grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Friday, November 30, 2012

16-30NOV12 - Houma, LA

After our wonderful almost two weeks at the Tiffin RV service center in Red Bay, AL, it was back to Rebecca & Raymond’s driveway in Houma, LA. Where we spent most of the time remaining in the month preparing for Xmas; & enjoying our grandson Jaxson as he learned how much more efficient walking is compared to crawling. In addition Corrie prepared an excellent Thanksgiving dinner & it was off to the Xmas tree lot for Jaxson’s first Xmas tree. Unfortunately our son Joe was offshore most of this time, but he did make it back at the end of November & we have had nice visits with him & Tasha.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

01-15NOV12 - Red Bay, AL (mostly)

Saturday, 03NOV, after lunch we started to drive to the Tiffin RV factory in Red Bay, AL. Rather then drive straight thru we decided to overnight in Biloxi, MS, at the Keesler AFB FamCamp. As usual we stopped at the Mississippi State welcome center to see if there were any coupons for any of the casinos in Biloxi. Once again the only coupons available were for the Isle Casino just like our last visit. Using the coupons we got a two for one buffet, & $10 of free slot play. End result was that someone did good enough that we broke even.

Sunday afternoon we arrived at Tiffin RV camp & repair center where it seems every year we have repairs to be made (see below BLOG about our last visit). For the first time we had to dry camp even though they have 100 spots with full hook-ups & 20 more electric only. In fact there were another 20 RVs forced to dry camp with us! We soon learned that last week they had 160 rigs per day & there was now a 2 week back-up even if you had a confirmed appointment! We also noted that over half the RVs were from Canada, representing every Province, we even saw our first RV with a New Brunswick license; Apparently last week 20 RVs even caravanned from Quebec to get repairs done on their RVs at the Tiffin service center.

Even though Tiffin has the number one most popular diesel pusher RV (Phaeton) & the number two most popular (Allegro Bus), & are the number one overall seller of class A rigs; they (like the rest of the RV industry) have issues with rework after delivery. In fact we have heard on more than one occasion that over 25% of the price of a new RV is to cover repairs after purchase! Over the last several years we have been surprised by the large number of new Phaetons (cost $260K-$320K) & Allegro Busses (cost $310K-$420K) we see here waiting for major repairs? Apparently others have noticed this also, & Tiffin products have started to receive negative press, even though Tiffin has won the industry quality award eleven out of the last twelve years. The negative press even led Bob Tiffin (company founder) to write a “defensive” letter in the quarterly Tiffin magazine. His letter still doesn’t change the fact that his service center is backed-up with new Phaetons & Allegro Busses needing major repairs.

Tuesday morning we finally get spot with full hook-ups. Since we have been told that it will be at least a week before we see a technician, Dan decided to set up the DISH satellite antenna since there is no local TV in Red Bay & the RV camp does not have cable. As you can see from the below BLOG we subscribed to DISH satellite back in March to have TV at the house in Sultan, WA, & to use while RV’ing. Since then we have only used it once while RV’ing, & soon discovered “aiming” the manual satellite wasn’t the easiest thing to do!

Dan spent most of Wednesday trying to “aim” the satellite dish without success. He was growing so frustrated that he asked Tiffin for a price quote on installing a fully automatic satellite dish on top of the RV ($2400!). Adding to the difficulty was the fact that in the “old days” you only needed to find one satellite; now thanks to high def TV you must find three satellites! Luckily Dan was able to “pick the brain” of the Tiffin satellite technician, who said we needed to swing the satellite dish nine degrees to the right. Wallah! As RV subscribers to DISH we even get the nearest “big city” local stations once we phone in our current location; in this case – Huntsville, AL.

To try & get some benefit from all the time on our hands, Dan starting buying parts at the Tiffin parts store & making some repairs on his own. One item that needed replacement was the hand crank for our TV antenna, which had snapped in half. The surprising thing was that the handle cost $8, but an entire new assembly was only $5? Needless to say we went with the entire assembly.

Friday morning, 09NOV, we finally got something fixed – the dash AC. That afternoon we headed across the street for wash & waxing of the RV at Detail Depot. Since it takes several hours per RV, the owner realizes he has a captive customer, so his shop also serves lunch (including BBQ’d Boston Butt), has a hair salon, sells hand bags & jump suits, sells fresh veggies & home made baked goods, & to Gumbo’s dismay they groom dogs.

Since there is nothing to do in Red Bay on the weekend, we spent Saturday & Sunday waxing the RV’s fiberglass roof, & doing laundry. Wednesday, 14NOV, the driverside windshield which was cracked in June was fixed in the morning. That afternoon the first attempt at fixing our leveling system was made without success. First thing Thursday a second attempt was made on the leveling system & was successful. Although we still had items left on our list for repair we decided we had all we could stand of Red Bay & hit the road back to Houma, LA.

Apparently Bob Tiffin was receiving so many complaints from all the owners “stuck” in the service center backlog, that he personally changed the entire scheduling system without notice! First, if your RV is older than two years old, you can not make an appointment at all even though your RV is still under warranty. Second, no appointments at all can be made for the months of April or October (apparently these months are historically when a lot of snowbirds stop in Red Bay without reservations). Lastly, only one appointment per owner per year. We are not sure how this will improve things, but the internet posts by current owners should be interesting.

Once again we decided not to drive straight thru, & we decided to visit some different casinos in Philadelphia, MS. We had done some research on the internet but still not clear if there were two or three casinos in the town (or more properly, as part of the Choctaw Nation). It appeared from the web that there might be three casinos there – Pearl River Resort, Silverstar, & Golden Moon located a couple miles apart? Turns out that Pearl River Resort is the overall umbrella organization for two casinos (Silverstar & Golden Moon), & both casinos are across the street from each other. When we walked into the Silverstar we were greeted by the casino staff doing the most recent internet craze - Gangnam Style. The two casinos must not be getting the customers they planned on, because the new casino (Golden Moon) is only open on weekends?