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Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Monday, March 31, 2008

Leaving Red Bay -- Sun/Mon

Patsy and I slept a little late on Sunday, and when we got up, we started getting the Bus ready ot hit the road. One of the things that I wanted to do at Red Bay was to go to the Sunshine Mill Company and use their truck scale to weigh the Bus.

In discussing it with other RV'ers, you should get a total of nine weights.......... Front axle, Rear Axle, Total Bus weight, Drivers Side, Passenger side, and each wheel. Sunday morning turned out to be a great time to weigh it, as the Mill was totally vacant. We just drove onto the scale and read the reading on the outside by the scale. I was surprised at how balanced and close the weights were, that we did it twice at each position!! Here are some pictures (the third picture shows the total weight of the Bus minus Patsy's weight since she was taking the pictures):

After we got the weighing completed, we went back to the campground and found out that they had seen us leave, and thought we were gone, so they gave our spot away!! That was OK, because we had only planned to tell our friends goodbye, and hit the road. With the women, the goodbyes took a little longer than I expected, but we got on the road by 1:00PM.

As soon as we left the campground, it began to rain, and it rained on us until we were near Little Rock. It was really coming down when I got out to fill up the Bus at a truck stop in Memphis.

We had planned to visit Deanne for a couple of days at Little Rock, so while we were driving, I called the Maumelle State Park to make sure that they had a spot for us. We arrived at about 6:30PM, and got the Bus parked and set up. Deanne arrived at the park just as we did, and after the setup, we went to eat at a Mexican Food Restaurant. It wasn't that good, but we had a good visit.

On Saturday, Patsy and I really slept in......... we did not wake up until after 9:00AM. We met Deanne at her house about 11:00AM, and while I went to a local WIFI place to check email, they went shopping. We got together again at about 1:00PM, and I did some shopping with them........... since it was still raining. At 5:00PM, we ate at an Italian restaurant.

We will hit the road tomorrow for home, and expect to get there sometime Wednesday.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Shiloh National Park -- Saturday

Saturday morning, we woke up to a rainy day. Chuck & Lorraine North and Dave & Sandy Hasselberg were going to visit Shiloh, and Chuck called and invited us. We decided to go, so we all piled into Chuck's Saturn SUV, and drove the 60 miles to Shiloh, TN. Although it was rainy, we went to the Visitor Center and saw the battle story on video, and then took about a 2 hour drive through the large park.

Here are some pictures that can best describe our visit:

Prior to leaving this morning, we had made plans with Steve & Sandy Allgire to meet at a restaurant in Iuka, MS for a 'going-away' dinner, since many of us are leaving early next week. Iuka is a small town in Northeast Mississippi, and the Cafe Memories restaurant was recommended by the hosts at our campgound. Being Saturday afternoon, we were surprised to find the town virtually deserted! Here are some pictures:

During the evening meal, I was surprised to see that Steve Allgire was such a well traveled man. In fact, he showed us the proper way to pour milk (reportedly from a bull out back) into his coffee cup. I think he got the technique from his "Red Hat Ladies" l.uncheons:

We got back to the campground around 7:30PM, and Patsy and I began to get the Bus picked up and ready to travel. We have called Deanne in Little Rock, and she plans to be in town for the next couple of days, so we plan to visit with her on the way home.

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

Service at Red Bay -- Wed/Thur/Fri

At 7:00AM on Wednesday, we drove into Bay 3 at the service center. The technicians in the bay did a good job, and knocked out our list............ almost. Both of our TV's were having color problems. They found a bad connection on one of the color 'guns' on the rear TV, and replaced it. When they worked on the front TV, it appeared that the problem was a loose connection of the blue 'gun' on the back of the TV. They pushed it in to the recepacle real well, and left it alone. Here's a typical scene at the table that we occupied with some of our friends while we were in service:

We left the bay at about 3:00PM, and when I turned the satellite reciever on, the rear TV was working well, but the front TV immediately started having problems....... and did all evening until we turned it off at 11:00PM. I immediately contacted the service manager, and he committed to have it looked at early on Thursday morning at our site.

