RIS Volume 2 # 2

Volume 2 Number 2
a quarterly journal for tiffin motorhome owners IN THIS ISSUE
• Getting It All in 38
• Alabama Highlights
• Horace Stepp – 10 More Years
• Daddy: Recollections . . .
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© 2005. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. All rights reserved.
a motorhome on a Freightliner chassis. That makes you a member of the
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for RV tires. Goodyear’s G670 RV also makes trips go
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proper loads and inflations and the dealer nearest you,
visit www.goodyear.com/rv.
Roughing it
Volume 2 Number 2 Spring 2005
April 2005
Volume 2, Number 2
Roughing It Smoothly® magazine is published
four times a year by Book Production Resources
for Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc., 105 2nd Street
NW, Red Bay, Alabama 35582. BPR offices
are located at 9302 Alanbrooke Street, Temple
Terrace, Florida 33637. Printed in the United
States of America. Postage paid at Miami,
Florida 33166. Postmaster: Send all changes of
address to Book Production Resources, P.O.
Box 292912, Tampa, Florida 33687-2912.
Encouragement is worth more than
anything. . . .
Getting It All in 38
No part of this magazine may be reproduced
in any form without the written permission of
the publisher.
Book Production Resources
Alabama Highlights:
The Dead Sea Scrolls
So You’re Going to Red Bay
This issue of Roughing It Smoothly® has a postal
distribution of approximately 34,500 copies
and a dealer distribution of 12,000 copies. It is
printed by Universal Printing Company, 3100
N.W. 74 Avenue, Miami, Florida 33122.
Copyright © 2005 by Book Production
Resources. All rights reserved.
Roughing It Smoothly® is a registered trademark
of Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc.
Fred Thompson
Faith Nance
Technical Director
Darlene Swanson
Copy Editor
Carolyn Breuer
Contributing Writers
Bob Tiffin, Fred Thompson, Jimmy Johnson,
Phoebe Wienke, Jonathan Thompson, Carolyn
Breuer, Frank and Jan Woythal, and Harold
Contributing Photographers
Fred Thompson, Steve Widoff, Phoebe
Weinke, Dennis Johnson, Roger and Marvin
Edvenson, and Frank Woythal.
Tiffin coach owners may receive a free
subscription by calling toll-free to 877-5387467; writing to Roughing It Smoothly®, P.O.
Box 292912, Tampa, FL 33687–2912; or
emailing fred@bookproduction.com. Please
include your phone number, the last six
characters of your VIN number, and the year
and model of your coach. If you sell your coach,
please call Liz Jones at 256-356-0205 and give
her the VIN number, year and model, and the
new owner’s address so that the new owner
can enjoy the magazine.
President’s Corner
Daddy: Recollections of a life
News You Can Use
Serious Tech Talk
Full-Timer’s Journal
Michigan’s Mackinac Island
From the Road
Reminiscing — Thanks for the
The architecture of a slide-out
Non-engine scheduled maintenance
and other important topics
“I never knew I’d build motorhomes,
but I knew I liked wheels.”
In Your Corner
Allegro Club News
Rallys better than ever and filling
up quickly
It’s not a hand out. It’s a hand UP!
50,000 Motorhomes
You will probably meet these folks
when you visit the plant in Red Bay.
GPS Navigation for $150
Going for the dogs
Owner Profiles
Quickshots from Tiffin
Chili Relleno Casserole wins the prize
The following names are registered trademarks of Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc.: Open Road®,
Phaeton®, Allegro®, Allegro Bay®, Allegro Bus®, Zephyr®, Roughing It Smoothly®, and Pusher®.
of a Life
by Bob Tiffin
Robert Alexander Tiffin, Sr.
Alex Tiffin was my father.
But in the South, grown men still
call their fathers “Daddy.” Daddy was a
remarkable man. Born on Turner Bolton’s
farm near Red Bay, Alabama, when we had
an agriculturally based economy, he developed a business philosophy at an early
age and implemented ideas that preceded
the successful techniques of today’s retailing titans.
In 1911 Red Bay was a very small
town — no paved streets, three or four
churches, a school, and a few stores.
Farmers came to town on Saturday in
their horse- or mule-drawn wagons to
get supplies.
His parents, William V. (Bud) Tiffin
and Samantha Modenia (Modie) Patterson, lived in Red Bay until Alex was
five when they bought a 360-acre farm
north of Belmont, Mississippi. With
seven children to raise, my grandparents, Bud and Modie Tiffin, lived on
the farm until all of the children were
grown. Daddy finished high school at
Belmont in 1929 and worked for the
next four years while he sorted out what
he wanted to do with his life.
In 1933 in the midst of the Depression, he moved to Jackson, Tennessee,
to enroll in a six-month business course
Roughing It Smoot hly
ances, windows, doors, sheetrock, finished
lumber, fencing, and water pumps. Tiffin
Supply is the oldest Whirlpool dealer in
the state of Alabama.
By 1955 the company had changed its
name. That was the year I began working
at the store. Tiffin Supply Company had
everything for a man to build his house
and run his farm. Daddy sold everything except ready-mix concrete. Red Bay
was strategically located in the middle
of a four-county area: Tishomingo and
Itawamba, Mississippi, and Marion and
Franklin, Alabama.
“Always stock what people want,” he
would tell me. We kept expanding our
product base. Local people would say, “If
you can’t find it at Alex’s store, you can’t
find it nowhere else.”
In the 1950s the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) began to offer a 100
percent loan program to build a house
if you owned the land. Because so many
families owned farms, they could give
their children a piece of land to get started. Most children learned to build on the
farm. So it was easy for them to use the
FHA loan program, buy their supplies at
Tiffin, and build their homes. A group of
contractors sprang up to build houses
for those who lived in the small towns in
the quad-county area. The success of the
program spread and we were soon getting
business from Colbert and Lauderdale
counties north of us because we stocked
such a broad base of products for building and supply. Daddy’s business philosophy was working: “Buy in large quantities
and sell everything at a fair price.”
at Middle Tennessee Business College.
Daddy came home in 1934 full of ideas
to try. He first went to work for Uncle
John McKinney who was in the grocery
Daddy lived across the street from
Nancy and L.N. Sparks. He took notice
of their pretty 19-year-old granddaughter, Katie, and they began dating in 1935.
About a year later they were married on
April 28, 1936. No big wedding ceremony. He just borrowed Uncle Johnny’s car
and went to Russellville, the county seat,
to get the probate judge to marry them.
When they got there, the judge was at a
school function and they had to sit outside his office and wait for him to return.
Daddy learned how to get along with
Uncle Johnny and continued to work for
him until 1941 when he went into business
for himself. He rented a 25-foot wide building and began to sell a full line of groceries
along with seed, feed, and fertilizer.
Daddy had a good personality and
just genuinely enjoyed meeting people.
He made people feel comfortable and
welcome whenever they came to his store.
When I began to work in his store many
years later as a teenager, he would tell
me, “You learn your customers’ names
and call them by their names when they
come in the door.” We always referred to
a customer as “Mister” and “Mrs.” and
rarely took the liberty of calling someone
by their first name unless we really knew
them personally. “That shows respect,”
he always said.
About a year after he started the business, I was born at home on March 5,
1942. Like so many rural towns in the
South, there was no hospital in Red Bay.
Doctors practiced medicine out of small
Customers put their confidence in
Daddy. He taught me from the beginning
to make your dealings honest with everyone and pay your bills. He went through
his accounts payable file every week and
paid his suppliers. He always took discounts on accounts payable and I still do
that today. We pay our dealers every week
for the warranty work they do.
Daddy had the philosophy of putting
some money back on a regular basis, keeping it in reserve for a rainy day. That philosophy has gotten Tiffin Motorhomes
through some critical slow periods over
the years.
By 1947 Alex Tiffin General Merchandise had outgrown its rented quarters and
Daddy built a new store. He expanded his
business to include hardware and building supplies, and bought property along
the railroad tracks to unload fertilizer,
mortar mix, cement, roofing, and other
commodities. The railroad siding gave
him the flexibility to buy carload lots. His
suppliers would sell the larger quantities
at lower prices, making it possible for
him to sell to his customers at more competitive prices. In a few short years he had
become a very successful entrepreneur.
In 1950 Mother and Daddy began planning a new home. They bought five acres
about a mile from town and started construction in March 1952 and completed it
in August. Whenever he would get in items
they had ordered for the new house, such
as sheetrock, lumber, and plumbing supplies, his customers would want to buy the
same good quality supplies for their houses. It didn’t take him long to realize there
was a market demand for quality building
supplies. He bought two more buildings
and began to stock bath fixtures, appli-
Being able to service what we sold became a key part of Daddy’s business philosophy. I’ll never forget when chain saws
first came out. A salesman came around
and these chain saws caught my Daddy’s
eye because he knew how long it took to
cut down a tree with a crosscut saw. After
the salesman demonstrated the saw on
some trees out back, Daddy bought six.
He sold three on a time payment plan
and the other three for cash. Soon, every
one of those chain saws came back to us
all in pieces in tow sacks. We couldn’t fix
them, so Daddy took back every chain
saw and made good on them. Needless
to say, we didn’t sell anymore chain saws.
But he taught me a principle that we use
today: you always stand behind what you
sell and you provide repair service.
Working with a local contractor, Daddy
built several houses to sell. He financed
them himself. Marlin Saint, who now heads
up our warranty recovery program at Tiffin
Motorhomes, bought one of those houses
many years ago and recently told me a funny story about the transaction. When DadAlex and Katie Tiffin on their honeymoon at
Rock City in 1936.
dy came to collect the first payment, Marlin
paid him in cash. As Daddy walked back to
his truck, Marlin said, “Mr. Alex, don’t I get
a receipt?” Daddy reached across the front
seat, tore off one side of a brown paper bag,
scribbled out a receipt, and handed it to
him. He noticed that Marlin looked a little
surprised, and said, “That’s just as good
as one of those receipts that’s printed on
a pad!” Marlin accepted it and still enjoys
telling the story.
In the late forties and early fifties,
Daddy partnered with Purina to try a
new marketing idea for chicken feed. In
the spring he offered “free baby chick”
days. The farmer would get a dozen baby
chicks if he bought 25 pounds of chick
starter. Anticipating the rush, Daddy ordered 10,000 baby chicks from the Cullman hatchery that were shipped by rail to
Red Bay. I’ll never forget the depot agent,
Mr. McDowell, calling the store. With the
loud chirping of 10,000 baby chicks in the
background, he hollered into the phone,
“Tell Alex his baby chicks are here!!”
Daddy took his business out on the
rural country roads in 1948 with a locally designed and built peddling truck.
He bought a Ford school bus chassis and
had Curt Griffus, the local blacksmith,
and Robert Sparks (his father-in-law),
build a floor frame using 4 × 6 oak runAlex Tiffin took great satisfaction in the success
of Tiffin Motorhomes. Shown here with him in
1985 are Lex, Tim, and Bob.
Bob Tiffin with his Daddy during the winter of
1943–44 in Red Bay.
all photographs courtesy of the tiffin family
P R E S I D E N T ’ S
Pr esident ’s Cor ner ners. Mr. Griffus made tie bolts to attach
it to the chassis and used oak 4 × 4 floor
joists on 24-inch centers. They used ¾inch tongue-and-groove oak flooring to
complete the base and tied off the edges
with 1½ × ¾-inch steel. They built the
walls with 2 × 4s on 16-inch centers. The
roof joists were beveled and topped with
¾-inch tongue-and-groove. The sides
and roof were skinned with 18-gauge
galvanized sheets. The back bumper was
extended to strap on chicken coops. It
was a sturdy craft. I watched my granddaddy build it and picked up ideas that I
would use later in motorhome construction. When I asked him what he was going to do for a windshield, he just said,
“I’ll make one.” It was a flat windshield
that pushed out from the bottom edge
for ventilation.
The Purina Feed Company thought so
much of Daddy’s idea that they offered to
paint it with their standard red and white
checkerboard advertising if we would
bring it to Birmingham.
Daddy drove the peddling truck to
Birmingham and I rode along in a cane
bottom, ladder-back chair. Every time he
started off, I’d flip over in that chair. Daddy and I rode the Illinois Central Seminole back to Red Bay from Birmingham.
Purina kept it two weeks and we went
down on the train to pick it up.
During the summers of 1953 and ’54,
I rode the peddling truck just about every day and helped out. We had regular
routes for every weekday. We would sell
groceries, kerosene, and fertilizer, and we
bought eggs, chickens, and butter from
our customers. Many times we traded
by bartering. The peddling truck drivers I remember were Marvin Umphres,
Jim Harden, Junior Ledbetter, and Mr.
Thrasher. Daddy’s peddling truck was
a big convenience to people out in the
country. Life seems to have been a lot
simpler then.
When my children became old enough
to learn about business, they started out
at Tiffin Supply under Daddy’s watchful eye. Daddy gave Van an assignment
and explained what the pay would be.
As he concluded his instructions, Daddy warned Van, “Now don’t tell people
how much I’m paying you.” Van quickly
replied, “Don’t worry, Grandpa, I’d be
ashamed for anyone to know.” Standing nearby, his older brother Tim was
shocked. Nevertheless, he was always a
good mentor to anyone who wanted to
learn from him.
During the late sixties, there were
three RV companies in nearby Mississippi: Commodore, Sunliner, and Safari.
It was my job to collect from them. Commodore moved back north and the other
two went out of business in late 1971.
Having had the opportunity to visit their
In 1948 Alex Tiffin put his store on the rural roads of Alabama and Mississippi to better serve
his customers. The Peddling Truck was an immediate success.
Roughing It Smoot hly
plants, I was intrigued with the idea of
starting a motorhome plant in Red Bay.
Daddy and I discussed the plan in September 1972 and he agreed to underwrite
it as necessary. “Necessary” came much
sooner than we expected when the country was socked with the oil embargo in
September 1973. We laid off everyone but
our management team.
Daddy stood by us and kept us going.
“If we go down, we’ll all go down together,” he said staunchly. We recovered in early 1975 but had a similar experience again
in 1979. He paid for the chassis and engine, the largest component we had to buy.
He visited the plant every afternoon to see
what we were using and determined if his
large quantity purchasing could help us.
When we started the company, I
wanted to use Onan gensets. Since I only
wanted to buy a few at a time, we had to
buy through Atchinson Equipment Company in Birmingham. Mr. Atchinson was
not favorable. “I’m not selling anything
to anybody in North Alabama. I’ve been
burned by all the companies in North
Alabama,” he complained.
I called Tom Bowen at Onan about our
predicament. “Mr. Atchinson won’t sell
to us—not even for cash!”
He called back a short time later.
“Are you affiliated with Tiffin Supply?”
he asked. I explained. “OK, no problem.
We’ll bill Tiffin Supply.” We continued to
use his credit on gensets until 1985.
Daddy retired in 1995 at the age of 84
and enjoyed several years of good health.
His last three years were difficult.
Daddy believed in all three of his children: David, Beulah, and me. He taught
us well the principles of dealing fairly
with everyone—your employees, your customers, and your suppliers, making everyone feel welcome and comfortable,
managing carefully your payables and
receivables, understanding market demands, and purchasing in quantities that
give you a selling advantage.
