Saturday, April 28, 2012

Free at last, Free at last. . .

April 23-26, Red Bay, Alabama/ Memphis, Tennessee

Yay! All repairs on the Big EZ were completed by 1:00 p.m. on Friday. On my last blog entry, we were into week three at the Tiffin service area still waiting to have two major repairs done on the motorhome.  After a fair amount of pestering Billy in door #3, we learned on Tuesday afternoon that we were next up for the replacement of cap rails on both sides of the motorhome. With this news, we expected to get a phone call at the end of the work day on Tuesday telling us which service bay we needed to be in by 7 a.m. the next morning for the cap rail work.  No phone call came and 7 a.m. Wednesday morning came and went.  By now we were getting pretty anxious for something to happen and found ourselves trying to weigh the need to see Billy again vs. waiting patiently without complaining. At 8:30 a.m. we got the call to come to bay #28 for the cap rail work!  We could hardly believe we were in.
Finally in a bay for new cap rails

The cap rails were replaced by 2:30 that same afternoon, and because our roof is black, they did not require a second day of painting. With only two work days left in the week, we wanted to be sure our last repair, the replacement of our driver's side slide floor (the main reason we came here) was on track to happen the next day. Sure enough, we were now next in line for the slide floor.  Again, we expected to hear from someone about which bay to go to in the morning, but no news came.  This is when I went into obsessive Bay Watch mode--checking to see if they were all full and checking the progress on each slide replacement being done. The slide floor work is supposed to take about three hours, so they should be able to do two a day. Once lunchtime passed with no phone call, our hopes were for getting the work done on Thursday were dashed.  About 2:30, however, one of the beater cars drove up to our site with news that they ran out of time to get started on our slide, but wanted to measure the floor and have it made and ready to go for installation at 7 a.m. Friday morning!  Whoo--hoo. 
One of the famous beater cars

Things were definitely looking up. We could hardly sleep Thursday night with the anticipation of getting up before 6 a.m. to empty all the cabinets on the slide and have the motorhome at bay #9 before 7 a.m. for our final repair.
Slide removal

Slide in sling

Rotted wood in slide floor

No wood in this new slide floor

All went well and they completed this work before "dinner"--their lunch which is 11:20-12:00.  We still had a cabinet door that needed to be installed after lunch, then our list of repairs was declared complete.  The best part was the bill.  All the work was covered by the warranty--except the cabinet door which we were responsible for breaking. (Vic caught the knob on his cargo shorts.) The nineteen days of "camping" were also marked "No Charge" as we were still in our one year from purchase date window. So, like many others who ride away thrilled at the end of their Tiffin service experience, we elatedly pulled out of the dust bowl and made the three hour drive to Memphis, happy to have the wheels rollin' again.

One of our reasons for coming to Memphis was to see Graceland and eat some authentic Memphis ribs.  We chose to stay at a campground right next to Graceland, Memphis Graceland RV Park, and about fifteen minutes from historic Beale Street downtown.  For the reasonable daily rate of $36, this park is lovely and walking distance to Graceland.

After setting up the motorhome and showering off the last of the Tiffin parking lot dust, we headed to the most well-known BBQ joint in Memphis, Charles Vergos Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs. We both experienced culture shock walking down the streets of an urban city after almost three weeks in a dry county where you could only buy iceberg lettuce in the store. 

The old coal chute Charlie turned into a smoker.

 The rib place did not disappoint, nor did Beale Street.  We had no idea what a happening place this would be. I learned that in 1977, Beale Street was officially declared the home of the blues by an act of Congress!  The place is full of nightclubs including B.B. Kings--where legend has it he often shows up to jam--the Rum Boogie Cafe, and Silky O'Sullivans amidst several other neon-flashing attractions.
A glimpse of Beale Street--from internet photo

After learning more about this city of the mid-South, we are most likely going to extend our stay here as we find ourselves wanting to return to the clubs on Beale Street tonight after touring Graceland, to visit the National Civil Rights Museum, to see Ya-Ya and Le-Le the Giant Pandas at the Memphis Zoo, and maybe take in a riverboat ride on the Mississippi!  It's exhilarating to have such freedom to explore a new place, a place where, on a more sobering note, Martin Luther King gave his final speech: "I've Been to the Mountaintop."  Stay tuned as we tour this fascinating slice of Americana in Memphis. 

The Mississippi Delta was shining
Like a National guitar
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war

I'm going to Graceland
In Memphis Tennessee
I'm going to
Graceland. . . .

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