Meet a Member | Family Motor Coach Association
FMCA membership number: F269734 (we joined in 1999)
FMCA chapter we belong to: Deep South
Our current motorhome: a 2006 Tiffin Allegro Bus
Other motorhomes we have owned:
A 1999 Tiffin Allegro Bus, a 2001 Tiffin Allegro Bus and a 2003 Tiffin Allegro Bus
Three words that best describe our motorhome: Best One Yet
The best things about our motorhome:
Bay doors that open to the side. Washer/dryer combo.
We decided to buy a motorhome because:
The ease of travel and convenience after having tents, a pop-up camper and two travel trailers.
We are both retired: Schuyler retired from the Alabama Air National Guard and Nancy from the State of Alabama Department of Education.
The best thing about motorhoming:
Having your own bed, being able to cook or not, and not having to worry about how many clothes you can take. We can’t travel in a suitcase anymore.
Children: We have three children and four grandchildren.
We travel in the motorhome:
Approximately four months per year. When we’re not motorhoming we are at home in Montgomery, Ala.
Our favorite motorhoming destinations:
San Antonio, Texas (Texas Hill Country) and Disney World.
Our all time favorite motorhome trip:
We attended an Allegro Rally at Amana Colonies, Iowa, and then continued west to Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, Yellowstone National Park, and Seattle and Tacoma, Wash. Friends flew out and we took an Alaska cruise up the Inside Passage and then came home by the way of California, Arizona and New Mexico.
Other motorhoming memories:
We have had so many good trips it is hard to choose. We have been to Key West, Maine, the New England States, Washington State, California, Yosemite, Sequoya, Grand Canyon, White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns and Mammoth Cave. We went to the Kentucky Derby. We visited Texas Hill Country in Spring. We traveled to the Louisiana bayous, New Orleans, Mount Rushmore, Devils Peak, The Natchez Trace, Myrtle Beach, Washington, D.C., and New York City. We visited Cape Cod, as well as Amish Country in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio. My favorite trip was to Disney World and Fort Wilderness when we took our entire family to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We had two spaces in Fort Wilderness and two rooms at Wilderness Lodge for a week. It is a memory I shall cherish forever.
Our “dream” motorhome trip:
Maybe to Alaska. My (Nancy) dream trip is to go back to the Grand Canyon and ride the mules to Phantom Ranch. Schuyler says he will meet me at the top.
Our perfect day of motorhome travel:
Not much traffic, beautiful sunshine, great views, and a pull-thru space that’s easy to get in and out of.
Our worst motorhoming experience:
We have been fortunate not to have had any really bad experiences. But one time we were traveling in New York State and were getting nervous about finding a diesel fuel station. We saw one about a half mile off the interstate. As we drew closer to the station, we realized there was no way our motorhome would be able to fit — there were so many cars and junk — so we just found a place to turn around and went back on the interstate.
At the next exit we saw another sign for fuel and this time we were not sure about the height of the canopy. While I went in to ask about the clearance a policeman pulled up and told Schuyler he would have to move the motorhome. Schuyler explained that I would be right back, but the policeman said there was a car that was trying to get around us. It was our own tow car and Schuyler told him it had better not be trying to get around us.
The turn into the fuel station was too tight, so we had to go down the road a bit and unhook in order to turn around. That was pretty scary, but we learned then not to let the fuel get below half a tank if possible.
Another time, we were traveling home from our New England trip. There was another couple in their motorhome traveling with us and we started looking for a place to stay for the night. It was around 4 p.m. and we pulled into a campground and registered. The electric power had such low voltage that we decided we would not stay and we left.
We tried several more campgrounds but none were suitable for rigs our size. Finally it was getting dark and we were in north Pennsylvania on Interstate 81. I saw a campground listed at Hop Bottom that sounded good. We called and they said they had spaces large enough for a 40- or 42-foot motorhomes.
By the time we arrived it was pitch dark. The host led us to the spaces on his four-wheeler and got us parked. The next morning we were amazed to see that we were just a few feet from a very large boulder and our step opened just a couple of inches from a tree stump. That was an experience to be remembered.
A trip to Branson, Mo., for an Allegro Rally also sticks out in our mind. We were with another couple and left Red Bay, Ala., for Branson. Schuyler found a campground somewhere in Arkansas and we stopped and registered. The other couple decided they did not like the park and convinced us to leave. It was in October and everything else between there and Branson was closed for the season. We had to keep going all the way to Branson and were very late arriving. We called the campground where the rally was to be held and were fortunate to get the space we would have for the rest of the week. We learned from this experience that if another couple wants to leave and go on, let them. We will stick with our plan. It was very stressful driving those curvy mountain roads in the dark.
Our motorhoming pet peeve:
People who pass or pull in front of the motorhome and slow down. They do not seem to realize how much time it takes for us to stop. If they want to pass, keep going. Also, motorhome owners who leave a mess at the sewer connections.
The best alteration or addition we’ve made to our motorhome:
We had a Howard steering stabilizer installed. It helps to keep the steering straight, provides control when it’s windy, and offers protection in case of a blowout.
Special equipment in our motorhome:
We were fortunate to test the new Cummins Onan Hybrid Quiet Diesel generator system. Upon completion of the test period, they installed a production model in our motorhome. It is fantastic. When not connected to shore power it allows the generator to come on automatically if the batteries need charging or when the temperature reaches a preset degree and the AC or heat pump need to run. The transfer switch tests the shore power and will not allow any “bad” power to come into the coach. The inverter produces constant voltage and allows more convenience than our previous one. The new generator is so quiet that it is sometimes hard to tell if it is running. The new system allows us to run both air conditioners or one air conditioner and the microwave on 30-amp shore power. At a recent rally in Florida, we set it in the Automatic mode, set the quiet times and forgot about it for six days. It worked beautifully. We did not have to worry about turning it on and off.
