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Southeast (Gulf Coast), Texas, United States

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We’ve Moved But Still at Red Bay!!

Well, on Monday afternoon, we got our call that a full hookup site was available for us.  We moved to site #1, which for those familiar with Red Bay, is right at the front.  Here is a picture:

Site #1 002

Also, since we have been here, I have made another modification to the Bus.   On our last visit to Red Bay, about 8 months ago, I purchased a map light at the campground store, but never got around to installing it.  With time on my hands, I finally got around to finding a source of 12v power and got it put up.  This will let Patsy look at a map, the Next Exit book, or read while we are driving without lighting up the whole front of the cab, and turning the big windshield into a very large mirror!!

Here are some pictures:

Map Light Installation 002  Picture with flash on camera…….Map Light Installation 005 Picture with no flash….. mimics real life driving down the road…….

Map Light Installation 006

For those that want to know, the source of 12v power was from the awning wind controller panel in the cabinet above the door.

Map Light Installation 004

I have used the last couple of days to watch the repair that will be done to the Bus tank bay floor being completed on other motorhomes.  We also toured the factory and saw the modifications to this installation on the new units.  I posted pictures and opinions on the Tiffin RV Network (TRVN).  It can be found by clicking on the red lettering.

Our appointment is for November 1, and we expect to leave here two days after that,,,,,,,,,, at least, that is the plan.  Until then, we are having a good time here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We’re at Red Bay!!

When we finally stopped on Friday night, we still had 300 miles to get to Red Bay.  I woke up early, for me, at 7:00am, and got on the road.  Patsy slept another hour, and then joined me up front!

We arrived at Red Bay at around 12:30pm, and the campground was already full, but we did get into one of the Electric & Water sites on the end of the Service Center.  We were the third coach parked there, and by the end of the day, all of these overflow sites were filled up.  By Sunday night, another 20 rigs were parked on the west side (apparently the new ‘runway’) of the Service Center without hookups of any kind.  Nobody left the campground today!!   We are glad we got here on Saturday.

Here is our “campsite”:

Red Bay 001

Red Bay 002

As soon as we checked in, we went directly to the coach washing area, and dumped the tanks and gave the Bus a much needed bath.  After we got parked and set up, we went driving around town.  I had read about a new ‘self service’ campground near the Service Center, but was not sure where it was or what it looked like.   For other Tiffin readers, here it is….

Red Bay 004 Red Bay 005

Red Bay 003

It only has 5 or 6 spaces, and it is located about half way to Gills Restaurant on the road in front of the Service Center.  It is well kept, and looks like a nice place.

On Sunday, we cleaned the inside of the Bus, and then drove over to Tupelo to shop and to have lunch at Chili’s Restaurant.

Since we have a week before our appointment, we plan to go to the factory and the Belmont Paint factory to look at the new 2011 units and see what has changed.  If they are building them, I would also like to see the new Breeze motorhome.

I also plan to snoop around to see how the tank bays are being built today, and to view some of the tank bay floor replacements in the Service Center……. a repair that I am here to get!!

More later………..

Bus Fixed & We’re Back on the Road

We had a good experience with Cummins Atlantic in Charlotte, NC.  I called them last Thursday morning, and they said to bring it in, but it would be about 1—3 days until they could get to it.  We drove to Charlotte, and got there about 12:30pm.  I talked to Heather, the Service Writer, and asked her to try to do better on the time to get around to us, and she said that she would do what she could.

We parked the Bus in an RV spot and got it leveled and hooked up to 50AMP power, and then drove out to see the city.  We stopped at a VF Outlet store, and both of us found jeans that we liked.  We also stopped at a Wal-Mart to stock up on supplies, and spotted an IKEA store to visit on Friday if we were still in a holding pattern.

After eating dinner at an Outback Steak House, we returned to the Bus, and showered, watched TV and updated the blog.  I also found a new route from Charlotte, NC to Red Bay, AL, where we have a Nov 1 appointment, that included visiting Chimney Rock, NC, scenic mountain town, and Asheville, NC.  The travel entailed 450 miles of driving.  I was not expecting to get back on the road until next Tuesday morning at the best!

At 7:45am on Friday morning, a guy knocked on the door, and gave us a work bay assignment.  I hurriedly closed the slides, brought up the levelers and unhooked the power cable, and drove straight over to the bay.  When I got there, I found everybody in a morning safety meeting…….. so I had to wait about 30 minutes to talk to the Techs. 

When the Techs went to work, they retrieved a code (captured 8 times) that indicated that the problem was a dirty “crankcase breather filter”…….. a job that I had asked the Cummins South Plains shop in Houston to change back in June, but they told me it was OK!!

Regardless, they got it changed in an hour, and by 10:30am, we were on the road again.  We decided to follow the new route and planned to visit Chimney Rock and Asheville and drive the first 150 miles before we quit for the night.  

