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Everything posted by skiprd

  1. Well, as it turns out, there's a Q&A section on the main FMCA page, and the opening Q is the one I asked here. The principal driver for the expanded authority is the possibility of starting a sister organization for towables so as to make FMCA more attractive to Millennials. It would be a new corporation with a purpose unrelated to motorhomes. See here: http://www.fmca.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3950. Skip
  2. Ken -- thanks for the response, but it's still not clear to me. Think of it this way. FMCA basically had two options: (1) Expand the articles to allow it to do anything whatsoever (2) Expand the articles to allow it to do anything related to RV'ing. It selected option (1), which suggests it has business concepts in mind that are unrelated to RV'ing. Whether that's a good idea or not depends on the kinds of business activities it has in mind. All I need is an example of the kind of things the board has in mind that are permitted by option (1) and not permitted by option (2). And yes, I am a lawyer and yes, I have drafted gazillions of articles, which is why the phrasing proposed seems odd. Thanks very much, Skip
  3. All -- I missed the convention in Massachusetts, so I suspect I just missed the explanation, but I received the FMCA magazine yesterday and it contains a ballot to vote on a proposed change to the FMCA Articles of Incorporation. I know that such things are normally perfunctory, but this one is odd: it proposes to add authority for the organization to engage in any activity whatsoever, including those completely unrelated to anything having to do with motor homes! A general catch-all grant of authority is common, but it's usually related to the organization's purpose (like "...to possess all other rights, powers and privileges of a not-for-profit corporation reasonably related to the interests and activities of Family Motor Coach owners..."). I assume there's a reason why FMCA wants authority to branch out into non-motor-home-related activities, but there's nothing in the magazine that explains it. Could someone please clue me in? What are the activities unrelated to motor homes that FMCA is interested in? Or, phrasing this another way, what are the activities that FMCA wants to do that are not authorized under the current Articles? I have a second question about the proposed change, but let me get an answer to this question first and then I'll follow up. Thanks very much, Skip
  4. You might try calling Walter Cannon at the RV Safety Education Foundation in Merritt Island. I thought he used to provide an on-the-road training course, but I don't see it listed on the website. Even if not, though, I'm 100% sure he could point you in the right direction. Check out the website here: http://www.rvsafety.com/. Skip
  5. I realize this is an OLD post, but I was plinking around and, as the newly elected Treasurer of the Military Veterans Chapter, I thought I'd give it a bump. The chapter now has about 100 members and its own website here: http://www.mvcfmca.blogspot.com/. Many of us got together at the Perry convention (jointly with the Elks Chapter) for a great evening of drinks and dinner. FMCA President Charlie Adcock and INTO AVP David Kessler (both MVC members) were present and spoke at the meeting. We also get together at most other FMCA gatherings. In fact, the President of the chapter will be at the INTO rally in Florida in a couple weeks. There will also be an MVC gathering at the FMCA summer convention in West Springfield, MA. As you would expect, Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans are well represented, but all veterans are welcome. Joining is easy. The membership form is on the chapter website and the cost is nominal ($15 for the first year, then $10 annually thereafter.) Something less than eight percent of the population has ever served in the military. But for reasons that I'm not sure I can put my finger on, the fraction of FMCA members is way higher. Before one of the concerts at the convention in Perry in 2014, President Adcock asked veterans to stand, and I'd bet about half of the men present rose to their feet. If you're proud of your service, if you did your duty while many of those around you did not, the Military Veterans Chapter is a way for you to stand up and be counted. I recommend you check out the website and, if the spirit moves you, sign up! Skip
  6. I remember you. Nice hat (sort of). I said it above, but just to be clear, I have NO COMPLAINTS whatsoever about the arrival/parking situation! In fact, as near as I can tell, no one in the line had any complaints. One of the things I like about RVers in general (and FMCAcians in particular) is that people are pretty much easy going and roll with the punches. When I got to the electric site, I had quite a nice chat with the guy sharing the power pedestal. He said something like, "I always volunteer at these things, but this year I didn't, and seeing everyone scrambling to get people parked makes me feel terrible I'm not helping..." What a great way to go through life... Being a volunteer is on my list of things to do at the next rally. Until then, thanks thanks to you and everyone else who made this a great event. Skip
