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The F in FMCA



Louise’s mother, Irene, lived in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, for many years. When we visited her one of the things she would always talk about was the production of her fruit trees. She kept count of the number of oranges, lemons and grapefruit that each of her three trees produced. We used to laugh about her recordkeeping tendencies. She did serve as the chief accountant for the Denver airport for many years, so she came by the recordkeeping honestly.

Tonight as I was recording our mileage for the day, it occurred to me that I’m just like Irene, keeping records of all our travels. The records help me time and again as I write comments on a forum discussion or when I want to know what we were doing in any given year of our travels. Each time we park, on the road or in a campground, I record the town, the mileage and the distance traveled for the day. There is an entry for every fuel stop and maintenance stop with the date and mileage of each occurrence.

I have another record where I list all the states we visit each year. I can tell you how many times we’ve taken the motor home to Nebraska (6) or Georgia (1). I started this listing later on when it occurred to me that I didn’t have a brief descriptive record of our travels. It all helps me recall all of our travels.

Sorry Georgia, I’ve had better intentions, but interestingly, both of our planned trips were canceled by health emergencies Irene experienced. Shortly after purchasing our new motor home at a Monaco International rally in Louisiana, we planned to take our time making our way along the Gulf coast and then up the Atlantic coast to Kitty Hawk for the 100th anniversary of flight. We got a call from Louis’s sister, Carol, who had been staying with her mother. Irene had been in the hospital and was recovering but needed someone at home with her during the recovery. Carol wanted to get back to her family, so we were off to Lake Havasu City. We drove from Louisiana to Lake Havasu City in a matter of four days. We left after several weeks and rushed back across country, stopping only to fuel up and sleep. We got to Kitty Hawk in time to enjoy the celebration.

Several years later we planned to get to Florida to see a launch of the NASA Space Shuttle. We had reservations along the Florida coast for the launch and also made reservations for the flying celebration, Fun N Sun, in Florida. From there we would journey north up the Atlantic coast. Again, Irene was in need. We got a call, heart attack, in the hospital, it sounded grave. We packed up our winter camp in 24 hours and 48 hours later we were in Denver at Irene’s bedside. To this day I have not seen a shuttle launch and of course we know how that story ends.

We buried Irene this spring, shortly after her 91st birthday. She leaves behind many memories stored in our minds and hearts. Her fruit trees became an important part of her life and the records she kept were evidence of her dedication to them and her success. Many of her friends and acquaintances remember her for all the fruit she shared with them. She would load up sacks of fruit in the trunk of her car and share them with anyone who wanted them each Sunday after church.

Over our ten years of full-timing, we spent many days parked at Irene’s home. She had a 30-amp outlet on the outside of the garage and water available from the spigot in the backyard. We could come and live next door to her as needed. Our motor home has given us the freedom to be there for our families. Those times are even more valuable to us today.


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Tom, I keep detailed travel records much as you describe. I find they come in handy when my wife suffers the kind of memory lapses she accuses me of having. It also helps planning future trips because I can look back and see just how long it took me to get to certain stops along the way.


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Tom, thanks for this article. We've only been fulltiming for about 4 months now, but we've covered some 5000 miles from Raleigh to Cape Cod, and thence westward to Seattle (present location), and shortly on to Port Townsend, where we shall winter. I've been keeping careful fuel records, by habit, but have lately come to realize, like you, the value of more comprehensive notes. Thanks again.


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