A recipe for North Carolina Apple Cake in the September “Cooking On The Go” column (page 74) did not include a suggested baking temperature. Bake the cake at 325 degrees for approximately one hour, or until it is firm and springy to the touch.
Family Radio Communications
While the “Family Radio Communications” article in the June 2010 issue of Family Motor Coaching (page 50) covers the Family Radio Service and General Mobile Radio Service radios quite well, I think there is another level of radio communication that is available to motorhomers that is far superior and almost as easily available. It is the amateur radio 2-meter handheld radio.
It is not really difficult to obtain an amateur radio license for this device, and it has distance coverage up to 150 miles. I’ve heard 2-meter transmissions that originated in Colorado Springs, Colorado (75 miles south of Denver), while in Loveland, Colorado (50 miles northwest of Denver).
Throughout the United States, amateur radio operators (“hams”) have set up repeater stations. Almost all are usable by any ham. If you can receive a signal from a repeater, you can transmit to any other place that can also receive a signal from that repeater. And 2-meter FM (frequency modulation) also bounces off terrain quite well. During the 1976 Big Thompson flood between Estes Park and Loveland, Colorado, 2-meter FM communication worked better than any other radio communication in the Big Thompson Canyon. And how would you like it if your children could check the Internet to see where you are at any time? This can be done with a feature called the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS).
Of course, a lot more is available in ham radio, such as mobile communication around the globe. So, how about a sequel article about amateur radio options?
Jim Platz, F207032
Crooked River Ranch, Oregon
My deer-hunting buddies used the small Family Radio Service radios when they first came out but gave up because of the short range. We now use VHF marine radios, which have ranges similar to the FRS radios Jim Brightly discussed in the article. I wish RVers would select one of the FRS channels to monitor.
Is there a CB channel that motorhomers monitor? In four years of RVing, I have never been able to communicate with another motorhome on my CB. I usually monitor channel 19, because trucker information has saved me time in avoiding traffic delays and other bad road conditions.
John O. Mayo Jr., F380040
Editor’s note: Prior to the proliferation of cell phones, CB radios were more widely used by motorhomers; however, there is no official CB channel for RVers. Channel 9 is designated an “emergency only” channel and is often monitored by state highway patrol and emergency personnel. Some RVers monitor channel 19, which is used frequently by long-haul truckers, to receive traffic info; if they contact another RVer on that channel, they can switch to a different channel to talk. To let other RVers know what channel you typically use, put a sign in the rear window of your motorhome marked with the CB channel on it.
This past June, we were traveling home from our local Superior People chapter rally when the left front tire on our motorhome shed its tread. In the process of coming off, the tread tore off power steering lines, a gas line, the shift cable, and some electrical wiring. The coach was going nowhere, and we were still 80 miles from home.
I made several phone calls while trying to get a wrecker that would take us home. Half of our life was in that motorhome, and we were not ready to let it sit in a storage lot. When I called Hutch’s Towing and Recovery in northwest Ohio, they were very busy, but Toby Hutch personally took time to bring out his wrecker and tow us 80 miles to our home. He did it for a very reasonable price.
If you are traveling in northwestern Ohio, northeastern Indiana, or southern Michigan and have the need for a large wrecker, I would highly recommend Hutch’s Towing and Recovery of Holiday City, Ohio; (419) 485-4210.
Dawn Mack, F389451
A Stop In The Mountains
This July while traveling on the West Virginia Turnpike, I had to use the motorhome’s brakes harder than usual due to the mountains and downgrades. Unfortunately, the brake system developed problems. We overheated and lost all braking ability.
As good luck follows me, we were able to get off the road into a safe area. We called our towing service (Coach-Net) and found the nearest Workhorse repair shop was Parks Chevrolet in Kernersville, North Carolina “” about 140 miles away. They sent a tow vehicle and off we went. We arrived at Parks Chevrolet about 10:00 p.m. and, lo and behold, an employee was waiting there to be sure we got settled for the night.
When the shop opened, John Renslow gave us the good news: the brake calipers were under recall and the cost would be covered by the manufacturer. The bad news was that because of the recall, it would take two to three weeks to get parts.
We were trying to figure out what we could do on the parking lot for two or three weeks when Mr. Renslow came back out and informed us that he had another customer with the same problem we had. This kind person lived in the area and would let us have his parts for the repair, as he wasn’t going to use his motorhome for a month. We didn’t get the man’s name, but we noticed an FMCA logo on his coach.
