Gals On The Go
I have to respond to Donna Mollan’s terrific article, “Ladies, Get Behind The Wheel!” (December 2009, page 56), to agree with her statement that women must learn to drive motorhomes.
I was asked to fly to Texas (from Los Angeles) with a friend who had just purchased a 38-foot, wide-body, Type A motorhome but had never driven one. She wanted me to teach her to drive. (She trusted me since I have driven more than 100,000 miles alone.) The lessons were to be on a three-day trip from Dallas, Texas, to Pasadena, California.
The first time there was enough of a straight road (we went the southern route), I put her in the driver’s seat and reminded her of all the instructions I had been giving while I was driving. I was amazed by how well she did until, as a passenger, I panicked when I looked out my side window and saw a truck passing on the right. I loudly instructed her to pull left, but she told me she was where she was supposed to be. This brand-new driver was telling me she was doing it right! I got up and stood behind her, and she WAS right. I was amazed by how different everything looked from the passenger seat. Now I know why so many wives read, crochet, knit, nap, or use the computer while riding. The passenger seat view is like a ride on a Ferris wheel if you look out the window!
My advice is to realize that husbands will criticize because their view from the right side is askew. (THEY aren’t necessarily askew “” just their view.)
One more quick note: I was the only WAVE in a class of 59 sailors (and a school of 599 sailors) in Bainbridge, Maryland, who learned Morse Code. Yes, “Girls can, too!”
Julie Brown, F279356
I enjoyed Donna Mollan’s article and agree with her admonishment to those women who are hesitant to drive their RV. However, I would like to suggest one need not be athletic nor have participated in a man’s world of interests to be quite capable of handling a motorhome.
I, too, do all the driving, both with my husband and without, and have passed the New York State mandatory driving test for vehicles over 26,000 pounds. I prevent myself from getting motion sickness while traveling by being the driver, whether it’s the car or the motorhome.
In the fall, I leave my husband behind to pursue his hunting interests. I hitch the car; do the operational checks; load the cats; and down the road we go, from New York to Arizona. There is nothing that requires massive strength, nothing manly about understanding general maintenance, and nothing difficult about driving once you have done your empty parking lot practice.
The toughest part is getting the men to stay out of your way while you park the vehicle (I say that with a smile). If you don’t want to drive, that’s okay, too, but you’re missing part of the fun.
I was pleased to see the information about available driving safety courses, too. They pertain to both male and female drivers.
Jeanette Robinson, F329985
After reading the article about ladies driving, I had to send you a note.
I drive our 40-foot Tiffin motorhome. I hook up the towed car and also hook up the water, sewer, and electrical connections. This makes my husband so very proud of me. When I talk to other ladies about driving, I am very surprised by how few of them drive. Like the article states, it is easy. The power steering, air brakes, and adjustable pedals make driving a dream.
Thank you for the article.
Mary Diel, F370938
Forming The Tiffin Travelers Chapter
While attending the 2009 FMCA winter international convention in Perry, Georgia, last March, I had the privilege of meeting Tiffin Motorhomes founder Bob Tiffin while admiring an Allegro Bus 43 QRP. I saw an opportunity and I promised to create an FMCA chapter for Tiffin owners. At the convention I also met Greg Bobbitt of Bill Plemmons RV World (a new Tiffin dealership), and discussed FMCA and the upcoming Eastern Area Rally (GEAR), which I invited them to attend. This all has come to fruition and now the new Tiffin Travelers chapter is enthusiastically embarking on a new adventure.
I thank each new chapter member for sharing in this dream of mine to provide Tiffin owners the opportunity to be able to travel together, have fun together, learn more about our wonderful motor coaches, network together, and become a family “” a Tiffin family within our FMCA family.
Gaye S. Young, F284657
Wilmington, North Carolina
Editor’s note: For more information about the new Tiffin Travelers chapter, see the October 2009 “Chapter Spotlight” article in FMC (page 34) or online at FMCA.com.
Convention Golf Tournament
Activities at FMCA’s international convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will include a golf tournament on Monday, March 22. The tournament will be held at Sandia Golf Club, two miles from family parking. The format will be a four-person scramble with a shotgun start. Teams will be formed based on handicaps, and golfers of all skill levels are welcome. Individual and team prizes will be awarded.