Early Thursday morning, I turned the front TV on, and it was working well!!!! We left it on all day, and it never had bad color. We spent the day puttering around on the TV, and buying stuff at the service center for the Bus.......... two lights for the cabinet at the foot of the bed, windshield wiper replacements, spare light bulbs, and door knobs. I also removed the dirty clothes hamper in the bedroom, and removed the hamper portion from the front, so that I could turned the front into a door. I took the door to the carpenter shop and had them put hinges on it. A good part of Thursday was spent trying to find a 12v power source to hook up new lights with a switch in the bedroom. We have it figured out, but will wait until we get home to do the job.

We also made an appointment for Friday morning to have our brakes on the Bus checked out by Bay Diesel (the shop that Tiffin uses) while we were here.

On Friday morning at about 7:00AM, I turned on the front TV and it was not working correctly, so I went to the service center to get someone out to look at it. I told them that I had a 10:30AM appointment at Bay Diesel and requested that they come early. When nobody arrived by 9:00AM, I went back to the service center, and made my request again!! This time, somebody came out and told me to come to the service center when we got back. Here's a picture of the Bus in the service bay:

The brakes checked out OK, and we returned to the service center. After several more mixed communications, we got a crew on the TV, and got it taken out and sent to a repair facility to get fixed. It turned out that there was a poor solder job on the connection on the TV side of the cabling.

By 3:00PM, we had everything fixed, and checked out of the service center. Patsy and I then made a quick run into Tupelo to get anit-freeze for the Honda leak, and did some shopping while there. As we were returning, we got a phone call that Chris Berry, one of the former Techs that does upgrade work, was at the campgound and was ready to install a pull-out drawer for Patsy under the range. We gave him permission to enter the coach with one of our friends and install it while we were driving back to the park. When we got there, he was finished. Here's what it looked like, and Patsy was very pleased with it.

Tomorrow, we plan to visit the Shiloh Battleground National Park with several people for the campgound.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Waiting at Red Bay – Mon/Tue

Monday was another slow day at Red Bay. We had hoped that we would get in for service, but it did not happen. We did spend some time in the customer lounge with other owners and helped some of them make or modify “RV” business cards.

In the afternoon, we took the Bus out and road tested it to see if we could make one of our mechanical problems re-appear. When we got back, I was hooking up our utilities, and I pulled a little too hard on the water line, and it broke in half. For a while, we had a geyser at the site!!! Patsy took a couple of pictures while I ran to the office to get help.

Tuesday started slow, but the pace picked up as the day went on. Brannon called to say that he was out at his new shop and invited me to come out to see it. It is on highway 19, about 5 ½ miles from the Red Bay light near the McDonalds. It is next to the volunteer fire department building at Vina, AL. Here are some pictures:

Later, we went to the house where Brannon does his work, and he installed the See Level tank level system on our Bus. I really like the new system. Here picture of the final install on the panel. It has a nice, clean OEM look:

Wednesday, we are scheduled to go into the service bay.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter at Red Bay – Sunday

It was a fairly quiet Sunday at Red Bay. Patsy and I watched our favorite Sunday Morning Show on CBS, and then she began to bake a cake for our Easter get-together in the RV park. The same four couples that went to Florence on Saturday decided to get together for an Easter dinner.

It was decided that it would be held in our Bus since everyone else had been in and out of service all week, and their rigs were somewhat a mess. The Allgire’s brought their portable table and chairs, and others brought a ham, a baked potato casserole, sweet potatoes, green beans, desserts and wine & tea. It was a good meal, especially since a couple of the wives are still learning to use their convection ovens!! I am adding a few pictures........

Here are Lorraine and Chuck enjoying themselves while Wayne "hits the bottle again"!:

Here are the choice of beverages:

Chuck trying to get me to drink instead of taking pictures..........