We have also added a Garmin GPS. It is located on the console in front, mounted to a small board that fits into one of the spaces and can be removed easily. And we installed Balance Masters wheel balancers from Sun-Tech Innovations. We have had them on our last two coaches and would not want to be without them.
If we could change one thing about our motorhome:
I, Nancy, would have the entire front area tiled rather than have carpet. We do have the “tile aisle,” but complete tile would be great. Schuyler would have the new AC system that does away with the noisy return in the ceiling.
Something about motorhoming that we know now but did not know when we started:
That diesel fuel prices would go out of sight!
When driving, the most important thing to remember is:
Just how BIG the motorhome is, to keep plenty of space in front of you and watch your speed. These things can run! We took the driving course at Lazy Days Rally Park in Seffner, Fla., and were surprised to learn about the blind spot in the front of the coach. Ours is 16 feet!
We joined FMCA because:
We felt it was a good source for us to learn about motorhoming, especially when we were new to it. We have not been sorry. We appreciate the discounts at Flying Js and knowing we have the MEDEX emergency medical assistance program. That alone is worth the amount of the dues.
Advice we’d like to share with other motorhome owners:|
Be very careful not to let bits of food or grease go down the drain and into the grey tank. I wipe my dishes with paper towels before they are washed. Always keep the valve on the grey tank closed until ready to dump, even when you are hooked up to sewer connections. Because the system is not like the plumbing at home, the tank needs water in it to keep residue from building up in the bottom and causing an unpleasant odor. The same advice goes for the black water tank. Always use a good chemical to help break down waste and control odor. We always use RV toilet paper. We have never had any problems with either of our tanks.
Our hobbies: Enjoying our RV, traveling, reading, and shopping (Nancy).
Our favorite saying: It’s always something.”
Our favorite holiday:
Easter because it causes us to remember the price Jesus paid for our salvation and that we have the sure hope of eternal life.
The athlete or celebrity whom we admire most?
Billy Graham. We have always enjoyed his sermons and believe his spirituality is genuine. There has never been any hint of scandal where he is concerned.
Favorite restaurants: Applebee’s, Cracker Barrel and Outback. When traveling, you can always depend on these restaurants to have good, familiar food at reasonable prices.
If we were given a free shopping spree at any store:
Depending on the amount I could spend, I would choose Home Depot, where I would buy all new appliances and have my kitchen completely remodeled. Schuyler’s would probably be Camping World.
Fort Wilderness, Disney World, Florida; FamCamp at Fort Sam Houston Army Base, San Antonio, Texas. We are fortunate to be able to use military campgrounds and facilities and Fort Sam is the best campground of all the military parks we have visited.
When motorhomers visit our state or hometown they should be sure to see:
In Alabama be sure to see the mountains in the northern part of the state, the Capitol and First White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, and the beautiful beaches at Gulf Shores.
Bailey’s Irish Crème and Milo’s sweet tea. Milo’s is an institution in Birmingham and the sweet tea is now available in supermarkets in Montgomery. Also, Callaway Gardens Country Store muscadine preserves and stone-ground grits. We are from the south, you know.
Our advice to new motorhomers:
Make sure each adult is comfortable driving the motorhome. You never know when you will be called upon to drive. In order to build your confidence you must have practice. The driver’s course at Lazy Days Rally Park in Seffner, Fla., was very good and it is free when you stay in the park. Read all the manuals and information you can get about your particular motorhome and become familiar with all the systems.
Behind our motorhome, we tow:
A 2006 Ford Explorer Limited, four-wheel drive with an SMI Air Force One supplemental brake system, using a Roadmaster Sterling tow bar. With the Neutral Tow Switch installed, we can put the vehicle in neutral to tow without pulling any fuses.
When we’re online:
We’re checking out campground Web sites, weather sites, news, and checking e-mail and the bank to pay bills.
A technical tip we’d like to share with other motorhome owners:
Do not neglect periodic maintenance and service on your motorhome, and always check tire pressure. This will prevent many problems before they happen. We never open the slideouts without first leveling the coach and we always bring them in before raising the jacks.
Traveling in our RV is so enjoyable. When we go for a campout with our FMCA chapter or Allegro chapter, our daughter says “Mama, you are not camping!” Several of our friends live in their RV full-time but we are not ready for that. I need somewhere to come home to. My grandson asked me, “If you live in the RV all the time, how would you know when you go on vacation?”
We have made some wonderful friends that we never would have met if it were not for the motorhome. One couple in particular was in Montgomery, Ala., to pick up their new Allegro Bus. They are from Virginia and had ordered it through our dealer in Montgomery. It was a floor plan we had not seen and we asked the salesman if he thought they would mind if we looked at it when it came in from the factory. We met the couple and they were very nice, but since they lived in Virginia we did not expect to see them again.
We liked their motorhome so much we ordered one just like it, a 2001 Allegro Bus. On our next trip to the factory in Red Bay, Ala., just as we pulled into the campground, there they were. We traveled with them to New Orleans; to Fiesta San Antonio; and to the LBJ Ranch in Texas Hill Country. We also visited them at their RV lot at RiverBend Motorcoach Resort in Florida. We have met them at Disney World two years in a row where they are seasonal “cast” members.