Daddy was not a Christian when
Mother married him in 1936. But she
was patient with him and always a good
example. He resisted for many years but
finally obeyed the Gospel after Judy and
I married. He had always followed Christian principles in his business. After he
was baptized into Christ, he followed
those principles in his service to God
throughout the rest of his life.
3 0! 2 4! . # ( ! 3 3 ) 3 # / -
News You Can Use N e w s
Y o u
C a n
GPS Navigation for $150
by Jonathan Thompson
Onan Quiet Diesel 7500
Cummins ISL 400 Engine
Congratulations on a great achievement!
Like your customers, we are thrilled to be along for the ride…
Roughing It Smoot hly
hanks to the
internet and services such as MapQuest, it’s easy to get
point to point directions with a few
clicks of a mouse and
strokes on one’s keyboard. Wouldn’t it be great if you could take
that mapping database with you? With DeLorme’s Street Atlas 2005, you can.
From its humble beginnings as a paper
atlas publisher, DeLorme has emerged as
a technological innovator in GPS mapping software. DeLorme has helped define digital mapping as we know it today.
Street Atlas USA was the first software
product to put street-level detail for the
entire country on a single CD. Over a
dozen versions later, Street Atlas continues to provide an excellent value. In fact,
DeLorme has bundled its Street Atlas
2005 software with their USB EarthMate
global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver
for the fantastic price of $150.00.
GPS is a world-wide, space-based navigation system that is operated by the U.S.
Air Force, and consists of a constellation
of 24 satellites. It was first developed for
use by the military but has been made
available to civilians. Today,
GPS provides the military and
civilians with accurate information about their position,
speed, and time anywhere in
the world, and in any weather
conditions. It is so accurate
that an individual’s position
can be calculated to the meter,
and with very advanced systems, to the centimeter.
The installation of the software can be somewhat tricky.
If you allow the application
to install only the required
default components, the GPS
components will not be in-
stalled properly. For some unknown reason, DeLorme chose to bundle the GPS
functionality with the map printing
functionality. Thus, for the GPS routing
to function properly, the map printing
component must be installed. DeLorme’s
installation program does not inform
you of this fact, and the author was only
able to resolve this problem by consulting
DeLorme’s online support pages. Fortunately, an internet connection was available during the author’s evaluation trip,
and the problem was easy to correct. You
could also play it safe when installing,
and choose to install all components.
Street Atlas 2005 includes encyclopedic
road maps of the United States that can
zoom in and out and easily handle directions for trips with multiple destinations
and stops. It can also calculate such variables as estimated gas mileage, projected
speed, fuel costs and hours driven per day
to schedule travel time, rest stops, and overnight stays. Street Atlas 2005 also includes
a wide listing of points of interest such as
restaurants, lodging, and attractions. This
becomes very useful when you need to
know where the closest R.V. supply store
is located. One drawback is that points of
interest can not be updated automatically.
However, you can add your own points
of interest to the database when you find
something or somewhere that you want to
remember. Another option is to upgrade
to the next version of Street Atlas when
it is released, which will install the latest
points of interest database.
Using the GPS is easy as well. You simply
connect the Earthmate GPS to your Windows computer and register it with the
Street Atlas 2005 software, and your computer becomes a powerful trip planning
and mapping system. With GPS enabled,
Street Atlas 2005 can track your position
and use the satellite-linked system to plot
and recalculate routes instantly. This becomes very useful if you make a wrong
turn. Upon making a wrong turn, the software will automatically calculate a route to
get you back on track. You can also search
for nearby points of interest, so you won’t
wander aimlessly looking for the next gas
station or Wal-Mart. DeLorme’s trip-planning screens are somewhat cluttered, with
four panes and 11 tabs to click through. Entering a street address can take many steps,
and it may be easier to click on a rough location with your mouse instead.
DeLorme has made Street Atlas easy to
use in motion. You can set the program to
display one trip segment at a time, using
large, high-contrast type and graphics. It
can also call out each turn in a synthesized
voice and responds to basic spoken commands, such as “next turn” or “be quiet.”
However, don’t try to operate this and
drive at the same time. Let your co-pilot be
the navigator, or set it up before
you actually start driving.
Once you have mastered the
user interface of Street Atlas, it
becomes a powerful tool, especially when you are entering unfamiliar territory. Other great
all-in-one GPS systems are out
there. But if you already have a
Windows operating system on
your laptop, this is a very cost
effective purchase. And, if you
consider the price of this package, it becomes a very compelling gadget whose utility will
pay off quickly.
(NEWS continued on next page)
News You Can Use King Controls Announces
Dome Magic for Rain Fade Problems on Satellite Systems
Rain and morning dew can cause your satellite picture to freeze, pixelate, or go out
altogether. King Controls has developed
an easy to use, long-lasting solution that
prevents water from clinging to the dome.
Other products cause water to slide off the
dome, leaving behind a trail of water. Dome
Magic causes water to roll from the dome
surface, leaving no water behind at all.
King Controls Introduces
DVB Upgrade for all
King-Dome Automatic Models
DVB technology provides positive satellite identification allowing one touch
operation with all King-Dome Automatic
models (9700, 9702, 9702-LP). With the
number of satellites increasing as DirecTV, Dish Network and Bell ExpressVU
each add more programming options, it
is becoming increasingly important to
be able to identify the satellite you want.
Once a satellite is selected using King
Controls DVB Upgrade, the user will lock
onto the correct satellite every time.
Contact Shawn Winn at 800-982-9920
or shawn.winn@kingcontrols.com
Four Paws Kingdom Campground:
Going for the Dogs
Located 45 miles east of Asheville, N.C.,
Four Paws Kingdom Campground focuses its
amenities on your “fur” kids. The owners,
Meik and Birgit Bartoschek, have situated
their facility in a nice wooded area with 41
RV sites, full hook-ups (30 or 50 amps).
The Bartoscheks’ park offers fenced in,
off-leash areas for large and small dogs,
with fresh water, pools, and toys. There is
an agility yard with “work out” equipment.
A spring-fed pond with grass and sand is
great for cooling off and rolling around,
and hiking trails are mapped out for you
through a nice forest.
A “Doggy Bath House” with do-ityourself grooming equipment is available
after romps in the forest, the pond, and
rolling in the sand demand a clean-up before re-entry into your RV.
If the dogs’ owners would like to make
day trips, a walking service is available along
with planned activities for the dogs to enjoy. Theme week-ends with games, special
entertainment, events, pot-lucks, etc. More
information at www.4pawskingdom.com
or call 828-287-7324.
10 Roughing It Smoot hly
ti f f in
ncouragement is the strongest man agement tool I have.” Reflecting on
30 years at Tiffin Motorhomes, and starting his eighth year as plant manager,
Horace Stepp oversees 16 supervisors and
630 production employees.
“When a new employee starts on the
line, you explain, teach, and encourage.
You may have to repeat the process several times. But encouragement is worth
more than anything you can do for an employee,” he continued. “I always try to put a
new employee in a situation where I know
he or she can succeed. It is a big mistake to
over challenge an employee at first.”
“When women first started on the production line a few years ago, I knew we
could make it work because my mother
worked at Blue Bell for 35 years to support five children.” Stepp went on to explain that a lot of forethought and planning is invested before anything new is
attempted at Tiffin Motorhomes.
“I’m in the job I have today because
Bob Tiffin has been my role model. He is
a Christian and that governs our management style. We have a good working environment in the office and in the plant,”
Stepp said appreciatively.
“The production supervisors make my
job so much easier. We have good working relationships throughout the production arena, but also with the engineering
department. In some plants, production
and engineering always have a tug-of-war
going on. If we have a problem, we go to
each other, discuss it calmly, and get it
solved,” he explained.
“At all levels of supervision, I stress
that our supervisors get to know the em-
m a n a g e m ent
Horace Stepp
Plant Manager
ployees, know them by their first names,
be friendly, and most of all, encourage
and thank them for their contribution to
making this company so successful. Individuals being successful and growing in
their jobs will always translate into corporate success. And that means job security for the hundreds of people who work
here and for their families,” he said.
After graduating from Red Bay High
School in 1967, Stepp studied drafting for
two years at Northwest Alabama Technical
Institute and accepted employment for a
year in the drafting department at the Pascagoula Shipyard in Mississippi. During
that time he married Janice Stacy and they
moved to Belmont where Horace spent
three years in the drafting departments of
two mobile home plants. When Bob Tiffin
needed a draftsman to create the plans for
his first motorhomes, he recruited Horace
in 1972 to moonlight for him. After a little
more than two years, he went full-time with
TMH in April 1975. This month Stepp will
celebrate his 30th year with the company.
The production line at Tiffin starts at
6 a.m. But life in a country town has al-
Encouragement is worth
more than anything you can
do for an employee.
te a m
ways started before daylight, so no one regards that as unusual. However, the management team begins the day well before
six. Stepp arrives at the Belmont plant at
5:15 and discusses the day’s plans with
supervisor Tim Lindley. Thirty minutes
later he is on his way to the Red Bay plant
for a 6 a.m. meeting with the engineers.
At seven, supervisors meet with production people to discuss and assess supply and shortage issues in the line from
yesterday. At every workstation, both
outsourced and constructed components
join the evolving motorhome as it travels
through the line toward completion. It
is critical that every component arrive on
time at its planned intersection in order
to “make production,” which means 10
completed units each day. Engineering is
gradually changing the plant’s infrastructure to run two production lines — one for
gas models and one for diesels — by the
end of the year.
At 8 a.m. another group fills the conference room. Supervisors, engineers, and
purchasing agents gather to deal with
run-time problems involving shortfalls.
Stepp spends the next hour checking the
production line throughout the plant before heading back to Belmont at 9:30. He
knows every pothole, bump, and curve in
the six-mile blacktop.
Meeting again on the run with the
supervisors in the new paint plant, the
sanding building, special floor assemblies, and the wiring harness room, Stepp
constantly develops and refines his ideas
to coordinate the complex assemblies of
both plants as they merge seamlessly on
the production line to create the final
Tiffin Management Team 1 1
Janice and Horace Stepp have always made a great team. Working
together at Tiffin has not been an exception.
product. Only after coach owners take the tour two or three
times do they begin to appreciate the design, engineering, production craftsmanship, and quality management that it takes
to build a fine motorhome. Even after 30 years in the plant,
Horace Stepp still appreciates more every day the accomplishments of his fellow employees.
Over six hours after beginning his day, the plant manager
makes his way back to Red Bay to have lunch with his wife, who
happens to be his secretary. Janice had worked at Tiffin for several years before Horace became plant manager. After 29 years
of marriage, he knew they would make a great team. Because
husband–wife teams are traditionally frowned upon by management, he approached Bob Tiffin with some degree of apprehension to request the arrangement.
Bob thought about the request for a few moments and then
put Horace at ease. “Well, I have enjoyed working with my
wife even before we started this company. I don’t see why you
shouldn’t have the opportunity to work with Janice.” It was a
good decision.
After a 30-minute lunch, Stepp spends the next two hours on
the production floor monitoring potential problems, encouraging employees and supervisors, taking notes for the next day’s
meetings, and enjoying the fruits of his labor.
“If production gets behind, we figure out why and get it back
on schedule. If there are shortage problems, we check with purchasing. If there’s an engineering problem, the prints could be
wrong or we could have read them wrong. We have a good engineering staff that constantly supports and backs us up on the
floor. Working here is just a great experience,” he exudes.
When the production line shuts down at 2:30, Stepp quickly
makes his way to his office to accept reports from his supervisors
and evaluate to see if the projected 10 units were completed.
Stepp’s workday often runs 12 hours. But he doesn’t comContinued on page 23
1 2 Roughing It Smoot hly
h o n e st l y, h e’d p re fe r u l t ra l eat h e r
If he could choose a seat covering to stand the test of time he would select
ULTRALEATHER™ brand fabric. This fabric endures the rigors of the road with its
durability and unsurpassed ease of care, cleaning effortlessly with soap and water.
Perhaps more important to our forefather – who has been seated for a long time – is the
comfort of ULTRALEATHER™. Resistant to stiffening in the cold and sticking in the
heat, it stays soft and supple to the touch in all weather conditions.
Sit in an ULTRALEATHER™ interior and discover the road to long lasting comfort and
style. Insist on the best, genuine ULTRALEATHER™ brand fabric.
To receive a free brochure on the features and benefits of ULTRALEATHER™ call us toll free.
W W W. U LT R A FA B R I C S L L C . C O M
T 888 361 9216
F 9 1 4 3 47 1 5 9 1
It All
in 38
by Fred Thompson
The Hardware
The 2005 Allegro Bay 38 TDB is riding on a Workhorse W24.
Of course, that means 24,000 GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating). With 9,000 lb. front axle capacity and 15,000 lb. rear axle
capacity, the W24 offers the highest gross axle weight rating in
a gas motor home chassis, which translates into a higher payload for the Bay 38’s three slide-outs, an extended living area, a
washer- dryer, and solid surface countertops. The GCWR (gross
combined weight rating) is 30,000 lbs. which means that you
can safely tow up to 6,000 lbs. behind this coach.
The W24 uses GM’s Vortec 8100 which packs 340 hp and 455
lb.-ft. of torque. GM claims the 8100 is the largest, most powerful gas RV engine ever built. We will discuss our own tests later
in this article.
The Allison 2100 MH is an electronically controlled, fully automatic, five-speed transmission with overdrive. Its 32-bit micropro(Left) The carefully designed cockpit places controls in intuitive positions
for safe use while traveling. The living area (below) is enhanced by using
Ultraleather (optional) in all of the seating.
cessor communicates with the engine to determine the exact shift
point for precise, smooth shifting and maximum performance.
The W24 is equipped with the four-piston Quadraulic brake
system. Using the same brake technology found in high performance cars, it provides excellent braking to the coach. The
brake pads make contact with both sides of the rotor — not
just one side as with traditional disc brakes — providing more
responsive braking with additional stopping power.
Workhorses’s Stabil-Ride integrates several suspension components beginning with two-leaf parabolic springs to deliver
excellent force deflection with very little inter-leaf friction. An
auxiliary spring has a three-stage urethane unit that compresses
to slow and control the deflection of the parabolic springs. To
reduce roll on corners, Workhorse employs an integral 2.5-inch
stabilizer bar. Completing the “ride package,” Premium Bilstein® shock absorbers reduce body shake following road impacts and decrease chassis vibration.
Tiffin’s UVW factor is 18,950 lbs. (unloaded vehicle weight).
UVW is the weight of the motorhome at the factory with full
fuel, engine oil, and coolants. The Cargo Carrying Capacity
(CCC) of this coach computes as follows: 24,000 lbs. – (18,950
lbs. UVW + 1,200 lbs. for a full water tank, full LP tank, and two
passengers) = 3,850 lbs. for all your stuff! Not bad, huh?
The Test Drive
Tiffin turned the Bay 38 over to us for a full week. Our test run
totaled 880 miles. Even with a third passenger and considerable
lewis communications
Tiffin’s beautifully designed Allegro Bay 38 TDB
on the Workhorse W24 chassis with
GM’s Vortec 8100 V-8 power plant and
Allison’s 2100 MH electronically controlled
transmission is a value package
that will be hard to beat.
