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Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Monday, February 15, 2010

The End of Our Winter ‘10 Trip

On Saturday, we woke up at the Red Bay campground to a sunny day with blue skies.   The roads were also dry and ready for us to roll. 

I took the opportunity to take a couple of outdoor pictures of the newly painted side of the Bus…..

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The reflections from the ground give it a rough look!!!

Before we left Red Bay, we had an appointment with Brannon at Custom RV to install a 12v ceiling fan in our bedroom and to make a modification to our SeeLevel system.  We went to his shop about 11:00am, and we were on the road to home by 1:30pm.  Here is a picture of my new fresh water sensor panel, and some pictures of the fan install.  The fan is very nice, and now I will see the full range of my fresh water level!!

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The fan is has 42” diameter blades as compared to the 36” fans on the original Tiffin install on later models, and it is remotely operated.  The remote came with a holder, which I will install under the overhead cabinets above our bed.  The fan puts out a lot of air!!

The ride home was uneventful but very pleasant, with clear skies and sun all the way.  Saturday, we drove to the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge on I-10, and spent the night at the welcome center about midway over it.  We got up about 9:00am and made it home by 3:00pm.  Here are some pictures along the way.

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The following picture was taken on a curve with the zoom……. at first it scared me.  I thought that maybe all the people in La. were driving on the wrong side of the road!!!!

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Ahh……… finally back at home!!!!

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Paint Repair Wrap-up

Thursday and Friday were fairly quiet days in Red Bay.  The weather was cold…….. in the low 20’s each night, but we were warm and cozy inside the paint shop bay.  

On Thursday, they pretty well finished the painting, but by the end of the day, the painters were not satisfied with the final finish.   The major color, brown, was too dark, so on Friday morning, they repainted and clear coasted it. 

We spent Wednesday and Thursday nights inside the metal shop building without antenna or satellite TV reception.   We have watch 5 movies on DVD that we got from our son and DIL several months ago, and have been hauling around the country.  It was a couple of nice, quiet nights!!

We left the shop today about 12:30pm, and went to the Red Bay Campground to have an electrical hookup for the cold weather on Friday night.  Here are more of the sequential pictures that I took:

Sanding and Prep…….

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The color that turned out to be too dark after the clear coat was applied……….

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The re-paint being dried on Friday morning……………

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I haven’t taken a final outside photo of the paint job yet, but we are very satisfied with the result.  I really can’t say enough about the staff at Bruce Deaton’s Paint and Body shop.   They do excellent work, and have very high standards for the finished product.   I say all of this about a job that was done on a week when the owner, Bruce Deaton, was not at the shop due to recovering from a major medical procedure.  I would not hesitate to recommend Deaton’s shop to anyone for a paint job.

Before we leave Red Bay, we still want to get a ceiling fan installed in the bedroom of the Bus, and have our fresh water level indicator modified.  We have an appointment with Custom RV on Saturday morning at 11:00am. 

We expect to be on the road by 2:pm Saturday.  This fits very well with the weather that has been experienced on our route to Texas, and the forecast for sunny skies on Saturday morning.  The weather here in Red Bay, even though it has been cold, has been dry with not rain or snow.

We should reach home on Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Red Bay and Repairs

On Monday morning, we left the Walmart parking lot on the west side of Atlanta about 8:00AM, and drove the 350 miles to Red Bay..   Since we ran the Olympian catalytic heater during the night (the temperature was in the low 30’s), we slept with a roof vent cracked open and the bedroom windows at our heads open about a 1/2 inch.  That is probably why Patsy woke up on Monday morning from severe congestion….. allergies from pine and cedar!

When she gets congested with allergies, she has drainage down her throat and into her stomach.  This normally makes her nauseated, and this day, she had it really bad.  She began to throw up, and then dry heaving.  This occurred pretty much the whole way from Atlanta to Red Bay.

By the time I got the Bus parked at the Red Bay campground, she was feeling very bad and had some chest and arm pains that worried her.  We decided she needed to see a doctor, so we went to the Emergency Room at the Red Bay Hospital.  With the chest and arm pains, they were concerned about heart problems, and after doing EKG tests and getting blood for cardiac enzymes testing, she was admitted.  During this time, I was also in contact with our own doctor……. our daughter, Deanne, an ENT Surgeon.  She was confirming that they were doing the right tests and making the right choices, since it is such a small town hospital without much professional staff.

Patsy was admitted for at least the night, with release decisions based on further testing.  To shorten the story, the tests were all negative, and she was released at 8:00PM on Tuesday night.   Here is a picture of her in the hospital……

Patsy at RB Hospital

Our appointment for getting some damage that occurred to the Bus when I lost an argument with some landscape rocks in a state park last November was also for Tuesday, and we were supposed to have the Bus at the body shop by 7:00AM.  I got up early, hooked up the car and drove to the shop and get the Bus lined up with the shop. 

I then ran by the hospital and confirmed that Patsy was OK, and we had a meeting with the local doctor.  She confirmed that things were looking good, and that she would probably be released on Tuesday afternoon! 

Since the Bus had a couple of other problems that Tiffin would not be able to check out because the Bus was in a private paint shop, Deaton's Body Shop.

The TV in the bedroom was having color problems, so I removed it and took it to the local supplier at about 10:00AM.   I left my phone number, and they called about 2:00PM to say it was ready.  I picked it up, and took it back to the Bus.  One of the body shop guys helped me hook up all of the cables in the back while I held it, then we installed it back on the wall.  One job done!!

