Alabama, Where We've Been

Downtown Montgomery & Hyundai Factory Tour

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Outrigger Issues

Continued from last week…

When we got to Montgomery, we learned that the outrigger brackets we had ordered would take a week to be made and installed. During that week of waiting, the walls kept creaking and popping as the supports continued to bend and fail. It wasn’t until Saturday before the brackets were finally done and the welder came to install them on the rig.

In order to install them, the wall first needed to be supported. He brought in his jack and placed it under the wall of the first failed bracket. With his angle grinder, he carefully removed the old, bent bracket. Now that the wall was free to move, the jack was used to raise the wall to its previous height. Unfortunately, the damage had been done – the floor had permanently bent over the frame and raising it any further was going to do further damage to the wall structure, so further jacking up the wall to its “correct” height was aborted. The new brackets were installed and the wall was released from the jack. It ended up settling nicely onto the new support as if finding its new home after months of laborious searching. 

The remaining six brackets around the living room and dining room slides were installed in the same manner – each one taking on the job of a gauntly engineered frame that was left wanting.

I contacted both Grand Design and Lippert and we were unfortunately denied any help due to being second owners and the gaunt brackets being described as adequate for the job. Clearly they do not. Lippert then offered to give us the part number so that we could order the same meager brackets as a replacement for the ones that failed. Absolutely not!

The supports we installed were beefed up were added to in case any others decided to give in at any given time. Very disappointed in the response from both companies.

On a more positive note…

During that week of waiting, we took the opportunity to do a little sight seeing around Montgomery.

Downtown Montgomery

On the day we visited Montgomery, it had been threatening rain. I guess that was enough to keep everyone inside because the only people we saw out that day in the entire downtown area was another family who was visiting some of the sites we were. 

While walking around in places that we visit, I will sometimes give the kids a quiz about something historical or science related. This time, I asked them about architecture. We’ve seen many different types of buildings during our trip, but capitol buildings, in particular, share a similar type of architecture. I asked them if they could name the types of columns that adorned the capitol building. 

Their prize for identifying them correctly was a soda from the restaurant we were going to go to for lunch. Can you identify these columns?

How about these that are on the Alabama Department of Archives and History Museum?

They looked around the museum, looking for clues, but none were found, so they ended up asking an employee of the museum (“ask a friend” as a helpline). Unfortunately he did not know either. It wasn’t until we met up with the other tourist family, that the kids started to get somewhere in their quest for the answer. The family didn’t know the answer either, but the man was able to google the answer and with this helpline, they were able to discover the answer. 

The columns in the above photo are Corinthian and in the bottom photo they are Ionic.

Two sodas coming up!

The museum told the story of Alabama from its Native American beginnings and through to the present era.

It explained the geology of the state. If you see on the map, the lower half of the state is low lying land that is mostly flat, but the upper half is made up of rolling hills and valleys. In fact it is the northeast portion of the state that is connected to the stunning Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.

We left the museum and headed to this little white house a few blocks to the south. Any guesses whose house this might have been?

This house was the home of Martin Luther King Jr. when he became a pastor and began is preaching career at the local Baptist church in town. The house was owned by the church and used as the residence for its pastors as long as they were employed there.

Here was the Baptist church where MLK Jr first preached while in his 20’s and where his belief for passive resistance during the Civil Rights movement was formed.


Hyundai Factory Tour

When we were in Indiana, we visited the Toyota car manufacturing plant. It was a fascinating tour and we wanted to see how a different company compared to Toyota, so we went on a Hyundai factory tour. 

The tour itself was slower paced than the one at Toyota and let you see more of what was happening during the process of molding, welding, and putting together the components of a car. While most of the process was similar, it also shed light on the different practices of the two companies.

The Toyota plant was clean, without a part out of place. The aisles were clear and robots were busy at work shuttling components around for the workers. The robots sang songs to indicate their status to the manager nearby. 

The Hyundai plant was a little more haphazard. The aisles were cluttered, random screws lying on the ground, bins out of place, and a rather noisy environment that lacked the calm, controlled ecosystem of a well-oiled machine.  

We took a look at a few cars in the main lobby and while they looked sleek and sporty, the inside controls felt plasticy and cheap. You didn’t have the satisfying positive “click” when pushing buttons in them.

It was good to see the difference between the two manufacturers as it gave us something to compare against.



The Backyard RV Resort

This stop in Montgomery was a last minute find since we were needing to stop to get some repair work done on the trailer. I was able to reserve online, but received a call from the owner soon after telling me that due to some incoming rain the spot I had chosen may be too wet during our stay. He suggested we stay in the 300’s and switched our spot over. 

I then asked if we could have some maintenance done while on site since we had some frame issues. He said that would be fine and indeed we had some welding done while staying there. That was a great help.

The concrete pads that are at each site are nice to stay out of the mud, but were poured too high for the steps to rest upon and still close the door to our trailer so we had to back up the rig so that our stairs could land on the ground. With the rain, we ended up still having to climb in and out of the rig in a puddle.

The center pavilion contains a large chess and checkers set that my kids found fun to play with. They have grills and picnic tables and a large shipping container that served as an outdoor patio area. 

We did have some electrical issues at our site with the voltage being too high. It was assumed to be because of the wifi antenna nearby. The owner did his best to fix it on the weekend and we plugged into an adjoining site. Turning off the wifi antenna seemed to fix the issue.

With Starlink, we were able to get 49 down and 18 up. Verizon on the phone was at 3 bars (19/1). Verizon with the cell antenna was at 5 bars (22/3) and AT&T was also 5 bars (25/25). The park wifi, when it worked, was giving us (2.2/1.7).