Registration for the tournament is $70 per person, which includes 18 holes of golf, a cart, practice balls, and lunch at the golf course. You can register by calling FMCA national headquarters (800-543-3622); please ask for the convention department. Registration deadline is March 1, 2010. More details are available on page 84 of this issue. You also may contact me for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org or (303) 898-7039.
Bill Marti, F204932
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Nods To November Issue
Gary Bunzer’s well-written article about winter RV use (“Winter Travel,” November 2009, page 50) has by far the most accurate and informative details concerning LP-gas system operation I have ever read. Part of my career was involved in selling liquid fuel gases. Mr. Bunzer’s explanation of how liquid fuel gets to a usable gaseous form is precise and clearly details the benefits and potential problems of LP-gas systems, as well as how to solve those problems.
Warren Cooke, F330451
We look forward to receiving Family Motor Coaching each month, but the November 2009 issue really is a keeper!
The articles about winterization (even of our pets) were timely, useful, and authoritative. No other publication that I have seen would treat these important topics in four separate articles.
The “Legislative Updates” column on page 76, “Insurance For Consignment Vehicles,” addresses a hazard that could trip up any of us. After all, although we may not want to think about it right now, we’ll all sell our coaches some day. The article provides detailed information that I had not seen in other places.
The “Window On Nature” column by Lowell and Kaye Christie titled “Mistletoe “” Friend Or Foe?” (page 74) is delightful to find in a magazine about motorhomes. We who choose to travel in a manner so close to nature are interested in topics beyond tires, diesels, and potable water systems. Please keep including articles like this, about nature and even a little bit of science, which inform us about the world we see from our windshields. Thanks for publishing the article and thanks to the Christies for writing it.
Dave Ross, F373962
I enjoyed Jim Brightly’s “MPG” article in the September 2009 issue of FMC magazine (page 40).
I have been investing in fuel efficiency modifications for my 2005 40-foot Alfa SeeYa motorhome, and making driving modifications. I’ve been meticulous about maintenance, alignment, and tire pressures. I’ve even replaced tire air with nitrogen (after having RVSEF weigh all tire positions on my fully loaded coach).
At the March 2009 FMCA convention in Perry, Georgia, I sought an antisway bar for my coach. Roadmaster techs told me the 2005 Freightliner chassis had been “lightened” so that their sway bar would not work. They suggested Henderson’s Line-Up, which sells Motion Control Units for the air bag system. I had them installed in the lot, and they work great. I also bought Airtabs from them.
One of the biggest improvements was made by swapping out the factory air filter for a K&N high performance (permanent) filter for my Caterpillar C7 engine. Of course, driving more slowly has had the most dramatic effect!
Carl Morris, F373342
Virginia Beach, Virginia
More Jerome Road Warnings
The Jerome road warning by Don Hazelwood in the December issue is right on (“Readers’ Forum,” page 16). The editor’s note is very misleading. It says that the only safe way into Jerome is via State Route 89A, and that is true if you are traveling from east to west. This is totally untrue if entering Jerome from the west. The reader was correct in his warning.
I have driven from Quartzsite to Jerome, ending up on 89A, and it was one of the most dangerous drives in the country, in my opinion. The eastbound traffic must occupy both lanes on numerous curves to keep from dragging their vehicles down the side rails, and there are blind turns ahead while you are on the wrong side of the road. I promise you, that road will never see me again in an RV. So, Perkinsville Road is not the only dangerous road that should be avoided by motorhomers.
Jim Rike, F361571
As a resident of Clarkdale, Arizona, which is 4 miles down State Route 89A from Jerome, I have to say that 89A is no place for a motorhome. Please don’t advise readers that it is the only safe way to get to Jerome. The only safe way to get there is in a car.
Jerome and the Verde Valley are wonderful places to visit.
Pat Ruese, F28117
RVing Volunteers Wanted
I am writing to let RVers know about volunteering opportunities at Eastman Lake near Raymond, California. Eastman Lake is a trophy bass lake, popular for fishing, horseback riding, and as a quiet getaway, but it’s still close to the metropolitan areas. Yosemite National Park is two hours east of here, and Fresno is one hour southwest. The same visitors come back year after year. Eastman Lake provides tent camping, RV camping (electric or full-hookup sites), group camping, and equestrian camping.
All permanent park volunteers are provided with an electrical RV site (full hookups are furnished based on availability), laundry facilities, and reimbursement of fuel, including gasoline, diesel, and propane. Cellular service is not reliable.