Chuck being useful and taking the ham out of the oven to cut it (Notice Wayne hitting the bottle again!!!):

Our snack table..................
Steve telling Sandy another lie, while Marynelle sits and thinks.... "Yeah, sure!!!":

We even fed the campground hosts....... Marsha and Rod. Here's the brains of the team picking up the food:
Here's Sandy showing off her dessert treats......... (and they were good!!!):
And here's my favorite person with my dessert plate:

.................and finally, here is what I am left to run with since Mark left and went back to Lake Charles:


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Waiting at Red Bay – Fri/Sat

Friday was a slow and restful day at Red Bay. Patsy spent the morning doing a good cleaning on the inside of the Bus. I worked on cleaning out the car, and straightening up the basement of the Bus.

I also starting working on my list of repairs, since the parts are easily available here at the service center. I found that the rear Heat Pump would not work, because a breaker had tripped, so now it works! I also replaced the broken screen door latch on the entry door with the new style ‘rubber’ latch. I took the water spray head apart to troubleshoot the ‘low water flow’ problem with the water hose in the disposal compartment. For Mark, who broke my latch in the first place!!!!!!, here's the new latch:

When the sun went to the rear of the Bus, Patsy and I washed the bugs off the front of the Bus, including the windshield. Here's a couple of pictures showing our location in the campground, close to the office and WIFI, as well as a close up of our clean Bus with the "Sue Didelot" commissioned RV sign:

Friday night, everybody decided that we would eat in, since we had a planned caravan to Florence, AL on Saturday. After dinner, I worked on my computer while Patsy and the others went to Lorraine and Chuck’s Bus and dyed Easter eggs.

On Saturday, we piled into Chucks Saturn SUV, along with a Wayne Stamper and Marynelle Davis, and headed to Florence with Sandy and Steve, along with their dogs followed behind. We got off a little after 10:00AM, and using Chuck’s GPS, we found a shorter route to get there.
We managed to hit the biggies……… Wal-Mart, Target, Office Depot, Home Depot, Linen’s & Thing’s, and K-Mart. We also stopped at a Honda dealer to get me a gallon of radiator coolant (our radiator has developed a leak), but we were about 10 minutes late because the service area closed at 12:30PM and nobody in Sales had a key!!!

We also ate a late lunch at Rosie’s Mexican Restaurant (similar to a Papasito’s), and it was very good. Here are some pictures of the four couples at the restarant:

Marynelle Davis & Wayne Stamper:

Sandy and Steve Allgire:

Lorraine and Chuck North:

..... and Patsy and I:

We got back to the campground in Red Bay about 6:00PM, and just relaxed the rest of the night.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Waiting at Red Bay – Wed/Thur

Wednesday morning, Mark and Sue left about 8:00AM….. delayed by the heavy rains that we woke up to in Red Bay. When Mark checked out, he found out that the campground host had tried to get in touch with me the night before, but my phone number did not work, and he called and told me on his way out of town.

I went up to the office, and found out that I had mixed up the three digits of my phone number………… giving them 953 instead of 935!! I also found out that I had lost my spot, but that I was now on the top of the list. By 10:00AM, I got a site assignment, and I am happy with it. We are in the middle row, and only four units back from the office. That gives me a strong WIFI signal from the office in the Bus, and I can do all my computer work from the Bus.

Right as I was getting my site assignment, Chuck called to see if Patsy and I wanted to ride with them to Russellville to shop at Wal-Mart. Chuck and Lorraine waited until we got relocated, and we went.

We spent the afternoon visiting around the park, and straightening up the Bus interior. We also made arrangements to drive to Tupelo at 5:00PM with Chuck & Lorraine and Steve & Sandy for dinner. Sandy and I also needed to visit a Staples office supply store where I needed to get a cartridge for my Dell printer. We then ate at the local Chili’s, and then let the wives shop in a couple of stores. We got back to Red Bay at about 9:00PM.

Thursday morning, Patsy and I were rousted out of bed early (about 8:30AM !!!!!) by a service guy wanting to make a measurement to change out a wooden cabinet front that Patsy did not like. I then worked on adding a couple of more items to our repair list and taking it to the service center. While there, I got a printout of the model & serial numbers of equipment on our coach that they had on file, and updated my composite list. I also managed to get copies of manuals that I did not already have.