We spent the day in the Kernersville area exploring. When we returned at 4:00 p.m., our motorhome had been road tested and was ready to roll. We will never forget the excellent care we received from Parks Chevrolet.
Bill & Janice Sands, F251091
Taking A Brake
This past July, while on our way to Panama City Beach, Florida, in our 2004 Winnebago Chieftain, the motorhome’s front brakes failed. We were just south of Dothan, Alabama. It was midafternoon and the temperature was over 95 degrees. This was the second such incident with our coach (part of the current Workhorse brake recall), so I already had a list of the authorized Workhorse repair centers in Alabama (downloaded from the Workhorse Web site). There were none listed for Dothan.
I called a local truck repair center and, although they did not know of any nearby Workhorse repair centers, they were kind enough to call a wrecker for us, which arrived in less than an hour. Our coach was towed to Advanced Mechanix Inc., where they determined that a driver’s-side rotor and both front calipers had to be replaced, as well as the bearing hub cap. They allowed us to use electric hookups and water and stay on the premises in our coach for two nights while the repairs were being completed. The hub was not in stock, and the one they ordered would not arrive until the following week. They temporarily fixed the hub so we could continue on our trip to Panama City Beach and then come back to get the part later.
Advanced Mechanix Inc. is a family-owned business run by William H. Ward and his wife, Brenda, who without a doubt provided the most courteous and professional service that we have encountered in a long time. His wife consoled mine upon our arrival, and William put us in front of other jobs so that we would be able to continue with our vacation plans.
Anyone in the Dothan area who needs some chassis or engine work should contact Advanced Mechanix Inc., at (334) 794-0135; they are at 947 N. Beverlye Road in Dothan.
Ron & Sonia Vaughan, F376682
Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Dogs In The Cockpit
I was appalled by the caption below the photos of the cute dogs in the cockpit of a motorhome in the August 2010 issue (page 28). I do not find it cute to hear that a dog is allowed to stand on the motorhome driver’s lap while the vehicle is in motion. How safety-conscious is it to let a driver’s focus be impeded by pets in the cockpit? I’m surprised Family Motor Coaching published this, for I thought FMCA promoted safety for happy traveling.
We have two dogs that travel with us, and we make sure they remain behind the cockpit. Too many accidents are caused by carelessness and loss of focus.
Judith Auty, F271632
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Water Pressure Woes
In the September 2010 House Calls column, Gary Bunzer’s reply to the letter titled “Frustrating Leak” (page 20) included the following: “I always recommend a regulator if the incoming city (water) pressure exceeds 65 psi. Perhaps the maintenance person at the resort could measure the city pressure at your site to determine if a regulator is truly necessary.”
With my 49 years of active RV experience, I strongly recommend the use of a regulator at all times. A preset regulator is inexpensive, and an adjustable one with a gauge does not cost much more. I have measured water pressure that varied from 40 to 102 psi depending on the time of day it was checked.
A blown water connection in a motorhome wall would be very expensive to repair, so please be safe and use a regulator at all times.
One way to locate leaks is to use a handheld, battery-operated moisture detector. Mine is a Sonin Moisture Test Meter. Many times the visible moisture is not where the actual leak is. This instrument allows you to trace the moisture to its source. At one time we had a leak in the ceiling in our kitchen area. The meter enabled us to trace the leak about 8 feet away to the bathroom roof vent.
Bob Beers, F341770
No Pets On Assateague Island
I enjoyed the article about Chincoteague Island (“Chincoteague Island Time,” September 2010, page 62). We visited it in the mid-1960s with many mosquitoes and biting flies (deer and horse), and more recently in May 2009. I would like to add that no dogs, even in a car or motorhome, are permitted on Assateague Island, where Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is actually located. Also, the article was correct in that larger motorhomes may have trouble navigating Chincoteague streets. Ours is only 28 feet long, and we had trouble on some, but a new access road was being built to avoid direct entry into the downtown area.
Jim Benson, F405045
Editor’s note: According to the Assateague Island National Seashore Web site, pets are permitted in the Maryland portion of Assateague Island but prohibited in other areas. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/asis/faqs.htm or call Maryland District Visitor Information at (410) 641-1441, or Virginia District Visitor Information at (757) 336-6577.