2012 - Decatur, AL
The 2012 WCMC Rocket City Rally
2012 Rocket City Rally Itinerary
Program for the WCMC Rocket City Rally, Decatur, Alabama
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The WCMC Rocket City Rally was held in Decatur, Alabama from October 2nd to the 5th, 2012 at the Point Mallard Campground in Decatur, AL. The rally consisted of 20 member coaches and 1 former member.
Your hosts, Mike & Colleen Pelchat, arrived early and setup shop waiting for the members to arrive. By Friday a number of members arrived and they were being parked on the hill as the campground described it. Behind the sites on the hill the campground made a fire pit for our use and provided firewood. By Monday afternoon, everyone expected had arrived.
As members came over to Site #72 to register, they were greeted by the hosts. A large goody bag, Itinerary and a themed ID where handed to the members. At 6:00pm, our caterer had set out a vegetable platter, snacks and beverages and we held our Welcoming Social. Ken & Jean Korhonen had setup the store and were selling club merchandise. Smiling members shook hands took advantage of this time to reconnect and make new friends. After a brief welcoming and announcement of last minute changes, the members got down to having a good time.
On Tuesday morning a full breakfast started off the day. At 9:00am, Buddy Gamel from Precision Sales & Service in Birmingham came to our rally and presented the Workhorse Service and Maintenance portion of the seminar schedule. Next up, Mike Pelchat presented an overview about our new club website and how to login and get around. The seminars ended by noon and all were invited to go to the Mallard Golf Course Grill for lunch. Members were required to show their IDs and sign a log and they chose lunch items from a menu.
Tuesday afternoon offered a bit of free time. At approximately 3:30pm, Mr. Bob Tiffin, President of Tiffin Motorcoach of Red Bay, AL, came to our rally and met members and stood for pictures with Club members. Bob spoke for a brief time about the Tiffin way of doing things. Bob sharred how dedicated they were toward providing the absolute best customer experience for their owners and how they could expect to be treated like family since they owned a family name branded coach.
Bob stayed with us for about 1 hour. Directly after Bob left, we enjoyed our 2nd social event and during this time we just about cleared off the door prize table. Everyone in attendance got something. Later on after dinner a number of people brought chairs to the campfire and enjoyed time with friends. The campfire was well attended.
President David Laird and VP Ken Korhonen stand with Mr. Bob Tiffin and the WCMC RCR.
On Wednesday our signature event began with members carpooling to the Navistar Maxxforce Engine Plant in Huntsville, AL. Everyone after some circular orbits around the Huntsville area arrived "On Time”. The attendees were parked, welcomed and ushered up to the 2nd floor conference area. Our host, Marsha, also greeted us and bid us welcome. She then introduced our tour guide who took us through an introductory video describing what Navistar was and we closed the session with a video detailing an overview of the manufacturing facilities. We all were asked to sign a log, pick up safety glasses and an ID.
Our tour began in the Vee Plant where we saw how Maxxforce engines are machined from rough castings to finished products through computerized automated processes. Walking thought the huge facility one gazed some 2300 feet along a row of robotic machines which faded in the distance toward the opposite side of the plant. At the time that we were walking through the plant, a number of manufacturing processes were idle however we saw several engines in various stages of assembly. Concluding our morning tour we walked by a sea of completed engines waiting to ship.
Exiting the plant floor we were ushered back to the conference center where a nice box lunch was waiting for us. The attendees all raved about the size and quality of the sandwiches that we had. The lunch was sponsored by Alliance Coach of Wildwood, FL. Right after lunch, ball caps were given to all the attendees from Maxxforce Custom Products. Concluding lunch, we departed Plant 1 for the Big Bore Plant. Noted is that most of the attendees had already visited the Plant 2 parking lot earlier in the day.
