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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bus Repairs and Upgrades

     Much of this post will be old hat stuff for the motorhoming friends who follow this blog.  For the rest It may offer a different insight than the usual assortment of scenic views, Happy Hours, and community meals that have populated this blog.  The motorhome is a large, complex aggregation of systems that approximates a small, but well equipped, house which is constantly subjected to the rigors of an automotive environment.  As such, it is always in need of maintenance or at least preventive maintenance.  Much, but not all, of the burden can be borne by a reasonably competent DIYer, but the inexorably decreasing talents, energy, and initiative of the old fart set means that periodic visits to the factory become more common.   With the exception of last year we have been at Red Bay in February or March every year since 2003.  This year some of the tasks included: replacing the release lanyard for the generator tray, replacing the driver's side window (thermopane windows are prone to lose their seal in a vibration environment and permit condensation between the panes), modify the seal between the door and the screen door to eliminate a loud wind whistle at 55 MPH and above, replace a missing six inch piece of crown molding, replace one of the windshield fans, lube the hydraulic jacks and the slide-out mechanisms (OK, I should be able to do that myself, but I'm lazy and I'm here).  In addition, we decided to replace the notoriously troublesome accordion style day/night blinds with a more reliable and convenient type.  We would have been out of here in two days, but the blinds had to be ordered so we'll spend a week in rural Red Bay in a dry county with the only coon dog cemetery in the world.
     In the picture you can see we are in Bay 35.  It's a large well organized operation.  Greg is reading a technical bulletin dealing with adjusting the sensitivity of the anemometer actuated, automatic canopy retractor.  The old window is visible in the foreground.  The second picture shows how clean the place is.  In another part of Red Bay the factory is turning out twelve new motorhomes per day!  It is still a family owned business that has successfully weathered downturns like the gasoline crisis in the 70's and the current recession when they temporarily scaled back to three per day.  I estimate that they have revenues of at least $2M per day.  Since they are not a public corporation, no one knows how profitable they are, but it is obviously a sound company whose reputation has always been based on their customer orientation and extensive word of mouth advertising (like this, I suppose).
     So this has not been part of a glamorous travelogue, but it is a behind the scenes look at an inevitable part of the motorhome lifestyle.
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