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Meet a Member | Family Motor Coach Association

Dennis McCanna and Diane Stewart McCanna, full-timers

Motorhome owner Diane McCanna Motorhome owner
Hometown:
We are full-timers, but our domicile is Rapid City, S.D. 

FMCA membership number:
F392956 (we joined in 2007)

Our current motorhome:
2008 Fleetwood Discovery 40X, 41.5 feet

Three words that best describe our motorhome:
LOVE OUR COACH!

The best thing about our motorhome:
It's economical for what it is. Occupied space is comfortable like a home, as the seating is like a small living room separate from the kitchen! No tracking up the living area when someone comes in for an adult beverage.

Other motorhomes we’ve owned:
This is our first motorhome … actually our first RV. We were both avid boaters!

We decided to buy a motorhome because:
We both wanted to see the U.S. and the boat would not run on dry land too well. Skegs and props kept getting stuck in the asphalt!

Our occupations:
Dennis is a retired environmental engineer. Diane is a physician (she’s supposed to be retired but has debated it over the past 1½ years).

Children
Erin, our daughter. Grandkids: none, and my daughter told me not to hold my breath.

We travel in our motorhome approximately:
Twelve months of the year. When we’re not motorhoming, we’re: In the U.S. somewhere in our coach watching TV(s).

Our favorite motorhoming destinations:
Our favorite places seem to be places where our friends are. We have friends across the whole U.S. and even Canada, and we enjoy spending good times every time we meet up with them. Cities and towns are somewhat similar (they all have a Burger King and Chiles), but we find new RV friends as we travel from area to area and the list gets bigger by the month.

Our all-time favorite motorhome trip:
This past year we left Georgia in January and made it to Huntington Beach, California, in June. We spent two months in California with two weeks dry camped in front of some close friends' house that Diane had not seen in many years. In his first life, Diane’s friend was an executive chef with a flair for cooking, so we ate and had happy hours, then had happy hours and ate …  you get the picture. Great friends and great times.

Although they wanted us to stay at their home, we convinced them we would stay in our coach. After two weeks they agreed it was a great way to enjoy friends (they could kick us out and not worry about us driving or having to wait on us hand and foot). None of us wanted the experience to end. But alas, the road was beckoning us to leave.

Our “dream” motorhome trip:
We have not toured the entire U.S. yet, so for Diane it will be finishing the tour of the U.S. As for me, I would like to tour England and Europe. Don’t know if it is possible, but if we can get this baby down the streets of London or Edinburg, I am game!

Our perfect day of motorhome travel:
Every day is a perfect day. We only travel approximately 250 miles a day every two to three weeks unless we find someplace we like and then we will stay longer. While on the road, if I get tired we stop. If I get hungry we stop. If for some reason something happens and we don’t get where we want to … who cares. WHAT A LIFE! I have my cell phone in case I MIGHT want to talk to someone, and as far as everything else is concerned, well … a bad day of RVing is definitely better than a good day working on a job.

Our worst motorhoming experience:
Haven’t had one yet. Excuse me a second … okay, I am back. I had to get up and go knock on some wood or the rear end or engine will fall out of this thing the next time out. I hate to jinx myself, but I know my luck will give out someday. Like I said, I am an ex-boater.

Our motorhoming pet peeve:
You just had to ask this one! Campgrounds that lie about what they have, meaning stretching the truth or their pictures from 1920 don’t match the broken-down shack they call a bathroom facility and campground managers that treat you like a third-class citizen. Frankly, I think most of these folks need to find another way to make a living. They don’t belong in the hospitality business. See, you should not have asked this one.

The best addition or alteration we’ve made to our motorhome:
Well, we have to divide this into his and hers. For Diane, our MCD Duo Day/Night Shade System and wheel well covers! The shades definitely block out everything at night, and the interior screens cut down on radiant sun rays, which cut down some of the heat load.

For me, my piggyback lift, which enables me to carry my Honda Gold Wing motorcycle. Of course, my addition is more important; I sure hope she doesn’t read this!

