It was a wonderful and life-changing experience for me, so special that I wrote and published a book about this true story.
I think your membership, and anyone for that matter, would enjoy this heartwarming story, titled My First Son Was Hatched (Xlibris Publisher; www2.xlibris.com). Here is the description: “Dave, a young Philadelphia policeman, injured on duty, loses temporary use of his gun-hand. He is forced to take the summer off and finds himself with an abundance of idle time, which for him is scary. He is still mourning the loss of his 8-month-old daughter who died two years before. Providence provides a solution in the form of a tiny bird that fell from its nest. The bird was only days old and demanded Dave’s attention. The bond that grew filled Dave’s time and healed his heart.”
Dave Gallus, F353134
Westmont, New Jersey
I was excited to see an article in the September 2008 issue of FMC about antivirus and antispyware protection that I could download for free (“Free Computer Tools For Travelers,” page 92). Unfortunately, it didn’t work out.
The AVG antivirus download is free for only 30 days, and they want you to pay for one, two, or three years. But what’s worse is that this download screwed up my computer terribly. I can’t begin to tell you all the problems it caused, including slowing everything down to a snail’s pace. After one day, I removed it and things are back to normal.
Jeanenne Forster, C10083
Author Chris Guld replies: There is definitely a free version of AVG; however, you have to be very careful to follow the correct links, as they do try to get you to download the trial to the paid version instead.
As for the problems you experienced with your computer, I believe they were caused by a new version of AVG that did not exist when I wrote the article. A few months ago, AVG was on version 7.5, and it was actually quite amazing. The consensus among users and professionals was that it caused the fewest problems of any antivirus software available. Version 8.0 (what you downloaded) is still very good, but we have heard of some computers having issues with it.
Other well-reviewed free antivirus programs include Avira and Avast. If you’d like to stay informed about these and many more computer issues, please sign up for our free monthly newsletter at http://www.geeksontour.com/.
Golden FMCA Friendships
This past winter I had the pleasure of taking an RV trip to Florida with my friends Harry and Penny Anderson, F199423. I enjoyed this vacation so much that I decided to store my RV there and drive back in early spring to attend the Sun & Fun Air Show and the Model Plane Show.
Unfortunately, just when I was ready to return to Florida, I developed severe back problems and had to undergo major back surgery. Knowing that I would have a very long recovery and could not retrieve my RV, Harry called to say, “Bob, don’t worry about your RV. Penny and I will drive back to Florida and bring it home for you.” What wonderful friends!
This past summer, my wife, Robin, and I took our motorhome to a mountain resort in North Carolina and rented a lot from Bob and Kathy Quinn, F340653. After enjoying family and friends for two months, we returned to Georgia, but we left our motorhome there and later drove back for Labor Day weekend.
The following Tuesday morning, I suddenly experienced extreme nausea and vertigo and was rushed to the local hospital. The next day, my doctor informed me that I probably had suffered a minor brainstem stroke and needed to remain in the hospital. A friend called Bob Quinn to ask if I could keep my RV on his lot for a few more days, to which he graciously agreed. Now that is one real fine gentleman.
On the fifth day of my hospitalization, I was still experiencing vertigo, but my doctor said that I could go home the next day. Knowing that I could not drive my RV back, once again Harry called me to say that he and Penny would retrieve it for me. After delivering our RV and receiving much fanfare and appreciation from us, Harry jokingly said, “Hey, Bob, next time you take a trip, would you please go to some place in the country where we have never been?”
How can I ever begin to thank the Quinns and the Andersons for their kind support? Clearly, these fine individuals exemplify the quality of character we often find among FMCA members, and their actions should make us all proud to be part of this fine motorhoming community.
Bob and Robin Cookson, F251838
Clearing Things Up
The August 2008 issue contained an article about using lemons for household chores (“Baker’s Dozen,” page 80). For cleaning windows, it suggests the strained juice of two lemons mixed with a cup of white vinegar. We tried this mixture on our car windows, with terrible results. It left a heavy film that was hard to remove.
I believe an ingredient was omitted “” water “” which would have diluted the mixture. It does leave a nice lemony smell, although somewhat strong.
