Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wrapping it up

Special welcome today to:
Dear Miss Mermaid

Thanks for Following and inching us closer to the next milestone!

I thought I'd try something new and ask you all to vote on my poll.  Directly on the right panel you can let me know how often you read the Roadrunner Chronicles.  If you would do that - I'd appreciate it!

We spent our last day in Fairfax for a while.  We will be spending October and November in Virginia Beach so we may come back to Fairfax for a few days, but for now we were here to see Adam before he left and also to get his Pathfinder and drive it to Tennessee.  It has been wonderful to connect with some old friends the last couple of days and to see the house where we spent 17 years!

Yesterday I went for another run around Burke Lake and enjoyed it thoroughly.  It is 4.6 miles around the lake and although I spent 10 minutes warming up and 10 more cooling down, the 40 minutes in the middle was a good workout.
I ran into a group of ladies with small children in carriages?  Is that what you call the tri-wheeled vehicles.  It was quite impressive.  I think there were 7 or 8 (some had 2 kids in the buggies) and they quickly passed me.  They have been doing this a while.

Pam and I drove down to the Pro Bass store in Ashland.
It has a very large aquarium with some large fish.  We also stopped at Potomac Mills for some things and packed up the vehicles for the drive back to Maynardville.

Our Monday was more of a R&R from the weekend that anything...

Hope your week is going well!

Monday, August 30, 2010

More Fairfax Friends

We have been busy seeing friends in Fairfax as you might suppose.  Before we started full-timing in May 2009, this was home.

On Friday evening, we went to see Caleb (#80) at football practice.
It is his first year playing and it was an interesting evening.  Most of the kids are new to the sport and learning a lot.  They had about 8 teams practicing on the field running scrimmages.

On Saturday morning, I got up and went running with Gil at Burke Lake.  It is one of those places I have grown to just love.  Saturday mornings at Burke Lake were a regular thing.  There seemed to be  a lot of people out on the trail and it was a nice morning for it.
Afterwards we went over to Silver Diner for some pecan pancakes.  Yum!  In the last couple of years Gil has become a very good friend and an inspiration to run and try to stay fit.

Later, Pam and I went over to see John and Gill who were our next door neighbors.  They moved into the neighborhood in 1994 and we moved into it in 1995.  It was great to sit on their back deck and catch up.  

Next, we went out to Wegman's for lunch.  To our surprise they were selling and cooking Hatch green chiles.
Hatch green chile is famous for growing in Hatch, New Mexico.  The fall is the harvest season and something we bought every year when we lived in Albuquerque.

Then it was on to Sam's Club and WalMart at Dulles to pick up a fireproof document box for the Roadrunner.

Next, we called Don and Rita who were at the pool and they invited us to stop by so we did.
It was another great time of fellowship for a couple of hours.

After that we went back to Royce's, showered and met folks for dinner at Sakura's.
Anh and David, Lan and Duey are friends from long ago.  For the last few years, we had gotten into the habit of going out to dinner every few months, so it was nice to do that again.  After dinner we talked outside of a nearby Starbucks.

Sunday it was seeing more friends.  We went to Mclean Bible Church and then over to Anh and David's house to see some major remodeling they had started 18 months ago.

Next, we were invited to John and Jayne's for a mid afternoon Sunday meal.  It was great!  We saw Dene and Maya and her friend John and all had a good time hearing about life for them the last year.

Whew ~ we returned to the Royce's and watched some TV before turning in.

It was a busy weekend with friends and good to see folks.

Thanks for view the Roadrunner Chronicles ~ we appreciate your comments!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fairfax Again!

We drove from Red Bay Alabama on Wednesday and made it to Maynardville, Tennessee.  I was only about 350 miles, but it seemed a lot longer.  We left the Roadrunner at the factory in Red Bay and drove the Honda.

We made it to Mike and Joan's about 3:30 which was a good driving day.  We had time to pack away some of Adam's things we had been keeping and are going to store at Mike and Joan's.  We didn't do much  that night, just talked and got caught up.  I didn't have a signal, so no blog post.

