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Author Topic: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!  (Read 6843 times)

SargeW

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Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« on: March 08, 2014, 11:59:24 PM »
Well the weather is just starting to break in parts of the country.  At least we hope. Starting next Friday we strike out on a eastward trip that will take us through Red Bay, Al to visit the mother ship (Tiffin) to get some warranty work, then on to the Keys for a few weeks. 

Lots of stops in between, and we are hoping for some smooth sailing. You are welcome to tag along on here, or the DW's blog, (link in signature line).  She is a great writer, and always includes her own special flair. See ya on the road!  ;)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 11:10:59 AM by SargeW »
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Kevin Means

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2014, 04:19:09 AM »
Oh man... there ya go again, having fun in your motorhome. Have a great trip you guys. I'll be reading Diane's journal.

Kev
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Dar

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2014, 11:16:26 AM »
Sounds awesome Sarge. Maybe we will see you on the road because we are in FL heading west after visiting Freightliner in SC for annual maintenance. Hopefully you have few repairs that Tiffin can get to quickly because I believe Red Bay is worse than Forest City as far as being secluded, as if that is possible LOL.

Have fun and be safe!
Dar & Bill
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2014, 12:18:23 PM »
Thanks Kev! You need to get out there and stretch those legs!

Dar, I think you may be right, but I got my fingers crossed.  But hey, its all part of the adventure!
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SeilerBird

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 12:34:01 PM »
The weather has been beautiful here in Florida lately Sarge. ;D Good luck on your trip. :)
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2014, 01:48:08 PM »
Thanks Tom, looking forward to it!
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Kevin Means

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2014, 12:50:07 PM »
Thanks Kev! You need to get out there and stretch those legs!

I know, I know. Right now the MHs in a bunch of pieces while a large solar system is being installed - while all the valances are being replaced - while some cabinet work is being done - yada yada. Even though I just retired, Cyndii Jo is still working and Andi Jo has got another year of high school. So for now, all I can do is enjoy other people's long RV trips vicariously. :-\   Keep the trip reports comin'.

Kev
Edit: Fixed quote.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2014, 05:50:53 PM by Tom »
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2014, 01:03:35 PM »
Wow, doing some serious mods!  Post some pics when it's done!
Marty--
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Dar

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 04:22:24 PM »
I agree with Sarge, some pics when you are done Kevin would be greatly appreciated.

We saw a million dollar coach at Lazy Days a couple of weeks ago with wooden valances that had just a hint of matching fabric to the motif. Liked them allot so I am thinking another year or so I should be bored with the current fabric and it will be time for a change. In the mean time I will live vicariously through you on that because we don't sit long enough for me to get anything like that done ;). Enjoy your remodel.
Dar & Bill
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2014, 11:27:20 PM »
Well we have arrived at the first leg of our Eastward Ho journey. It was a short trip actually to enjoy some of the cooler temps of our local ski resort mountains.  So we pulled into Serrano Campground in Big Bear, and the weather was still a beautiful 70 degrees.  I know that some of the eastern readers will find that mildly amusing! But with our temps at home in So. Cal hitting high 70's and low 80's this weekend, it was a nice way to start. 

Other than some typical So. Cal Friday afternoon traffic, the journey was uneventful.  I was interested to see just how the new rig would pull the mountain grades coming up here.  We got as high as 7200+ feet, with lots of switchbacks and 20 MPH corners.  We are loaded heavy right now too, just about "full timer" loaded.  Plus a little extra as Diane took all the extra stuff from the house that we would not be back to use for the next 3 months. 

The rig pulled well, the upgrade to the Cummins ISC 8.3 motor and the Allison 3000 MH trans worked just as I had hoped.  The 1025 ft lbs of torque really helped keep us rolling on the mountain grades.  Even with the 5000# Jeep in tow, the rig never felt sluggish. (Our Journey that we had was powered by the Cummins ISB 6.7, and an Allison 2500MH trans)

With the VMSpc I was able to keep an eye on the temps, and all were within comfortable specs.

We chose Serrano campground as we have stayed here before. We are staying in Snowberry loop, which is full hookups.  This is a National Forest campground, which is way cheaper than the private campground across the street.  This is a little more rustic, but at around $37 a night, it works out great.  The private place across the street is around $100 a night. 

Our kids and grand kids will visit for a few days so we can get some big hugs to take with us on the road. We will do some exploring around here (watch Diane's blog for her details) before we head to Lake Mead for the next stop. 
Marty--
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Kevin Means

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2014, 12:56:30 AM »
Marty,

After reading your post about Serrano campground, we took a look at it online. It looks like a great place to camp. Most of the sites look like they're big-rig friendly but I was wondering how level they are, and if the roads going up the hill and in the campground were doable for a 43 foot motorhome. We thought we might like to head up there sometime.

