Saturday, September 13, 2008


Day 17 at Red Bay, AL.... Time is getting close to the date we have agreed to return to Green Cove Springs, FL, so RV and I are going to have to go in different directions for a few days. We just can't leave now - we are so at the end of our service issues as well as the improvements we have made to the coach. We thought it would be finished by now, but things like getting to the paint shop on Monday, completing the install of our SeeLevel gauges, completing installation of a new cabinet in the bedroom, etc. We finally got the convection/microwave vent to the outside of the coach and about 4 slide out cabinets in the galley (kitchen), and new custom matching cherry louvered ceiling fan covers on the inside. Sweet, as Kenneth, our grandson, would say! Anyway, I am leaving early Sunday morning to drive over to Atlanta (Marietta) and spend the afternoon and evening with Chris and Lauren (her 27th birthday) - Monday morning I will continue on to North FL to be with Kristen and Harold for his impending surgery, and look foward to being with our 4 beautiful grandchildren. Unfortunately, RV will be on his own in Red Bay, but we made sure he had plenty from Piggly Wiggly.

We have met many new friends and we just can't put a dollar value on all we've learned. We even met a couple who have been "fulltiming" for over 29 years. They have a 43' '09 Allegro Bus, and spend their winters in Palm Springs, CA. There are stories after stories, of fulltimers, wannabees (what we were in 07 and before, and many part-timers). RVer's are usually a friendly bunch and will share their expertise if only you take the time to introduce yourself and talk to them. No one seems to care how much your rig costs, or what you did in your past life. We met Ronny and Marianne DiGiglia's, who had just purchased a beautiful Phaeton on Ebay, had picked it up on the Indiana/Michigan border and drove through Chicago, and were taking the long way back home through Branson, Red Bay, etc., to their home in Punta Gorda, FL. We just love these stories and their wonderful positive attitudes. Marianne DeGiglia was my geocaching partner for several treasure finds this week. Mike and Sue Rees owned a large 1000- head Hereford cattle ranch in CA. After they sold and started fulltiming, are accompanied by their last of 5 cattle dogs, C.C. (cow catcher). Mike did not part with the hats and cowboy boots.

Red Bay produces some unbelievable craftsmen you may contract with to do work on your coach. We all share our coach experiences, costs for add-ons, and then you decide what you can't live without until next year. It not only updates your coach, but usually makes things more efficient for traveling. When we return for our appointment next year, we'll know who to talk to and what we want them to do. Their expertise involves everything from electronics to custom woodwork.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


We are one mile from the Mississippi State line, if I haven't mentioned it before. Considering we are in the northwest part of Alabama, we wanted to take a day to visit the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, nestled between the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and bordered by 69,000 acre Lake Guntersville. Over 40,000 square feet of very organized, lost and unclaimed airline passenger property - offered at a fraction of the original cost. Designer fashions, fine jewelry, name brand luggage, digital cameras, sporting goods and much more. It was a very interesting day - and while we saw many beautiful items - we didn't see anything we couldn't live without. We went through downtown Scottsboro, and as usual the center of town where there is a town square was lovely. We took a more scenic way home around Lake Guntersville and were completely taken back by the beauty of this part of the state. We'll definitely come back here one day.

A place that seemed to catch our eye on the map as we were going back to Red Bay, was the Ave Maria Grotto, St. Bernard Abbey, Cullman, Alabama. We decided we'd try to locate the Grotto - if our GPS could get us there. This is the only Benedictine monastery of men in the State of Alabama, founded in 1891. The Grotto consists of a landscaped hillside of 125 stone and cement structures, the handiwork of the creative genius of Brother Joseph Zoetl, O.S.B., a monk of the Abbey for almost 70 years. We were very pleasantly surprised at the beauty of the grounds as well as the monastery, the school, the chapel and the cemetery.

Back in Red Bay: You meet so many interesting, and many times, colorful people while you are waiting to get in the service bays. They are too numerous to mention. But sometimes, you see and meet someone that really stands out. Like our new friends, Stumpy and Twiggy from Minnesota. They are in Red Bay to have their '01 Allegro Bus repainted. The decision to repaint was easy: either buy a new bus, or spend $7500 to have it repainted. Stumpy and Twiggy are on their way back to Minnesota to get their stump grinder and then be on their way to the South. I took the pictures for a few of our friends in the same business, but I wanted to share them with you.