Monday, October 27, 2014

Finally Going Home- Monday, October 27, 2014

On Sunday morning we were up and on our way before 8:30am. We were headed for home on the Ohio turnpike. Turnpike traveling is not my cup of tea but traffic usually moves along real well. This day was no exception. We made a stop on the Pennsylvania turnpike for lunch. The service plazas in western Pennsylvania are few and far between nowadays. We tried to stop at the first plaza we came to but there was no room to park so we had to continue on to the next plaza which had much larger area for parking. A little past 3pm and 360plus miles we stopped in Bedford, Pa. at a
Friendship Village Campground.

This morning, Monday, we took a little longer preparing to leave the campground. Tom dumped the black tank and rinsed it well to be able to winterize at home. We do not plan to be going out until after the holidays so we have to make sure nothing freezes. I had gone through cupboards last evening collecting liquids that needed to be taken into the house when we got home. By 9:15am we were on the road- Rte.30 we didn't need to return to the turnpike. And the 111 miles later and fueled up at 11:45am we were home. After our procedure of laying down boards at the bottom of our drive way to get the motorhome in the driveway we ran out to Pizza Hut for lunch. When we returned Tom tried to start the motorhome to finish setting it up in the driveway and it was dead. There was a code about the problem. Eventually it did start but the question is 'why did it do this?'. Phone are being made calls. First call to Tiffen resulted in recommending a call to Cummins.

Jim Beam, Neil Armstrong and Family- October 25, 2014

Thursday morning we drove the Jeep a few miles to the Jim Beam bourbon distillery.  There were 2 tours available- a free self-guiding tour with 2 tastings or a $10.00 guided 90 minute tour with tastings.  Feeling limited on time we chose the free tour.  We walked about the grounds and then ended up in the tasting building for our tastings.  We then returned to the campground, hooked up the Jeep to the motorhome and were on the road.  The traffic on this day was much improved over what we had the day before.  We traveled about 60 miles more (232miles), left 2 hours later and got to the next campground in Wapakoneta, Ohio about the same time as on Wednesday.  We spent the night in Wapakoneta KOA.

Friday morning we left the campground and drove the motorhome to the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta.  There is a nice parking lot there to accommodate buses and RVs.  We walked through the museum ($7.00/person-Senior) looking at the exhibits and then watched a 20 minute movie.  We were then back on the road for a short 58 mile trip to Van Buren, Ohio.  We stopped for fuel and propane at a Flying J before just getting to Van Buren.  Tom had made reservations at Pleasant View Campground for 2 nights to insure that we would have a site close to his family.  We arrived at 12:45pm but had to wait in the front for the manager to show up to register us for 30 plus minutes.  Eventually we were situated in our campsite and then drove into Findley, Ohio for lunch at Culver’s.   This area is where Tom graduated from school (North Baltimore).  Tom is in contact with former classmates and when he knew we were going to be here he had notified Karen Downs.  Karen called and suggested meeting at Cheddar’s for dinner which we did.  Unfortunately, because of the late notice of our being in the area others had made other plans for this evening.  Nevertheless, we had an enjoyable dinner with Karen.

Today, Saturday, we drove to Deshler, Ohio to visit the cemetery that Tom’s parents are buried in.  We were out here in May and had made arrangements to have a headstone placed on their gravesite.  That was done after we left here so we wanted to see the finished product.  Then in the afternoon we went to Findley for a celebration of life service for our 14 year old grand niece, Destiny Rivera, who lost her battle with the effects of leukemia.  It was a very nice celebration of a well loved girl.  Many of her friends shared memories.  We were able to visit with Tom’s brothers and sister and their families.  After the service we went to the home of Destiny’s parents- Larry and Missy Rivera and their sons, Junior and Reese.  Tom’s brother, Roger, (Destiny’s grandfather) along with his wife and other grown children  and their families were also there.  We had a nice visit and enjoyed a nice meal that had been furnished by the school that Destiny had gone to.  Our thoughts and prayers continue for this family as they deal with this loss.  Tomorrow we will be on the road headed for home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shepherdsville, Kentucky- October 22, 2014

