Friday, July 25, 2008
We really like our Tour and it has performed very well. While here at the rally, we had a few items fixed at the Winnie Customer Service center. We, and many other folks, arrived at 6:00 am where we found a very well organized service group. The managers checked us in and a short time later, a technician came out and walked around our coach as we discussed the few items to be repaired. I was amazed to learn that they will service over 600 coaches during the rally week. These folks really go out of their way to try and accommodate everyone who needs them.
We even had fireworks at the GNR, courtesy of the Forest City Chamber of Commerce.
As we left GNR, we are pleased to report that we had a great time and look forward to returning to the friendly Forest City area sometime in the future.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Today, we had a great time visiting various functions on the GNR rally grounds. In addition to attending several seminars that were great and very informative. This afternoon, we attended a potluck dinner with the WIT 365 folks (Winnebago Itasca Travelers fulltimers) and enjoyed meeting them. We attended the function with Bruce and Cathy, fulltimers from Alberta, CA who had the Tour right next to us. Great folks and as you can see, Cody approved as well!
This was the evening for various WIT groups to gather and there was even a traveling Polka Band! We followed this talented group around for a bit and enjoyed hearing them play.
A great evening walking around and making new friends.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
We arrived in Forest City, Iowa to attend the 39th Winnebago Grand National Rally today. We wondered what to expect as Winnebago celebrated their 50th birthday!
Winnebago is the only coach company to have their own rally grounds -- room for 1500 coaches with electric! Amazing! This year, I understand that there are about 1350 coaches in attendance along with at least one Winnebago fifth wheel I saw! Most of the rigs were recent Winnebago coaches like our Tour. In fact, we parked next to another Tour and Vectra on either side. We are looking forward to the rally and interested to see how it goes.
Friday, July 18, 2008
We left the FMCA Rally today and drove to Forest City, IA to get ready for the Winnebago Grand National Rally.
Our first stop was to drop by our dealer, Lichtsinn Motors for a few repairs. I have been really impressed with these folks who really seem to care about their customers. They fixed our few issues on Monday after we spent an evening in their service lot where they have electric power available.
Saturday, we went ahead and parked at the Rally grounds where they did a great job helping us park and get set up.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
One great thing about these rallies is the chance to meet with vendor experts and old friends. We were delighted to touch base with Dave and Linda, who we have gotten to know from our travels in Florida. Fortunately for us, they also really like Cody and bring him treats! This photo was taken with the orange bench as they are huge Tennessee Vols alumni and fans (also works for Clemson).
While we were at the Rally, we decided to get a satellite dish antenna. We settled on the KingDome which is made right here in the Twin Cities area. In addition to a great Rally price, we also got professional installation. Wow -- how cool is it now to watch Direct TV without going out and setting up the tripod dish by hand. Here you can see the dome being installed.
We did wander around some more new coaches - there were several hundred to choose from! Although the RV market is soft, there are many great deals out there and lots of choices. Here are just a few of the coaches available.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The Rally started today with many seminars, new coaches for sale and 350 vendors with great stuff to sell. We started each day with free doughnuts and coffee while being serenaded by the Frustrated Maestros of FMCA. This talented group of musicians played all kinds of sounds and were great to listen to. We even had a chance to sample some wonderful ice cream treats one afternoon.
Of course, we had to visit the new coaches, even though we are very pleased with our Winnebago Tour. Always fun to see new things. One interesting concept was the Country Coach Veranda model that actually has a slide out porch complete with sliding doors. Amazing engineering.
I had the chance to see my Freightliner Chassis up close. This is very interesting as you can see all the operating components up close and personal. I also had the opportunity to chat with many chassis support experts and was told by one very nice gentleman, as he gave me his card, that if I had any issues at all, to just call him. It turned out that he was the President of Frieghtliner! Cool!
We did have some exciting weather today! A heavy thunderstorm blew through in the evening that spawned some tornadoes farther south. This picture shows the squall line right before it blew through the rally grounds. Fortunately, no damage was done.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
While we were waiting for the FMCA rally to begin, and between volunteer assignments, we had the opportunity to do a bit of sightseeing. First, we went to Ft. Snelling which was the first settlement at the twin cities location. This fully restored fort dates from 1820 and is very interesting to walk through. There are a number of people recreating the roles of soldiers, workers, store keepers, etc. in the fort so that the fort comes alive. I really enjoyed the 28 star flag which originally flew over the fort. This is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Next, we visited the Twin Cities Model RR Museum. Naturally, Rick thought this was great and it really was a wonderful O guage layout. Many, many model trains running though some excellent scenery.
A very fun day!
We arrived in Saint Paul today for the 80th FMCA International Rally. On the way, we ran into a real mess with a detour on I35W. This pushed us into downtown St. Paul, which was a bit of a zoo with a 40' coach and tow car. Then to top it all off, the detour road was closed! This forced us to disconnect the tow car and turn around! What a pain -- but, we eventually reached the St. Paul Fairgrounds and parked on our site. We had a very nice site since we were arriving early to help as a volunteer.
Our first duty was to work as early security in the new coach exhibit area. Here we are guarding gate 17E! Obviously, no one is getting by this group of guards! We even brought the crack guard dog, Cody to assist.
We had a great first couple days here!