  7. So, what did folks think of the convention this year? I was there and thought it was pretty darn good, and the seminars were some of the best I've attended. I couldn't tell how attendance ranked versus other conventions. The weather turned out to be great (contrary to forecasts) and the only difficulty I encountered was that getting in on Wednesday was a bit more than I expected (it took an hour and a half from arrival to getting to an electric spot). (I also know everything is run by volunteers, and since I wasn't one ( ) I don't get to complain.) I missed the forum meet-and-greet, but did attend the Military Veterans Chapter meeting (dinner was great) and had a great time chatting with other RV'ing hams. Other thoughts? Skip
  8. Could someone remind me, how far in advance does registration typically open? Thanks. Skip
  9. The RVTravel newsletter mentioned above referenced an RV-Arizona newsletter article "Arizona Fuel Tax Rumor Goes Viral," which can be found here: http://rvarizona.blogspot.com/2014/10/arizona-fuel-tax-rumor-goes-viral-heres.html The operative text reads as follows: For motorhomes, Arizona DOT's Kent pointed us to a 2004 agency policy memo, number 13.2.3. Boiled down, the policy says as long as a motorhome has at least four of the following items, it is exempt from "use class" (and higher fuel taxes). Those items include: "A cooking facility with an on-board fuel source, "A gas or electric refrigerator "A toilet with exterior evacuation "A heating or air-conditioning system with an on-board power or fuel source separate from the vehicle engine "A portable water supply system that includes at least a sink, a faucet and a water tank with an exterior service supply connection "A 110-125 volt electric power supply" If you've got at least four of those things, even if your motorhome has a weight rating of more than 26,000 pounds and/or more than three axles, your rig is NOT a "use class" motor vehicle, and thus does NOT have to pay the higher fuel tax rate. One last detail: For your motorhome to meet the 'lower fuel tax use OK' test, it must be used for recreational purposes. If used for commercial purposes, once you hit over 26,000 pounds and/or more than two axles, you are stuck paying the higher tax rate. Sounds definitive to me. Skip
  10. For a while I was toying with the idea of contacting NHTSA and asking them to conduct an investigation to determine if the issue warrants a recall. As I mentioned in my post above, back in 2012 when my door handle failed, I contacted Trimark and asked, "I’m wondering what to do? If this was just a random problem in manufacturing or installation, then I should be able to install the identical model and not worry about it. On the other hand, if this kind of thing is happening regularly, then I’ve got to figure out a solution involving something other than the same unit." In response, the customer service agent said, "I believe it was just a random incident." I'm not sure exactly what model lock I had, but in plinking around on the Trimark website, I see that, assuming I'm looking at the right item, Trimark has come out with a new version, recommending against the use of the old version: http://www.trimarkcorp.com/en/zPlatform.aspx?platformid=25&categoryid=-1. (A similar-looking unit has an identical warning.) So, maybe with the issues continuing to pop up, and with Trimark replacing at least some units, a notice to NHTSA might in fact be in order? What do you think? Skip
  11. This was just our third rally, but I think it was the best so far. All of the seminars we attended were outstanding (although a couple could have used bigger rooms). There were more display coaches than we had time to look at. (We did come perilously close to buying one--the show price was excellent and then there were manufacturer incentives on top of that.) And I agree the entertainment was as good as I could hope for. My favorite was the Texas Tenors, but all of the acts were memorable. We had a full hook-up site, although the sewer connection went through a weird, four-hole manifold. The design was so dubious that I was too chicken to dump the black tank. Not a bit deal since the black tank didn't get close to full in the 5 days we were there. Being able to dump the grey tank several times, though, was nice. We also got the Blue Ox service, which was convenient and I didn't mind the small charge for an inspection and rebuild. We also tried to get a couple other items taken care of, but alas things were too booked by the time we tried to sign up. Next time I'll be sure to sign up early, before the early signer-uppers get in front of me. We arrived Sunday in the midst of a downpour of Biblical proportions. What impressed me was the dedication of volunteers who handled entry, queuing, and parking--all of those guys working like crazy, soaking wet, and who payed the same registration fee that I did, making life easier for us just because they're the kind of people who like to be helpful. Wow. Looking forward to the next one, Skip
  12. Ugh. Sounds like a couple bad starts. But I will say that we arrived on Sunday in a downpour of Biblical proportions, and I was amazed at the number of volunteers out working in that downfall, doing their best to get everyone situated. I've since learned that those guys pay full freight for the rally, and volunteer their time just because they want to be helpful. Wow. They are amateurs, which maybe explains why they don't always get it exactly right, but they sure have my appreciation for what they do. Incidentally, we got parked in Lot MM, right at ground zero of all of the exhibits and seminars, so I'm darn happy about the experience. Only downside is it's about a 50' run to the hookups and the sewer connection is the weirdest 4-port manifold thingie I've ever seen. Oh well ... Hope your next experience is better. Skip
