Most, if not all, Tiffin owners will eventually make their way over to the birthplace of their motorhome, Red Bay, Alabama. Red Bay is a small rural town that would pretty much not exist if it weren’t for Bob Tiffin, CEO of Tiffin Motorhomes, who had a vision of converting an old Cotton Gin into a place to build custom motorhomes. What he began in 1974 was the direct result in over 15,000 folks becoming employed from northern Alabama and Mississippi. In addition there are many offshoot businesses that exist due to Bob Tiffin’s success and even today 3 of the top 5 motorhomes built in America are made in Red Bay, Alabama.
There are a few downsides to visiting Red Bay… One is that it is a dry county so if you imbibe at all you better either come prepared with your stash of frosty beverages or make the trek over to Florence, Alabama to the nearest Walmart located in a wet county. Another is that this part of Alabama is also a bit of a cultural and foodie desert. There really isn’t much to do or many places to eat out at. s To give you an example when we asked about good eats, our neighbors suggested going to the local Piggly Wiggly at 11 am for the best fried chicken in town! We did go over and sure enough there was a huge line as we arrived just as many Tiffin employees were there for lunch. We ordered two chicken breasts and 2 sides for about 6 bucks and it was indeed pretty good fried chicken.
Since most people coming here will be here a week or so I thought I would put together the top five things we did while staying in Red Bay this year.
Number 5: Tiffin Factory Tour – Every weekday from 9:30 to 11:00 am there is a Tiffin Factory Tour at the Tiffin plant in downtown Red Bay. This is really a pretty interesting tour where you can see every step of the building process from from to wiring to walls and roof going up. We saw cabinets getting built, engines being mounted and slides being installed. At the end visitors are invited to tour any of the coaches out in the lot that are either done or nearly done. We saw firsthand how this invitation pays off as one of the Phaeton owners we met that was in the queu for service decided instead to trade his 2015 Phaeton in for a brand new 2016 Allegro bus!!!
Number 4: - Coondog Cemetery - Near to Red Bay is a very unique roadside attraction whcih began in the 1930’s when a fellow decided to bury his favorite coondog, Troop, on a hunting tract. Soon afterward others buried their coondogs there and over time a group was created to ensure that only coondogs were buried there. Afterall, according to their charter, what good coondog owner would want a poodle or a lapdog buried next to their prize hunting dog?
Number 3: Socializing in a sea of Tiffin motorhomes – It is always nice to compare notes with other Tiffin owners about what repairs they need or what modifications they have made to their rigs. Coffee sessions and happy hours are great because odds are you will find someone here with an RV exactly like yours.
Number 2: Tishamingo State Park – This is a fantastic getaway pretty close to Red Bay. We played disc golf on one of their three excellent courses and hiked some of the many trails in the park. Refer to my last blog for more about this scenic state park.
Number 1: Rattlesnake Saloon – This may be the most unique restaurant/saloon we have ever visited. The Rattlesnake Saloon is located down a steep hill and is mostly under an overhang within a cave. A small waterfall (only a trickle in the summer) falls from the overhang. They serve pretty good food and if you want alcohol (only beer here) they serve it only after 5:00. All visitors are required to bring ID as they card everyone. Many days after 6:00 there is live music and one evening we were there a band played several Jimmy Buffet songs almost making us forget we were in Red Bay.
Two places I failed to mention because we didn't repeat them this visit, are (1) the town of Tuscambia (home to the Helen Keller museum) and (2)Tupelo (birthplace of Elvis Presley). So although Red Bay is remote and dry, we found some fun and interesting ways to pass the time.
Well we hope to escape Red Bay soon as our cap rails were installed and now all we need is some paint on them. I must add that as always the work we have had done on our motorhome while in Red Bay has been excellent and the pricing for the out of warranty work has been fair. With this maintenance visit soon behind us, we hope to see you on down the Road of Retirement…