At 4:00PM, another camper, Joe “Buck” Barack, had an appointment to have the “SEE LEVEL” tank system installed in his coach. It was being done at the home of one of the technicians, Brannon Hutcheson. Brannon currently does what is considered ‘runway work’…………. Which is after hours modifications that are done off of Tiffin property on the runway at the campground. He is in the process of building a shop and plans to quit Tiffin and work fulltime on motorhomes. We talked to him about it, and he states that he has the full blessing of Bob Tiffin. Bob even said he would send him enough business to keep him busy.

I followed Buck in my car, and watched, since I wanted to install it in my Bus, after seeing it at the Perry show. The following picture shows the back of the new panel, the old circuit board with LEDS and the ‘cutout’ template Brannon made for the new panel:

The following picture shows the opening being cut in the existing multi-panel to set the new SEE LEVEL panel in place where the original level indicator lights used to be:

The following three pictures show the multi-panel installed back in place with the cutout, and the installation and final fit of the new SEE LEVEL panel:

The difference between the two systems is that the existing system shows the levels of the LP, black, grey and fresh water tanks with 4 lights between full and empty. The system relies on probes in the tanks, which can get ‘gummed up’ in the grey and black tanks. The new SEE LEVEL system displays a percentage full number in increments of 8%, and the reading is taken from the ‘outside’ surface of the tanks. In addition, the SEE LEVEL panel shows a digital display of the battery charge!

I had heard about the SEE LEVEL system, and then I visited the vendors booth at the rally in Perry, GA. That convinced me that I wanted to upgrade my system ASAP. After watching the quality of Brannon's work, and seeing the wiring both at the panel and at the tanks, I asked him about the cost of installation. He charges 2 hours of labor @ $65/hr plus he sells the system at the same price as it was sold for at the rally. For me, it was a no-brainer, and he is ordering a system for me, and will schedule me for installation next week!!

Tonight, Patsy is at the campground ‘hootenanny’ at the service center. I chose watch TV and update this blog.

Our current status is that we have a solid appointment for next Wednesday, but they said they might get us in on Tuesday. Also, they may do some minor stuff before then. We will just have to wait and see. Camping is free with full hookups including WIFI, so we can’t complain.

Stay tuned.........

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Back to Red Bay – Mon/Tues

Friday morning at THE RALLY, Mark and I attended a seminar on the operation and maintenance of Onan Generators. It was OK, and I learned a couple of things. While we were there, Patsy and Sue went to the Good Sam Day ‘Carnival’ at one of the large halls. When we got there, Patsy and Sue already had tattoos!!! Don’t worry Matthew and Aubrey, Grammie can wash it off!
Here are a couple of carnival pictures:

The carnival was fun, but not great, and we were ready to hit the road by 1:00PM. We packed up, and got on the road before 2:00PM. We drove until about 6:00PM when we located an OutBack Restaurant just across the Georgia/Alabama border in Alabama.

After a great steak, we hit the road again and stopped at a Walmart in Hamilton, Al for the night. We were only about 36 miles from Red Bay, so we went into the Walmart and stocked up for the next couple of days, since Red Bay is such a small town.

We got up and left about 8:30AM, and arrived at the Red Bay campground about 45 minutes later. They did not have any vacancies, so we are parked on the “runway” until a space opens up. We expect to be in a space tomorrow, and Mark and Sue will probably leave for Lake Charles tomorrow. They seem to have a good prospect to buy their house, and need to get there to complete the move-out process.

After we got parked, we went to the paint shop at Belmont, MS to get a look at the first ’09 Phaeton Motor Home that is off the line. Mark and Sue are very interested in this model, and they liked what they saw. Mark took a lot of pictures, and plans on dropping off a CD of them to the saleslady at Sherman RV on his way home, as well as sending a copy to a guy that will post them on the Tiffin RV Network on the internet.

In the evening, Patsy cooked spaghetti, and we Mark & Sue and Chuck and Lorraine over for dinner. We then congregated in Sandy and Steve’s Phaeton to look and some of the modifications that they have managed to get done so far. We then ended up visiting for a while.