Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Motorhomer's Day in Red Bay

If you've been a Chronicles reader for a while, you may know that we love Red Bay.  It is the home of the Tiffin Motor Home company and the mecca for Tiffin RV owners.  It is a small town with lots going on.

I realized many do not share our love for the town because it is a small town.  Years ago I responded to the notion, "There's nothing to do in Red Bay" with a post of "Nothing to Do in Red Bay?  Here's 101 Things to Do".
Not all the things listed are nearby and maybe not directly in Red Bay, but we love it here anyway.

We also love it here because we can get things fixed on our motor home.  The Roadrunner always senses when we head this direction and two days ago was no different.  We had a low air pressure gauge act up and the red light on the dash indicated an issue.  And the alarm was beeping!  So we have an appointment with Bay Diesel to get that fixed.

The issue presented itself in Oklahoma.  The red light and beeping and gauges would intermittently sound off.  Besides being a little unsettling, we wondered how serious the issue was and if there was some damage going on.  We took the Roadrunner over to the Cummins center in Oklahoma City and the tech assured us it was probably a loose wire or a controller issue and no imminent serious issue.  We continued on I-40 to Memphis, then down to Tupelo where we stopped in to see our friends at MCH Kenworth.

Their analysis matched those of the techs in Oklahoma City so we are looking forward to our appointment tomorrow at Bay Diesel.

Today we are scheduled into Custom Paint and Body to get new air horns on top of the coach.  Our current ones are pitted and rusting badly, so we are getting new aluminum ones.  Melody tracked some down for us at the Tiffin Parts Dept and Bruce or one his guys will install later this morning.

We also chipped/crack the corner piece (some call it an arrowhead) of trim on our DS front slide.  The trim piece is right above the bay door which can touch it if we are parked on an uneven site.  Most of the time I watch it carefully when I open that bay door next to the wet bay door, but a few months ago, the bay door 'touched' the corner piece and it cracked.  So Bruce will replace that and rivet it into place.  And give us an extra one in case it happens again.

Yesterday we had an appointment at Brannon's Custom RV in Vina, Al.  It was about a 20 minute drive from our campground (Red Bay RV Park at the edge of town) and Brannon and Jason went over our list.  We needed our Travl'r DirecTV satellite dish re-calibrated.  Our Winegard Rayzar Over-the-air TV antenna wasn't working, so we wanted them to check that out too.

We also had a problem with our Driver Side (DS) rope lights up near the ceiling.  A loose connection made them inoperable.  Our bathroom shower door was not closing correctly and we had a loose wire down below that we found in the bay area.  We wondered if that had anything to do with our low pressure issue.  We weren't sure but asked Brannon to check it out.

We also had a problem with the new/updated LED headlights.  We had those installed last fall but had a fail on the DS with one of the projector bulbs.  Brannon replaced that as well as the same bulb on the Passenger (PS).

Brannon is the best.  He gets the job down quickly and professionally.  He called about 10:30 said he had re-calibrated the DirecTV satellite dish and found the settings were not correct on the Razor.  He also repaired the rope light and was going to replace a couple of small braces on the inside of the shower door which was causing it to be a little uneven.

After lunch we picked up the coach at Custom RV.  Brannon confirmed the loose wire was an extra bay door wire and not related to our air pressure problem.  We left feeling great about that and the other things he fixed.  He always fixes things right and at a fair price.  We also asked about our AGM batteries.  They are about 6 1/2 years old and we wondered if they were nearing the end of their life.  Brannon said the rule thumb is 6-8 years of life for Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries and 4-6 years for regular batteries.

Yesterday after we dropped off the Roadrunner at Brannon's (at 7:00 AM), we went over to Belmont, MS, for breakfast at Sparks Restaurant.  It has the best breakfast in the area.  The ham and cheese omelet I ordered was larger than I expected so it was all I could do to eat it.  Pam had bacon and scrambled eggs and wheat toast.

Along with some coffee, we enjoyed the food and did some local people watching, The big table in the restaurant is where the daily locals come.  They had 8-10 good ole boys that obviously meet for breakfast and sit at their own table marked "SMART persons table".  ?  Not sure what that means but it is probably some private joke.  Or it means the things they talk about rise to the level of smart people.  I think they were probably solving most of the worlds issues.  It is a fun place.

