2011 Travels travel blog

Carpe Diem at Gaffney KOA

Interstate 26 in North Carolina
Carpe took these hills in stride

Trees wearing spring finery along I 26 in North Carolina

South Carolina welcomes us

Camp Freightliner
Instructor Mike Cody makes a point

Our class gets "hands on" with a real chassis

Bob "inspects" Freightliner chassis

Our instructor Mike Cody proudly shows off chassis

Class attempts to load chassis airbags
Bob is second from right on near...

Bob inspects Cummins engine component locations
Guess who crawls under the coach when...

Carpe's shiny new modern exhaust diffuser

Sun, 17 Apr: An easy 197 miles took us from Heiskell to Gaffney. We used I75, I40, I26, and finally I85, all interstate which is not our normal practice. This was, however, was the most direct and easiest way to thread our way through the mountains that seem to dominate these parts. Carpe performed admirably taking the majority of the upgrades in second overdrive while the exhaust brake kept our speed under control on the downhill portions of the drive.

We arrived at the Gaffney KOA campground shortly after noon and got settled into our site. We were in an area that the campground managers reserved for folks who are attending Camp Freightliner, so the first questions everyone asked was "Are you taking the class?" We had a delightful afternoon making many new friends with our future classmates.

The weather was just delightful, albeit a bit on the cool side. We so enjoyed sitting outside and visiting with folks that the time got away from us and we didn't get around to eating dinner until after eight—which is very late for us. We finally turned off the lights around eleven...

Mon, 18 Apr: The alarm clock went off at 0600!!! An alarm clock—for retirees? What gives here??? School day and the bus will pick us up at 0730, so we'd best get up, breakfast, and prepare for school.

Sure enough, at 0730 the "gang" gathered in front of our coaches and the bus (a Freightliner, of course) promptly rolled up. A short drive to the training center where we met the rest of our classmates and got underway. The class was pretty much nonstop with instructor (aka bus driver) Mike Cody sharing his vast store of knowledge about all things Freightliner. The man is an encyclopedia.

Class broke up at 1630 and Mike drove us back to the campground. We had a short respite, and then drove ourselves back to the training center where we shared a BBQ and one-on-one with Freightliner VIPs. Finally broke up around 1900 and drove back home to collapse (in front of the computer to pen this...)

Tue, 19 Apr: Day two of Camp Freightliner. Another alarm clock wakeup and we staggered out of our bed to get ready for class. We elected to drive ourselves today as we had mail waiting for us at the Gaffney Post Office. Bob picked up the mail during our morning break (a good call as there were no lines).

Today's class was intense as there was a great deal of material to cover and Mike really wanted to get it all in. As a result we had abbreviated breaks and class lasted until well after 1900. One of the most interesting parts of the class was our "field trip" to the parking lot to view a real chassis. This is a complete chassis without a motorhome on it so all the installed components are easy to see without crawling underneath. Mike very patiently showed us the locations of all the components and systems he'd covered in the class. Hands on is the best way to remember.

By the time we got home, had an adult beverage and a quick warm-it-up dinner, it was 2100 and we were both exhausted. Bedtime came soon after and Sandi slept through the night, a rare event for her.

Wed, 20 Apr: We thought we'd get to chill out this morning, but just as we finished the breakfast dishes we received a phone call that they had an opening at the Gaffney Freightliner Factory Service Center for our coach. We learned during the class the the rusty and ugly exhaust diffuser (the part that sticks out the side of the coach) we had on our coach was a "first generation" and Freightliner was replacing them with shiny chrome second generation units at no charge. Not only were the new ones better looking, but they are also supposed to work better. So, we asked Pat the very nice Service Center lady to put us on the wait list. She did, and called us that we had a slot if we came over ASAP.

We quickly got ready for the road and drove the eight miles to the Service Center where we left the coach and went to the local coin laundry for scrubby time. Then lunch and back to the Service Center where we waited a bit until Carpe appeared. Back to the KOA campground and we again set up for another night. Storms are expected tonite so we'll be watching for them and their anticipated severe effects.

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