Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Two final campgrounds

14, 15 Aug 2018

After a very busy day, we planned to stay at the Deerlick ACOE park just east of Tuscaloosa, AL.  On the map it did not seem like much of a problem to get there.  First, we had to navigate thru the rush hour traffic of the city and then we headed into the hills to reach the campground. The expression “in the middle of nowhere” is exactly where this park was located.  When we finally arrived at the park, we stopped at the check-in station which said open and all the lights were on.  Anneke walked up to the station but no attendant.  We waited awhile, and no one showed up.  We called the number and they said please be patient, we are doing our rounds. After a while, we decided to drive in and check it out.   Just as we got ready to leave, a golf cart showed up. A young woman jumped out and told us to go find a spot.  We did so, and Anneke went back to the office to check in.  I sat in the coach for about 30 minutes and decided to see what was going on.  It turned out that the couple were grad students nearby and were volunteering at the park for a free place to live.  These grad students could not make the computer work and seemed almost completely helpless.  They could not find our site we picked out. When my bride questioned what they were doing and why they were not manning the station during the open hours, they were very defensive and said they were volunteers and did not feel like they needed to be there all the time.  So, it seemed that not only could they not handle a computer that the normal old folks’ volunteers managed but they were insulted that we expected them to do the job. The new era of millenniums.

It took over an hour before we could settle into our spot and enjoy our "happy" hour very late.  The spot was good and quiet. 

We wanted to stop one more night before going home and found a campground along I-65. It was at the Sherling Lake Park in Greenville, AL.  It has an RV park and large recreation areas. If you drive down to the lake you can see an amazing golf course, which somehow, we failed to take any pictures of. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Tiffin Motorhomes

13 August 2018

We have wanted to tour the Tiffin Motorhome factory for awhile and now we were passing close to Red Bay, AL, where they are located.  We saw that they give a guided tour in the mornings, but we were not going to get there until mid to late afternoon and were unsure if we would be able to see the plant.  As we drove into town, we knew we were in the right place as there were mini RV parking lots everywhere in town with lots of Tiffin motorhomes waiting their turn for service.

I have read on blogs about the change in service policy at Tiffin. Apparently, a few years ago, they changed their policy to allow only coaches within the one-year warranty period to make a service appointment.  The rest have to arrive and take a number and wait until they are called.  It was amazing and a bit disconcerting to see so many coaches waiting for service.

After floundering around for a bit, we found the entrance to the plant after 2pm.  We told the guard we would like to have tour.  He showed us where to park and directed us to a small reception office.  We asked about a tour and the gentleman said no problem.  To our surprise, we were free to tour all of the plant on our own and take pictures.  He pointed out a few buildings we were not allowed in due to safety issues like the welding shop. He gave us some badges, safety glasses and a map and out the door we went.  We had a time limit due to the late hour we arrived but had enough time see most everything.  The very high temperature was the real limiting factor for deciding when we were done.

Having done several other motorhome factory tours, I would say this one had the same level of organized chaos to the observer.  We watched the process from assembling the frames to the inspection section and water testing of the coaches. They also had an area of just completed and checked coaches that we could walk thru.  We did a few, but the heat finally drove us back to the office to return our badges and head out.  When it is time for our next coach we will certainly include Tiffin in the process.  

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Helen Keller birthplace

13 Aug 2018

As we continued south in Alabama, we saw several signs advertising the home of Helen Keller.  We did not have this on our agenda and at first, we were going to keep moving. As we traveled thru Tuscumbia, Al, there was a sign indicating a right turn to Helen Keller’s home.  We turned and found the home on a quiet side street in a very pleasant setting.  It was a good decision.  We enjoyed a personal tour of the home with a history of the artifacts of her life and family.

In her early years, Helen’s grandparents lived in the main house, Ivy Green. Her parents and Helen lived in the cottage a few feet away.

Helen Keller was born in 1880 and was a bright and healthy girl until she fell ill when she was two years of age and became both deaf and blind.  She became a wild child with many tales of her antics. After searching for ways to help their child, the parents eventually hired Ann Sullivan as her teacher.  The now famous breakthrough in Helen’s understanding of her world occurred in 1887 when she understood the motions that her teacher was making in Helen’s palm was the word for water she felt running into her hand from the hand pump.  After this realization, she made rapid progress.  She would go on to become a world-famous author, lecturer and activist.

Sullivan would remain with her for 49 years. 

Hers is truly a story of amazing courage in overcoming her handicaps and rising to international fame.  It all started at Ivy Green homestead, where she was born.