Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tiffin’s the Place for Meeting Friends

I almost added “New and Old” to the title above. We have really enjoyed linking up with friends we knew before, and meeting some new ones during our stay at Tiffin’s service center campground here in Red Bay, Alabama. It seems like this happens every time we come here, and it helps to pass the time waiting for and getting service when we have friends to share conversation and laughs.

When we first arrived last week, we quickly found Jim & Donnalyn Vickers, and we’ve enjoyed spending time with them several times, including Sunday dinner at the Belmont (MS) CafĂ©.


Tom & Debbie Abernethy arrived on Saturday, and we had dinner with them Sunday night at the local 4th Street Grill & Steakhouse.


Last night, we finally managed to get together with the new friends we met through our blogs, Larry & Gerry Clark. Check Larry’s blog for a good picture he took of us, and read what he said about trying for several days to get together. It was so nice to finally spend time together and get acquainted. I’ll continue following Larry’s blog now that we’ve met and gotten to know each other a little, and because he’s an excellent writer. And we look forward to seeing Larry & Gerry when we’re in Benson, as they live in Tucson.

Because it was Memorial Day, most of the restaurants in the area were closed, so we went to Jack’s (a fast food place) and had yummy fried chicken.


While we were eating this gourmet dinner, guess who showed up? Tom & Debbie Abernethy! And it turns out that both the Clarks and the Abernethys are from Maryland! And Don and his late wife also lived there. So lots of stories were traded and conversation lasted far longer than it could have in a “real” restaurant.


Today we had to get up and start moving shortly after 5 am to pack up and move to the service bay to be ready for the tech to start working on our coach at 7 am. Almost all the punch list is finished now, so with a few things to be wrapped up tomorrow, we’ll have at least one more early rising.

We’re both happy to have the new electric reel for the 50A cable. And the lighter-weight cable is also easier to manage. Everything that was previously stored in that bay still fit, even with the new reel installed. We may figure out a better way to organize it, but for now at least it still fits. Also, Don installed a 50A female end on the old cable, so now we have a heavy duty extension cord for those few times that we need one, and we won’t have to use an adaptor to the 30A extension cord. We probably don’t need both, but we’ll keep them for now.


By the way, did you notice that all of our get-togethers have revolved around food? No wonder I can’t lose any weight! We’ve done most of the touristy things around here, and it’s hard to get away when you don’t know if the tech will need to talk with you, or you’ll need to move your coach. So, dinner is the best time to get away and have time to visit with friends. We still want to visit the Tiffin paint shop where they do all the full-body painting of new coaches, so we hope find time for that in the next day or two. The production plant is in Red Bay, AL, but the paint shop is in Belmont, MS, a distance of 6 or 7 miles.

A final note of a tragic event (some of you already know this). On Sunday my wonderful Motorola Droid Razr Maxx smartphone somehow flew out of my hand when I pulled it out of the holster clipped to my jeans and landed face down on the tile floor. It made an awful sound, and I knew the situation wasn’t good before I picked it up. I discovered the screen was cracked near the top and when I tried turning it on, there was nothing decipherable but a weird display of colors.



Due to the holiday, I couldn’t get a replacement shipped until today, but a new one is on its way to me and is expected to arrive by tomorrow afternoon. I’ve really missed the phone, and can’t wait to get the replacement. (How dependent have we become on new technology?) And then I’ll be busy for a while setting everything up and downloading all the apps I like to use.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

Most Americans are enjoying a day off from work today, and Im happy to see many friends and family posting messages honoring those who helped make it possible for the rest of us to enjoy many freedoms. Don served his country for 26 years plus civilian service for the Navy, and his son Craig and many friends and family members served in their own way. For all of them, I am grateful. Thank You!

To pick up where I left off on our service experience at Tiffin, we spent Friday getting several more items checked off the list. There are still a few more, including getting the cover for the new water heater painted to match the coach. We were actually pleased to be able to stretch out our stay to include the holiday weekend, as we didn’t make reservations and would have had difficulty finding space if we had left Red Bay. We could have stayed here even if we didn’t have additional work to be done, of course. But since most of this work is covered under warranty, our campground fees are more likely to be covered or at least reduced. And we want to make sure to get everything fixed before departing.

The electrical hookup for the new water heater was put in on Friday, and a new breaker added to the panel in the bottom of our clothes closet. I was amazed to see this cabinet with the cover removed, and marveled at the wiring and how organized it is.


We went shopping in the Tiffin store and found an item we’ve wanted for a long time: an electric reel for the 50A cable. Our neighbor in the next work bay had one installed in his Phaeton, so we could see how it was installed and knew that it would work for us. This will certainly save Don (and possibly me, on occasion) a lot of trouble in reeling up the cord, especially in cold weather.


It will easily fit, and Daniel said he can install it in no time. So that has been added to our growing list of “To Do” items. And over the weekend we’ve discovered yet another one to add: two of our 3 air conditioners aren’t putting out cold air. It’s a good thing this happened here so we can get it fixed before hitting the road again. Temperatures have been moderate, in the low 80’s, with humidity at varying levels and the resulting comfort levels also varying. So our one operational a/c has managed to compensate and keep us comfortable inside.

Daniel took Friday afternoon off, so we had time to go across the street to McKinney RV and have the wiring from the motorhome to the car checked out. It turns out the plug into the car had gone bad, and was grounding out. This was the likely cause of the failure to start after being towed. And it explains why the turn signals had quit working correctly. Now, with a new plug installed and all the lights checked out, we’re ready to be safer on the road. We also have a new device that trickle-charges the battery while the car is being towed.

On Saturday, with beautiful weather, we drove to Tupelo, MS, about 50 miles away, to visit the childhood home of Elvis Presley. This is the house where Elvis was born, and where his identical twin brother Jesse Garon was stillborn.


The shotgun-style house only contained two rooms, and was built by Elvis’ father Vernon in preparation for the twins’ birth on January 8, 1935. The house sits on its original location. The land around it was later purchased and several other buildings were erected to create a historic site honoring Elvis’ early days. Here’s a view of the rear of the house:


Elvis received his first guitar for his eleventh birthday in 1946. His mother purchased it at the local hardware store. The statue shows him at age 13, just before leaving Tupelo. Evidently he carried the guitar with him everywhere and could be heard singing frequently around town.


Elvis’ childhood church was moved from across the street when a new building took its place, and became a residence.


It was later restored and became part of the historic site.


The site includes a chapel with colorful stained glass windows adorning two of the walls.



This shady courtyard offered a peaceful place to relax and read comments from childhood friends posted on the external walls of the museum and gift shop.


The 1939 Plymouth owned by Elvis’ father provided the family’s transportation when they moved to Memphis, TN in November 1948, in search of a better life. It is on display in front of the museum.


We returned to Red Bay via Wal-Mart in Fulton, MS, and later enjoyed a beautiful sunset from our site at “Camp Red Bay.”