08.11.16 2017 Entegra and Fleetwood Motorhomes

Thursday, August 11, 2016 – Two of the motor home companies proudly displaying their 2017 models at the FMCA Convention were Entegra and Fleetwood. We toured several of them and I wanted to share here what we saw for those shopping for a motorhome.

FIRST ARE THE ENTEGRA MOTORHOMES

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Outside second freezer that slides into a storage bin20160804_151740

Really nice carpeted storage areas with slide out bins20160804_151758

These show special signs will precede the interior photos for that coach. 20160804_151852 20160804_152420 20160804_152439 20160804_152458 20160804_152509 20160804_152717 20160804_152806

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20160804_153511 20160804_153520 20160804_153557 20160804_153643 20160804_153716This really nice young lady gave me her business card when I asked for one so yall would have a contact, but I can’t find it now. Sorry! 20160804_154110

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This is their top of the line model. 20160804_154143 20160804_154155 20160804_154245 20160804_154317 20160804_154344 20160804_154359 20160804_154407 20160804_154447 20160804_154539

These are the Fleetwood models (like Dora). There is one model we really liked and it’s the first one below. Maybe because it’s laid out very similar to ours, it’s the same length and I love the flooring!

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The white spots are the ceiling lights shining on the floor20160806_154745

Kitchen backsplash20160806_154928 20160806_155048 20160806_155141 20160806_155200 20160806_155224 20160806_155253 20160806_155326 20160806_155335________________________________________

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This is the top of the line Fleetwood. I have a video of it at the end.20160806_160036

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We enjoyed seeing these beauties but when we got back to Dora we were reminded she’s the one for us!

Here is a link to a page that covered the FMCA convention sharing a lot of photos I didn’t have for that post!

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/08/photos_family_motor_coach_asso.html

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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08.07.16 FMCA Convention in West Springfield, Massachusetts

ese-gallery-history-01Sunday, August 6, 2016 – We arrived on Tuesday morning, August 2nd on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition, known locally as the Big E.  The Big E is a massive place with several convention buildings all being used by the Family Motor Coach Association for this Convention which RVers know as a “Rally.”

The photos below are of the main expo center and several of the buildings along the Avenue of States that are not even on the aerial photograph of the Big E.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe helped Curtis set up our booth on Tuesday.  Wednesday the convention started and we worked 1 pm to 5 pm.  Thursday Friday and Saturday we worked 9 am to 5 pm.  Ours was the “RVillage” booth.  FMCA members are mostly older folks our age and much older.  Most of them have not heard of RVillage. I can say that most all of them at the Rally know who we are and a lot have signed up to be RVillagers.

We smiled, introduced ourselves and shared the RVillage love all day every day.  We truly loved every minute of it, mostly because we love RVillage.  We are beyond exhausted right now (Saturday evening) since we just left the exposition hall for the last time and are now back, enjoying our wonderful Dora who hasn’t seen much of us these last few days!

Curtis and one of our RVillage Ambassadors Jim Hollis (Jim is the FMCA Chaplain). Jim and his wife Jan were delightful to visit with.  20160806_122811

Curtis put on two RVillage seminars.  I attended this one with him and operated the computer showing the attendees all about RVillage.com.20160805_135636

A tiny bit of the the main exposition building.20160804_154700

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Our RVillage booth showing my boss Curtis in one photo, Roy in another and me in one!20160804_115058 20160804_105347 20160804_105025

One of the booths adjoining ours!20160803_131534

One night we went out to dinner on the convention center grounds in an area of old New England homes in Storrowtown Village.  The restaurant was the Storrowtown Tavern.  If you’re from Hammond the inside was similar to Jacmel Restaurant with the big fireplace and old wooden floors.  I enjoyed Yankee Pot Roast and Roy enjoyed Fish (cod) and Chip.  As we walked out the restaurant door we were surprised by some wonderful jazz music being played in the Storrowtown Square Gazebo.  Everyone brings their lawn chairs and claps and taps along with the music.  20160804_174319 20160804_174146 20160804_190554 20160804_190603 20160804_190637 20160804_190706

RVillage was so well received that our booth stayed very busy through out the convention so we all needed to be there most of the time. Roy was able to attend two seminars, Catepillar Diesel maintenance seminar and the Cummins Onan Generator maintenance seminar. He learned an awful lot from these two seminars.  The Spartan Chassis seminar was the main one Roy wanted to attend but it was scheduled at the same time the seminar Curtis and I did so Roy was needed at the RVillage booth and couldn’t go to that seminar.