This morning we were on the road before 9am, Central time. It was not a good traffic day. We started south of Nashville and needed to travel north on I-24 and then connect to I-65 on north into Kentucky. Through Nashville area the traffic, heavy with tractor trailers, just crawled. And then we were in road construction that had lanes closed and speed limits reduced. We stopped for lunch in Munfordville and then a few more miles we were back in Eastern time with an hour of time lost. About 50 miles further north we stopped for the night south of Louisville, Ky. in Shepherdsville (179 miles and 3pm, Eastern time)) and are camped at "Grand-ma's RV Camping". Before leaving tomorrow morning, we are planning to take the Jeep a couple miles south to the Jim Beam distillery for a tour of the facility before moving the motorhome. We then hope to travel to Dayton, Ohio although again we are facing travel through cities- Louisville and Cincinnati.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finally!!!- October 21, 2014

Monday morning, bright and early, we were up and had the motorhome to Bay 24 at 7am where it was scheduled to to have the rails that had been installed last Thursday painted. We then went to Belmont to get breakfast. Returning to Red Bay we went to the Tiffin factory complex to take a tour. Tours are offered Monday through Friday at 9:30am. We had taken this tour the first time that we came to Red Bay but there is always something new to see. The tour lasted until a little after 11am. The fascinating thing about these tours is that the tour weaves through the work areas. Don't see that happening in other factories in other states. After lunch we went to the customer lounge for a while and then about 2pm we went to the bay where our motorhome was. The job was finished so we were able to return back to the campground to wait again. Surprisingly, we got a call before 3pm telling us to be in Bay 34 the next morning.

This morning, Tuesday, we were in our assigned bay by 7am but our breakfast had been eaten in the motorhome today. THe main reason for our return to Red Bay was to have the framing post in the right front corner check out. June 2013 we had been here for the snapping noise in that area that was found to have been the framing not properly secured. Recently, we began hearing that noise again. The techs immediately got into the problem and using heavier screws secured the framing. An awning that covers the top of one of our slides was showing signs of wear and we had that also replaced. By 8:30am the work was completed finally. We paid our bills-service center and camping fees. Because of the rail issue we were charged $10.00 per night of camping instead of the usual $20.00. These stays get more tedious each time we are here. We spend more time waiting to have work done than actual work being done. The one good thing is that whenever a problem occurs as a result of materials used in the manufacturing the company stands behind it and replaces/repairs at no charge as in the rail problem. In fact, we were not aware of this problem but while other issues were being addressed these fiberglass rails were inspected and found to have cracks. Aluminum rails are now on our motorhome.

By 9:30am we were joyfully leaving Red Bay and headed north east. Moving into Tennessee we decided to stop at the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg. Free tours are given through the distillery. (If on a sampling tour there is a $10.00 charge) We took the free tour with an entertaining and knowledgable guide. Afterwards, a short walk from the parking lot at Jack Daniels and we were downtown Lynchburg (population 350). It was well past noon and we were hungry. We ate at a barbeque diner, B B Q Caboose cafe. Both of us ate jambalaya, rice and slaw that we thought was pretty good. Back on the road we continued a little further and then stopped south of Nashville (Smyrna) at Nashville I-24 Campground

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rail Work and Natchez Trace Parkway- October 19, 2014

Wednesday, we waited around the motorhome believing that someone would show up to reinstall our TV antenna but that didn’t happen.  That’s the way it is in Camp Red Bay.  You never know much in advance.  Tom went over to the service area again today to check about when we were going to have these rails replaced and was told probably Thursday.  In the evening we were waiting for a phone call to tell us for sure if we were going in for servicing on Thursday.  Usually these calls come in about 4pm but about 5:30pm we finally got the call.

Thursday morning we dropped off the unit at bay 36 to have the rails replaced, this would be a warranty job.   We did not choose to stay in the unit as that would have meant that we would not be able to get out all day as scaffolding is tight against the unit not allowing the doors to be opened.  We spent much of the day in the customer lounge except for a break to go get something for lunch.  At 3pm we went up to the bay and found our unit had been backed outside, job was completed.  We returned back to the campsite and awaited a phone call about painting the rail area but we heard nothing.

