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About bob@chilltravelers.com

  • Birthday 02/02/1952

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    Photography, music, travel
  1. Thanks Tom & Wayne for your support and comments. Tom, we stay in exactly the places you describe and enjoy them thoroughly. We probably spend 80+% of our time in small family campgrounds or truck stops. We run our business from our coach and designed it to be utilitarian and very comfortable. Yes, on occasion, it is nice to be able to enjoy a well kept pool or hot tub and exercise room with a place for nice walks to unwind before resuming our fast paced business lives. We truly have found some nice places that offer the amenities we seek without the segregation. The boomer-60's wild child in me wonders why a touted friendly society like ours also supports segregation. As I write this, I am parked in Newport Oregon along the ocean at probably the only ORA that allows me to stay. Ironically, my father-in-law owns a lot at an ORA in Florida and we cannot stay there or even visit. So there is this part of me that wonders why some segregate in such tough times. Said, a nice couple pulled in next to us and the next day they were gone. I causally asked the "guard" why they left abruptly. He told me that they were 25' long and the rules are that they must be at least 26'. I had to run them off, he said! As I look out at this nearly empty resort, I cannot help but wonder why operate based on exclusion. There are numerous reasons that I think the chapter is a good idea. For some of us, we are big, tall and long. So, when a campground says "Big Rig" friendly, it may not be true for us. Having a place to go with others that have similar rigs can share information. For some, it is just having a resource like a chapter where class B's, C's et al can find out if they are welcome. It is beyond the category on the forum for B’s and C’s. I wonder how an association like ours would support and even promote segregation and at the same time wonder why they are not growing. The funny thing is that when I first entered this post on the forum, a banner ad for the Signature Resorts appeared at the bottom of the page. It said, A Class A Resort…what I saw was an ad that said Class B and Class C not welcome. I do wonder how many non-class A members we have? Any body know how to find out? Regards, Bob
  2. Is it time for a chapter of misfits, crazy ones and rebels? A chapter for hoods? We have been members of FMCA for over ten years and on occasion search for likeminded freaks to join in a chapter to share experiences and seek advice. So far there has not been a fit. There does just not seem to be a place for us. Do we stay isolated excluded members or just leave the FMCA? Prior to this year’s convention in Albuquerque, I received an email asking my opinion of how FMCA could be bigger and better. My response was, stop being so exclusionary and retirement centric. We were going to be in the Albuquerque area at the Spaceport and we thought, let’s give the convention another go. So, we attended the FMCA after about an 8 year hiatus. Frankly, not much had changed and we felt pretty excluded and a bit too young for the convention. There was something really missing as well. Hoods! Having a class A coach for many years, we were proud to pull into the Balloon Fiesta Park with our custom Mercedes motorcoach. Lots of pointing fingers. We attended the conferences and show in hopes of finding new things. At the show, we were pleased to see a number of brand new motorcoach resorts that were exhibiting. One by one we stopped by each to see what they offered. This is when the rub began that maybe inspiring a possible new chapter. They would not accept Hoods! We work very hard, often going from city to city for 20+ days in a row visiting our retailers and customers. We built our coach to be able to be off-grid and still live in luxury for 10 days at a time. We like to take a few days to a week each month or so to wind down, so the prospects of these new resorts with great amenities, spas et al was very exciting. Resort after resort would say class A only. Even though we told each about our custom rig, they concluded that we were not welcome. The definitions of what made a class A ranged from one telling us that, "if you can walk from the front to the back, it is a class A," to another saying that, “it had to be production coach to qualify. “ We gave up when a rather smug resort salesman said, "if it has a hood, it does not stay at our resort!" We thought to ourselves that the FMCA needs a chapter for the misfits, crazy ones, the rebels, the trouble makers and the round pegs stuffed into square holes. You know, the ones that see things differently; those that are not fond of rules and have no respect for status quo. Those that you can praise, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify of vilify them. About the only thing you cannot do is ignore them because they change things. Seemed like a plan and just maybe we could use the chapter to find some places we can stay that really really want us! The Last Resort…A New Chapter? We have met a lot of "hoods" that are searching for a common place and I thought, well maybe we should consider starting a FMCA Chapter that was equally exclusionary. We have amassed a lot of places that are wonderful resorts that except us that we would like to share as well as a bunch of places that we can't fit into that are too tight for our turning radius, too many trees for our height or we can't access because of bridge clearances and small access roads. With a chapter we could share information that is specific to us and very frankly have our same irreverent view of life. Unfortunately, we suspect that most hoods will not read this, so it is a sort of message in a bottle cast onto the sea of mediocrity. The Spark of an Idea? As a side-bar, what inspired this idea of a Hoods chapter is that since leaving the FMCA convention, I have received weekly emails, mostly from or through the FMCA, promoting motorcoach resorts that I am not welcome because I have a hood. So, I finally sent a reply back to the FMCA through one of these emails asking to be removed from their torment list. Interestingly a bunch of internal emails got shot around throughout the FMCA. Laughingly, they including me as if I was not copied which reiterated that feeling of exclusion. Then I received the June issue of the magazine and realized that the campground listings seemed to assume all FMCA members are Class A because there are all sorts of qualifiers like pets, coach length and wifi, but nothing that designates what kind of coaches are accepted. In fact, many of the campgrounds listed are class A only. So with reup dues coming in August, we thought maybe we could create a new chapter for us misfits to see if we can find a place within the FMCA or just move on to a friendlier place. Worth a final try we think? What’s in a Name? Hells Angels was taken so we thought, The Hoods! That has a ring to it. If you have a hood, have no chapter that appeals to you and you are generally irreverent, the Hoods are probably for you. Let me know your thoughts and desires to join. Maybe we can get enough people that are interested that we can justify our membership.
  3. Welcome to SeeLevel! I have spent a great deal of time over the last 10 years setting op our nav systems. Being a geek, it is sort of a hobby and need given the type of coach we drive. TomTom has a forum like this one where people have developed third party alerts. There are a few that are setup for clearances. We have one that has tested well for main highways, but is not good for off-highway clearances. The best software I have found for clearances is CoPilot Truck 11. Here is the link. http://www.alk.com/copilot/truck-laptop.asp It is set for 13'6" like the TomTom alert. When hooked to the internet, is also does traffic alerts from DOT sites. It also has remote routing and tracking capability over the internet. We use it with a UMPC that is wireless to the gps and to our onboard WiFi router. All said, I never leave without my up-to-date Motor Carrier Atlas. Available from all truck stops, it has pages of actual low clearances with actual height restrictions. Hope this helps B
  4. Isabel the Cat and Disney Dog cannot wait until our care package arrives with the latest FMC magazine issue. Although the information level is just too tiring for one reading ...
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