Converter Box Coupon Program Update
My wife and I are full-time RVers. With the coming switch to digital TV, I applied for the coupons for the converters. The original request was denied, so I followed the appeal process and explained that we are full-time RVers. I received a reply stating that we are not eligible for coupons.
This policy seems to discriminate against full-time RVers.
Rich Drescher, F296688
Editor’s note: The coupon program, by federal law, requires applicants to provide a valid U.S. Postal Service household mailing address. A post office box may be used only for areas where home delivery is not available. We recently discovered that applications from motorhome owners who use private mailboxes (PMBs) to receive mail will not be accepted, as mailing addresses used for RV residents are not eligible for coupons. This includes RV park addresses, as well as P.O. box or mailing facility addresses. According to Bart Forbes, public affairs specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce, “The solution that we’ve told people is to get a friend, family member, or neighbor to request the coupons. When they receive them, they can give them to you and you can redeem them.”
MEDEX Saves The Day
While traveling in North Carolina on U.S. 17 this past April, my wife and I were involved in an accident with a flatbed truck. As a consequence, my wife was in a wheelchair with her leg in a cast and was not allowed to put any weight on her foot because her heel was shattered. I had my leg in a cast and was on crutches, and not able to put any weight on my foot either.
We were told that our motorhome was totaled, so we needed to get all of our belongings out of it. We already were wondering how we were going to get home, and now we had to worry about our personal belongings.
I called MEDEX for help. Since we both needed to ride in the back seat, it would take two cars to get us home. We did have our towed car, though. MEDEX authorized the payment for a rental car and the cost for two drivers to take us home.
Thank you, MEDEX, and thank you, FMCA for your help in a time of need. I do not know what we would have done without you.
Arthur & Bette Frament, F203960
Clifton Park, New York
Going The Extra Mile
This past July, my wife and I purchased a preowned 2005 American Eagle at FMCA’s 80th International Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, from Tom Johnson’s Camping Center. After our final walk-through, our salesman, Greg Waid, reassured us that if we discovered anything during our ride home, he and his staff would make it right. Back home in southern Wisconsin, we discovered a few items that I considered major and would not be able to repair myself.
I called Greg, expecting to be told that I could drive the coach 900-plus miles to their facility in North Carolina for service (with me paying for the fuel and using my time to get it there and back). Instead, I was told I would receive a call from technician Steve Gainey and that he would assist in providing some potential solutions. After a prompt call from Steve, they agreed that I could not perform these repairs. The next day, I again received a call. Greg informed me he would be sending Steve to my house. Tom Johnson’s sent their senior technician some 900 miles from their North Carolina facility to my house, and he completed all the repairs. That is truly customer service!
If anyone is interested in working with a truly reputable RV sales and service facility, we recommend Greg Waid and his team at Tom Johnson’s Camping Center, which has two locations “” in Marion and Concord, North Carolina. You will be able to experience firsthand what integrity and customer service really are about.
Neil Jensen, F333654
Another Outdoor Show Worth Noting
Your article in the June issue about outdoor theaters (“History ‘Neath The Summer Stars,” page 92) was excellent, but you left out one of the most enjoyable shows we have ever attended.
Just outside Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota is a little town with an excellent outdoor play each year. The “Medora Musical” is named for the town in which it is performed. Loosely based on Teddy Roosevelt’s visits to the area, the show changes each year but always stays with the Teddy Roosevelt theme. Most of the performers are very talented amateurs, but each year the cast also features professionals as well.
The outdoor theater is well designed to make every seat a good one. The show is wholesome, family-friendly entertainment, appropriate for even the youngest children. It features a live band and horses on stage “” something the kids would love. The next time we are in the area, we will make it a point to go again.
Medora itself has a rich history involving a French marquis, a future president, cattle ranchers, and American Indians. History buffs will especially enjoy sites in and around the town. For more information, visit www.medora.org.
Sharon Whitaker, F338479
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Editor’s note: Readers may recall seeing “Bully For Medora!” (June 2005, page 100), an article that highlights the town and its musical.
