Friday, June 30, 2017

Getting Painted in Red Bay etc

One of the maintenance items on our list was to get some painting done on our coach.  Over the years, some flaking and paint air bubbles showed up near the top of some bay doors.  The grill on our DS grill for the rear side radiator was also chipping and flaking.

When we think of how to maintain and take care of these issues on our 2007 Tiffin motor motor, we always think first of Bruce and Melody Deaton in Red Bay.  Their Custom Body Shop is an excellent choice for paint and body repairs.

We have been going to them for years and prefer them over the Service Center for a number of reasons.  We like to support small businesses and have been there so many times we consider them our friends.  They have a great crew in Austin, Turbo and Heath.  They do great work, do it quickly, efficiently and at a very fair price.

It was a no brainer to have Bruce and his team work on the chipped and flaking paint.  The issues were on a number of bay doors.  The Roadrunner is 10 years old now and we want to 'continuously maintain' and improve it so that it lasts another ten years and beyond.

After finishing with MSRV Solutions on Tuesday morning, we rolled it into a paint bay and Bruce, Austin, Turbo and Heath got started.  Instead of a lot of work done on most bay doors here and there, we decided to repaint them all as well as the two rear engine access doors.

I had previously ordered a new set of headlights from Brannon Hutcheson at Custom RV.  He was packed solid with appointments and could not install them, so Austin installed the new headlights after everything was primed and painted.
 Heath also repainted the top of the door awning that was starting to peel.

The before and after photos of the headlights.  The old ones were working fine but they were just that 'old'.  I want everything about our home to reflect updated and well-taken-care-of features.
This update makes it look like a newer coach.
They got all the painting done at the end of the day on Thursday but it was raining and we thought it would be better to leave the Roadrunner in the painting bay overnight.

The historic Hotel Red Bay opened a few weeks ago.  We had lunch there and I think the Railroad Rueben might be the best reuben sandwich I have ever had.  Later the next day, we ended up staying in one of the rooms with a king size bed.  The whole hotel has been refurbished and is decorated very nicely.  The restaurant is great and it was a fun evening.

We were glad to get in an unscheduled stay at the Hotel Red Bay.  Now we know what it is like and can recommend it.  The restaurant is also worth checking out.  And we were very happy with the excellent work we got done at Deaton's Custom Auto Body and Paint shop.  We highly recommend them and their work.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Great Museum in Red Bay

We were determined to final go to the Red Bay Museum.  9 years coming to Red Bay and this was our first visit.
It was great!

The first thing we noticed was the check-in counter/desk and the Red Bay Hotel sign.  We happened to be staying at the hotel for one night while the Roadrunner was getting painted at Bruce Deaton's Custom Body and Paint shop.

I asked if the hotel had made attempts to get the sign and desk to use when it opened a few months ago.  Matter of fact, apparently they tried and were not successful in getting the originals so they are using replicas.  The hotel is across the street from the museum.
This drug store was in operation for a long time and was where the Mason Jar on the Main restaurant is now located.
The first floor has displays of stores showing general merchandise and dry goods.
A number of important town leaders and artifacts of their businesses are on display.
I love the old photographs.  It shows a different look from today.  The trees back then had been harvested by the logging industry.
Logging and cotton used to be large industries in Red Bay. Now both are gone.  The Tiffin motorhome factory operates on property that was once a cotton gin.

The old Methodist Church on 4th St has some items on display.

They had a military section which had a number of military uniforms.

A typical kitchen from days gone by.
There is probably no better display of Red Bay letterman's sweaters  anywhere.  Anyone still have there's?  I think I had a lettterman's sweater from Junior High School in the 1960's.
Upstairs, most of the floor has a quite extensive display of Tammy Wynette.  She is from nearby Tremont, MS and is said to have said her home town was in Red Bay.  She shopped and spent time here.

Like many famous entertainers, Tammy met with Presidents.  Here she is with President and Mrs. Ford.
High school pictures are always interesting too.  Who would have thought she would become the international superstar from this photo.
Like a thousand other places in our adventures, 'we'll have to come back and see this again'.  It is a real skill to be able to see museums and historical sights (and sites) and to be able to digest it all.  But it sure is fun and interesting to learn about some of what happened years ago.  And we will have to come back again to the Red Bay Museum.  It was a nice start but we have a lot more to learn there.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Join us in Sioux Falls

Habitat for Humanity?  Me?  Us?  Sioux Falls?

"I've always wanted to do that, but haven't done it yet..."  or

"I was looking for a place and purpose to park the RV in August 2017..."

Sioux Falls is one of the great communities we have visited over the last eight years of Full-timing.  We have friends who live there and have seen some interesting things.

