we got there. Timing is everything, and we had none. I guess you guessed we are new at this RV thing. That brings me to the real reason for this story.
I cannot begin to say how wonderful every KOA Kampground we went to was (nine). Every single person working at them was great beyond words.
The one facility that stands out among the rest is the KOA St. Petersburg Resort. It was the best. We were there for Jeanne, and the staff was really put to the test. They all passed with flying colors! They are not “new guys.” Their first priority was our safety, and it was greatly appreciated by all. We all survived and met some wonderful new friends. It was a gas. I never knew you could have so much fun in a hurricane.
Thanks to the manager of the KOA St. Petersburg Resort and his super crew, it was a good party. We highly recommend this stop as best in our book. We shall return.
Joseph C. & Mary Ann Dailey, F336042
Montville, New Jersey
“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 assured us he knew 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
Towed Car, Trailer Service
For all your towing needs, be it with towing a car or a trailer, we highly recommend Waymire Trailer Towing Systems in Indianapolis, Indiana. They give friendly, honest, and courteous service. They know their products, guarantee their work, and get you in and out on time. Should you be in the central Indiana area, or even out of the area, and have any car or trailer towing needs or concerns, contact Waymire Trailer Towing Systems (820 Chadwick St. in Indianapolis) at (888) 638-7131 or (317) 638-7131; www.waymires.com.
Bill & Barb Ferling, F232912
Soroptimist Chapter Forming
We are forming a chapter in the International Area for Soroptimist members. If you are or were a Soroptimist and would like to meet with others for sharing ideas and friendship, come join this chapter. We anticipate holding meetings at FMCA international conventions and at area rallies.
Please contact me for more information.
Jackie deBord, F16686
1309 E. Seventh St.
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Canadian Dealer Goes Above And Beyond
We purchased a 2004 Newmar motorhome from the RV Warehouse in Cookstown, Ontario, Canada. We took possession of it at the end of January 2004 and left shortly thereafter for a vacation at Sun-N-Fun RV Resort in Sarasota, Florida.
Three days into our vacation we were involved in a serious motor vehicle accident in Florida, and the new motorhome was a complete write-off.
We contacted Sun-N-Fun and they told us they rented park models and that we could stay in one of these until we sorted out what we were going to do.
Christopher Stovold, president of RV Warehouse, contacted us in Florida. He heard about our accident and said he would send a driver down with a motorhome for us to use while we were in Florida. It was such a wonderful help to us, because we didn’t know how we were going to get the items we had salvaged from the accident back home to Ontario.
Joe Martin, president of our insurance company, Wayfarer Insurance, also contacted us to be sure we were okay.
The accident was very traumatic for both of us, and without the assistance of Mr. Stovold (who also offered to send a driver down to Florida to bring the coach back for us) and Mr. Martin, the situation would have been much harder on us.
When we arrived home we purchased another Newmar from the RV Warehouse and insured the new coach with Wayfarer. We thank them as well as Elaine at Sun-N-Fun RV Resort.
Bruce & Sandra Powley, F163652
Gilford, Ontario, Canada
Safely Negotiating Los Angeles Freeways
As an outside sales rep calling on plumbing engineers from San Luis Obispo south to San Diego, I drive about 30,000 miles a year on Southern California freeways. I realize that our freeways can be hectic and dangerous at times.
I was just reading the letters from Ted Sibert and Eva Ribman about their misfortunes with their motorhome mirrors (“More Mirror Loss Reports,” October 2004, page 162) and wanted to give some advice to RVers traveling through Southern California.
Traffic in the morning starts at 5:00 a.m. going toward Los Angeles (I live in Orange near Angel Stadium) and might curtail around 9:00 a.m. Afternoon traffic heading away from Los Angeles can start around 3:00 p.m. and might not end until 7:00 p.m. in some eastern areas such as Corona (eastbound State Route 91). Do not travel during those times.