Timely Tire Reminder
I just returned from the Family Motor Coach Association convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, and learned plenty at the seminars. As a retired tire company employee and independent tire dealer owner, I know that RV tires rarely wear out; it’s more common for them to rot because of age. Most responsible tire manufacturers recommend replacement before a tire reaches its sixth birthday, but often consumers don’t realize that this means six years from manufacture, not six years of actual service. It would be a great help to fellow members if you would pass along this vital information.
Bill Maack, F385575
Editor’s note: The manufacture date of each tire is molded into the sidewall. Look for a string of characters that starts with “DOT.” The last four digits indicate the date of manufacture “” the first two digits being the number of the week (starting with 01 in January) and the last two digits being the year. Tires produced prior to the year 2000 had only three digits, with the first two indicating the week and the last digit the year.
Try A “Rock” Light
I was reading the boondocking tips article in the June 2008 issue (“Disconnected RVing,” page 58) and just wanted to add one idea to the list. Get a solar “rock” light. It looks like a rock and has an LED light in it that is powered by a solar battery. The light automatically comes on at night and goes off at dawn. It is available at a variety of stores. (Editor’s note: We found these lights for sale online from several retailers.)
Our coach has a nice spot in the front window for the rock to catch the sun during the day, and it makes a nice night light in the coach. Also when we go out at night, we put it by the entry step.
Geoff and Marilyn Turner, F335598
Kindness From Fellow Members
I am writing to thank Jim and Tune Pearson, F326987, for their help. Jim drove our motorhome back to our home in Pueblo, Colorado, after I was injured while working in the Colorado mountains this past June. My wife was afraid to drive it home because she has no experience driving in the mountains. She rode with Tune in their car, which they took so they would have a ride back to the mountains, where they also were working.
The Pearsons refused any pay and did not let us fill their car’s gas tank. They did let us buy them lunch, but that was not much for the favor they did for us. This is a prime example of the type of people who are members of FMCA.
Thanks, Jim and Tune, from the bottom of our hearts.
Paul and Joan Barrett, F220875
“Stoppin’ Spots” Directory Leads To Member Praise
I just wanted to praise Art Bonn, F125161, of Las Vegas, Nevada. He is listed in the “Mechanic’s Helper” portion of FMCA’s “Stoppin’ Spots” directory (published online at FMCA.com, and beginning on page 275 in the January 2008 issue).
Even though he was readying his motorhome for a Utah trip, he came to my motorhome in the Thousand Trails Campground and read my motorhome’s OBD1 information. He went to a local Wal-Mart and got a headlamp, which he later noticed was swollen and appeared burned out. He also went by a salvage lot, got a new headlamp holder (which came with a bulb for $2) and offered to return the “new” lamp to Wal-Mart.
I opted to pay him for the items, and he wouldn’t take money for his time.
I have been a longtime member and have had several breakdowns in the past but never gave the “Mechanic’s Helper” section much thought before. I really appreciated Art’s help. Since he has a shop in Las Vegas, you can bet when I need any mechanical work done in that area, I will call on him.
Ted and Mary Peterson, F135420
Grants Pass, Oregon
Thanks, Forest River
You had an article in the May 2008 issue about the Forest River Charleston motorhome (page 70). I am the proud owner of a Charleston, which I bought last September. I have encountered some problems with the unit, like we all do. The dealer has worked with me in solving most of them.
The reason I am writing is to let you know that not only does Forest River make a fantastic product, but they back it up just as well. I made my first contact with Forest River by e-mail and got a response the very next day. They asked for a detailed list of my problems and assured me they would be there for me. They made contact with a local Freightliner dealer for me to take the coach to, and stayed in touch with that dealer all through the repair. I picked up the coach and, unfortunately, ran into the same problem a few weeks later. Forest River then suggested bringing the coach back to the factory, and they made arrangements to have it picked up and brought back to them. They had representatives from various companies come out to check what the problem might be. They also completed my entire list of problems and repairs. They asked if I would come out to get the unit and spend a night at a local campground to make sure everything worked as it should and that I was happy with all repairs made. I did just that, and must say they did an excellent job in updating, repairing, and most of all being there for me.
They gave us a tour of the factory also, and I got to see firsthand how well the units are put together. I think people should know when there is a company such as Forest River that is not afraid to stand behind what they make. I tip my hat to Forest River and thank them for their great customer service and satisfaction.