We got out of Maynardville about 8:30 on Thursday morning and on our way to Fairfax.  We drove through some of the prettiest country on the planet.  I think the area from Wytheville, VA to the Shenandoahs is just gorgeous - very scenic.  We got into town about 3:30 or 4 and met Adam for dinner.

He was in DC for the last few days before he goes to India.  He asked us to bring one of his bikes from Tennessee where it had been stored.  We delivered it to his friend Chris' house, then went on to dinner at the Sunflower Restaurant. Over the years it has become a favorite because Adam is a vegan and they serve up some pretty tastiest vegetarian food.

We ran an errand and dropped him off at the Metro, then went to the old neighborhood to see friends Pete and Roxanne.  It was great to catch up with them and to hear what is going on in their lives.  They are getting ready to celebrate their 25th anniversary and are going back to Hawaii for a few days.  That sounds fun!

We went back to Jeff and Tiffany's where we are staying and called it a day.  That was it for the Roadrunner Chronicles.  As always, thanks so much for viewing!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Red Bay Factory Tour #3

Yesterday was the third time Pam and I have been on the factory tour at Tiffin Motor Homes.  It continues to fascinate us and we learn something every time.  One of the great things is that we can wander through the assembly line and walk around where ever we want to after the tour gets started.
Everyone had to wear protective glasses and a headset so we could hear Red Davis, our tour guide.
The tour doesn't start at the beginning of the build process but I will try to put some of the pictures in order.
When they roll the chassis up to the first station, the frame has to be completely leveled and squared up if is a Freightliner.  If it is a Powerglide chassis (made by Tiffin) they don't have to take that extra step.

A computerized saw cuts out the laminated sides. Metal tubing and some wiring connections get put into place early in the process.  The basement cupboards get lined with a coat of felt or a similar material that is glued onto the metal.

The sides go up and into place. 
 There must be a dozen wiring harnesses that get put in place along the line.
The roof gets secured with long screws.

The myriad of cupboards and boxes and other woodwork gets secured into place along the way before the walls go up.
Toward the end the glass gets put into place for the windshield.
It was a 90 minute tour and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

I asked Bob to take our picture with Red Davis.  He gave it a shot but took one of himself instead.
There we go!  Red is 83 years old and going strong!

After the tour we had to stop at the latest 'Sonic-like' burger stand.
In Red Bay it is called 'The Cardinal Drive-In.  mmm - the burgers were good!

That was our day on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for joining us!  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Getting Work Lined up at Red Bay, etc

Once our list of fixes got turned in at the Allegro Campground, we wait to be contacted.  Sure enough on Monday afternoon, Norris came by and discussed our list with us.  Then he told us it would be about two weeks before they could get to it.  Yikes!

We knew it was a real possibility and now that we know that the coach will sit here, we figured we might as well take care of a few things.  ~ Like drive the Honda to Fairfax, stay with friends, pick up the Pathfinder and then drive both vehicles back to Knoxville where the Pathfinder will stay for a while.  Just like that our  travel schedule changed substantially ~ but in many ways we are used to that.

Yesterday I also got in touch with our medical insurance company (TriCareWest) and started sorting out the co-pays and deductibles.  I made calls and some online payments and have some more to go but it was a good start on getting caught up.

In the afternoon we went by Brannon's Custom RV, Inc to talk about some work, but we didn't find him there.  After that we went over to the Allegro Visitor Center.  We signed in and walked through the new 2011 Breeze, Allegro Bus and Zepher models.  We are happy with our 2007 Allegro Bus and are not in the market.  But it is fun to look and learn.

After dinner back at the Roadrunner, Chris Berry (from Chris Berry's Woodworks) came by to discuss some work.  One of the things we want do is to remove the large TV in the bedroom and replace it with a flat screen.  He offered to help us remove it on the spot so I took him up on it.
It is good to watch someone take things apart without destroying the woodwork.  It helps when they have done it a few times and know where all the screws and support braces are.  As Chris said, "This is not my first rodeo".

Later in the evening after the sun started to go down, we walked around the park and met some folks and talked a while.  It was a very nice evening and day at Red Bay!

