Wednesday, April 21, 2010

TRVN RALLY - Gulf Shores, AL

We were excited about going to the Tiffin RV Network (TRVN) Rally in Gulf Shores, AL. We had never been to this area so there were lots of new sights - lots of new people - and still a lot to learn about our coach. Our last TRVN Rally was in Tellico Plains, TN, in October 2009, and was attended by less than 50 coaches, so this was going to be large in comparison - 100 coaches. We are probably in the minority as fulltimers in our coach. A lot of the attendees still work, or they continue to own homes, and many are on the way to be as free as we are, and are disposing of their "stuff" and hope to be fulltiming shortly.

RV and I still learn something new regarding our coach most every day. Some things I don't EVEN want to know - like the black tank is RV's specialty. I'm the co-pilot, second officer, the right seat, etc. I'm not that familiar with leveling jacks, slides or air bags - or where the breaker box is located that houses a 300 amp fuse. Not to be confused with "just another pretty face", I do our online banking, meal planning and preparation, blog writing, trip planning, and inside cleaning, and whatever else is needed. We are into our 3rd year of fulltiming and in case you're wondering, we love our lifestyle more and more every day. We've learned to live in a small space and to rely upon each other during those stressful times. Oftentimes our sense of humor has helped us when things have been less than perfect, or our day hasn't gone exactly as planned. Every day is a new experience, but we feel blessed to be able to see our beautiful country and sleep in "our" own home and "our" own bed every night.

Being in the TRVN has given us an opportunity to meet and communicate with literally thousands of Tiffin owners. This is helpful when you are away months at a time. The TRVN has over 4000 members who communicate at www.TiffinRVNetwork.com, an internet forum for Tiffin owners. At least once or twice a day, we check in on the Forum to see if we can help or offer our assistance, or learn something from a new posting.

About 100 coaches arrived at our rally destination, Island Retreat RV Park, in Gulf Shores from 4/13 to 4/18. We are staying several days past the Rally to visit the area and become familiar with this beautiful part of the Gulf Coast -both Alabama and Florida.
We have been surprised at the damage that was done to this area of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Ivan, in September 2004 - it was so devastating that most of the houses and businesses look brand new as you ride through the coastal towns. Hurricane Ivan was the 9th most intense hurricane ever recorded, with 115 mph winds, and a 10-13' storm surge. Afterwards must have been a long, long nightmare for the residents as we saw what must have been a boom in new construction and repair. There are hundreds of homes on the market, For Rent, or For Sale. Wherever you look are refurbished buildings and new infrastructure in the State Parks as well as the Gulf Islands National Seashore. We have lots of questions, but maybe this area comes alive in a few months, during the summer/winter, like so many coastal areas. But for now, the area seems to be sparsely occupied.
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