Kev
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2014, 10:17:44 AM »
The pads from side to side are very level Kev. The biggest issue we had was that some of them sloped backwards, away from the road, thus making your jacks lift the back end higher than the front.  We walked the loop and recorded the the site # that were favorable to a MH.  I also picked the ones that had most of the free space on the door side of the RV. 

If interested let me know and I can provide site#'s for you. 
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2014, 11:09:33 AM »
Well we left Serrano campground and headed for Nevada. We went down the "back way" out of Big Bear.  It's highway 18 East, and the  route is shorter down the mountain, but much steeper in places. Some grades are as much as 11% with some tight switchbacks. The key to the decent is GO SLOW and use low gears.  I also recommend hitting the turnouts whenever necessary.

Even going slow and using the pullouts to let traffic go by I could still smell the brakes by the time we got to the bottom. It is just a whole lot of weight to hold back on that steep of a grade.  I wasn't alone though, there were a few other trucks behind me creeping down the mountain as well.

The next stop was a campground we had not stayed in before, Lake Mead National recreational area. It is a campground that requires an entrance fee to get in every day, so having a National Parks pass is highly recommended.  The campground itself has lots of permenant park models that have been here for quite a while, but several of the areas are being refurbished with RV only sites.  We stayed in the newest section which is the "Lake View" sites in the very front.  They are FHU sites with 50 amp, wide cement pads for the rig and patio area, and new gravel around that.  The sites have hookups on both sides of the pad, so you can pull in with your MH or back in with your towable and still have an awesome view of the lake. 

The rate for the lake view sites was about $45 a night, and some of the older ones up the hill may have been a little less.  There is also a dry camp area next to the FHU section that can be had for $10 a night, or $5 a night if you have the Senior National Parks Pass. 

The park is pretty close to Boulder City, and about 19 miles from Henderson.  It's a good thing too, since as soon as we pulled into the campground and unhooked the toad, I started hearing the tell tale "screech" from our rear brakes on the Jeep.  The early warning wear indicators were rubbing the rotors, and I knew a brake job was in my future.

I was able to hit a Jeep dealer in Henderson that got us in the next day, and with a little pain in the wallet, all is well again.  The weather has been great, cool mornings, 70 - 75 degree afternoons and a light breeze off of the lake.  I will be back here again.

We head for Arizona today, next stop is Cottonwood Arizona, Deadhorse Ranch Campground. Sounds like an interesting place! 

BTW, the DW is doing installments on her trip journal blog with area info and pics. Stop on by!
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 11:13:04 AM by SargeW »
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2014, 09:26:14 PM »
We arrived at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood AZ, and were pleasantly surprised. We have not been to this park before, and are always looking for new places to stay. The park is reasonably priced at $25 a night. The sites are water and electric with a dump station available.  The sites are asphalt with good space between them. 

One of the big reasons to take this trip was to hit Red Bay, AL to get some service done at the Tiffin factory.  I have been on a few different web sites checking posts about the activity at the service center.  It was picking up fast, with a crush of RV's expected to show up after April 1st when the snow birds start heading back north, much like what happens at the Winnebago factory in Forest City. 

I talked it over with Diane and decided to make a bee line for Red Bay, and try to make it before April 1st. So, very uncharacteristic of us we made a series of one night stops to make the time line work out.  So we drove between 325 to 360 a day for 4 days, and pulled into Red Bay on a Thursday the 27th.  We got on the service wait list, and have a full hook up site in their campground.  It's a good thing, because they expect 40 to 60 more rigs to show up Monday!  Most of them will be dry camping in the back lot.

Driving across I-40 had it's challenges. A few days we hit some really strong head winds, which just eats fuel. With the Cummins ISC power plant, I had the cruise set on 65 most of the time which the rig maintained pretty easily. However, watching the number on the boost gauge bounce around 25 to 30+ pounds, I felt the pain at the pump. (For those not sure what "boost" is, the higher the boost # the more air and fuel is being forced into the motor to achieve the desired speed by the turbocharger) 

I was putting in between 35 to 50 gallons of diesel a day. That hurts the pocketbook, but now while I wait here for 2-3 weeks getting service, I will use zero fuel, and the camping is free.

Once we get out of here, we head to Georgia to visit family for a few days and the pace slows dramatically.   
Marty--
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catblaster

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 09:32:27 PM »
Sarge..are you planning to come thru the Orlando area on the Fl Turnpike??? We are headed to Long Key on May 27th for a week.
Will and Jane
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2014, 10:16:34 AM »
We may get down there Will. We are a little up in the air until we see how long it takes us to get into a service bay here in Red Bay.  Stay Tuned!
Marty--
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Marsha/CA

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2014, 10:53:56 AM »
Enjoy that ole Southern hospitality   8)   ...My family is from Red Rock which is about 40 miles from Red Bay.  If you like catfish, there's an old gas station east of Red Bay at the only intersection; and in the annex is a small restaurant that has great catfish.  It's a hole in the wall, but often Bob Tiffin is in there.  Then there is supposed to be a good restaurant in the back of the local grocery store.

