Friday, September 16, 2011


We left Lake Guntersville, AL, after spending 10 days at Blue Heron RV Resort, and look forward to the next part of our trip which should be a couple of days in Florence, AL, before a scheduled service appointment  at Tiffin's service center in Red Bay, AL.  Wouldn't you know the Tennessee River has started to flood in Florence, and McFarland Park had been evacuated since we called for reservations the day before?!  

After driving all the way to Florence, AL, we continued to the Tiffin Service Center in Red Bay, AL, arriving on Wednesday, September 7.  As dusty, crowded and busy as the Allegro Campground is we were glad to be assigned to a site and get semi-settled in, when we began to see several old friends waiting for their appointments in the service facility as well.  Having friends and making new friends while you are here usually makes the days go by so much faster.  We share impromptu  dinners, go out to dinner, discuss where we've been, where we're going, and what is going on with our coaches, etc. 

We arrived for our 7:00 a.m. appointment in service bay 48, as directed, and were informed our short list of issues was extended to 2 very large service issues we would have never noticed.  We had to leave our coach/home for one night and Tiffin sent us to a charming country cabin close by called Sleepy Hollow, where we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves after all this stress!  We were the first couple to stay in the cabin, and we look forward to returning sometime when we're back in the area.   After we returned to the service bay the next day and told everyone how comfortable the cabin was there will definitely be a waiting list of Tiffin Motorhome owners who opt to stay here while their coaches are in surgery.

It was necessary to replace the driver's side slide floor as well as replace the wet bay floor, all warranty issues that required many hours of labor.  While in Red Bay we usually spend some time with our favorite custom woodworker as well as an off-site electronic guru who have transformed our coach/home into the consummate MAN CAVE for this year's football season.  New sound HDMI receiver and switch for the outside entertainment center.  "Are you ready for some football"? as they say.  

The area south of Russellville, AL was devastated by a very rare EF-5 tornado (the deadliest tornado in the U. S. in 56 years) on April 27, 2011, the same day the tornadoes hit the Cullman, Tuscumbia, Arab, and Lake Guntersville areas.  The town of Hackleburg, AL, doesn't even exist anymore, and most of Phil Campbell, AL, is gone as well.  The people of this rural area  have lost everything.  The numbers of people who died in these combined tornadoes is astounding...The latest count we heard was 337!   We can't imagine the livestock, pets and economic devastation that has taken place. In talking to local people we were told they had to immediately sell the livestock that survived the storm due to the severity of all the injuries. Trees could not even be processed for lumber because the wood had been so twisted in the tornadoes. There are many people still reportedly living under tarps.  If any readers are interested in sending anything to these areas, we can provide a name and address of an individual who will coordinate any donations (in the Phil Campbell or Hackleburg areas). 

We're almost ready to pay our bill to the Tiffin Service Center as well as the Allegro Campground and be "on the road again".  We'll be taking our time to get to our next destination, but it's the beginning of oyster season and we're going to head for Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, FL,  for the next couple of weeks.  Safe travels to all of you.  We hope to hear from you soon.   Happy Fall, y'all!  

Sunday, September 4, 2011


On August 11, 2011, we left  Florida Grande Motor Coach Resort (FGMCR)  in Webster, FL, and spent several enjoyable days in Green Cove Springs, FL with family before traveling to the Atlanta area and staying 10 days in Flowery Branch, GA at one of our favorite Army Corps Of Engineer Campgrounds, Old Federal.  We definitely had cause to celebrate when it was announced the  NFL football strike had been resolved.  Our daughter, Lauren, and son-in-law, Chris, were equally as happy since he is employed by the Atlanta Falcons.

We stopped for the next eleven days at beautiful post-card scenic Lake Guntersville, in Marshall County, AL.  We spent some time visiting Lake Guntersville State Park, a 6,000 acre jewel in Alabama, and it was here we realized the severity of the damage caused by tornadoes in April, 2011.  Although their beautiful lodge is open, the campground remains closed for repairs after the tornadoes. 

Several facts about Marshall County you may not know are:
  • The largest concentration of American Bald Eagles in Alabama are here.
  • Lake Guntersville is the largest of the four reservoirs in North AL created when the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) built dams along the Tennessee River in the 1930s.
  • Lake Guntersville has a maximum width of 2.5 miles, 962 miles of shoreline with 69,100 acres of water.
Catfish dinner?!  At the suggestion of several knowledgeable friends, we tried Top O' The River Restaurant, in Lake Guntersville.  The appetizer was also a treat....greens, cornbread (prepared in an iron skillet), and pickled onions.  But the catfish may have been the best ever anywhere!  This restaurant is rated #1 by Trip Advisor of restaurants in Lake Guntersville.

We enjoyed a day trip to Huntsville, AL, and since we had already visited the Space Camp and Rocket Center, we spent a good part of our visit touring Twickenham, a beautiful completely renovated neighborhood full of historical significance and close to downtown Huntsville.  Did you know Huntsville was the home of Talullah Bankhead?!

Alabama boasts a "Halleleujah Trail" (which is a driving tour of 32 historic churches).  Each church is at least 100 years old, on its original site, and is still holding services today.  There are two churches in Huntsville that meet this criteria:  the exquisite Episcopal Church Of The Nativity and the Temple B'Nai Shalom (the only congregation affiliated with the Reform Jewish Movement in Northern Alabama.

On April 27, 2011, you may have read about the day of the tornadoes in Cullman, AL as well as many other cities like Tuscaloosa, Arab and Lake Guntersville.  We spent an afternoon in Cullman, and the damage was so extensive you still see it wherever you drive.  There are parts of the country where there's nothing but debris - and not just in Cullman.  These communities lived through a nightmare.

By accident we found a fantastic little restaurant, Rumors Deli, which may have made the best muffelata sandwich we've ever had!  They are featured in "Southern Living .. Off The Eaten Path" "Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes that Made Them Famous".  It isn't that far to Cullman - maybe we can get back there before we leave! 

We're on our way to a Labor Day Fish Fry on the shores of Lake Guntersville in Civitan Park. This is the 41st year that St. Catherine's Catholic Church has sponsored this tremendous annual event.

 Blog at you later!