We had a great time on our first trip into Decatur Indiana. We showed up late (8:45 pm) on Monday August 11th after driving from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. We picked an empty spot (34), leveled and hooked up. We did not get a chance to talk to anyone as most had already headed into their coaches for the night.
Tuesday August 12th I woke up first at 6:15a.m. to an empty parking lot. I decided not to leave the coach until my wife woke up in case she got worried where I had gotten to so early in the morning. I remember reading that things started at 6:00 in the morning but wasn't' really sure people were not pulling my leg. Nope they were not, only 4 or 5 coaches were left in the parking lot, the other 30+ disappeared. After my wife got up and I got ready to enter the world (showered) I made my way over to the service reception in Building #1. My service rep was Julie as I was a "drop-in"¯ and asked me to fill out a service form with as many as 6 items. I filled out only 3 as I did not want to impose too much on the service department as I had not made an appointment. Once that was done I asked about a plant tour of the American Coach Product line. My family and I would have to wait until Wednesday for the tour. Not really listening to the receptionist (I was in awe) she gave me a yellow number (30) and as I was walking back I thought it was the place in line that I was for service not the parking lot number. When I got back to the coach my left side of the brain started talking to the right side of my brain and I deduced that it was not my service number but the lot number so back to the reception area I walk to ask for site 34. Too late a gentleman in a turbo diesel Bounder had just arrived and gotten that lot so I asked for lot 37 away from the rail tracks as I had read that trains often pass by in the middle of the night. (Not one passed by for the 4 days and 3 nights we were there.) We just hung around the lot and spoke with a few other AC owners. We met a very nice couple Bill and Phyllis with a 2005 Tradition with a very similar paint scheme and interior treatments as ours. It was nice to see what could be done to the inside of the coach thought as they had some very nice upgrades to the interior roof and other areas of the coach. I also met a nice gentleman by the name of Mike and admired his 2007 42 ft Tradition. Mike was getting the front of his coach painted and left on Wednesday for home. Tuesday night and we got a phone call on the cell that AC would be out at 6:15 a.m. to get our coach and look at the 3 issues I had placed down. So off to bed early so we could get up early.
Wednesday August 13th Well early came at 4:00 a.m. as I awoke to sounds of sirens, a whole lot of them. My first thought in my mind was tornado warning but the sirens were of emergency service vehicles. I swear the number that I heard the world could have been coming to an end, but it is good to know that they have the services in place for such emergencies. I never did figure out what had happened and where? Woke up the wife and kids up at 5:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. respectively and straightened up the coach for our service person who turned out to be Mike. (Not the same one with the 07 Tradition of course.) Mike was very friendly and drove us over to the service building and said that if we wanted to stay in the coach we were more than welcome too or we could go into the lounge and wait there. We decided to wait in the lounge as we were going to wait for our drive over to the Main Plant for our tour and continue to speak with and listen to other owners who have had much more experience with their coaches than I have. 8:00 a.m. and our ride has arrived. I did not catch her name but a nice lady, who has been working at AC for some time said she would be back at 11:30 a.m. or so. First ones to arrive and the receptionist walked us into the boardroom and asked us to fill out a survey/questionnaire which I was more than happy to do. The way people were talking around the lounge and from what I heard I thought we may be the only ones on the tour but at 9:00 a.m. we had a full room of 14 people for the plant tour which was going to be a special one as the plant was shut down for 2 weeks for maintenance/retooling and I can only assume a slowdown in the RV sales. Tom was our tour guide and he was excellent very engaging, energetic and personable. We did not have to wear the usual headphones so our tour was very quiet and long. (Next time I will bring the dounut's, Tom) It was quite a site to see all these coaches being built and how they are built. I offered to trade my 04 Tradition for a 09 Heritage that was almost complete but to my sadness no acceptance. After our tour was, back to Camp Decatur to find out how the coach was doing. Our two young daughters were tired after the long tour and we were looking forward to having some lunch. Mike managed to fix everything other then the furnace which had to be replaced as it was still blowing black smoke after he had fixed/worked on it for a large part of the day. Good news it would be here the next day at about 9 a.m. and only take an hour or so to install. The bad news was we had to get home on Sunday for work on Monday. So back to the lot and some more conversations with some other AC owners. The lot seemed to be a little less crowded mid week so it was an early retire for the evening again.
Thursday August 14th and Mike is running late due to a safety meeting. I have no problem with this at all as safety in any business should be the priority. By 12:30 p.m. Mike is done with the installation and has run the unit for ½ hour to make sure everything is running properly. I see Julie for the bill to my surprised and relief the bill is very reasonable. I happily pay my bill and thank everyone in the entire lounge/office for their time and hospitality. I let them know we will be back next summer and off to the waiting family in the coach. We have to make it to Lasalle Illinois this evening and need to get moving.
I could go on about the 32 hours of driving in the next 3 days to get home but I am sure I have bored you already if you have managed to read this entire post without falling on your keyboard. In short everything you have heard about the people, the facilities and the work done at the AC/Fleetwood Service Department is spot on. No better place to get your work done then there. Make the trip if you can, you will not be disappointed
Blake Symons & Family
2004 American Tradition 370 Cummins, 2000 Tahoe Blue Ox Aventa LX BrakeBuddy Vantage