Note: We were on the go all day yesterday grocery shopping and taking care of some things, so I didn’t have time to write a blog. So here is a re-post of a blog about our tour of the Winnebago factory in Forest City, Iowa from a few years ago.
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 of 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.
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.
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.
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 workforce to deal with a lower volume of sales, but they are still producing top-quality motorhomes every day.
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.
Today we have a bit of a reprieve, since they won’t be taking our coach into the shop until 7 a.m. What 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.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Buck Fever, the first book in my friend Ben Rehder’s immensely popular Blanco County mystery series. If you’re not a fan of Ben’s books you have no idea what you are missing out on. Wacky characters, great humor, and superb writing. Give them a try. You won’t be disappointed. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with U.S. addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.
Thought For The Day – There is a difference between being broke and being poor.
Do you miss that Winnebago? I hate to think of travel where I have to check into a hotel but pretty soon I think my 83 year old body is going to revolt and say “No Mas!”
I will miss it.
We loved our 18+ years as fulltime RVers, but we find traveling in our Chrysler Pacifica and staying in hotels has its advantages. It’s easier to drive, easier to stop and get fuel, we can take off on an interesting little sideroad on a whim, and at the end of the day we don’t have to hook up to campground utilities. And given the rising costs of campgrounds and sometimes limited availability, we don’t regret the change.
How long does it take for a chassis to become a motorhome? Days? Hours?
Sally, I think it depends on the company and their production schedule. Here is a time-lapse video of the 11 days it took to build a Tiffin compressed into 11 minutes
Amazing! Great post Nick. Thanks.