Marsha~
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2014, 11:31:25 AM »
Now there is a little local flavor! Thanks Marsha!
Marty--
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Molaker

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2014, 12:36:50 PM »
The weather has been beautiful here in Florida lately Sarge. ;D Good luck on your trip. :)
We just finished a 20 day tour including Key West and all points between and Tom is right, the weather was great in Florida.  Still on the cool side a few nights, but cool is OK.  Starting from Cedarcreek, Mo. we drove nearly the full length of Florida from the Alabama line down the west coast to Naples, across the Everglades, down to Key West then back up the east coast to Mayport.  From Mayport back to Ft. Smith, Ar. (son lives there).  By the time we get home we'll have driven about 3400 miles in 22 days.  It's been a great trip.
 
We did have one disappointment and that was the Everglades.  It is virtually dying from lack of fresh water, much of which is being sucked off to meet water demands in the rapidly developing coastal cities.  What a shame.  Unless something is done soon (and I seriously doubt anything will be), I suspect the next generation will have to use their imaginations to picture the glory of the place.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2014, 12:59:14 PM »
We just finished a 20 day tour including Key West and all points between and Tom is right, the weather was great in Florida.  Still on the cool side a few nights, but cool is OK.  Starting from Cedarcreek, Mo. we drove nearly the full length of Florida from the Alabama line down the west coast to Naples, across the Everglades, down to Key West then back up the east coast to Mayport.  From Mayport back to Ft. Smith, Ar. (son lives there).  By the time we get home we'll have driven about 3400 miles in 22 days.  It's been a great trip.
 
We did have one disappointment and that was the Everglades.  It is virtually dying from lack of fresh water, much of which is being sucked off to meet water demands in the rapidly developing coastal cities.  What a shame.  Unless something is done soon (and I seriously doubt anything will be), I suspect the next generation will have to use their imaginations to picture the glory of the place.
I may have been right, but I am not right today. It is raining and dreary today.

The Everglades has been dying for about 100 years. From what I read the bird population is about 10% of what it was 100 years ago. However the state of Florida is committed to restoring the Everglades to it's former glory. A few years ago a multi billion dollar plan was approved. It will be many years till the plan is complete because the damage is excessive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restoration_of_the_Everglades
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therealsimpsons

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2014, 05:17:51 PM »
down to Key West then back up the east coast to

How was the availability of campgrounds on the way to Key West, and once you were there? Things to do?

Thinking of a trip there someday, just wondering due to your recent trip.

Edit: Fixed quote
« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 07:08:05 PM by Tom »
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Frank Hurst

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2014, 05:34:15 PM »
SargeW, the name of the catfish place is Swamp John's. It is at the intersection of highway 24 and 247. If you go north on highway 147 about 10-15 miles you will find the National Coon Dog Graveyard. The locals told us about a restaurant west of Red Bay into Mississippi where we ate, but I don't remember the name of the restaurant  or how to get to the restaurant.
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Molaker

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Re: Eastward HO!!
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2014, 05:38:18 PM »
 Parttymer...I am retired military so I took advantage and stayed at the NAS Key West campground (Sigsbee).  We had to dry camp as we did not stay long enough to move into a full service site and had to stay in the overflow area.  So, unless you qualify for military Famcamps, I can't help you much.  However, I can tell you we made the entire trip without reservations...anywhere.  There were a couple of places that we got the one and only site left, but we weren't turned away anywhere.  And, it should be noted, we were there right in the middle of spring break timeframe.  I'm pretty sure if we would have been maybe just 2 weeks later we would have had even less trouble as spring break would have been over and more snowbirds would have migrated back north.  I can say that by far, the worst place we stayed was at the Florida City RV Park.  It was "okay" for a 1-nite stand, but not a place I would recommend.
 
As for things to do while in Key West...eat, drink and be merry.  Oh yes, and spend money...and take pictures of chickens...and crawl through traffic (unless you like walking).
Tom & Joyce and Ditto the "don't tell her she's a dog" Westie
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2014, 09:00:36 PM »
Well, we have been in Red Bay for 8 days now. With a little luck we may get into a service bay this coming Tuesday.  We went into Russellville on Wednesday to restock the wine cabinet (still a dry county you know). While we were there we stopped for lunch at a local place named Pilgrims Place.  Homemade BBQ and all the sides. The owner is a nice guy and makes everything fresh. 