Thanks for viewing!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Coon Dog Cemetery

We heard about the Coon Dog Cemetery and decided to go see it.  It was a nice day for a drive and there was not much to do around the Allegro Campground while we waited for Monday to roll around.  So off we went!

The cemetery was off the main highway and through the back roads of rural Alabama.  It was about 40 minutes from Red Bay.
Since we have never had a coon dog, this was interesting.  The cemetery is only for certified coon dogs. To be certified: the owner has to state the dog is a coon dog, a witness has to state the dog is a coon dog and, a member of the local coondog's association has to verify it.

Wow - this is a special place!
The cemetery is named after Key Underwood who buried his coon dog Troop there in September 1937 in a popular hunting area.
An older monument commemorates the site.  It was vandalized over the years so a more sturdy and protected monument was erected nearby.
I didn't count them all, but as of 2007, over 185 dogs have been buried in the cemetery.  It was quite a unique place and fun place to go for a Sunday afternoon drive.

Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles today and hope you have a great week.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Fixit List at Red Bay

We made it to Red Bay, Alabama yesterday after an easy three hour drive from Southhaven, Mississippi (outside of Memphis) where we stayed overnight.

This is definitely the time of year to be Red Bay (Allegro Campground) in the 'first come, first serve' service bay line.  We won't be able to speak to a technician until Monday morning but we are hopeful we will get in sometime the first week here.  They have two categories of work at the Service Bay:  'scheduled appointments' and 'under 3 hour'.

We were not able to get a scheduled appointment because you have to call almost six months in advance for one of those and we have had an 'evolving' schedule.  So we will wait our turn and get our work done in 3 hour increments. Our biggest items this time are to replace windows and get new shades.  But we have a fairly long list also.  About 15 items to get fixed.

For those of you that are not on the road yet and are looking to get a motor home, this is a fairly 'average list'.  We were here last December and had a similar one.

You may be thinking:  What? Things break on the motor home?  What kind of an RV did you get?

The rude awakening for me long before we purchased this 40' motor home is that is has no less than 3,000 moving parts and at times it shakes and rattles down the road as if there is an earthquake and we are in the middle of it!  It comes with the territory ~ we are always on the lookout of what needs to be fixed or maintained.  It is our only home and we want it to last.  That is why we keep a list of things to look at or fix and make what has been a yearly visit to the factory.

So what is on the list you ask?  Here is our current list:

  1. Replace windows:  all except windshield - (The 2006 and 2007 models had double paned windows which fog up.  Bob Tiffin, the owner said they bought the company in 2006 and had to improve the technology to fix the problem.)
  2. Replace blinds - (The folding shades are going to be replaced with a 'see through' day/night shades that block the hot sun)
  3. Fix commode:  doesn’t hold water - (The seal on the toilet has worn so it doesn't hold water as a normal toilet)
  4. Check Norcold refrigerator - (The company has recall underway. I don't think ours is one that needs to be recalled but they will check it.)
  5. Change anode in hot water heater - (Periodically these need to be replaced and we will get a technician to show us how to do that.)
  6. Adjust basement doors where scraping - (Once when we leveled the coach and stayed in the same place for a number of weeks, one of the basement doors on the driver's side could not open because it hit the slideout.)
  7. Check bedroom generator switch - (The switch in the bedroom to start the generator is defective.  It would kick it at night and try to start the generator.)
  8. Repair cracked corner on dining room slideout - (There is a corner trim piece on the slideouts that got cracked when it rubbed against the basement door when it opened.)
  9. Light above front door shorts out - (We have replaced the bulb but it the unit may be burned out.)
  10. Bathroom water pump light replaced - (The light on the switch burned out, not sure how to replace it.)
  11. Replace both air vents on dash near windshield - (The plastic vent covers are in the direct sunlight near the windshield and are cracked.)
  12. Check air conditioners - (They usually work fine but sometimes the front one shuts off when we need it most.)
  13. Canopy over slide out sags, holds water - (The canvas over the slideout on the driver side out now retrains water; need to see if it can be replaced or fixed.)
  14. Rear jack doesn’t retrack on first try - (This gets stuck frequently.  It might need lubrication or something else.)
  15. Check paint crack on bedroom slideout - (Have about a 2" crack in the paint near the corner of the side of the coach up against the slideout.)
  16. Set up Patriot auxillary brake system - (we need to get some on the job training on getting this set up.  For some reason it will not initialize when we hook up.
  17. Leak under the bathroom sink - (When we turn on the sprayer with the outside hose hooked up for the black tank, some water leaks from a connection under the sink.)
So there you have it - the kinds of things that we track and then fix or get help with at the factory.  We will keep you posted on our progress.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  And thanks in advance to all you future Followers!  

