Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Learning to roll with "Tiffin Time"

April 13-17, Red Bay, Alabama

There is a phrase that many Tiffin owners who are Red Bay veterans use to describe the vortex of time one enters in the service area here: Tiffin Time. Particularly for those who come here with no appointment, the process for how work gets scheduled here is rather mysterious.  You enter with a service number that seems to have something to do with the process, but there are several iterations of service for each type of work you have done and each corresponding work bay that is in charge of this work. The paperwork keeps cycling through different people and, occassionally, doesn't make it back to the coordinator or to the next service area in line. There is a fine balance, then, between being vigilant about checking the status of your various work orders and of letting go and trusting all will be accomplished in Tiffin Time. 

Update on our status regarding repairs: we have had the whole list of small repairs addressed and now await two major repairs that are both recall items under warranty: 1) the replacement of the floor in the driver's side main slide and 2) replacement of the cap rails on both sides of our roof (due to small fissures that will eventually open up). The slide floor should happen before the end of this week and the cap rails will require two days that should happen next week. All said, our stay here will be nearly three weeks. This is one of those situations where it is better not to know how long you will be here ahead of time as the little ray of hope that you will be called in to the service bay sooner kind of keeps you going.
How does one make the most of this time here? That is a good question. We were looking forward to kayaking but the weather has either been too windy or rainy.  Sightseeing itself is rather limited, but we did manage to take in two good experiences last weekend. Going to the Rattlesnake Saloon on a Saturday night was a definite winner--a one-of-a-kind experience. We arrived about 6:30 into a big open field with signs for Seven Springs Lodge--a camping and cabin resort where people bring their own horses for trail rides at the base of the Appalachian Mts. The saloon opens to the public Thurs-Sun with live music nightly. Called a watering hole under a rock, the bar sits at the base of a huge rock overhang forming a natural cave-like amphitheater for outdoor seating.  It has been written up in Southern Living and several other magazines as a roadside wonder. We were forewarned to wear good shoes for hiking down to the cave or you can take the Rattlesnake Taxi, a somewhat harrowing drive straight down a winding gravel road in a Ford 250 diesel pickup.  Part of the fun is people watching as most of the crowd are local cowboys and cowgirls dressed in fancy boots, rhinestone belts, and western hats looking for a good time on a Saturday night. The country music got the crowd going and the line dancers, out in great numbers, often included lively retirees kicking up their heels along with the younger set.
The Rattlesnake Saloon "taxi"
Arriving at the cave
Seating area by stage and dance floor

This sign in the bar says it all. . . .

A reminder of what lives in caves or cool places in Alabama
On Sunday, we took a one-hour drive to Tupelo, Mississippi, childhood home of Elvis. Tupelo itself is not a very big city, about 38,000, so it we were able to give ourselves a tour of the town.  It was easy to imagine this place as it had been in the 30s when Elvis was born as many of the brick buildings downtown predated this time. I could also envision the famous 1956 Mississippi/Alabama state fair in Tupelo when Elvis, at the top of the charts with "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Don't Be Cruel,"  returned to his hometown to perform.  (He had won the talent show at this same fair at age ten when he sang "Old Shep.")

Elvis concert at the 1956 Mississippi-Alabama State Fair and Dairy Show--internet photo
The museum next to the Elvis house was actually under construction but we were able to do a walking tour around the grounds which included his birthplace home and the church he attended as a child (which was moved to the grounds).  The house itself was only two rooms with no running water or electricity.  The front room by the porch was a bedroom where Elvis was born at home with a midwife and where his twin brother (something I didn't know) was stillborn. We have not yet been to Graceland but I imagine the contrast is stunning.  It was apparent the whole town is a memorial to Elvis with colorful painted lifesize guitars adorning each block of the street.

The two-room house where Elvis was born

Assembly of God church where he learned he could sing
On the way back from Tupelo, we decided to take a somewhat longer route on the Natchez Trace.  I did not know about this scenic highway until I read about it on another blog (thanks, John) and so we were curious to check it out.  It is a 440 mile road that used to be a famous trail for Native Americans, early explorers, traders, and bandits. We were only on the Trace for about thirty miles, but it was fun to get a flavor of this colorful part of history. It was definitely more scenic than the route we had taken to get to Tupelo, especially the area by Pharr Mounds (an archeological site with 2000-year-old burial mounds)  and the Tenn Tom Waterway (Tennessee-Tombigbee Rivers).
Pharr Mounds, an ancient burial site (internet photo)
The Tenn Tom Waterway looks like a great place to kayak. We are hoping for sunny and less windy weather so we can get out on the water this week, something we have been anxious to do since we left Gulf Shores.  And just for the record, I miss the beach!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be shy. We would love to hear your comments!