Friday afternoon we went to Belmont, Mississippi, a few miles away to the complex that Tiffin where the painting of the new motorhomes are done.  We were given a map, a few instructions, safety glasses and then sent on a self guided tour of the facility.  Quite an interesting place.  Before we got away from there Tom received a call telling us that Monday we were to come to Bay 24 in Red Bay to have our rails painted at 7am.

Saturday morning we took off in the Jeep for the Natchez Trace Parkway by 9am.  I had packed a picnic lunch.  This parkway runs north to south from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi.  We had travelled from Tupelo, Mississippi south but had not gone the northern segment.  We picked the Parkway up west of Red Bay near Dennis, Mississippi.  We were making stops along the way at the points of interests of those that had travelled this area years ago.   The third stop was at Buzzard Roost Spring.  We walked a short walk down to this spring that had a strong flow of water.  Thinking we could get a better view we moved from one side to the other.  MISTAKE.  It was really muddy, slippery mud that had me suddenly off my feet.  What a mess!!  My hands, knees of my jeans and shoes were full of mud.  Tom helped get back up on my feet.  I wiped my hands and shoes on dewy grass to remove much of the mud.  But my jeans had caked on mud on the knees.  Luckily, I had no injuries.  The route had a detour that took us off the Parkway because of road work so we did find a gas station that Tom got a bottle of water that I used to further clean my hands.  I had at this point felt that best way to deal with the mud on my pants was to let it dry and then peel the caked mud off.   So we did continue on our travels.  Along this detour we came to a field of turnips with a sign posted “Free Turnips” so we stopped and pulled up some turnips. 

From Natchez Trace Parkway
Probably an hour later after getting back on the Parkway we came to a sign about a Visitor Center in Collinwood, Tn. that we drove to.  Tom went in to the Center while I stayed by the Jeep scraping and then brushing the now-dried mud off my pants.  We continued on north.  Laurel Hill Lake was shown on the Parkway map as having picnic tables so we drove off on a side road to that area to eat our picnic lunch of fried chicken, macaroni salad, chips and apples.  This was a beautiful area for our lunch break.   Back on the Parkway we stopped at the gravesite of Meriwether Lewis, who died here in 1809 by what is suspected to be self inflicted gunshot. 
From Natchez Trace Parkway
We continued on to the end just south of Nashville a little before 5pm.  Then we had to return to Red Bay, Al. but we didn’t travel on the Parkway for this segment.  We took some state routes to the east of the Parkway down Tennessee and into Alabama passing through a few towns.  The homes off the Parkway in the outlaying area of Nashville were huge with beautifully landscaped yards- some big money in that area.  One town, Franklin, Tn., impressed us with a bustling downtown Saturday night.  We made a stop at a Wendy’s for a supper break.  Finally about 9:30pm we were to the motorhome.  A long day, 350 miles, but enjoyable despite the spill in the mud.

Today, Sunday, we did go to the local Methodist Church this morning and then stopped for lunch at a local restaurant.  But have been and will remain in the campground recuperating from yesterday’s adventure.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Florence, Alabama and Weather- October 14, 2014

Sunday morning we attended church services at a  Methodist church here in Red Bay.  The church was well attended and was quite lively compared to the churches in the northeast.  The minister gave me the impression of someone that had a bit too much coffee but his service and sermon were impressive.  We then drove to Florence, Al., northeast of Red Bay 30 plus miles, to go to a Sam’s Club and to get lunch.  It was a day of rain and some brief periods of sunshine.

Monday morning (Columbus Day) Tom went to the service center to see when we were scheduled to get into the bay to get the rails done on the motorhome and was told in 3 days.  He also checked as to where our TV antenna was and found it in Bay 31.  Brandon the main tech in that bay said he would have the “boy come to the site to install it”.  Well “the boy” did not find his way here on this day.  We drove into town for a few items at the grocery store and while there a clerk said to be careful that some bad weather was headed this way.  The clouds were building up all afternoon.  A little before 5pm our phones sent out a tornado alert advising to seek shelter immediately.   Quickly we gathered up a few things and went to the customer lounge.  The lounge was filling up and the TV was on giving details about the storm moving across this area.  The alert was until 5:30pm.  There was heavy rain falling but, thankfully, no tornado.  A little past 5:30pm we returned to the motorhome and spent the evening listening to the thunder and then the pelting rain.  By midnight the rain had lightened.