Keith and Wendy Horsfall, F337923
Alliston, Ontario, Canada
Author Lowell Christie replies: I wonder if the problem you describe might have to do with the lemon pulp. When I don’t have any lemon juice, I wash the windows with straight vinegar, so I know the vinegar is not the problem. However, I don’t like the strong smell, so I like to add some lemon juice to the mixture.
I just mixed up a solution (lemon juice from concentrate and white vinegar; I didn’t have any lemons) and washed our sliding glass door. Our dog paws at the glass from outside when he wants in, so it was really dirty. Using paper towels and the solution, I got a nice, clean window without any film.
If you are sure the lemon juice was carefully strained, then I have no idea what the problem might be. Your solution of adding water to the mixture could certainly help, and I’ve seen formulas that use water and white vinegar, but I think an undiluted formula cleans better.
I would like to thank the technician who came to my rescue while I was parked at the FMCA convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, this past July. My coach blew a fuse, but I could not find it to replace it. A technician from Extreme Custom Coach and RV in Ramsey, Minnesota (8170 Highway 10 N.W.; 763-433-9800) came out and found and replaced the fuse. When I asked about the fee, he said there was no charge “” but to “tell others about us.”
Leonard Malecha, F369613
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Fuel Costs And RV Travel
We have seen extreme hikes in fuel prices. It is only natural for all of us to wonder where it will end. Will we be able to afford it in the future? What can we do to minimize the costs?
Before we throw out our motorhomes with the bathwater, we need to sit back and look at these events in a realistic and practical way. For one thing, fuel is still available. There are no long lines to get our share of limited quantities. And the price of fuel is less than most of the rest of the world. Whether we realize it or not, we are fairly lucky.
Those of us who own and operate motorhomes travel in them not because they are cheaper, but because we can do things and go places and see things that could not otherwise be experienced. We have chosen this lifestyle.
On the average, my family has used about 800 gallons of diesel each year. When the price was $2 per gallon, the cost was $1,600. Last year, we paid mostly about $3 per gallon, which cost $2,400. This year, we are looking at a price of nearly $5 per gallon. The increase from last year will amount to an additional $1,600. I, for one, do not plan to stay home because of an additional $1,600. Time is too short and there are still new things to see.
Many motorhomers will have to do less traveling or perhaps not travel at all. Some might be tempted to use air travel and hotel stays. But these alternatives cost more, too.
As I write this, we plan to continue to find new adventures until the 800 gallons have been consumed. Then I will begin to work again on acquiring my next diesel fund.
Carlos L. Blacklock, F274732
Thanks, Camera Finder
My husband and I attended the Northeast Area Rally in Essex Junction, Vermont, this past August and had a wonderful time. However, I happened to leave my camera on a bench outside a seminar room. I very much want to thank the kind, honest lady in a yellow shirt who turned in the camera to lost and found. I was so relieved and grateful. No one at the lost and found got her name, so I’m hoping she will see this.
Dona Varnavas, F216312
Three Oregon Repair Recommendations
I was traveling in Oregon this past summer, and I want to report on three repair places that have the most congenial, knowledgeable, and friendly people I’ve met in all my 17 1/2 years of full-timing.
The first is Hillsboro RV Supply, 4173 S.E. Tualatin Valley Highway in Hillsboro; (503) 648-8422. They rewired my coach’s 12-volt system, which had quit on me.
The next is AM Solar. Deb and Greg Holden are the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. They are at 3555 Marcola Road in Springfield; (541) 726-1091.
Last, but not least, is Quality RV Repair, 364 28th St. in Springfield; (541) 741-0605. Owners Jayson and Kellie are super nice, and Jayson is by far the most knowledgeable RV tech I’ve ever had the good fortune to have work on my RV.
Nelda F. Morris, F134820
HWH’s Prompt Assistance
The leveling system on our coach recently failed, so I went to HWH.com and sent an e-mail requesting a troubleshooting guide. I received a very prompt e-mail reply, which included the troubleshooting guide for my particular system. After reading it and going through the steps, I was able to make the repair.
HWH delivered a very valuable service. I very much appreciate the prompt and knowledgeable assistance.