Fleetwood Discover motorhome owned by FMCA membersIf we could change one thing about our motorhome:
Add a ½ bath (without changing the floor plan at all) and a third air conditioner. See, there really is a reason to pay $100,000 + for 6 more inches of coach. They build in a third A/C unit.

Something about motorhoming that we know now but did NOT know when we started:
We are full-timers, which are different from snowbirds or vacation folks! Meaning, we don’t own property in any state. This is a lifestyle that few people on the outside FULLY understand. At least, I have yet to find someone who understands. Insurance is an issue for a full-timer, although most people don’t realize it. The insurance industry does not understand our lifestyle. Medical coverage also can be an issue.

When driving a motorhome, the most important thing to remember is:
Watch your weight, know your vehicle limitations, watch your air pressure in your tires, and drive defensively. There are plenty of crazies out there; been to Atlanta or Los Angeles lately?

Our advice for other motorhome owners:
Keep your vehicle in the best shape that is possible! If something is wrong, fix it. I learned that from being stranded in the ocean on a boat. The reality is if you pay attention to your house on wheels and try to keep it maintained it will serve you well. Attempt to learn all you can about your vehicle, because things will happen when help is scarce (that Murphy thing). So the more you know, the less stress you will have when something happens. Join a number of forums (if nothing else as just a lurker) and try to understand some of the problems that occur and take notes. You never know when you will need to do something yourself.

Motorhomers and motorcyclistsOur hobbies:
Dennis; I have my motorcycle which I ride a lot and try to join up with the local Gold Wing Riders groups wherever we go and I plan to join the Retreads Motorcycle Group (does the name of that group give away my age?). Then my computers and Web site (www.mccanna.ws) keep me busy at times trying different things. Hey, what else can you do in 400 square feet of space?

Diane loves to cook and … WATCH TV. We have a TV everywhere you can possibly stick one and they are all on! Surprised she does not have one that hangs around her neck so when she walks 10 feet to the next area of the coach she does not miss something. Oh, I really hope she doesn’t read this or I WILL BE in the dog house, if I had one. (I guess I could try sleeping on the motorcycle lift.) Diane also is in charge of the “Happy Hour” thing, meaning I guess she is the entertainment manager in our duo. She is pretty good at it. She enjoys coming up with new foods, new hors d’oeuvres and various specialty martinis. Of course, I don’t partake so I can’t tell you how good the martinis are.

We are trying to develop other interests, but we are still in the learning stages. You know that old dog’s thingy, but we are trying. We have a couple of more years to go, I hope, as long as we can get away from the TV(s)!

Favorite restaurant:
Whoever has the best Happy Hour, you will find us there! Found lots of great places … too many to list, especially the ones with the 2fers! Hope you aren’t getting the wrong idea. Diane likes a bargain --she always claims the MD after her name stands for More Discount!

A celebrity we admire:
Sorry, can’t go there as it is a radio/TV personality that in some circles incites hostility! But his initials are GB! I love that guy, because he can combine humor with the ridiculousness of the day!

Something others would be surprised to know about us:
We really are not as weird as we come across sometimes. Hey, just enjoy life. It is way too short.

If we were awarded a shopping spree at the store of our choice, the store we’d choose is:
Not going here either. I have a “coach” rule: No purchases for the coach unless you throw something out. No SHOPPING sprees for Diane! I just know she will get to read this at some point and I don’t want to give her any ideas; she has plenty of her own.

Favorite campground:
This is a very hard question to answer, as we have not been all over yet, but I am very fond of the Beaudry RV Resort in Tucson Ariz. First-class everything at a reasonable price. If we go back out West sometime in the future for the winter, we will definitely consider staying there.

When motorhomers visit our state or hometown, they should be sure to see:
Not applicable for us. We only have a home country and such a great one it is!

Items that we always keep in our motorhome’s refrigerator:
Adult beverages. Are you forgetting the Happy Hours? Shame on you.

What’s the best motorhoming advice you’ve ever received:
Pack light, you don’t need what you think you do.

