Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Shades of Glory

A couple of posts ago, I vented my frustration with the window shades in Phannie, and I really don't think I wish to revisit that rant except to include a few photos that precipitated our visit to McKinney last week and the acquisition of new custom shades:

We had made an appointment with MCD Innovations after reading about other RVers' experiences with this firm.  Upon our initial telephone inquiry, they gave us an overview of the installation process, and we settled on an appointment that would be available in about a month.  (Apparently, they have plenty of RV business.)  They also mailed us a packet of information about the product and the installation and pricing plans, along with some samples from which we could choose shade textures and colors.

The normal installation scheme involves showing up at MCD's headquarters on a Monday morning with your RV, being prepared to leave it there until 5:00 p.m. the following Friday.  They can easily accommodate fulltimers, as they have 50-amp electric hookups serving about 20 spaces in a large concrete parking lot alongside their factory.  (There is no water or sewer, though; you would need to show up with a full water tank and empty black and grey tanks.)  Although McKinney is only about an hour's drive from our house in  the D/FW mid-cities area, we elected to drive up on Sunday and spend the night in Phannie, to avoid the Monday morning demolition derby that is rush hour in the D/FW Metroplex.  

MCD Offices in McKinney

We arrived late Sunday afternoon and, although MCD's headquarters facility was clearly closed, we were soon met by a friendly gent named Mac, I think, who directed us as we backed into our preassigned spot #11 among perhaps ten other RVs.  Mac lives in a motor home near the entrance to the parking area and apparently serves as a greeter and host.  From his vantage point, he can easily see the flow of RVs into and out of the parking area.

RV Parking Area at MCD

All settled in for the night...
After getting settled, we went to Shogun, a Japanese hibachi restaurant for a nice dinner, then came back to Phannie, where we watched a movie and turned in for the night.  

On Monday morning, the order taker, a pleasant young lady, made her way to every coach to finalize the orders and receive the initial payment, which was for the materials ordered.  The installation fee would be paid on Friday, as it is calculated by the hour and based on the amount of time required for the work involved.  We already had our fabric selections picked out (the really attractive ones are more expensive--imagine that!), so it was only a matter of deciding which windows were to be done.  Because of the large number of orders that day, we were among the last to place our order, so we had some time to kill well beyond the 8:30 a.m.  time that we were told to expect the order-taker's visit.    

After our order was taken, a young man showed up to do the measurements, which took only a few minutes. Then he disappeared into the factory, and soon the order-taker reappeared with an invoice, which we paid by credit card.  She said we would pay for the installation on Friday, at which time the installation charges would be known.  We told her that we were planning to pick up our coach on Saturday, so she said we could do the credit card transaction over the phone on Friday.  We left the keys with her and hopped in Mae for the drive home, but not before stopping for lunch at Baker's Drive-In, a legendary local burger joint.

Upon our return the following Saturday, there were only a few RVs in the parking area, and no one appeared to meet us.  We picked up Phannie's keys from the agreed-upon hiding spot and went inside to inspect the new shades.  We were not disappointed; these are the American Duo models with two rollers, one for the day shade and one for the night shade.  The shades operate much like the old-timey roller window shades in that you pull them down to the desired level, then pull again and the springs in the rollers roll them up.  However, these are much improved in that when you pull down on the shade to retract it, you can release it and it will gently rise to the fully retracted position.  Pretty neat!  A motorized, remote-control version is also available, but Sandy and I thought we would probably not wear ourselves out by raising and lowering the shades manually.  

Comparison Night Shade (Left) and Day Shade (Right)
So, everything went just about as planned, and we're very pleased.  The cost?  Well, they are priced according to window sizes, and we had large, medium and small windows to cover which, I suppose, would be the case with most rigs.  For these particular day/night shades (with an upscale fabric choice), you can figure an average of slightly less than $300 per window, including the removal of the old shades and installation of the new ones.  

And the end of my frustration with Phannie's old window shades?  Priceless!


  1. nice job!..those MCD blinds are just lovely!!..congrats on your purchase, I am sure you are very glad to be rid of those other day/night shades!!

  2. Great job! What an improvement. We are looking to install these in the future.

  3. The more you use your new shades the more you will love them. One of the best investments we ever made.

  4. They sure look good. I have one window of the old style that needs to be restrung and I am dreading it:(

  5. Very, very nice!
    Just curious, did you have your windshield done also?
    Those windshield drapes make me nuts, but they do serve their purpose.

  6. Really nice looking - the before and after pictures tell the story.

  7. Looks like Phannie got exactly what she wanted for Christmas!!!

    Those lovely shades are definitely on our "to do" list the next time we pass your way!


  8. Now your Phannie's windows look just like our Phae's windows ... you'll be happy with them. The day shade makes a nice visor on the front windshield when you're driving into the sun ... just don't drop them all the way :-))))

  9. Hi, Gail and Rick! We didn't do the windshield shade; Phannie already had motorized dropdown day shades for the windshield, so we didn't think we needed it.

  10. I think this is the huge problem with low quality shades because they can stuck anytime and make you embarrassed in front of everyone.

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  11. Fantastic! Gotta put those on my wish list!

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