Other than visiting the other booths we were also able to walk through dozens of new motor homes.   FMCA is predominantly Class A motor home owners, so that is what was for sale here.  The ones inside right by us were Entegra motor homes.  The ones like ours (Fleetwood) and other brands were all around the grounds outside.  I want to share with ya’ll what some of them look like but that will come next time.  These are motor homes ranging from $200,000 to $675,000!

See ya’ll tomorrow!  Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!803a55b23f049f6011a992add4f34d7d

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07.30.16 – FMCA Convention in West Springfield, Massachusetts next week August 3 – 6

fmca_online_logoSaturday, July 30, 2016 – We’re in a fairly boring location right now so I’m really looking forward to next Tuesday when we drive over to West Springfield, Massachusetts for the FMCA Convention.

The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the recreational use of motor homes. With approximately 75,000 active member families, FMCA is the largest association dedicated exclusively to the freedom, fun and enjoyment of owning a motor home.

We have been a member of FMCA for a couple of years now. When my boss, Curtis, made it known he was looking for a couple of RVillagers to attend the conference with him representing RVillage, Roy and I considered it and let him know we were his couple!!

We will help man the RVillage booth, #720 at Eastern States Exposition Hall. I’ll be sharing with ya’ll our experiences while we’re there but I wanted to take a little time today to share with you what they are about and what we think we’ll be experiencing there.

First-Year FMCA Membership is only $50 … Renewal $40. The value of FMCA’s member benefits far exceeds the cost of the annual dues. Benefit highlights:

  • Family Motor Coaching magazine — receive the monthly print edition (we receive ours online) and get immediate full access to the Web version and digital edition, including back issues, after you set up your online account
  • FMCAssist Medical Emergency and Travel Assistance Program — included with membership. As soon as you join FMCA, you are automatically enrolled in this program. It covers you worldwide, as long as you are 100 miles from home. And you can be traveling in a motorhome, car, plane, ship, or motorcycle.
  • Michelin Advantage tire purchasing — save on RV tires and passenger car tires with this popular benefit
  • Discounts at FMCA commercial member campgrounds
  • FMCA RV Insurance — priority access to the industry’s leading RV insurance experts who can find the right carrier for you and your motorhome
  • FMCA Roadside Assistance Program — group rates on this customized program
  • Approximately 475 special-interest chapters to join
  • Chapter rallies, area rallies and Family Reunions (aka conventions)
  • Exciting RV caravan tours at discounted rates

We’ve received the 112 page digital version of the Conference Magazine and the theme is “Celebrating Your Freedom.” You guys know we definitely celebrate our freedom of living on the road! We are looking forward to getting to attend some of the following:

  • Several big named manufacturers will have their motor homes on display for us to check out! We love Dora but we always love seeing what’s new! We just don’t talk about it in front of Dora!
  • Evening entertainment by “The Texas Tenors” that was featured on America’s Got Talent, Dave and Daphne, and American Idol semifinalist Ayla Brown.
  • We just know we’ll win the Grand Prize of a 34 day Mississippi River Run RV Vacation for Two!
  • We will attend the “First Time Attendees” Get Together!
  • Lots and Lots of play opportunities!
  • Roy’s going to attend the Spartan Chassis Maintenance Seminar and the Caterpillar Engine Maintenance Seminar.
  • We hope to attend as many seminars as possible in some of these areas as they relate to our Full timing RV life. There are dozens of seminars within each area below and several other areas:
    • Communication and Technology
    • Satellite TV and Sound
    • Websites and Blogging!!!
    • Motor home living
    • Cooking
    • Coach interior upkeep
    • Travel – from how to travel to what to see when you travel
    • Motorhome maintenance and operations
    • A big major thing that Roy’s all excited about is having Blue Ox rebuild Boot’s tow bar. This tow bar goes between Dora’s rear end and Boot’s front end.

