Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Red Bay Times and Repairs at Custom RV

 We love coming to Red Bay and are here again to spend some time and $$.  We love the people and have become familiar with many of the businesses.  There is nothing like taking the Roadrunner to a professional and getting work done right.  
Our campground of choice this time is Bruce Deaton's. We have full hookups and it is at the corner of Second Street and Fourth Ave (the main street running through downtown Red Bay).  We hear a lot of traffic but it is not a problem for us.

We arrived on Saturday afternoon and still had plenty of time to drive around town and see if things had changed.  I noticed a sign at the edge of town for "Java and Jazz".  Sounded like a coffee shop and sure enough it is.
Looks as if it may have potential.  I'll have to check it out. It places like this that I love to support.  Don't know much about the owners or how they decided to get going but I admire their effort.  Without small businesses, where would our country be?

We drove over to the Tiffin RV Campground, aka at Allegro Campround, and were surprised to see the motel next to it, gone.
It's been scraped!  
Around the other side of the Tiffin Campground on Gates Road, we saw an RV repair shop and two more RV campgrounds that have popped up.
Double B RV
Convenient Camping
1st Class Campground

We drove over to Bunkhouse RV (formerly McKinney RV) and saw they major cleanup that has happened.  The property has been transformed after a couple of years.  They have done major work and it looks better than ever.

On Monday morning we were at Brannon's Custom RV for our list of things to check out and / or fix:

  • DVD player quit working and we were prepared to have the whole Surround Sound replaced.  A new set up is available through the Tiffin Parts store and we expected it to cost at least $500. (Brannon said he'd check it out and sometimes its just the cables that need to be replaced.  Turns out it was wired up incorrectly both at the TV and on the back of the player. Not sure how that happened?  45 minutes later after pulling both the TV and DVD player, it was rewired:  $63.75).
  • The air horn and electric horn both needed to be checked.  It was fun dealing with it when it sounded off while driving in New York and again a few days ago,  (Brannon checked the fuses, looked at the relay, did some other magic things and it was working fine.  No need for a horn or relay: $21.25).
  • Entrance steps/step cover was sticking and not working at times.  (Brannon lubed it and it works great now: $21.25).
  • Shower door was sagging and hitting the bottom corner. (Brannon noticed the bottom frame was curling up slightly causing the contact.  He put a well placed screw into the bottom tray.  Door swings freely now: $5.14).
  • Front awning strap wearing out.  The loop where we insert the rod to pull the awning out was missing the rubber protective loop. (Brannon replaced it with a new one: $26.39).
  • The jacks seem to level with the PS always needing to be manually raised. (Brannon adjusted them: ($21.25).
  • Chassis batteries were drained when we tried to leave Virginia Beach 10 days ago. We have not had the slightest problem with them since then. (Brannon checked the batteries to see if they were still go and they are fine. He also checked a fuse but suggested we start up the coach once a week). 
  • Water leak down near clear water tank. (Brannon found that they water pump was leaking.  It was several years old so he replaced it: $83.75).
  • Passenger side blinker camera has never worked correctly and now there is no picture at all from the camera when the right blinker goes on.  We went over to the Tiffin spare parts store and were told those Sony cameras for our 2007 Allegro Bus are no longer available.  They searched a few bins and found a Sony camera.  (Jason looked it over, took off the old camera and found the new camera set up was considerable larger.  He worked with it and re-engineered it to work!  For the first time ever both side cameras are working.  I went back to the parts store and told them it worked and they said, "No charge, glad it worked out." Labor only: $42.50).
We were prepared to buy a new sound system for the coach ($500+), a new side camera ($300), a new battery, and whatever else needed to be replaced.  Instead of $800+ we ended up with a bill of $316.  As my friend John said, "You're in good hands with Brannon". That is an understatement.  Brannon is simply the best in the business. We love getting work done with him.  It seems he'd rather troubleshoot and fix something than yank it out and put in a new one.  

We are off to a great start in Red Bay and have a few other things to get done.  More on updates to come.  

Thanks so much for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Even if we don't get a comment from you, we know you are out there and we thank you!




Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Loving the RV Life

Here's a look at the route we've been on since we left Virginia Beach on Saturday.  
Everything doesn't have to be going our way all the time for us to love the RV life.  There are ups and downs.  The last few days have been a wonderful with a few things that went a little sideways.  We notched a couple of "wins" however, and are happily camped at the Roadrunner RV Resort and Campground (private) in Maynardville TN, for the Thanksgiving holiday.
We've been here many times over the years.  This is one the Roadrunner's favorite spots.  We're on Joan and Mike's property with water, 50 amp service and a dump station.

