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Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bus Building Time -- Red Bay Campground

As planned, we left Victoria at about 4:30pm on Monday, and traveled to Lake Charles, LA to spend the evening with Mark and Sue Didelot. We got there about 9:30pm....... after first going to the wrong address. Mark and Sue moved about a mile to a new house about a year ago, and the internet that we checked still had the old address listed. As we approached Lake Charles, Patsy and Mark had a phone conversation about getting to the house. Since the old and new addresses were close together, the same exit off the interstate and the first few turns were the same...... however, neither of them figured out that they were working to get us to different houses!!!!

It wasn't until I called him and said that we were on his street, so which house was his, that we found out we had gone to the wrong street!!

Mark and Sue have a nice home, and he has a fantastic garage for his RV. Nice and tall, with full hookups inside, and a door! He even has a 50amp hookup outside the door so that someone, like us, can back up to the door, and park for a while.

We spent the night, after visiting and discussing our upcoming trips, and we got up fairly early the next morning to hit the road. Sue made us a nice breakfast and gave us some Satsumas to take with us, and we were on our way. I had planned to take a picture, but we were on the interstate before I thought about it.

We drove most of the day and arrived in Fulton, MS (just off the Natchez Trace and East of Tupelo) about 9:00pm. We spent the night in the Fulton Wal-mart, and then got up on Wednesday morning and drove to the Allegro Campground.

The campground is busy. We were put in the overflow area (without hookups), with about 20 other rigs. The campsites are first come, first served......... and we expect to be in a full hookup site by tomorrow afternoon. The campground, being also the Tiffin service area, is busy this time of year because of snowbirds stopping for service on the way south. It gets busy again next spring for the same reason.

We have met a lot of people here...... some that we had met before, and others that are watching thier rigs being built. Tom and Ann Caywood, who we met at the SC rally in Murchison are here for repairs.

Here's a couple of pictures of the overflow area: (it sort of empties in the evening and refills in the morning)

As were drove around we saw an EXCEL Fifth Wheel parked with a large diesel puller. Sue and Mark already have the big truck, and are looking to buy an EXCEL trailer. Here it is, Mark:

We have also had time to go to the factory and meet with some of the Tiffin personnel. We got a detailed schedule for our Bus' manufacture....... showing dates and times when it will be where along the line. We also verified some of the changes that we asked for are on the books. The best thing is that after we had heard of complaints about the shades in some of the rigs, I made contacts with Tiffin and the shade manufacturer, and our Bus is going to be the first to get a modified installation. That is a good thing!!

Tomorrow, we intend to rest and visit the factory to learn some more details about how to work on the Bus.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Birth of a Phaeton"

I mentioned in my last post about watching our Allegro Bus being built. Another Tiffin customer watched his Allegro Phaeton being built and documented the process. He posted it on the owners network. If you are interested in more information, go here:



Friday, October 26, 2007

Gettin' Ready for Another Road Trip

We returned home last Sunday, and right before we got here, we knew that we would be leaving again next week. We got an email from our salesperson at Sherman RV in Sherman, MS that Tiffin would begin building our motorhome on Friday, 02Nov2007.

It will all begin on Friday with a Spartan chassis being plucked out of the "field of dreams" as they nickname the storage yard for chassis prior to manufacturing. It will be driven as a naked frame into the welding shop for all the motorhome framing to be fabricated and assembled to the frame.

At 8:30am on Monday, 06Nov2007, it will be driven into the main building to begin 5 days of assembly in which all of the walls, roof, slides and all appliances and furniture will be installed. In fact, at the end of this period, it will be a completed, but unpainted motorhome. Tiffin allows owners to enter the manufacturing area with no limitations to watch. We will be able to stay every minute (if we want to), to walk along the line with it and to take all the pictures that we want.

From a previous visit, here is a partial picture of a Spartan chassis with a Cummins engine after being in the weld shop entering the manufacturing building:

Here's a picture of a Bus pretty far down the line. You can see the washer/dryer in the bedroom and the hutch in the kitchen area (forward). Note that the slide areas are cut out, but slides are not installed yet:

Here's a picture of a completed 40' Allegro Bus.......... ready for the paint shop.

Here's a coach after the paint shop:While we have been in Victoria this week, we have been working hard to get things completed, so we can leave with a clean list next week. We completed the following in 4 days:
  • Washed RV and both cars
  • Changed oil, filter and greased RV and tow card (Honda)
  • Took the written and driving test with Texas DPS to get my drivers license upgraded to "Class B-Exempt" Commercial to allow driving the Bus.
  • Removed read camera on Airstream and sent to Canada for repair
  • Took Airstream to Chevrolet dealer for rear brake job
  • Rewired Honda electric tow cord to dual RV 7-Blade to be compatible with the Bus
  • Mowed yard and trimmed trees
  • Patsy did a one day volunteer at Detar hospital
  • Patsy did a 'neighborhood birthday luncheon' that she was obligated to do last Sept.
  • Had blood tests and rescheduled Dr. appointments for next Monday to allow travel
Of course, we did a lot of other things, like visit the grandkids, but this lists was necesary. To take the driving part of the 'driver's license upgrade', I had to borrow a large motorhome. Luckily, I knew a nice guy that I used to work with, and he loaned me his Winnebago Vectra. Boy did it drive nicely. Not only did I 'ace' my written test, with this motorhome, I got '0' gigs driving it around town! Here it is:

We will be attending my nephew, John King's, wedding on Saturday evening, packing the RV on Sunday, completing our 3 month medical appointments, as well as my Mom's and Patsy's Dads on Monday, and then hitting the road for Red Bay, AL later in the afternoon. We plan to stop for the night at the home of our RV'ing friends, Mark and Sue Didelot in Lake Charles, LA on Monday night.