Since the list of seminar topics within each category is very long it will take some time to narrow down the most important ones we want to see.

The list of Exhibitors (which includes RVillage) is quite extensive and should provide us with a great learning experience!

I will be spending most of the time 9-5 in RVillage’s booth but Roy will have plenty of time to learn more about this lifestyle we love. I hope to get out of the booth to take in the sites at all the other booths and to learn a little bit at a seminar or two. I like the Blogging, Cooking and Travel seminar categories! Roy will like all the maintenance and technology stuff! Hopefully we’ll get to meet and become friends with the almost 10,000 that are expected to attend.

I hope this gives ya’ll a little idea of what we are going to be experiencing next week at the Conference.

If you haven’t already checked out RVillage.com, click on the link and go on over there to sign up – it’s free!

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05.07.16 Some things

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Saturday, May 7, 2016 – It’s quiet this Saturday.  Roy’s gone to fly his remote control plane in Hammond.  Just got off the phone from a wonderful long conversation with my sister.  And I’m working on making potato salad for our family Mother’s Day tomorrow.

It seems like a lot of people like to have potato salad with their gumbo here in Louisiana.  We’ve never done that.  Just gumbo and rice, garlic bread and salad.  Roy cooked gumbo a month ago and we froze two gallon size bags of it.  We’ll have that tomorrow with rice, garlic bread and the potato salad.  Maybe some left over BBQ chicken he fixed yesterday.  Chauvins enjoy eating so perhaps we’ll have a mini feast!

Our home in Amite is on a gravel road.  It’s a pretty long distance from the main road, E. Bell Road, to the last house on the road.  The folks who live back there at the end of the road speed ridiculously down the road kicking up dust and gravel.  After much though and personally asking them to slow down, which they ignored, we ordered a sign for our front yard to “encourage” them to slow down.  Some have slowed down, others are just ugly and won’t.   The big school bus that use to zoom by here has slowed down!!  Here’s our sign:

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Chip says we’ve become the old folks because of the sign!

Roy spent a good bit of time yesterday removing all of the compartment opening handles, spraying them black again and reinstalling them.  They were quite weathered looking before with lots of grey and little black, now they are all nice and black! The first picture below shows the worn out look from before.

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This is one for every compartment we have under our motorhome, all black and pretty!20160506_131526

Some on one side open without the handles, just waiting!20160506_131530

The hole in each compartment where the handle was and will be!20160506_131553

My sweet husband Roy bought me two large plant pots for Mother’s Day.  Chip’s family gave me the two plants in the pots!  Roy potted them for me and they look beautiful on our patio!

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This week we went to the ENT doctor about Roy’s hearing and the ringing in his ears.  This is the big chamber they put you in for the hearing test.

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This sign was in the doctor’s office in the room we were in.  I thought it was great!

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This lantana is one that was transplanted from our house on Wardline in Hammond.  We transplanted three tiny bushes and they are all blooming beautifully!  20160504_181545

We added some new Cacti to our front flower garden and with what we had and the new Mother’s Day plants it is such a pretty place to sit outside now and relax!

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Yesterday, I got to do some Grannie time with Madisyn.  Picked her up from school, went to the doctor, got some yogurt with a slew of toppings, and ate dinner with Misty, Kallie and Madisyn afterwards.  Roy stayed home so I could have some quality time with Madisyn which was wonderful.  She’s an amazing little girl and is growing up by leaps and bounds.

We’ve enjoyed watching her play softball and being with the family for each game.  Some of the little girls have been playing for three years and it shows.  Even at 8 they are quite good.  Madisyn likes to twirl and sit down in the outfield but a lot of the time you can tell she knows what to do and how to stand ready to catch the ball.  Her monogrammed personal helmet is just the cutest!

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day!  One of our sons, Chip and his family, and hopefully Misty’s mom Vicki will be joining us for a time of eating, playing and perhaps some good old fellowship! First we’ll gather together with out church family at Trinity!

