Monday, May 18, 2015

Why Red Bay, AL?

Posted from Huntsville, AL   (Click on Pics to Enlarge)

Why indeed. 
Red Bay, AL is the home of Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc.  We had several reasons for dropping by our motorhome's "birthplace" on our way back east.  I am happy to say that we had NO service related things to take care of at the Tiffin Service Center.  We used to plan our trips to Red Bay to arrive during the off season, but I'm not too sure that there is any off season anymore.

Several new camping spots are opening around town to facilitate people who wish to come to Red Bay for service and warranty work at the Tiffin Service Center, aftermarket modifications,  or simply to visit the Tiffin Factory. We stayed for the first time at the Red Bay Downtown RV Park.  Only 10 spaces, but FHUs, and all of the rigs are parked on concrete from an old storage building.  Much cleaner than over at the Tiffin Service Center lot.

While here, we were happy to meet up with some old Tiffin friends Marty and Bob. We first met them several years ago at a Tiffin RV Network Rally.  We also met new friends Kathy and Wayne. It was a great time seeing old friends and getting to know new ones.

We've always had our coach's annual maintenance performed by Bay Diesel while in Red Bay.  I use them because they charge a fair price, do all of the work requested in a timely and professional manner, and most importantly, allow me to be inside the bay watching them work and asking any questions I might have.

Although we've toured the Tiffin factory every year when we make our annual pilgrimage, we still enjoy seeing the new rigs and the design changes.  Here's one of the first year Tiffin motorhomes on display.

I still enjoy watching the "line" moving along and the parts being assembled.

About a year ago we had an irresponsible person allow a shopping cart to strike the rear of our Honda Fit causing a pretty good sized dent.  By now, the paint was starting to peal.  I remembered that Custom Paint and Auto Body (owned by Bruce Deaton) came highly recommended by folks who had needed body and paint work on their motorhomes.  Since his shop was only a block away from the campground I decided to see what he could do.  He "squeezed" me in among motorhomes he was working on and completed the job in one day.  The price was good and his work was excellent.
"Before"                and                  "After"

Here's a shameless plug for Bruce Deaton should you need work done while in Red Bay.

For those familiar with Brannon Hutcheson's after market modifications and upgrades (especially on Tiffin coaches, but also on other brands), you already know about his shop in Vina, AL.

Brannon has added a new parts store to his business.  The store is located in a new, separate building beside his shop.  Although not officially opened yet, the store is well stocked and has a nice assortment of items from which to select.

Our trip wasn't about only motorhomes and service work, however.  Karen and I finally decided to visit the Red Bay Museum.

The museum is only open on Tuesday and Thursdays, but includes a nice assortment of memorabilia from the local area and from the folks who make Red Bay their homes.

Tammy Wynette was actually born in a small town in nearby Mississippi, but calls Red Bay home.  As such, a large portion of the museum's upstairs collection is devoted to her.

Another reason we came thru Red Bay was to meet up with friends Paul and Laura who purchased a 2014 Allegro Bus this past December and are at the Service Center for warranty work. We have "wintered over" in Casa Grande, AZ for the past two seasons together.  Finding diversions and new eating establishments is always important when you have to be in an area for a lengthy stay.  One afternoon we tried out a new ice cream place in town called Sno Biz. Will return again.

Another evening it was time to try out a pizza place in nearby Belmont, MS which neither of us had previously sampled.  It was called Hometown Pizza.

Here's the happy couples just before the arrival of our meals.  We were all in agreement that the pizza met our approval.  Notice the lovely wall decoration behind the table.

Of course, after pizza we had to locate an ice cream place.  A bit further into Belmont was a small roadside stand called Cardinal Shack.  No seating here, just walk up and order!  The ice cream was very good.

Paul and Laura we certainly enjoyed our time with you (and Riley, of course).  Here's hoping for a speedy departure from the Service Center for you and a speedy recovery for Riley.

Well, as much as we enjoyed meeting up with old friends and making new ones, it was time to move on down the road.  We left Red Bay on Monday and traveled a short distance to Huntsville, AL to visit a few of the sights here and for Karen to visit with a past co-worker.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!

Friday, May 8, 2015

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Visit

Posted from Forrest City, AR  (Click on Pics to Enlarge)

Since we were still enjoying free camping at the Lucky Star Casino near Concho, OK (see previous post for more info), we decided to drive into the heart of Oklahoma City and visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

The only regret we had was that we needed more time to explore the museum and all it had to offer.  We arrived shortly after opening at 10:00 AM and had to be “ushered along” when the museum was ready to close at 5:00 PM.

The entrance lobby features a version of the statue created by James Earl Fraser entitled “End of the Trail”.  Much of the museum is dedicated to paintings, photographs, and various works of sculpture.  I will be the first to admit that I am not usually a fan of touring “art galleries”, but the manner in which the artwork was presented and the accompanying narrative near each piece held even my attention.  Actually, I really enjoyed it.

Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in much of the art gallery areas.  The link to the museum at the beginning of this post has photographs of many works on display, however.

One part of the museum is called Prosperity Junction.  It is an area which attempts to re-create (and does a very nice job, btw) a western cattle town circa 1900 just at dusk.
The “town” has a hotel, church, bank, school, marshall’s office, among several other buildings.  Once inside the buildings, artifacts of the era are on display.  Here I am taking a look at the Marshall’s Office of the time period.

Of course near every Marshall’s Office was the town jail or cellblock.  Karen was able to escape after her short time in jail.

Due to typically excessive costs, we usually avoid eating lunch in museums, but this one was an exception.  Not only was the price very fair, but they even had a lunchtime buffet which allowed us to make our own selections.  Very tasty.  Recommended!  
Many of the museum’s exhibits stretched outdoors, as well. Several garden areas contained water features along with sculptures and other pretty landscaping features.
The Western States Plaza area contains flags of all of the “western” states, a large area for events, and a large-scale version of Remington’s “Coming Through the Rye”.
As time was really moving along for us, we made an all too hasty visit to several halls.  One entire area was devoted to the role of the military in the west.  Many, many artifacts here.  For fans of military weaponry, uniforms, and other history of this era, one could spend an hour or so in here alone.
Of course, the role of the cowboy in the west and the evolution of the rodeo are displayed in depth.  The rodeo champions thru the years, along with many of their trophies and memorabilia, are presented extremely well.

The last section of the museum which I really wanted more time in was dedicated to the role of the film industry in the western culture.  This area was called the Western Performers Gallery.  A short film on the evolution of the film industry as it dealt with the West was very interesting beginning in the day of silent films and continuing to recent day.

There are “tribute” areas to several of the main actors throughout the years, and of course, John Wayne was well represented.

I have many other photos of our visit to the museum in my Google+ album.  Please take a look.

We enjoy museums and this one truly contained a great collection of, and display of, all items West. Certainly worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

Thanks for stopping by to take a look!