Here are the wins:
  • Traveling in beautiful weather
  • Visiting with good friends
  • Catching an uninvited guest: a mouse
  • Attending a good church
  • Safely boondocking/dry camping in sketchy area of town
  • Terrific early morning breakfast in Greensboro
  • Getting in to the Cummins Coach Care facility first thing Monday morning
  • Correctly diagnosing the engine hesitation with new fuel filters
  • Getting underway before 10:00AM
  • Seeing the wonderful Shenandoah Valley
  • Not more engine hesitation
  • Arriving safely in Maynardville TN
During Saturday's drive from Virginia Beach, we noticed how well the coach was running.  It was a smooth, comfortable ride at 62 mph.   We love traveling done the road and enjoying the ride.

We are grateful for good friends and love to visit when we have the chance to see people.  We had dinner and went to church with D and Jackie and got to catch up with each other.  Great times!

3 or 4 days after Halloween, we had a large bag of candy in our snack drawer.  That is probably not a good idea on a number of levels.  One morning Pam sadly announced we had evidence of a mouse in the Roadrunner.  One had eaten through a candy wrapper and apparently enjoyed a portion of a Reese's cup.  Yikes!  I got out 4-5 mouse traps we carry and set them up.  It took another 6 days before the munchy mouse met his match.
We always enjoy a good church service. We were able to attend Freedom Church with D and Jackie in Lincolnton, NC and were refreshed, renewed and encouraged.

After church, we decided our fuel hesitation issues required us to find a Cummins Coach Care facility and get it properly diagnosed. En route to Denver (near Lake Norman) the Roadrunner began hesitating slightly going up hills.  It has previously been an issue.  We guessed it the coach needed new fuel filters.  A similar issue occurred last December when we left Virginia Beach.  After sitting for months, the coach began slipping going up hills.  We guessed it was the same problem this time.

Unfortunately we had to back track 90 miles and arrived at the Cummins repair shop in Greensboro NC.  The gate was locked and it didn't look as if the electric hookups in back were being used.  We realized we had to find a place to stay overnight.  We first parked on the street outside of the gate. Our  satellite wouldn't lock on, so we looked around and decided on the abandoned restaurant next door.  It  had a parking small parking lot on one side and a staging area for a septic service on the other side of the building.  Surprisingly three truck came and went using that side of the parking lot.

We found a level spot and backed up the street 50 yards into the parking lot.  We were hoping we could stay there all night without causing problems.
We opened the Passenger Side slides but did not put down jacks.  We fired up the generator for a couple of hours.  Our TV satellite dish didn't work in that location, but at least we were off the street. Our Over-the-air (OTA) digital antenna picked up 22 stations and we watch some sports, read, and had frozen dinners.  It also was a restful night.

We were up early and went to breakfast at a local place and it was a real treat.  Lots of local folks there early getting a bite before work plus a few retired people.  Good food, huge biscuits.

We were first in line when the Cummins repair shop opened.  We carry spare fuel filters and left them on the seat of the coach for the mechanic.  It took about 90 minutes and we were done and back on the road.

There was some road construction and detours and we found ourselves on I-81 going through the Shenandoah Valley.  It is one of the scenic drives in America!  It was a clear day and we loved it.

We went up quite a few hills and had no more engine issues!  The Roadrunner ran smoothly up big inclines and we're thankful for that.

We continued over to Morristown TN and then to Tazwell TN before arriving at Joan and Mike's in Maynardville and our site.  It was late afternoon and a nice afternoon.  We got set up and are ready for a nice Thanksgiving.

Hope you and yours are enjoying the week and have a nice holiday.  Where are you for Thanksgiving?


Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Stumbling Out of the Chute

We left Virginia Beach this morning for our Winter Travels 2018-2019 trip.  It didn’t quite go like we thought it would be we managed to get on the road by 7:00 AM.

I got up my normal time a little after 4:00 AM.  I love the morning time to get some reading and reflection time in before the day gets going.  Pam got up at 6:00 and we went a about our normal routine and had breakfast, got dressed and stowed things for travel.

I had already put away the sewer hose and water hoses, packed up the grill, and rolled up the front door mat.  I went outside, took the cover off the tow bar, rolled it up and put it away.  Next, I moved the car from in front of the Roadrunner and parked it across the street out of the way.

It was about 6:20 by now and time to fire up the coach.  Pam turned the key and the engine was barely turning over.  Oh no!  Maybe we weren’t going anywhere today!  She let it sit for a few minutes and tried it again.  It wasn’t happening.

Now what do we do?  (We seem to ask that question a lot at times like these.)

The engine was trying to turn over so I figured maybe the chassis batteries were dying.  I got the car and pulled it alongside the coach on the passenger side (PS).  Then I got out our extra long jump cables and connected the car batteries to the coach batteries.  We waited a couple of minutes and Pam turned the key on again, and the engine struggled once and caught.  It fired up and we were back in business!

I went around to the driver side (DS) and disconnected the electrical cord from the pedestal and reeled in into its bay.  It was about 6:35 AM and then the air horn went off!  Apparently over the last few weeks of being stationary, I pressed the horn button.  Now that the air bags were filling the air horn went off!

