Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fleetwood Rally in Shawnee, Oklahoma

Peg with customers at the MCD display
Finally arrived in Shawnee, OK for the Fleetwood Rally. Set up the MCD booth and prepared for the show. The rally was not terribly busy, sales wise, but we made many good contacts and helped several folks with minor shade repairs or adjustments.

We had some issues with power where we first were parked at the rally. It was a 30 amp service  and ofter the first day of the show, we returned to a VERY warm coach since the breaker on the pedestal tripped and the temps were in the high 90's. I reset the breaker and later it tripped again. We decided to move the coach to the vendor parking area where it was not grassy (a dirt/rock parking lot) but it did have two 30 amp connections and, with my cheater box, we now had the equivalent of a 50 amp service so both A/C units could be run.

Of course it rained mid-week and we ended up residing in a lake that surrounded the motorhome! Gee, it looked okay when we first parked there!!

The week moved by fast and before we knew it, we were packing the booth up and getting it loaded into the coach. We decided to hang out near here in the Oklahoma City area for the Fourth of July weekend and have an extended visit with our friends Rick and Joanne Stone...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tire Blow-out While Heading For Shawnee, OK

The Fleetwood Rally we were heading to is in Shawnee, Oklahoma this year. We left MCD's parking lot at 3:20pm and headed west on Rt 380 towards Rt. 35, then north. As we crossed the border from Texas into Oklahoma of Interstate 35, we heard a loud "bang"! Peg was on the telephone with Dave, the owner of MCD and she told him we think a tire blew on the motorhome. I pulled the coach over and saw the passenger side rear fender well was blown out at an angle from the coach and I could see the inner dual was blown apart and looking like an afro hair dew from all the steel belts sticking up out of the tire.

Blown Tire - New Tire
We got on the cell phone to Coach Net and they had a heck of a time locating a correct size tire to replace the one we blew. A few hours later, they called back and said they located a tire and company that could come out and mount it. We also had our air ride air line cut in the blow-out, so Coach Net found another company that could come out and replace that line. In the meantime, we were sitting on the side of the northbound lane between exits one and two on I-35. 

Wheel Well Damage
I decided to try and get the blown out fender well back into place as we waited for the tire company to come. I was successful getting it back into place and securing it by the time the new tire and crew arrived. Unfortunately, the compressor on the repair truck kept blowing fuses and they could not remove the old rims or change the tire. They headed back to their shop for another truck and, about that time, the air line crew arrived. Their compressor did work and they pulled the two duals off the rear so they could get to the air line.

New Coiled Air Line Installed
These guys replaced the air line with a coiled quick connect line and when I aired up, it began to leak at one of the fittings. They tightened it as the tire crew returned. The new truck and compressor were functioning and they made quick work of getting the new tire mounted and onto the coach. Both crews were paid and left and as I aired up the coach again I heard the airline hissing. We called that crew and they returned and worked on the line again. It looked good, they left and again I heard it leaking. They were called and returned again and finally took their time and used other fittings to get the line secured and stop it from leaking. They were happy and I was happy.

Winstar Casino Sign on I-35
We were now on the side of I-35 for five hours! It was getting dark and too late to continue any farther this day, so we limped to the Winstar Casino Campground at the next exit. They told us if we get a Player's Card from the casino, we can get our money back for the night of camping. We did get Player's Cards and when we returned to the RV Park, we brought them in to get the refund and they refused us. They said we paid with cash and not with a credit card so they could not give us a refund. Of course we were never told that when we paid! A perfect ending to a not so perfect day!! At least we were finally off the road.

Tomorrow we will hopefully travel on to Shawnee...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Middlebury Vermont with Don and Barb

Noonies Deli
It is Saturday and our last day in the Vermont area. We are to meet up with good friends Don and Barb Wood who live in Glens Falls, New York where Peg and I built our broadcast TV station several years ago. It was another delightful drive to Middlebury and we met up with the Wood's in a shopping center.