The freeways to avoid at all times are Interstate 5 from U.S. 101 near Glendale down to the Orange County area; Interstate 110 (Harbor Freeway) from Interstate 105 North to Pasadena; Interstate 710 (Long Beach Freeway) for its entire length; and the U.S. 101/Interstate 405 interchange near Sherman Oaks. Interstate 110 was built in 1929 and has very short entrance and exit ramps, tight turns, and narrow lanes. Interstate 5 in the above-mentioned area has tight lanes, sometimes non-existent shoulders, and tons of traffic. Interstate 710 has tons of tractor-trailers all day long coming from and going to the Port of Los Angeles.
While there are some crazy truck drivers here, I also see many FMCA members and other motorhome owners who drive in the wrong lanes and exceed the posted speed limit. If you are towing a vehicle, you are required to stay in the same lanes as the tractor-trailers (on a four-lane highway, that means you stay in the right two lanes, and you cannot use the number 2 lane to pass). If you are towing a vehicle, your speed limit is 55. If you are caught driving in the number 1 or number 2 lane while towing, you will receive a fine of at least $271.
If you are traveling south through the L.A. area, I would recommend using U.S. 101/State Route 134/Interstate 210 east (same route, different designations) to State Route 57 south to I-5 south.
I have yet to see the California Department of Transportation simply restripe a freeway to add more lanes. The same required lane widths for Northern California are in place for Southern California. I have verified this with several friends who work for CalTrans. Much of my time spent in traffic is because they widened the freeway to put in a carpool lane. (Motorhomes or other vehicles towing a vehicle or trailer cannot use the carpool lane, as you would have to travel through restricted lanes to access the carpool lane.)
Good Tow, Good Service
On May 28, my wife and I left Dunes City, Oregon, for a long Memorial Day weekend with our travel group. We also were going to visit our son in Woodburn, Oregon. After traveling Oregon State Route 126 toward Interstate 5, we were 45 miles from home when a severe shimmy occurred with our motorhome, making it undrivable.
Luckily, we were able to get off the road, and it was noon when we pulled to a stop. We called our insurance company for assistance. They called a towing firm in Eugene, which sent a tow truck much too small for our 34-foot diesel pusher. We sat for eight hours before they finally found a towing company only five miles from where we were parked.
Roger’s Towing from Veneta (541-935-1031) was absolutely great. They towed us to Guaranty RV Center in Junction City in good time and in good shape. Guaranty had a spot for us at the service center to spend the night. By 9:00 a.m. the next day, we knew what was wrong with the coach and what needed to be repaired.
We could not have asked for more from Joker at Roger’s Towing, or James and Howard at Guaranty RV Center.
Bud & Phyllis Maxwell, F169048
Air Brakes Repaired In Tennessee
Recently while traveling across Tennessee, I noticed that the air pressure in my coach’s brakes was at 70 pounds and dropping. Thinking that the brakes could lock at any minute, we stopped in the first available rest area and called our emergency road service. After confirming that we were in no immediate danger, the dispatcher sent a tow truck. When it arrived, the driver gave us several choices as to where we could be towed. Not wishing to cross the mountain north of Chattanooga in the dark with questionable brakes, we opted to be towed to Keith’s Truck & Trailer Repair in Cleveland, Tennessee. We arrived at 11:00 p.m. and were met by the night manager, who gave the motorhome a cursory inspection and assured us that it could be repaired the first thing the next morning. He then insisted that we plug into the building’s electricity and even ran a 30-amp extension cord to us.
Promptly at 8:00 a.m. the next day, two technicians began the repairs. The problem was the air dryer, and a replacement was located in Chattanooga. While Keith went to pick up the parts, the other two mechanics made some additional repairs to the coach. By 11:00 a.m. all repairs had been completed. While paying the bill (which was about half what I expected), I found that the mechanics had checked and topped off all fluid levels (water, oil, transmission fluid), at no additional cost, in order to assure us a safe trip.
If you are in the Chattanooga area and experience a problem with your vehicle, give Keith a call (423-728-3844) for professional service at a reasonable price.
Bob Ramey, F348113