Telephone Number Correction
The local telephone number that the editorial staff was given for VDC Electronics, maker of a battery and alternator tester featured in the December 2005 “RV Products” column (page 56), was incorrect.
The correct number is (631) 445-1064.
Rations Can Be Fun
I am writing to say how much I appreciated your article in the December 2005 issue by John P. Brackin titled “Road Trip Rations” (page 126). It is definitely on the right track.
My husband and I have developed a pretty good food plan when we travel. We start the day with a whole-grain cereal and fruit for breakfast (oatmeal in the winter with added dried cranberries, flax seed meal, and cinnamon, and Grape-Nuts cereal in the summer). Then, rather than fixing three meals, we graze throughout the day. About three hours later we have an apple and roasted almonds (I roast the almonds myself without added salt). Our next snack may be carrots and celery sticks with a small healthful mini muffin (again, I make these ahead of time); then, between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. we have a tea/coffee break with healthful crackers and peanut butter and more fruit. Before our evening meal we may have a glass of wine, with some hummus and whole-wheat pita. Our evening meals are light “” salads, soups, or stir-fry veggie dishes. I find I actually lose a few pounds as we use our “grazing” method.
This plan works well for sight-seeing days also. We carry a day pack with water bottles, a camera, and a snack bag. We never have to rely on fast-food restaurants or worry about not finding a good meal.
Keep up the good work on the magazine. I would love to see more such articles.
Marlene Dopp, F316737
Back Issues Available
I have many old copies of Family Motor Coaching magazine that include the first issue, dated February 15, 1964, through November-December 1972. The only issue I know is missing is Issue 2 from 1964.
I will be happy to give these magazines and pay the postage for anyone who wants them for their collection. Please contact me via e-mail only at email@example.com, and use the words FMCAMag in the subject line.
Deona K. Anderson, F1451
Haines City, Florida
Motorhomes Need Emphasis On The Outdoors
I read Barry Martin’s letter in the December 2005 “Readers’ Forum” (“Mid-Entry Versus Front-Entry On Diesel Coaches,” page 18) with interest. I agree with him completely about the need for mid-coach entries.
The other thing about modern motorhomes is that they have so much room inside in the front. It would seem that the manufacturers want you to stay inside your coach all the time. As I’ve been RVing for a few years, the thing I see is that most folks sit outside and talk or go hiking, biking, swimming, etc. I can see staying inside to watch a movie and possibly eat a snack, but camping is about the outdoors. Even the hotel travelers don’t stay in their rooms.
RV manufacturers should instead build RVs for what people actually do at campgrounds, and so include more exterior TVs, better awnings, bigger entry doors, better steps, etc. There will always be those who want the latest and greatest and biggest and best. The rest of us just want what we can use at a price we can afford.
Zoltan S. Liszkai, F321448
Smaller Coach, Fewer Complications
Thank you for the story about the Mummas and their self-designed coach in the December 2005 issue (“Designing The Perfect Motorhome,” page 102). We do more driving than staying in our motorhome and as we approach retirement are considering the different paths to RVing. The Mummas’ approach is a breath of fresh air in the world of motorhoming, where the tendency is to go bigger with each new RV until the vehicles become too big to drive comfortably.
Jim & Kathy Maggi, F271797
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
We were on Prince Edward Island at an RV park one Saturday evening last August. We were leaving to go to dinner with another couple when we realized that we had locked the door of our new motorhome with the keys inside. A quick cell phone call to FMCA’s Emergency Road Service (Coach-Net) solved the problem. The representative called back in less than 10 minutes and indicated that a locksmith was on the way. We went to dinner, and our unit had been opened by the time we returned “” in less than an hour.
Two weeks later, we were at an RV park just outside of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. We started up our motorhome to leave on a rainy morning when the “Check Transmission” and “Stop Engine” lights appeared on the dash. Another call was made to Coach-Net. In less than an hour a diesel technician was on site and resolved the problem within 15 minutes.
A year ago, we were at an RV park in the Lake Tahoe area when a bulge on a new front tire was discovered late in the day, around 6:30 p.m. Coach-Net responded that they would call back the next morning at 7:15. The next day at 7:15 a.m., they called to tell us they had made some 12 calls in an attempt to find a matching tire, and a like one had been located less than a mile away from us. By 9:00 a.m. we were on our way to San Francisco.
Another time we had an electrical problem with a circuit breaker, and someone from Coach-Net walked us through the process of resetting the breaker.
Thanks to Coach-Net, FMCA’s Emergency Road Service. We won’t get on the road without it.
Dan & Sharon Ives, F307391
New York State Thruway Gives Motorhomers A Break
I want to advise FMCA members with E-ZPasses who drive through New York state about a change in the New York State Thruway tolls and the effects on motorhome operators.
The E-ZPass is an electronic toll-paying program that operates by a small electronic tag attached inside the windshield of the vehicle. It trips a sensor on the toll collection booth and thus identifies your vehicle and debits your account for the toll. Toll locations in 11 states “” New Jersey, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Hampshire, and Illinois “” participate.
