Web Address Correction
An incorrect Web site was listed for ordering a narrated travel DVD noted in the April 2005 “Full-Timer’s Primer” column (page 156). “Traveling the Devil’s Backbone: RVing Along the Natchez Trace Parkway” by Steve and Gloria Gibbs, F321761, can be ordered for $14.99 at www.dvdrvtravel.com or by calling (248) 373-8469.
RV Equipment Company Comes To The Rescue
This is to confirm that Family Motor Coaching magazine really is of significant value to our many friends who participate in our lifestyle. As you may recall, I wrote a letter explaining how, in my hurry to leave a Bradenton, Florida, campsite, I forgot to take my coach’s power connectors (“Missing Hookup Equipment,” May 2005, page 16). This consisted of a 50-amp adapter and a 50-foot, 30-amp cord “” approximately $150 in equipment. I realized my mistake too late, and the items never were returned.
When we arrived back home in Indiana, I thought about FMC magazine, and figured that if a fellow member learned about my problem, it might somehow lead to the return of my equipment. My experience, however, didn’t quite follow that pattern. Instead, I met an outstanding individual.
Cory Wright of Sigma Wire Products, C9751, read about my problem. This fellow “Hoosier” asked by e-mail if he could be of assistance, and wound up sending me a package containing everything I lost. It was delivered to me at no cost.
What a wonderful gesture and the nicest surprise. I must say that the quality and integrity of the products is as professional as is available.
If anyone is in need of almost anything electrical, a great source would be Mr. Wright’s Sigma Wire Products, 300 Comet Drive, Elkhart, IN 46514; (574) 206-9660.
Ned & Orpha Knape, F247545
Check Schematics Before Installing Alarm
Regarding the April “Readers’ Forum” letter from Ed and Helen Burrows, F192818 (“Modify Steps For Safety,” page 16), I would caution readers against modifying the Kwikee step circuit unless they have as-built schematics from the coach builder. There are several optional wiring schemes a coach builder can use, and you may get different results with the modification.
I speak from experience, as I also designed a safety circuit that warns when the step fails to extend fully for any reason. This entailed installing a second magnetic switch on the step to detect extension, and a turnoff alarm. Anyway, the design works perfectly on my coach, but when I shared the design with a friend, we found his existing door switch had different polarity, and the plan did not work.
Perhaps Kwikee can “step up” and provide this safety circuit to coach builders. A dash light that indicates whether the step is up when the engine is engaged also would be helpful.
Jerry & Karla Chrislock, F301022
Bethel Island, California
A Monument To History
In all my travels I have met many FMCA members, but not one who knows the history of the association. While traveling through Maine I passed the monument in Hinckley, and thought some fellow members would be interested in this photo.
Maureen Stubits, F191385
Editor’s note: The story of the events leading up to FMCA’s founding in July 1963 is an interesting one. One weekend that summer, 26 families in “house cars,” as motorhomes were then called, gathered on the grounds of the Hinckley School in Hinckley, Maine, to socialize and view a solar eclipse. During their time together the house car owners exchanged information, anecdotes, and technical tips about their vehicles. They also discussed the merits of forming some sort of club that centered around travel by house car. Eighteen families at the Hinckley gathering decided to form a nonprofit association, and on July 21, 1963, Family Motor Coach Association was created. The black granite monument shown in the photo was dedicated on the grounds of the Good Will-Hinckley School on July 4, 1994.
Members can learn more about FMCA history by reading the article at www.fmca.com/about/history.asp. The most recent article published in the magazine was a reprint of a story written by FMCA’s founding president, Robert Richter, L1; it appeared on page 100 of the July 2003 issue of Family Motor Coaching and also is available online in the “Back Issues” section of www.fmca.com/magazine.
At the end of January I became critically ill while boondocking in Quartzsite, Arizona. The group of single RVers I was with took me to the hospital in Blythe, California. This left my motorhome and car in their care, and I had no way to get the vehicles back home to Vancouver Island, Canada. Then I received a call from my friend Bob Hamilton, F147218, asking if I had contacted the MEDEX emergency medical assistance program. He did that for me and set up the subsequent plans put forth by this wonderful FMCA member benefit.
MEDEX arranged to have me flown home to Victoria, British Columbia, and my motorhome was returned to my home with full coverage of expenses. I am extremely grateful to Bob for reminding me of this benefit and to FMCA for making it available. Now I look out my window at the motorhome, and it gives me an incentive to get well enough to drive down to the Southwest again next year.
