Northwest Area Moose Chapter To Form
The Moose Chapter FMCA is a new chapter being formed at the Northwest Area Rally on June 11, 2005. You do not have to attend the area rally (held at the Linn County Fair and Expo Center in Albany, Oregon) to attend this meeting, which takes place at 2:30 p.m. in Room 3. You may come just for the day and attend the meeting to decide whether to join the chapter.
For more information and an application, visit www.fmcanw.org/moose, or call me at (503) 949-2395.
George Arvidson, F259952
Tricky Spots On Natchez Trace Parkway
A word of caution to RVers who plan to travel the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee and Alabama. The road on the portion of the parkway that is roughly north of U.S. 72 in Alabama “” north of the Tennessee River “” is not very hospitable toward high-clearance vehicles such as RVs. Tree limbs overhang the sides and traveled portion of the parkway. The limbs are so abundant and so low in many places that you can avoid them only by driving in the very center of the road.
This was brought to the attention of the National Park Service through their Web site more than 18 months ago and despite their assurance of prompt handling of the matter, the situation is still the same. If you value the roof-mounted equipment on your RV, you might reconsider traveling this portion of the parkway. The parkway south of U.S. 72 is in very good condition and presents no challenges for RVers.
Billy Owen, F241692
Editor’s note: A spokesperson for the Natchez Trace Parkway gave us this response to Mr. Owen’s concerns:
“The Natchez Trace Parkway has made a concerted effort to remove tree limbs that hang over the motor road. Last year the parkway contracted with a company to do this removal. Their work included the areas in Alabama north of the Tennessee River Bridge and north of Highway 72.
We realize that conditions can change frequently during periods of wind and rain. If a visitor notices a concern, we encourage them to note the mile marker location and contact the parkway at (800) 305-7417.”
Modify Steps For Safety
I want to comment on the Dave Hamby article “What Kind Of Dirty Dog Would Steal Our Steps?” (February 2005, page 114). One of the members of our RV group, while intending to turn on the outside light, had inadvertently changed the automatic step to the setting that allows it to move in and out when the door is opened or closed. When she stepped out of the RV, she fell and broke her leg. Since that time members of our RV group have been coming up with ways to make an audio alarm that would warn when the step is coming out as you are opening the door.
We have a Kwikee step that has a light underneath it. The light comes on only when the step is switched to the “in and out” position. I added an alarm (RadioShack part 273-055A) between the control unit and the light under the step. The light is connected to the control unit with a spade fitting. With two new spade fittings and a wire to ground, the modification is quick and easy (it cost a little more than $3). The alarm is turned off when the door is closed or when the switch has locked the step in the “out” position.
I hope this suggestion will save others from stepping out of their RV into thin air.
Ed & Helen Burrows, F192818
Agoura Hills, California
Missouri River Cruise Makes Fine Stop
This past summer I had the privilege of coordinating a two-month trek that followed the Lewis and Clark trail from St. Louis, Missouri, to Astoria, Oregon. One of the most interesting and unusual stops we made was in Brownville, Nebraska, population 167.
Brownville is located near Interstate 29 in the southeast part of the state. Turn west at exit 110 in Missouri, cross the Missouri River on U.S. 136, and visit this wonderful little town.
There we met the owners of the Spirit of Brownville riverboat, Randall and Jane Smith. The boat is equipped to take 150 people and operates on Saturdays and Sundays. We were a group of 20 and arrived on a Wednesday, but with some pre-arranging, Jane agreed to accommodate us. Boy, did she ever! She prepared a home-cooked meal of fried chicken, barbecue ribs, green salad, potato salad, and peach cobbler. Jane also provided us with live music (a keyboardist). For three hours, we ate, danced, sang, and received first-hand historical information about the area. As we disembarked, we were met with calliope music. What a happy, good time.
The little town offers several places of interest, including two historical homes as well as a great little winery where the owner gives visitors a personal tour.
A small camping area in town with no hookups is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Parking for “big rigs” is available at the Spirit of Brownville docking area.
For more information about the riverboat cruises, phone (402) 825-6441 or visit www.brownvillemills-ne.com/village/mob/riverboat.cfm.
Neva Cole, F210403
Thanks To Campground Staff
I felt ill in the campground office at Martin Lake Resort, near Biloxi, Mississippi. Cindy and the campground staff called for an ambulance while I lay unconscious on the floor. They checked my vital signs and documented the details for the doctors and ambulance personnel.
I was having a life-threatening allergic reaction to an over-the-counter niacin medication. Martin Lake Resort campers transported my wife back and forth to the hospital and even brought me home from the hospital. These people looked after our motorhome while my wife stayed with me in the hospital. After another week of tests, everyone took care of us as if we were family members. As full-time RVers, we will not forget the care we were given during this trying time.