Then last night we we got a little taste of an Alabama downpour. Along about 4:15 AM or so we were awakened by the rain. Then things got crazy fast.  The wind started howling and the rig was rocking. Lightening and thunder and car alarms were going off all over the campground. Then there was a huge crash. The neighbor to our right had a motorcycle/car combo dolly that he had pulled with him. The motorcycle portion was covered with canvas.  The crash was when the wind caught the front canvas on the trailer and spun it around 180 degrees.  It then shoved it into the back of the motorhome parked in back of it. The tongue of the trailer struck the back of the rig putting a gash in the rear engine panel.  Fortunately there was a yellow concrete pole at the back of the site that stopped the trailer from punching all the way through to the motor. 

It lasted like that for about 15 minutes, then it just settled down to a steady hard rain.  Our bikes and chairs were thrown around, and one of our slide tops were unrolled all the way allowing it to flap in the wind.  Luckily it didn't tear it up and I was able to reroll it back on the tube when the wind stopped.  Man, we don't have that kind of weather in So. Cal!

And as usual, me sitting idle in one place for an extended period of time is dangerous. I start thinking of ways to mod the coach. And people love coming here to Red Bay because parts and labor to make changes to the rig are plentiful. Bad combination! 

So here's my deal. The only thing I would have changed/added to the new coach is an exterior TV. We love spending time outside, and Diane likes doing the morning aerobics with her favorite DVD's in the fresh air whenever possible. So I started planning. A little research showed that there are a few places here in town that will do the install of the exterior TV, but both are way backed up. One was quoting appointment dates in June/July!  And the cost was pretty pricey, $1700 without the price of the TV. 

So I did some more research and found that I can buy the exterior box and door that Tiffin installs when the rigs are produced. I did some
Intel at the Tiffin factory for the exact location of support beams and electrical wiring in the walls. And I have to say, everybody I talked to on the factory floor bent over backwards to help me get the info I needed. I was extremely impressed with their attitude towards their customers. 

So with all of the research done, I decided I am going to cut the hole and mount the exterior TV box myself, probably saving at least 50% on paying someone to do the install. Now I just have to get over the nerves of cutting a hole in the side of my new rig! I already have the 32" Vizio that I am going to mount in the box, and I can pull the needed HDMI cables from the interior TV that sits just 2' away on the inside of the rig. Power is already present, and I can remove the fireplace on the inside of the rig for full access to the back side of the exterior TV. I can get Tiffin to paint the new door when I get some other paint touch up done when I get in for service.

I think I have thought of everything that I need to pull this off.  I hope!
Marty--
2017 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40SP
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Kevin Means

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2014, 10:58:10 AM »
And I thought drilling into the roof to mount my solar panels was scary. You da man Marty. I think you're right about there being room though - and you couldn't be in a better place to take on a project like that. Ours came with an outside entertainment center but I really didn't know if it would get much use. Well, it has. When we're boondocking, which we do a fair amount of, we use it a lot. A bunch of us were watching "Captain Phillips" in the middle of the Arizona desert the other night - was actually pretty fun (ruffin-it ya know).

Kev
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2014, 01:55:10 PM »
Yeah buddy! That's my idea of "roughin' it!  We used the outside TV on the Journey all the time.  I do miss it.  And besides, what could go wrong?!?!?
Marty--
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2014, 09:37:02 PM »
We have been in Red Bay, Al at the Tiffin motor home service center since my last entry.  We haven't moved location, but a lot has happened none the less.  We got into a service bay on 4/9, after being here since 3/27.  It felt like a long time, but we feel pretty good since we were quoted that it could have been 3 weeks to get into a service bay due to the sheer number of coaches here for service.  At last count, there were 168 rigs in and around Red Bay waiting to get started. 

However, I must say that since we got in and started the service process with Tony our tech, we have been very pleased with the quality of work, and the "can do" attitude. Nothing we have asked for has been denied, and they  go out of their way to make you feel like royalty.  Tiffin's legendary customer service was one of the reasons we went with this company this time around.

Tomorrow starts day 4, and we have several other items to take care of.  But we are still in a full hook up site and it's free. 

In between the service appointments, I started working on the exterior wall TV install.  Due to Tiffin's willingness to supply any info needed to start the project I was pretty comfortable cutting the hole.  I won't repeat the whole process here as I have made a thread explaining the project in the "remodeling your RV" forum. 

In short, I laid out and cut the hole in the wall of the rig, mounted the box and sealed it in place.  A few days later I built a frame for the articulating TV mount and got it installed. Now I am waiting for the new TV to arrive tomorrow from Amazon.  I thought I was going to be able to use the current basement TV, but I soon realized that the new TV box I installed is for a new style "slim line" TV. 

So I purchased one from Amazon, and will put the existing TV and slide mount up for sale. 

Below are just a few pics of the install, and I will add the final ones when the project finishes up. We have also done some touring around, and Diane has been posting updates on her travel blog. The web address is in my signature at the bottom of the page. 