Yikes!  Not exactly the way to win friends at the campground on an early Saturday morning.  Not knowing that I had accidentally turned the air horn button on, Pam turned off the engine thinking it might affect the air horn.  Nope!  She then found the switch and turned the air horn off.

This is the same horn that gave us issues last summer while traveling to Watkins Glen NY.  It is on the list to get fixed at Red Bay when we get there right after Thanksgiving.

The air horn had been blasting loud and clear for about 15-20 seconds. It was long enough to completely wake up people in 20-30 rigs.  It finally went off. Oh man.  We felt terrible!  But what could we do?

I did a quick walk around and looked underneath the Roadrunner to see if we had left anything.  That looked good.  Pam opened the door and said the front DS jack would not entered raise.  This is not uncommon.  I got out two blocks of wood and my crowbar and pryied the jack all the way up into its cylinder.  It stowed correctly this time and we were set to pull out and connect our toad.

Pam lined up our Honda CRV, I connected the safety cables, lights, and Air Force One brake.  We did a signal and brake light check, prayed for protection and safe traveling and got underway.

Whew!  Looks like we will add two chassis batteries to our list at Red Bay but we are thankful to be on the road again.

We are heading to Maynardville, TN for Thanksgiving with a couple of nights in Denver, NC to see friends.  After driving for an hour and a half, Pam took over.  I got in a 20 minute nap and decided to get a jump on my blog post for the day.

We pulled into a rest stop to stretch or legs and use the facilities. When we returned a couple in a motorhome had pulled in next to us.  I waved, he walked around his coach and we ended up in a short conversation.  Their motorhome was new to them and they were on their way to Mississippi.  He had been to a 60 day school in the DC area and she flew in to join him on the return trip home.  It was fun to meet some new people.

While driving along a slight upgrade I noticed a slight hesitation in engine.  It wasn't chugging badly (we know what that is all about) but it was running less than smoothly.  Later, when Pam was driving again, it began acting up slightly.  In our experience, "slightly acting up" usually leads to "acting up" so we figured we need to get it looked at before we continue on to Maynardville.  We looked at a Cummins Coach Care which is 90 miles east of us in Greensboro.  We'll decide on that later since they are closed on the weekends.

We continued on and stopped for fuel a couple of hours later.  With news of falling gas prices around the country we were hoping fuel would also, but it hasn't happened yet in North Carolina.  We got to our campground near Lake Norman and found it to be congested.

We arrived at our campground about 2:30 PM and saw that our front HWH jacks would not fully extend.  They are only 2" off the ground but for some reason will not extend.  Hmmm.  Another item to address.  They are really adding up on this trip? 🙁

We passed by a Publix grocery store that was only 3 miles from the campground.  After getting set up, we went back to the store for some Key Lime pie.  We also picked up their own brand of Seafood mustard which we think is yummy.

Then we went over to D. and Jackie's place for the evening.  We had a great time catching up and seeing their new place again.  They moved to the area last July.  They are settled in now and have plans for more work on the house and property.  We had a terrific dinner and a great time of fellowship, topped off with some pie and coffee.

They are Oklahomans and we watching an excited end to the OSU - WVU football game.  OSU won a nail biter which made them pretty happy.  There is never enough time with good friends, but we bid them farewell and returned to the coach for the evening.

It was a long and eventful day and we were read for bed!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Florida Plans for the Winter!

Its hard to believe that we've been here for almost three months.  We leave in a little less than a week to spend the 2018/2019 season in Florida.  It's getting a little harder to leave these little ones (and the big ones)
Daughter Kelly, Jon, and the boys

En route we are planning stops in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama.  After the snow bird season, we'll come back to Virginia Beach.

If our travels and schedule line up with yours, we'd love to see you!

Here is our current itinerary:
November

  • 17-18, Cross Country RV Park, Denver, NC
  • 19-23, Roadrunner RV Resort and Campground (private), Maynardville,  RN
  • 24-30, Red Bay RV Campground, Red Bay, AL

December

  • 1-5, Blue Angel MWR CG, Pensacola NAS, FL
  • 6-7, TBD
  • 8-16, Ft DeSoto State Park, Tierra Verde, FL
  • 17, Miccosukee Casino, Miami, FL
  • 18-31, NAS Sigsbee, Key West, FL

January

  • 2, Habitat for Humanity Care-A-Vanner, Vero Beach, FL
  • 13-31, Racoon Creek Recreation Area CG, MacDill AFB, Tampa, F

February

  • 1-28, Pelican Roost CG, Mayport NAS, Jacksonville, FL

March

  • 1-2, Pelican Roost CG, Mayport NAS, Jacksonville, FL
  • 3-16, Habitat for Humanity Care-A-Vanner, North Fort Myers, FL
  • 17, TBD
  • 18-20, Deaton Campground, Red Bay, AL
  • 21-24, Maynardville, TN
  • 27-31, TBD

April

  • 1-30 Virginia Beach