I asked a dear friend what we should pack for the road after we sold our house (I am not much into inventing the wheel) and he told me this: “Pack two shirts, two pairs of pants, two sets of underwear, and two sets of socks. Wear one set and then throw the other in the Splendide [washer/dryer].” We have everything packed including suits, dress shirts and enough of everything that I don’t have to do laundry for at least six months, ah, maybe a year. What do I wear, you ask? Well, I should have followed his advice.

Our advice to new motorhomers:
From my point of view, I wish I would have started this journey earlier in my life, if only on a part-time basis. Everywhere we go there is something new to experience and new people to meet (most of them like Happy Hours, too). All kidding aside, this is a wonderful experience and if you get out of your coach to mingle a little you will meet wonderful people from all over the U.S. I have a new friend from Chicago whom we met in Texas that could not help but stop and talk to people. He had half of the park at his coach on a Friday evening (yeah, I know, another Happy Hour), but the point I am trying to make is there are great times to be had.

A technical or travel tip we’d like to share with other motorhome owners:
If you are looking for your first RV, the process needed to find the “perfect one” can be daunting, especially if you are technically challenged. Oh, the choices … gas or diesel, 300 HP, 500 HP, Fleetwood or Monaco, pass-throughs or regular bay storage, gas oven or just an electric combo. What is standard on some cheaper models you pay extra on more expensive models. You have the questions, the comparisons, the wife dragging you by the back of the neck from dealer to dealer and unit to unit, making the choice more confusing and she loves them all. I HATE SHOPPING!

Start smart and purchase a set of CDs from www.rv.org that makes comparisons between models and brands. www.rv.org will even give you an idea of the discount that can be obtained. After this has been studied you can arm yourself with pad and pencil and start comparing units. It took us a year, but we actually found the perfect coach for us, and I love it! Of course, that does not mean that your wife will stop looking for the latest and greatest that will break your pocketbook, but at least you will have what you will enjoy if you can keep her enthusiasm to a dull roar.

Of course, buying used is smart, especially if diesel, but I probably just incited an argument with that statement. Facts are: Listen to 100 percent of everything you are told by other owners and dealers, then believe in 10 percent. Your research will point you in the right direction; haste really does make waste ($$$s) when buying one of these things.

See if there is an Internet forum specifically for the brand/model you are considering and take part; the information gained will be enlightening. There are plenty of smart people out there on the road and most will gladly spend the time to help.

Behind our motorhome, we tow:
We have a 2008 Hyundai Sonata that we flat tow off our motorcycle lift for our 2008 Gold Wing using a Roadmaster All Terrain tow bar and Roadmaster air-operated braking system for the auto. I know everything we bought was a 2008 model as we were trying to stimulate the economy. It didn’t work for the economy, but everything is new or at least was, and made Diane happy. That was stimulating enough!
 
Pets that travel with us her:
Just the ol’ dog (me): according to my dear wife!

When we’re online, Web sites we like to visit:
Dennis: Discovery Forum, American Coach Forum, FMCA, RV Park Reviews. In short, I go to Web sites where I can save a few dollars learning or doing something so Diane can do her thing and spend the money I saved.

Diane: QVC, Monaco.com, Americancoach.com, Countrycoach.com, Marathoncoach.com. In short, anyplace where she can buy something to keep me in the poor house!

We joined FMCA because:
We were handed an Family Motor Coaching magazine two years ago and were told we would learn about the lifestyle along with other subjects. Besides, he said he would get a new FMCA road atlas if we joined. So I joined. I’m a pushover.

FMCA chapters that we belong to:
We are trying to join the Georgia Southerners, but they can’t seem to catch up with us because of our schedule … well, maybe it is the other way around. We joined them at a couple of their functions and they are great folks! Persistence will prevail if they remember us, BUT THEN, who can forget us?

Other comments:
All kidding aside, we are not excessive drinkers. Okay, so Diane isn’t; I just try and keep up, but we like the camaraderie (just trying to save my butt after making all these statements!). We hope to see you along the way for a Friday afternoon get-together, but you have to bring an hors d'oeuvre to share! Life on the road is great!

Oh, yeah, I forgot to add: I love to pick on my wife as it keeps life interesting. She WILL GET EVEN … trust me.

Other FMCA members may contact use via e-mail:

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