Meet a Member | Family Motor Coach Association
FMCA membership number: F342916 (we joined in 2004)
Our current motorhome:
A 2004 Alfa See Ya, 38-foot
Other motorhomes we have owned:
A 1996 Fleetwood Bounder
The best way to describe our current motorhome:
Our home on wheels. Where ever we are, we are home.
The best thing about our motorhome:
We love the Alfa’s livability. It’s also very easy to drive. That enables us to make trips we would otherwise not be able to take, since I, Wayne, still work full-time.
We decided to buy a motorhome because:
We are both tent campers from way back, but we had gotten away from camping due to our busy schedules. A little poodle adopted us (long story) and we started thinking, what are we doing to do with this dog? I owned an airplane at the time, and the dog took to flying just fine. But we still had the problem of what to do with the dog when we got “there,” wherever “there” was. So we decided to try motorhoming. Our Bounder was our first taste, and it was love at first sight. We (and the dog and a cat) haven’t looked back since.
I am a professor of marriage and family therapy at Regions University. I also maintain a busy practice of marriage and family therapy. I’m retired from the U.S. Air Force after 23 years as a USAF Chaplain. Donna is a registered nurse. Currently, she works part-time teaching CPR through a local hospital’s education department.
The best thing about motorhoming:
We get to get away from the stresses of everyday life and just take time out to be in love.
We have three children and three grandchildren (all grandsons).
We travel in the motorhome:
At least twice a month. Since I (Wayne) work full-time, we cannot make trips longer than a week — and those are only during semester breaks. We do try to get out twice a month for three nights at a time every month, 12 months a year.
Our favorite motorhoming destination:
Hard to say. We love going to new places. There is so much of the wonderful country we have not seen yet. There are very few places we have ever been that we said, “Wow, I don’t want to go back there again.”
Our all-time favorite motorhome trip:
During semester break we took eight days to go to Natural Bridge in Virginia and to New York City. We camped in sight of the Statue of Liberty and visited Ellis Island, where Donna’s grandparents arrived from Holland. We also went to Amish country around Lancaster, Pa., and then to Gettysburg.
Another favorite motorhome trip:
The 75th anniversary of the Tulip Festival in Holland Mich., was fabulous. Since Donna is from Dutch ancestry, it felt like home, even though she had never been there before. Hard to say if this is our favorite or second favorite.
Our “dream” motorhome trip:
Some day we want to be able to take about a month and go out West. See Zion, Canyon Lands, the Black Hills, etc.
Describe your perfect day of motorhome travel:
Ideally, we’d like to be able to travel six hours or less to our destination, and then enjoy the rest of the day seeing the sights. Donna fixes meals while we travel, so we would just pull into a rest area, enjoy the meal in our motorhome, and let the dog and the cat get a little food and take care of business.
Our worst motorhoming experience:
In our Bounder we were loading up, getting ready for a trip when the refrigerator caught fire. Wayne extinguished the fire before the fire department ever got there, but it did over $10,000 damage and the Bounder was out of action for several weeks. Fortunately, this happened in our driveway at home, so it was bad, but could have been much worse.
Our motorhoming pet peeve:
RV parks that have the sites so close together that when we have our slideout extended, we could almost literally shake hands with the RVer in the site next to us. We go motorhoming to relax, to get away from stress, not to get stacked up like chord wood. It may be okay for park profits, but those parks we do not go to — or, if we get caught, we don’t go back to.
The best alteration or addition we’ve made to our motorhome:
We haven’t done any major alterations to our Alfa See Ya. Haven’t needed to yet, except to get rid of the satellite TV (there is nothing to watch anyway — we get local weather on the broadcast TV and watch DVDs or listen to the radio the rest of the time). On our Bounder, the best thing we ever did, by far, was install the full Banks Power system.
If we could change one thing about our motorhome:
Have more comfortable furniture. The back of the couch is too low for me, and the seats, especially the captains’ chairs, are too high for Donna to be comfortable without a footrest.
Something about motorhoming that we know now but did not know when we started:
I was very surprised about the lack of quality control. There were lots of little things we had to fix (like air leaks that needed sealed). I thought a new motorhome would be like a new car — relatively trouble free. Quality control remains a very real problem for the industry and makes me wonder if I will ever buy another new motorhome.
When driving the motorhome, the most important thing to remember is:
We’re in a motorhome, not a sedan. Not only are we quite a bit wider, it also takes a lot longer to stop 28,000 pounds than it does to stop 3,000 pounds, even with air brakes.
We joined FMCA because:
We want to support those who support us. We like the FMCA magazine, and we use the FMCA/Flying J fuel discount as often as possible. We use the FMCA discount at parks where that applies. Those are the main benefits for us.
Advice for other motorhomers:
Since we go motorhoming an average of two times a month, we have double everything — socks, underwar, food, etc. — that stays in the motorhome and a duplicate in the house. That greatly simplifies both the loading and the unloading for a trip. We try to stay as ready to go as possible. We have on occasion literally loaded up and pulled out of the driveway within 45 minutes of the time we made the decision we wanted to go.
Walking, hiking, running (Wayne), photography
Our favorite saying:
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.”
— Henry Ford
Our favorite holiday:
We love Christmas. It’s the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace. Though we are losing a lot of this in this era of “political correctness,” it’s a time when people you don’t even know will greet you.
Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse
We don’t have a favorite. There are quite a few we can think of some positive things about, and very few we would say we would never want to go back to. The excitement is seeing new things. When we do get good service, we go back when we are in that area again.
When motorhomers visit our state or hometown, they should be sure to see:
Alabama isn’t called “Alabama the Beautiful” for nothing. In our state, motorhomers should be sure to see (no particular order to this list) Bellengrath Gardens, Mobile; Battleship USS Alabama, Mobile; U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville; Little River Canyon National Preserve, Fort Payne; Noccalulu Falls, Gadsen; Vulcan Park, Birmingham; Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, Birmingham. In Montgomery area they should be sure to see Old Alabama Town, the First White House of the Confederacy, the Civil Rights Memorial, and the State Capitol.
Items always on hand in our motorhome refrigerator?
Bird’s Eye Voila! quick meals. In less than 10 minutes you can cook a nutritious meal, which doesn’t take away from your time for fun.
Our advice to new motorhomers:
Have fun. Don’t stress. And go with your own rhythm; don’t worry about what other people do.
Behind our motorhome, we tow:
A 2002 Saturn SL, connected to our motorhome four-down with a Blue Ox Aladdin tow bar.
Pets that travel with us:
We have a miniature poodle (Jean Claude — 7 pounds) and a cat (Cole, 12 pounds, mixed breed). We just got a new kitten, Cody, that we rescued from the pound. Cody will travel with us, too.
When we’re online we’re checking out:
Web sites of campgrounds we intend to visit or are thinking of visiting, and Web sites of areas we plan to visit.
A lifestyle tip we’d like to share with other motorhome owners:
Wayne puts all the photos we take into a slide show, complete with narration and background music. Then at night, when nothing is on TV, we can watch the slide shows of our past trips and relive the fun. The narration and music adds more than just looking at pictures in a book.
Also, if we have a choice, we always stay in parks that offer free Wi-Fi. Staying connected is important to us, and we support those campgrounds that make it possible — and don’t charge ridiculous prices for that access.
Something others would be surprised to know about us:
We’re really tent campers at heart. Most people see us as professional people and they have no idea there’s really a country boy and a country girl in there.
Other FMCA members may contact us at:
We may be relatively typical of the “baby boomers” in the RV community — not the “joiners” that previous generations were, but still interested after all these years in making things better for others.