FMCA membership number: F135558 (we joined FMCA in 1990)
FMCA chapters we belong to:
Monaco International, Monaco Romers, Monaco Wan-na-go's
Our current motorhome: a 2002 42-foot Monaco Signature
Other motorhomes we have owned:
1972 Landau, 25-foot
1979 Landau, 29-foot
1980 Holiday Rambler Imperial, 33-foot
1990 Monaco Crown Royal, 38-foot
1994 Monaco Signature, 40-foot
1999 Monaco Signature, 42-foot
We decided to buy a motorhome because:
We felt that it was a safer way to travel. We liked the idea of being able to just drive off if it was necessary. We also liked the height and better visibility as we traveled.
Three words that best describe our current motorhome:
Convenient, comfortable, classy
What we like best about our current motorhome:
The solid feeling of the coach. It has no rattles and it's easy to handle on the road. We could not do without the Aqua-Hot heating system, which gives us quick hot water and heat. Also, the thin-lined satellite TV and DVD system drops down from the ceiling and has made a big difference in space.
For 35 years Larry and I owned and operated restaurants in New Mexico, Texas and San Diego — 15 Taco Bells, four steakhouses, and three Japanese eateries. Larry did the locations, the terms and financing and supervised the construction. He was previously in farming and cattle ranching.
I (Val), a business major, was the CEO and ran the business offices and operations for three corporations. I also am an Interior designer and did the interiors of the establishments. Previously I worked as the private secretary to a purchasing agent and owned and operated a small grocery store. During this time I also managed their three children.
The best thing about motorhoming is:
Being able to go just about anywhere. Not having to pack a suitcase. Sitting up higher so you get a great view of the surrounding country, safely. And meeting nice people.
We have a son, two daughters and seven grandchildren — three grandsons and four granddaughters ages 12 to 22.
We travel in the motorhome approximately:
Two to three months per year. When we’re not motorhoming we’re busy with the grandkids' cheerleading, football, basketball, baseball games — sometimes three times a day. I am almost a taxi service, taking someone to school or picking them up, or to the dentist or a tutor or to ride horses. Larry wants to paint my car yellow. He takes the boys golfing and lets them drive the cart, or they just hang out.
Our all-time favorite motorhome trip was:
We have had many over the years. But the first time we went to Oregon was such a delight. It was cool and green. We’re from the desert, so to us, the coastline was the most fascinating and magnificent and beautiful place we had ever seen. We truly enjoyed the artwork of God, which he created in Oregon’s coastline.
Other favorite motorhoming destination:
We love the Oregon coastline. There is so much to see and the views are fabulous. We never get to stay long enough. Parker Dam in Arizona is a favorite, as well as Kerrville, Texas. A group trip going to Branson, Mo., is always fun. Or to the Buckhorn Lake Resort at Kerrville.
One of our fondest motorhoming memories is:
In 1995 we took our two oldest granddaughters with us to Minot, N.D. In South Dakota we visited Flintstones Bedrock City, Wall Drugstore, Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood and Crazy Horse. We also went to a rodeo in Laramie, Wyo. Along the way, we even watched the little melodramas that the towns put on. We ended our trip with the FMCA convention at the North Dakota State Fairgrounds. This was the year the hail came down like small baseballs.
Our dream motorhome trip would be:
Perhaps redoing a few of the trips we have done before and perhaps the Mississippi barge trip.
Our worst motorhoming experience was:
Driving a 42-foot coach to Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico. The places we went were great and the people we traveled with were fun, but the roads are not made for anything over 32 feet. Even then it is not so good.
There were 10 coaches in our group and on the second day one went over an embankment. The car they were towing was totaled when it flipped over and landed in a gulley. Their motorhome also was damaged badly. We managed to get the towed car out of the gulley.
Roads were so narrow that the sides of the coaches were right on the white lines on both sides, with no shoulders. It was very difficult to pass oncoming traffic. All but two of the coaches had problems and damages relating to the roads or entries into camp areas.
The best addition we’ve made to our motorhome is:
A satellite radio. We can get every station in the country, maybe several countries. We really enjoyed it on our Mexico excursion. The comedy stations gave us something to laugh about.
Something about motorhoming that we know now but didn’t know when we started is:
That it takes a lot more room to park a motorhome than some of our other RVs
When driving the motorhome, the most important thing to remember is:
To slow down, enjoy the sights, remember that your weight makes a difference when someone veers in front of you or when you need to stop quickly. And that an ounce of precaution is worth a pound of cure.