Thanks for stopping by!
Marty--
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Poppys 5th Wheel

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2014, 01:35:41 PM »
Okay, you guys are just not updating this thread or the blog enough :)
Paul "Poppy" Cervone
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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2014, 08:27:24 PM »
Thanks Paul!  Diane just did hers, but I have been remiss.  The biggest news I have (since I still am in Red Bay) is the incredible list of fixes and repairs that have been done by the tech, all without a bit of complaint.  The tech tracked down a sewer smell that we persistently had in the bathroom, an occasional exhaust smell inside the coach, (both were fixed with expanding foam in the appropriate places).

A new microwave, a slide adjustment, a water leak in the water heater cabinet, replaced a few broken HDMI cables, a re-situated sewer vent cover, a new tankless water heater, a replaced step tread cover, a new kitchen faucet, a new propane regulator, a new patio awning, and 4 new slide tops, and repaired a leaking water line in the bathroom.  When the DVD player unexpectedly died, they replaced it with a new Blue Ray player. 

While it seems like this is an extensive list, about half of it is directly attributed to the dealer, either by not taking care of the rig while it sat on their lot, or through bungled attempts at repair.

All of the above was paid for on Tiffins dime without complaint.  One item I did change out that wasn't broken was the stove top. Diane saw the new stove top that the neighbor had and fell in love with it.  It was a stainless steel stove top with sealed burners. The existing stove top had big spaces around the burners that allowed all kinds of debris to fall through to the bottom.  Not any more!  It was worth it, and it looks cool. 

Today I spent part of a day in the cabinet shop getting some dents and scraped wood parts redone. 

Maybe tomorrow we can get into the tile bay to get our cracked tile replaced.  All in all things are moving along, and the coach just keeps getting better and better. 

Hopefully my next post will be about us leaving Red Bay and heading to Stone Mountain Ga to visit with the SIL. 

But hey, it's all part of the adventure!
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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2014, 09:59:19 PM »
Well, after 37 days we made it out of Red Bay! Kind of.  For 95% of the time we spent there we had a great experience with the whole service aspect we received on nearly every facet of the repair.  We had great techs and great service in the service bay, the cabinet shop, and the tile shop.  Then we hit the paint bay and our luck changed.  We were assigned a young guy (23 years old) and he sounded like he knew what he was doing.  Well, not so much. 

I think that he had skills, but he was usually preoccupied with drama from a breakup with his younger girlfriend, or hanging out all night at Walmart to see who she was seeing.  This all added up to some unsatisfactory work on a key part of the new paint job, my new exterior TV door.  Granted there are a significant amount of lines and colors on the surface, but the door is about 32X26 inches, not real big.  He wound up completely repainting the door twice, and it still is not right.  When we went to the office to "discuss" the issues we had, we ultimately decided that we were not going to wait around the weekend and come back Monday for another try.

We had already used up all of our cushion and were now bumping up against other appointments and reservations we had already made. So we decided to leave and come back June 1st to get the final paint work straightened out.  We kept our file open so there will be no wait time when we return. It should be a quick visit. The paint shop manager acknowledged that the job was lacking, and promised to put his best guy on it when we return. 

We left Red Bay and headed for Stone Mountain, Georgia where we stayed for two days in their RV campground while we visited family. It is a nice campground with several different loops, most with full hook ups. The themed park is a historical remembrance of the Confederacy during the Civil war. It is not only historical, but they also have regular family variety shows on a regular basis. If you are in the area, just outside of Atlanta, it's worth a stop.  There is also a golf course and a nice restaurant on the property. 

We pulled out of Stone Mountain on Monday May 5th and headed for Gaffney, South Carolina. I was hoping to get the first service on the new rig, and there is no better place than Freightliner in Gaffney.  They are not only an Oasis Service center, but is also the training center for Frieghtliner Chassis, which are built at the nearby factory.  There is also a factory tour you can take Monday thru Friday just by signing up.  I had called Gaffney to see about an appointment when I was at the point I could estimate my departure from Red Bay. I knew it was a long shot, but worth a try.  When I spoke to Pat on the phone (she has worked Gaffney's front desk forever and is a sweetheart) she confirmed that they were already into June with their appointments.  She did recommend though that I could come up and get a spot in their campground, and if there was a cancellation or a job finished up early then I could slide in. 

So we arrived Monday about 1 PM and signed up. I was happy to see that the list for walk ins only had one name on it.  We took a space in the campground (a lot in back of the service center with 50 amp service and a dump station) and waited.  The next morning I got up early and was in the office right after they opened the door at 7:45.  I asked Pat what the wait looked like, and she asked the shop manager who was standing in back of her.  He said that one of his appointments had just cancelled, and that we were up!  20 minutes later a tech came out to the coach and pulled us in for our maintenance.  Due to the unusual circumstance of our motorhome being built in April of 2012, but us not buying it until October of 2013, she recommended that we go ahead with a 24 month service to bring us into compliance with our warranty. 