Hope your summer is going well!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Double Clutches Heading East

I'd like to Welcome our newest followers at:
Freely Living Life
Thanks for joining us!  You might like their blog and be interested to know they have 431 followers!

When I was growing up in Santa Fe, I learned to drive on a manual transmission car.  I worked at the golf course when I was 15 and used to drive an old truck from time to time.  I think it was an old big tire truck they picked up cheaply that became a utility/maintenance truck on the golf course.  When I'd change gears and sometimes I just couldn't find the right one and would have to double clutch--keep moving the stick around and pumping the clutch until I found the gear I was looking for.

That was a little like what happened when we went to leave yesterday morning.

Kelly was going to go on ahead and continue toward Virginia Beach.  We were heading east also, only peeling off I-40E and heading to Red Bay Alabama.  She slept in past 8:00 before we all got in motion and started packing up.

I managed to get a couple of last photos of our campground at Plantation Place.
When we were ready we said our goodbye's, and Ed jumped into the back seat of her car and was ready to roll.  Only the her car wouldn't start.  What?
No problem -- I have 20 foot jumper cables that reached from the battery rack on the Roadrunner to her car with ease.  I dug those out and in 15 minutes she was on her way.  She was going to find a WalMart along I-30E and get a new battery just in case.

Next, I completed stowing the hoses and cords, Pam raised the jacks and we were ready to go.  Or were we?
Our HWH panel inside showed a lot of blinking lights and when I put the coach in gear, it beeped loudly....
Time to put it back in neutral, reapply the air brake and see what's up.  Sure enough, the rear jack on the DS was not completely retracted.   15 months ago this happened and we had no idea what to do...

Instead of getting excited and panicking...we just lowered the jacks again, go it set up, and then went through the process again to raise them.  This time it worked like a champ.  And we were on our way.

We drove about 15 minutes before Kelly called and said she found a WalMart near the freeway.  We kept in touch with her and kept going.  A couple of hours later she caught up to us when we were filling up at a Flying J truck stop.
Then she went on ahead.

We passed a milestone while Pam was at the wheel.
We passed the 40,000 mile mark on the Roadrunner.  
We bought it with 21,156 miles on it in May 2009.

We stopped for the night on the east side of Memphis at EZ Daze RV park in Southhaven, MS.  Nice place!
Full hookups and level, concrete sites for $32/night.  It wasn't a real long day but long enough - 462 miles to get here.  We were ready to park it.  We only have about 3 hours left to get to Red Bay Alabama.

Kelly stopped for the night near Nashville and will get to NC tomorrow to see her friend.

That's all for now on the Roadrunner Chronicles-have a great weekend!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Last Day in Texas for a While

Welcome to:
Me and My Dog (Katie)
Our latest Follower!  If you get a chance take at look at her blog 

We got Kelly all packed up and the house cleaned up so we took it easy yesterday.  The PODS people were supposed to come and pick up the unit.  After that we only had a couple of things scheduled.  We met some friends Kelly wanted us to get together with for coffee and bagels and to talk.  It was nice to meet Mary and Rebecca.

After that Kelly went back to her house for the day and Pam and I drove over to Fort Worth.  It was my
brother Brad's birthday so he and I went to play golf at Squaw Creek while Pam went to get her hair cut and to run some errands.