  13. I guess that was obvious, but wanted to be sure. Thanks for the reply. See you in a couple weeks.
  14. This may sound a lot like "Who's buried in Grant's tomb?" but we have a reservation for "general parking with 30-amp electric full hookups." I was going through the online "Passport" book and I can't find what "full" means. Does it actually mean "full" like "water-electric-sewer"? (Which means I don't have to arrive with water full and holding tanks empty) Thanks, Skip
  15. Simplisafe looks great! I gather from the web page that one can buy the system, use it to transmit alerts to the cell phone (or sound the alarm), but not subscribe to the monitoring system (at $15/month). Is that right? Thanks, Skip
  16. Sorry for the multiple posts ... I keep realizing things I forgot. If you're going by Ft. Benning, do plan a stop at the new Infantry Museum. It traces the history of Army infantry since the founding of the Republic and has several "halls of valor" dedicated to notable heroes in Army history. If reading those citations doesn't suck the wind out of you, you're probably already dead. I think I've now recalled most of what I used to remember. Nah... Skip
  17. One other thing I realized I left off... After the Savannah area, headed north, do plan a stop at the Mighty 8th Air Force museum. In my view, of everyone who constituted the "greatest generation," they don't get much greater than the 8th. The 8th Air Force suffered one-half of all US casualties in all of WWII. As ex-Army, you'll definitely appreciate the unbelievable courage of guys who would climb into those B-17s, knowing that 60% of them would be killed or wounded. It's an inspiring story. Anyway, it's right off of I-95 as you head north out of Savannah. Skip
  18. A few ideas for your trip... If you've never been there before (or even if you have), a stop at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola is very worthwhile. I've been there several times, mostly recently just a couple weeks ago, and it's inspiring. My dad was a WWII Navy pilot so I'm a little biased, but even still I'm sure you'd enjoy it. Enterprise, AL, might be on the way. It has, of course, the world famous statue of a boll weevil, so far as I know the only place on earth that has a statue dedicated to a pest. Anyway ... I mention it not for that but because the Museum of Army Aviation at Fort Rucker might be an interesting stop for you. Again, we have a family connection (my son is an Army helicopter pilot), but I think it would be interesting to normal people as well. Albany, Georgia, might make a nice stop en route, and there's an amazing campground there called "The Parks at Chehaw." (It used to be a state park, but I think it's now privately owned.) It's got a zoo, canoe trips, nature trails, a BMX bicycle course (if you're bringing any "little darlings," but don't worry -- the BMX thingie isn't a problem for campers), plus great RV sites. 2X on Andersonville, and do plan enough time to do the Prisoner of War museum (at least half a day). I haven't been there in a couple years, but last time I was there they had former POWs as docents. Our tour guide was a guy who spent years in a German POW camp and that alone was worth the trip. There's a wonderful aviation museum in Warner Robins, Georgia, not too far from Perry. Ditto on Skidaway Island State Park. We've stayed there several times. It's a bit of a haul from Savannah, and you'll need a toad (or some other way to get around), but Savannah is also worth doing. Savannah fancies itself in the same category as Charleston and, in my opinion, it's really not in the same league, but still we enjoy it. Have a great trip! Skip
  19. Just stumbled across this thread. Here's a list of RV-related ham radio nets that I put together several months ago: RV Service Net (http://rvsvcnet.wbcci.net/) Eastern/Central Nets (40m) 7.191 MHz 0700 EST and 0800 EST / 7-days (both confirmed) Rocky Mountain Net (40m) 7.184 MHz 0630 to 0800 MDT Mon-Fri (not confirmed) (MDT may be a typo) Pacific Net (40m) 7.268.5 MHz 0900 to 1000 PDT Mon-Fri (not confirmed) (again, PDT may be a typo) Daily 20m Nets 14.307.5 MHz 1200 and 1700 EST Mon-Fri (confirmed) FMCA ARC Net (http://fmcaarc.com/index.php/nets-and-schedules/) Daily Net (20m) 14.307.5 MHz 1300 ET Mon-Fri (confirmed) Echolink Net 2100 ET Tue via Conference Node *FMCA-ARC* (confirmed) ARRL RV Net (http://rvradionetwork.com/) Daily Net (40m) 7.265 MHz 2000 EST daily (not confirmed) Good Sam's Radio Hams (40/80 nets, mostly in California?) (not confirmed) (http://www.srhams.org) I check in to the RV Service Net Eastern/Central 40m net from time to time. It pretty much booms into central Georgia. I'm still in the process of figuring out how to operate from the MH, so most of my experimenting has been conducted from the shack. Hope that helps, 73 K4EAK Skip
