Saturday, May 31, 2014

Checking Them Off in the Express Bay at Tiffin

A little after 8:00 AM I called Bruce Deaton to see if I could come over and pay him for the paint work he did.  I went over and wrote out a check for $380.00.  Pretty reasonable for painting two bay doors, the bottom trim of the driver side (DS), and buffing out and touching up the front area where the flying window hit us earlier in the week.

Later, we were called into the Express Bay at the Service Center about 10:00 AM and we got over there shortly after 10:30 AM.  We had to get back to the coach and close it up, unhook the water and electric hoses and get over to Bay 32.

We got Rickey and Terry and went over our list before they started to work.  Rickey looked at the cracks in the bathroom door and the floor of the bathroom cabinet under the bathroom sink.

The wood on the bathroom door had expanded in the last few weeks in the humid South, so it was barely visible.  Not much he could do about that.  We put it on our list to look at back in February when we were in the high mountains of Arizona.  The dry weather there and into NM and West Texas caused the wood to shrink and we could see cracks in the glued panels.  But now in the wet and rainy weather of this part of the country, they were no longer visible.  Checked that one off the list.

Next he checked under the sink.  He showed us a new trap door I didn't realize we had.
The left side and corner were sagging and he felt under there to see if there was a support piece the shelf was resting on that may have come lose.  He ended up putting a trim piece around the back and side and screwing the floor into it.  Checked it off the list.

Out side, I told him about a piece of insulation that had worked its way out of the channel on the top inside of the passenger side (PS) rear slide out topper.
I was thinking he would unscrew a retaining piece and slide the trim back down the panel.  Instead he just cut it off.  Hmm, I could have done that.
I figured it was in the channel and serving some purpose?  like cushioning the rollup topper against the inside of the slideout and the side of the body?  Hmm...
Decided not to make a big deal about it and checked it off the list.

Next, on the inside, Rickey was trying to figure out why we were getting audio on the DVD but no picture.
 We ended up having to remove the TV and check the wiring on the back of it.  He got one of the stereo and TV techs to come take a look at the wiring and found the problem.  The correct wires were not in the correct holes.
We were glad to see the picture come up once he got the right wires in the right places.  We don't watch that many movies and found out a few weeks ago the DVD player was not correctly hooked up after we got our new Winegard Traveler back in January.  Check that one off the list.

Next we ran the small awning out over the front door.  It was not aligned quite right and it usually doesn't retrack without making a loud noise as if it is off the rails.  Course when I ran it out 3-4 times it worked perfectly.  On the 5th time it actually would not come out, then it was crooked going back into its casing.  They took a look, may have tightened a couple of things, and put WD-40 in some key places.  Works fine now.  Checked that one off the list.

Then we came to the front door.  It was still closing hard and I think needed some fine tuning.  We also had a broken plastic keyless door piece that I was keeping together with electrical tape.  Terry swapped out the keyless piece.
Then he worked on the door adjustment.
This was more of a problem.  He got it to where it would close with a push and open with a hard tug on the handle. This has always been a hard door to open, but I was hoping they could adjust things.  He worked on it for a long time and moved the striker a bit.  He adjusted a couple of things but it basically befuddled him.  Like it did me when we replaced the door handle back in Tucson.

The door frame looks like it is not perfectly square.  The door touched on the top and bottom edges but has a 1/8 inch gap in the middle.  Which is why it is a little bit harder than I think it should be.  But after a while, I knew it was as good as it was going to get so, I left it at that and we checked it off the list.

Then on to the rails.  I was told we had a crack and needed them replaced.  What??  Hmm.  I went up a ladder and looked myself.
I have some scratches on from some low hanging trees but I have washed and waxed the top many times and always check for cracks.  The rails are the long corner pieces on the roof that cover where it joins with the each side wall.

I asked Rickey to take a look and he cinched up his safety harness and slowly when over them.  He agreed that I had a scratch in the paint versus a crack in the rail.  Cracks cause leaks and we don't want to mess with that.  But if it is only a scratch, we will keep an eye on it and keep checking for cracks.
Tiffin had metal rails for years, then went to fiberglass rails.  But they have a problem with cracking, especially on the ones with dark paint for some reason.  Rickey and I went over to the bay where they repaired them and I saw what cracks in the rails looked like.
I was satisfied we don't need to have them replaced but will keep an eye on them.  It takes about 3 more days to get into the service bay where they change the rails and it is a one day job to replace them and a 1 day job to get them painted.  We were willing to take the time to get that done, but feel it is not necessary at this time.  Checked that one off the list.

The last item was a question on the jacks.  Sometimes after being in place for a few days, we notice that one of the jacks either was not fully extended or that it has retracted about 1/2 inch off the ground.  Also, at times it seems as if the coach shakes some when we move around inside.

