After a very pleasant two weeks in Nashville we headed south. Whenever we are east of the Mississippi, we like to stop
at what we call The Mother Ship – the Tiffin Service Center. We really prefer for them to work on the coach as they usually know what they are doing. We only had minor issues this time and since our rig is over 5 years old, we can only use the three-hour service bays, and as with all Tiffin Service, it is first come first serve – no appointments. We have found the Red Bay RV Park is the most convenient campground in the area and it is much quieter than being in town. Though they do not truly take reservations, you can call ahead 24 hours in advance, and they will save a site for you.
As always Tiffin under promised and over delivered on when we could get in for service. We arrived on Saturday and the service coordinator came out and checked our list on Monday and promised we would be in by Wednesday. However, on Tuesday we got the call to go in and got most of the work on our list completed. They replaced the motor on the windshield shade, adjusted the front passenger side slide, fixed the windshield wipers, took down the shades that needed fixing, replaced a window in the bedroom, adjusted the rear closet door and the passenger side rearview mirror. Those two techs got quite a lot done in three hours! Our window shades that were broken had to be taken out and we would have to return to get them put in and our dash A/C would have to be fixed in a Mechanical Bay. So we would need to hang out in Red Bay a bit longer.
At this point we knew that Hurricane Ida was heading towards New Orleans and would eventually be heading directly over Red Bay in Northwestern Alabama. We were still waiting to get into the Mechanical Bay to have the A/C fixed on Friday but by mid-morning they called us to Mechanical and in 2 hours they had the A/C blowing cool air again.
I have a medicine for my rheumatoid arthritis that must be refrigerated and shipped overnight. Unfortunately, I could not have it shipped to the campground, but it could be shipped to a CVS in Russellville about 45 minutes from Red Bay. While waiting in Mechanical I saw that the meds were on the FedEx truck to Russellville, so I drove over and sat in
the CVS parking lot till the truck arrived. I grabbed my meds and then headed back to Red Bay all the while worrying about the hurricane and when we could leave the area. While I was gone Jon got called to return to the Express Bay to get the blinds put back in and just when we were driving out of the Tiffin Service lot, I got a call that the parts we ordered were in, so we stopped and pick those up too! Whoo Hoo! I do love Tiffin! They were able to get all the work we needed done and the parts we ordered very quickly so we would be able to skedaddle out of Ida’s path.
We got back to the campground, did some fast rerouting so we could leave before the hurricane came ashore, and
were ready to leave the next day. And what is more amazing is that we were changing reservations over Labor Day weekend!
So, on Saturday we bugged out headed up to Russellville, Arkansas to Ivy’s Cove RV Retreat. This is a fairly small RV park with few amenities, but it fit nicely into our route up to Oklahoma City (OKC) and away from Ida.
We arrived in OKC a week early so we extended to a two week stay. We stayed at the Mustang Run RV Park, which is very nice with concrete pads, nice amenities, and close to the city. It would have been a great park if it wasn’t RIGHT next to I40. Literally, 40 feet from the roadway! We had constant road noise for the entire 2 weeks! It was a bit of nuisance, but after a while it faded into the background.
We had not planned on doing very much in OKC as we were pretty tired after a month of constant socializing, and we are still trying to limit our activities due to COVID.
While we were in Red Bay, we picked up several items to finish some of the projects that needed doing in the coach that we did not need Tiffin to do. Jonathan replaced a towel rack in the shower that was starting to rust as well as recaulking the glass shower door. He put new weather stripping around the entry door, as well as, refining the design on the wood leveling blocks.
One of the items we got from the Tiffin store were seat covers for the drivers and passenger seats. It is well known in the Tiffin world that there was a time that they used an inferior upholstery which deteriorated over time. While we were in Red Bay we checked with the after-hour service guys and found it would cost over $2000 per chair to have them re-upholstered. I said, “Heck no!” and looked for covers. Luckily, Tiffin had a set for the Phaeton in stock in the store. Well, they sort of had covers. It looked as if whoever started making them stopped halfway through so I would need to make some adjustments. Luckily, I carry a great sewing machine and after several hours trying to figure out how to make them work, and a trip to JoAnn’s to get supplies, I was able to make them fit.
We spent most of our two weeks taking care of the projects around the coach, relaxing (as much as you can with semis rushing past all day long) and catching up on the blog posts. We did have two outings so that we could take our daily walks somewhere besides around and around the RV Park.
The first day we went to Bluff Creek Park and hiked the trail. It was fairly short, so we went on to Scissortail Park which had been recommended to us by the other hikers at Bluff Creek. Both city parks are lovely and gave us a chance to stretch our legs.
We did want to explore more of the Oklahoma City area, so we took a drive down to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Sometimes you just really luck out. You can look at a map and think something looks like it might be nice, and it really isn’t, and sometimes you find a gem!
This wildlife refuge is spectacular. We first drove up to Mt Scott where we could see for miles around southern Oklahoma. We then stopped at Prairie Dog Town where we were able to get up close with the little guys and then we drove on to French Lake. Here we stopped for a snack and a chat with a ranger who gave us wonderful suggestions for a really nice hike around the lake. On the way out of the park we stopped at the Holy City of the Wichitas. This was quite a surprise as I did not expect to find a holy stage in the prairie. They reenact the Passion of Christ here every Easter.
We have been to a lot of wildlife refuges and usually you must hunt to see the animals, but at Wichita they were everywhere! We saw soooo many animals – bison, prairie dogs, longhorn cattle, turtles, insects, and birds galore. Most could be seen from the roads, and we did not have to get too close to be able to get good photos.
As we left the Refuge, we were quite hungry and looked for something close to the park. We were pretty much out in
the middle of nowhere next to Fort Sill. Again, we were quite lucky to stumble upon Medicine Park and the Old Plantation Restaurant. Medicine Park is a resort town built in the 1910’s as a playground for the rich and elite of society. The old Plantation was originally built by Senator Elmer Thomas and in later years (as their brochure read) “A whiskey still was erected in the basement where there was also a gambling room. It has been rumored for years that a tunnel existed under the Old Plantation for quick escapes from the law. The main floor was used as a ballroom or dance floor, while the second floor was where the “pretty ladies”
lived and supposedly conducted their business.” Ya just never know where we will end up when we go on an adventure! The food was great though we didn’t see the still or pretty ladies. As Medicine Park is right next door to Ft Sill, we did see lots of men and women in uniform who were out having lunch with their families as there was some sort of a family day at the base. It was fun to walk about the quirky little town and a great way to end a wonderful day.
After two weeks in OKC and in a noisy campground, we were ready to head out to find some peace and quiet! We headed up to Kansas but once again, “Man plans and God laughs’! More on that in the next post – I swear I am almost caught up!
Till then stay safe and healthy!!