Height Restrictions At Some Walmart Lots
James Beck, F278365, alerted FMCA that Walmart stores in Arkansas and Mississippi have put barriers with height limits of 12 feet at the entrance to their parking lots. In order to learn whether this was an across-the-board change or a local issue, Paul DuBois, F296221, FMCA’s national vice president, Northeast Area, and a member of the Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee, looked into the matter.
“I spoke with my contact at Walmart corporate. She stated the following: If any Walmart location has an overhead bar to prevent over-height vehicles, it is either because there is a local ordinance against overnight parking, or conditions at the store are not favorable for large vehicle parking. She further stated that the company policy is that Walmart welcomes RVers overnight but requests that they secure permission from the local store upon arrival or call ahead so they can be directed where to park. She further stated that it should be kept in mind that Walmart is not meant to be used as a campground but only as an overnight situation. She noted that several Walmart locations are restricted because of complaints of misuse from neighbors or businesses.”
Are You Ready For Towing?
My husband and I read the article “Beating The Breakdown Blues” (June 2011, page 60) with great interest. We called our motorhome chassis manufacturer, Spartan, to help us gather the towing information the writer suggested we have on hand. After we provided our motorhome VIN number, the service rep was able to answer every question on the checklist and gave us some additional tips to boot! I strongly recommend that RVers call their individual chassis manufacturer so that they have this information handy in advance. Murphy’s Law says that your breakdown will occur at night or on a weekend when it’s too late to make this call.
Linden and Lisa Hammond, F376481
Madison, South Dakota
Making Family Memories
I read the July 2011 cover story, “One Motorhome + One Year = One Changed Family” (page 40), with much interest and nostalgia. My first experience camping was in 1958. My mother packed our 1957 Dodge with tents, Coleman equipment, tarps, poles, sleeping bags, and the list just kept growing. She then put four kids, ranging from 10 to 17, in the car. As we backed out of the driveway, my dad said, “You’ll be back in three days!” and we were off.
The three boys in the backseat had their knees in their chests, because the camping gear that didn’t fit in the cavernous trunk was on the backseat floor. We had never camped in our lives and we were going down Highway 90 (there were no interstates) heading west. My mother’s plan was to visit as many national parks as we could. Our first stop was a real eye-opener, and a growing and learning experience. The next day we added a utility trailer to keep us boys from squabbling over the junk on the floor.
Eight weeks later when we pulled into a campground, we were a well-oiled machine, setting up in about 15 minutes. Two umbrella tents, tarp over the table, Coleman stove on a Coleman stand inside a lean-to tent, lantern swinging from a nearby tree or sitting on the table. That summer we traveled from Tallahassee, Florida, to Louisiana and up into Wyoming and Utah, and finally back to Tallahassee.
That trip started a lifetime of camping for me. I’ve had dozens of tents, pop-ups, rigid-wall trailers, and finally a Type A Winnebago. I have so many fond memories from my lifetime of camping, and I thank my mother for her bravery in taking four kids on such a long trek by herself!
My hat is off to the Belcher family. That was a massive undertaking that will keep those kids talking for the rest of their lives. It is too bad more people can’t/won’t attempt this sort of trip.
Karl Rehbaum, F384330
I noted a couple of items to comment on in the August 2011 issue. The first is a geographical error in the “Baker’s Dozen” column (page 63). The Creole Nature Trail is in the southwest corner of Louisiana.
The other relates to Russell Trefethen’s comments in “Readers’ Forum” about today’s taller motorhomes, and how it is difficult to reach the roof vents (“The Short End,” page 20). I made a tool that extends your reach, so you can open and close a ceiling vent fan. It was published in the September 2008 “Tech & Travel Tips” column (“Vent Operation Tool,” page 34). This tool can be made in different lengths. Mine is about 15 inches, although I have made them as long as 48 inches as a joke for a very short person in one of the groups that we belong to. They are for sale at Thomas & Sons RV Supply in Springfield, Missouri, or I will make one if given the length.
Joseph Ritsch, F291499
Of Flags And Canines
I recently attended the Northwest Area Rally in Albany, Oregon. Two observations stand out from my experience.
First, there is the matter of the proper display and respect for the American flag. I noted that many attendees displayed American flags from the time of their arrival until the time of their departure. There is a code of conduct relating to respect for the flag. Among the rules is the fact that the flag is not to be flown at night unless illuminated; also, it is not to be flown in the rain (it rained almost every day); it is not to be flown when tattered, but rather burned and disposed of according to the code; and it most certainly is not intended to be worn as clothing or used as a table covering. I refer members to www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagcode.htm for further information.