At the Chowchilla Day Use Area, volunteers are needed year-round. Volunteers work 20 hours a week. Duties include cleaning sites, stocking brochures, updating bulletin boards, assisting park staff, answering visitors’ questions, and other duties as assigned, which may include light maintenance, installing park signs, trash pickup, and inspections of facilities.
At the Codorniz Recreation Area, volunteers are needed year-round. Volunteers complete 20 hours of work each week that includes campground cleanup, bulletin board updates, painting, facility inspections, assisting campers with questions or concerns, fee reconciliation, campground host duties during non-recreation season, assisting park staff, and other assigned tasks that meet project needs. Light maintenance duties may include installing park signs and facility upkeep.
If you are interested in either of these assignments, please contact me at (559) 689-3255 or e-mail email@example.com. Our Web site is http://corpslakes.usace.army.mil/visitors/projects.cfm?Id=L268004.
California Bridge Toll Increase Considered
California’s Bay Area Toll Authority is considering increases in bridge tolls from $4 per vehicle to $5 as well as an increase in tolls on towed vehicle combinations varying from $6 to $10 per axle. If a motorhome is not towing a car, it is charged the same as an automobile, but if it is towing, it is charged by the axle.
At the current time a motorhome and car traveling separately are charged $4 each, but if the motorhome is towing the car, the charge is $8.25 for the four axles. While not exactly fair, the extra 25 cents is no big deal. However, if the highest proposed tolls go into effect, the two vehicles separately could cost $10 total, and if a motorhome and car are traveling hooked together, the cost would be $40. This would be a real incentive for motorhomers to pull over and disconnect the vehicles, despite the safety hazards that come with doing so.
I urge California FMCA members to write the Bay Area Toll Authority at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit http://www.mtc.ca.gov/ to learn about this important issue. Urge leaders to reconsider the way they collect tolls on motorhomes towing cars.
Bunk Sicotte, F144685
San Francisco, California
Lights On For Safety
I have been driving large vehicles for a number of years, and also have been a driving safety instructor for many years. During this time I have seen many motorhomes, fifth-wheels, trailers, etc. traveling without marker lights on in inclement weather.
One of the things many of us do before leaving any campground, home, or park is to check our lights to be sure they work. And then, when it’s time to go, we turn them off. Why? Have you ever followed RVs in the rain, snow, or in early morning or evening? All you see is a large blob going down the road.
We travel in a 40-foot motorhome, and I have the lights on all the time. The cost of running with the lights on is nothing compared with the safety advantage. Think about it.
Bob Brown, F393526
Sechelt, British Columbia, Canada
Attracting Younger Families To FMCA
I am glad to be back within the ranks of FMCA after being gone for a while because I did not own a motorhome. I joined several months ago, and have enjoyed my first two FMC magazines greatly.
My letter is in regard to Charlie Schrenkel’s “President’s Message” column about gaining new members (“It’s Our Family: Help It Grow,” October 2009, page 8).
My parents joined FMCA around 1968 and quickly relished the fellowship of other “bus nuts” they met at rallies, or when they found another “goose egg” in a campground or rest area. Some of my fondest memories are of rallies where, after the day’s activities, a community campfire was started and someone would usually bring a guitar and play songs.
Even as a teenager in the 1980s, I still liked looking through FMC magazine’s how-to articles and seeing the latest, fanciest coach. But around that time, I also noticed a change in the membership of FMCA. There appeared to be more members who were at or near retirement age. Now, please understand, I have nothing against that demographic of the population. I realize that the typical motorhome owner is someone who has the money to purchase something larger than a trailer or pop-up and the time to enjoy it. Generally, this means people who are retired. But I believe that for FMCA to grow more quickly, it needs to appeal to the younger motohome owners. There are owners out there with kids and full-time jobs (like me), and we only have two weeks of vacation to take each year (plus an occasional long weekend). We probably would not be able to take time out to go to any of the international conventions, but local rallies could still appeal to us.
I am not asking for a big change in FMCA, because it is still the best RV membership club. All I would ask is that the local chapters consider having one rally that might appeal to younger members, especially ones with kids. Have a visit to an amusement park once in a great while (I remember a rally in 1972 at Rocky Point, Rhode Island, which was one of the highlights of my membership as a child). Keep putting kids’ activity pages in FMC magazine.
Remember, younger members can belong to FMCA for a longer period of time and pass their love for FMCA on to their children.
Chris Guenther, F3508S