Thank you, FMCA, for being there for members who need you for more than the camaraderie and fun.
Edie Williams, F209715
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
Mesa Verde Campground Recommendation
Many thanks to Allen, Josh, Lou, and Mary at Mesa Verde RV Resort, C10506, a half-mile east of Mesa Verde National Park on U.S. Route 160 in Mancos, Colorado. We spent five days at their fabulous RV park and could not have been treated better anywhere else. We truly enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this campground to all of our friends and family. Stop by and stay awhile when you are in the area. Call (800) 776-7421 or visit www.mesaverdervresort.com.
Chuck & Cherie Pane, F322038
Unbeknownst to us, Mustache, a cat belonging to my daughter, Deanna, rode for 450 miles while hanging out in the engine area of our diesel pusher motorhome “” from Porterville, California, to Brenda, Arizona. We stopped for breaks four times, each time leaving the engine running, and a fifth time we turned off the engine in Quartzsite, Arizona, to refuel. The next day at about noon we heard this cat, looked up in the engine area, and lo and behold, there was Mustache.
Deanna coaxed him out from his engine hiding place with a piece of chicken. He was so hungry and thirsty “” and I was so mad at him. We don’t travel with animals, but we did for two weeks this time. If we went shopping, he went, too; if we went out to eat, he went, too. Everywhere we went, he did, too. He had a good vacation. He lived in the towed vehicle, a Jeep, most of the time. Deanna is so good with animals that she taught him how to be walked on a leash.
Mustache is now back home on the farm with his other cat friends, and he had better not try that stunt again.
Betty Day, F336619
Nevada Transmission Service
On our way from Baker, California, to Henderson, Nevada, our 1982 Apollo motorhome had only two gears “” first and reverse. I was able to drive in first gear to the nearest recommended garage to have the governor gear sender unit replaced. All of the gears were operable again.
In the meantime, I knew it would be only a matter of time before the transmission would fail. We interviewed eight transmission businesses, explaining our transmission symptoms. Some told us we couldn’t live in the motorhome while it was being repaired (we are full-timers), and estimates were extreme from one end to another. Some tried to sell transmission coolers larger than we needed, or wanted to get us a new transmission rather than rebuild ours. A national chain would not give an estimate unless they disassembled our transmission first. Then, if they couldn’t do the job, we would have been charged a disassembly and reassembly fee.
Finally, the ninth interview was Bob’s Transmission (8390 S. Fourth St., Henderson, NV, 89015; 702-568-1000). Bob listened to me about what was wrong with my transmission. He agreed that a 1982 transmission can be rebuilt and that I didn’t need a new one. He did not push a transmission cooler larger than needed. As full-timers, we were able to live in our coach during the three-day job (a day to disassemble, a day for rebuilding, and a day to reassemble). He is a Better Business Bureau member and backs his work with a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty. If you look for the free local papers, he advertises a $100 discount coupon. Because of workspace limitations, he may not repair coaches beyond a certain length, but he is definitely worth a call, and may be able to accommodate yours. Don’t forget your towed car. We highly recommend his service.
Jim Dawson, F173604
FMCA Mail Forwarding
RVers’ Internet Forums
I am the moderator of a forum on Yahoogroups.com called campingtipsgroup. The forum provides information about inexpensive camping and boondocking; county, city, and state parks; national parks; casinos; and fairgrounds. Also we have files on dump stations; campgrounds with Internet connections; free and fee-driven Wi-Fi sites; and tips on a number of different topics.
You all are invited to have a look. The full Web site address is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/campingtipsgroup.
Help Facing A “Senior Moment”
On March 16 we left Connecticut on our way to FMCA’s “America On The Move” convention in Perry, Georgia. The weather was in the teens, so we left the coach winterized. We stopped at Midway Campground in Statesville, North Carolina, for the night. After flushing the water lines, I turned on the hot water tank. About a half-hour later, I checked to see if the water was hot, and it was ice cold. Nothing worked.
The next morning we found a motorhome dealer called The Family RV Center, C9129, in Statesville. They said to bring the coach right in. Surprise! The service tech went to work and had it fixed in about a half-hour. The bypass valve had been left on, so no water was getting into the heater. Everyone was so kind and friendly that it made my “senior moment” a lighthearted joke.
John & Barbara Roberts, F306936