Our favorite thing(s) about FMCA is:
Meeting people from all over the country and seeing the latest in new coaches and accessories at rallies and conventions
A motorhoming tip we’d like to share with other motorhomers:
Wal-Mart stores are great places to stop when you come into a new town. They have plenty of room to park and are RV friendly. At night Wal-Mart is a ”friendly face in the crowd” when you do not know where you are. And in the daytime it can provide maps, food, the jacket you forgot to bring, repair parts for almost anything, medical supplies. They can even fix your glasses, as some motorhomers choose to have their prescriptions permanently in Wal-Mart's computer system.
Wal-Mart stores that are privately owned or have a city ordinance may be off-limits for staying overnight. It's always nice to check with a store manager to get permission before parking overnight, especially if no other RVers are in the lot.
Our hobbies/interests are:
Flying is Larry's passion. He is instrumented rated and has been flying for 54 years. He has been a member of AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) for 51 years. He is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable sources for information about flying Baja California and has provided information and writings for several publications. He has a Web site, www.bajadreams.com, which covers a good deal of information on Baja. Larry is also in charge of the development of Monaco International’s Web site, www.monacorvclub.com. He also enjoys deep-sea fishing and a little golf.
My (Val) interests include art, music, a doll collection, a Santa Clause collection, a book collection, gardening, and buying houses, cleaning them up, redecorating them and reselling them. I have designed interiors for restaurants, offices, homes and boats.
Our favorite way to exercise is:
No real favorite, but when we do exercise, we walk and work in the yard. And we have three different types of machines in an exercise room that we test once in a while.
Family and comedy movies like Remember the Titans, A Beautiful Mind, Miracle on 34th Street, Pretty Woman.
Larry reads short stories and flying and motorhome magazines. Val likes autobiographies and history; Charles Dickens' writings; The Robe by Lloyd Cassel Douglas; interior design books.
"Because of You,” “Pretend,” “Stardust,” “He touched me,“ "It is Well with My soul,” “The Wind Beneath My Wings." We like them all: classical, country, old and new.
Casa de Pico and Del Mar Fish House, San Diego. Our favorite types of foods are Mexican and seafood. Our favorite fast-food is Sonic Drive-In.
Larry: Bass Pro Shops, Best Buy. Val: the Scottsdale shopping area in Phoenix, Ariz.
Outdoor Resorts Indio (Calif.), Outdoor Resorts Pacific Shores (Newport, Ore.), Beaudry RV Resort & Rally Park in Tucson, Ariz.
When motorhomers visit our state or hometown, they should be sure to see:
White Sands National Monument, New Mexico Museum of Space History, Old Mesilla, Hubbard Museum of the Horse, Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Indian Market in Santa Fe, Old town in Albuquerque, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, The Mission at Santa Fe, War Eagles Air Museum, town of Truth or Consequences, and Ciudad Juarez in old Mexico.
While traveling, we always keep these items in our motorhome's refrigerator:
Cheese, nuts, peanut butter and diet caffeine-free Coke
Advice to new motorhomers:
Join an RV club and take advantage of members' knowledge and experience. Larger clubs have classes in almost everything and so does FMCA. Don’t be afraid of asking questions. Relax and enjoy the experience.
Behind our motorhome, we tow:
A 1999 Chevrolet Blazer, using a tow bar
Our favorite activity to do inside the motorhome:
Play cards, watch movies and read (it seems like we never get enough time to read at home)
Pets we travel with:
None but we do have a big stuffed dog named George. He’s an easy keeper and looks real in the window.
We love our motorhome and motorhoming. We have been doing this kind of traveling for 52 years.
Larry and I are the president and vice president of Wal-Mart Bound International. It's a travel club that Larry started about nine or 10 years ago just for fun. He gave a special badge to anyone who had stayed at a Wal-Mart five times. Well, it snowballed and we now have over 1,300 members and they are all happy campers.
We are the permanent presidents, we do not have any club fees, and we only meet when we are at a Wal-Mart. Anyone can have a meeting and fellowship. Our only rule is to be polite and do not overstay your welcome. Wal-mart is not a campground. It is a convenience.
We got our first member from England. Wal-Mart is opening its first store there and a couple wanted to be our first member overseas.
Our lives in the motorhome world have been super. We have made so many great friends. We have been very lucky along the way. We've had so many people help us, it's hard to thank all of them.