The drive to Chimney Rock was on steep and narrow roads, but very scenic.  The town itself, was a pleasant surprise. It was about 6 blocks long, and we spent about 2 1/2 hours walking it.  Here are some pictures of the main street………..

Chimney Rock, NC 005

Chimney Rock, NC 013 Chimney Rock, NC 021 Chimney Rock, NC 022 Chimney Rock, NC 023

Chimney Rock, NC 029 Chimney Rock, NC 007 Chimney Rock, NC 026

The entrance to the Chimney Rock State Park is located in the middle of town……

Chimney Rock, NC 030

 Chimney Rock, NC 014

Chimney Rock, NC 017 

Chimney Rock, NC 019

As we walked around town, we saw some signs that we liked…….. Patsy like the first one!!!

Chimney Rock, NC 011 

Chimney Rock, NC 012

Chimney Rock, NC 010

We also found some door mats that were similar to ones that Mark Didelot and I found in Quartzsite.  I guess that if we knew we would eventually meet Manuel and then join the Houston Allegro Club and meet up with Richard (Matcoman), Reg and Bob Trout, we would have bought a couple of them!!!!!!

Chimney Rock, NC 015

Chimney Rock, NC 016

As we left town, we saw a couple of “Campers” (one shirtless) on the side of the road….

Chimney Rock, NC 032A

The drive to Asheville was uneventful, and we got there about 5:00pm.  We drove downtown and found the ‘night spots’.   We walked around for about 90 minutes and then ‘hit the road’.

We shopped at one of the famous Mast General stores, and bought a few gifts for family.  Walking around the area, we saw a guy juggling six balls, but could not really catch all six in the air in the pictures……

Asheville 008 Asheville 004

Patsy also saw this live cat in a store window!!  She said it was ‘dressed up’ for Halloween….. I think the people here are just weird!

Asheville 001

We got on the road about 7:00pm, and got to a Wal-Mart on the east side of Knoxville by 9:00pm. 

A day that started and ended well!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Blue Ridge Parkway

We have traveled the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway many times, but, like the Natchez Trace, it is always enjoyable.

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs about 465 miles along the peaks of the Eastern Mountains beginning near Cherokee, NC near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to near Waynesboro, VA.  At that point, the Skyline Drive, a part of the Shenandoah National Park, begins and continues the “mountain peak” drive, and runs about 105 miles northward to Font Royal, VA.

When we left Williamsburg on Monday, we decided to drive northward for a while to pick up a part of the Skyline Drive.  There is a low clearance bridge at about the halfway point, so we entered just south of it, and traveled southward toward the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We entered the parkway on Tuesday about noon, and traveled it until Wednesday night, when the Bus engine began to give me the dreaded “check engine lights and alarm”

Here are some pictures of our ride.  The Fall colors were not at their peak, but we saw some great sites.  Here are the pictures from the Skyline Drive…….

Skyline Drive 006

Skyline Drive 007 Skyline Drive 010 Skyline Drive 005 Along the way, I had to clean the bugs off the windshield from driving the night before on the highway so we could enjoy the views…..

Skyline Drive 018

Skyline Drive 019 Skyline Drive 020 Skyline Drive 029 

They were selling ‘gas’ on the Skyline Drive, but no ‘diesel’…..Skyline Drive 030 Skyline Drive 034

Blue Ridge Parkway 001 Blue Ridge Parkway 006 Blue Ridge Parkway 007 Blue Ridge Parkway 013 Blue Ridge Parkway 016


Blue Ridge Parkway 043 Blue Ridge Parkway 044 Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 007 Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 019 Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 021

During the afternoon, I was getting sleepy, and we saw a sign about a Blue Ridge Music Display.  While Patsy visited the display, I slept for an hour in the Bus……

Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 026 Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 035 Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 038 Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 039 Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 040

Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 057 Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 059 Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 060 Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 066 Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 067

On the way to Williamsburg, the Bus computer gave me a “check engine” light complete with an alarm.  I shut the engine down immediately on the side of I-81 and checked the fluids and the air filter gauge.  When all looked good, I started the engine again, and the alarm was off.  We drove another 500 miles without incident.  In the mountainous Blue Ridge Parkway drive, I was using the Engine Brake a lot, and I got a lot of alarms. 

We left the parkway at Lenoir, NC and stayed in a Wal-Mart parking lot.  On Thursday morning, I called Cummins and was reminded that I have a 5-year warranty on my engine, and they directed me to a Cummins facility in Charlotte, NC……. about 75 miles away. 

Tonight, we are parked on their lot with an electric plug, waiting and hoping to get into a bay tomorrow.  If not, we will stay here, and tour the Charlotte area by car on the weekend.  We may even drive up to the Raleigh, NC area and attend an FMCA rally there.

Blue Ridge Parkway - Day 2 064A

Nice setup, huh??  The picture was taken from I-85, and the concrete structure at the bottom of the picture is the median divider!!   At least we have electric, and it is free!!