Monday, May 20, 2013

Allegro Campground, Red Bay, AL

Here we are again!


We’re surrounded by other Tiffin motorhomes in both directions. And there’s another row not seen in these pics, with sites around some of the buildings as well, totaling over 100 sites. All of them are full, and there are 8 more coaches in the city park.


Our main purpose for coming to the Tiffin service center this time, after taking care of what we call “birth defects” last September, is to have the tankless water heater changed out for a traditional 10-gal. electric/propane heater. Why? We have had bad luck with this new style. It came on the coach we bought; otherwise we probably wouldn’t have paid extra for it as an upgrade. The one good thing about it is that you will never run out of hot water as long as you have propane. The bad news is below. (ALERT: If you don’t need to know this level of detail, just skip it.)

- A flow of .5 gal/minute is required to turn on the heater. If the water pressure is low, it's very hard to regulate a warm shower because in mixing cold with hot to get warm, the flow of hot goes below the .5 gal/min and suddenly you're taking a cold shower.
- Similarly, if you want a slow stream of warm/hot water for washing/rinsing dishes, the water goes cold. You must maintain a full flow.
- When boondocking, a lot of water is wasted. Taking Navy showers, you wet down, turn off the water, soap up, then rinse. Except then you get cold water again because the heater has turned off and the water in the lines has cooled down.
- The unit works only on propane. So, even when you have full hookups and have paid for electricity, you can't take advantage of running it on electricity.
- We understand that wind can blow the flame up and burn wires. This hasn't happened to us, but we boondock in the AZ desert a fair amount in winter, and it can be very windy. We don’t want that to happen to us!
- We've had one of the two thermistors fail, twice. This means the best you can get is lukewarm water until the thermistor is replaced.

When we were in Quartzsite in January, we spoke with Bob Tiffin. the company’s founder. He said other folks have had problems with it, too, although he and his wife Judy like it, but they don’t boondock. But he said, “Come to Red Bay and we’ll change it out for you.” I verified that he meant it would be done at Tiffin’s expense (we had been quoted $1800 previously), and he said, “Yes.” I told him he just made me a very happy lady! So, this is the first opportunity we’ve had to come to Red Bay, and I can’t wait to have a new water heater.

We usually run into someone we know when we come here, and this time is no exception. Jim and Donnalyn, who we met at Betty’s RV Park in March, are here getting work done on their coach, too. We went out for dinner with them last night.


It seems that every time we come here we also find several '”goodies” to buy for the coach. This time (so far), it’s new step rugs from Trevor Nichols. He makes dash covers (we got one in Sept) and other things as well, and does a really nice custom job in fitting, as there can be small differences from one coach to another.


Finally, I skipped over our visit to the Memphis area. We spent about the first 1/2 of May there, parked at the FamCamp at Millington Naval Support Activity Mid-South, north of Memphis, a very nice RV park.


Our main “Bucket List” items were to visit Graceland and the World Championship BBQ Competition, part of Memphis in May. We thought we might also attend part of the music portion of MIM, but rain caused us to miss that. We just stayed snug and dry inside our coach.

We did find a dry day to visit Graceland, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although it’s fairly expensive, we used two discounts (senior and military) to bring the cost down below $60 for the Platinum Tour for both of us, which is listed at $37 per adult. It was $10 to park, and we had a rather pricey meatloaf sandwich for lunch, so it still wasn’t an inexpensive event.

But, all in all, we agreed that the mansion and grounds, including the graves of Elvis, his parents and grandmother; two customized airplanes; many videos and several other exhibits were all entertaining and enlightening. Our opinion: anyone who likes Elvis Presley’s music will enjoy visiting Graceland at least once. Rather than post a lot of pictures, I’ll just let you explore the web site if you’re interested. Here’s one shot of the mansion.


The final event, one that Don had looked forward to for years, was a big disappointment. We discovered that the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is more of a competitor’s event than for observers, even though they are encouraged to attend. If you know a competitor and can somehow get a position on the cooking team, great. But just buying a ticket and showing up isn’t the way to truly enjoy the event. Plus, after buying tickets online in advance, we discovered the mid-day hours when we visited was free for entrance!

Only one of the competitors was licensed to sell food, and by the time we found this out and got to their booth, the rain had returned and we didn’t want to get soaked while eating lunch. We could have bought hot dogs, nachos, funnel cakes, popcorn and any number of other “fair” food from vendors not competing in the BBQ event, but we simply gave up and went to a restaurant famous for their fried chicken!

Oh, well, live and learn! Been there, didn’t do that…


  1. Hope you're not in RB for long ... was reading on the TRVN that someone has been there for two weeks and haven't gotten a bay assignment yet. We tried to get our water heater replaced with the tankless system, but it wasn't possible. Sounds like we would have run into the same troubles with the system that you have. Good thing we were told it wasn't possible to make the conversion.

    1. Erin, we have an appointment on Wednesday. I failed to mention that. So we may be all finished by the weekend. I'm glad you dodged the bullet on the tankless water heater, but I've heard it is possible to do that conversion. Still, happy that you avoided the problem. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

  2. HI,

    I saw you tag line for todays blog and looked out the window of our motorhome and saw your little guy in front of your unit. We are just down the runway to your left. Small world, isn't it.

    We've been here for a week and looks like it may be another week, unless we get lucky and get our final repair in Friday. That doesn't look too promising though.

    Hope your appointment goes well for you.


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