Ko Olina looking toward Nanakuli Head, Oahu, HI, December 5, 2016

Ko Olina looking toward Nanakuli Head, Oahu, HI, December 5, 2016
Ko Olina looking toward Nanakuli Head, Oahu, HI, December 5, 2016

Friday, March 24, 2017

Where Our Manufactured Home Will be Made - Fri., Mar. 24, 2017

Backtracking to dawn yesterday, my friend Susan, her husband Darren, and their son Travis and I did a 10k walk in Lady Bird Park along Salado Creek in San Antonio. After the walk, I showered then met other people from our RV park to go to an Open House and Tour at Lighthouse for the Blind, just 1/2 mile down the road from the RV park. 

At 11:30, we were ushered into a beautifully decorated meeting room and treated to a lunch of turkey croissant sandwiches, chips, cookies and soft drinks. Nancy Lipton, Director of Public Relations/Events, gave a talk about Lighthouse for the Blind, the jobs it provides, and the products that are manufactured there. She showed us a jacket that is made for the Army consisting of 100 pieces. Her talk was fascinating. 

Chris talked to us about purchasing office supplies, cleaning supplies and furniture from their catalog. A percentage of each sale goes to Lighthouse for the Blind to help them hire and train visually impaired or blind individuals, then help them to find jobs. 

When the lunch meeting portion was over, we were taken on a tour through the factory.

Mike, CEO, explaining new chin strap for helmets

Sewing new waterproof Army pants

A cadre of people sewing

Lining up fabric to be cut later
We had our tour leader take a photo of the group from the RV park. Unfortunately, it turned out blurry.

An Army outfit that is sewn here

Laser pattern cutter
Intently listening to our tour leader

High-tech sewing machines

Delia, Lee (hiding behind Delia), Lynda, and our tour
leader Nancy Lipton

Finishing up the tour
Our group headed back to Travelers World RV Resort. I then packed for our overnight trip to Athens, Texas, and made my way to the hairdresser for cut and color.

The hairdresser took way longer than I thought today. I didn't get to Bob's work until 5:35. (We had originally planned on me arriving at 4 pm.) That's when I found out our truck had been stolen. [See yesterday's blog for that story.]
After the truck was stolen yesterday, we made haste to Titan Factory Direct in New Braunfels, Texas, for our appointment with Vanessa, our Professional Housing Consultant. We went over the floor plan we liked and changes we wanted to make, then signed a contract for our new manufactured home. Earnest money was paid to Titan Homes to signify how committed we are to buying it. 

Tonight we will start our drive north to Athens, Texas. On Friday at 11:00 am we have an appointment to tour the factory that makes the homes.

Sunset over Titan Factory Direct in New Braunfels, TX

When we finished at Titan Homes it was sunset and we had to backtrack to Converse, TX, to fill out a police report on the stolen pickup. (The police department told us when we first called that all police were busy with a brush fire on Hwy 83 and we should come in later to fill out the report.)

Where we filled out the police report
At 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. we arrived at the Converse Police Department. It only took 10-15 minutes for an officer to show up to take our report. We then left a message with our insurance carrier who said we would be called back between 8-5 Central Time on Friday.

From Converse, we again headed north, past New Braunfels, on our way to Athens, TX. 

Austin, Texas is known for its heavy traffic and we bought a Texas tag so we could use the toll road around Austin. However, as we approached the toll road, a signboard showed travel time on I-35 versus Toll Road 130. The travel time was shorter on I-35. It was about 10:30 pm and it was the least traffic we've ever seen through Austin. We sailed through in record time and skipped the toll road. 

By 11:30 p.m. we were dog tired after our exhausting day. Bob pulled over in a small town south of Waco, Texas, and we spent the night in a motel. 

This morning, we had  breakfast at IHOP, then continued to Athens. What a gorgeous morning! Everything was so green. Bluebonnets were blooming along the road along with pink evening primroses and Indian paintbrush. We passed lakes, rivers, farmland and swamps.

A lady from our insurance company called us about 8:30 am. She gave Bob all the details about what we need to do.

I snoozed quite a bit on our trip to Athens this morning. We arrived at the factory a little ahead of schedule. That gave us time to figure out where we needed to go to meet Celous, our tour guide.

He took us through the manufacturing process step-by-step. We started where they build floors. 

The floor of a single wide manufactured home
We watched them put sheet rock on the walls

Attaching the sheet rock on the walls
Next, overhead cranes are used to put the walls in place. You will notice in the middle of the photo below there is a shiny substance on the floor. That is 3 mm thick plastic to protect the floors from the worker's boots, paint splatters, etc.

Wall being put in place by overhead crane
Cabinets and showers/tubs are installed next.

Cabinets being put into place
The photos below are taken from a catwalk, looking out over the manufacturing plant.
Working on the roof. You'll notice the
insulation is in the walls now too.

A park model (under 400 sq ft)

Park model on right next to manufactured homes on left

Putting on finishing touches at the eaves

Preparing a double-paned window

Celous explaining window wraps to Bob

Waterproofing and painting
The two photos below show how the manufactured homes are moved around inside the warehouse. In the first photo, you can see tracks on the floor. Under the home are wheels like on rail cars. The piece of equipment bottom center is a come-along which is attached to the frame and is used to pull the manufactured home along the track.