We spoke with a tech in the Mechanic Bay who works on jacks and he suggested I mark the jacks 1" down the cylinder.  He was thinking we may have a bad solenoid on one or more of the jacks.

When we got back to our site and got set up, I crawled under the coach and made a marking with a Sharpie on each jack.  If the jack retracts over the next couple of days, we should be able to tell.  If not, we will check that one off the list, pay our bill and be done.

Many have wondered or asked, "What are you getting done at Red Bay?".  Hopefully over the last couple of posts, you have a better idea.  We try to get to factory about every 12 or 18 months and keep a running list of items to get checked out.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  We always appreciate the fact that you stop by.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Getting Things Done - Day 2 in Red Bay

We had an early appointment over at Bruce Deaton's Paint shop in Red Bay and were there with the Roadrunner about 6:45 AM.
 When I made my appointment a few weeks ago, I mentioned the refrigerator vent, and a number of touch up areas on the coach.  Yesterday we discussed those and I marked them with some yellow tape.  We also talked about option on the front of the Roadrunner when the flying window did its damage.

He recommended I wait on getting the whole front repainted and said he could clean up the black smudge and buff it out and touch up all the nicks. But to repaint the whole front end with all the lines and graphics and then apply the 3M clear coat on top we were talking about a $2000 job.
I have a high deductible on my insurance so we decided to go with his recommendation.  Then he pulled it in to a paint pay and we left for some biscuits and gravy and coffee over at Jack's.

We met a very nice couple who are also getting some work done at Bruce's paint shop.  Bear and Jennifer are from Montana and have been full-timing about a year.  We mentioned we were going to Tupelo and Best Buy to see what they could do about my camera.

After breakfast, we stopped over at the Allegro Campground Office (Tiffin Service area) and spoke to Norris about our list of items to get fixed.  He said he'd get us into the Express Bay on Friday morning which sounded good to us!

Then it was off to Tupelo which is about 55 miles away.  We were there before 10:00 so we killed some time.  Right about 10:00 when the store opened we saw Bear and Jennifer again.  They said they had been looking for a Best Buy for a while and when we mentioned it, they decided they'd make the drive also...

I have had my Powershot Elf camera for about a year. But I guess I use it so much I wore it out.  This is not the first time that's happened.  When I press the button on top to open the lens it give me an error message and makes a clanking noise.  And the lens does not open.
I have a warranty contract with on the camera and was hoping to swap it out with a new one.  But they have to send it off to Conneticut to the repair facility.  If they can fix it, I will get it back in a couple of weeks.  If not, they will let me know and I'll get a new one.

Next, we picked up some things at Walmart, then went to lunch at Chik-Fil-A and then back to the paint shop.  They were making good progress but weren't finished yet.
In our newbie days in our first trip to Tucson, I did not pay attention when Pam opened up the bedroom slideout and the cement post it was up against would not budge.  When I saw what was happening, I banged on the slideout and Pam stopped trying to open it more.  We moved up a few feet but it left a 4 inch vertical scratch.

Another big scratch we got fixed was a gash on the side of two rear bay doors.  On our first trip a couple of years ago to Florida, a sudden rain storm and squall with heavy winds.  Our neighbor had they awning out and both Pam and I went out in the storm to help her with that.

Meanwhile, our grill had blew off the little table stand it was on and into the side of our coach.  It also  left a couple of big scratches.  Today Bruce was taking care of those as well.

Back at the Service Center, we wandered over to the Customer Area and then walked up and down between the service bays and watched some of the work being done on coaches there.
These places are always interesting to me.  I say another kind of work shirt they are passing out to the technicians.
It will interesting to see if new uniforms and shirts boost morale among the workers. My guess is that it will.

Shortly after 2:00 PM Bruce called and said the Roadrunner was ready so went over to pick it up.
The bay doors and the refrigerator vent that was painted looked great.
Bruce put on a new vent cover since we have a residential refrigerator now and don't need the louver/air vents.  The new cover looks great and when it gets cold outside, that air won't be coming through that opening into the coach.  When we were in Flagstaff and Albuquerque during the late cold weather, we could really feel the drafts.

The front end cleaned up well and we pointed out a few nicks they missed.  They were glad to touch those up in addition to the many others ones they already fixed.  We saved some big bucks on that one!   In fact the whole job did not cost us anything.  Yet.  Bruce closed up the shop at 2 PM and said, "Pick up the coach and come by and pay me in the morning".

At some point down, we will have to spring for a new front end but it will go on the 'Major Repairs - Big $$' for now.  The front windshield is already on that list.  It has a few chips but no cracks and we know it will need to be replaced also.