WCMC members visited the Navistar Huntsville Engine Plant
We all entered the Plant 2 lobby and we were again greeted by tour guides. We broke up into 3 smaller groups and proceeded onto the plant floor. The Big Bore plant demonstrated how the larger Maxxforce engines were manufactured. We saw engines from the Maxxforce 10 to 15 in various phases of completion. The assembly line was noted to be in the shape of a horseshoe concluding with a “Cold Spin” station. We ended our day by examining a number of competitive engine parts that were disassembled on benches comparing the Maxxforce components to competitor components.
Visitors departed the plants having walked an extra mile and nursing sore feet. In all, I believe that the tour was one of the most rewarding experiences that members came away with. WCMC members now have a much better appreciation about diesel engine manufacturing and how Maxxforce engines are quality made in the USA.
On Wednesday afternoon, a call was made to reserve some 40+ seats at the Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Q in Decatur. About the dinner, all I can say is that it appeared that everyone went to Gibson’s and had a nice meal. In my experience, the meat fell off the bone as I nursed a ½ rack of ribs and a huge baked potato. Returning from Gibson’s we gathered around the campfire for a nice relaxing evening.
Our last day at Point Mallard started with a full breakfast called a sausage casserole. After breakfast we carpooled to the US Space & Rocket Center. I believe that we were a group of about 30 people. We were issued wrist bands and began our visit in the main hall where a real Saturn V moon rocket was on display. At the opposite end of the hall a stage was made available and we all lined up for a group shot. The balance of the day was on your own and self-touring. Toward the noon hour most of us went to the Mars Grill for lunch. We concluded our tours in the early afternoon and returned to the campground.
WCMC members visit the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "One Giant Step" is seen in the forefront.
For those members that wanted an alternate activity, 18 holes of PGA tour golf were available and I believe that a threesome was fielded. By 4:00pm the WCMC held its business meeting and officers were elected.
The day concluded with our Rocket City Rally Dinner. Entertainment was provided by Ragen Ivey. Ragen provided vocals over amplified sound tracks and his style of entertainment was just perfect for the audience. His version of the Brooks & Dunn song, “Believe” was outstanding. Ragen provided hits from Garth Brooks, Big & Rich, George Strait and other western greats. Concluding the entertainment our grand prizes were awarded. TST, Winegard and Fantastic Vent provided the top 3 prizes.
The rally concluded with these words, “These proceedings are closed.” The members sat around enjoying company and finishing beverages. All were present were given a commemorative Point Mallard Park coffee cup departing the building.
Members enjoy our Workhorse Service Seminar given by Buddy Gambel who came up from Birmingham to be with us.
In conclusion, 95% of the activities that were planned occurred as scheduled. We received many more goody bag items and door prizes than we should have since the rally was billed out as being attended by 100 rigs. The attending members walked away with heavy goody bags and it is not expected that any will run out of cozies for the balance of their lifetime. Thanks to all that attended. Please see the 2012 Rocket City Rally Itinerary link for a copy of the document and for more information.
A coach similar to the one in this photo was provided for display by Alliance Coach of Wildwood, FL. The coach was shown by Denny Beggs.
The 2013 Holiday Rambler "Endeavor" 43DFT sits on a 273 inch wheelbase and is rated for 43,000 pounds of GVWR. A 10,000 tow rating pushes out the GCWR to 53,000 pounds. The coach is powered by a 405HP MaxxForce 10 diesel engine.
A 2013 Tiffin Breeze was furnished by Bankston RV of Huntsville, AL The twin slideout model 32BR was well received by the members that had time to visit the coach. The Tiffin Breeze is powered by the MaxxForce 7, V8 twin turbo diesel featuring 240HP and 620 lbs/ft of torque.
The Pathfinder is a 75 ton Orbiter simulator that was created to work out the procedures for moving and handling the shuttle. It was a steel structure roughly the size, weight and shape of an orbiter. It was constructed at Marshall Space Flight Center
(MSFC) (Huntsville) in 1977 and was used as a stand in for Enterprise to test roads and cranes. Pathfinder was shipped by barge to KSC and was used for ground crew testing in the VAB , OPF and SLF. It was then returned to MSFC.
Attached to this report are the minutes of the business meeting that was held in Decatur, Alabama in conjunction with the Rocket City Rally.