This poem saddened me when I read it today.  When a child, grown or not, doesn’t acknowledge the life and care their mother gave them, this is how we feel. 296142_602985553052729_401577565_n

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend, may you be surrounded by those who love you tomorrow!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear.

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10.23.13 Hallelujah our time in Decatur may be over!!! Southern cooking Chauvin style!!

1157708_10152120770741258_1338774068_nHallelujah! We most probably will get to leave our spot in the Fleetwood parking lot tomorrow after 10 days here.

This has been the least liked part of our RV life so far sitting in a gravel parking lot in the freezing cold with no place to go. I’m very thankful it is coming to an end.  After days of waiting, the part being made in Fort Wayne, Indiana was finally ready.  Roy and I drove there ourselves to get the part.  Since we didn’t get back till almost closing time at Fleetwood we gave them the part and are quite hopeful we’ll get “the call” at 6 am that they are coming to get Dora to put that part in.  The weather the last few days has been cold, windy and rainy making it miserable to go outside for anything.  It may snow tonight but not too much which will be nice if it doesn’t prevent us from leaving.

We went shopping in Fort Wane after church on Sunday and bought 2 new pots for our induction cook top since all our old pots don’t work on it.  We have a 10” skillet, 6 quart pot and 2 quart pot and that should be all we need for everything I’ll cook.  The 6 quart pot is getting its first use tonight for some homemade chili.  We went to Wal-mart earlier today and bought the fixings for chili, vegetable beef soup and gumbo. This new pot will get broken in really well these next few days.  Since our freezer won’t hold several meals of any of those things I’m learning to reduce the amount I cook so we eat one meal and freeze one meal.

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Just finished fixin’ the chili and eating a bowl of it.  It is perfect for a really cold spell like we’re having here.  Our son Chip will probably be drooling when he sees the picture I just sent him of our Chili!   It’s what I always cooked to welcome Winter to Louisiana.  We’re definitely in the midst of winter here so it’s time.   Notice the Styrofoam bowl, plate and plastic spoon!  All part of RV life at it’s best!

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I really love induction cooking and would highly recommend it for RV life or sticks and bricks house life.  Induction pots are hard to find but we finally found ours at Target.  They are expensive but they cook so well it’s very worth it.  Remember when we were starting out and Roy was so worried he’d never eat good again? Well he doesn’t worry about that any longer!

We have reservations for 7 days in Park City, Kentucky when we leave here.  There are a lot of things to see around there and we can’t wait to get there! We may be in Louisiana in less than 3 weeks and are looking forward to winter in the south!

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The World Series first game is tonight.  My Atlanta Braves are not in it but we love baseball and will be watching tonight cheering on the NL representative St. Louis Cardinals.

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

10.19.13 Life in Decatur, Indiana

Last Monday we arrived at the Fleetwood Manufacturing Plant and were given the RV site #34 to park in. On Tuesday we took the fantabulous tour of the plant.  On Wednesday they called us in for our turn to be evaluated.  We did not have a scheduled appointment so we were considered a drop-in which meant our issues would be addressed after the RVs with appointments were serviced. Once they determined what needed to be done, they had to get approval from our extended warranty people and on Friday morning we received a call around 6 am that they were going to come get Dora and us to have the approved work done.   They successfully replaced the part for the air suspension however when they replaced the O-rings on the dash a/c it was still leaking so they replaced it again and it was still leaking.  They determined it is a hose that needs to be replaced and of course they don’t have one.  A company in Fort Wayne, Indiana can make one but they don’t have the end caps.  They are pretty sure they can get those in on Monday.  They also need to replace a a/c dryer which had to be ordered and should be in Monday also. Our extended warranty is paying for most of this, for which we are very happy!

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Looking out of Dora’s door inside the maintenance garage with about 25 other RVs
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There is a pink RV next to us
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Dora being serviced
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The big lot we are all parked in.
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It’s so cold outside our neighbor kept his milk and orange juice on the outside step!