Mike Dolan, F357742
Super Slideout Repair
While we were driving through the beautiful countryside of eastern Oregon in our Itasca motorhome, the hydraulic line that controls the driver’s-side slideout blew. Fortunately, the safety lock held, and we were able to make our way some 60 miles to La Grande, where Curt’s RV Services & Repair is located.
We had experienced the same problem on a different slideout in the coach six months previously, and spent four days in a dealer parking lot waiting on parts and repairs. We were prepared for major delays this time around. However, an hour and a half later, the slide system was fully operational, with a new high-pressure hose installed. We were ready to roll.
We highly recommend Curt’s RV Services & Repair in La Grande (62851 Philynda Loop; 541-962-1020?).
Dave and Nancy Gipe, F390041
Bridge Toll Charges
Something happened to me that I have to share with all RVers, especially those who might use EZ Pass on the East Coast.
On September 7, I left New Jersey to go to the RV show in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and used my EZ Pass to cross the Delaware Water Gap (DWG) toll bridge, which is on Interstate 80 between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
I received my electronic statement and noticed that I was charged $12.35. I immediately called NY EZ Pass, but they don’t handle the DWG. After getting number after number I finally reached a toll attendant, Corporal Lobb. I explained my problem and then asked the cost for crossing the DWG with a motorhome, towing a car. She replied that the cost was $5.75. But she also said that since I used EZ Pass, it counts the number of axles, and it should have been $13, but with their discount for using EZ Pass it comes to $12.35. I told her I would have paid cash if I’d known this. I thought EZ Pass was supposed to speed things up and give discounts where applicable.
So RVers, beware of using the EZ Pass on the DWG.
Hank Osborne, F335997
No-Fuss Caterpillar Work
We have a 2004 40-foot Alfa See Ya. This past September, after we stopped at a rest area on Interstate 30 south of Little Rock, Arkansas, the motorhome would not restart.
Blue Hill Wrecker Company towed us to Riggs Caterpillar in Little Rock. The wrecker driver, Larry, was so careful with hooking up the motorhome. He towed it 45 miles while we drove behind. When we arrived at Riggs, they were closed for the day. The wrecker driver left us at the front gate, but a security guard stopped by to let us know he would be making rounds every hour and would make sure everything was okay.
We stayed all night outside the gate, and the next morning when they opened, a young man named Ronny was sent out to see what our trouble was. He was able to get the coach started so we could pull into the garage area.
Bill, the service manager, told us that everything was under warranty, and by the time we got back out to the coach, Ronny already had the sensor replaced on the engine. We were on our way by 10:00 a.m.
It was a situation that could have cost us a lot of money and a lot of grief, but instead we were blessed with guardian angels “” Larry, Ronny, Bill, and the security guard.
Ed and Dorothy McElveen, F402483
Finally “” Smooth Steering
My Type A diesel pusher had a serious problem with erratic steering. It tended to wander from side to side, causing me to make constant steering corrections, which is very tiring on long trips, as well as unsafe. I had taken the coach back to the chassis manufacturer, as well as to a dealer and several independent repair facilities, all with marginal results. I was considering some kind of steering stabilizing system when a friend suggested I take the coach to Toledo Spring, Brake and Alignment in Toledo, Ohio.
In less than half a day, they fixed what I had been trying to get fixed for the last five years. On my next trip “” 630 miles, which took me through West Virginia “” my coach steered as precisely as my car. What a pleasure it is to drive now.
I strongly recommend Toledo Spring, Brake and Alignment (5015 Enterprise Blvd., Toledo; 800-283-9922; 419-729-7010) for front-end work.
Glenn Grady, F346941
This is a pleasant experience I’d like to share. In the October 2003 FMC magazine was an ad for the Drain Master Electric Waste Valve, manufactured by Phase Four Industries Inc., Hollister, California. I ordered and installed this valve, and it worked perfectly until this past spring. I just happened to have a manual valve on hand and installed it more as a temporary measure until I could order another valve. The other day I came across the original ad, in which I noted “5 year unconditional warranty.”
I called Phase Four, not expecting much. Without any hesitation, the customer representative, Dan, said he’d ship a replacement. I received it in three days, and he didn’t even require me to return the old one.
Oliver R. Phillips, F112118