  • The city Bike Trail alone makes me want to hang out for a while there.  
  • The downtown area has a lot of great restaurants. 
  • The city art / sculptures on the sidewalks and stores makes the place even more intriguing. 
  • And the City Falls Park is another wonderful thing to see in Sioux Falls.

But the main reason we are going there is to volunteer with the Habitat for Humanity RVer group known as Care-A-Vanners (CAV).  The Habitat for Humanity Sioux Falls affiliated is sponsoring a CAV build July 30 - August 13, 2017.

If you can make it there, please consider joining us.  It will be fun.  We need four couples to join us there.  If you've never done any work with Habitat for Humanity, its easy its rewarding and we always have a good time.  And it will give you a change to learn more about HFH.
We'd love to meet you and help out the Sioux Falls community.

Skill level?  None required.  Nope -- all skill levels or no work experience at all is needed to work on Habitat builds.  We will find a job for you.  Everyone can help.

But it is essential that you be:

  • Willing to help
  • Interested in learning
  • Agreeable/friendly

Here are somethings we can look forward to:
  • Meals:  Sunday evening after we arrive on July 30, 2017, the affiliate will have a Welcome Dinner for us. During the week, all they will furnish breakfast and snacks during break time.  Also we will have one other dinner with the team hosted by a local Sioux Falls volunteer couple.
  • Meaningful work:  We will be building a house from the ground up.  The foundation will be poured and ready to go for our time there.  Not all volunteers get to be involved in the framing phase of the build.  This will be great!
  • T-Shirts:  Yes!  Your own memento T-Shirt provided by Habitat.  (What Care-A-Vanner didn't love another T-Shirt?)
Here are a couple of links to take a look at

  • HFH Care-A-Vanners Build list:  Sioux Falls. Look around the web site.  click on the Sioux Falls link and go through filling out the Volunteer information.
  • We'll be staying at the Tower Campground.  The affiliate pays for your full hookup/50 amp site/ with sewer.

If you'd like to join us 'click' on the build list where you see 'Sioux Falls' at the bottom of the page:
More info on the build with the 'please fill out the registration form' link.

If you have questions or need more information, please shoot me an email or let me know how I can get in touch with you and Lets Do This!

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles - And thanks to you folks that take the time to post a comment.  We really appreciate it!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Moving On - Tennessee then Red Bay

We left Virginia Beach after six months here.  Its the longest stay in one area of our 8+ years on the road.  We arrived in December 2016.
We were here for the birth of Harrison on January 31 and Brooks' birthday on February 15.  We helped with the kids for a couple of months until Kelly had surgery in April.  A large benign (thankfully) tumor was removed from near her intestines and she had a few weeks before she could lift the kids.  But all went well, she recovered quickly and we are now back on the road and doing our thing.

Some great things happened while we were here:

- We got to spend the holidays with our kids and their spouses.  We cherish those times.  Plus Adam and Melissa a three plus hours away in Fairfax so we have had a chance to see them a few times.  We love it every time we can do that.

- We didn't stay with Jon and Kelly, but we were within 45 minutes of where they live.  We went over to their place almost everyday and sometimes during the weekend.  We had a few days where it didn't work out, but we were at their place a lot.  We appreciate them including us in their lives and letting us help out.  We know that its a privilege to be able to be involved in our kids lives and we know not everyone has it.  We don't take it for granted, nor did we want to overstay our welcome.  We found a happy medium.

- Its been great learning how to become grandparents.  We have a lot more to learn but we are getting the hang of it.  Its fun to be helpful.  And nothing beats having the little one run full speed at you when he sees you yelling, "Paaappaaaa!" or "Maaammaaaa!".  We thought we wanted to be 'Grandma' and 'Grandpa' but "Mama" and "Papa" suit us just fine.

- There's a lot to be said being near our kids.  It is only 3.5 hours from Virginia Beach to Fairfax, so we are glad to make the drive up I-95 to see Adam and Melissa when we get the chance to do so.  It was fun to be around a couple of weeks while they were remodeling their kitchen and to see them at birthdays and such.  We found a favorite place at Bonefish (who would have thought?) and always enjoy seeing them and seeing what they are up to in their busy lives.

- One of the joys in the last couple of weeks has been to see some old friends and co-workers from our old life.  We moved to Fairfax in 1992 and left in the Roadrunner in 2009.  In those 17 years we made a number of close friends at church and work and we were able to see some of them during an Open House weekend.  One friend was having an event for other friends who had moved away.  We were able to see folks we hadn't seen in a long while.  It was great!