Thanks to the folks at Martin Lake Resort.
Fred Brandeberry, F326829
Merritt Island, Florida
Fee Changes In Parks?
I was very disappointed in your coverage of the National Recreation Fee Demonstration Program changes (“RV News & Notes,” February 2005, page 53). I have a handicap access now to the National Park System, and nowhere in your article did you address what is to happen to this program. I do not know if I will be required to pay a fee and obtain a new permit, or if the old one is still good (at least your article indicated that all old badges would not be any good), but your article was lacking in identifying this portion of the “new” program. I am sure a lot of other FMCA members are in the same situation that I am “” handicapped and with a permanent access permit to National Park Service lands.
John E. Parker, F214990
Aiken, South Carolina
Editor’s note: To address your concerns, we spoke with a representative of the National Parks Pass program.
First, we were told it is not clear when the new interagency annual pass will be required. So, do not discard your Golden Access Passport, as it is still valid. Second, the spokesman stated that there are currently no plans to increase the fee for the Golden Age Passport ($10 for people age 62 or over) or to start charging for the Golden Access Passport (free to the blind or permanently disabled). Both passes are good for the holder’s lifetime.
Golden Age and Golden Access passports must be acquired in person, because the holder must provide proof of age or permanent disability. The $50 National Parks Pass for people under 62 can be purchased online or over the phone as well as in person.
The passes cover not only the pass holder, but everyone traveling with the pass holder, and they apply only to entry to the facility. Other recreation fees (camping, etc.) still may be charged, but even these are currently discounted in some cases.
For more information, please call (888) GOPARKS (467-2757) or visit www.nationalparks.org.
Long-Distance Deal A Job Well Done
My wife and I went to the 2002 FMCA convention in Perry, Georgia, and, of course, we toured the new motorhomes. Afterward, my wife felt she had to have a new motorhome, one with a bath-and-a-half and two slideouts. After resisting for two years, I agreed to start shopping for a new coach. Thanks to the Internet and toll-free numbers, we were able to shop nationwide, mostly by using the ads in Family Motor Coaching magazine. We found our best deal with our trade-in with Colton Auto and RV Inc., C6442, in North Tonawanda, New York.
Since we live in Florida, we were somewhat apprehensive about traveling such a great distance with our trade-in without the dealer actually seeing it first, but we were surprised when we arrived. They did everything they said they would. No hassle with our trade-in. It went exactly as we discussed over the phone. They even found us a lower interest rate than we had found before we left.
After the sale, they urged us to stay several more days just to get used to our new motorhome and make sure everything worked. Everyone, including Ron Pingre, our salesman; Mark, the sales manager; Tom, the finance manager; and Jason, the technician, could not do enough for us. Mike, the general manager, made sure everything went smoothly. Before we left, they gave us a credit to spend in their parts department for anything we wanted. It was such a pleasure to deal with people of their caliber and character. We say thanks to them for a job well done.
Toby & Lou Harris, F252880
Las Cruces Campground And RV Repair Recommendation
At the risk of swamping them with discriminating customers who read this information-packed magazine, I want to express kudos to the folks at RV Doc’s Park & Service Center, C7451, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
I have taken my Monaco Diplomat to them several times for work on a variety of systems, one being a plumbing problem that a large dealership didn’t want to handle. I was rewarded with consistently prompt and competent repairs at reasonable cost. Their lead technician, Waylon, is well-versed in a wide range of RVs, from new coaches to customized mud-boggers, and he’s a fast worker.
The facility is located two blocks from Interstate 10, is easy to find, and has an RV park on the premises. Nice folks. Keep them in mind if you’re in the vicinity and need assistance. They can be reached at (505) 526-8401; www.rvdocs.com.
Dick Garrett, F340818
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Tailpipe Fabricated Quickly
While we were in transit and temporarily in Portage, Michigan, we were in need of a repair to our motorhome. We were directed to Simmons Ford (269-649-1022). We needed an end to our exhaust pipe.
They made arrangements to have one fashioned by a local shop and had us on the road in less than two hours. It was very economical also.
Ray & Martha Burgess, F251307
Saved In Sacramento
There we were coming home from another great motorhome trip when our friendly diesel quit just outside of Sacramento, California. It was cold and getting dark when I remembered my friends at Sierra Pacific Fleet Service were about 10 miles away.
I called, and they sent out a top-notch mechanic nicknamed Big Dog to see what was going on. After a short time they had us back on the road with a new part. If you’re passing through the Sacramento area and need help, call Sierra Pacific Fleet Service at (916) 373-0650 and talk to Dee. You might meet Big Dog.
Robert Sherer, F93048