Saturday, December 17, 2005

Starting Our Journey

On December 11th, we finally hit the road on our full-timing adventure; and not a moment too soon as the frigid temperatures were getting tougher and tougher to deal with. After a truly memorable send off attended by friends and co-workers, and a wonderful Holiday party on Saturday night, we cleaned off the 6" of snow from the motorhome roof and departed southbound. Our first night's stop was in Bowling Green, Kentucky, after a day's drive that started in snow, changed to sleet, and ended up in rain. Tuesday morning we drove to Nashville where we entered the Natchez Trace Parkway for our drive to Red Bay, Alabama, the home of Tiffin Motorhomes where our's was built only two months ago. The Natchez Trace is a wonderful drive; 50 MPH speed limit, two lanes, very little traffic and wooded. No houses, stores, etc.; everything is off the parkway which only has pulloffs for historical sites and rest areas. It was pretty at this time of year, we can only imagine how beautiful it must be in the summer and fall. We stopped for lunch in 60 degree temperatures and took this picture:
Arriving in Red Bay, we checked into the Allegro Campground which abuts the Tiffin service center. The next morning we headed for the Tiffin plant for a factory tour; there we were greeted by a delightful 79-year old named "Red" who escorted Brenda and I with only one other person on a 2-hour tour. Unlike the Monaco and Newmar tours we went on in the Elkhart, IN area, here it was "hands-on" with explanations on how everything was put together and conversations with the workers themselves. We were both impressed with the attitude of the workers and the construction of the motorhomes. After the tour, Brenda decided to try the legend of Bob Tiffin's availability. We've heard the stories of his accessibility and personal commitment to his customers, so we walked into the corporate office where Brenda told the secretary that she was there "to take a picture with Bob Tiffin". The young lady said "sure, go right in" and a few moments later we were sitting with Mr. Tiffin and talking like we were old friends. A true gentlemen, he was very gracious and told us that if we ever had a problem to call him personally, even at home. While there are a lot of good motorhome manufacturers out there, we bought a Tiffin product because of Bob Tiffin's customer support. Here's the picture:
The next day we were off again, this time to Marksville, LA where we're staying at the Paragon Casino RV Resort. It's a great place to stay, very inexpensive and with great pull-through pads. We've enjoyed the restaurants at the casino, but the heavy cigarette smoke has kept us from winning our fortune at the slots. From here we'll leave on Sunday for Livingston, TX, the home of the Escapees Club for a short stay, then off to San Antonio.
By the way, for our friends in Ohio, there's no snow here and there are still leafs on the trees!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Brrrrrrr! Cold Temperatures!

Five more days to go before we depart Ohio and head south for warmer weather. Just our luck, we've entered into an unusually cold spell, with temperatures for the remainder of the week in the 20's and teens at night. While the motorhome remains comfortable to live in, it's a constant hassle to replenish the fresh water tank, drain the hoses after each use, and continually replace the propane. I did manage to reconnect the satellite internet system, which had moved due to high winds, so we're back on line for now. Our daughter, Kim, arrived today from Annapolis (she's a flight attendent for American Airlines) to attend our farewell dinner tomorrow, so we'll see how well a guest fits into the motorhome lifestyle. We're looking forward to seeing old friends from out of town tomorrow night and saying goodbye to many of the friends we've made here in Ohio.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's the day before Thanksgiving and we're still working on finishing our move into the motorhome. We've pretty much moved everything, either into the motorhome, into storage for our daughter to pick up later, or off to Goodwill or church. We still have to finish up cleaning out the townhouse, but for tomorrow at least we're taking a day off and enjoying the holiday with friends. Our challenge for the next few days is coping with the weather, with highs only in the 20s and lows in the teens. While we can stay comfortable in the motorhome, the task of keeping the outside fixtures from freezing and watching the propane usage can be time consuming. In addition, I have to drive 40 miles to pick up new toilet valve assembly as the dealer left the motorhome outside overnight during the last service visit and it froze. I wonder how many times you have to tell the service manager that a motorhome is not winterized before it sinks in? Oh well, only 16 days until we depart for warmer climes! We're both tired and are looking forward to the rest and warmth. We hope you all enjoy a safe holiday with family and friends!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Getting Ready for the Road

After 30 years of owning trailers, slide-ins, and fifth wheels, we've bought a motorhome and are now only 24 days from hitting the road and finally living our dream of full-time RVing. We've given our daughter all the household stuff that she wants, sold some, and given the rest to charity and friends. This weekend we get the motorhome back from a final tweaking by the dealer and we'll pack up and move in for good. My last day at work is the 9th of December and we plan on heading South on Sunday the 11th. Our first destination is Red Bay, Alabama to tour the factory where our Allegro Bay was put together, and then off to San Antonio to spend a few days enjoying the Christmas season on the Riverwalk. Finally, we hope to spend Christmas and New Years at Livingston, TX at the Escapees home site. After that?? Probably Southern Arizona until the spring, then we'll meander north as the weather warms. By April 15th, we'll need to be in Stevensville, Montana, where we've volunteered to spend the summer working for the National Fish and Wildlife Service at the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge. We'll try and keep this journal entertaining and current as we travel, visit out of the way places, and make new friends.