Now that you know about this unanticipated feature of the
38-ft. Allegro Bay, let’s explore the other amenities of this coach
that may help in your decision-making process. The Class A
motorhome market offers such a wide variety of options that
feature listing and careful evaluation are necessary to make a
correct choice for your personal living style.
steven widoff photography
Selecting the right interior appointments
as well as the engine and chassis for your intended long-range
use of a coach demands careful planning and mapping of the
process. In January Tiffin Motorhomes began building the 38foot Allegro Bay that features two living–activity areas, bringing
a new dimension to the brand which now has three floorplans.
The bedroom with two slideouts offers a generous walkthrough area to twin upholstered chairs positioned on either
side of a sturdy table that cantilevers from the back wall. The
18 × 26.5-inch solid wood table offers a convenient work area
for a laptop with 12v and 110v connections underneath along
with a telephone connection for a DSL or dial-up internet
connection. Designed for multiuse, the area can function as
a small business center, a game room, a quiet and cosy reading area, or a craft center where everything could be left out
until finished. The table is strong enough to support a portable sewing machine for those quick clothing repairs, while
the cabinet under the television offers a perfect place to store
your machine. The interior designers added a recessed magazine–newspaper rack on one side and an FM-AM radio with
CD player (optional) on the other. Both chairs are located for
viewing the 20-inch flat screen color television in the diagonally opposite corner. With two opposing 54 × 22-inch windows behind each chair, the work area enjoys generous natural
lighting which can be controlled with day-night shades. A wall
sconce above the table along with ceiling lighting brightens
the room during evening hours.
4 Roughing
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114 Allegro Bay 38 TDB 15
At First Glance
The coach we used for the photo shoot had the standard oak
interior. The Bay 38 we traveled in had the natural maple (optional). While it boils down to personal preferences, we liked the
natural maple for the lighter interiors it offered. The magazine
cover shows the Fire Red full body paint (optional). The three
full body paint options are different only in their accent colors:
Regal Blue, Silver Sand, and Fire Red. Either choice creates a
handsome coach exterior!
The exterior construction shows great execution in the
smooth blending of so many components: front and back caps
connecting to the sides; windows and windshields into the exterior structures; main entrance door and storage bay compartments; exterior service openings to refrigerator and furnace
— all done well and attributable to excellent engineering and
production line attention.
With four large basement storage compartments on either
side, the Bay 38 gives you ample room to take all of the amenities
and equipment that provide the conveniences you enjoy most on
16 Roughing
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16 your longer trips. The three doors under the living room slide
open into one continuous storage cavern which is accessible from
a side entrance door when the slide is extended. This offers storage options for long items such as skis and fishing equipment.
Campsite set-up is expedited with all hook-ups in three adjacent compartments on the streetside. Sewer hook-up is located
in front of the rear tire well. The fully appointed water cabinet is
immediately aft of the tire well. It offers a hot-cold shower and
hand washing area as well as a standard pressurized system to
connect exterior water supply to clean the black tank. The rearmost compartment houses the 50-amp electrical service.
In the 2005 models, Tiffin gives the buyer a choice between
two standard features at no additional cost: the HWH hydraulic
leveling jacks or the Atwood electric jack system.
The Interior
Tiffin’s Allegro Bay series offers many luxury features as standard
items. As you enter the coach, you will notice the solid surface
Gibraltar countertops; the double stainless steel sink with the
chrome single lever faucet and pullout sprayer; the convection–
microwave oven; the 24-inch flat screen television; the driver’s
side door; and more quality wood cabinets with raised panel
doors than you will find in any other similarly priced coach.
With a front-to-back examination, we found the Bay 38 a
very liveable coach. Both the driver’s and passenger’s seats had
full 6-way power with luxuriously pleated leather banking cushions on both sides of the seat and back areas of the chair (optional). The swivel rocker located on the passenger side was also
upholstered with Ultraleather (optional) and offered a manually extendable leg and foot rest. From the entry door to the
right and surrounding the cockpit, nine cabinets at eye-level to
ceiling provide generous storage for electronic gear as well as
keeping maps and other travel materials handy.
The Ultraleather (optional) Hide-a-Bed sofa with coordinating pillows raised my personal comfort level about three notches. It just seems to swell around you when you park yourself
there. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon nap! Two recessed
overhead lights as well as a sconce lamp between the huge windows in the slide-out provide ample reading light for the sofa.
The designer valances over the 45 × 20 and 46 × 26-inch windows are made with coordinating fabric and stainless steel accents. Two windows in both ends of the slide-out capture cross
ventilation. All of the windows have day-night shades.
The dinette seats four at a solid hardwood table. Now standard, large storage drawers under each seat open into the galley
area. With an electric outlet and phone connection just under
the edge of the table, the dinette can double as an office area. Six
cabinets line the top of the slide-out above the dinette and sofa.
Wood plank flooring (optional) covered the entry area and galley, and extended throughout the bath area. Impervious to water
and tracked in dirt, this beautiful floor makes clean-ups easy.
The Bay 38’s galley is efficiently designed for full meal preparation or for the nutritious one-dish meals that we all enjoy. The
galley has two 110v outlets in the backsplash wall to service electric
skillets, toasters, etc. An additional 110v outlet and the water pump
switch is mounted in the front panel of the sink cabinet. A deluxe
microwave–convection oven with exhaust fan and surface lights is
mounted just under a cabinet and above the double burner gas
cooktop which features sparkless ignition. A powered vent above the galley can quickly remove cooking odors or bring in fresh air.
Directly under the cooktop is a drawer designed to store your pots and pans. Double door
storage under the sink and a stack of three drawers
along the left wall of the galley complete the under countertop storage areas. The double stainless
steel sink with the chrome single lever faucet and
extendable sprayer make the galley a pleasure to
use. To the left of the sink, the cook can flip up
a solid surface counter extension which extends
over the entry well. Both the sink and the cooktop
have solid surface covers to create a serving buffet
area when you have company.
A 10 cu. ft. four-door stainless steel refrigerator
with ice maker (optional) is positioned immediately to the right of the cooktop and offers the triple
energy system — 12v, 110v, and gas. Immediately
opposite the fridge on the streetside is a double
pantry slideout positioned at eye-level above the
washer-dryer cabinet. The pantry slides measure
21 × 24 × 7 inches, each with two shelves. Without
the washer-dryer installed, the four-shelf cabinet
offers welcomed multi-purpose storage.
In addition to the flat panel television, the entertainment center includes a four-speaker system
to give you surround sound effects in the living
area, plus a five disk CD changer, a video cassette
player (all standard), and the wiring option for a
CD video disk player. The King Dome semi-automatic satellite television receiver (optional) completes the package.
The Bay’s cockpit was obviously designed by
an experienced driver. Every control is intuitively
functional and located just where you would expect it to be. The high-tech radio/CD player may
have a 15-minute learning curve.
The Atwood Levelegs system deploys automatically with manual intervention for irregular
ground levels. Simple instructions on the face
plate remind you of the procedures to follow and
a warning light on the left side control panel will
tell you that the jacks are down when you turn on
the ignition.
This Bay 38 was equipped with optional power sun visors. Along with the optional dual pane
insulated windows, buyers often select these features. Several times during the course of our trip,
steven widoff photography
gear, we were still 2,500 lbs. under the GVWR. While we never
traveled with more than a half tank of water, the black and grey
water left the above numbers about the same. The towed vehicle
added 3,500 lbs. to give us an approximate 25,000 lb. GCWR.
Compared to other gas models I have driven, the performance of this coach overall was superb. Our terrain included
the foothills of the Appalachians, the Alabama piedmont, and
coastal lowlands. The pavement included interstate, state, and
county roads.
The coach’s stability in lane changes and cornering was firm.
Steering required conscious attention but was not bothersome.
I feel sure that the Tru-Center Steering System (an option)
would be money well-spent.
Including an urgent, unanticipated stop, braking was solid
and even without the slightest hint of stress or burned pad odor.
The power plant in this coach was a show-off. Of course, we
didn’t keep any 0–60 records, but interstate ramp and merging
power gave a very comfortable feeling every time, even when I
had to slide in between a couple of 18-wheelers. The coach had
the power when called upon to get past slower strings of traffic
on the interstate.
Entering an estimated 4–5 percent grade with cruise control
set at 70 mph (2,600 rpm), the coach’s speed dropped to 60
mph (3,500 rpm after a computer-controlled downshift) during
an 0.8 mile stretch. On level highway with cruise set at 66 mph,
the engine maintained an even 2,500 rpm. Entering a 3 percent
grade, the transmission shift pushed the rpm up to 3,600 but
the coach maintained its set speed of 66 mph.
The W24 provides a very handy computer which offers a
wide array of information including inside and outside temperatures. Using a 10-mile stretch in Alabama’s piedmont for a test,
the trip computer showed 8.6 mpg driving at 65 mph. I suspect
we could have gotten 9 mpg if we had cruised at 60 mph.
For a worst case scenario, the pavement on I-65 from Cullman to Birmingham provides some very rough sections. The
W24’s four component Stabil-Ride system did a creditable job
at smoothing out the roughness. On more even roads, the suspension system will give you a very comfortable ride.
(Top) Galley storage is enhanced by the double-slide
pantry located over the washer/dryer cabinet. A freestanding dinette is optional. (Center) The drop-leaf
counter extention provides additional prep space for a
practically designed galley with convection/microwave
oven and a 4-door 10 CF refrigerator with icemaker
(optional). The bedroom offers an alternative living
room/work area with full connections for a laptop.
Allegro Bay 38 TDB 17
the sun blinded me as we changed our heading. A flip of the
dash switch solved the problem for me and my passenger. The
dual pane windows reduce travel noise and campground racket,
and significantly improve your heating and cooling efficiencies.
Other cockpit features to please the captain include GM’s cruise
control, a back-up in-dash monitor with speaker, CD in-dash player,
map lights for the driver and passenger, heated and remotely controlled mirrors, 3-speed wipers with variable intermittent timing, a
very effective Denso HVAC in-dash system, switches for overdrive
steven widoff photography
The lavatory/shower area is attractively partitioned from the bedroom
with a French door. A second lavatory and toilet is located opposite in
a private enclosure.
and grade braking, fog lights, the emergency start and genset startstop switches, L / R fans to reduce inside windshield moisture, and
a trip computer — all standard features.
Not forgetting the real essentials, Tiffin designers placed two
cup holders in a solid wood center console and one cup holder
each on the driver’s door and under the passenger’s side window. Two 12v outlets are conveniently placed for both driver
and passenger, plus 110v and phone outlets are installed in the
firewall on the passenger side. Pleated curtains mounted on
hidden rails emerge from their storage positions on either side
to cover the huge windshield exposure.
The Bay 38 comes standard with two 13,500 BTU high profile roof AC units. Our unit had the optional 15,000 BTU units
equipped with heat pumps. Two 30,000 BTU ducted LP furnaces located in the galley and bedroom provide ample heat.
In mild winter climates, the heat pumps will very likely do the
job. The electronic thermostat has dual controls to set separate
temperatures for the bed-bath and the LR-galley areas.
On the curbside, the bath touts a separately enclosed ceramic toilet with sprayer plus a Gibraltar lavatory and solid surface
countertop. Controls for the dual elec/gas water heater, the water pump, overhead powered vent, and lighting are mounted just
under a mirrored medicine cabinet. The compartment sports
brushed nickel faucet hardware and towel rack, sculptured wall
coverings, and a smaller rack built into the door. On the streetside, the walk-through bathroom has a sky-lighted 32-inch
shower enclosed with rainglass plus a second lavatory with controls for the water pump, lighting, and another powered vent
designed to remove the heat and moisture from the shower.
A French door with attached day-night shades opens from
the bath into the master bedroom. A queen size bed (60 × 80
inches) with innerspring mattress is mounted on a streetside
slide-out opposite another slide-out housing a 20-inch flat panel television, a 54 × 40.5-inch cedar-lined wardrobe, a bank of
clothes drawers, and a clothes hamper. Four additional cabinets
in the slide-out above the bed complete the bedroom storage.
The Allegro Bay 38 TDB is a very comfortable coach offering
new features for Tiffin’s luxury gas-powered brand. Combined with
the company’s legendary service, you are certain to be pleased.
SPECIFICATIONS: Model as tested 2005 Allegro Bay 37 TDB, three slideouts
Base MSRP* $131,880 MSRP as tested with options $149,471
Standard Features
Laminated floor, sidewall & roof
Steel/alum. reinforced structure
Fiberglass front & rear caps
Large tinted windshield
Leveling jacks
7.0 Onan generator
Single motor intermittent wipers
Heated power mirrors with remote
Gel-coat fiberglass exterior
Painted exterior graphics
Entrance door with screen door &
Triple electric step
¼-inch single pane windows
Exterior patio light
Slideout awning(s)
Wheel liners
Exterior storage doors with gas
Single handle, lockable storage
door latches
Ridged long-life storage boxes
Luggage compartment lights
Heated water and holding-tank
Two 6-volt auxiliary batteries
50-amp service
Park ready telephone
Cable ready TV
Black holding tank flush
Exterior rinse hose/shower
110-volt exterior receptacle
110v/12v converter (55 amp)
Driver’s door with power window
Domed fiberglass roof
TV antenna
CB antenna
Power Fantastic roof vent with
3-speed fan
Two 13,500 BTU high profile roof
Roof ladder
Backup camera and monitor
Water filter
10-gallon gas/electric water heater
Driver’s Compartment
Entry floor light
Snack/beverage tray
Single CD player AM-FM stereo
12-volt dash receptacle
110-volt receptacle
Tilt steering wheel
Dual dash fans
Windshield privacy curtain
Large flat-screen color TV (front)
Fire extinguisher
18 Roughing
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It Smoot
18 Phone/modern receptacle
Non-powered cloth driver & passenger seats (Flexsteel)
Living Area / Dinette
Cloth recliner (Flexsteel)
Cloth hide-a-bed (Flexsteel)
Booth dinette
Carbon monoxide detector
Solid surface countertops
Solid surface sink covers
Single lever sink faucet with pullout
Double bowl kitchen sink (stainless
2-burner cook top
Convection microwave (stainless
8-cu. ft. refrigerator (stainless steel)
Solid wood dinette table
Medicine cabinet
Skylight in shower
China toilet
Glass shower door
Solid surface countertops
Solid surface sink bowls
Single lever faucet
Water pump switch
Vanity light
32-inch corner fiberglass shower
Bed comforter with throw pillows
Innerspring queen mattress
Flat screen color television
LPG leak detector
Nightstands with 110-volt receptacles
Solid wood vanity with storage
General Interior
Soft touch vinyl ceiling
Raised panel, solid hardwood cabinet doors
Oak cabinetry
Vinyl tile flooring in kitchen, bath &
entrance landing
Wall-to-wall carpeting in bedroom
& driver’s compartment
Scotchgard® treated carpet & fabrics
Day-night pleated shades
Tank level monitor system
Home theater surround system
Smoke detector
Two 30,000 BTU ducted furnaces
Optional Features on
this coach
Regal Blue full body paint
Two 15,000 BTU roof A/C with
heat pump
Cellular phone antenna
Semi-automatic satellite dish
Dual pane insulated windows (not
incl. entrance door)
One step automatic awning
Chrome mirrors
1000-watt inverter for front & rear
Power sun visors
4-door, 10-cu.ft. refrigerator w/ice
Prep washer/dryer cabinet
Wood plank galley-bath floor
Powered Ultra Leather Passenger/
Driver Seats (Flexsteel)
Ultra Leather Recliner (Flexsteel)
Ultra Leather Hide-a-Bed (Flexsteel)
Bedroom AM/FM/CD Stereo
Optional Features
Available on the
allegro bay
TruCenter Steering System
Powered cloth driver seat (Flexsteel)
Cloth Versa-Flex automatic sofa
Cloth Magic Bed
Free standing dinette
3-burner cooktop with oven
12-cu.ft. 4-door refrigerator
Natural maple cabinetry (simulated)
Walnut cabinetry (simulated)
Central vacuum cleaner
Wheelbase – 254"
Overall Length (approx.) – 38'
Overall Height w/roof air – 12'4"
Interior Height – 80"
Overall Width – 101"
Interior Width – 96"
Weights & Capacities
GVWR – 24,000 lb.
