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Studying the BEST DEFENSE, a BRAKE-LIGHT SCAM and REACHING A DEAD END

THE "CORE OF DISCOVERY" ARTIcle in the June issue leaves out some of the facts. While the article does mention that the Mandan Indians helped the explorers, the people who saved their lives were not mentioned.

In September 1805, when Lewis and Clark came from the Rocky Mountains on their westward journey, the entire party was famished and ill with dysentery, and inembers were unable to defend themselves. Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians could have put an end to the expedition on the banks of the Clearwater River and taken the Corps' wealth of horses, but instead they took care of the men and horses and supplied them with food for months. Lewis and Clark then continued by canoe to the Pacific.

I am a Cherokee American Indian and believe Chief Joseph was one of the most intelligent chiefs of all. He, and the Nez Perce Indians, deserve credit for the survival of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

WOLF SPIRIT

Crescent City, California

FREE AIR

CONCERNING THE reader's letter about Verizon's Quick Link mobile in the June issue, here is a little-known Verizon tip for roving RVers that should be helpful.

When I signed up for America's Choice plan in 2003, I could use Quick Link 2 (QL2) for free anywhere within Verizon s digital network (charges for minutes only) or, for around $80 a month (plus minutes), I could use ExpressNetwork. By current connection-speed standards, the QL2 was glacial (14K bps), but ExpressNetwork, at 115-120K bps, was about twice as fast as a standard phone modem connection. Free QL2 was slow, but with no minute charges after 9 PM, who cared?

Sometime around January 2004, Verizon brought its new high-speed data connection on-line with its National Broadband network. It was very fast, but required a newer phone and a special modern card that plugged into the laptop. Cost was still around $80 a month, plus the cost for the new phone and the required modem. What Verizon also did, but did not advertise, was to make the Express Network free (minute charges only, per your plan). Had it also deactivated QL2 at that time, it would have clued in those of us who tried to continue to use it. Instead, Verizon left it active, and we plodded along using QL2, not knowing that the 'much faster ExpressNetwork was now also free.

In November 2004, we called Verizon about another small problem and discovered, by accident, the free ExpressNetwork feature. We've used it since. I have shown this to several fellow RVers who were still using QL2. They have all now switched to ExpressNetwork. To use it, simply select ExpressNetwork instead of QL2 when you bring up your Verizon connection window. If you have any concerns as to billing or use with your individual plan, contact Verizon Data Services.

PATRICK O'DONNELL

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

ROAD RULES

I RECENTLY WAS REQUIRED TO OBtain a commercial drivers license. I disliked studying the manual and taking five written tests, but did I ever learn a lot! Some of the rules of the road had changed since I started driving more than 40 years ago. I was amazed that I had actually forgotten some of the most basic rules. Did I really get into some of those unsafe habits like other drivers I had seen, such as talking on a cell phone while weaving in and out of traffic or cutting right in front of a semi truck and then slowing down?

I am pleading with other RVers. Please take a defensive-driving course from a qualified instructor. In fact, take one every several years. It may save your life - or somebody else's.

MAUREEN CARRSYN

Sequim, Washington

REAR-END SCAM

AFTER READING THE ARTICLE "A Second Look" in the April issue, I read the sidebar titled "Hitch-Up Glare-Killer." This article makes reference to installing a kill switch to the rear tail- and brake-lights of the tow vehicle.

Prior to my retirement from the insurance business, I encountered a scam where a vehicle with a kill switch on the brake light was employed when the scammer vehicle was on a freeway onramp, usually in front of an 18-wheeler. The scammer simply threw the switch and abruptly applied the brakes, causing the truck behind to strike the rear with no forewarning. The scammer then reenergized the switch, so when the police arrived it appeared the lights were working properly.

I would suggest prior to making any modification to their vehicles, readers check with the local law enforcement or highway patrol. I shudder to think of the legal ramifications if the device was discovered during a routine rear-end traffic-accident investigation.

