Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Environs of Red Bay, AL.

SO – many people have asked us:  “Where is Red Bay, AL?  How big is it?  Why are you there?  What do you do there?  Where do you stay while you are there?  Why are you there sooooooo long?  Why don’t you just leave the Bus, go somewhere else and go back and pick it up when it is done?  Etc., etc. etc.

Well – here is Red Bay (RB).  The town is located in the northwest corner of Alabama about 3 hours from Memphis and Nashville (mid-way between the two and a little south) and also about 2 hours from Tupelo and Birmingham.  It has a population of just over 2,000 and Tiffin, also known as Allegro, (our coach manufacturer and why we are here) employs approximately 1,800.  Therefore, Tiffin IS RB!!  You will figure this out from the time you enter the town as all signs in town point to the Tiffin/Allegro plant or campground.
The Tiffin Manufacturing Plant is a large part of Red Bay, AL.

A large number of the street signs refer to Tiffin.

For those who know Park City (or came to visit us there) – the population of RB is approximately ¼ of that of PC.  Therefore it makes sense that the Main Street of RB is about ¼ the size of Main Street in PC.  

Main Street is pretty busy on this Founder's Day.
However, the businesses are not quite the same as PC.  RB is more along the lines of thrift, consignment and the good old NAPA and True Value stores.  There are three Dollar Stores (one a Super Dollar Store), two grocery stores, two regular restaurants (not fast food) and a smattering of other businesses not related to Tiffin.  The best is right across the street from the campground!!  It is a detailer for cars and RV’s – but, has added a salon, barber shop, nail shop, subway and bagel shop, rental car office, DEF supplier and 5 RV parking spots with full hook-ups;-)  When you check on an appointment to have your coach detailed they will say they can feed you and cut your hair and do your nails while you wait;-)  Truly – FULL SERVICE!!

This guy offers it all.

A frequent lunch spot for us.

The routine here (which will be detailed in the next report) does NOT allow one to really set-up as the coach has to move daily from the assigned parking spot to the assigned bay for work back to the parking spot for the night so one can sleep in it.  Explaining this to a few people – they have asked why we don’t just move out of the Bus, leaving it for them to work on, and stay in a hotel??  There is only one hotel in town (which is adjacent to the campground) –

The only inn in town,
Think we will stick with Magic;-)

Not everything is old - there is a new Micky D's in town -

A new addition since we were here a few years ago.
Since the town is so small – there is not a lot to do here other than ‘oversee’ the coach repairs/modifications and track down answers or solutions to the more difficult problems.  Therefore, during the week while they are working on the coach it is best to be around to answer questions and keep progress moving!!  But, when one has down time (especially the week ends), here are options: 

As noted in the prior post, Florence is about 1 hour away and is home to 2 of the Robert Trent Jones Trail golf courses;

During the week when one can steel away, there is a plant tour where you can watch a Magic being built - from the raw steel beams assembled for the chassis to the windshield being put in place.  All VERY up close and personal;

Just the beginnings of a coach chassis.

Drive train and lots of wiring added, and this is just for the chassis.  See how close we get?!?!?

Attaching some of the siding and slides.

There is also a tour of the paint facility, which we hope to get to this week (our chance to watch paint dry!!); A drive to the Ole’ Miss campus (next post); the local golf course; various towns around for a ‘dining experience’ – 

View from our dinner spot about 20 miles from Red Bay.  They also had the nearest WalMart.

All in all – RB is not a metropolis.  We drive 30 minutes to a WalMart and dinner – an hour to a Starbucks – and maybe 2 hours (one way) for a day’s excursion.  But, like any experience – it is what you make it.  And like most of our trips – we just try to find things to do even if it is the little local museum or a two hour day trip;-)

Oh yes - we are multiplying and Magic is finding lots of cousins - 

Magic found a twin.

Next post will be “The Dance of the Coaches”!!  Don’t miss it – E & G

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