Tuesday, March 13, 2018

First Time to Red Bay

Bunkhouse RV, Red Bay, AL         March 2 – 13, 2018

First Trip to Red Bay

And we’re off! On March 2nd, we had finally pulled the plug and said enough is enough. We’ve prepared the best we can and it’s time to just wrap it up and go. We know we’ll forget some things, but we’ll just deal with it when we figure out what they are.

We said goodbye to our good friends Jeanne and John Stratton, turned the keys over to them, hooked up Sunny and hit the road.

We got as far as Waycross, GA, a whole 70 miles from our starting point, when we were notified that our Visa cards had been compromised. They would need to be replaced. And they would only send new replacement cards to our home address. Well that wasn’t going to work! We had made appointmens in Red Bay, AL that could not be broken without causing substantial delays to our trip. We just couldn’t turn around and go back to Orange Park to wait for new cards to show up.

EJ got down to business on the phone and convinced them to send the replacement cards to Dad’s apartment in San Angelo. The new cards should arrive in 2-3 weeks. In the meantime, we would just have to limp by on our remaining cards. Whew! Crisis averted!

True to our word, we stopped by Paradise Lake RV Park in Enigma, GA again. If you remember, we were amazed at the hospitality we received here when we were fleeing Hurricane Irma last year. Our second night was spent at the Super Walmart in Prattville, AL.

On Sunday, March 4, we arrived at Chris Berry’s shop, Making Sawdust. Monday morning we were scheduled to have doors made for our shoe cabinet.

It had been raining for several days and had made quite a mess, but Chris had several loads of gravel put down in the driveway to make it all better.


Chris showed up on Monday and he and EJ discussed several options (projects) but in the end decided to just go with new doors for the shoe cabinet. He got those on order, and that afternoon we skedaddled over to Bay Diesel to have the M3 maintenance done on the Phaeton.


We figured we would boondock for the night but Chris McKinney said that at 5 o’clock we were to move over by the rollop doors and they would hook us up to a 30 amp connection for the night. He even had a water hookup if we needed it.

The next day, Tuesday 3-5-18, they did the service and even had time to install a SuperSteer steering damper for us.


Once again, we spent the night, figuring tomorrow we would go hunting for a place to camp while we waited on Tiffin Service to do some warranty work for us. Wednesday morning we took a tour and found that Bunkhouse RV was one of the few places that had space available. So we signed up and they didn’t want any money until we were done with Tiffin.

That same day we went to the Tiffin Service Campground to register for the service work. We knew there was no space in their campground, but we asked if we had to move to their campground to register for service. Thankfully the answer was no. Those folks in the Tiffin Campground were squeezed in like sardines. We were quite pleased with our site over at Bunkhouse. And it was all of 5 minutes away from the service center.

For the next several days we played tourist. Every one that goes to Red Bay has to check out the Coon Dog cemetary.


And of course, one must see the Rattle Snake Saloon.


It is a Saloon/Restaurant built into a cave. But the one thing folks don’t tell you is they don’t serve beer or wine until after 5pm. You see the restaurant is on an equisterian ranch. And they don’t want the riders getting drunk and falling off their horses. The trails close at 5pm and then the bar opens.

While reseaching about Red Bay we had heard how it was an absolute must that you eat at The Mason Jar restaurant. After hearing so many people rave about it, we figured it wad be hard to get a seat.


I guess we got lucky and hit the lull between breakfast and lunch.

Back to the main reason we went to Red Bay. Most folks have these huge lists of items they want fixed by the service center. We try and fix a lot of things ourselves because we are reasonably capable folks. Also because we are generally disappointed in the quality of work performed by so called RV experts. As a rule, we try to go to the “source” ,ie RV manufacturer, chassis manufacturer, etc. Since our motorhome was made in Red Bay, we had a nagging issue we wanted them to take a look at. Actually there were four.


The step recall I could have done myself, but the manufacturer wouldn’t sell the parts to me. Something about a liability issue.

I wanted to learn more about the slides, so I figured why not let the experts show me?

And the night stand fix, we probably could have done ourselves, but we were here so why not?

The ceiling issue was way beyond our comfort level. But the service center handled all of them for us in one day. Wow! is all we could say.

We stuck around a few more days because I wanted Bay Diesel to install a set of Super Steer Motion Control Units(MCUs) on the Phaeton for us. That turned out to be a mistake.

Finally on March 13 the MCUs came in, they had to ordered, and were installed. We spent one last night in Bay Diesels parking lot and headed of to Tupelo, MS the next day. We drove on the Natchez Trace Parkway which is very smooth, and didn’t notice anything was amiss.

The next day was a long one and a good portion of it was spent on very rough roads. It was perhaps the roughest ride we had every encountered in all our years of RVing and it turned out it wasn’t all the roads fault. The MCUs installed on the front air bags had turned our Phaeton into a pogo stick.

But that is a story for another time.

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