It was a relatively easy 199 mile trip from Nashville, TN to Red Bay, AL. We had planned on driving down the Natchez Trace but with the remnants of hurricane Isaac still throwing bands our direction, we decided to take the easy way out and take I-65 instead. It was a little misty, but not bad, down I-65 to Decatur, AL where we got off the interstate and took AL 24 West across to Red Bay. We did run into a couple of pretty good downpours on the AL portion of the trip but overall it wasn't too bad. We arrived in Red Bay and was able to get a spot in the service center campground with ease. We have 50 amp full hookups, so-so WiFi, good Verizon and a clear shot to the satellite. The campground wasn't very full when we arrived (one reason we came in on Saturday) but we expected all 93 spaces to be full by start of business Tuesday, and they were.
We watched a lot of good football over the long weekend then, before daylight, Tuesday we were up and about and had the Mothership in the rail repair bay by 0715. They finished about four and then we waited for our next phone call to see what they would work on next.
Mid-morning Wednesday they called us to the express bay to see what they could fix in three hours. We had two wonderful techs who really knew their stuff and they fixed all of the little things we had found (patio awning, kitchen slide, headlight, generator slide, air conditioner cleaning, checking fluid in hydraulic reservoir) and referred our satellite antenna problem and spindle rack to prevent the cabinets from sagging to the appropriate people. We were very happy with the amount they accomplished in three hours.
Thursday we waited for the sat and spindle people but they never showed. Friday they showed up and installed the spindle rack and it makes the kitchen area look much better. Another tech came and finally found out what was causing us to lose one of the satellite feeds and repaired it. We now only have three things left - painting the repaired rails, repairing the two bay doors I damaged last year and replacing the wet bay floor. Supposedly the wet bay will be taken care of Monday and they will then put us in line for the rail paint. Once all of that is taken care of we will have the annual service done on the engine and generator at a local diesel shop and also have it washed and waxed. We hope to be out by next weekend.
Friday afternoon we did the tourist thing and visited the Coon Dog Cemetery
about 20 miles North of Red Bay. It was really unique and quite pretty. They really love their dogs!! We then journeyed about 8 miles farther North to the Rattlesnake Saloon
which is a must visit for the area. We had a late lunch there that was very good and just relaxed and marveled at how they had turned this almost worthless piece of canyon into a very unique place. Apparently it really starts swinging after dark - they were setting up the band while we were there. You park up in a parking lot and take their "Saloon Taxi" down this steep road to the saloon - quite an experience!
The weekend was time for some college and NFL football. We both enjoy all of the SEC games and also a few of the NFL teams that that have Gators playing for them. The Gators pulled out a win against the Texas Aggies though I don't know how well they will succeed the remainder of the season.
Monday, the 10th, was spent waiting on the wet bay call that never came but they did call us Tuesday morning and had that finished up by noon. That finally put us on the waiting list for the rail painting. While waiting on the paint bay Wednesday, we went to Bay Diesel and had our annual maintenance done on the chassis. That entails 19 quarts of oil for the engine, an oil filter, and two fuel filters. The generator took three quarts of oil, an oil filter and a fuel filter. We also went ahead and had the engine fan belt replaced as it is five years old and we don't want it failing out in the middle of nowhere.
Thursday we finally got the call for the rail painting and had that finished by 5:00 p.m. We then went out to a trucking company and had them clean the radiator. It hadn't been done since we bought the Mothership two years ago and they really get dirty being in the rear of the coach and absorbing everything kicked up by the wheels. When they are dirty, no air flows through them and the engine overheats. With all of that done we were finally done with the Tiffin portion of the stay and scheduled Monday and Tuesday for the bay doors to be repaired. Chris Berry, a local woodsmith who does fantastic work, is also constructing two cabinet slides for our overhead cabinets on both sides of the microwave so that those deep cabinets can be more accessible. Those should be installed Wednesday and hopefully we will be out of here on Thursday.
Monday we went to McKinney's Body Shop for our new bay doors and a repairing a couple of other boo-boos. They worked on it all day but wasn't able to paint so we spent the night in their shop. They got it all painted Tuesday and did a great job - we now have a new coach!
Today we took her out to have her washed and waxed. We always try to get it waxed at least every six months. An employee of Tiffin does it after hours so we met him at 5:00 p.m. and he and a helper did a great job and we were back at the campground by 8:00 p.m. While we were having it washed Chris dropped by and installed the new cabinet slides. Doris is literally a happy camper now!
Tomorrow, we finally leave Red Bay and plan on spending the week-end in a small campground on Logan Martin Lake a little North of Talledega, AL.