By Judy Czarsty, F79148
National Senior Vice President/Acting National President
Have you ever stopped to think how much we take our motorhomes for granted? Things are always supposed to work, but the reality is that they are machines and they do sometimes break down.
We have a 12-year-old motorhome, and it has a history. We bought it in the fall of 1998 and decided to make a trip down to “the valley” (Texas’ Rio Grande Valley) to visit friends in Mission. Our son, Steve Jr., then a junior at Clemson University, went with us.
We had a wonderful time. We spent a day or two in Progresso, Mexico, helping the local economy with all of our purchases and getting our fill of “real” Mexican food. It was a good trip.
Then we started back to South Carolina and Virginia. That’s when the fun and games began. We got as far as Lake Charles, Louisiana, when the coach just wouldn’t start. A brand-new motorhome and it wouldn’t start!
Steve Jr. had to get back to college; so, Steve stayed with the motorhome, and the younger Steve and I took the towed car and started toward South Carolina. So far, so good.
The next day we got a call from Steve. There had been a little problem with the motorhome when transporting it to a shop to get it fixed. That did not sound too bad. But then came the rest of the story. Steve, who is not mechanically inclined, took out the owners manual and read that they had to disconnect the driveshaft before towing the coach. So, he shared this information with the tow truck driver. The man pulled it off and put it in a bay. Steve thought it looked a bit short, but then what did he know?
They began towing the motorhome to New Orleans. As Steve looked in the side mirror, he saw smoke behind them. Panicking, they pulled over, and guess what? You’re right “” it was the driveshaft! Seems the driver had not taken off the whole driveshaft, and the portion that went to the rear axles was still there and was trying to turn. But it had beaten a hole in the air cylinder for the air brakes, so the brakes locked and the wheels stopped turning. They literally had been dragging the coach down the highway, and something had to give. That something was the H-frame. It separated from the coach. We now had a real problem.
After the motorhome had been flat-bedded and hauled into a facility, Steve knew that things would get better. They just had to. Although the towing company’s overseas insurer wanted to fix everything locally, the repair facilities had better sense and refused to work on the coach. So, there was only one option left: take it to the factory in Indiana.
Did you know that if you flatbed something like a motorhome, you must have permits to travel through the various states? It was news to me! The permits were finally obtained, and the coach started its odyssey to Indiana.
Of course, this was winter, which can bring tough weather. You guessed it; our traveling coach encountered an ice storm. This was not a problem until it came to underpasses that had icicles hanging down from them. Yep, the roof air-conditioning units were no match for those pesky icicles.
Things eventually did end well. The motorhome was put back together and we’ve enjoyed it for 280,000-plus miles since.
But that brings me to today and our current problem. The washing machine is leaking. How do I know? The carpet in the bedroom is wet.
We cleared everything out of the closet above the washer, turning our bed into a repository for bottled beverages, excess canned goods, gifts for upcoming birthdays, and so on. Steve brought out the flashlight and, balancing on one of those tiny plastic folding step stools, leaned in on tiptoes and looked behind the washer. Everything seemed okay, so he started a test load. No water was evident. Then the fill cycle stopped and the agitation cycle began. Voila! A small amount of water was evident.
Now here’s our dilemma. We have to decide whether it is worth fixing a 12-year-old washer with a broken top, or whether we should get a newer, more efficient machine. We have been checking the RV Marketplace listing of FMCA commercial members on FMCA.com to see what we can do. Family Motor Coaching magazine is always a great source of product information, too.
We have found several leads and will be making a decision in the not-too-distant future. I don’t like going to coin laundries!
Of course, another great place to shop for all of the latest RV accessories and components “” and motorhomes “” is an FMCA Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase. The next opportunity is just around the corner. We will gather for “Family A’Fair,” FMCA’s 86th Family Reunion, August 10-13, 2011, at Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin. The registration form for this event appears on pages 49A-B of this issue. Don’t miss out! Join us for this fun-filled time with motorhome friends and family.
Notice of Annual Membership Meeting
Family Motor Coach Association’s Annual Membership Meeting will be held Saturday, August 13, 2011, during FMCA’s 86th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase in Madison, Wisconsin.
Reader Service Program Now Online Only
For many years, Family Motor Coaching magazine has provided a reader service program that allows FMC readers to request information from the advertisers in the magazine. At first, readers had to return a reply card on which they could circle the number associated with a particular advertiser. Several years back, an online component was added so that readers also could make their requests online or link to the advertiser’s Web site directly from FMCA’s site. Starting with this issue of the magazine, the reply card option is being eliminated in favor of the online option. Cards have been used less frequently since the online option has been available, and eliminating the cost of printing the cards will result in a significant cost savings for FMCA.
FMC readers are encouraged to visit FMCmagazine.com/info to request information from advertisers or to link to advertisers’ Web sites, because the advertiser is made aware that readers learned about their company as a result of their advertising in FMC. If you call the company instead, please be sure to let them know you saw their ad in FMC.