Factory Tour

 Posted by at 4:59 am  Nick's Blog
Jul 272010

Yesterday was a horrible day for me, because I had to get up at 5 a.m. so we could be dressed, and have the motorhome ready to roll when the factory techs came to get it a 6 a.m. Anybody who knows me knows that I hate getting up early in the morning.

I do most of my writing at night, and don’t post the blog until midnight. With the terrible internet connection we have on our Verizon air card here in Forest City, it took me well over an hour to get yesterday’s blog uploaded. (My desktop computer doesn’t have a WiFi card, and I have not loaded my blogging program on my laptop, so I couldn’t use Winnebago’s WiFi signal.) So by the time I got my shower and got into bed, I managed about four hours sleep.

Now, I’d never be so bold as to tell anybody how to run their business, but I’m telling you something, the folks here at Winnebago are missing the boat on an opportunity to double or triple the revenue from their service department. All they have to do is rent cots or hammocks to those of us who have to be up so early to have our RVs worked on, and I’m convinced their bottom line would skyrocket.

I tried to nap in the front seat of our van, since the back end is filled with bikes, kayaks, and a few thousand copies of the Gypsy Journal, but that just wasn’t happening. You’d be surprised how rude people are when you knock on the door of their RV and ask if you can take a nap on their couch! Is that any way to treat a perfect stranger? (Okay, an imperfect stranger, in my case!).  

We have toured several RV factories in our time, and since we now own a Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome, and since we are here in Forest City, Iowa, the home of Winnebago Industries, it just seemed like a good thing to do yesterday while our motorhome was in the shop.

Plant Tour bus 2

First we looked at a small display on company history in the Visitor Center, including this vintage motorhome. It was one of the first Winnebago motorhomes to come off the assembly line.

Early motorhome

Then we boarded a bus for the factory tour. It was interesting to see how Winnebago makes Class A and C motorhomes, but, unfortunately, our tour guide wasn’t all that great. He was a nice guy, but he didn’t seem to grasp the concept of using a microphone and bullhorn. He kept letting the thing hang at his side instead of holding it up where the sound would project. If you were standing right next to him, you could hear what he was saying, but five feet away, you couldn’t.

Sprinter build

Winnebago was the first RV company to use an assembly line, which revolutionized the industry. They have it down to a science, and while other RV manufacturers have closed their doors in the last couple of years, Winnebago keeps right on chugging along. They have cut their work force to deal with a lower volume of sales, but they are still producing top quality motorhomes every day.

Factory floor

It is interesting to stand on the viewing platforms, high above the factory floor, and watch their skilled employees bring a raw frame in and turn it into a home on wheels.

Frame build 2

Class A build 3

Class A build 2

Today we have a bit of a reprieve, since they won’t be taking our coach into the shop until 7 a.m. Whatever will I do to fill that empty hour in my life? Hmmm… snoring sounds like a good idea!

We are having quite a bit of work done, all the result of a lack of maintenance on the part of the former owner of our motorhome. The list includes new seals on both slide rooms, re-caulking the fiberglass roof, and new springs on all four of our HWH leveling jacks. It’s not going to be cheap, but we got the motorhome at such a good price, that we feel we still got a great deal.

The techs working on our coach say they hope to have the job done today, and if they do, we’ll be hitting the road Wednesday morning. If not, we’ll just hang out here at Camp Winnebago another day.

Thought For The Day – There is a difference between being broke and being poor.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  7 Responses to “Factory Tour”

  1. Sorry Nick we don’t feel your pain.

    We both have napped in the nice overstuffed leather chairs in the customer lounge on several occasions at the Red Bay Tiffin Service Center.

    Downside, it’s 100+ degrees usually when we’re there the 2nd week of June each year, so you can’t hang around outside.

  2. With having to get up at 5:00, you might have done better to just stay up all night!

  3. No human should have to be up before the chickens. Just think how nice it will be when they have all the things fixed and the fact you do not have to worry about it again. Winnebago does great work. We were fascinated by how they make a motor home, We took they tour a couple of years ago. Hope they finish it today and after you are well rested take care going up to Michigan. See you in Elkhart.

  4. Tour the Newmar plant in Nappanee, IN some time. Most of their workers are Amish. They also have an assembly line, but when it is time to move the RV to the next station, they slide it sideways on a cushion of air! It is neat to see a few men seem to effortlessly push a motorhome sideways about 20 feet!

  5. it’s good to know some people still have enough money to buy the big class A rv’s…
    and that they are still making them. Now if the price would come down a little I’d like to trade my fiver…

  6. Sorry, can’t relate, our rig never breaks down, we bought it new, you know.

  7. AND if you believe Tom, I have a bridge on the West Coast to sell anyone. lol

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