Next we went over to the Tiffin Service Center.  We ran into Glenda and say hi to her.  She used to run the parts store but now does the cleaning with another lady.  Next I went back into the cabinet shop near bay 26 and said hi to Tanya.  She has been there 4-5 years and is liking the woodworking.  She and another fellow install the shades in the road runner back when she was doing that work.

We had time for the morning tour at the Tiffin Visitor Center.  Pam stayed in the car and took a little nap to help her get over her cold while I went on the tour.  I always love hearing the story and I learn something every time we walk through the many buildings on the tour.  The tour has improved over the years and is the best in the RV industry.  Bar none.  It is definitely worth the time and effort to come and see how these things are built.

After the Tiffin tour we went to the Piggly Wiggly market deli for lunch.  We had mashed potatoes, gravy and friend chicken with a small portion of cherry cobbler for dessert.  Next we went over to the Allegro Club at the Tiffin Service Center.  And we went over to the Parts store to find a few things.

Brannon finished up about 2:00 PM so we went back and picked up the Roadrunner and took it back to the campground.  Later I joined Gerri and Art for happy hour at their site where we talked with some neighbors and socialized for a bit.  Pam fixed a great dinner of fish and a baked potato with some steamed broccoli.

We watched the news and then some baseball before turning in.  It was a beautiful day in Red Bay.  We always enjoy coming here.  Not only for the people but also because we get things fixed which brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Short Albuquerque Visit

We drove from Yuma to Deming in a day and then from Deming to Albuquerque on the next.  We bypassed Las Cruces and went from Deming to Hatch and then up I-25 to Albuquerque.
Leaving Deming and driving the Hatch highway was a very scenic experience.  I was quite surprise of the beauty on this road although Rand McNally had it labeled as a Scenic Highway.  The map was correctly labeled.
Kind of hard to tell on this photo but the vistas into the distance on both sides of the highway were great.  We will have to drive this way again.  It took about 3 1/2 hours to get to Albuquerque on a very pleasant highway.  We camped again at the military campground at Kirtland AFB which is about 15 minutes from Reid and Amy's house.

This was Easter Weekend and we carved out time to spend Reid and Amy. We were only going to spend a few days in Albuquerque and this time we couldn't see and do everything we wanted.  We were limited to:
  • Seeing Reid and Amy and spending time with them
  • Eating NM cuisine
  • Working on their yard
  • Spending one day in Santa Fe
  • Extended family celebration on Easter
Reid and Amy were working on Wednesday afternoon, so the first thing we did after we got set up in the campground was find a Blakes Lotaburger and have a green chile cheeseburger for lunch.  It was great.

Later, that evening after work, we went to Padilla's Mexican Kitchen for dinner
The sopapilla's and the rest of dinner were great.  I know I have posted a picture of the same thing a time or two, but I love that food!  And it is hard to find a better restaurant in town.  Another one we like is Frontier Restaurant and we went there twice for breakfast, once on Friday and again on Sunday.  Hueveros rancheros and the hot cinnamon roll are always a safe choice there.

Reid took off Thursday and Friday and we worked on his yard.  He is in the middle of a big yard landscaping project that has take a few weeks.  Thursday was spent was moving dirt around, leveling it in places, adding yard trim to a walkway, and laying down some stones.
It is very nice and is looking better each day.  Their yard (both front and back) is going from one with a lot of grass (which requires watering) to one that has only a small area of grass.  He laid down a lot of mulch and planted a number of desert plants throughout the yard.  He also installed an extensive drip system to keep the plants and bushes healthy.

On Friday we went to Santa Fe by way of Cedar Crest on the back side of Sandia mountain.  He had a building to check out and we liked the drive on the back road to Santa Fe.

We passed through old towns that have become tourist stops. Madrid and Cerrillos were once important mining sites on the Turquoise Trail.  Now they are known for arts and crafts and unique little stores. The drive was interesting and I like the variety instead of traveling along the same routes all the time.  I think I've driven the Santa Fe/Albuquerque I-25 corrider a thousand times. (I grew up in Santa Fe.)