We also had been having problems with the electric slides on the driver’s side.  Through discussions with the Tiffin Technicians over the phone a month ago, it was suspected that we had a weak solenoid.  I went to the Service Area, and cornered a Technician that I knew and had him show me where the solenoid was installed on the Bus, and got the part number.  I then went to the Tiffin parts store and bought a new one that I will install when we return to Victoria.  Two jobs done!!

Patsy has been wanted another light in the bedroom closet…… on her side.  While at the parts store, I got the part number, and bought a new light fixture to be installed in Victoria.  Three jobs done!!

Lastly, we decided that we wanted to get a 12v ceiling fan installed in the bedroom.  I was able to contact Brannon Hutcheson of Custom RV in Red Bay, and he is going to work us in when the painted is complete…. probably on Friday.    Fourth job at least scheduled!!

During all of this running around on Tuesday, I was able to visit with Patsy and keep tabs on her progress, and get the insurance adjuster to settle with the paint shop.   Mostly, what Patsy did was sleep, because she did not get much on Monday night.

Here are some pictures of the Bus body damage, and the repairs sequence.  They appear to be doing a good job.  Bruce Deaton has a very good reputation on the Tiffin Owners web site, and is why we made a stop here.

Here are pictures of the damage taken in my driveway at home…..

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Here are sequential pictures of the repair (two days so far)……

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The temperatures in Red Bay are in the high 30’s and low 40’s during the day and dipping to 20 at night.  Because of this, we are “camping” in the paint shop stall.  Our “campsite” is behind the third door from the left behind the black pickup in the following picture of Deaton’s Paint Shop….

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However, it is not a bad place to be.  The temperature in the Bus has held at 70 degrees during the night, and we are comfy.  No TV (antenna or satellite), but we have been watching movies that we have been carrying.  The man-door in the middle is left unlocked for us to come and go, but after we come in for the night, I lock it!!!

Here is a peak at our “site”, taken with a flash because it is pitch dark with the doors closed and lights out.  I have to leave some of my exterior Bus lights on……..

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On Wednesday morning, we left to get some breakfast, and when we left, here is what the sign on the bank showed……….

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We later drove over to Tupelo, MS for some shopping and lunch.  It looks like Thursday will be a paint day!!

TGO Party / Scrubbed Rocket Launch

As planned, we attended the TRVN (Tiffin RV Owners Network) party at the TGO pavilion on Saturday night.  The four Tiffin owners that hosted it did a great job in planning and setting up the facility.  We saw a few people that we knew, and met others that are on the TRVN network.  Here are a few pictures at the party…….

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After the party, we went to the coach of one of the attendees to see an after-market ceiling fan installation in the bedroom.  We were considering getting one put in by Custom RV in Red Bay on this trip.  After seeing it, we decided to go ahead and get it installed. 

We then returned to our coach and went to bed early so we could get up at 3:00am and go about 15 miles to see the launch of the Columbia rocket into space.

We did get up at 3:00am and left for the rocket launch viewing area….. a beach!!  We weren’t the only ones because the highway was busy.  As we approached the area, cars and motorhomes were parked all along the highway.  We managed to find a place right at the beach to park…. I backed in between two parallel parked cars!! 

We got there about 45 minutes before the launch time, and got our lawn chairs and sat in a very good viewing area.  Then, about 4:20am, the announced that the launch was being scrubbed for that morning.  Expecting a traffic problem, we hurried to the car and got on the road, but we still got stuck in the traffic!!

Here are some pictures, but it was dark!!!

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You can barely see the Honda backed in between the other two cars…………

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The traffic was so heavy that it took us almost two hours to get back to TGO (about 15 miles).  When we got back, we got the motorhome and car ready to travel, and headed out for Red Bay.  We drove about 400 miles and then settled on a Wal-Mart parking lot to watch the Super Bowl.  After the Super Bowl, we chose to stay there and spend the night.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

“The Great Outdoors” RV Community

We checked into the TGO early on Thursday, and took the obligatory tour and sales pitch to qualify for our ‘one free nights' camping’.  The campsite fees here are $55/night, so with the one free night, it costs us only ~$40/night for a really nice experience.  We were in our site and on our own by 12:00pm. 

This is the entrance to the community…….

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Here are some pictures of our site…….

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This is our “neighborhood”, and you can see Mark and Sue’s rig in the right portion of this picture, with a close-up in the next picture.

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We spent more time looking at the various neighborhoods with the different home styles.  The styles range from concrete pads with small storage buildings to large $500,000 homes with an RV garage.  In between, there are large ‘ports’ for the RV to park under with a small room included to chalets, which are small homes with the RV integrated.  Here are some sample pictures…….


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Our Tiffin party is Saturday from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at a Pavilion in the park.  I will post pictures of that next!

Another benefit of this location is that it is very close to the Kennedy Space Center.  There is a launch tomorrow, February 7.  Space shuttle Endeavour will deliver the final connecting node, Node 3, and the Cupola, a robotic control station with six windows around its sides and another in the center that provides a 360-degree view around the International Space Station.  There are already RV parked all over Titusville, and the highways around the launch area waiting for a glimpse of the launch.

The launch is scheduled for about 4:30am in the tomorrow morning.  We are also going to be leaving for Red Bay tomorrow.  We may get up early to watch the launch, which we can see through our windshield, and then head out.   I want to be near a city by about 3:00pm where I can get CBS on my antenna so we can watch the Super Bowl

More later…….