Falls in the Town of Middlebury
Texas Falls
First order of business was lunch. We found a quaint little sandwich shop called Noonies. It doesn't look like much but it was packed with people and we had some great sandwiches, made to order, there. The deli was located near some falls in town and an area called Marble Square. There were not too many shops open today so we decided to head out of town to look at a National Forest called, of all things, Texas Falls. We drove along some rocky creeks, steep grades and typical Vermont scenery to finally get there. Texas Falls is located in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Peg, Barb and Don
The falls were very nice and we noticed a bunch of butterflies were hanging around a newly built bridge at the falls. The water looked cool and refreshing and we got some nice photos of the area and our friends. It was really good to see them again. Like with many of our friends, we don't see them as often as we would like.

Little did we know, our flight out of Burlington the next day was cancelled. Do you see any pattern here? This time the airlines did put us up in a hotel for the night and gave us food vouchers (to use at the airport) so we spent another night in Vermont. The next day we got up at 3:30 am, took the shuttle back to the airport and did fly out at 6 am. Made it back to Dallas with no further problems.

Friday, June 17, 2011

End of the Newmar Rally Week-Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's Factory
It is Friday and we began packing up the MCD booth. We drove the packed shipping boxes to the main office at the Expo Center and had them hold the items for Fed-Ex shipping. Since we were then officially done at the rally, we decided to drive to Waterbury, Vermont and to the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. 
The factory is as colorful as Ben and Jerry themselves. We took the tour of the plant and Jim was singled out to ring the bell for the start of the tour. At the end of the tour, we all received a free tasting of that great ice cream. After the tour, we looked around the gift shop and Jim had to buy a tie dyed Ben & Jerry's T-shirt. We also purchased some "half baked" ice cream.

The factory had a lot of memorabilia we looked at and some pretty cool areas with bright colors for kids and adults alike. It is located in a rural area (where else?) in the hills of Vermont. It was such a nice day and the drive through the hills was great after a long week of being inside as vendors.

Tomorrow we meet old friends Barb and Don Woods in Middlebury, Vermont for a quick get together before we leave the area.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Flight to Vermont for the Newmar Rally

Since it is a long way from Texas to Vermont, MCD decided to fly us to the Newmar Rally in Essex Junction, Vermont. I was kind of familiar with the area since my sister, Phyl, went to college at St. Michael's about a mile or so down the road from the Expo Center. We were booked at the Roadway Inn in South Burlington. It was a 15 minute drive (on a good day) to the Expo Center. Here is a photo of our "home away from home" for the week!

We got the MCD booth set-up in record time (1 hour) since the display was shipped and limited to one display tower instead of our usual three. The display shipment was waiting for us at the MCD booth when we arrived.

One thing I neglected to mention was that it took us 24 hours to get to the Burlington, Vermont airport from Dallas. We arrived in Chicago and less than an hour before our boarding time, the connecting flight was cancelled after several delays. It was about 9 pm and one other plane going to Burlington was totally booked. If we stayed there, there were no other flights out to Vermont until the next night. We chose to fly to Newark, New Jersey as we could get an earlier flight out to Burlington the next day. Of course, when we arrived in New Jersey, we had to get a hotel for the night. Their advertised $59 hotels actually cost $115 for the night. The airlines would not give us vouchers for food or the hotel since they claimed our flight cancellation was "weather related"! We did get a flight out the next morning and finally made it to Burlington. Good thing we left a day early for the event or we would have been in trouble.

View of Lake Champlain
After we set up the MCD booth, we ventured into downtown Burlington in the rain. We found a great place to eat overlooking Lake Champlain called Salty's. We had clam chowder, lobster bisque and for the entré, we had shrimp and scallops. It was so good! We drove around and ended up at the Champlain Valley Chocolate Company for, you guessed it, chocolate. This was on a Sunday.

Downtown Burlington
Monday the show opened and we spent the day in the MCD vendor booth. We talked to a lot of RVer's interested in MCD Shades. After the show, we went to Archie's Burgers, a small place we heard of a little ways out of town. we had an artichoke burger and a portabella mushroom burger. Very good!

The temperature was very nice (compared to Texas) and we looked forward to the rest of the week with the Newmar folks.