Skip to content

The Shakedown Cruise

Getting to know Interstate 20 really well

Four months ago I started out on a trip with a dual purpose – drive out to the Escapees RV Boot Camp to finalize my understanding of these things and how folks live this way as well as take a route that would take me to see various dealers that had good inventories of used Tiffins.

Little did I think that in a few short months I would come to know I-20 very well ☺ and would put a few thousand miles on the rig simply getting things ready.

I tweeted…“near Houston-heading for Escapees RV Bootcamp–so much to learn. after the wknd it’s time to find a good used Tiffin Phaeton. wish me luck”

Well as luck would have it, after learning about tires, driving, electrical and plumbing systems as well as fire safety, I immediately found a used rig that was just what I had been looking for—candidly it was even better than I had hoped for—things were looking good!

The 2007 Tiffin Phaeton I purchased had been meticulously maintained by the prior owner but as I was to discover these things occasionally need more than their fair share of investment to keep in top shape.

Not only did the RV need new tires but Tiffin would need to replace (at their cost) the wet bay floor. I would also need some engine/chassis work done and also find some time to get a Texas Class B drivers license.

Time to hit the road on a shakedown/repair trip—one that I figured would take 3 – 4 weeks. Well, 8 weeks later – yup, nothing gets done fast in the RV world – I had a cleaned up, fixed up, tuned up rig. Time, money, and many miles back and forth along I – 20!

The jumble that became my mapquest visual started in Rio Vista, TX then back to Atlanta, then…Gainesville, GA/Red Bay, AL/Vicksburg, LA/Livingston, TX/Vicksburg, LA/Atlanta, GA/Gaffney, SC/Atlanta, GA/Red Bay, AL/Atlanta, GA…lots of coming and going and numerous delays along the way.

The condo on wheels requires 6 truck tires and I needed new ones so first stop was Turbo Truck Center in Gainseville, GA. Great folks and great service. I also found out how lucky I was on that initial drive from DFW to ATL—discovered one of the tires had a crack that looked like a canyon—sure glad I made it and was getting new ones put on


Next stop, was Red Bay AL—

stepping into the twilight zone of RV life—

no appointment means lots of waiting I discovered—

time too to make some add’l modification–how about a desk where that sofa was…

time to find more problems-oh well!!

Quick run back to Livingston TX to get my Class B license and get the rig weighed ( all important 4 corner weigh ) at the Smart Weigh site at the Escapees headquarters

Did I say “quick”—

well when the DMV official says it might take a week or more to get everything done,

you simply say “thank you, mam” and smile and bite your tongue—

oh well time for a little sight seeing

a few practice runs along the test route

time to study all the irrelevant stuff that will be forgotten as soon as I get the new license

I even found time to be interviewed by the folks who write for the Tiffin magazine

lots of productive things to do while one waits, and waits, and waits, and…

Finally, it was off to Gaffney SC –home of the “big peach” water tower and Freighliners top tier service and training center. Four days and a few dollar more and it’s time to hit the road for one final, and thankfully brief, Red Bay visit

A few thousand miles later and a few dollars poorer and now way too familiar with that section of I – 20 between Texas and Georgia, it’s was time to make some real trip plans

See you down the road…

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS