We’ve looked forward to returning to the quaint little town of Red Bay, Alabama. It is the home of Tiffin Motor Homes, and claimed by Tammy Wynette. It is on the border of Mississippi and close to Tennessee. We really enjoyed our time here last year. If you missed our posts, click here.
This year, we only had a short list of things we needed repaired at the Tiffin Service Center (TSC). We also had a list of things to buy from the Tiffin Parts Store (they sell to us at wholesale prices). Of course, we only had a few things to go over with Bay Diesel and A/C, Inc. concerning the engine, generator and how the RV steers and bottoms out when going over railroad tracks, on concrete roads and bridges. We hoped all this would only take a week or less. And how great, it only took
three four days for all the service, but since it was the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend, we were more or less stuck in Red Bay an extra three days. And then the fourth day happened, more on that later.
Upon arrival to Red Bay, we checked into the TSC. There was room for us to park our Tiffany (our new name for our motorhome in honor of our tween red dachshund we had for 14 years) in the Allegro Campground, which is right in the midst of the TSC. It was going to be more convenient for us, although it would have been a little cheaper had we stayed in the Red Bay Self Service RV Park less than a mile away. The protocol to sign up for service is to provide your VIN, mileage and have a list of what you want done. Most people don’t have that ready upon arrival, so they give you until 7 pm the evening you check in to have all the required information. Here are two snapshots of our front view from our window:
Here is our short list of repairs we turned in, which grew just a little once we got into the Express Service Bay:
1. Steps recall (we received a letter advising us of this but they also noted it upon arrival)
2. Entrance light panel to LED
3. Slide switches sticking
4. Slide maintenance
Once we got into the Bay, we then added:
5. Kitchen sprayer
6. Repaired key fob and add new batteries. There was a little rust inside which was why when we changed the batteries they didn’t work.
7. Carbon Dioxide & Propane Alarm (it went off while in the Bay)
We set up and knew we might as well go shopping to buy all the little things Bill needed to make some repairs himself. Just for information, Bill has been a handyman his entire life. He’s just handy like that. But this RV has been a bit intimidating and he has not wanted to do much maintenance. But he will make all the minor repairs as needed.
Here was our list of things he knew we would buy and a few things we needed to check on while there:
- Shower dome cover (we had a leak a few months back and did get the leak stopped but needed a new dome.)
- Door & drawer latches
- New grill for stove and rubber stops
- Refrigerator latches
- Replace toilet sprayer
- Water filter system O-ring
- Buy door latches
- Look for Shower towel rod
- Latch on door above bed
- Windshield wipers
- Dirt Devil wand
- Clear tabs-doors and our glass cutting board
- Sanitize fresh water tank solution
- Mud Dauber Screen (we had to go else where)
- Check our fire extinguisher
Then we added these things as we looked in the store and in other’s motor homes:
16. Robe hooks
17. Door slides
18. Insert foam filters for air conditioner vents
19. Dirt Devil Vac Cleaner Bags
20. Pine Power
21. Stove Grommets
22. Towel bar
23. Toilet Floor Flange Seal kit
I was in and out of the store at least 14 times over 5 days. The list changed daily and for some reason, I picked up several wrong things and had to return or exchange them!
Bill got busy right away and began making some repairs. I even helped with some. We worked until dinner time on our day one. This was a full day which we ended with a short walk.
We walked over to the Red Bay Self Service RV Park to see how crowded it was. We met Sheila, sitting outside of what looked like our twin! So of course, we began talking and were joined by her husband, Billy. They also had the MCD Wheel Covers, like ours. We’re still on the hunt to find a Glide Trac to repair the right passenger wheel well damaged by our blowout. We ended up spending hours with this couple, we even had to move inside as the rain came. We love looking at modifications others have made so we stole many of their great ideas and began to implement them by lengthening our shopping list! They recommended a business in Vina to see if we could get a replacement for our Glide Trac. We became fast friends as they educated us on a number of things. We do hope to see them again one day as we exchanged our contact information. Little did we know, we’d be parked next to them on Friday!
Wednesday, the next morning, Jason knocked on our door at 8 am to go over our list for the TSC. We should get in the next day, Thursday he said. But we already had an appointment at Bay Diesel so he noted it on our paperwork. We offered to change that appointment, but as with all things in Red Bay, no problem! He was pretty certain we get into an Express Bay on Friday. That was music to our ears!
Then we ran out to the business in Vina but they were unable to help us with the MCD Glide Trac. But they had the Mud Daubers the Tiffin store didn’t carry and we needed. And we found a new gadget we definitely are putting on our 2017 shopping list, See Level RV Gauges. This gives you the percentages of your tanks: our fresh water, gray, black, and LPG (propane) not just how many 3rds as we now have. We monitor how full, or empty these tanks are at any given time. Knowing the percentage will be a big help.
We returned to Tiffany and Bill continued to work around her. Then I got in my two mile walk. I reminisced about our trip here last year when I walked by this Pharmacy. I really enjoy this quaint city, with a population of more than 3,100 according to the 2010 census. I really feel safe here, but there was a scary situation while we were here last year.