As we do nearly every time we visit, we drove by our old hangouts around some other places in Santa Fe.  Amy spent high school there and Pam grew up in Tennessee. Pam has heard the wind shield tour many times over the years but is a good sport about it.  

We drove out airport road to the old airport and had a look.  I remember then we stopped off at Santa Fe Country Club.  The Santa Fe Airport closed back when I was in high school.  At one time Continental Airlines and Frontier Airlines operated out of Santa Fe, now it is predominately smaller commuter type airplane travel.

We made our way downtown to the Plaza in Santa Fe and ended up having lunch at the famous La Fonda Hotel.  That is always a treat.
After we returned to Reid and Amy's I helped Reid with some yard work.  They converted their grass lawn into a low maintenance yard that saves a lot of water.
It turned out great and they ended up getting a rebate on their city water bill since they got rid of all the grass.  We enjoyed our time with Reid and Amy.  Never seems to be long enough.  We love spending time with them.

After a few short days in Albuquerque, we hit the Interstate early and headed for Oklahoma City with an overnight stop in Sayre Oklahoma.

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Monday, April 2, 2018

To Yuma for Dental Work in Mexico

While traveling back to Casa Grande from a Major League Baseball Spring Training game about a few days ago, I chipped a crown on my lower teeth.  Oops.  After considering the option, we decided to cut short our time at the Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort and go to Yuma.

While in Yuma we went across the border to a Sani-Dental to get my tooth fixed and to get our teeth cleaned.  And to do some shopping which we were there in Los Algodones.
We parked on the U.S. side and walked the 300 yards across the border into town.  It seemed a lot more crowded than the last time we were there which was probably five years ago.  We had no trouble finding the dental office signed in.  Then we waited in the hallway before an assistant took Pam back to get her teeth cleaned.
At this facility the doctors do the teeth cleaning.  Pam was finished before I was called to go back to see my dentist.  I got some X-rays on this machine.
Then the dentist took off the old crown and put on a temporary.  We were done a couple of hours after we arrived.  There procedure is to come the next day to check the temporary crown so we scheduled our second appointment.

Then we enjoyed our time at the Fortuna De Oro RV Resort.  We parked near friends Gerri and Art.  We hung out at happy hour and had some fun.  This resort is not quite as fancy as Palm Creek, but then neither was the price.

We went back to Mexico the next day for a quick followup to the dentist and then back to our campsite and hung out.  While there we were able to schedule a wash and wax job for the Roadrunner and got that done.  $100 was well worth it.
There was also time for some pool and some golf at the campground.  
I originally was told the visit to the dentist would take 72 hours and that my last appointment was going to be Monday.  It actually got done on my third visit on Saturday.  I was pleased with the result and I also got my teeth cleaned.  Total bill for two teeth cleanings, consultation, X-ray and a crown - $310.

Saturday after the visit to the dentist we walked around and did some more shopping.  It takes a minute to get shopping game face on.  The shop owners don't give up on the first try.  We had some lunch, talked with a couple from Montana that had been going to Yuma for a number of years and had a nice time.
Saturday was also the town's annual party for the winter visitors.  They had free food and drink and 
entertainment which was a nice gesture.

Thankfully our three trips over the border we fun and uneventful.  The lines at the border crossing office were not too long.  None lasted more than 30 minutes so it gave us a few minutes to meet some more people and hear about their Mexico experiences.
On Sunday we went to the two flea market in town and got a few things and then worked on some stuff around the coach.  The weather was nice on Monday too and there was some time for another visit to the pool.  It was a little more crowded than the other days and their was a band who played for a couple of hours.  They were pretty good and a number of people got up and danced and enjoyed themselves.

We saw our friends some more and watched a number of winter visitors at the campground depart for the journey north back home.  Some said adios and took off, one couple spent two or three hours after they hooked up and pulled out of their space.  It was just too hard from them to say goodbye.  They had such a good time, leaving was something they really didn't want to go.

We on the other hand, had to get on with it and we departed early on Tuesday morning for the trip to Albuquerque.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!