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Meet a Member | Family Motor Coach Association

Dick Harris and Betty Comer Hill, Charleston, W.Va.

FMCA membership number:Dick Harris and Betty Comer Hill
F272774 (joined in 2000)

Our current motorhome:
A 2000 Safari Zanzibar

Three words that best describe our motorhome:
Great land yacht

Other motorhomes we’ve owned:
Dick: A 1964 school bus conversion. Another story.

The best thing about motorhoming:
Being able to travel this great country, enjoy the freedom and experience its beauty.

I decided to buy a motorhome because:
My late wife and I had seen this great country many times from 33,000 feet. We wanted to walk on it and explore its many attributes.

The best addition or alteration we’ve made to our motorhome:
A recent installation of Ultraleather chairs up front and two Ultraleather barrel recliners on the driver side has made traveling much more comfortable.

Former occupations:
Betty is retired from 35 years in human resources with the school board. Dick is retired from the construction business and semi-retired from the real estate management business.

Children, grandchildren:
Betty has two children, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Dick has five children and seven grandchildren.

We travel in our motorhome:
We have been traveling together for four years and have attended five FMCA conventions. We spend about four months total on the road. Usually an FMCA convention, maybe another rally and some sightseeing. Then we have football weekends in the fall. These are not long trips, but they are great getaways, especially if Virginia Tech wins.

Our favorite motorhoming destinations:
The southwest. Arizona, Nevada, up through Colorado. We really liked British Columbia and Alaska and hope to return to that area.

Our all-time favorite motorhome trip:
Western Canada, British Columbia, the Yukon, Alaska to the Arctic Circle.

Our “dream” motorhome trip:
Do it all over again!

Our perfect day of motorhome travel:
Drive about 200 miles, find a nice campground, take the towed car for a spin through the local area and try to get off the beaten path. Sometimes “off the beaten path” may be in the middle of the day. In the evenings we can review Betty’s digital pictures and do some editing and archiving.

Our worst motorhoming experience:
A flat tire in British Columbia 50 miles from help in both directions, no phone service. The towed vehicle came in handy again.

Something about motorhoming that we know now but did NOT know when we started:
How much fun it would be. Even driving is usually relaxing, except in dense urban areas. We have met so many great people at FMCA conventions and then run into them again on the road. We have probably met people from all 50 states.

When driving a motorhome, the most important thing to remember is:
Know where you are on the road. Learn where the wheels are on the passenger side. In Baja California, Mexico, we experienced 9- and 10-foot lane widths with no shoulders. We learned to ride the white line.

Our motorhoming pet peeve:
Drivers that do not understand the dangers of changing lanes so close in front of us.

Advice to other motorhome owners:
Go while you can. You never know when you will be called home. There is so much in this great country to see.

Our hobbies:
We enjoy our time at the house, although the yard work is starting to get old. We work with a youth program sponsored by the Elks (36 years) and with various activities of the United Way (17 years). We also enjoy spending time visiting our children and grandchildren.

Favorite restaurant:
Italian restaurants — Zeppoli’s Italian Restaurant in Blacksburg, Va., and Leonoro’s Spaghetti House in Charleston, W.Va.

Something others would be surprised to know about us:
We have known each other for over 60 years (junior high school) and began traveling together in 2004 following the loss of our spouses to the ravages of cancer.

If we were awarded a shopping spree at the store of our choice, the store we’d choose is:
Probably Wal-Mart.

A celebrity we admire:
We carry Red Skelton, Bob Hope and Lucille Ball tapes with us.

Our favorite campground:
Lexington Horse Park in Lexington, Ky.

When motorhomers visit our state or hometown, they should be sure to see:
The New River Gorge Bridge in southern West Virginia (876 feet) and watch the BASE jumpers parachute in early October. Also in the area, Beckley, W.Va, has an underground coal mine that has guided tours and is very interesting and educational. We also have great hiking and winter sports areas that take the backseat to no place in this country.

Items that we always keep in our motorhome refrigerator while traveling:
Water and wine. Orange juice when we can find the right kind.

Our advice to new motorhomers:
Keep on top of the PM (preventive maintenance) schedule. You probably won’t trade as often as you do a car. Be cognizant of the things in the basement that you haven’t used for several trips. “Things” seem to accumulate and keep adding weight, thereby lowering fuel mileage. Like your house — clean out the basement at least once a year.

Behind our motorhome, we tow:
We flat tow a 2008 Jeep Liberty with a Skyslider roof.

When we're online, we like to:
Mostly check e-mail. We are not surfers.

We joined FMCA because:
The first year’s membership came with the purchase of our unit. After experiencing our first convention, Brunswick, Maine (August 2000), we were hooked. The conventions give us a destination, so we have an excuse for the journey.

FMCA chapters that we belong to:
The CAT RV Club, Elk International, West Virginia Mountaineers, Hokie Travelers, Safari International.

Other comments:
Betty and I renewed our friendship at our 50th high school class reunion after the passing of our spouses. Betty asked what I was doing, and I responded that I had a motorhome packed and the dog and I were getting ready to go to Oregon to an FMCA Convention in Redmond. Betty had seen that “my fantasy vacation,” as listed on Classmates.com, was to RV across America. I said, “There is an empty seat over there. You cook and I drive.” Since then, we have been across the country four times, did 11,500 miles to Alaska, and 8,400 miles down the west coast of Mexico and back up the Baja. She is a great believer now in the RV lifestyle. Life is good!

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