Jul 242010

We really like Forest City, Iowa. It’s a charming little town that draws its lifeblood from the Winnebago factory, and just as folks in southern Texas love the Winter Texans who flock there every year, folks here love the “Bagos” who come to town every year for the Grand National rally. Everybody we have met in the stores and restaurants have been very friendly and gone out of their way to welcome us to their community.

We are also very impressed with the Winnebago Customer Service facility. When I spoke to someone here last week to talk about the work we wanted to get done, she urged us to get to Forest City as soon as possible, to get our name on the list for some work we needed done, since they get swamped when the rally ends.

When we arrived Thursday, we got signed up, hoping to get a service slot by Tuesday. We were amazed to be told we were on the stand-by list for yesterday morning, and sure enough, they took us in at 11:30, and by the time their day ended at 3 p.m., they had already completed several things on our list. The service techs carefully explained everything they had done, and what still needed to be completed. Compared to our experiences years ago with the morons at the Fleetwood factory in Riverside, California, it’s a difference between night and day.

We are parked for the weekend in the Service Center camping area, with 30 amp electric, until Monday morning, when they want to start on the rest of our work… at 6 a.m.! Who in the world gets up at 6 a.m.? I told the techs I hoped they worked quietly, because I never roll out of bed before 9 or 10!

While I am impressed with Forest City and the folks at Winnebago, I’m not very thrilled with the very slow 1X National Access internet service  we’re getting from our Verizon air card. Getting online is very slow, if we can get on at all, and then staying online is a crapshoot at best. During the day I can take my iPad inside the Customer Service lounge and use their WiFi to answer e-mail (except for the weekend, when they are closed), but posting the blog is terribly slow, and I get knocked offline about three out of four times.

So if you don’t see the blog every morning for the next few days, we didn’t get abducted by a UFO, or eaten by a rogue rooster. Please, please, don’t send me forwarded jokes and other stuff while we’re here. It’s just too hard to access e-mail. If you do e-mail me about anything else, I may not be as fast in replying as normal.

My pal Butch Williams noticed a mistake in the schedule I posted for our upcoming Gypsy Gathering rally, in which I have seminars scheduled for  Wednesday, September 1; Thursday, September 1; and Friday, September 1. Butch asked me how many times we are having September 1st this year, and I wrote back to tell him three that I know of so far. That’s the last time I buy a calendar at the dollar store! I’d change those typos, if only I could get online!

I also have added a new seminar to our rally schedule, on Beginning Kayaking, as well as a panel discussion on RVing Alaska. I think both will be well received. And don’t forget that the good folks from RVSEF will be at the rally weighing RVs, and that the RV Driving School will be offering behind the wheel driving lessons in your own RV. These are two things you should plan on scheduling as soon as possible, to be sure of getting a weighing time slot, and a driving lesson before or after the rally. To schedule your weighing time, call Rick Lang at (207) 522-3336. For a driving lesson, call Dennis Hill at the RV Driving School at (530) 878-0111.

Thought For The Day – Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes to the bone.

Click Here To Register For Our Eastern Gypsy Gathering Rally!

Nick Russell

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

  6 Responses to “We Like Winnebago!”

  1. You should be able to connect to the ‘Bago free wi-fi from the tables outside both the Service Center and the Customer Service/WIT building across the street. Hardees (Carl Jr. for us West Coasters) has free wi-fi at the restaurant downtown. I think the coffee shops do, too. As for the 6 am appt., park your van in the shade (be sure to put a chair in your RV slot to save it) and then inflate your air mattress and nap away. ‘Bago service customers tend to meet for breakfast at Sally’s downtown.

  2. We are still sitting in the rally grounds and there is still free WI-FI that is only getting better as folks pull out. So you could try that, we well.

  3. We have only the best to say for the Winnebago service folks. Excellent place, excellent staff, excellent work. The only negative at the place is some of the customers who expect miracles, then yell and scream at the techs, then go and bitch at the rest of the customers who are being patient! But that’s people for you.

  4. We have nothing but good to say about the service we received from the Winnebago folks. The fact that the service techs came out and got Mike then went thru everything they had to do was nice. Then when they ran into a problem they came and explained what it was and how they would fix it if we agreed.

  5. Wow, I thought their normal 7 am start was bad! Must be the extended hours they are doing for the three weeks around the Rally; I thought those would be later not earlier! I’m thinking on our next visit we may ask to be put into a later slot–I like your 11:30 one better and would be willing to stay an extra day to get to finish my morning’s sleep.

    I agree that communications is a strong point at the Winnebago factory and I love their little service campground. The quality of work is not always the best, though, so check as many things as you can before you leave.

  6. Possibly poor Cell/Internet signal reception is due to overloading the local towers due to the surge of users associated with a Rally in a small / limited service area (compared to major metro areas), just like I-Phone users had with AT&T for some time until they upgraded/expanded their network infrastructure?

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