  20. It might depend on which phone you're using, but my understanding is that almost all phones use WPA2 as the security for the WiFi connection between the phone and the computer. That's the same as the security used by your home WiFi router and your MiFi device.
  21. I'll let others speak to the requirements for full-timing (since I know nothing about such things) (although I wish I did), but I am the IT person for my firm, so I have a couple points that might be helpful for you as you do your research. Some posts above are using terms in ways that might be confusing. For example, "WiFi" does not give you internet access. WiFI is just a wireless local area network (or WLAN). The internet connection comes on the other side (so to speak) of the WiFi connection. So, for a campground network, for example, your laptop connects via WiFi to the campground's internet access point (a router) and that access point then connects to the internet via a phone line or cable connection. The security of the WiFi connection is complicated. Early forms of secure connections (WEP) were notoriously insecure. I think that newer forms of encryption (WPA or WPA2) are secure against all but the most dedicated hackers, or at least that's what the software engineers say. However, most public WiFi connections have no encryption at all, which is why you see that warning notice when you connect that says, "Information sent over this connection may be visible to others." I recommend that people do not send bank account or credit card information over public (unsecured) WiFi connections. When you pull up the list of accessible WiFi connections, just point at the connection and it should display relevant information, including signal strength and "security type." The "MiFi" devices that people are talking about have a secure WiFi connection between the MiFi device and your laptop (or other device), and then a cellular data connection between the MiFi device and the internet via the closest cell tower. We use a Verizon 4G MiFi device as we travel and it's always worked well. It connects via WiFi to my laptop, my wife's laptop, my tablet, my wife's iPad, and both of our cell phones. (My cell phone if 4G so it's it's no advantage to me, but my wife's phone is merely 3G to connecting via the MiFi gives her a pretty significant boost in speed.) And we've actually used the MiFi device via a WiFi connection to our DVD player in the motorhome to stream movies from Amazon Prime and Netflix. The cellular data connection between the MiFi device, the cell tower, and then on to the internet is about as secure as things can be. As to laptops, I agree with the posts above--it's largely a matter of personal preference. However, I'm looking to replace my wife's decrepit HP laptop, and all of the newer laptops come with Windows 8 installed. For me, Windows 8 is an abomination (YMMV) so for the first time in my life I'm actually considering going to an Apple product. In my business context, Macs always struck me as too eccentric to be practical, but for personal use I think they're probably fine. Some people have a dedicated laptop that they use for online financial transactions and a different laptop for everything else. The financial laptop has no software installed except as necessary, and is not used for e-mail or web access. That may be a good idea, but I'm basically too lazy and indifferent to bother with it. I'll let other opine on the topic, but if fulltiming means that all of your financial information and dealings are done over the internet, maybe a dedicated laptop is a good idea. Finally, I assume you know this, but I'll say it anyway. Nearly all of the security problems I've seen or read about don't involve breaches of the WiFi or wired connections. They involve user carelessness: improper security settings on the computer or software (especially the web browser), falling for e-mail or website spoofs, visiting sites that prone to malware, not using or updating anti-virus and anti-malware software, and so on. I can't tell you how many times I've confronted a user who's gotten hit with some awful virus and my response (whether I say it or not) is, "You did what?" The most important security feature you can employ is the one between your ears. This is probably longer and more involved than you wanted, but maybe some parts will be useful to you. Good luck in your search, and congratulations on going full-time. I'm jealous... Skip
