After we left Fort Myers on Monday, we spent the day driving north on I-75. We topped on the diesel tank in fort Myers just before we hopped onto I-75, and we made good time moving North toward Georgia.
We pulled into a Walmart in Tifton, GA about 8:00pm on Monday night, and went to sleep. The next morning, we got on the road by 9:00am. We headed toward Birmingham going westward toward I-22 that would take us to Memphis, TN.
Just as we were about to cross into Alabama near Opelika, we got into a construction zone with narrow lanes defined by cement barriers on the left side and orange cones on the right. The truck in front of me hit a couple of the cones and at least one of them bounced off the right part of the front of the Bus.
When I got out of the construction zone in Opelika, I pulled over to check the front for damage. I was pleased, as I saw no damage or even scratches. Heading back to the entry door, I looked toward the rear wheels, and noticed a big hole in the side of the rig!!
I investigated, and the back half of the panel (aka fender) around the rear dual tires was gone!! It looks like the rear wheels ran over a cone that was tossed around, and it ended up in the space between the back of the dual tires and the mud flap, and then found it’s way out through the fender!!
Here are some pictures…………
I continued on until I could find a safe place to make a call to the insurance company, and take pictures. The insurance company assured that I was covered, and while I was talking to them, I realized that traveling on I-22, I would be coming within 20 miles of the factory. In fact, I always come through Memphis and get on i_22 to go to the factory.
I called Bruce Deaton’s Body Shop in Red Bay, AL; and talked to the office manager to ask if they could work me in for a ‘small’ problem. At first, she just laughed, but we talked more, and after explaining the damage, she said if they had the fiberglass panel, she could work it in on Wednesday morning, if I could get there. Sure, it was only 200 miles.
She called back and said that Bruce had found the panel, and to come on in!
I was pleased that my bad luck turned into good luck. I figured that I could be there on Wednesday morning, they could start on the repair, and paint it the same day. I could let the paint cure overnight, and drive to Memphis on Thursday afternoon…….. Right on schedule!!!
Deaton has a four spot campground with full hookups next to his shop, so we parked there on Tuesday night. I got up Wednesday morning, and walked over to see Bruce. He had me in a work bay by 9:00am and immediately went to work. Here is Bruce and his son, Austin, replacing the panel.
Then the plan went to Hell!!!!!! The panel looked just like the correct panel, but………….. it was about 1 1/2 inches too long! It was for a later model Bus!
Now Patsy and I will be going back to Red Bay later this year. Since we are taking our two Victoria grandkids, Matthew and Aubrey, to Little Rock at the end of June to visit with their cousin, Rachel, the three of them will be treated to a road trip this summer!!
Not planned out completely yet, but we will most likely leave on a Thursday from Victoria, and arrive in Little Rock on Friday night. Visit our daughter and SIL on Saturday, and pull out on Sunday. We will visit Patsy’s cousin in Memphis with her grandkids on Sunday evening, and leave for Red Bay on Monday morning.
We will head to Red Bay for two days for the body work and paint, and then leave for a road trip. Red Bay has a nice waterpark that the kids have been to, and are already looking forward to it. I may even get a tour of the Tiffin Motorhome plant for the two older kids!! More planning to do!
Then we will continue the road trip to Nashville, and other places to be planned for their enjoyment.
In Georgia, near Ft. Benning, we saw an entrance to the base……….
On Thursday morning, we left Red Bay to drive to Memphis…..about 160 miles. We did stop at a Walmart to top off the diesel tank, so we could make a quick exit from Memphis, after our purpose was completed, and head back to Victoria, TX.
Next, our visit to Memphis!!