Red Bay was first known as Vinson’s Crossroads. The most likely origin of the town’s name was its location amid what was at the time a large stand of redbay trees. The first post office was opened in 1887, quickly closed, then reopened in 1890. The town was initially located on Gum Creek but at some point early in its history was moved one and a half miles southwest to its current location.
The town was incorporated in 1907; sources differ about the date. Also in 1907, the town became a stop on a branch of the Illinois Central Railroad. As a result, it became a lumber cutting and shipping center. (See here for more.)
Last year, a young man was having some sort of psychotic break and took the Pharmacist and several customer’s hostage in the Redmont Pharmacy pictured above. We were heading to the Tiffin Factory for a tour when we saw police cars set up around the perimeter. We were detoured and later learned what was going on. It made national news and the Pharmacist was a hero! She calmed him down, got him to release the customers and just let her remain with him. She asked what he needed and of course, it was some sort of drug. She said she had something to calm him down and he accepted. Little did he know, she pretty much gave him a tranquilizer and he fell asleep, allowing the police to come in and arrest him and rescue the very calm Pharmacist. When we went to church on Sunday, we learned why she was so calm, cool and collected. She had her entire church and every other believer in Red Bay praying for her and the situation! It was exciting to see her back in church when we went on Sunday.
Thursday, we were up early to take Tiffany to Bay Diesel. We were so impressed with the service and education we learned from the owner, Chris, last year. We decided if nothing else, we would come back her to have him service our engine and generator. Here was our list with his answers in caps:
Seafoam conditioner (for mountains) YES
Antifreeze? NEXT YEAR
Change oil in generator YES
Service radiator YES
Out of Algaecide. Keep using since had water in the fuel when bought. YES, just if it happens again.
Front end? He’d check it out. And in the end, he put on Spartan Drive Axle Shocks (2 of them) and Magnum 4-Bag Front (2 of them) AND a Safe T Plus Steering Stabilizer.
We were there nearly all day. It was so worth it! Bill said it was like driving a new bus. We also received the phone call to have our bus in Bay 32 at 7:00 am the next morning. It was hard to believe how smooth things were going.
We were so pleased with the team that was assigned to Bay 32. They were very conscientious workers. They had no qualms about our few add-ons. But it took forever for them to get some parts needed. We were there from 7:30 until 2:00! We were only charged for less than three hours labor.
Once we checked out of the TSC, we had to also move out of the Allegro Campground. We moved around the corner to the Red Bay Self Serve RV Park. And were next to our new friends. We had hoped to join them for an adventure, but we never could match our schedules. We ended up hanging out in our new location. Bill kept productive and he was so happy to finally be able to wash the bus from roof to the tires.
We attended First Baptist Church of Red Bay on Sunday. It was another wonderful service and was a blessing to see the Pharmacist was there as well. We missed our friends who spent the day in Sheol. We had wanted to join them, but we wanted to attend church first. Bill can always keep himself busy polishing the bus or the car.
My mission became fixing our GPS output. As the navigator, I liked to look at the GPS on the TV screen. We had met a couple over a year ago that had wired their GPS up to the TV above and between the driver and passenger. I had commented it seemed dumb to me to have a TV there. Then they shared how they used it. We had our wired to do this last year while in Red Bay. And it worked fine until we left Fredericksburg on May 10. Oh how I missed it. I was able to contact him via RVillage. We sent a number of emails, him trying to help trouble shoot it. We ran out of options, I needed to test it on another TV. So off I went to the Allegro Campground to find someone to help us. And sure enough, there was a electrical engineer helping someone else with his outside TV. He had what he called a “boondock” TV and agreed to come over later to help. And success. It was a simple setting that I had already changed. Oh it’s so wonderful to be around so many talented and helpful fellow RVers!
We ended up becoming friends with the neighbors on our other side. We enjoyed sharing stories. We really didn’t do anything special over the holiday weekend. We felt we had honored those who gave their lives for our country while we were in Chattanooga. Not that we didn’t try to find something special to do. I did manage to keep my walking up, clocking over 8 miles total and not counting all the times I was in and out of the store!
Finally, Tuesday morning it was time to leave. We were up early, excited about our upcoming adventure to Land Between the Lakes (LBL) in Cadiz, Kentucky. We had made reservations, which we rarely do. We just knew we were headed there and nothing could stop us now….We were just about ready to roll when Bill noticed a puddle of water neat the toilet. Good news, it was clear water. Bad news, it was water. A quick assessment determined it only leaked when flushed. To make a long story short, Bill decided he would prefer for the experts to fix it. So back I went to the TSC and filled out the paper work to get back into the system. When we didn’t hear back from anyone by noon, we knew it wouldn’t be done this day and we HAD to leave the next morning. Bill reluctantly began to disassemble the toilet and I found the manual. We called the company and they helped us trouble shoot the problem. So back to the Tiffin Store where they had ALL the needed parts! Bill had it fixed within an hour. But it was too late to head to Kentucky. It was a very stressful and disappointing situation. But the GOOD news was that it happened here where we bought the parts at wholesale and Bill saved us a few bucks!
Finally, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, we headed out of Red Bay and towards LBL. And it felt like a new vehicle! Wouldn’t you know, the GPS decided the best way there was going to be on roads similar to Mississippi 23! Bill said no problem, he could now handle the drive like a pro!
…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18