JOE LARUTTA

Diamond Bar, California

GPS GOOF

I THINK SOME OF THE BEST STORIES you will read can only come from RV newbies, such as myself. On our last vacation to the Pennsylvania Poconos, my wife and I were traveling in the Stroudsburg area, following the directions of my Garmin GPS. Now, anyone can tell you that counties can have different streets with the same names, but I discovered that East Stroudsburg has two Taylor Drives. Ordinarily, that would be no cause for concern. Unfortunately, we had just bought our first fifth-wheel (a Crossroads Paradise Pointe 35RL). This trailer is 35-feet long so, coupled with my F-250 King Ranch Crew Cab Long Bed, the combination reaches a grand total of 50 feet, bumper to bumper - give or take a little.

The GPS sent us merrily up the narrowest street in East Stroudsburg, lined with cars and trucks. As we pulled up to a dead end with no hope for turning around, the GPS happily chimed, "You have arrived at your destination."

Well, the campsite was in the mountains north of East Stroudsburg, technically not in East Stroudsburg, but close enough to share the same town name and postal-service code. The GPS could not possibly know that the campsite was technically in a township, not in the city. Neither did we.

With humility in hand, and a good Samaritan to help us back down the street, we got underway after a half-hour of backing and re-straightening the rig. Funny that it took me one minute to pull up, and 30 minutes to get out.

I pulled out the until-this-moment-ignored official printed campsite directions and, there on the bottom read, "Follow these directions only, do not refer to electronic GPS instructions."

JAY ROTHBERG

Holland, Pennsylvania

TRAILER CHOICE

ALTHOUGH I'M NOT AN RVER YET, I plan on buying a 30-foot travel trailer or a fifth-wheel sometime next year. At a recent RV show, I saw a number of units, but was impressed with those manufactured by Pilgrim. They seem to be a good value for the money, as well as a decent choice for an entry-level RV. But, to date, I have not seen any reviews on the Pilgrim line in your magazine. I would like to get a pro's opinion. What's the chance on reviewing one of these rigs?

CHRISTIAN MULVEY

Copperas Cove, Texas

Thanks for writing, Christian. We have a Pilgrim test in the works, so stay tuned.

YEAR-ROUND CAMPING

THE MAY ISSUE OF TRAILER LIFE featured an article on the Cowboy Trail in Alberta, Canada.

Anybody contemplating taking this trail may be interested to know that in Cochrane, just west of Calgary, the BowRivers Edge campground opened this summer. The campground is the only four-season campground on the Cowboy Trail, and is located alongside the Bow River. For more information, call (877) 932-4675, or log on to bowriversedge.com.

DAVID WERRETT

Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

HARMONY

I WAS QUITE SURPRISED AT THE ATTItude expressed about bicycles in May's Mail Box. I use my camper as a base to explore the area with my wife on a tandem recumbent.

Gas taxes only cover a small part of the cost for roads. The majority of the costs come from general revenue, such as sales, property and income taxes. Bicyclists pay all of these.

The gravel on the shoulder is not meant for bicycle travel. It is too loosely packed for the narrow-road bike tires and usually carries tire-puncturing shards of glass from discarded bottles.

The argument to ban bicycles from roads is much the same as the argument that would restrict through traffic with campers to the interstate. Remember the reason you took the back road was to see the sights. Slow down, take a deep breath and relax.

DAVE DORNON

Waterford, Wisconsin

NOT A PROBLEM

WE READ THE LETTERS IN "MAIL Box" regularly, and are amazed at how some businesses serve their customers as they would like to be treated. We encountered such a place on our most recent vacation. About 3 ½ hours into our trip, we stopped for a lunch break only to find, as we went to get back on the road, that our 1998 Dodge diesel wouldn't start. A short time later we were at Frank Shoop Chevrolet-Dodge in Georgetown, Kentucky.

As the truck was being diagnosed, I strolled around the lot and asked for the assistance of a salesperson. Just about the time the service department had made the initial diagnosis, the salesman located two trucks within a couple hours' driving time that fit our needs.

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