There really isn’t too much to do around here which makes this long wait even harder.  We’ve toured the local K-Mart, Salvation Army and Wal-Mart just to have something to do since we couldn’t go too far away in case Dora was called in. Yesterday we had a big outing to the Village Green Cleaners.  We haven’t been hooked up to water in over a week so the laundry really piled up.  For those who do not have an RV, we have a fresh water tank for use in washing dishes, flushing the potty and taking showers.   None left over for doing the laundry.  Roy and I drove over to the cleaners with our huge bag of laundry and a bag full of quarters.  I do not remember ever using a Laundromat so I needed some help and instruction.  The only person there was a young Amish man doing laundry.  He was very nice and polite and showed me how much money to put in and how to operate the dryers.  He had about 8 washers running and seemed to be doing his whole family’s laundry.  I didn’t think that Amish used motorized equipment like washers and dryers and certainly didn’t think that the young men did laundry.  I wanted so badly to talk to him and ask him things but I was surprised how intimidated I was of him.  He washed, dried and folded everything himself.  I saw lots and lots of black clothes, white ladies caps, a blue bedspread and a green one and a few royal blue colored clothes.  He spoke good English when he spoke to me but when his family came to pick him and the laundry up they spoke to each other in part English and part Dutch or whatever they speak.  I had my Kindle with me and was reading from Hebrews while he read from his Bible which oddly enough was a Gideon Bible.  These are the kinds of experiences that make RV life special.

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The weather has been wet, windy and cold this week which made us not want to get out too much.  Saturday afternoon the sun came out and it wasn’t raining but was still windy.  We decided we needed to get out and enjoy the day so we went to see some of downtown Decatur.  What a nice surprise it was to find a really neat town.  There are several sculptures at various spots downtown and due to the Fall season there are many big planter pots decorated by a company, group or organization about 3-4 per block.  I found out that the city is decorated getting ready for the Callithumpian parade later this month.  The folks here vote on their favorite decorated pot and the top three win a prize during the Callithumpian festival.  I have no idea what Callithumpian means but they have a sign hung over the main street announcing it!

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I tried to take pictures of all the holiday decorated pots plus the metal sculptures that are permanently there. It’s fun to get out of the car and stroll down the streets of a totally unknown city.  I felt really safe and everyone I saw (which wasn’t many) was friendly.

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We’ve found a Baptist church nearby for us to go to tomorrow. Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully we will be able to leave here Monday or Tuesday to go south to Kentucky.  Ya’ll have a great weekend! Our Southeastern Lions and LSU Tigers play this evening (not against each other so I’ll close with Geaux Lions and Tigers!

And ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

10.15.13 Fantabulous tour at Fleetwood!

We went to the two and one-half hour Fleetwood Motorhome Factory Tour here in Decatur, Indiana this morning. The tour is conducted Monday – Friday at 9 am and it is freeeeee!!! There are five Fleetwood factories in Decatur. The factory we toured, shown below, is on 95 acres, 1.2 million square feet with a paint shop that’s almost 1,000 feet long. On average, this factory produces 18 units per day. They do not build any RVs that are not pre-sold.

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This tour was far superior to the Winnebago tour we took last week.  The tour guide, Tom, had been with Fleetwood for over 20 years and knew just everything.  We all wore safety glasses and headphones so we could hear Tom no matter what the sound level was in the factory. He took us down on the factory floor for the whole tour.  We got to touch and see up close every aspect of the build. We learned that it generally takes 4 weeks for a class A RV like ours to go from start to finish.  They are not making any more the Excursion at the length ours is.  They’ve reduced it to around 33 feet.

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Fleetwood also makes American Coach RVs which is a higher level and cost between $400,000 to $650,000 for the 2014 models.   A little bit out of our price range but it was fascinating to see those up close.  The tour was an all walking tour and when we got back to Dora I was so tired I took a long, long nap.  Again we were not allowed to take pictures so I found some on the internet that others sneeked of this tour so you see some of what we saw.

Not only did we take this fantastic, informative tour today but the act of sale on our Brenda Drive rental house was held today!!!!!!!!!   Very happy to have this completed and we thank everyone who helped make this happen.  We are blessed with friends and family who pitched in to help get the house cleaned up and ready to put on the market.  Big, big thanks to our phenomenal real estate agent Jamie Johnson for making this happen so fast and go so smoothly.

We’re hoping for  6 am wake up call telling us to bring Dora in for servicing. Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!