GAWR (front) – 9,000 lb.
GAWR (rear) – 15,500 lb.
GCWR – 30,000 lb.
UVW – 18,950 lb.
Trailer hitch capacity – 6,000 lb.
Power Train
Engine – 340 hp
Torque (Lbs.-Ft., max. net)
– 455@3200
Transmission – Allison 1000 Series Automatic 5-speed w/elec
Tire Size – 235/80R 22.5
Alternator (amps) – 130
Frame – Workhorse 24,000
Brakes – Disk brakes front & rear
Suspension (front and rear) – Leaf
springs with Bilstien shocks
Leveling jacks – HWH hydraulic or
Atwood electric
Body – Laminated floor, sidewalls,
and roof
Support – Steel-aluminum reinforced
Front-Rear caps – Fiberglass
Exterior side panels – Gel-coat
fiberglass walls with painted
graphics or full body paint
Sleeps – Four adults
Fuel tank – 75 gal.
Fresh water – 84 gal.
Black water – 45 gal.
Grey water – 52 gal.
LPG tank (filled to 80% capacity)
– 31.3 gal.
MSRP is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price and does not
include dealer prep or options.
Manufacturer reserves the right to
change or discontinue models offered, standard features, optional
equipment, and prices without
prior notice. Dealer prices may
This is the approximate weight of
the vehicle with a full fuel tank,
engine oil, and coolants. The UVW
does not include cargo, fresh water, LP gas, passengers, or dealerinstalled accessories.
To locate the Tiffin dealer nearest
you, go to www.tiffinmotorhomes.
com and click on “dealer locator.”
If internet access is not available,
call 256-356-8661 and ask the
operator for the Tiffin dealer location nearest to you.
please note
All options may not be available in
all models. Because of progressive
improvement during a model year,
specifications, standard and optional equipment are subject to change
without notice or obligation.
Allegro Bay 38 TDB 19
photographs courtesy of the authors
It’s not a hand out. It’s a hand UP!
by Frank and Jan Woythal
any RVers are traveling around
the country with a dual mission. They have fun and also
help those who are less fortunate. As a
group of volunteers working with Habitat for Humanity International, the “RV
Care-A-Vanners” (RV–CAVs) have been
building homes since 1988. Mostly retirees, their goal is to eliminate poverty
housing nationwide.
During that year Jack and Lois Wolters
and some of their RV friends helped out
in two locations in Florida. In the past 12
months, over 1,500 people traveling in
nearly 1,000 RVs helped build affordable
homes at well over 100 locations. Collectively, they logged over 225,000 work
Originally called “RV Gypsies,” these
dedicated volunteers donate their time,
talent, and personal resources building
simple homes alongside local volunteers
and often with the family members who
will purchase the home.
In order to participate in a build, the
RV–CAVs check quarterly bulletins mailed
by Habitat for Humanity in Americus,
Georgia, and sign up by phone. The only
20 Roughing It Smoot hly
prerequisite is ownerhip of a motorhome,
5th wheel, or camper. Chapter affiliates
post their volunteer needs and the two
week periods they wish to have RV–CAVs
aboard. The CAV bulletin mailed last fall
listed requests for 45 builds to be filled
prior to late May 2005!
RV–CAVs have completed homes in
45 states including Alaska and in recent
years have built in Nova Scotia, Ontario,
Alberta, and Newfoundland. An annual
trip to New Zealand that utilizes rental
motorhomes fills rapidly. If more volunteers apply than are needed, they are
placed on a waiting list.
Mike and Mary Ellen Cotter from Port
Huron, Michigan, often rent a motorhome
for a couple of months so that they can be
RV Care-A-Vanners for a build or two.
“The first build we wanted to do was
filled early, but we later were placed on
the build list due to a cancellation. We
planned on working just the first week
in case the experience didn’t work well
for us. By the end of the first morning
we were hooked! ‘Habititus’ had infected both of us! There is no known cure,”
Mary Ellen explained.
“The chief reasons we do this is to help
folks buy a simple house, to meet our old
Care-A-Vanner friends, and to make new
friends,” she said. “We’ve only been vacationing–volunteering since1999. We have
met some great people, but wintering in
southern states is an added bonus!”
RV–CAVs firmly believe that “THOSE
The “dean” of the RV Care-A-Vanners
might be Art and Mary Ann Mavis of Roanoke, Alabama. During a recent year, they
logged 26 weeks of building and living in
their Allegro Bus. Art is often called “The
Tool Man” by his peers. He has every tool
a veteran carpenter has plus duplicates! AlClockwise from left: Front wall, interior walls,
exterior walls and trusses are erected sequentially. Vinyl siding team: Mary, Darlene, and
Mary Ellen on the platform and Marie assisting
below. Art and Mary Ann Mavis sometimes
log 26 weeks a year with HFH. Jan Woythal
cuts molding while husband Frank tightens
hurricane hardware in Florida.
though Mary Ann hasn’t driven nails in a
while, she keeps the safest, cleanest build
site anywhere. Art will not sign up for a
build unless there is a fitness center nearby with “cardiovascular” equipment. Art
works out after work. The Mavises recently
celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary!
RV–CAVs’ ages run the gamut from late
40s to 70 plus. On a recent Jimmy Carter
Build in the south, a couple pulled into
the campground and literally jumped out
of their Zephyr motorhome with, “Hi,
we’re Bob and Marie French from Texas
and we’re glad to be here. Heck, we’re glad
to be ANYWHERE!” Bob spent years in
the tele-com field but will tackle any assigned task from framing to roofing. Very
few RV–CAVs had prior building experience. For most, it’s on-the-job training.
On-site safety is taught early in a build.
Some locations have a reputation for
promoting 10-pound builds meaning
that the volunteers are fed so well that
they will undoubtedly gain 10 pounds in
those two weeks. Generally, a local chapter will provide free camping near the
build site plus coffee breaks and lunches.
Some locations even provide dinners.
A typical RV–CAV build might progress
in the following manner: Potential volun-
Owner Profiles 21
teers list their names for a build three to
twelve months away. Two months before
the build starts, the team leader for the
group of six to twelve RVs sends a welcome
letter to all participants with a description
of the structure (re-hab or new construction), directions to the campsite, contact
phone numbers, e-mail accessibility, locations of churches, shopping, tourist attractions, and medical facilities. After a team
meeting on the Sunday preceding the first
build day, the local Habitat for Humanity
chapter hosts a welcome–orientation dinner attended by the RV–CAVs along with
local volunteers and the family who will
purchase the home.
The rate of progress on any build depends
on the number and skill of the RV–CAVs, local participation, local customs, regulations,
building codes, and the weather.
DAY 1 –A local site supervisor will oversee all work. All lumber for the entire job
is graded and marked. Some houses are
built on stem walls with floor joists and
sub-flooring while others are built on a
concrete slab. Door and window headers and wall intersections are fabricated.
The future homeowner may be working
to meet the hundreds of hours of “sweat
equity” required.
DAY 2– Chalk lines are snapped on the
sub-floor for walls and the front wall
is assembled complete with sheathing
and housewrap. The wall goes up and is
braced and nailed.
DAY 3– The remaining exterior walls are
fabricated. RV–CAVs (and some locals)
will prefabricate the interior walls as
space on the sub-floor permits.
DAY 4– The remaining three exterior walls
and the interior walls are erected and tied
together. Part of the team may be installing the windows and exterior walls.
DAY 5– Roof trusses are set in place and
braced. Sometimes a crane is used, depending on the length of trusses, their
weight, and the distance from the ground
to the top of the walls.
DAY 6– Exterior doors are installed. Part of
the team installs the roof sheathing while
others flash around doors and windows to
prepare for siding installation which will be
vinyl or Hardie cement board. Siding the
average 3–4 bedroom house usually takes
three to four days. After the roof is sheathed,
the fascia and soffit can be installed.
DAY 7– After the wiring and plumbing
are completed, insulation is installed.
Some jurisdictions require licensed
tradespeople to do these tasks. Usually
we have one or two skilled members who
can qualify to do the work.
DAY 8– Blocking for kitchen and bath
cabinets and towel rods is installed. Ceiling drywall is installed with screws while
wall sheetrock is nailed into place.
DAY 9– Joint, nail, and screw locations
are mudded. Drywall finishing is subcontracted to professionals unless the team
has several members with this expertise.
LAST DAY! After the drywall phase is
completed, the painting begins and is often done by the future homeowner.
Load up your RV, hook up with a Habitat team or two, and work your way around
North America building houses and friendships. Call 800-HABITAT, ext. 2446.
The authors have participated in 26
builds in nine states. Jan, a registered
nurse, and Frank, a college professor,
retired in 1993. Traveling and living in
their 2003 Allegro Bay, the Woythals will
be found at builds in Texas, Alabama, and
New York State.
Tiffin Management Team: Horace Stepp, Plant Manager
From the Road The Life & Times of Tiffin Motorhome Owners
Continued from page 12
Continued from page 48
plain. “My job is my hobby now. When we do take a vacation,
we enjoy going to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. I like to hunt for
Indian artifacts and fish when I get the chance.”
With the help of friends and several people at the plant, the
Stepps remodeled their home recently, and then helped their
son remodel his home. Very dedicated to the work of their
church, Stepp and several other men built the church building
where they now worship. “I just really enjoy working with my
tools,” he said.
“There’s not many places where a man’s wife, son, and daughter can work in the same plant. Our son Stacy did drafting, costing, billing materials, and electrical diagrams. He earned his B.S.
in biology and later an M.S. in health education. He now works
at Cooper Tire as an environmental coordinator. Our daughter Deanne helped me with drawing on the computer before
she left to attend the University of North Alabama where she
earned her degree in elementary education. She now teaches at
Belmont. Janice ran CAD/CAM programs before she became
my secretary,” he continued.
“I’ve been here 30 years and there has never been a day that I
did not look forward to coming to work. However many working days I have left, I want to spend them here. I would love to
put in 40 years at Tiffin Motorhomes and retire at 66. That will
be a personal milestone for me if the good Lord gives me the
health to do it.”
throughout Alaska. They were gone for nearly three months.
In the near future we are planning to launch a web site for
the Roughing It Smoothly magazine readers to provide you with
extended stories like this one. Until then, please enjoy the picture of the four Edvensons and look forward to learning about
their trip in detail.
Fred Thompson, Editor
Karen & Marvin Edvenson
Gladys & Roger Edvenson
Ê p Ê " , Ê 9 " 1 , Ê " " , /° Ê
3 % ! , ! . $ & , 5 3 ( 7 ) 4 ( 4 % # ( . / , / ' 9
22 Roughing It Smoot hly
Clockwise from top: •“This motorhome doesn’t have an engine!”
•L-to-R, Tim, Lex, Bob, and Van are a father and sons management
team who have taken the Tiffin Motorhomes company to new heights.
•Although recently retired, Judy Tiffin’s influence is still felt throughout
TMH. •When Bob got up to speak, he threw away the script and spoke
from his heart.
50,000 Motorhomes
On February 24, 2005, Tiffin Motorhomes rolled
its 50,000th motorhome off the assembly line, an
achievement that was accomplished in 32 years and
3 months. Alabama Governor Bob Riley declared
February 24 as Tiffin Motorhome Day throughout
the state. Alabama’s Senate and House of Representatives issued Proclamations that honored the company’s tremendous impact on the state’s economy,
its high standards for quality and service, and its
exemplary treatment of employees, customers, and
“I never knew I’d build motorhomes, but I knew
I liked wheels — cars, trucks, anything that rolls,”
quipped founder and CEO Bob Tiffin. “Our family
2 4 Roughing It Smoot hly
and this company has been richly blessed. I just ask
for your prayers, your continued support, and that
you keep buying our motorhomes.”
More than 300 suppliers, customers, and employees
cheered as Bob and Judy Tiffin and their three sons,
Tim, Van, and Lex, enjoyed the historic moment.
The 50,000th unit is a 40-foot Allegro Bus with a
quad slide, which has become one of the company’s
most popular floorplans.
Typical of his commitment to the company, his
dealers, and his customers, Bob Tiffin left immediately after the celebration to fly to Baltimore and
support one of his dealers at a motorhome show in
50,000t h Motor home Story 25
d a ys
Ivy Green
Alabama Music Hall of Fame
Spring Park
Cold Water Books
Pilot House Restaurant
Palace Ice Cream &
Sandwich Shop
The Rosenbaum House
designed by Frank
Lloyd Wright
W. C. Handy Birthplace & Museum
U.S. Space and Rocket Center
Monte Sano State Park
The McWane Center
Sherling Lake
The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center
Bellingrath Gardens
26 Roughing It Smoot hly
S t a te – b y – S t a te
Alabama Highlights
by Fred Thompson
here is so much to see and do in Alabama
that I decided to “hit some of the highlights” as we rejoin our regular travel feature
“Five Days State-by-State.” With the exception of our last stop, we will visit indoor attractions. All of us RVers are lifelong learners
— so let’s get going.
Coming into the state at its northwest
corner, we made Tuscumbia our first stop.
First incorporated as Ococoposa in 1820 just
one year after Alabama gained statehood, the
town quickly changed its name to Big Spring.
Citizens still weren’t happy. In 1822 a referendum offered the name of Annisville after the
first child born in the town or Tuscumbia in
honor of Chief Tuscumbia, a Chickasaw Indian chief who still lived there. Tuscumbia won
by one vote. A legend says that the old chief
made a little pair of moccasins for baby Anne
after his name was selected.
While Tuscumbia is a charming town fast
approaching its bicentennial, we really started
our journey here because it is the birthplace
of Helen Keller. Born on June 27, 1880, to
Capt. Arthur H. and Kate Adams Keller, Helen
was a perfectly normal child. Just 19 months
later she suffered a devastating fever which left
her deaf and blind. With no ability to communicate with their daughter over the next four
years, Arthur and Kate saw her grow into a
frustrated and undisciplined child who threw
tantrums to satisfy her perceived needs.
Eventually Capt. Keller spoke with Alexander Graham Bell who recommended that
he contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind.