I was hitting them pretty well on the practice range made some errand shots on the front nine and shot 42.  On the back nine I hit some more than ugly ones and shot a 46.  It was enough to get humbled badly by his  39 and 42.  He played well and he should have---it was his birthday!
The winning golf swing

After that, we went back and talked for a while.  After Sue got home we called and then picked up pizza for dinner.  Sue is a counselor at a local high school and already has earned her pay for the year.  What a challenge (is that the right word) at this time of the year to get all the students scheduled with the right classes!  Ugh!  I don't know how many weekends they have worked in the past six weeks but it has been a lot...  If you are (or have been) a high school counselor, may hat is off to you!

Kelly went out to dinner with friends and we came back to the Roadrunner to pack away things and get ready for a 9:00 AM ish departure.  We are headed to Red Bay Alabama to get some work done on the coach at the factory.

Thanks for viewing today!  We love hearing from you so thanks for the comments!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roadrunner Recap: Caught Up in Dallas

The last couple of days we have been helping Kelly pack up and move out of her home in Dallas.  She rented a PODS unit and it arrived in front of her house on Tuesday.
It took a while to get things out of the house and onto the lawn and then into the unit.  Meanwhile it was hot!
At 103 degrees, the sweat was rolling off me everywhere.  I really didn't mind--to me it is like a good work out and a sauna.  I must have drunk half a dozen bottles of water and Gatorade!

After a long day Tuesday, we went for sushi and noodles at the Asian Fusion Cafe and Dessert Bar. Yum!
Next we went to The Porch which is a Tuesday night service for the younger crowd (20's and 30's) at Watermark Church in Dallas.  They have a beautiful facility and the message on 'Being the Exact Opposite' was good. 
After the service people hang around and talk.  Kelly got to see some friends and say goodbye and they agreed to a picture for the blog:
Here is a good looking group of accomplished, hard working young professionals!

Then yesterday, we finished loading up the PODS unit.
And I had some work to do in the garage on patching a couple of holes in the garage wall.
We will be finishing that up and the PODS will be picked up for delivery next week in Virginia Beach.

That wraps up another day of the Roadrunner Chronicles!  We appreciate you taking a look today.  Hope you are having a good week and thanks for all the comments.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Roadrunner Recap: Canada to Texas in 3 Days

While we were in Canada, Kelly had an telephone interview which led to a flight to Virginia Beach for a face to face meeting.  She was hired as a Marketing Coordinator and starts on August 25! 

We planned a route to Texas to help her move.  We also stopped in Dayton OH so Adam could catch a flight to Washington DC before he leaves for India on August 22.
We stayed at the Port Huron Township RV Park Campground (A) last Thursday and Friday.  Port Huron is right on the Canada / Michigan border.
We left the RV campground in Port Huron on Saturday morning and drove to Dayton, OH (B).  Kelly drove to Dallas Texas on her own, taking Ed her dog.  She needed to get home and start packing.
We stayed at the Wright-Patterson AFB, OH FamCamp and stocked up on groceries.
On Sunday morning, we got up early and took Adam to the Dayton International Airport, then drove to Arkadelphia Arkansas.  That was a long day --- 747 miles!  But it was easy in many ways traveling in the Roadrunner.  I got an hour nap at one point and we had a hot dinner Pam cooked in the micro wave while barreling down the highway.

We stopped for the night at Arkadelphia Campground in Arkansas.
We were glad to get a site since it was late at night when we rolled into the campground.  The office was closed and it started to rain.  But we got set up and went to the office in the morning to pay for the site.  Then we left for the shorter drive to Dallas.

We found the Plantation Place RV park which is about 15 minutes from Kelly's place.  It has no office but we called the manager, got a site and found our paperwork waiting for us at the kiosk near the front.  It was pretty straight forward and simple.
The campground is fairly secluded yet not far from the freeway.  It is way more convenient than the campground we stayed in the last time we visited Kelly.  So we are close to her and have packing and cleaning to do to get her ready to leave for Virginia Beach on Friday.

That concludes this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Tomorrow I'll be posting some of the friends and family we have seen since arriving a couple of days ago.

Thanks for viewing!  And joining as Followers!  We are still a few short of our goal of 150, so feel free to help us get there!