I saw the article “A Fleetwood Photo Finish” in the Family & Friends section of the July issue (page 30), which described a drag race between two motorhomes. What a hoot! I sent the YouTube link in the story to my brother, who has been involved in some racing, and he got a big charge out of it. He said it was “like watching whale racing”!
Randall Starr, F355253
Many Happy Motorhome Memories
We enjoyed 35 years and almost 300,000 miles of motorhoming about our great country, especially the seven-month, 13,000-mile trip my wife and I made just a few years ago for our 50th anniversary. We joined FMCA and the GMC Pacific Cruisers chapter in 1977. I later served as chapter secretary/treasurer and newsletter editor and watched its ranks grow to 182 coach owners by mid-1989. In 1988, I was fortunate to be able to provide the impetus toward the formation and chartering of the GMC Western States chapter, acting also as its first secretary/treasurer and newsletter editor until 1990, and monitoring that chapter’s membership rolls while it grew to well past 700. We’ve also enjoyed being members of the California and GMC Motorhomes International chapters.
Until our current subscription runs out, we will be passing the issues of FMC magazine on to the buyers of our coach. Luckily, they are not too distant from our home; thus, we can drive by, glance at the old 1976 GMC (bought a new one in 1977 and opted for a 3-foot longer model in 1989) and may recall a memory or two of our years of motorhome travels and chapter activities.
We hope our GMC coach buyers will join FMCA, and should they do so, we hope they will return the favor and pass future magazine issues on to us to peruse. By joining, they would add one more member to the FMCA rolls but also join the count of the 204 families we have had the good fortune to sign up with FMCA in the past.
Thanks for the trip!
David & Phyllis Krogh, A30230
Chula Vista, California
Motorhome Travel In Europe
My husband and I have been FMCA members since 1995, even though we now reside in Merimasku, Finland. I’m a dual citizen and we’re both retired. We own a Carthago motorhome and travel in the Scandinavian countries, as well as in central and southern Europe. We also have traveled through Canada and the USA, except Hawaii and Alaska, while living in America in our Newmar Kountry Star motorhome.
My main reason for writing is to comment on Charlie Schrenkel’s “President’s Message” in the April 2012 issue (Fueling Our Passion,” page 6).
Fuel prices have definitely gone up all over Europe, just as in North America, but your fuel prices are still lower than ours. In Finland, diesel fuel is around 1.50 euros per liter (and there are almost four liters to a U.S. gallon). At this writing, one euro equals $1.25 (U.S.).
Fuel prices have limited some motorhoming over here as well. But, as Mr. Schrenkel says, our motorhomes are also our homes wherever we go, and motorhoming is still an economical way to travel. Other than fuel costs, living in a motorhome is not expensive — depending, of course, on how often you eat out!
We save on camping fees while traveling through some of the European countries. Books such as Camperstop Europe give information about “aires” and “stellplatze” camping areas, along with actual campgrounds across Europe. These are free camping spots, often at wineries, shopping centers, service areas along the main highways, some seashore areas, parks, some even in private farm areas, etc. They are similar to dry camping sites in the United States, although their amenities do vary. Most have water; some also have dumping facilities and showers. A few aires charge a small camping fee, such as 5 to 8 euros per night, but most are free. The only restriction is that they are stopovers only, with one or two nights’ stay allowed.
We have met many motorhome travelers, called caravaners, from England, France, Germany, and even Spain who use the aires regularly on their travels to actual campgrounds. They may vacation at the latter for several months, enjoying the warmth and the sun of southern France or the Sun Coast (Costa del Sol) of Spain.
If any of your future travel plans include Europe, search the Internet for information about aires or stellplatze camping areas. That’s how we discovered the Camperstop Europe book to learn about the free camping areas, as well as regular campgrounds. We have planned our next winter’s route to Spain using the Camperstop book!
Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to assist you, if we can.
Raimo & Terri Ruuska, F228863
Montana Repair Recommendation
We wish to give a big “shout out” to Baker Towing & Repair of Butte, Montana. On our trek from Illinois to Idaho in our 2004 Country Coach Magna, we discovered a major problem: a hole in a line of the power steering hydraulic system behind the radiator, just below the engine. Of course, this happened on a Friday morning and the thought of being “down” all weekend entered our heads, but the Baker techs worked on it until the job was completed a little after 5:00 p.m. They were tremendously polite and thoughtful, very clean, and obviously knew what they were doing.
If you have need of competent service in Butte, don’t hesitate to give Baker Towing & Repair a call (406-782-4743).
Cody & Candy Abbott, F38956
New Touches In Tucson
Here’s a recommendation for those who want to modernize their RV. Fred Brooks at Lazydays RV in Tucson, Arizona (800-306-4016; www.lazydays.com) modernized our 2000 Monaco coach. We had a custom cabinet designed, built, and installed to create a filing cabinet, printer drawer, laptop shelf, 42-inch HDTV lift, and miscellaneous storage. Fred also wired and installed our DVR and DVD player in existing cabinets that had to be modified to accommodate the various sizes and ventilation. He then modified the rear TV cabinet to accommodate a 26-inch HDTV on a hinge so that no storage space was wasted. Finally, he made new cabinet doors to close up the old TV cabinet to give us even more storage. All the wood perfectly matched the original cherry cabinets in the coach.
Fred is an excellent craftsman and technician. He is knowledgeable, patient, and accommodating. His main goal is to make the customer happy. We couldn’t be more pleased with the experience and the outcome, and we proudly show our remodeled coach to all our fellow RVers.
Art Perrone, F45679
Sodus Point, New York
Bicycling In Indiana
Nice write-up about northern Indiana and the RV and Amish country in the August issue (“Northern Indiana: Mixing Old With New,” page 56). However, you missed an important feature that will be interesting to many of your RV readers. Goshen, Indiana, is the starting point for the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. It starts in Goshen’s Abshire Park and runs all the way to Middlebury and on to Shipshewana. It is a well-kept trail, and adults and children don’t have to worry about encountering cars or trucks. It runs through the beautiful countryside, and yet towns are close enough that you can stop and have a meal.
Goshen is the most bicycle-friendly town in Indiana, with more trails than any other city in the state. One trail starts at the Goshen Dam and follows the canal through town and five city parks. It also runs north to Ox Bow Park and on to the river walk of Elkhart. All of this and you never have to ride on a highway.
Larry Beachy, F426598