The institute sent Annie Sullivan to Ivy Green
to assist the Kellers. Helen’s new teacher quickly realized that she would have to separate
Helen from her parents in order to bring discipline and order into her life and to create a
teaching environment.
She asked the captain for permission to take
Helen to the small cottage behind the Kellers’
home. Helen would think that she was separated from those who responded favorably to
her tantrums, giving Annie the opportunity
Ivy Green, the childhood home of Helen Keller, was originally part of a 640-acre estate and the second
home built in Tuscumbia.
QUICK FACTS: From its northern border
with Tennessee to its southernmost barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama measures
331 miles. Its east–west boundaries are 207
miles apart at the widest point. Alabama is
the 27th largest state in the union with 51,609
square miles. In 2003, Alabama’s population
exceeded 4.5 million. Navigable rivers flow
through nearly every section of the state and
the U.S. Corp of Engineers (USCE) has created hundreds of square miles of lakes. With
its Deep South location, state parks, USCE
campgrounds, and private facilities are open
year-round, although some might find January
and February a little chilly in the northern half
of the state.
The foothills of the Appalachian Mountains
extend from its northeast corner all the way
to Birmingham, with Cheaha Mountain being the highest point in the state at 2,407 feet.
Of course, if you travel to the Gulf, you have
reached sea level.
For a comprehensive planning guide for travel in Alabama, call 334-242-4169 and request a
copy of the Alabama Official 2005 Vacation Guide
and Alabama 2005 Calendar of Events. Two books
by Gay N. Martin will help you add personal interest in planning your trip: Alabama’s Historic
Restaurants and Off the Beaten Path–Alabama.
Ivy Green, Helen Keller’s Home
Ivy Green is located at 300 West North Commons in Tuscumbia, a few blocks northwest of
the courthouse. For complete information, call
256-383-4066 or visit www.helenkellerbirthplace.org The Keller home and grounds are
open for tours M-Sa 8:30–4; Su 1– 4; last tour
starts at 3:45 daily. Adults $6; ages 5–18, $2;
Seniors and AAA, $5. The Miracle Worker runs
this summer from June 10 – July 16. Gates open
each evening at 6:30, play at 8. Reserved seating, $10; gen. adm., $6. Tickets include a selfguided tour of the home and grounds.
Alabama Music Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame is located on U.S. 72W. M–
Sa, 9–5; Su, 1–5. Adults $8, Students (13–18),
$7; (6–12) $5; under 5, free. Seniors (55+), $7.
Call 800-239-2643 for more information.
Where to camp tonight
As you leave Tuscumbia, take Cave Street north
to the Helen Keller Hospital. Turn right going east
on Avalon Avenue toward U.S. 43/72 where you
will turn left. Follow 43/72 across the Tennessee
River into Florence. After the bridge get in the
right lane and exit on Hwy. 20 toward Savannah,
Tenn. McFarland Park will be on your left. $15/
night for water, elec. $11/night seniors (62+).
Dump station available. Some pull-throughs. Asphalt pads. Boat ramps and water park nearby.
The Frank Lloyd Wright House
Leaving McFarland Park, turn left on Hwy 20
and take the first right up the hill on Beverly
Drive. Take the first right on W. Alabama Street
to Locust Street. Turn right and then immediately right again (it’s almost a U-turn) on to
Riverview Drive. The house is one block on your
28 Roughing It Smoot hly
to structure the teaching opportunities.
A day of triumph came soon after when
Helen learned her first word: water.
After Helen learned that things had
names and that those words allowed her
to communicate with others, she pressed
Annie to continue and learned 30 words
by the end of that day. She learned 300
words by the end of the month. Many
years later after she had graduated cum
laude from Radcliffe, specialized testing
showed Helen had an IQ of 160. There’s
much more to learn about “America’s First
Lady of Courage,” but you can enjoy that
experience when you visit.
Don’t leave Tuscumbia yet. There’s
more. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame
is visited by thousands every year. It features memorabilia from the careers of
Alabamians including Tammy Wynette,
Lionel Richie, Emmylou Harris, Alabama,
The Commodores, Nat King Cole, W.C.
Handy, Hank Williams, and others.
Want to see how a dying downtown
area has been rejuvenated? In 1995 Harvey Robbins sold his successful business,
National Floor Products, for $120 million and planned to retire to a life of fishing, golf, and travel. But he and his wife
Joyce Ann realized a few years later that
Tuscumbia was where they really wanted
to be. But Tuscumbia was not the town it
used to be when they were young. They
especially missed the soda fountain where
they and high school friends had courted.
Many other owners also had closed their
stores, leaving darkened, empty caverns.
Harvey and Joyce Ann found a new
mission: rebuild downtown Tuscumbia.
First, Robbins revitalized Spring Park
with a 48-foot waterfall, lights, and fountains plus a miniature railroad and other
attractions. Then it was up the hill into
town where a handsome, old two-story
building became Cold Water Books and
the Pilot House Restaurant. The bookstore is thoughtfully divided into alcoves
to allow the browser to tuck himself away
to peruse the contents of richly finished
bookshelves. A large alcove and “cave”
is devoted to children’s titles. They can
crawl into their hideaway with Harry Potter and read with no distractions. After
their parents have completed browsing
the first floor, the balconies beckon, offering a perch to watch incoming patrons
while they pretend to read. Before leaving,
you must stop at the coffee and dessert
bar just inside the large plate glass windows. Are the passersby on the sidewalk
watching you, or is it vice versa? Either
way, it was a fun hour and I managed to
buy only one book!
Near the bookstore with a couple
of shops in between is the Pilot House,
serving good homemade soup and salad
selections, sandwiches, and lunch-sized
entrees for less than $10. But save room
for dessert just up the street at the Palace Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop, 100
South Main Street. Harvey and Joyce Ann
restored their high school ice cream parlor for all to enjoy. How long has it been
since you had a Coke Float or “made
eyes” at your girl friend as you shared a
Banana Split?
Robbins continued his development
by renovating abandoned stores and enticing shop keepers to return. By adding
some apartments above the renovated
shops, Harvey drew new urbanites to the
area who wanted to make the downtown
their permanent home. The Robbinses
have set an example of civic pride in the
town where they grew up. After all, they
could have gone to Sedona and played
golf all winter!
Our next stop is the Rosenbaum Home,
the only Frank Lloyd Wright structure in
Alabama. In 1939 newlyweds Stanley and
Mildred Rosenbaum asked a local architect
to contact the famed Mr. Wright to see if
he would accept the assignment to design
their home. To their delight, he consented
and designed a home in his Usonian style.
Designed to meet the needs of middle-income American families, the house has
open flowing spaces, natural lighting with
carefully placed windows and skylights, and
many built-in features including the dining
table. Hot water pipes in the concrete floors
provided heat along with three fireplaces.
Wright used his trademark cantilevered
roof to create a carport with no supporting columns. Other flat roof overhangs
The back of the Rosenbaum home faces the street while the front originally oversaw a slope to
the Tennessee River a mile away. The river is no longer in view due to houses built since 1945.
The lunar lander and lunar excursion module are
on permanent display at the Rocket Center.
protect the windows from the midday sun,
while admitting the early morning and
late afternoon light. The exterior walls
were fabricated using tongue-and-groove
stained cypress on both sides mounted to
a sandwich board in the middle. Unusual
for north Alabama, the walls contain no
insulation. The original house contained
1,540 square feet, offering very functional
but not spacious rooms. Not counting its
two-acre lot which was a gift from Stanley’s parents, the house cost $7,500.
By 1948 the Rosenbaum family was
tripled by four sons. They returned to
Mr. Wright, requesting that he design an
addition to accommodate their growth.
Wright agreed and designed an addition
of 1,084 square feet. A visit and tour will
show you just how he did it.
Just a few blocks away from the Rosenbaum home at 620 W. College Street is the
birthplace of the “Father of the Blues.”
William Christopher Handy was born
in Florence on November 16, 1873. His
log cabin home now includes a research
library for blues historians and a museum
that offers the most complete collection of
his personal papers plus his famous trumpet and the piano on which he composed
the “Saint Louis Blues.” Those who are really immersed in blues history and culture
will find an impressive collection of artifacts, photographs, music manuscripts,
and personal possessions.
If you are an ice cream fan, you can’t leave
Florence without visiting Trowbridge’s, famous for its Orange-Pineapple Ice Cream,
still made from Paul Trowbridge’s original
recipe first offered in 1918. Third generation
owner, Don Trowbridge, keeps the menu
simple with sandwiches, soups, chili, salads,
and ice cream. And ohhh, that ice cream!
A 90 cent cone had three dips piled on it.
Malted milkshakes are still on the menu
along with a 51-year-old recipe for chili introduced by Don’s mother, Martha, in 1944.
Ice cream sodas are still made just like they
were 80 years ago. 316 North Court Street.
Hours: 9–5:30, M–Sa. Closed Sunday.
Leaving Florence, we traveled U.S. 72
East to Huntsville. If you would like to get
situated in a park immediately, there are a
couple of nice options — the Rocket Center
Campground and Monte Sano State Park.
See Huntsville campgrounds at right.
If you have lived in the United States for
the last 45 years, you have witnessed the
incredible progress of America’s space pro-
left. If you are coming from downtown Florence, turn west off of Court Street on to Dr.
Hicks Blvd. Turn left on Locust and then right
on Riverview. Hours: Tu–Sa, 10–4. Adults $8,
seniors $5. For more information, see www.
wrightinalabama.com, and www.arapahoeacres.org/usonian_style.htm.
The W. C. Handy Birthplace
From Court Street (Florence’s north-south main
street), take College Street west to 620 which
will be on the north side of the street. Hours:
Tu–Sa, 10–4. Adults $2, students $0.50.
Huntsville Campgrounds
Rocket Center Campground. As you get into
the west side of Huntsville on U.S. 72 East,
you will intersect SR 255, a north-south artery also known as Research Park Blvd. Take
SR 255 south and exit onto I-565 East. Then
immediately take Exit 15 and follow the signs
into the Rocket Center. The RV Campground
is located just east of the museum. It’s not the
most scenic campground in Alabama, but it is
very convenient to the Rocket Center and other
Huntsville destinations. Facilities: 27 sites, 5
pull-throughs, full hook-ups, $14/night; restrooms with showers, laundry, security, and pay
phone. Reservations are not required but suggested in view of the limited number of sites
available. For spring and summer travel, call at
least two weeks in advance: 256-830-4987.
Monte Sano State Park. Not as convenient as
the Rocket Center Campground, but much
more scenic. After you get on I-565 (see above),
exit on U.S. 431 East (Governors Drive) and
travel approx. 5 miles to Monte Sano Blvd. Turn
left and go 2.5 miles to Nolen Ave. and turn
right. Park is one mile ahead. Facilities: 89 sites,
19 with sewer; restrooms with showers; laundry.
Rates: $16.80/night with elec. and water; $2.10
add’l for sewer. Gravel pads. Scenic hiking trails.
You’re still in the city but surrounded by a 2,100acre state park. Call 256-534-6589 for availability or to make advance reservations.
U.S. Space and Rocket Center
For directions to the Center, see Rocket Center
Campground above. Current Attractions: Spacedome IMAX Theater — “Space Station” and
“Fighter Pilot.” Moving Displays — German V-2
Rocket and Mir: Labs in Space. Admissions: Combo Ticket (Museum, Rocket Park, One Movie):
Adults, $19.95; Ages 3–12, $12.95. Museum
Only: $14 and $9. IMAX Theater Only: $8 and
$7. Hours: 9–5 daily. More Information: 256837-3400 and www.spacecamp.com
Birmingham Campground South offers an
attractive campground with a full array of amenities, approximately 20 minutes south of downtown Birmingham. Located just off of I-65 south
of the I-459 perimeter bypass at exit 242. Go 400
yds west on Hwy 52, then 300 yds north on Hwy
33. Facilities: 119 sites incl. 56 pull throughs. Avg.
site width 50-ft. Concrete pads. Rec areas. LP
sales. Restrooms with showers, laundry. Heated
pool. Rates: $32/night for full hook-up + 14% tax.
10% discount with KOA or Good Sam cards.
Allegro Highlights Club News 29
The McWane Center
Leaving the Birmingham Campground South
take I-65 North to exit 260-B. Follow 3rd Avenue North to 19th Street. Turn right. McWane
Center is located on the corner of 2nd Avenue
and 19th Street North. Parking is available for
$2 per vehicle in McWane Center’s parking deck,
adjacent to the facility on 2nd Avenue North.
Admissions: Combination ticket includes King
Tut exhibit, Mysteries of Egypt IMAX film, and Adventure Hall. Adults $21 and Seniors (65+) $19.
Hours: M – F, 9–5; Sa, 10–6; Su, noon – 6.
Sherling Lake
Exit 130 Interstate 65. Follow SR 185 and 263
four miles north. There’s fishing within the park
and a Robert Trent Jones Golf course nearby.
Owned and operated by the Parks and Recreation Department of Greenville, Sherling Lake offers full hook-ups (30- and 50-amp) on concrete
pads. Some of the pull-throughs are too close together. You may want to request a site with a little
more privacy. Rates: $21.95/night. 10% Good
Sam discount. Cash or personal checks only.
The Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center
The Center is located at 65 Government Street
in downtown Mobile. Automobile parking is
available in a nearby lot at no charge. Admission: DSS, Herod’s Temple and other exhibits—Adults, $17; Youth (13–18) & Seniors
(60+), $15; Children, 2–12, $12. Add the IMAX
for $2.50. Tickets may be purchased online at
www.scrollsmobile.com/reservations1.html or
by phone at 877-DSS-SHOW. Tickets can be
purchased up to 72 hours in advance. An administrative fee is added to phone purchases.
Hours: 9–6:30 daily. Hours have been extended
on Tuesday and Saturday with the last ticket
to see the DSS sold at 7 p.m. and the exhibit
closing at 9 p.m. Best times are weekdays after
12 noon and weekends after 4 p.m. Tickets are
very limited on Saturdays between 9 and 4.
Bellingrath Gardens and campground
On I-10 exit 15A west of Mobile, go south on
US 90/SR 16 for approx. 3 miles into Theodore.
Turn left on CR 59 (Bellingrath Road) and drive
9 miles to the Gardens. Hours: Open daily at 8
a.m. Home tours begin at 9. Admission (1st price
adult, 2nd price child): Gardens only, $9, $5.25;
Gardens and home, $16.50, $10.50; Gardens
and cruise, $16.50, $10.50; Gardens, Home,
and Cruise, $25, $15.75.
Paynes RV Park is located 1.5 miles south of the
turn onto CR 59. Full hook-ups are $21.20 plus
tax. Most sites are on a large limestone graveled
lot. Very little landscaping. Clean restrooms,
showers, laundry. Propane available. 58 sites,
39 pull-throughs. Managers live in park.
