Friday, June 5, 2015

Repairs to Duchess have begun


The Duchess all by herself in the Rally Park

On Tuesday morning we prepared The Duchess for her move to the body shop to have the fiberglass tear repaired and repainted. Connie ended up going over to Black Mountain NC with Linda Cross who we had met at the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally to visit the town and do some shopping. We ended up moving the motor home to the body shop which is located 4 miles away from the campground/service center in the early afternoon. The body shop has done all of this type of work for the Tom Johnson RV Service Center for the last 10 years, but with the sale of Tom Johnson RV to Camping World there is some questions as to the future of this relationship.

The body shop began the repairs to the fiberglass on the motor home. I had a nice visit with one of the owners of the shop who was born in this area and had spent all of his life here except for 3 years

Where we spent several nights inside the body shop
with The Duchess

in the military in the early 1970's.

We had a strong thunderstorm move through the area in the late afternoon which Connie & Linda got caught in on their return trip from Black Mountain. Connie said the rain was coming down so hard she had trouble seeing the road and had to travel at at very slow speed.

We went to dinner at a local restaurant and took advantage of their Tuesday evening specials. We dropped by the campground and visited with a few of the remaining campers from the Reunion Rally before returning to the body shop to spend the night. The Duchess is in one of the service bays but we are able to put our slides out at night. We close everything up when we leave in the morning so that the workers will have plenty of work space and to give them more  area to work on the repairs. It is somewhat strange staying "in-side" of a building in the motor home with the doors all closed and the lights out in the building, but we can manage for a few nights this way. Since we are inside the building, we have no satellite service for our TV's so we rented a DVD at a local Redbox for our evening's entertainment. It was Interstellar and we both fell asleep during the movie.


We got up early in the morning, put everything away inside The Duchess, and then put the slides back in. We waited around the body shop for a while until the first employee had arrived to make sure we gave them the color code numbers from a list inside the coach. We went over the Tom Johnson Camping Center and ate breakfast. They serve a nice breakfast there for $5 a person. We were joined for breakfast by Mike and Linda Cross and after breakfast we stayed around and visited for a couple of hours. We discussed several issues that us full-timers have to deal with: retirement income, health insurance and internet access were among a number of topics that came up in the conversation.

There was a light rain in Marion so we decided to go over to Asheville. Bob from the body shop had told me that if it is raining in Marion, then it is usually not in Asheville and vice versa. We traveled over to the North Carolina Arboretum to see the gardens and do some walking. We walked through the small gardens surrounding the Visitor/Information Center and then went hiking on several trails located on the property. We ended up walking for about 2 hours along a creek that runs through the park.

Connie in front of the Visitor/Info center at the NC Arboretum

Notice the plants growing the roof of this storage shed

The trees grow tall here in North Carolina

Entry gardens at the NC Arboretum

We returned back to the body shop to see that the fiberglass repairs had been finished and the first coat of paint had been applied. On to dinner at Nopales Mexican Grill here in Marion. The dinner was good but everything was very mild (Connie prefers her Mexican food to be spicy). After finishing our large portion dinner, we returned for another night in The Duchess inside the building.


We spent another night in the Duchess inside the body shop. We go up early and went again this morning to the Tom Johnson Camping Center to have breakfast and visit with Mike & Linda Cross. After breakfast and the visit, we decided to travel over to Asheville to visit a couple of breweries and have some lunch. There are about 30 breweries in the Ashville area although most of them are not open during the mid-hours on week-days. We were able to locate two that were open with-in a few blocks of each other: the Asheville Brewing Company and the Wicked Weed Brewery.

We visited the Asheville Brewing Company first and had their beer sampling along with a three hummus appetizer. The beer were an interest mix and the appetizer was excellent.

Tasting beer from the Asheville Brewery

We then walked a few blocks to the Wicked Weed Brewing Company. The Wicked Weed refers to a quote by King Henry VIII of England who did not like hops in his beer. He referred to hops as the wicked weed and issued a decree that all beer made in England during his reign was to be made without hops. There were a few beer masters who continued to make beer with the "wicked weed" using hops. The Wicked Weed Brewing Company specializes in making IPA beers in which you can usually taste the hops.

Entry to Wicked Weed Brewing Company

Mike at the bar inside the Wicked Weed

Tasting at the Wicked Weed Brewing Company

On the return trip back to Marion, we stopped in Black Mountain and visited the Swannanoa Valley Museum which give you a history of the region. The area was originally inhabited by the Cherokee tribe and settled in the early 18th century by the Europeans who had started out east of the area. The
area had mining and lumbering as industries in the 19th century. By the first half of the 20th century several fabric/clothing manufacturers had moved into the area. Most of these closed by the mid 1970's as production moved further south or overseas. The town of Black Mountain and the surrounding areas have become a magnet for tourists due to the nice summer weather and the beauty of the mountains in the region. The museum is located in what was the original fire house for the town.

We return back to Marion and went to dinner with Mike & Linda before retiring for another night inside the body shop. The area had strong thunderstorms with hard rain around sundown, so we were glad to be inside the building.


This morning we went up once again to the Tom Johnson Camping Center to eat breakfast with Mike & Linda. They are leaving this morning for the trip to their hometown in upstate New York. So we finished breakfast and said our good-byes to them. We were told to be back at the body shop to pick up The Duchess at 1:00 PM, so we had several hours to wait. We ended up walking around the campground, visiting with a few of the campers remaining from the Reunion Rally and then going back to the Camping Center to eat lunch. The Camping Center has a large lunch plate for $6 which we split.

Frank on the right and his employee who worked
on The Duchess

At 1:00 PM we went back to the body shop to bring The Duchess back to the campground to await the arrival of the awning replacement (hopefully one day next week). It was a short drive back to the campground after which we got the motor home set up again for the next several days. It is good to have The Duchess back outside again and be able to stay inside the motor home during the day.

We did some grocery shopping, ate a pizza for dinner and then visited with other campers here at the park. We met a couple from Canada who are staying overnight on their way back to Windsor, Ontario after spending the winter and spring in Florida. Their 5th wheel had blown a tire earlier in the day and they were lucky that no damage was done to the RV. You never know what will happen to you as your travel along the road.