In the photo below, you can see rectangular cut-outs in the floor. Once the manufactured home is over those, the rectangles are raised up out of the floor to lift the manufactured home. That's when axles and wheels are added underneath. 

Note the rectangles in the floor...those raise up
under the manufactured home to support it
while axles and wheels are installed.
 Roofing and painting are next. This is quite a production!

After the tour we started toward home. We had lunch at Taco Casa, which we love. (There aren't any in San Antonio.) Big rainstorms crashed down on us just before lunch.

On the way home we did use Toll Road 130 to bypass Austin and avoid I-35, (which has the terrible traffic). On the toll road the speed limit is 85 mph. We made great time getting home!

Now it's late and it's time for sleep. We've had an exhausting two days. 

Tomorrow, we're doing a 10k walk in the morning and then going to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in the afternoon. Another full day is planned. 

Plus, we might go into downtown San Antonio tomorrow night to see the set of American Ninja Warrior. They will be filming the competition Sunday night, Monday early morning, Monday night and Tuesday early morning. (They like to film at night for the lighting, and I'd think also because it's cooler...our daytime temps are around 82 right now.) The show they film in San Antonio will air in late June.

Good night all!

Our Beloved "Beast" was Stolen Yesterday - Fri., Mar. 24, 2017

What was supposed to be an exciting drive north to Athens, Texas yesterday to view the manufacturing of park models and manufactured homes turned ugly. I was going to pick Bob up from his work and he was going to lock his truck in his company's yard while we took the trip north. 

When I arrived to pick him up, his first words were, "The worst thing that could happen happened." 

I replied, "What do you mean?"

"My truck was stolen!" he blurted out.

Oh, man, our "Beast" is gone. We fell in love with our 2000, sapphire-blue, Ford F350, 7.3 liter PowerStroke, crew cab truck from the first moment we saw it in Portland, Oregon. 

Here is an excerpt from the blog when we first found our truck in 2011: 
"Here's our story about how we got our used pickup truck: Bob saw an ad on craigslist for a blue, 2000, Ford F350, 7.3 liter at a small dealership in Portland. We had been having a hard time finding that particular truck with a 7.3 liter engine. We went to the lot and searched for the truck...no truck. The salesperson who helped us didn't know anything about it. (He was new, only at the lot three days.) 

"We got into our car and started to pull away from the curb. Coming onto the small side street we were leaving, was a beautiful sapphire blue Ford F350 crew cab pickup truck and it pulled into the lot we had just left. We re-parked the car and marched right back into the dealership to ask if that was the truck advertised on craigslist. Sure enough, it was. If we had left two minutes sooner we would have missed "our" truck. Apparently they had it out for detailing which was why it looked so shiny and beautiful. [Bob's recollection is that they took it out to buy lunch.]

"We got back together with our salesperson, examined the truck, took it for a test drive and called a friend of ours who lived about 1/4 mile away to take a look at it for us. (He is a pretty good mechanic and takes pickups and airplanes apart and rebuilds them.) He told us the truck had been used pretty heavily. To me, that meant it had been broken in. LOL. He had us take it to a transmission shop for a pull test, which the truck passed. We bought it on the spot."
That truck has hauled our 5th wheel all over the United States with barely a repair needed. We are heartbroken that it was taken.

Trucks stolen in Texas are typically taken across the border to Mexico to transport illegal aliens across the desert. If they are recovered they are usually in awful shape. 

Neighbors of ours in the RV park had their Ford pickup stolen from downtown San Antonio about a month ago. It was returned about 11 days later in awful shape. The rear seat had been removed. There was trash all over the interior. The bottom of the truck looked like it had been run through a mud bog. They had already picked out a new truck but hadn't purchased it yet. When their truck was found, they then had to make all the repairs as their insurance company wouldn't total it. They were devastated.

We will hope for the best, but planning for the worst. Starting next week, we will rent a car so we will have two vehicles again. The insurance company requires us to wait two weeks to see if our truck will be recovered. In the meantime, we are looking for another used truck to buy if ours is not returned.

If you should see our truck, please notify police. It has Texas license plates starting with CPH. The tailgate has a 26.2 sticker and the bumper has a Johnson/Weld political sticker. Here are some photos of the Beast...

Sparks Marina RV Park, Sparks, NV

The Beast

Sparks Marina RV Park
Fishing Bridge Campground, Yellowstone
Flaming Gorge overlook

Flagg Ranch, Grand Tetons, WY

Hilltop RV Resort, Ft. Stockton,  TX
Lake Pleasant Regional Park, AZ
Buffalo Bill Dam, WY
Badlands, SD
South Dakota Air & Space Museum, Rapid City
Black Hills, SD
Houghton, MI
OK, now you all know what it looks like. We hope it will be found in good condition so we can use it for our vacations in May and Sept./Oct. If not, we will get another truck. Hopefully, it will be as wonderful as this one!

TravelBug out.