At the end of the day we were back in our spot with all the maintenance done, and ready to pull out Tuesday morning.  Just as an FYI, if you go to Gaffney for service and are FMCA and a Freightliner Custom Chassis Club member, you qualify for 10-15% off labor and parts. Well worth your time to sign up!

We drove from Gaffney to Richmond Hill, Georgia to the Savannah South KOA.  We will be here for 2 nights and then head to a beach campground in Florida.  The KOA is decent, kind of a typical KOA. It's not too close to the highway though, so road noise isn't overwhelming.  We paid $39 a night for a FHU site. They do have a pool though, we may hit tomorrow as the temps are going to be in the low 90's. 

The entry wouldn't be complete without an accounting of the "extra mods" that I did, or will be completing from my time at Red Bay.

1) The outside TV is up and working great.
2) Installed a new sealed burner stainless steel cook top for Diane.
3) Picked up a new, never installed electric cord reel. One of the next mods.
4) Had the over head TV removed and replaced with matching cabinets.
5) Wired a 110v outlet in the closet to plug in my router and power booster. Added another 15 amp breaker in the electric panel to control the outlet.
6) Modified my existing computer stand next to the recliners. Now it is free standing, not in the chair cupholder.
7) Picked up a bunch of spare parts (most freebies) in case of on the road failure of a already warrantied part.

And at last I will include a pic of the TV door, as it currently looks.  There is a lot of room for improvement.........
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 10:02:39 PM by SargeW »
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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2014, 10:07:39 AM »
Sarge,

The old saying was always, "don't buy anything that comes off the line on Monday or Friday". Monday, still hung over from the weekend, and Friday, itching to get to the cabin "up north". Not concentrating on the job at hand.

It appears you had a Monday or Friday guy....every day! Its nice that Tiffen is going to make it right. Wonder if the "kid" will still be there in June.

Stan


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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2014, 01:07:11 PM »
I was kinda wondering that too Stan.  Maybe they will find him a more suitable job.......
Marty--
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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2014, 07:54:07 PM »
From Savannah we went to the Beverly Beach Camptown RV Resort.  It sounds really fancy, but instead it's just really expensive. The unique thing about this park is that it is reputed to be the only campground on the east coast that the sites are directly on the beach.  And they are, at least some of them. The front row sites pull you in right up to a walkway and a seawall.  The seawall is about 8' above the beach and there are stairs down to the beach.  The beach is kind of a crushed rock, not really sand.  Dogs on leash are allowed on the beach.

We were there for a long weekend, and I was surprised how empty the place was.  It must have been the cost keeping many folks away. A front row site during the week goes for $115 a day, and jumps to $130 on the weekend.  There is not much in the way of amenities there, so again the word "resort" is used pretty loosely.  We had a 3 night stay planned.  But on arrival our intended site was soaked with water, and had a couple huge holes from the previous rigs front tires digging in the wet dirt.  We went to the office and complained and they offered us another site of our choice. To their credit the manager also offered us an extra night free.  At $115 I couldn't pass it up. 

The spot on the ocean was really nice, but it still wasn't worth the price they wanted. We ate a few local places that were decent, but nothing to write home about.  When we left there we had planned a two day stop in Lake Worth, Fl and then on to the Keys.  Since we stayed an extra day at the beach it was going to be a one day layover before the Keys.  We were monitoring the weather, and a storm was coming in that was due to hit the keys for about 3 of our 4 day stay at Bahia Honda SP. 

So I made an executive decision and headed west to central Florida. Traveling 400 miles down there and back to get rained on for 3 days didn't make good sense to me.  We found a place in Central Florida off of highway 60.

It's a real nice place called River Ranch RV Resort. (There is that "resort" thing again).  However, this time it was a better fit. It is a owner operated park with 5 different phases. The latest phase, 5 is a series of pads built around one of the canals off of the Kissimmee river. They are all concrete pads surrounded by grass and lush trees.  Each pad also has it's own boat dock on the canal.  The resort also offers stables for horse back riding, a restaurant, general store, fitness center (which was closed for remodel), a saloon,  and a post office. On Saturday night there is a rodeo will Bull Riding, Barrel Racing, and events for the kids.  The cost was only $15 a person and it was a lot of fun.  We paid $65 a night, but we got a deal that if you stayed 5 nights you got 2 nights free.  That effectively made the cost $56 a night. 

The only real drawback to this resort is that there is nothing close to here for shopping.  The closest stores are 30 miles either direction, so your best bet is to stock up before you get here.   

We rented a pontoon boat on a Saturday afternoon to explore the river.  A 20' pontoon boat was $60 and hour, or $110 for two hours.  Two hours was plenty, and it was a nice way to spend the afternoon.  The pup was even allowed on the boat, and she enjoyed it immensely.   

