grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Monday, January 31, 2011

07-31JAN11 - Houma, LA

We departed the Tiffin Factory Service Center Friday AM, 07JAN, & as usual we split the drive back to Houma, LA, into two days; with an overnight in Biloxi. This time we decided to try a new casino at Bay St Louis just outside of Biloxi. We decided to try this casino because this is one of two casinos in the Biloxi area with its own RV park. While it was a very nice RV park, we were very surprised at how expensive their rate was; considering that most casinos have much lower rates to entice you into the casino. We won’t be going back!

Saturday afternoon we were back at Rebecca & Raymond’s & spent all of the next week with more medical & dental appointments. During the week our son Joe came by & said he wanted to have a get together at Rebecca & Raymond’s for him & his buds on Saturday, 15JAN. It must be nice to have relatives to take care of your “party” planning?

Anyway, it was great weather & great time was had with the foster kids at the park play structure, blowing bubbles, etc. Rebecca broke out the horseshoe set & immediately the arguments started over the rules. Unfortunately Dan was tied to the BBQ or he would have whooped them all! Joe’s friends Matt & Victoria brought their son Ewan along & he soon became both the girls’ best friend. They also brought a large inflatable ball that you stuff a kid into & then roll them around until they get sick (just kidding). Thankfully Dan has a heavy duty compressor in the RV, or we would still be inflating the thing! The kids thought it was great; & eventually the big kids had to try it out! It was a great day with good food, good friends & no bones were broken!

The rest of the month was spent taking care of medical appointments, baby sitting the foster kids, & resolving a family emergency. We did find time to run into New Orleans for half a day. While there we treated ourselves to lunch at Casamento’s Oyster Restaurant. Casamentos is a small neighborhood place that has been in business for 90 years & focuses primarily on oysters. Almost the entire interior of the restaurant (except the ceiling) is covered in beautiful imported Italian tile. They make their own bread; so instead of an oyster poboy, you order an oyster loaf. Dan went with the gumbo & a trout loaf, Corrie went with the oyster loaf. Although primarily an oyster place with a limited menu, they are also known for their spaghetti & meatballs. Be warned though, they are closed during most of the summer! Something about months without “R”s?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

01-06JAN11 - Red Bay, AL (via jemison, al)

Saturday, New Years Day, we head almost due north to the Tiffin RV factory in Red Bay, AL. We decided to split the drive into two days & stopped overnight halfway between Montgomery & Birmingham. The first day of driving was lots of rain but it was not the worst we have driven in with the RV; back in Navarre, FL, the area was under a tornado watch, so maybe we were better off on the road? Sunday, the second day of the drive north, we stopped at a Walmart for diesel fuel. We find their price to be lower than the large truck stops; plus with their giftcard, you get three cents off a gallon. After fueling we were surprised to learn that Walmart giftcards were not allowed in AL! It is legal to get a discount using a Walmart credit card & even a Murphy Oil credit card, but not giftcards! A little past lunch time we checked into the Tiffin Camp Ground at Red Bay, AL, hopefully to get factory service (once again w/no appointment). See below BLOG link for our last visit to Red Bay & why we visit there at least once a year:

http://theryanrvexpress.blogspot.com/2009/11/091109-red-bay-al.html

Monday AM we gave our work list to Norris, the service scheduler, & learned it was too long for an Express Service (ie two technicians for three hours). So our work list was handed off to Jimmie & we went into the backlog of those who did not have an appointment. By Wednesday morning, 05JAN, we realized that we might not get into a service bay until Friday, but Monday was more likely! Since we have medical & dental appointments scheduled on almost every day next week, we opted for Plan B. We reduced the size of our work list & then found Norris to get a three hour Express Service spot for Thursday AM.

Meanwhile, to keep busy on Tues & Wed Dan fixed several things himself; including installing a new dash fan, new signal lights on the Velvac mirrors, & finding an used motor & gear box to replace on our automatic front step motor. We didn’t really need an entire step assembly, but the motor is held to the gear box by three bolts; & two of these bolts have sheared off. In Norris’s estimate it would take several hours to remove the assembly, tap out the rest of the missing bolts, & reassemble at $95 per hour! So Dan decided to do it himself. The step motor was real fun since he had to lay under the RV in near freezing rain. Actually these jobs were made much easier being next to the service center because:

>>>you can take the part to the part’s “guy” & get it right away. No trying to “find something” at the auto store or home depot that might work; or ordering off the internet & waiting.
>>>they have a large inventory of used & damaged parts that you can try & find what you need. For example our step motor cost several hundred bucks new. They had several damaged steps (people driving off without retracting steps!) & Dan got a complete used assembly for $40.
>>>you can find the technician & discuss what you are doing & they will talk you through it and/or offer suggestions. One technician called up photos on computer to show Dan what to look for & check.
Thursday AM we got our 3 hour Express Service with two technician dedicated to our RV & almost all our items were repaired (some for free). Although our RV was returned to us before lunch we decided to stay overnight & leave Friday AM, 07JAN. So that afternoon we once again took the factory tour to kill time. We still are not impressed with the quality control.

Here’s a Tiffin Service Center joke - No one “helps” you at Tiffin, they “haallp” you!