We weren't done yet though.  We drove drove the coach back over to our camp site and replaced the windshield wipers.
It has been over a year since I replaced them and I picked up replacements in the camp parts store earlier in the day.  That only took a few minutes but I managed to bust a knuckle but other than that it was pretty easy.

Once that was done, I repaired my  shoe.  While in Albuquerque, I kicked a sprinkler head and it caused a slight tear in the mesh top near my toe.  I love these Saucony running shoes so, I got a large curved carpet needle and used heavy duty thread to repair it.
Not the most professional job in the world, but good enough to salvage a pair of my favorite shoes.

With that, we watched some TV, had a fantastic salad for dinner and too it easy for the rest of the day.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day 1 at Red Bay

We are back again at Red Bay, AL home of Tiffin Motorhomes and our Service Center of choice to get things done on the Roadrunner (our 2007 Allegro Bus).

We arrived yesterday afternoon and got a spot on our favorite end of the campground.  There are a few changes since we were here about this time last year but nothing major at this point.

The first thing I noticed was the completion of four new service bays on our end of the building in their paint department.  They did a nice job of extending then on the end of the building.

At the other end of the service building there is a new customer lounge under construction.  The current one in the middle of the service building will be converted into more offices.
Another thing I noticed is the turnover in the Camp parts store near the front office.  The ladies that were there for years have moved on.

Next, we got the wash done at the laundry facility and checked that off the list.

Looks like the technicians working on the motor homes are getting new work shirts with their name on it.
Quite a few have them and others are on order.

We took the Roadrunner over to Bay Diesel for to get some things done including yearly maintenance.
We also had the coolant receptacle replaced and got new fuel filters.  We also had a belt replaced, the generator serviced and got the ride height adjusted.  Nothing major except the cost: $1622.34.  In our book, not surprising and something we budget for.  We are very happy to have them do our maintenance and they completely know what they are doing.

While that was getting done, we visited Jack's a couple of time for a quick breakfast also for lunch.
Next, we stopped by Bruce Deaton's Auto Body and Paint shop.  We have an appointment with him and wanted to see if he also could work on the front end where we had the flying window hit us.
We are scheduled first thing at his place and hopefully we can get it all done in one day.

Around the corner is the Tiffin Visitor Center where the tours of the production line start.  We checked in with security, got a badge and then wandered through a couple of new 2014 motorhomes - an Allegro Bus and a Phaeton.
It is always fun to see the latest and to wander through the new units.
It looks like they are going back to the cherry and alder wood look and away from the darker walnut and mahogany.  The tile looks great.  Beautiful new and shiny, but it doesn't take us long to be content with our paid for 2007 Allegro Bus.  Fun to see but not something we want.

We picked up the Roadrunner back at Bay Diesel mid-afternoon and made it over to our site before the 3:00 PM end of the day and mass exodus from the service bays.

Later in the evening, Chris Berry stopped by and we lined up an appointment at his workshop to have a few things done on Friday.

That was our Wednesday at Red Bay.  We still have yet to see Norris and get an idea of when we will get into the Express Bay for service but it probably will be the first of next week.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dodging Windows En Route to Red Bay

We left Fort Worth on Monday morning and we took two days to Red Bay where we will be for a few days to get some work done.

Our first day we drove from Fort Worth to a great overnight stop in Vicksburg, MS.
We had a pretty uneventful ride up to that point.  I drove a couple of hours then Pam drove for a while.  The roads got quite bumpy along I-20 east of Shreveport but what can you do.  We travel about 62 mph to get our 7.4 -8.2 miles per gallon and I was watching a 5th wheel pass us going about 65 mph.

I always watch people pass us and marvel at the 5-8 feet of separation between our motor home and their vehicle.  My eyes were traveling along the side of the 5th wheel and I notice the passenger side awning appeared to be ripped off the side it.  

Then as I was making my way down the rest of the 5th wheel as it passed, the back window with frame and casing loosened itself and came flying toward us.  In about 2.5 seconds it was airborne, came sailing into our lane and hit our motorhome squarely in the middle of the front before it shattered!

What??? Boom!! Like that and it was over.  We couldn't slam on the brakes, swerve or react at all.  He never slowed a bit and my mind raced through a couple of thoughts? -- do we have a flat, big dents? can we catch him?--but then what?  Pam did a great job of keeping it straight and steady and we slowed down and stopped in a couple hundred yards.

The damage was small compared to what could have been a very scary deal.  A little higher and that sailing window could have caught us at eye level and taken out the windshield.  Bizarre.  Very strange.  What are the chances of every seeing that again.  Not high I'm glad to say.
You can see where the rubber sealer around the window frame made the smudge mark above the license plate on the right.  To the left we have lots of paint nicks and chips from the shattering glass.  
We already have an appointment at Bruce Deaton's Paint Shop in Red Bay so we will add this to the list.