If passing through Central Florida again, I would stay here again.  And if you get a chance, stop by Diane's travel blog, she has added a few new entries as well!
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 08:01:37 PM by SargeW »
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catblaster

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2014, 08:07:03 PM »
I feel your pain on the Beverly beach stay, we found that on our last trip to Long Key that it was just as close to the beach and it was a much nicer than Beverly. The eateries at Marathon or Islamorada were a lot better than the ones at Beverly also.

 We used to hunt at River Ranch before it started the resort....years ago, lots of hogs and deer. Havent been there since. The water should be very low in the Kissimmee river now, they are getting ready for rainy season and hurricanes.
Will and Jane
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2014, 08:28:02 PM »
Actually the water level in Kissimmee was pretty high Will.  We just had a bunch of rain here last week though. Beverly Beach is pretty much a residential area now. 
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catblaster

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2014, 08:35:16 PM »
Maybe that 's where our water went, The creek at our house can be walked across without getting your belt wet. Our water drains to the Kissimmee River thru East Lake Tohopekaliga. The only way to get to the lake now is with the airboat.

A group of us were just talking about how over rated and over priced Beverly beach has become. One of the group goes to a campground in Ormond Beach that is right on the Ocean and they claim it is much nicer also.
Will and Jane
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SargeW

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #36 on: May 27, 2014, 05:33:20 PM »
From River Ranch our next stop was Williston Crossing.  It is another central Florida RV resort, but this one was a lot more reasonably priced.  At a little less than $40 a night, it was easier on the pocket book. There are 5 different phases at this park, and phase 5 is the newest.  Strangely we were not offered a site in the new phase, which would have been much easier for us to get into with our rig.  We didn't know about phase 5 until we took the dog for a walk and found it.  We had to decline the first site they put us in due to trees and hardscape that made it impossible to get the rig in. 

Since there was not a lot going on in the city of Williston, we drove to Cedar Key one afternoon.  Although not actually a "Key" like down in the southern Keys, it is still an interesting older part of Florida history.  We had lunch at a pet friendly outdoor bar and grill.  The grouper sandwiches were great, and the views of the Gulf were cool.  The biggest negatives were the high humidity (wimpy west coasters) and the love bugs were everywhere. 

After leaving Williston the Memorial Day weekend was upon us, and Diane had reserved us a spot at the Emerald Coast RV Resort in Panama City Beach.  Another pricey RV resort, but in a nice location.  Arriving on Friday afternoon was a bit of a chore, as the traffic on the local roads was thick.  The RV park is not on the coast, but about a mile off.  The humidity was better, but still present. Either way, the AC units still got a good workout.   At least the lovebugs hadn't migrated that close to the coast yet. The biggest irratation here was that they advertise a whole bunch of ammenities that justify the price of the resort.  So on Saturday we hit the workout room to get some of the kinks out.  It was upstairs over the laundry and shower rooms, and was actually in pretty good shape.  Except that no one had bothered to switch the AC on, and the 85 degree temps at 8 AM were a little much to handle.  The office was going to send somebody, but they must have got lost and never showed up. 

Most of the park was jammed full, and families were enjoying themselves everywhere.  On Sunday we drove down the main drag on the beach front.  The city has made lots of beach accesses through the various businesses and condo's for the public.  One thing I did note was that there were several scooter rentals on the beach, and there were scooters everywhere, all without helmets or training.  I almost squashed a few as some of the riders were a little shaky.   It reminded me a lot of the beach front in Myrtle beach.  A little 60's mixed in with a little 90's architecture.  It was a fun weekend stay though. 

Then we left the beach on Memorial Day Monday, and on Tuesday morning it was GROUNDHOG DAY!  Yep, we drove back to Red Bay, Alabama to hopefully have our paint shop issues addressed.  The now infamous TV door is on the agenda, as well as getting some stress cracks in the rear engine cover addressed.  I will be here 5 days tops, then I am leaving, with our without the parts painted! 

We did get into a paint bay on Tuesday, and work has started.  We will see how this shapes up..........
Marty--
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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #37 on: June 08, 2014, 10:05:00 PM »
Well, the stay in Red Bay was fairly short. But it could have been handled better from the start.  We went back to the paint shop to get the TV door repainted for the THIRD time. We dropped it off in the bay and spoke to the paint shop manager, Brad.  I made it abundantly clear that "Billy" was not going to be the tech painting the door.  "No problem, I will take care of it".  So we left and went to lunch and run some other errands.  We got back and I went to survey the progress.  And guess what?  Billy has not only prepped the door, he has REPAINTED IT.  And it looks worse than ever.  Now I am about to lose my mind.  I am normally pretty cool, and will approach all situations objectively.  Not anymore. 

So now we go to the head man in charge of the operation, Wade. We lay out our story, complete with pics on Diane's laptop.  We let him  know that we are NOT HAPPY with the paint shop. To his credit, he is very understanding, and states that this issue will be handled.  We left Wade's office with our fingers crossed.  A long story short, when we returned later, Thomas had been assigned to repaint the door, and it looks PERFECT!  I guess the fourth time is really the charm.  And due to all of our aggravation, the paint fee for the TV door was comped. Tiffin really is a class operation.