Today, Tuesday, we are again sitting and waiting.  Our biggest activity aside form reading is watching the ever changing skies and weather.  Big heavy clouds covered the skies much of the day with an occasional streak of blue showing through and very brief periods of sun shining.  And there were showers off and on all day.  And the temperature has remained in the low 60’s.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

DEF Repair and Hodges, Alabama- October 11, 2014

We did not get any calls to go in for servicing on Wednesday but we did get a call to be in a mechanical bay on Thursday at 7am.  So we were up earlier than usual to move into bay 42.  Once in the bay the area supervisor, Greg Dees, hooked up a computer to find out why the service light was on indicating a problem with the DEF sensor.  This has been the fourth time we have had this issue.  This time instead of replacing the sensor the whole internal mechanism that injects this fluid into the fuel line was replaced.  Apparently this has been problem has been seen in other units that are using DEF at this time.  Our motorhome is a 2011 the first year that DEF was used.  Then as we were leaving the bay Tom noticed that the need service light was still on and mentioned this to the tech.  The tech said it would go out as we drove it.  So Tom drove around town a bit but the light remained on.

From 2014/10/13
From 2014/10/13

Friday morning before eating breakfast Tom turned on the ignition, saw the light was still on and then we took a longer ride out to a neighboring town and back.  The light remained on.  So Tom went over to the service area and talked with the tech that said at times these lights have to reset with the computer.   Shortly after the lunch break, Greg Dees came out to the motorhome and hooked up the computer and cleared it of the warning light.  He said that it is not uncommon to need to do this.  While Greg was here he mentioned to us that a big camouflaged truck has been seen around here and if we should see it around this area we should let security know about it.  A mid eastern appearing man and woman have been seen driving this vehicle around and has caused some concern in the area.

Friday evening we went back to the Rattlesnake Saloon.  We have been to this place  couple times but never in the evening when there is music being played.  Once we got down to the Saloon area we were met by Security asking if we were going to drink alcohol beverages and we both said no.  A red X was marked on our hands.  If we were going to drink we would have had to show ID and then our would have been stamped.  Everybody has to have ID to be able to drink regardless of the white hair or no hair.  We had burgers and onion rings (only sandwiches type meals are available) but could not eat all the onion rings.  The music was a group of 3 men performing country songs.  We stayed for a little more than an hour.

From 2014/10/04

We have been having rain almost daily.  Last night it rained all night and by mid morning the rain had stopped but clouds remained.  We had seen signs about “Spirit of Hodges” festival for today, Saturday.  Hodges is another small town in this area.  We struck out not exactly sure of how to go and, of course, we took a much longer route than necessary.  But we had an enjoyable time after we got there.  There was musical entertainment scheduled most of the day.  Craft vendors were set up with their wares as well as food vendors.  We ate lunch of pork barbeque, slaw and baked beans and enjoyed the music.  After we returned back to the campground we went for a walk only to get caught in a rain shower that had us pretty wet until we got back to the motorhome.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Tupelo and Service Bay–Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sunday we drove into Tupelo, Mississippi for dinner.  As previously stated the restaurant choices around Red Bay are not the best.  Tupelo is about 50 miles west of Red Bay.  We ate at a nice barbeque restaurant, Crossroads Rib Shack and the ribs were very good.

Monday morning we were just hanging around the motorhome.  We never know when we could get a call to move into a service bay so we stick around just in case but we really did not expect to get in this soon.  Surprisingly, about 9:30am we got the call so we quickly packed up and moved into the bay.  Brandon was our main tech and he along with another tech worked on several issues- out of place roller under the front passenger slide, replacing a couple breakers, removing the TV antenna for repairs.  A cabinet man came in to realign a kitchen drawer.  This was about 45 minutes of work but we were there until the workday ended at 3pm.  There were big periods of time spent with these guys just standing around.  As we left we were told that the rails on the motorhome needed to be replaced- a 2 day job covered under warranty – and we would be taken into the mechanical bay about the DEF sensor showing a problem and also the TV antenna would be repaired and probably reinstalled in the campground area.  We also need to go some place to have the frame work in the front corner by the windshield looked at.