Websites to Check Before You Leave
30 Roughing It Smoot hly
gram. A one-day visit to the U.S. Space and
Rocket Center will bring that history into
sharp focus. Who can forget our first man
in space, Alan Shepard’s 15-minute suborbital flight on May 5, 1961, in the Mercury program? And just nine months
later, John Glenn’s three-orbit flight on
February 20, 1962? Then the Gemini
program launched its first mission on
March 23, 1965, flown by Virgil Grissom
and John W. Young. Ten Gemini flights
in just 20 months provided vital statistics
and experience to transition the knowledge base into the Apollo program with
its goal of reaching the moon. That goal
was attained on July 20, 1969, when Neil
Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin landed on
the moon. As Armstrong climbed out
of the lunar module and set foot on the
moon, he uttered the unforgettable words,
“That’s one small step for man; one giant
leap for mankind.”
Six Apollo missions landed 12 astronauts on the moon: Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, Charles Conrad, Alan Bean,
Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell, David Scott,
James Irwin, John W. Young, Charles Duke,
Gene Cernan, and Harrison Schmitt — the
only humans to have set foot on another solar system body. Do you know which of the
12 who landed on the moon was one of the
original seven Mercury astronauts? Who is
the oldest astronaut to go into space?
The history of the U.S. space program
really began long before our first astronaut
was launched into space by a Redstone
rocket in 1961. In the early 1930s, the Germans developed the V-2 rocket which was
eventually used to bomb England. Dr. Wernher von Braun led 118 German scientists
and rocket experts out of East Germany
and surrendered to the Americans in September 1945. After four years in the Southwest, they arrived in Huntsville on June 1,
1949, and began to operate under Redstone
Arsenal, a division of the U.S. Army.
You should allow a whole day for the
Space and Rocket Center. The Museum
is comprehensive to the point of being
phenomenal. All of the hardware in the
space program is creatively displayed and
thoroughly documented. The history of
rocketry is told through the lives of men
whose work became the foundation for
the accomplishments in the last half century: Tsiolkovsky, Oberth, Goddard, and,
of course, Wernher von Braun.
While the Museum creates an appre-
This fragment from the Psalms at 34.75 inches wide is the largest intact fragment from the Dead Sea Scrolls to be exhibited outside of Israel.
The extraordinary value of the treasures of
King Tutankhamun’s tomb is well represented
by his funerary mask of gold.
ciation for what has been done, the IMAX
theater presents a thrilling film of the International Space Station and what the
future will bring as we continue to explore the limitless boundaries of space.
The Rocket Park, an outdoor exhibit,
has been called “the finest rocket collection in the world” by former U.S. Senator
and Astronaut John Glenn.
Remember, we are selecting “highlights
of Alabama.” There is so much more to
see and do in Huntsville. Please refer to
the Alabama 2005 Vacation Guide, pages
45–48, if you would like to stay longer.
Our next stop is Birmingham to visit
the McWane Center. The beautiful old
Loveman’s Department Store has been
repurposed as a science and learning
center aimed primarily at children, but
it carries excellent exhibits and IMAX
films for their parents and grandparents.
Scheduled through May 8, Tutankhamun:
Wonderful Things from the Pharaoh’s Tomb
overwhelms the visitor with the rich treasures that archaeologists discovered in
King Tut’s many-chambered tomb.
In the 19th century, most of the great
pharaohs’ tombs were found in the pyramids, somewhat obvious locations that were
plundered. But King Tut’s tomb was exca-
vated in the hill country and its entrance totally disguised. The boy king was only nine
years old when he ascended the throne and
only 18 when he died in 1323 B.C.
Howard Carter, an English archaeologist, made the discovery on November 4,
1922, after a young native Egyptian member of his team inadvertently pushed pebbles into an opening which happened to
be the roof of one of the outer chambers
of the tomb. The McWane exhibit leads
the visitor through well-planned learning
centers prior to viewing the exquisitely
crafted reproductions of artifacts on display.
Mysteries of Egypt, the first IMAX® film
adventure from National Geographic,
unlocks the myths and reveals the masterpieces of this fascinating empire that
began some 5,000 years ago. Egypt is
captured for the first time on the giant
screen and brought to life by Egyptian
native and narrator Omar Sharif (Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia), the audience’s guide into the Mysteries of Egypt.
Receiving exclusive access to the Valley of
the Nile, National Geographic captured
breathtaking aerial shots of the pyramids
which give the audience intimate views of
the pharaohs’ tombs and treasures. Mysteries runs through May 15.
King Tut’s treasures and Omar Sharif’s
talent for storytelling make this a “can’t
miss” opportunity.
As we said about Huntsville, there is so
much more to see and do in this wonderful city. Please refer to the Alabama 2005
Vacation Guide, pages 62–67, to plan a longer stay. If you are ready to splurge on a
grand dinner, choose one of Frank Stitt’s
restaurants located in Birmingham’s his-
toric Southside: Highlands Bar and Grill,
Chez Fonfon, Bottega, and Bottega Café.
Consult the internet or yellow pages for
addresses and phone numbers, and Yahoo Maps for directions.
Now we are off to Alabama’s coastal
city—Mobile, home of the Gulf Coast
Exploreum Science Center. We decided
to break up the trip with a stopover at
Sherling Lake, just outside of Greenville.
See sidebar at left.
In 1947 Muhammed el-Dhib, a Bedouin shepherd, threw a rock at a cliff wall
in the Judean desert near the Dead Sea
about 14 miles east of Jerusalem. The
rock fell through an opening in the cliff
and he heard the sound of shattering
pottery. The shepherd investigated and
recovered seven scrolls from their pottery containers. These scrolls were sold
in Jerusalem within a few months for a
mere pittance. Unrealized at the time, the
greatest archaeological discovery of the
20th century had begun to unfold.
Between February 15 and March 5,
1947, the first excavation by trained archaeologists was focused on 11 caves near
the settlement of Qumran on the northwestern tip of the Dead Sea, which has
the distinction of being the lowest point
on the earth’s surface (1,320 ft. below sea
level). Qumran receives almost no rainfall.
Now referred to as the Dead Sea Scrolls,
over 100,000 fragments have been pieced
together into 930 separate documents.
Only 20 of the documents are complete.
Inscribed 2,000 years ago, these manuscripts represent the oldest surviving
copies of the Hebrew Bible. Every book
in the Old Testament is represented with
the exception of Esther.
Prior to their discovery, the Aleppo Codex and the St. Petersburg Codex (A.D.
1000) were the earliest known surviving
copies of the Old Testament. The Dead
Sea Scrolls predate these manuscripts by
1,000 years. Although separated by 1,000
years, the 2 Codexes and the DSS are almost identical, attesting to the integrity
of our current Old Testament. Other than
spelling variations and other minor differences, the text of the Hebrew Bible remained unchanged for a millennium.
On display through May 8, the Exploreum presents sections of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy,
Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Psalms. The Deuteronomy scroll contains a complete copy of
the Ten Commandments. The exhibition
demonstrates how the Bible was written
and has been faithfully transmitted from
generation to generation to today.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were stored in clay jars
like these replicas in the exhibit.
Alabama Highlights 31
The Mysteries of Egypt is also being
screened in the Exploreum’s IMAX theater.
For those interested in the Biblical history
of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus, the
Exploreum’s newest exhibit, Virtual Journeys, features a virtual reconstruction of
King Herod’s Temple Mount. A cross between a planetarium and a 40-seat theater,
Virtual Journeys uses scientifically accurate digital data banks to move you back
in time to experience the splendor and
grandeur of the Temple as it stood in Jerusalem prior to its destruction by the Roman army in 70 A.D. The viewer can walk
beneath the massive stone pillars and gaze
into the breathtaking ceilings high above.
The visual projections are historically and
archaeologically accurate.
We concluded our Alabama Highlights tour with a visit to Bellingrath
Gardens and Home. Walter Bellingrath
was Mobile’s first Coca-Cola bottler, obtaining a franchise in 1903. An inveterate
workaholic, he at first walked the railroad
tracks between the small towns within
his franchise zone to promote his business because he lacked the train fare. His
determination brought great success but
also took its toll on his health. In 1917 his
doctor advised him to buy the Fowl River
fishing camp he had been admiring and
Influenced by Mediterranean architecture with
its courtyards and use of wrought iron, the
Bellingrath home opens daily at 9 for tours.
include regular rest in his busy schedule.
He and Mrs. Bellingrath already were
well-known in Mobile for the beautiful
gardens surrounding their home on Ann
Street. She began moving plants to their
camp. Conditions were ideal and each
Spring the collection became more spectacular.
In 1927 the Bellingraths solicited the
professional assistance of George Rogers,
Mobile’s most prominent architect. Under
his supervision the gardens evolved into specialty areas connected by paths and lawns.
In the Spring of 1932 the Bellingraths
opened their gardens to a Depressionweary public for a day of azalea gazing.
The attendance was overwhelming and
soon after they decided to open the gardens permanently while charging a small
fee to assist in upkeep.
The decision to live in the gardens permanently resulted in Mr. Rogers designing
a Mediterranean-style home for the Bellingraths. It was completed in 1935. A guest
house was added in 1939. After Mrs. Bellingrath’s death in 1943, Walter Bellingrath
continued with their plans to develop their
gardens until his death in 1955.
In 1949 Mr. Bellingrath created a nonprofit foundation to assure the continued existence in perpetuity of his beloved
gardens. Since his death, the couple’s extensive Boehm Porcelain collection has
been placed on exhibit in what was the
garage of the guest house. The boat dock
and the river cruise has also proved to be
a popular addition for guests.
As you plan your tour of Alabama, be
sure to check www.bellingrath.org for the
monthly blooming schedules. If you are
traveling in April, you will enjoy the awardwinning rose garden and a host of spring
annuals including hydrangeas, salvia, marigolds, alyssum, dahlias, and pansies.
Lower Prices ...
Better Coverages!
The rich blending of colors throughout Bellingrath Gardens’ 65-acres will thrill both the serious and casual gardener. Paved paths make the
gardens fully accessible to the handicapped.
Sample Motorhome Rates!
32 Roughing It Smoot hly
Annual Price
$ 599.00
$ 614.00
$ 680.00
$ 717.00
$ 755.00
$ 791.00
$ 827.00
$ 866.00
$ 926.00
$ 1026.00
$ 1219.00
$ 1318.00
$ 1418.00
$ 1517.00
Annual Price
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of a
he slide-out was introduced into motorhome architec
ture about 10 years ago. No motorhome feature has en
joyed greater popularity. As so often happens in this industry, a new word was added to our vocabulary.
Every one of the 21 floorplans offered within Tiffin’s five
brands (Allegro, Allegro Bay, Phaeton, Allegro Bus, and Zephyr)
have from two to four slide-outs. It is no mystery why they are
so popular — slide-outs can increase total floor space by 13 to
26 percent!
The smallest motorhome built by TMH — the Allegro 28DA
— has two slide-outs that add approximately 27 sq. ft. to the
unit’s 216 sq. ft. within the straight exterior walls. The additional space created by four slide-outs in the 45-ft. Zephyr is a
whopping 93 sq. ft.
The demand for slide-outs has created the largest sub-assembly
manufacturing operation in the Tiffin plant. Over 30 slide-outs
are built every day. Since it is not practical to fabricate the slideout box on the assembly line, the structures with their interior
cabinetry, windows, lights, carpet, and wiring must be manufactured off-line and join their designated unit at Station No. 11.
The larger front slides are hoisted squarely into the motorhome’s open cavities by small fork-lift trucks, and then bolt-
ed onto the extended, motor-driven arms that were attached
to the frame in the welding shop. The smaller bedroom slides
are deftly dropped into place with an overhead crane carrying
them in a sling. The relative ease with which the slide-outs are
attached to the motorhome is a testament to superior engineering and production line planning.
In the entry-level Allegro brand, the buyer can enjoy three
slide-outs in the just-introduced 35 TSA floorplan that went
into production in February. The other five Allegro floorplans
have two slide-outs. The gas-powered Allegro Bay also offers
three slide-outs in its 38 TBD floorplan which is featured in
this issue on pages 14–19.
In the Phaeton, Tiffin’s entry-level diesel, the buyer may
choose between two, three, or four slide-outs. In this model, the
bedroom slide-out offers a choice between queen- and king-size
beds. In the three- and four-slide options, galley slide-outs add
generous space to the living–dining area.
The Allegro Bus offers the buyer the largest number of slideout options with six floorplans. Two floorplans (35- and 40feet) with two slides; two floorplans (38- and 40-feet) with three
slides; and two floorplans (40- and 42-feet) with four slides. All
of the bedroom slides offer a choice between queen- and kingsize beds. In the quad-slide versions, the unencumbered floor
space in the bedroom becomes downright generous!
The Zephyr! Well, that’s a whole new dimension. The bedroom
slide-out accommodates a queen-size bed with a handsome desk,
chair, and overhead cabinets. The king-size bed slide-out option
includes a shirt closet with a bank of drawers underneath.
In all of the diesel brands, the living–dining area slide-outs
offer a choice between the built-in dinette with large drawers
underneath the seats or a free-standing dining table with a fourdoor hutch.
At Tiffin Motorhomes, superior design and engineering continue to offer the RVer the most choices at prices that confound
our competitors. The following picture story offers a quick
primer in slide-out construction.
Left: The outside wall of the slide-out box is fabricated with welded
aluminum channel, insulated, and processed through the lamination
equipment in the same way as the primary walls. Below: The smaller
sidewalls of the box are also made with the welded aluminum frames
and pressure glued.
From top to bottom: Cabinet frames and ceiling have been added
to this dinette–sofa slide for an Allegro Bay. •Ceiling and cabinet
frames along with hardware have been added to this Allegro bed slide.
•A queen-size bed slide for one of the diesel models stands ready to be
inserted into the motorhome on the production line. •Top right: This
bedroom slide houses a lavatory, medicine cabinets, clothes hamper,
Continued on next page
and ample storage for clothing.
3 4 Roughing It Smoot hly
In Your Cor ner 35
Roam the country,
not the road.
Call 1-800-336-4336
and ask for “Brock” or
visit www.blueox.us for
more info.
36 Roughing It Smoot hly
From top to bottom: •A technician installs
the hardware for a free-standing dinette table.
This slide-out will also contain a large sofa.
•Galley slide-outs are utilized in the quad-slide
floorplans. The cabinet frames and microwave/
convection oven have already been installed.
Solid surface counter tops and frames are in
place awaiting drawer and door installations.
Duct work lies ready to be connected to outlets
under a sofa. •With the use of an overhead
crane and sling, technicians quickly install a
bedroom slide-out and attach it to the motordriven slide-out arms.
For earlier stories about motorhome construction, see the issues for Summer and Fall
2004 and Winter 2005.
Story and photography by Fred Thompson.
• With a push of a button, gas springs adjust
on the move to keep steering centered
• Ease-of-control gives a feeling of luxury
• Comfortable center steering wheel position
for less driver fatigue
• Helps control during wind, blowouts,
drop offs and passing trucks
• Available in 3 sizes to fit most vehicles:
TC35270, TC35160,
TC25135 (non-adjustable)
• Easy to install; custom brackets (sold
separately) fit most applications
• Transferable from coach to coach
Martin Williams
Steering Control
to enhance
your driving
News You Can Use 37
R e c i p e
C o n t e s t
q u ic k shots
f ro m
ti f f in
Folks You’re Likely to Meet
When You Visit at Tiffin
Della Emerson
Store manager, 6 yrs
“I really enjoy meeting my customers
here at Campers
Billy Nichols
Tiffin Service Tech, 28 yrs
“Solving service problems is what our department is all about.”