My other observation has to do with dogs. It is so upsetting to see these frustrated pets, pulling on leashes every which way, trying to act as a pack leader because the owner will not. Dogs want to be a pack member, and when a pack leader is established, they will willingly follow it. Failure on the part of the owner to accomplish that role causes frustration to the dog. You are not doing your dog a favor by thinking of it as “cute” when it is actually trying to express dominance because no one else will. These poor guys are really unhappy. Just listen to them sometime. And, of course, dogs do not speak English (“Be a good girl, Fifi”). There are books to help. Do your dogs a favor by doing the work involved in learning. They are in distress.
Ken Harrison, F238760
As a frequent RV traveler, I have noted that a number of RVers have bicycles on the backs of their vehicles. My wife and I have also taken our bicycles camping with us on occasion and have learned that it is a great way to see the sights and cruise throughout the RV park. Not only is a bicycle an economical mode of transportation, it is also quiet, relaxing, and earth-friendly.
Did you know that a number of states produce maps that provide information on bicycle routes? These maps also include a listing of services and points of interest in the area, as well as distances between points and recreation facilities. Typically, they are free of charge.
Some 50,000 bicyclists travel across or through the state of Nevada annually to check out such sights as Lamoille Canyon, Great Basin National Park, Lake Tahoe, or the Las Vegas Strip. The Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board (NBPAB), in cooperation with the Nevada Department of Transportation, produces a statewide bicycle map and provides assistance to local entities in developing local bike maps. As a citizen of Nevada, and an NBPAB member, I can tell you that there is much more in Nevada than meets the eye for bicyclists.
Dennis and Barbara Taylor, F380718
Carson City, Nevada
A Pleasant Purchase
Recently my wife and I traveled to Marion, North Carolina, to Tom Johnson RV Camping Center to look at their coaches. We really had no intention of purchasing an RV that day; we were just looking to see what was available.
We were very impressed with their facility and amazed by the inventory of new and preowned motorhomes. Before leaving, we actually did purchase a coach.
Tom Johnson’s staff is totally committed to making sure your experience is a good one, and everyone from sales to service makes you feel at home and welcome. At every turn, we were greeted by friendly folks eager to help and make our visit pleasant.
The complex has large 50-amp campsites, a huge rally park, a restaurant, and a camping supply store. Nearby are sites to visit in and around beautiful Asheville. We recommend anyone wishing to upgrade their RV or start camping to pay Tom Johnson Camping Center (Marion: 800-225-7802; Concord: 888-450-1440) a visit. Our five-hour trip to Marion was rewarding, and we shall return.
George and Renee Flint, F321805
Union Hall, Virginia
On the first day of a trip to Arkansas, the windshield in our Holiday Rambler Neptune motorhome became cracked by a stone and needed replacement. We called Elkhart Service and Collision in Elkhart, Indiana, and spoke to Mike, who reassured us he would have a windshield ready to install upon arrival.
Tammy at American Home Insurance was understanding and worked with Mike and with us to settle our claim before we arrived so that we could enjoy our trip and have the windshield replaced on our way home. The facility has a campground on site, certified technicians who work on all types of RVs, and provides one-stop service.
Our thanks go to Mike and his crew for providing excellent service and caring hospitality while the repairs were being made. We recommend Elkhart Service and Collision (28100 Markle Ave., Elkhart, IN 46517; 574-389-9999).
Pete and Arlene Chiarolanzio, F181694
Florham Park, New Jersey
Where To Dine?
I’ve taken surveys at FMCA rallies, asking owners the question: “If you had your choice, where would you like your motorhome dining area “” on the driver’s side, where you can look out and see your neighbors, or on the passenger/copilot side, so you can enjoy your own patio?” The vast majority picked the copilot side. Few, if any, owners said they didn’t care where the dining table was.
RV manufacturers seem to believe customers want the table on the driver’s side. If you search long and hard, you can find a few motorhomes with the dining area on the copilot side, but the majority are not. Manufacturers should take a real survey, and give RV buyers a couple of choices. One possible “reason” for the table being on the driver’s side is that it’s in a slideout, which would take up too much room. Well, just flip the floor plan. Some brands and models such as Country Coach Jubilee, Winnebago Adventurer, and others do have a dining area on the copilot side and don’t seem to have a problem. It would be a lot nicer if there were more options.
Mike Jones, F366724