- I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Side Trip to Red Bay, Alabama. May 17-18
Red Bay is a small town and you would think for it being such a small town Tiffin customer service area would be easy to find. It took us several sweeps through town and unhooking the car before we found our destination. There are signs but they focus on travelers coming from the North and we were coming from the south. Tiffin Motors has a parking area at the customer service repair center with full hook ups available to Tiffin owners who need warranty or repair work done. Its called the Allegro Campground. It is also open to SOBs (some other brand) motor homes passing through the area and want to tour the factory. Basically it's a large paved parking area, but it's free. There must be at least 50 spaces if not more and most were occupied waiting to get into the service center. The place was jumping when we got there and we were told we could stay two nights if needed because they weren't very busy yet.
I found the folks at Tiffin to be extremely accommodating and friendly even though we were SOBs. The Tiffin owners we talked to were really happy with their coaches and service. No, Joel is not thinking of replacing the Big House. I, on the other hand, at a different time, had contemplated replacing my Class C Born Free with a small Class A and Tiffin makes a 28 and 32 foot Class A diesel pusher. I was curious about how the motor homes were put together.
Our tour began at 9:30 with a short introductory movie and then on to the different departments. We were giving head phones and the guide had a mic so we could hear what he was saying. I thought this was really clever. Without the head phone I don't think I would have been able to hear him very well.
Our first stop was where they make all of the cabinets on site. The cabinets are made start to finish from raw wood to the finished product. It is a very large operation.
A lot of wood goes into cabinet making. Cherry and alder are used.
Everything is done by hand at the plant. I noted the workers were not wearing masks. Apparently it is an option and not required. I did note most employees were wearing some kind of ear protection. It was pretty noisy.
Cabinet boxes getting readied for faces.
This is a "virgin" chassis. It is driven into the plant where the rails, out rigging, framing, engine, and wiring are installed.
The rear engine diesel motor is dropped in.
This is the finished chassis
These are floor and wall insulation panels.
They are glued to frame work which is attached to the chassis
Once the floor is installed then the finish work begins. All of the cabinetry is installed over the finished floor.
This look like a full galley slide.
Ever wonder what those round saucer like things are on top of the motor homes? There are a new type of antennae being used instead of the old bat wing type. There was a whole box waiting to be installed.
Afterwords we were free to roam the plant and finished and unfinished motor homes ranging from the smaller Allegro Breeze to the larger top of the line Zephyr. I was amazed we could wander at will and no one seemed to care. The motor homes leave the site in Red Bay and are driven a few short miles to Belmont where full body paint is applied and then they are brought back to Red Bay for a final inspection.
Joel discovered at the customer service repair center there is a whole warehouse of spare parts, used and new, not meeting specifications that can be purchased or some can be picked up free. Needless to say, Joel came back with a few parts for future projects.
We left Red Bay Thursday morning and headed back over to the Natchez Trace Parkway. Our next stop will be at the Thousand Trails Campground for a few days. We plan to use this as a base to explore the rest of the Trace before heading to Cedar Hills, Tennessee, where my son Jason and his wife Rhonda live.