Richard Blanton
Tiffin Service Tech, 8 yrs
“Just give us all the
information you
can, and we’ll do our
best to solve your service problem.”
Scotty Martin
Tiffin Service Tech, 17 yrs
“Please have your
VIN number ready
when calling so that
we can better
assist you.”
The One-Dish Meal Winner
Congratulations to Doris Stacy of El
Monte, California, whose Chili Relleno
Casserole won first place in Roughing It
Smoothly’s recipe contest. Readers were
challenged in the Volume 2, Number
1 issue to submit their favorite recipe
for a one-dish meal that could be easily
prepared in a motorhome galley. Culinary Operations students at King High
School, Tampa, Florida, under the supervision of Chef Kathleen Reddy, tested all
entries received. Chef Reddy and the culinary students chose Chili Relleno Casserole
as the winning recipe because of its great
Tex-Mex flavor, short list of ingredients,
and ease of preparation.
The recipe was actually submitted by
Ron Stacy, Doris’ husband, who says,
“This is a family recipe, and an easy dish
to prepare. This is one of her recipes that
everyone always seems to ask for. It always
receives raves when shared at campsite dinners.” Thank you, Ron and Doris, for sharing your favorite dish with fellow RVers.
38 Roughing It Smoot hly
Here is Doris’ $100 prize-winning recipe:
Chili Relleno Casserole
Serves 8 to 10
Ingredients fit nicely into a 9 × 13-inch
disposable foil pan.
1 large can whole green Ortega chilies
¾ to 1 lb. grated Cheddar cheese
¾ to 1 lb. grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 large eggs
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
3 tablespoons flour
Salt & pepper to taste
Start by cleaning the seeds from the
green chilies. Lay flat and cover with
cheese in layers. Beat egg whites until
stiff. Stir flour, salt, and pepper into egg
yolks and add milk. Mix well and blend
into egg whites with a fork. Pour over the
chilies and cheese. Cover loosely with foil
and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve hot. Chef’s Notes:
Chopped green chilies will serve as a satis-
factory substitute if whole chilies are not
available when purchasing ingredients.
Doris suggests serving her Chili Relleno
Casserole with corn tortilla chips and salsa.
Other additions could include bean dip
made from refried beans sprinkled with
shredded Monterey Jack cheese heated
in the oven and served with guacamole,
sour cream and shredded lettuce.
Thanks to all who submitted a recipe
for consideration. Chef Reddy and her
students awarded the $75 second place
prize to Marieann Brooke of Deer Park,
Michigan, who submitted a very interesting commentary along with her recipe
for U.P. (Upper Peninsula) Pasties. (See the
Mackinaw Island story on pages 46-47
for more information about this dish.)
Jo Ann Hixon of Orange Beach, Alabama,
was chosen to win the $50 third prize
with her healthful Hot ‘n Yummy Veggie
Soup. We will plan to share these recipes
with Roughing It Smoothly readers in future
Terry Elliott
Final finish, 20 yrs
“I probably drive
more miles between
Red Bay and Belmont
in a month than most
people drive in a
whole year.”
Tom Webber
Regional Sales, Florida
Rita Pounds
Parts & Service Dept.,
3½ yrs.
“I fulfill literature
requests, and process
drop shipments for
furniture and windows. It’s a pleasure
to work with Tiffin
Motorhomes’ customers.”
Norris Lewey
Dept. Liaison, 30 yrs
“Tiffin is a great
company. I am really glad to be
associated with
TMH again.”
“After 13 months
in Iraq, it’s hard to
explain how much it
means to me to be
back home. I look
forward to seeing
our customers
again soon.”
Quickshots from Tiffin 39
So You’re Going to Red Bay
by Phoebe Wienke
veryone who buys a Tiffin motorhome
hears about the wonderful service provided by the Tiffin
company. If you drive to the factory in Red Bay, Alabama, you’ll
receive the ultimate attention. All who have made the trip will
testify to the accuracy of the service reputation, but they don’t
always fully share the experience. The following information
may help prepare you in advance for your first trip to Red Bay.
Appointments for service can be scheduled for Red Bay, but
your first surprise may be to learn that the earliest available date
is anywhere from four to eight months in the future. You’ll be
told though that you can come to Red Bay and stay in the Tiffin
campground and wait in line if you prefer. Be advised that this
wait could be as long as three weeks. However, if you have one
to three weeks of flexibility in your schedule, it’s well worth your
while to pursue this approach.
First, of course, you have to get to Red Bay. Trust me, it’s
there. Just follow the main highway to the country roads to the
far northwest corner of Alabama and sure enough you’ll drive
right into the town. Next, you need to find the campground.
After making a few wrong turns, that’s easy, too.
When you check in you’ll be given some forms to fill out. One
is for you to list all the items on your rig you want checked and/or
repaired. You can list every little scratch, noise, or nut and bolt
that bothers you and everything will be inspected and corrected.
You leave this list with the folks in the front office and they as-
photo courtesy of the author
Carly, Phoebe Wienke’s Golden Retriever, takes advantage of her
heritage for pointing birds to point the way when the two hit the road
for several months each year.
40 Roughing
Roughing It
It Smoot
40 Red Bay
sure you that someone will come to your rig the next morning to
review the list with you. Then you’re sent to your campsite.
The campsites are simply parking spaces, one after another,
in a huge gravel/paved area that looks like it once might have
been a landing strip. When you’re a first timer, you’ll most likely
be assigned a spot on the side near the neighbor’s barking dogs
and the roosters that wake up at 4:30 a.m. A little taste of country living! Return visitors know to ask for a different location.
Your own dog(s) are welcome, but they will cause you to be assigned a camping spot far back from the office and the laundry.
Walking is good exercise!
The campsites are full hook-ups and there is no charge as
long as you are having warranty work done. It’s only $10 per
night if you are past your warranty period.
The Campers Choice store is located near the office along
with a nice laundry room and clean shower facilities.
You will be surrounded by Allegros, Phaetons, Bays, Buses,
a few Zephyrs, and maybe even a couple of SOBs (Some Other
Brands.) You’ll think you’ve gone to Tiffin Heaven. Walking the
driveways looking at all the many models of various ages is really fun and interesting. Suddenly it will occur to you, however,
that all these rigs are here because they have a problem. That’s
a scary feeling, especially if you’ve just purchased your new rig.
Console yourself with the fact that many are here because Tiffin
will fix anything that concerns you. Other manufacturers will
fix only the things they feel merit attention, and they will send
non-warranty work back to their dealers.
You won’t be parked long before your neighbors and other
campers will be giving you a friendly greeting. You’ll be sure
they’re joking the first time you hear you may have to wait three
weeks for your turn in the shop. After about ten days, you’ll
realize this is no joke. The number you were given when you
checked in determines your turn for service and very little is
going to alter that sequence. Red Bay is a bit laid back and they
don’t hanker to being pressured into action. Brutality will not
work. Mostly what works is patience and kindness!
During your wait and look period, a special camaraderie
grows with your neighbors as everyone shares their stories and
reasons for making the trip to Red Bay. Before you know it the
list you first presented expands and may even double as you decide so and so’s issues should be checked out on your rig, too.
The first morning after arrival you will anxiously await your
visit from the Tiffin man. You may still be waiting in the late
afternoon or he may have seen you first thing if you were lucky.
He’ll review your list and be very encouraging about how they
will fix the problems. He’ll leave and
you’ll think swell, this is a piece of cake.
Then you wait.
You are waiting for the little red station
wagon to come to your rig and tell you it’s
your turn. You get up early to watch for the
wagon, you see the wagon, you swear it’s
coming to your spot, you pray you will be
next. You’re not! You’ve only been there one
day or perhaps just one week. You will probably wait many more days. Slowly you accept
that this is the way it works and nothing is
going to rush the process. So you relax and
start to enjoy your visit.
Once you settle in, knowing you have little chance of being called this day or even the
next, you can take time to explore the Red
Bay area, go on a factory tour, talk to Bob
Tiffin, play a little golf, and check out the
local barbeques. Red Bay is in a dry county.
Enjoy the uniqueness of where you are!
To be fair you should know that Tiffin
does reserve a few service bays for emergency service. Those are for problems that
can be corrected within three hours. They
determine whether it’s an emergency, not
you. However, you will have to wait your
turn among the three-hour rigs. This can
still mean more than one or two days.
Eventually, if you do not give up and
leave, your day will come. You’ll be told to
report to a service bay either right now, in
the afternoon, or maybe the next morning. Knowing you are this close is cause
for celebration!
Once inside your service bay you meet
the two mechanics assigned to you. These
men are great! They deserve many accolades (chocolate chip cookies are good,
too) for being knowledgeable, polite, and
concerned. They will take your list and fix
item by item until you are totally satisfied. This is part of the reason your wait
has been so long, because once it is your
turn you can take as long as necessary to
reach satisfaction. It may be one day or
maybe two, three or more.
At the end of the day if your work is not
complete, you may return to the campground or simply boon dock right there
in the service building. Staying in place is
a sure way of being ready to go when the
next morning shift begins. All warranty
work will be done without charge and
without hassle. Everything else will also be
well done and the fee will be reasonable.
Once your work is completed it’s time
to leave even though by now you feel like
you belong there. You will sign final papers
back at the campground office, say goodbye to your new friends, and pat yourself
on the back for being wise enough to have
purchased a Tiffin Motorhome product.
Bid adieu to Red Bay but don’t forget to
make an appointment for your next visit!
Take your
on the Road!
Firmness adjusts on both sides
Now available in select
Tiffin Motorhomes.
Dr. Phoebe Wienke is a retired school principal from Copper Harbor,
Michigan, who was instrumental in implementing Title IX legislation.
Active in college athletics, she served 12 years on the U.S. Olympic
Track and Field committee.
So You ’r e Going to R ed Bay 4 1
Allegro Club Fall Getaway — COLORADO SPRINGS
Pike’s Peak
Air Force Academy Chapel
mike bechtol
42 Roughing It Smoot hly
Lakewood Camping Resort
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
May 15–19, 2006 (break camp 20th)
Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping
Mackinaw, Michigan
August 22–26, 2005 (break camp 27th)
Site TBA
Charlotte, NC
August 10–13, 2006
• Food, Fun, Frolic, Friends, Fellowship
• SIDE ROADS Newsletter
• Rallies & Pre-rallies featuring food, entertainment and activities from the
surrounding area; Tiffin factory technicians;
supplier/partner seminars; valuable Welcome
Kits and Door Prizes; dealer display of new
model Tiffin-built products.
• Discount Insurance Coverage, Roadside
Assistance, Trip Cancellation, Liability,
Collision, Comprehensive, Sky-Med
• Club & Tiffin brands logo merchandise
• Maintenance & Repair Benefits
• Discount rates on Enterprise car rentals
• 10% Discount on purchases at Camper’s Choice
• Local chapters in many areas
Join us in Mackinaw City at the Mackinaw Mill Creek
Campground, August 22-26, 2005 for the Allegro
Club Summer Lake Escape. We have been promised
great weather and breathtaking scenery.
In addition to Tiffin techs and vendor seminars,
the rally highlight will be a visit and tour of
Mackinac Island with lunch at the famous Grand
Hotel. As you know, there is always plenty of good
food, fun and entertainment at Allegro Club rallies.
Allegro Club Summer Lake Escape — mackinaw, michigan
Compton Ridge Campground
Branson, Missouri
April 25–30, 2005 (break camp 30th)
Why be a Club member?
Rally Park
Seffner, Florida
February 27–March 3, 2006
(break camp 4th)
256-356-8522 Office
256-356-9746 Fax
Garden of the Gods
Sandy Beach Park
Macon, Georgia
March 17–19, 2005
(break camp 19th or 20th)
Garden of the Gods Campground
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Oct. 11–15, 2005 (break camp 16th)
Site TBA
New England
Fall 2006
The Grand Hotel
Allegro Club
P.O. Box 1429
Red Bay, AL 35582-1429
Northeast Rally in July — Details are now being
finalized for a summer rally in the Northwest,
July 25–28, 2005, Welches, Oregon. Call Tom
Kirk, Northwest Tiffin sales office, for rally
information: or email at captpt@comcast.net
Tom Kirk
541 485-6266 Business
2174 Wester St.
541 953-3151 Cell
Eugene, OR 97408
541 485-0660 Fax
Allegro Club to Celebrate Completion of Natchez Trace
When the last section of the Natchez Trace parkway
is completed in May, Tiffin-built coaches will be
there to help celebrate. Your coach could be among
them. On May 21, Club President Jimmy Johnson
will lead a 90-mile caravan of 5–10 Tiffin motor
homes from Clinton, Miss., to Natchez.
If you would like to join the caravan, see Jimmy’s
contact information above.
Mackinac Island
Fort Mackinac
Don’t miss the Allegro Club Fall Mountain Fest, Oct.
11–15, 2005, Garden of the Gods Campground in
Colorado Springs, Colo. Limited to 120 coaches.
Dinner and entertainment at the Flying W Ranch,
Thursday; tour of the Garden of the Gods and
the Air Force Academy with lunch at the Officer’s
Club on Saturday. The schedule permits ample free
time for you to pursue your own interests. We look
forward to seeing you in Colorado Springs!
Allegro Club News 43
S erio u s
Question: My 1998 39-ft. Pusher has the
poorest headlights of any vehicle I have
ever driven. The plastic headlight covers
are graying or discoloring badly. One of
the covers has moisture behind it most of
the time. How can I get this fixed?
Joe Barnett, Pinson, Ala
Answer: We feel like this will have to be replaced. However, here are a couple of ideas
to try first.Drill holes in the bottom of the
T ech
headlight housing to get rid of the moisture. If this does not work, the housings
will have to be replaced. Regarding the
discoloring: if it isn’t too bad, buffing will
sometimes work to remove it.
J. C. Blackburn, Tiffin Service Tech
Question: Do you have a list you could
offer that details non-engine scheduled
maintenance on the Tiffin coaches built
since 2000. Thanks.
Eugene Horvath, Oregon, Ohio
Where the Power of the Brand Meets the Power of the Road.
44 Roughing It Smoot hly
T a l k
Non-Engine Scheduled Maintenance
1.Roof Care: The sealer on the roof
should be checked every three months
for cracks. If you have a rubber roof,
you should apply a rubber roof treatment every six months to prevent deterioration. This maintenance is the
customer’s responsibility.
2.Fiberglass Care: To keep fiberglass
from fading and becoming oxidized,
you should wax or polish it every six
months. This applies to the sidewalls,
fiberglass roofs, and the front and rear
fiberglass caps.
3.Slideout Care: To prevent tearing and
sticking of the seals on the slideout,
spray them with rubber seal conditioner every two months to keep the slide
moving freely and smoothly. Spray the
assemblies and moving parts with a
dry lubricant once a month if used frequently.
4.Fresh Water System Care: To keep the
water system fresh and deodorized,
you should put a purifying solution in
once a month. When you reactivate the
coach after several weeks or months of
storage, you should add the purifying
solution to the fresh water system and
tank to remove bad taste which may be
caused by bacteria. We generally recommend Tastepure Spring Fresh which is
available at Campers Choice.
