By Charlie Schrenkel, L140050
FMCA National President
The sound of the wind rushing past the front of the motorhome changes every now and then as the direction of the coach changes; the cruise control is set to the “sweet spot” speed for our 500-horsepower Cummins engine, where the fuel economy is 8.1 miles per gallon. It is a beautiful morning: blue skies, bright sunshine, fairly light traffic as we head north on Interstate 75 in Florida, on our way to the Western Area Rally in Indio, California.
The tires sing a different tune as we pass over small overpasses, and then go back to their happy hum as we make our way north. Each underpass we go through is like a door to another part of this beautiful continent: cattle grazing in wide meadows, birds wheeling overhead, and mile markers diligently pulling more intriguing scenery toward us. The white line in the center of the traffic lanes reminds me of a huge zipper, holding both lanes together; for that matter, they sometimes look as though they are holding huge sections of our continent — Canada, the Lower 48, and Alaska — together!
Jean and I have gone over the trip the night before; examined our checklist to make sure nothing was overlooked; and checked the engine fluids. We had the coach serviced two weeks before, including changing the oil and servicing the generator — all normal. We know we have the Michelin Advantage tire program through FMCA if we need it (details are available at FMCA.com). We checked our own “dipsticks” as well; doctors’ appointments taken care of, prescriptions filled, FMCAssist membership up-to-date, adequate food and water on board should we not find a suitable campground at the end of the driving day. We retired early last night, so we would be fresh for the seven-day cruise across the southern part of our country on Interstate 10, all the way to Indio for the January 9 through 13 rally.
Since this column is written about a month before the magazine reaches your mailbox, I thought I would try to share with you, the reader, the feeling, the sometimes unexplainable joy of being on the open road . . . in your own home! This is truly the sensation I get every time Jean and I head out for a distant destination. I have said this before; sometimes the trip itself is the destination.
As FMCA executive director Jerry Yeatts notes in his column this month, February is National Heart Month here in the United States. I myself have just renewed my certification for CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator). We have carried an AED on board our motorhome for the past several years. It is important that we pay attention to the “little aches and pains” as we proceed on our merry way to excessive maturity.
February also brings with it hope for a short winter. Depending on Punxsutawney Phil and his prediction, quite possibly there will be an early camping season for those of us not completely retired.
February also hosts the birthdays of two U.S. Presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. George, as you may or may not know, was a surveyor at age 17 in Culpeper, Virginia. I don’t think he had much to do with Interstate 81 or 77, as his math was sometimes called into question, but he did find work in an interesting profession during a time when our country was beginning to stir and to start to show signs of growing pains.
Abraham also had a colorful young life on an uncertain frontier and endured many moves before choosing a political career, the results of which were well-timed with the fickle hands of fate.
Both of these men traveled extensively over unimproved roads and trails, in a time when walking was the foremost form of transportation. Of course, if you had a horse and wagon, it made the journey much more tolerable. Perhaps that is where we, as motorhomers, get some inspiration, as we quietly slide by some of the same areas in our rubber-tired magic carpets where these great men trod so many years ago. No matter where we go, no matter how far we travel each day, we are always home! That is the beauty of the motorhome lifestyle.
The Southeast Area Rally will take place February 6 through 10 at the Hernando County Airport in Brooksville, Florida. This rally has been at this location for the past 16 years! The residents and merchants of the town always welcome FMCA members and their families. There are some great restaurants and interesting places to see in close proximity to the rally site.
So, hitch up your hundreds of horses; pack your coach with all the goodies that you can think of; and hit the zipper strip and listen to the wind!
Safe and healthy travels.
Be On The Lookout
Just a reminder that FMCA dues renewal statements and membership cards now are being sent to members along with their copy of Family Motor Coaching magazine. The dues renewal notice will be inside the plastic wrapper that encases the magazine, much like traditional magazine publishers do for your subscription renewal notification. New member cards are being sent this way as well now. this process is intended to improve efficiency and also to save FMCA money, especially for postage expenses. The exception would be those of you who have hosen not to have your magazine sent to your mail forwarding address. In that case, renewal notices will be delivered to you solo.
FMCA Family Cookbook
We need your help to create an FMCA family cookbook to commemorate the association’s 50th anniversary in 2013. We’ll be enlisting the help of a company that specializes in compiling cookbooks, but we need you to fill it with tasty recipes for everything from appetizers to desserts. Share your favorite recipes by using the instructions that appear on page 97 of the January 2013 issue of FMC and online at FMCA.com. The deadline for submitting recipes is February 15, 2013. Recipes will be included as space permits. More details will be forthcoming, but copies of the book will be available online at FMCA.store.com and also at FMCA’s 88th Family Reunion in Gillette, Wyoming, June 19-22, 2013.