  22. As a relatively new Class A owner (after RVing for 30+ years), I must say this is a really depressing thread, although one that matches both my experience so far and my worst fears. I don't know if folks are aware of this or not, but there is a website where one can post reviews of their RV service experiences: http://www.rvservicereviews.com/. Right now, the sample size is too small for most of the facilities for the reviews to be definitive, but I guess some information is better than none. And if more folks would share their experiences and post reviews, the usefulness of the site will improve. In the meantime, I'm getting close to having to do my 7500-mile maintenance, and I've got the BCC recall to deal with, and I'm dreading taking the MH to the dealer and then dealing with all the things that are screwed up because I took it in. Incidentally, I've found a mobile RV service guy who so far has done great work, who comes to my place, and whom I can watch (and learn from) as he works. I'm going to keep using him for everything I can, and roll the dice with the dealer only when necessary. Skip
  23. Another option is to keep your 2003 Mercury Sable and equip it with an auxiliary transmission pump, which makes it towable 4-wheels down. We just did this to our old Toyota Highlander. We've only towed it a few hundred miles, so I can't testify as to the long-term suitability of such an option, but you may want to check out the Remco towing website: http://www.remcoindustries.com/Towing/product.php?f=lubePumpKit.php. Skip
  24. Stone Mountain Park is indeed nice, but it would be almost a 20-mile drive. There are a couple MARTA stations towards the east side of town. The Indian Creek station, though, is 8.3 miles from the park, and the Kensington station is 8.5 miles from the park. I tried using the "transit routing" in maps.google.com and got this: transit route. Maybe that would be doable for you, but it looks pretty burdensome to me. Other than Stone Mountain, there really isn't anything near Atlanta that I'd recommend. We went to several of the RV parks near Atlanta when we had a trailer and just needed a nearby place to do a Spring shakedown and all of them are a L-O-N-G way from the Dome (and many of them completely unsuitable). There is one in Marietta that's maybe OK, and it's a straight shot if you had a car (and could stand horrendous traffic at peak hours). Bottom line: I'd bring a car and go to Stone Mountain. Hope that helps, Skip
  25. (PCS from 10th Mountain?) See if this helps. On my personal website are three sets of files suitable for loading into Microsoft Streets & Trips: one gives the locations of Flying J's (which tend to be more RV-friendly that the generic Pilot locations) (http://www.skiprd.com/FlyingJlocations.xls), one the locations of Loves Travel Stops that have RV dump stations (assuming that those would be the RV-friendly ones) (http://www.skiprd.com/LovesStores.xlsx), and TA locations (which I tend not to use, but they're there anyway) (http://www.skiprd.com/TA.xlsx). The locations aren't always 100% accurate, but they're usually close enough that you can find the travel stop. That should allow you to plan the route and pick out fuel stops in advance. I don't think they're generally good for Canada, though, and I've got nothing for Alaska, which means that starting about BC these files have no locations. (Just for the fun of it, I loaded Watertown NY to Fort Richardson: 4315 miles 8-1/2 days based on an 0900-1700 driving schedule. What a great trip!) Here's the image: http://www.skiprd.com/FtDrum.jpg. You can see that the locations in my files (which don't necessarily reflect reality) peter out in Alberta.) Hope these help. Keep us posted. Skip
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