From Tiffin we went to LeFleurs State Park in Jackson Mississippi. It may have been a good state park campground, but not in the rainy weather. They had cement slabs for the RV's, but they were only about 20' long, so half of the RV was still in the dirt.  And mix in a little rain, and it all turned to sticky mud. The 50 amp at the site would not hook up, so I wound up using a 30 amp adapter to get power into the rig.  At least the price was reasonable at $18 a night. 

From there we went to the Cajun Palms RV Resort, in Breaux Bridge, LA. A really all inclusive resort with tons of stuff for families, including a water park and huge play pool.  The biggest irritation with this park was the insistence that all patrons must wear a plastic wrist band, 24 hours a day. And they clip on to your wrist, and don't come off.  We raised a bit of an objection to the bands, and the girl at the desk let us put them on loosely enough to slide them off when we were not in the pool area.  Sleeping with the thing on would have drove me nuts. At about $40 a night it was a good park, but on the weekends it had the reputation for being crazy with tons of people, and kids racing around in golf carts. 

Next stop was Jamaica Beach RV Resort, in Galveston TX.  This was our first ever trip to Galveston, so we were excited to explore. Galveston had miles and miles of beach front, some on the Gulf of Mexico, and some on the bay. While we could definitely see the fascination with the area, we were not there in the prime time of the year.  From being westerners, we are used to going to the beach to escape the warm weather and summer heat.  Not so much in Galveston. The daily temps were in the 90's, along with the humidity!  Being outside for too long in the heat of the day was tough, and we spent a lot of time in the comfort of the AC in the rig.  We did go out and explore the local area, but mostly from the comfort of the Jeep with the air on.  Lounging on the beach was not much of a possibility.  The RV park was fair, but pretty jammed and not too close to the water, even for a water view. At about $43 a night, it was only fair.  We tried to use the gym, but it was jammed with junk and not in service.

Currently we are in Austin, TX at the Oak Forest RV park.  It is decent, but is a bit over rated. We were assigned site #9, which is unfortunately the worst site in the park.  It is reversed from the site next door, which means that you are right next to your neighbors rig, staring at his entry door.  Pickin's are slim right now though, as the "X Games" are in town, and many places are sold out.  It is close to Austin downtown area though, and we toured the state capitol, which was really cool.   We will make a point to come back to Austin in a cooler time of the year. 

We continue to work our way across Texas, and head west back to So. Cal.  We are still having fun, and the rig is working well.  Diane had updated the travel blog, and more adventures are just ahead!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 09:46:27 PM by SargeW »
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Kevin Means

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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #38 on: June 10, 2014, 01:36:58 AM »
Marty, glad to hear that the TV door got painted to your expectations - finally. (I know how you are about your MH).

Kev
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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #39 on: June 10, 2014, 07:38:47 AM »
Yeah, you are right Kev.  It's a sickness. It somethings not right, I am either going to make it right, or screw around with it long enough until it's really broken!  Then I can justify paying someone to do it.........
Marty--
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Re: Eastward HO!!- Just the facts Maam!
« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2014, 10:53:01 PM »
After leaving Austin we headed to Sonora Texas to visit the "Caverns of Sonora". A cave system that was discovered in Sonora in 1905. We have toured several caverns around the country, and the Sonora Caverns are pretty remarkable.  They are "living caverns", that is to say that the many formations through out the cave are still forming and expanding.  One interesting thing about these caverns was how warm and humid they were.  The other caverns we have toured, like Karchner in Arizona, and Carlsbad in New Mexico, are all in the mid 60's and chilly.  The Sonora Caverns were 85 degrees, and about 90% humidity.  Even at the lowest reaches of the Cavern, which was approx 155' deep.  Definitely worth the trip though. Admission to the Cavern was $20 for adults, and children were $12.  They have a RV park at the caverns which has electric and water.  There are about 8 hook up spots and several other dry sites.  The W/E sites were $20 a night.  The RV park was nothing special, but there is a gift shop on site that has a lot of pretty cool trinkets from the cave. 

A few one nighters to get us across Texas has brought us to Silver City, NM.  We are staying at Rose Valley Ranch RV park. It is a truly South Western atmosphere, desert fauna, red rocks and cactus, and dirt and gravel sites.  The owners have constructed "privacy fences" between the sites built out of aged old wood and stone.  A nice way to not have to look too closely at your neighbor.  It is a "Passport America" park, so the 2 night stay is only $30.  Tomorrow we go exploring in the area Gila Cliff Dwellings.

And Silver City is at 5800 elevation, so the days are a little milder than the 100+ degree days we had in Austin and Galveston. And tonight is actually going to get down to the 60's!   
Marty--
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