Click the play button above to watch a short video of the event.
We attended our first Tiffin Allegro Club Rally this week. 315 Tiffin RVs and over 700 owners and spouses converged on the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, Arizona for 5 days/4 nights of fun-filled Tiffin-related activities including vendor seminars and displays several meals, concerts, ice cream socials, hobby & craft displays, swap meet and much more! I enjoyed the Freightliner seminar the most because I learned a lot about our Freightliner chassis that I didn't know. There were large vendor displays and a Tiffin accessories store where you could purchase Tiffin clothing and assorted parts. One of the best features of the rally was the Tiffin factory technicians performing up to three minor repairs on everybody's coaches. The nightly entertainment was a lot of fun with "The Piano Man", a tribute band to Billy Joel and Elton John on Tuesday night, Sarah Getto on Wednesday night and "December ’63", Frankie Valli tribute band after Thursday's farewell dinner. It was really fun getting to meet so many other RV enthusiasts and swap travel stories!
We had one issue occur on the trip, which I cannot fully explain. Our key fob to the RV wasn't working when we got there, which I attributed to just needing a new battery. Then, neither Pam or my key fob to the Jeep would work either. I thought it was just a big coincidence that all 3 key fobs didn't work, but I did tell Pam that I had a feeling that we were in some kind of key fob dead-zone. I pulled the key out of the fob and manually opened the driver's door to the Jeep, which set off the alarm for what seemed like an eternity! It finally shut itself off, but I couldn't start the Jeep or do anything. I suspected the Jeep's battery was going bad, so another Tiffin owner volunteered to bring over his portable jump-starter. After another 10 minutes of the alarm going off, we tried to jump start it, but it would not start. I ended up calling Jeep and having a tow truck haul it 15 miles to the nearest Jeep dealership. Of course, the key fob worked for them there at the dealership. They tested the battery and it tested OK so they took the Jeep out for a test-drive to make sure everything was working, and the battery failed on them during the drive, so they got it back to the dealership and installed a brand-new battery. After getting a ride from their shuttle back to the dealership, I got back to the rally just in time for the farewell dinner. Went out the next morning to load the Jeep up to leave, and the key fob didn't work again! Remember, all this time, the RV key fob didn't work either! I managed to get inside the Jeep and hooked it up to tow home behind the RV. Once we returned home, both Pams' and my Jeep key fobs and the RV key fob all worked perfectly! WTF?
We traveled the 150 miles from Phoenix to Tucson on Saturday, checking in to the Lazy Days KOA RV park for two nights before moving on to the Pima County Fairgrounds for the Tiffin Allegro Rally on Monday, Presidents' Day. This KOA was a real nice RV park with wide spaces and a good BBQ restaurant that even delivers right to your RV!
On Sunday, we took the Jeep about 75 miles to the top of Mt. Lemmon, via the Mt. Lemmon highway, which is a very scenic road that climbs from Tucson to over 8,000 feet. We're glad we took our coats, because the temperature went from 67° in Tucson to 39° at the top of Mt. Lemmon. We had lunch at the quaint, Iron Door Restaurant next to the chair lift, where we had a delicious lunch of homemade chili and grilled cheese sandwiches with a beautiful view overlooking the surrounding mountains.
I love our new Thompson's Treks bumper sticker that Krista and Jason made for us as a Christmas gift. Thanks guys!
Technically, Freightliner didn't refer to it as a "recall", but a "campaign", but I had to take it to W. W. Williams Company in Phoenix and sit around for two hours this morning while they performed "Campaign TT8009EN", where they adjust the settings on the TCM because Allison and Cummings decided that an adjustment was necessary. I figured that I better get it done before we leave for our 3,000 mile trip this summer. I didn't notice the transmission shifting any differently on the 20 mile drive home.
We took our first long trip in our new motorhome to San Diego last weekend. Our daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters had a great time at SeaWorld and playing on Mission Beach. The weather was a perfect 76° on Saturday. The weather forecasters kept warning everybody about rain and high winds for Sunday and Monday, but it really wasn't bad. I was worried about driving our 35' motorhome across the desert after hearing the NAV in the Jeep give a warning saying "treacherous driving at mile 163", but this new motorhome handled the wind like it wasn't even there. Our old one would have been blown off the road!
We stayed at Campland on the Bay this time, and I'm glad we did. We drove through the park last summer and said to ourselves that it was too crowded and busy but we had a nice, wide pie-shaped space right on the bay this time so it was perfect. They have a very nice dog park and kids play area. We'll definitely go back there again, if we can make reservations far enough out to get a good space. I inquired about a space for the 4th of July and they said they're 95% sold out already.