We continued on to Vicksburg, MS and looked around and underneath for more damage after we settled in for an overnight stop but everything looked OK.
We have stopped before at the Ameristar Casino RV Campground and find it to be a very good place for an over night stay.

We were up early yesterday, took quick showers, got a bite to eat, dumped the tanks and packed up and we're ready to go.  We always pray and ask God for His protection, safe travels, alert driving and good decisions while driving.  After the previous day, we included a big mention of thankfulness.  A little past 6:30 AM we were off on the last leg to Red Bay.
I think we found our favorite route.  We have been through Meridan, MS a time or two but I prefer the way we went yesterday. It was four lane highway almost the whole way and we had an uneventful drive.  
It was another 280 miles and took us about 5 hours.  We arrived about lunch time and checked it.  We chose site #91 that is perpendicular to the main rows down on the opposite end of the campground from the laundry and front office.  We have more room and can see people come and go out of the bays.
The service center is pretty busy so it may be a couple of days we get into a bay to get some things done on our list.  

Thanks for joining us today on The Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Last Couple of Days in Fort Worth

After 11 days in Fort Worth seeing my brothers and their wives, it was time to move on and head east toward Red Bay and the Tiffin factory.  Its been over a year since we've been there and our list is growing.

But before we left town, we enjoyed our last few days together.  We spent a lot of time at Brad and Sue's, ate out alot, Sue cooked a couple of great meals and we went to church together on Sunday.  During the middle of the week, we were able to play some golf of our own.

On Wednesday, we all played at Glen Gardens which is an old golf course built in 1912.  Famous golfers Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson used to play a lot of golf here.  It was fun to see what kinds of courses they played back then.
Sue had school so she didn't make it.  Pam, Elena and Amy came out and Pam played with us.  We had fun although Pam thought the rest of us were pretty intense.  (I think they may be thinking the same thing I do:  I don't care who wins, as long as I do?...)

I think it was the sense of competition I feel when I play Marty and Brad.  They play golf pretty often and we try to do our best so it does get pretty serious out there.  I had an 80 and edge out Brad (82) and Marty (84).  Reid shot a respectable 94.  Not bad for playing once every three years.

The next day, the guys were on their own and we played at Hawks Creek golf course which used to belong to Carswell AFB.  It is now a public course and they are making some big changes.
Marty got with it and smoked us with a 76 while Brad had another 82.  I shot an 84 and Reid again had some nice shots and came in at 100.

But there was more than playing golf.  On Saturday, Pam and I went back over to the Colonial and saw some more golf.  And stopped by some of the booths.  Like other marketing events, plenty of vendors were there with some give-aways.  We could take our cell phones into the tournament grounds, but had to keep them on silent.  And no pictures of the golfers.

But I snapped one of Brian, who was a manager with Quest Healthcare.  He gave us a nice water bottle and we chatted for a few minutes.  Nice guy.
And we made it over to the Military area which was for active duty and retired folks.
It was set up over near the Country Club pool area with bleachers separate bleachers right near #1 tee.  Best of all, they had free food and drinks over there which was very nice!

We spent a few hours on the course, saw some of the leaders come through and then made our way back to the shuttle buses and returned home to watch the rest of the day's golf on TV.

One thing we during our time together was eat!  One evening we ate at Tucker Red's in Aledo.
Friday evening we went to the famous Joe T. Garcia's in the Stockyards
The outdoor dining was great.  It was my favorite venue of the places we ate.  The grounds are beautiful.

And then we went to a more upscale restaurant in downtown Fort Worth:  Reata's Southwestern Steakhouse.  We got our own private dining area and chowed down!
It was Brad and Sue's 40th wedding anniversary, we had to top it off with some dessert.
After dinner it was a beautiful evening and we wandered over to Sundance Square and watched what was going on in the water fountain.  It was a perfect summer evening.
But we weren't done.  The next day after church, we had brunch at Lucile's
and gathered for another group shot in front of the restaurant.

We went out to eat alot but we also had quite a few meals at Brad and Sue's place.  They have a beautiful home and a nice sized dining room.

Spent the afternoon and evening at their place and enjoyed our remaining time telling stories.  It is always fun to hear about what their impressions are growing up.  We always hear something new about our childhood when we get together.  And we share news about our kids and talk about how they are doing and how proud we are of all of them.

It was another wonderful Warner Brothers Reunion and we cherish our time with each other.  Not sure when we will get together again but I think Brad put it well when he said, "I think everyone had a good time and don't believe anyone suffered any psychological damage as far as I could tell..."

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Next time, a little bit about our trip back to Red Bay, AL.  Until next time...