- If we had to guess today, when the time comes to 'get off the road', we'd probably end up in Virginia Beach.  In the last six months, we have had the opportunity to meet some people at church who are our age.  Its been fun. We were at a get-together with a few other couples and each gave a short introduction of themselves.  Almost everyone was there because of their grandkids!  That was an eye-opener.  Since that evening, its been easier to develop friendships, so that is nice.

- Another big benefit of hanging around VB for six months is how much we have been able to save.  We have shelled out some big $$ over the past two years with medical bills, RV repairs and some hefty maintenance on our car.  It's been great to finally get over the hump on the finances by not paying for diesel fuel or new repairs.  We've averaged under $20/night campground fee since December.  Also -- I was able to get a lot of hours of work-for-pay online during January-February.

- Another nice (and not insignificant) item we appreciate about being in this part of the country is Wawa coffee.  We love the fact, we can do self-serve coffee (Hazlenut/French Vanilla blend please) almost everyday.  We love Wawa!  They also encourage customer feedback on their receipts. After filling it out (takes about 2 minutes), you get an email that has a coupon which is good for a soda or cup of coffee (any size) for the next week.  Free!  How good is that?

There are more things we loved about being in VB for the last few months.  Watching Brooks grow and learn and developing a relationship with him is the best.  He is one precious guy.  Can't tell you how much of a huge blessing this little guy is.  What a wonder.

And then there is Harrison!  He is a cute little fella with the quickest little smile and big eyes.  He's already rolled over and will probably be crawling by the time we see him next in October.  Such a huggable little guy.  So different from Brooks but he gives you the idea he's entirely up for the challenge.  

One thing we wondered about after seeing Kelly and Jonathon was, "How did we do it?"  It seems a lot tougher in our 60's than it did when when we had two kids 19 months apart.  But we were in our 20's.... It's been great to see K & J and see how they adapt and adjust and move through parenting.  They are doing an awesome job.

We had a nice dinner with everyone last night and said goodbye for now.  Thankfully Brooks didn't yell, "Stop!" as he does sometimes when we say goodbye.  It could have been tougher.  But it is time. Time for them and for us.

Today we were up early, dumped the tanks, and were on the road by 6:30 AM.  We ran into rain early, then about 9:30 it started to clear up.  We headed for Richmond, turned toward Charlottesville and then down I-81 and the Shenandoah Valley.  It was beautiful.  Traffic wasn't too bad and we arrived at our stop at Fort Chiswell RV Park for the night.
It is a great overnight stop, didn't even have to unhook.  And the pool is open which was a bonus.  They have a large group here and I got to talk to 4-5 people.  As one said, "We are so lucky to be doing this!".

Yes we are.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Troubleshooting the Door

The Roadrunner must be getting a sense that it is heading to Red Bay soon.  A couple of things stops working.  First, we went to dump the tanks and get more water and when we returned from the dump station, our DS slideout would not extend.  It only went out about a foot.  Yikes!

We looked for a sheared off bolt, mulled it over and thought about it and decided the best thing to do was to get it back in and get it fixed at Red Bay.  Pam pressed the button while I pushed the slide from the outside and it came back in snugly.  Whew!

I don't know how to manually reel in the slides, but I know that it can be done.  Glad I didn't have to learn that one...

One thing we did know (from previous experience) is that if the slide isn't operating correctly as in this case, we want to secure it with wood blocks.  To do that, we had to measure the distance from the from of the inside wall at the top -- to the backside lip of the slide out.
Once secured in place by just wedging it in there, the slide out can not move out.  We'll wait to get to Red Bay next week to get that one fixed.  I am guessing its a motor but we'll see.

Another day the keyless door entry quit working.  We punched in the numbers and everything seemed to open and close OK on the bay doors but the front door did not work.  We used an extra key and locked and unlocked the door for a few days.

Then Pam cleaned the contact points on the inside frame of the door.  That did not help.  A day later, we thought it might be a fuse.  The fuse for the keyless entry is inside of the bottom front bay, behind the wall.

I removed the faceplate / wall and found the fuses.  There were two and we inspected both and they looked good.
Then we removed the contact point on the inside frame of the door and found a dangling wire.
That was our culprit.  Pam keeps extra pieces in our bin trays in bay two aka 'the garage'.
After putting on two clean connectors, the contacts were good and we tested it.  Yay!  It worked.  I can always tell when Pam gets excited-- she clinched both fists and said, "We did it!".  And gave me a high five.

Besides troubleshooting the door and the slide out, I think we are good to go.  We've ordered the carpet from Lowe's and it should be there next week.  Hopefully all will go well.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!