We expect to hit the Red Bay campgound on Wednesday morning, and do a little checking out before our rig starts fabrication on Friday morning.

More later..........

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday -- Rally Ends & Going Home!

Sunday was the last day of the rally. The day started with a pancake and sausage breakfast complete with coffee & orange juice furnished by the campground.

After breakfast, the attendees began to gather in small groups to say goodbyes and praise our rally organizers, Brigitte & Rod, for a job well done. Since they were too busy to catch in a photo on Saturday night, here they are on Sunday morning (Note the great looking non-Tiffin RV over Rod's right shoulder!!):

As a recap, there were 15 rigs at the rally with 30 people in attendance. We had two Allegro Bus', eight Phaetons, two Allegro Bays (one was a class 'C'), one Allegro, one Airstream Landyacht, and a fifth wheel. Two of the Phaetons were '08's........ one only in the owner's hands for one week! The Class 'C' belonged to the youngest couple in attendance:

Patsy and I have returned home........ so the blog will not be updated often for a couple of weeks. We expect to get the production start date on our Bus this week, and we intend to be in Red Bay to watch and take pictures. We will post critiques of that trip.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday -- Edom Art Festival / Rally Continues

Saturday morning, Patsy and I went back to Edom with the Didelots, and this time, Greg and Mandy Faure followed us in their car. We walked around the art tents, and watched a few demonstrations. The most interesting to me was a blacksmith making "bbq meat turners":

Here's the ladies shopping:

Luckily, nobody found anything to buy, but the six of us had lunch in the local cafe before we returned to the campground:

The afternoon was spent visiting and getting to know each other at the rally. Fifteen rigs attended with 30 attendees. At 6:00pm, we had a great catered BBQ dinner with brisket and sausage with all the trimmings. After dinner, we had a fireside chat. The following are general pictures of the group:

Friday -- The Rally Officially Begins!

On Friday, Patsy and I along with Sue and Mark Didelot drove down the road to Edom, TX to attend an Arts Festival that we saw advertised on a billboard when we drove through Brownsboro, TX. We were a day early..... it did not start until Saturday. So, we toured the 1 1/2 blocks of downtown Edom, and returned to the RV Park to visit the rally attendees.

At 6:00pm, we had a hot dog feast hosted by the rally master, with side dishes brought 'potluck' style. Here are a few pictures.........

Setting up of the meeting room for dinner:
The "finance minister" collecting the rally fees:

Folks visiting before and after the dinner:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday/Thursday -- Phaetons and Didelots!!

We arrived at the Staway RV Ranch on Wednesday at about 1:00pm. Several other rigs were already here for a rally that does not start until Friday! Sue and Mark Didelot got here around 5:00pm and all of us went to a potluck dinner organized by the campgound, which furnished ham and pork.

We spent a lot of time visiting and getting to know the Tiffin owners that are arriving. Most of the rigs are Phaetons and, so far, only one Bus.

On Thursday, the Didelots and Patsy and I drove to Canton, TX, where they have the 1st Monday Trade Days....... but not this weekend! We found a few stores open. Patsy and I have been looking for a quilt to use as a bedspread in the new motorhome. We had looked in Pigeon Forge, and I found one, but Patsy said we needed to wait until we have the motorhome to make sure the colors match. Today, we went to a quilt shop in Canton, and we found one that we thought was a good match. I took a lot of pictures, but while I was doing that, she decided we would just buy it!!! She seemed sure and we liked it so we bought it. To look at it, we put it on a bed in the shop...... the pillows in the following pictures do not go with it!!

There have been a lot of just sitting around the campgound and talking about RV's and Tiffin.

This couple has owned their Tiffin Phaeton motorhome exactly one week!

On Thursday night, most of us drove into Athens, and ate at an all-you-can eat steakhouse that had bar-b-que (brisket, chicken, sausage, and ribs) and fish & shrimp with all the side dishes. Here are some pictures:

This rally seems to be shaping up to be very nice. All of the people that have shown up are very friendly and easy going.

Tuesday -- Red Bay to Texas

We left Red Bay fairly early, and headed back to Texas via the Natchez Trace Parkway. We had washed both the motorhome and car yesterday, first time on this trip, and they looked good. Sure enough, during the night, it rained, and was still drizzling when we left. They are dirty again!!!

While in Red Bay, we took another trip to the factory to look at the motorhomes. Along the way, we took a picture of a mural near the plant:

We took the parkway to Jackson, MS, and then I-20 to the Texas state line. The Trace was a nice ride, and we took a few more pictures:

From tomorrow through Sunday, we will be at Staway RV Ranch in Murchison, TX at the South Central Tiffin RV Network (TRVN) rally. It is the first rally for the region that includes Texas.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday -- Natchez Trace and Red Bay

It was late last night when the football game ended, so we decided to stay near Nashville, and watch TV (via antenna). We stayed in another Walmart parking lot.

We left at 7:30am this morning, and noticed that Red Bay was just 10 miles off the parkway, so we decided to stay at the campground where we could wash clothes and the vehicles. It is also full hookups for $10 a night.

When we got here, we went to the factory and had hoped to find a coach like the one we ordered to take pictures. We could not find a similar interior, but we did find a 40' with our paint job. Here is Patsy standing beside it:

While we were driving on the parkway, we saw wild turkies, deer, and a lot of scenery. We even took a two mile trip on the original route of the trace, which was a narrow unpaved road. At the beginning of the unpaved road, they had a tobacco barn on display with tobacco hanging in it to dry. Here are some pictures:

Tomorrow, we plan to take the parkway to Jackson, MS, and hit I-20 and take it west to Texas. We will be at a Tiffin rally during the next weekend, and then head back to Victoria for my nephew's wedding on the 27th.