Today Tuesday we have been waiting but no calls today for any work.  We did go out to the Piggly Wiggly grocery store and CVS to pick up a few items.   This morning was rainy with a couple claps of thunder and then it cleard up in the afternoon.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Red Bay, Alabama, Storms and Dismals Canyon- October 4, 2014

On Tuesday, September 30th, we bid a farewell to the Rushes, Perrys and Woodruffs and traveled westward as they would be going northward from Myrtle Beach.  Our main route of travel was I-20 west.  Late afternoon after 329 miles we stopped for the night at Hard Labor Creek State Park near Rutledge, Georgia.  A real nice campground with spacious campsites of water and electric.  We had a nice walk about the quiet, sparsely occupied park.

On Wednesday, we continued our travels for another 325 miles to Red Bay, Alabama, our destination.  We are back to the Tiffin service center for some motorhome issues.  The campground at the service center is full but a downtown park had a space reserved for Tiffin owners opened.  So we went to this park and set up forever how we might be here.  We registered for servicing but were told the service writer probably would not get to us until Friday as things were really backed up.  We ate a late lunch at the local Mexican restaurant.

Thursday morning, much to our surprise, about 9:30am a knock on the door told us that the service writer was paying a visit to talk about our needs on this visit.  He did say that we would not be able to in for servicing this week but maybe next week.  We were in need of a new sewer hose so we decided to find a Walmart.  The closest Walmart is in Russellville 30 plus miles away.  So we drove to Russellville, found the Walmart that didn’t have the sewer hose and then had lunch at a much better Mexican restaurant than the one in Red Bay.  While eating lunch time got a call from the service center campground office that a space was available there if we wanted it.  So we left and returned to move campgrounds.  Tom did get another sewer hose at the Tiffin parts store.  The sky all day had dark clouds and occasionally we had some misty rain.  Thunderstorms were predicted for the night as a cold front was moving in.  About 12:45am our phones woke us with a message of a possible tornedo in this area until 1:30am.  We became uneasy and decided that we would get out of the motorhome and go into a building close by.  The campground bathrooms were open so we went there.  Thankfully, no tornedo occurred but there was some heavy down pouring of rain.  By 1:45am we were back in bed with nothing but some rain the rest of the night.

After the night of interrupted sleep we were somewhat worn out on Friday.  We stayed at the campground.  We walked about the grounds, did a few things around the motorhome and had dinner here.

Today, Saturday, we woke up to a chilly motorhome.  It was 45 degrees outside and 57 degrees in here.  The heat was pushed on.  It was a beautiful sunny cool day.  It was quieter this morning with the service center closed for the weekend.  We walked around the area and stopped into the office and asked about anything happening in the area.  Nothing special was happening but we were given some brochures.  Since it was such a pretty day we decided to go to Dismals Canyon, a National Natural Landmark.  An entrance fee of $9.00 each allowed us to walk the trail through the canyon.  Huge house size boulders line the canyon.  On the moss covered walls larva of a fly called dismalites live.  At night these dismalites glow at nighttime to attract food.  There are 2 waterfalls. 

From Alabama
The trail is not the easiest involving climbing over rocks , crossing a creek on rocks and squeezing through some narrow openings between rocks- not to mention the stairway back up to the entrance building at the end of the trail.  But we did enjoy the visit and seeing this pretty area.  Leaving the Canyon we drove to the Rattlesnake Saloon, a unique “watering hole”, for lunch.  A pickup truck picked us up from a parking lot and drove down a steep hill to where a huge cave-like area in the rocks has been set up to be a dining area.  Sandwiches are available- we had burgers which are very good.  Alcohol is not sold until after 5pm when entertainment of karaoke or bands happen.  We were returned to the parking lot by way of the pickup truck.  A fun day.