Two years ago, when researching which motorhome to buy for our first RV, I told myself after reading everybody's comments about gas-vs-diesel that a gas RV would be sufficient for us. Boy, was I wrong! Peoples comments in the RV forums all said that if you just drive it around your home state for short weekends or one-week trips, then the gas coach would be fine, but if you live it in or drive it long distances, get a diesel pusher. Well, I couldn't justify spending $75,000 more just for a diesel pusher at the time, so I went with a brand-new 2014 Tiffin Allegro 35QBA. After putting over 10,000 miles on it in the first 18 months, I now know why people said to get a diesel pusher. Our new 2016 Tiffin Allegro RED 33AA does everything head-and-shoulders better than our gas RV did.
Just like we did with our 2014 Allegro motorhome (click here to view blog post), we went to Lake Pleasant this past weekend for a shakedown cruise to organize everything in the new motorhome. Good news...even though this one is slightly smaller, everything fit! Towed the Jeep behind it for the first time, you couldn't even tell it was back there. The diesel engine makes a huge difference in power over the gas engine in the last RV. And, it handles like a car because of the Freightliner chassis and air shocks. So far, we love this coach.
After our last big trip to Yellowstone, Seattle, Oregon and back (see blog post here), we decided that the 2014 Tiffin Allegro 35QBA gas-coach wasn't cutting it on the long distances that we're tending to travel and we started looking for a diesel pusher replacement. After looking at Thor Palazzo, Forest River Berkshire, Newmar Ventana LE, Fleetwood Excursion 33D, Winnebago Solei 36G and more, we decided to stick with Tiffin and traded our 2014 Allegro in for a new 2016 Tiffin Allegro RED 33AA (RED = Rear Engine Diesel). The deciding factor was an 80-mile test drive up to 2,500' high Sunset Point and back on I-17. The difference in handling and power was HUGE! Our gas coach takes that hill at 40 MPH with the engine revving way up to 5,000 RPM. The diesel coach took it easily at 55, even with the cruise control on! Plus, no swaying when passing or being passed by big semi trucks. I don't know which impressed me more, but I fell in love with this coach on this test drive. We made the trade today, transferring all our gear from the old coach to the new one. So far, it looks like everything will fit into the new one, even though it's 8" shorter. We'll be organizing everything in it this weekend in preparation for our next trip.
In addition to the Henderson Rear Trac Bar and Roadmaster Reflex Steering Stabilizer we had installed last month, Tiffin recommended doing a front end alignment, and that they would reimburse me $250 for it to be done. I thought that was very generous of Tiffin to do so after over a year and 9,000 miles on the motorhome. I just got it back from Purcells Tire in Phoenix and the steering is much tighter feeling now. The service tech that drove it from La Mesa RV down to Purcells commented that the steering was very loose, which is what I have thought all along. I'm actually looking forward to driving it to Seattle this summer, now!
We picked up the motorhome and Jeep from Camping World after leaving them there for a few days to install all the equipment needed to flat-tow the new 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and to have some additional suspension parts added to improve the handling of the motorhome.
1. The reason we chose the new 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is because it is one of the few SUVs that are flat-towable with an automatic transmission, and is relatively lightweight (about 4,100 lbs.). We wanted a vehicle that we could drive on paved roads plus take off-road once we get to camp. The Jeep hasn't disappointed us. We towed it from the 1,200 foot elevation of Phoenix, Arizona up to the 7,000 foot elevation of Williams, Arizona, without any problems. It towed just fine, and once we made camp, we drove it about 50 miles on the dirt roads to the Lava River Cave and to the top of 9,255 ft. Bill Williams Mountain. We're extremely happy with the way it handles.
List of the main equipment added for towing:
2. After putting about 7,000 miles on the Tiffin Allegro over the past year, we came to the conclusion that we'd like something to help with the handling, mainly during driving on freeways with big, heavy trucks passing us and blowing us all over the road. After researching many RV forums and talking with Tiffin and Camping World, we had the following equipment added to the motorhome:
We drove about 300 miles on June 20 & 21 with the new setup (and towing the new Jeep) and were very happy with the results. There was a noticeable improvement in keeping the motorhome going straight down the road. Before this equipment, it took both hands firmly grasping the steering wheel, constantly making corrections to keep the motorhome in its lane. Now, I can drive with just a couple fingers on the wheel which should make long drives a lot easier.
States We've Trekked To