5.Storage Compartment Care: The
sealer on the door hinges should be
checked every three months for cracks.
The seals on the compartments should
be sprayed with rubber seal conditioner every three months. These steps will
prevent moisture and water from getting into the compartments.
Question: Could you give me some 1-23 steps to correctly dump the grey and
blackwater tanks?
Jim Windham, Wetumpka, Ala.
1.Be sure to monitor the level of your
tanks and do not overfill them. Overfilling may cause leaks.
2.Always use a well-known brand holding
S erio u s
tank treatment additive in the black and
grey tanks. The additives will break down
the waste/tissue in the black tank and
the fat/greases in the grey tank. We recommend RV-TECH 100 which is available at Campers Choice. Four ounces will
treat a 40-gal. tank effectively, plus it will
clean and lubricate the probes.
3. When you are dumping the tanks,
make sure you are on level ground, or
that the dump valve is on the lower side
of the unit. This will insure that you
completely empty the tanks.
4. The most common question about the
black tank is, “Why does the monitor
show the tank is full when it is empty?” Problem-buildup or trash on the
probes is usually caused by not using
additives at all or in the right proportion to the size of your tank. An easy
solution is to fill the tank 3/4 full with
water, and then pour two 25-lb. bags
of ice into the toilet. Drive around to
slosh the ice against the tank. The ice
will clean the probes.
Scotty Martin, Tiffin Service Tech
T ech
Answer: The inverter in your coach serves
two purposes. It automatically goes into
charge mode when 110v power is sent
into the coach through the power cord or
generator. The inverter also makes 110v
power from your batteries for use by the
110v plugs in your coach when you cannot use your generator or shore power.
The invert button should be “ON”
only when you cannot use the generator
or shore power and need to use the microwave or watch the televisions. You can
also leave the invert button on with engine running to use the TV or microwave
while you are traveling. Once you kill the
engine, turn off the generator, or unplug
shore power, the inverter will maintain
110v power to these plugs. If the inverter
is left “ON,” it will eventually drain the
batteries. Keep the invert button “OFF”
until it is actually needed to prevent unnecessary battery drain.
Don Boyd, Tiffin Service Tech
T a l k
1. First, contact our Tiffin Service Department at 256-356-8661 to report
your problem and seek advice on what
course of action should be taken.
2. Have your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) available so that we can
quickly access information in our database about your coach.
3. If you are having chassis problems,
please contact the chassis manufacturer and request that they direct you
to an authorized service center.
4. If you are seeking to have repairs made
at an authorized dealership or service
center, please have the service manager
call and get authorization from Tiffin
Motorhomes before doing any work.
Question: I have tried many things including regular back flushing to keep my
holding tank sensors clean so the Check
Panel inside will give me correct readings.
Can you suggest anything else to try?
Charles Holland Cincinnati, OH
Answer: We suggest using “Pine Power”
to clean it out at least two to three times
a month after dumping your tank. “Pine
Power” can be purchased almost anywhere. When using “Pine Power,” fill
the tank about 1/4 full with fresh water
and then empty the entire bottle into
the tank. Drive the coach to allow the
liquid to slosh around in the tank. That
also helps to unclog the flusher. We have
found that a clogged flusher is often the
problem in tanks. Therefore, we recommend flushing out the flusher each time
you dump the tank.
Kevin Wilson and Nathan Johnson
Tiffin Service Techs
Question: I would like to have more information on how and when to make the
best use of the inverter on my coach.
Bob Warren, New London, NC
Scotty Martin, Tiffin Service Tech
•Dramatically smaller than
competing systems yet
outperforms them in rain
•Sleek, aerodynamic design
•3 different models starting at $795
11200 Hampshire Ave. So.
Bloomington, MN 55438 USA
Phone: (952) 922-6889
Toll Free: 800-982-9920
Ser ious Tech Talk 45
f u l l - ti m er ’ s
j o u rn a l
Michigan’s Mackinac Island
fter almost a year and a half
on the road, our Allegro Bus
continues to function flawlessly and remains a pleasure to drive.
Its quad slides provide ample living
space. Since we chose not to have
a washer/dryer installed, that space
was converted to additional storage
by adding shelves. When full-timing
like we do, one can never have too
much storage space. One problem
Lynne does have, as we travel across
the country, is finding a good hairdresser. Some are good and some are
not. Unfortunately, you don’t know
which is which until after the fact.
We continue to move across the
country at a leisurely pace, spending
sufficient time in one place to allow
visiting that area’s attractions. The
AAA Tour Books for individual states
are a good resource for points of interest. We also keep clippings from
magazines and newspapers (filed by
46 Roughing It Smoot hly
state) that list places and things to
see when we visit that state.
One such stop was at the Straits
of Mackinac which separate the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan
and connects Lake Michigan with Lake
Huron. This body of water is crossed
by the Mackinac Bridge, a magnificent five-mile-long suspension bridge,
called the “Mighty Mac” by residents.
Built in 1957, the bridge is supported
by two 550-foot towers and has over
four million vehicles crossing it yearly.
The locals categorize it as the 8th
Wonder of the World! At its northern
end lies America’s third oldest city,
St. Ignace, and at its southern end,
Mackinaw City. Approximately five
miles to the east lies Mackinac Island.
To simplify the confusion Mackinac, the island (French spelling) and
Mackinaw, the city and bridge (English spelling) are both pronounced
This area was originally settled
in 1634 by French Voyageurs who
built a vibrant fur-trading empire
along the Straits. In 1715 the French
established a fortified village and
military outpost called Fort Michilimackinac, meaning “place of the
great turtle.” The British took control of the village in 1761. In 178081, during the American Revolution, the British recognized that
this mainland fort could not be
easily defended so they dismantled
it piece by piece and rebuilt it on
Mackinac Island. Fort Mackinac
was garrisoned by the British for
the next 15 years even though it was
located in territory belonging to the
United States. By treaty in 1796 the
Americans took control of the fort,
but during the War of 1812 the British successfully re-occupied it by
dragging their cannon up the steep
limestone bluff overlooking the rear
by Harold & Lynne Breuninger
of the fort (originally thought to be
inaccessible) and with their cannon pointed directly into the fort,
reclaimed it without firing a shot.
Three years later, again by treaty,
the Americans once more took possession of the fort and garrisoned
a small contingent there until 1895
when the fort and island became
Michigan’s first state park.
Today Fort Michilimackinac on
the mainland is a faithful reproduction of the original and hosts musket
and cannon firing demonstrations
and displays hundreds of artifacts uncovered at the original site. Presentday archaeologists can be observed
excavating and sifting for artifacts.
Mackinac Island is easily reached
from the mainland by one of three
ferry services. In 1898 all automobiles were banned from the island
(the horses were spooked by the one
“horseless carriage” on the island)
Built in 1957, the Mighty Mac’s twin towers at 550 feet pierce the sky
and provide a brilliant nighttime spectacle.
and today only three vehicles are allowed — one police car, one ambulance, and one fire truck! The 500
permanent residents are permitted
snowmobiles for crossing the “ice
bridge” which spans the strait and
connects island to the mainland after the ferries stop for the winter. For
tourists, the primary means of getting around are walking, horseback,
peddling a bike, private livery ($40/
hour) or using one of the many com-
munal horse drawn carriages. There
are some 300 draft horses on the island during the tourist season with
five veterinarians in attendance. The
500 residents on the island are attended by only three physicians. It is
easy to see where their priorities lie!
During the winter months, approximately 20 horses remain on the island to provide 24/7 taxi service.
We recommend that you take
the Mackinac Island Carriage Tour
to familiarize yourself with the island and comfortably experience
its unique, charming and historic
ambiance. The tour takes approximately 90 minutes. You may disembark at any stopping point and
rejoin a later tour group. The tour
driver’s narration is both interesting
and informative. For those pedal
biking or hiking, a paved eight-mile
roadway circles the island, the only
state highway in Michigan that does
not allow motorized traffic.
The tour stops at the Grand Hotel, a magnificent structure built in
1887 where guests are still expected
to “dress” for dinner. If you have
lunch at the Grand Hotel, expect
a $40 fixe prix in addition to a $10
“entrance fee.” The fee serves to discourage sightseers from “trooping”
through the hotel and disturbing
the registered guests.
Fort Mackinac, a National Historic Landmark, is fully restored and
appears as it did over 100 years ago.
American soldiers and Victorian ladies in period costumes narrate the
many exhibits. After witnessing a
cannon firing over the harbor, plan
to have lunch at Fort Mackinac’s Tea
Room. Catered and served by the
Grand Hotel, our lunch was excel-
lent, reasonably priced with no tipping allowed and no “entrance fee.”
The shops on both the island
and in Mackinaw City are attractive
and varied, but a bit “pricey.” Our
day on the island cost just under
$100 for both of us which included
the roundtrip ferry ($34), the narrated coach tour ($40), and lunch
at the fort ($20).
A trip to northern Michigan
would not be complete without
eating some PASTIES (pronounced
“past´-tees”). Pasties were created
about 800 years ago as a meal for
the miners of Cornwall, England.
Meat and vegetables are baked in a
crust and served warm. They can be
eaten like a sandwich or served with
gravy and sour cream. Pasties arrived in Michigan over 150 years ago
when immigrants came here to mine
the iron and copper indigenous to
the Upper Peninsula’s Iron Range.
We enjoyed eating them several
times and even bought some precooked frozen pasties back to our
coach to enjoy later in our travels.
As before, you are invited to
email us at hfbl123@earthlink.net
with any questions or comments.
Until next time . . . “Be Well, Drive
Safe, and God Bless.”
Fulltimer’s Jour nal 47
The Life and Times of Tiffin Motorhome Owners
photograph courtesy of dennis johnson
What a Coincidence — What a Small World!
My wife and I were parked at the
The Caldarellis were on their
Yuma Elks RV lot in Yuma, Ari- way to San Diego to join a caravan
zona, when a couple stopped by for a Baja California adventure. We
from another Allegro Bay. Dave purchased their 1994 Allegro Bay
and Suzie Caldarelli introduced in Richmond, Virginia, in August
themselves and commented about 2002 after a six-year adventure on
having an Allegro Bay just like our sailboat from San Diego, Caliours before trading for their 2002 fornia, to Annapolis, Maryland,
Allegro Bay. I had saved some of via the Panama Canal. We have cirthe old records of the previous cled the USA traveling through 31
owner and it turned out we had states and now have over l05,000
their old motor home! Needless miles on the odometer.
to say, we were both surprised,
Dennis D. Johnson
Yuma, Arizona
and new friends were made.
Previous owners Dave and Suzie Caldarelli, Pass Christian, Mississippi,
left, and current owners Arlyce and Dennis Johnson, Tucson, Arizona,
in the Elks Lodge RV lot in Yuma.
Looking Forward to the
Natchez Trace
I just finished reading your article
in Roughing it Smoothly, Vol. 2, No.
1, “The Natchez Trace Parkway.”
I had just started looking for information on the Parkway and
your article came along just at
the right time. Your article is just
what we have been looking for.
You did an outstanding job and
your view point for those of us
that would be making the trip in
our RV hit the target dead center.
Thank you. Also, great job with
the photographs that accompanied the article; you have a good
eye for composition.
Pat and Leon Tietyen
Stratford, Wisconsin
Editor: Thanks for the kind words.
I hope you were able to start your
trip during the Spring Pilgrim48 Roughing It Smoot hly
age. For our readers, right now is
a great time to make the Natchez
Trace Parkway trip.
92,000 Miles and Counting
Mar. 4, 2005: We took our first
long trip in our new Allegro to
Quartzsite, Arizona, for six weeks.
Now we are leaving for Eunice,
Louisiana, for a month. We enjoy
our Allegro so much with the two
slides. My husband says it is so
easy to maneuver even though we
are towing a Honda Accord. We
live in Danevang, Texas — “The
Danish Capital of Texas.” Come
and visit our Danish Museum.
We clocked 92,000 miles in our
old Allegro in nine years.
Joyce & Tony Danna
Danevang, Texas
Reminiscing — Thanks for the Memories
Dear Mr. Tiffin:
Thank you for sending me the Al- actually found some, and had it
legro literature brochures about made into some jewelry. Then we
each of the Tiffin motorhomes. got robbed and it was all stolen.
Please excuse my writing. This
I am sitting here enjoying them
supposed to be a thank you
very much. I am 85 years old and
for the folders. If you can’t
use a wheelchair and cane to get
have your secretary type
around. My husband has been
stroke and can’t use my
gone for nine years. You have
made an old woman happy. Now
know how you could
I can look, enjoy, and dream.
on these new moWe owned three different Alletorhomes.
I would need with
gros that we bought from Marshal
a good driver and
Smith at Stinnett RV in Clarksville,
to keep going.
Indiana. We made lots of trips
these new Althroughout the U.S., Old Mexico,
Alaska three times, Newfoundland,
Mildred C. Frakes
Labrador, and all the provinces in
P.O. Box 81
cluding the Yukon. We even went
Corydon, IN 47112
as far north as the Arctic Circle.
We got good gas mileage in our Editor:
Allegros. When we went through Dear Mildred,
the Yukon, we paid $3.50 per gal- Bob Tiffin gave me a copy of your
lon for gas. I put one foot out and letter. You are a gem! As I typed
pedaled part of the way!!
your letter, I imagined the great
One time we went to Red Bay pleasure you and your husband
for repairs and were taken care had traveling in your three Alof immediately. We had a broken legros. I am sending you all of
windshield and a broken window. our back copies of the Roughing
Mr. Tiffin wouldn’t charge us af- It Smoothly magazine and adding
ter it was fixed.
you to our mailing list.
We went to South Dakota sev
All the best to you,
eral times. We panned for gold,
Fred Thompson
Trip of a Lifetime
In the summer of 2003, driving two identical 1995 Allegro
Bus motorhomes and two white
Jeeps, Marvin and Karen Edven-
son & Roger and Gladys Edvenson traveled from Grand Rapids,
Minnesota, across Canada and
Continued on page 23
We received only a few stories from our readers this time to run in the
“From the Road” section. It is a fun part of the magazine to read, but we
hope more of you will pick up your pens and write to us. Just send your
stories to Fred Thompson, P.O. Box 292912, Tampa, FL 33687-2912 or
fred@bookproduction.com. Tell us about the interesting places you’ve
been, an unusual experience, a great destination, or just a good place to
camp and hang out. Please share.
Tell us about the best Fall Color drive you’ve ever taken or a roadside
stand where you bought apples or pumpkins.
Nearly everyone likes barbeque. Give us a tip on where to get the best
BBQ in your state (name of restaurant, address, phone number, and describe the BBQ). And don’t forget to take a few good pictures. Our readers are our eyes and ears.
— Fred Thompson, editor
The Workhorse W-Series is the biggest,
baddest and most powerful gas chassis
on the planet. The W-20, 22 and 24 are
bred specifically for what an RV driver
wants most—complete control of the road.
Built with the brawny 496 Cubic Inch
GM Vortec™ 8100 V8 and Allison 1000
Series™ transmission, there won’t be
any mountain, hill or winding curve that
you can’t dominate and conquer.
©2005 Workhorse Custom Chassis. A GVW Holdings Company. ISO 9001 Certified.
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