Kenny Habrack, F395237
Toms River, New Jersey
My wife and I attended the FMCA convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, this past July. Along the way we developed some problems with the slideouts on our Itasca Horizon, as well as some minor body damage when a tree at a particular state park jumped right in front of our coach. After the convention, we went to Forest City, Iowa, to attend Winnebago’s Grand National Rally, which this year was celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary.
Each year at the rally, hundreds of RV owners try to get service work done while they are there. In spite of the pressure, all of the customer service personnel were extremely courteous and helpful.
We’d especially like to thank service representative Kevin Johnson for all his helpfulness and his professional manner. He was there bright and early every morning with a smile, which is not easy for everyone at 6:00 a.m. When our coach came out of the paint shop (which was not Winnebago’s) after the body work was completed, Kevin noticed immediately that the new paint was slightly lighter than the original and he would not accept it, although we said it was close enough and we could live with it. In spite of the workload, he scheduled us into Winnebago’s paint shop to have it repainted the next day. It came out absolutely perfect.
We also enjoyed meeting Winnebago’s president, Bob Olson, and his wife, Kathy. They attended all the functions and mingled with the attendees, chatting and answering questions. You don’t see that too often in large corporations. He even brought his vintage car to the rally, where 120 cars were on display. We left feeling very much like part of the Winnebago family.
Jay and Betty Kramer, F258357
Palm Harbor, Florida
Pennsylvania Dealership Recommendation
This spring while traveling in the East, we set up for a week in eastern Pennsylvania. When it came time to move on, the driver’s-side slideout on our 2007 Tiffin Phaeton would not retract. We retracted it by hand and also needed to manually raise the right front jack pad, which lifted easily and was tied up in place.
Fretz Enterprises Inc., an RV dealer (3479 Bethlehem Pike, Souderton; 215-723-3121; 888-315-4042), made us an appointment. We arrived about midafternoon the day before and they immediately made room for us, pulled our coach in, and completed the repairs that afternoon. Our traveling companions caught up to us the next morning, and we were able to move on without delaying them.
The arrangements were extremely cordial, and the service competent and professional. The dealership called Tiffin before going to work and we left well satisfied at no cost to us.
We would highly recommend Fretz to anyone in need of service.
Harold and Joyce Crock, F284692
Rapid Recall Fix
My husband and I got a recall notice about a fuel line in our 2006 Newmar Dutch Star in the mail on Monday, June 16, 2008. We had to leave early on Wednesday, June 18, because my husband had a performance scheduled (he is a cowboy singer-songwriter). We called Cummins Rocky Mountain in Albuquerque (800-800-3888) as soon as we opened the mail. They told us to bring the coach in the next morning and they would get it done as soon as possible. We hooked up the Jeep and took it to Albuquerque so we could run errands while waiting on the coach. Before quitting time that day, our coach was ready to go.
This is the second time we have had the coach in for warranty work and have received about the best service ever in all our years of RVing. The people at Cummins Rocky Mountain are professional, friendly, helpful, courteous, and fun to deal with. If anyone is in need of help in the Albuquerque area, we highly recommend Cummins Rocky Mountain.
Earl and Darla Gleason, F269170
Belen, New Mexico
Back On The Road, Even On Saturday
Just wanted to put in a good word for Freedom Dodge in Lexington, Kentucky (800-961-0766). Our coach lost its radiator drain plug while we were at a rest area. This was on a Saturday morning. We got towed in and they rushed around and tried to fix it, but couldn’t. So they hustled a new radiator from across town and put it in before they closed. The mechanic stayed late for us, and the parts person said, “We really like to do all we can for travelers who need to get back on the road.”
They were very professional and courteous, and had a very comfortable waiting area. A great place to break down!
Pete Pintler, F178948
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Problems Flushed Away
While we were camping in our 2003 Monaco Dynasty recently, a circuit board in the toilet stopped working. I called Jim Friedman of Dometic. He offered to replace the old board, or replace the entire toilet with a new upgraded model for a very reasonable price. Advanced RV Repair (of Hamilton, Michigan) installed it on a Saturday morning.
I highly recommend both of these companies for providing excellent service, something you don’t find every day.
Tom and Roz Kerkstra, F250058