Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Home Again

At home near Fort Worth, Texas...

Our stay in Red Bay was amazingly brief, by Tiffin standards. After having arrived on Friday, we got the call early Monday morning to drive over to bay 32. This was an express bay, and we were allowed three techs for three hours, deemed by Tiffin's ubiquitous service writer Norris to be adequate for our short squawk list. The main necessity, of course, was the replacement of the living room window that the thieves had broken when we were in Pigeon Forge. The techs made short work of that, then moved on to the driver's side cockpit window, which was not draining rain water properly through the weep holes at the low point in the track of the sliding window. The tech who was cleaning out the weep holes accidentally cracked the glass, which resulted in Tiffin's replacing the entire window at no cost to us. Thanks, Bob Tiffin, for doing the right thing. The whole window assembly in this photo was the one Tiffin replaced on their dime:

After a few other issues were addressed by the techs and the bill had been paid, we backed Phannie out of the bay and returned to our campground spot for one more night before starting out for home. The next morning, we launched for Little Rock by way of Memphis, some 340 miles. That's a bit more than we like to travel in one day, but we were ready to get back home and take care of some personal business before going in for some routine medical and dental appointments. The older we get, the more of those we seem to have, don't we?

We decided to overnight at the COE park in Maumelle, just outside Little Rock; we had heard some good things about this park but had not stayed there, and we wanted to check it out. Arriving late in the afternoon, we found a nice spot right on the bank of the Arkansas River. Here is our view from Phannie's door:

Wow, what's not to like about this? Like most COE parks, this one is very nice with wide spaces, large concrete pads and paved roads throughout. No sewer, wi-fi or cable, of course, and the park is heavily treed, so we didn't even try to deploy the Direct TV dish on Phannie's roof. Here's another view from our location, looking out on the interior of the park:

We hated to leave this bucolic setting, but Texas was beckoning. We didn't exactly hurry in leaving, however; it was about noon when we finally pulled away from our picturesque parking spot. Another 340-mile leg lay in front of us, and Phannie finally pulled into her familiar home berth in Fort Worth well after dark. 

She seemed to sigh in relief after a very busy summer and fall and many thousands of miles from Utah in the west to North Carolina in the east. And what a reliable old girl she has been, especially considering the challenging driving out west in the Rocky Mountains.

I still get excited at every day's departure when all of Phannie's utilities are disconnected, the slides are in and the big diesel comes to life at the rear of the coach. The engine sound at its 700 RPM idle is almost inaudible in the cockpit some 40 feet away--it is more of a slight rumble that is more sensed than heard. As the coach accelerates through the six gears, the engine speaks louder, of course, until cruise speed is reached. Once in sixth gear, the engine noise once again is suppressed at a normal cruise RPM of around 1700. All you really hear then is a bit of road and wind noise. I also like the billowy ride of the air suspension and the comfortable captain's chairs that allow you to recline, if you like, (not the driver, of course; I've tried it, and it doesn't work too well) as if you are in a theater, watching the scenery go by through the huge Imax-like windshield. Add to that some treats served by the stewardess (Sandy is a good one), and the lavatory on the go, and it's a lot like being in one of the airliners I used to fly. I'm offering this little aside for the benefit of readers who may be trying to decide between a motorhome and a towable RV. We loved our fifth wheel, but we've found the motor home even more to our liking. Much more, in fact.
Home again!

I couldn't be more pleased that Phannie seems more like a member of the family all the time. Rest well, old friend, until the next adventure.


  1. Always feels good to return to home base after a wonderful journey. We discovered that we are fifth wheel people rather than motorhome folks. Good thing they make both.

  2. We also like to stop at ACOE campgrounds. The Feds know how to spend money:) Always nice to come home!

  3. Welcome home Mike and Sandy! Well, your last expedition was certainly eventful. I was encouraged by your ability to keep a positive and joyful attitude despite the negative experience in TN.

    We have found criminal activity to be a very rare occurrence during our 8+ years on the road and, in fact, decided to become full time travelers as a result of a very bad burglary in our stick home not long before retirement. Although you should take some precautions, I doubt that you will ever have a repeat of that experience.

    Mike...I have found that WD My Passport Ultra 1TB and 2TB external drives to be excellent devices for external back up and storage for our computers. They are very small and can be kept out of sight after periodic backups of our two laptops and one desktop computer. Although they can be found on sale in brick establishments occasionally, prices for these drives are reasonable on Amazon.

    We look forward to reading about your next travels...and those outstanding eating house reviews. Guy Fieri has nothing on you Mike!


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