Users of the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90 and Interstate 87) were told several months ago that the toll would increase on this road. Trucks and multiple-axle vehicles had their rates raised quite a bit. This included motorhomes and those towing trailers (RVs, of course, with pickups with dual wheels). The good news is that if you are a New Yorker and have a motorhome with an E-ZPass, you can take steps to be billed correctly. You must make a copy of your New York state vehicle registration and send it with the tag number on the motorhome to the E-ZPass Service Center in Staten Island, with a note stating that you wish the motorhome to now be billed correctly. For example, before the change in class, my motorhome cost me $18.05 to travel from the Buffalo entrance to the Amsterdam exit, and the towed car cost $8.64. During the same trip this past fall, over the same distance with the same equipment, both vehicles traveled for the same passenger car rate, for a savings of some $9. In addition to this change, New York E-ZPass customers get a 10 percent reduction on passenger car tolls.
It would seem that, for once, at least in New York state, the RV folks get a break.
Bob Bergevin, F295270
Plattsburgh, New York
Editor’s note: For more information, forms, and other important facts, visit www.thruway.state.ny.us/tolls/faqs.html. Or, contact the E-ZPass New York Customer Service Center at P.O. Box 149004, Staten Island, NY 10314; (800) 333-8655.
A Gesture Beyond The Call Of Duty
During our summer travels, my wife and I had a pleasant service experience that I would like to share with your readers.
While visiting my old hometown of Wareham, Massachusetts, the striker on the Atwood stovetop in our Dutch Star coach stopped working. I remembered a camping supply store, Camping USA, in East Bridgewater, about 30 miles from where we were staying. I called and spoke with the owner, Debbie DaCosta. She knew exactly what I was talking about and found the part in her catalog. After calling around she was able to locate this small part in Florida (ironic, since that is where we live now). I asked her to order it and have it sent overnight, as we had to leave the area the day after it was due to arrive. It arrived on the specified day but it was late in the afternoon, and driving the 30 miles would have put us there close to closing time. Mrs. DaCosta asked me where we were camped and found out that it was very close to where she lived. She agreed to drop the part off on her way home. Now I call that service, and it sure made my wife happy to have her stove working again.
I really thought this gesture was beyond the call of duty and very much appreciated. If you are ever visiting that part of Massachusetts “” East Bridgewater is south of Boston and the Cape Way to Cape Cod “” a very helpful Camping USA store is nearby.
Paul W. Suddard, F7715
Ormond Beach, Florida
Something Bad And Something Good
On a recent extended trip up the East Coast, my wife and I encountered a terrible problem. While going through Rhode Island on U.S. 44 in downtown Providence, right in front of the capitol building, there is a crosswalk that is raised 4 or 5 inches above the level of the pavement.
This crosswalk is a different color from the pavement, but its height is undetectable from the driver’s seat of a 37-foot motorhome. There is a crosswalk sign (the yellow and black one that has the silhouette of an adult and a child walking), but nothing indicating that it is elevated “” not even a “Slow” warning sign. Keep in mind that this is a federal highway.
I was driving about 25 mph, enjoying the state buildings, when we were catapulted into the air by the raised crosswalk. Had we not been in seatbelts, we would have come close to hitting the ceiling. The result was $2,000 in damages to the front of the car we were towing.
We were very fortunate to be directed to Major Impact Inc. in Carver, Massachusetts. They were great. They ordered the parts (which had to come from California) and had us on our way in four working days. Every member of their staff was compassionate and professional.
I highly recommend them, and hope that Providence and Rhode Island will do something to warn tourists about the crosswalk. A stop sign would be a great help.
Gary T. Frey, F235354
Campground Hostess Deserves Appreciation
We recently returned from a motorhome trip to Churchill, Canada, the “Polar Bear Capital of the World.” Readers who have never been to Churchill are missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but that’s not what this letter is about.
The closest that you can drive to Churchill is Thompson, approximately 350 miles away. From there you proceed by plane or train. The campground in Thompson is called McCreedy Campground, and is owned and run by Nick and Colleen McCreedy. Their rates are very reasonable. Even if you stay hooked up while visiting Churchill, they only charge you a storage rate. Colleen also provides transportation for you to and from the train station or airport.
Unfortunately for us, the train to Churchill left 30 minutes prior to the time we were told. Colleen came to the rescue and drove us to the next train stop, 150 miles away on a virtually deserted, pitch-dark, dirt road. Fortunately, the train travels only 25 miles per hour over the tundra, so we made it by 10 minutes.
We have traveled more than 85,000 miles in our motorhome and have never been so appreciative of a campground hostess as we are of Colleen. You will feel the same way if you go up there.
Len & Anita Afremow, F188775
Check Those Tow Bar Connections
As my wife and I were traveling through Nebraska on Interstate 80 this past October, we stopped for breakfast and parked near a truck stop. After eating we unlocked the motorhome and towed vehicle, did our walkaround, and then continued on our trip. Approximately two miles down the road I felt a tug from the rear of the coach and then heard a thump. I pulled over, got out, and was taken aback to see that the car’s tow bar had come out of the receiver and was freewheeling, loose from the motorhome. When I had stopped, the car had crashed into the back end of the coach. Thankfully, the safety cables held it and kept it from careening off the side of the road.
We were fortunate, as it could have been much worse. After inspecting the hitch, we saw that someone had removed the safety pin and the pin from the receiver, enabling the tow bar to come out. I could not believe that anyone could be sick enough to do that. It most likely happened when we stopped to eat at that truck stop, as it surely would have come off sooner while traveling.
My lesson is to always check the safety pins on your tow equipment. I now have locking pins in ours. By the way, the mechanic who repaired our mini-van said that he had heard of this happening to other RVers with towed vehicles.
Las Vegas, Nevada