Friday, March 10, 2017

Gaffney SC

We are in Gaffney
The Peach Capital of South Carolina.

Our current home since Tuesday - The Freightliner Training & Service Center.

We are here for some routine maintenance - a  48month service.

We arrived a few days prior to our appointment hoping that we could be worked
in early, but this is a busy time of year so we had to wait for our Friday appointment.

This is the training center for Freightliner Custom Chassis Mechanics,
and the work done here is AAA+ and the price is also very reasonable, so passing
by - I try and get on the schedule to take advantage of a good thing.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Factory Tour

While waiting for our turn in the service bay I decided to take Kate on the tour
of the plant where our Coach Chassis was built.

Inside the 200,000 ft² facility are 3 production lines.
One is devoted to UPS and Fedex truck chassis's
The second is a bus chassis line.
The 3rd is the RV Chassis line where they are custom assembled for many
RV Manufacturers.

After a short safety video we proceeded out onto the production floor.
You are immediately struck by the whir of constant motion,.. 
 Shop vehicles of all types - some set up as multi car trains -rush about
delivering parts to the work stations up and down the line.

The parts arrive at the factory, and are delivered to the work stations,  just in time
to be mated with the proper frame

Traffic lights guide the traffic flow and yellow lines are laid out on the floors as walkways.

There was even driver-less vehicles.
This one whizzed by pulling 5 or 6 carts behind it.

Looking down the line towards the far end where it all begins

In a corner of the facility - workers assembled the Cummins engines that go into some
of the chassis such as ours.  Turbos, alternators, electronics, etc are all added at this point,
and the engine is mated to the transmission.

This is a Cummins ISC engine similar to the one in ours mated to an Allison
6-speed transmission.

A 2,000 lb engine on a stand to be rolled to its chassis.

At the far end (beginning) of the line, frame sections are laid out upside down, cross members 
are placed in position, and the whole assembly bolted together.

Further down the underside components such as axles are attached.
Below you see the rear axle assembly sitting on top of the rails.

Down the line the frame travels, and once the bottom is complete, the whole chassis is
lifted, and flipped right side up.

Then more stations install engine,  pollution control system, radiator, fuel tanks, 
tires, and the chassis electrical components to name just a few.

A Cummins Engine is lifted from its cradle to be mated with its chassis

In the photo below the chassis is now sitting on its own wheels and ready for
laser alignment.   After which the engine will be fired up and the chassis driven out of the plant.

Just 52 minutes after the start of assembly - the new chassis is born!

From here they will be shipped to the body manufacturer.
In our case - the frame will be shipped to Tiffin Motorhomes in Red Bay, Al.

Seeing 600+ employees working in unison, the attention to quality control,
and the computer controls...  it was quite an experience.

Cowpens National Battlefield

In January 1781 things had not been going well for the American Revolution.
The British had taken control of the south and its seaports.

In the interior however, bands of revolutionaries continued to harass those loyalists which
England had hoped would secure the region after the British troops had left.

Lord Cornwallis decided to put an end to these actions and dispatched an army
under the command of Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton to put it down.

If you saw the movie "The Patriot" - the cruel British General who was Mel Gibsons'
antagonist was based upon Colonel Tarleton.

Needless to say - it did not go well for the British.

The Americans, under the command of General Daniel Morgan - with Tarleton in hot
pursuit - positioned themselves with a river at their back and the right and left flanks protected
by thickets and swamps.

The Americans had no where to retreat.
Morgan did this by design as the volunteer militia which made up 2/3 of his army were
famous for scattering as soon as the lead started to fly.
The militia would have to fight or die.

Tarletons troops on the other hand arrived at the battlefield exhausted and
malnourished.   They had run out of food 48 hrs earlier and had been
marching at great haste over difficult terrain for days.

The terrain would force Tarleton into making a head on assault which is what Morgan wanted.

Morgan 150 of put his best sharpshooters in the first line, straddling the Green River Road.
Their orders were to shoot all the officers at the start of the battle which they did

Right behind them he conspicuously put the Militia with the instructions to shoot
2 volleys and then retreat to a pre determined position.

These instructions caused the British to think they were routing the militia and caused
them to break ranks as they chased the "retreating" forces.

Behind the militia however was surprise number one...   The Continental Regulars.

Then hidden behind the Continental Army and a hill was Continental Calvary.

In essence - the British ran into stronger and better troops the further they proceeded.

The map below shows the troop positions at the start of the engagement.

Eventually the calvary joined the fight, the sharpshooters and militia
appeared back out of the woods, and the British became encircled and started
surrendering en-mass.

In less than an hour the battle was over.
The Americans had surrounded and decimated the British army.

The Americans had lost 12 dead and 124 wounded.
The British had lost 110 dead and 1,058 captured, wounded, or missing.

And these were Cornwallis's best and most elite troops!

Cornwallis was forced to abandon South Carolina and head north to Virginia and
his eventual defeat at Yorktown which ended the revolution resulting in
American Independence!  πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

The Battle of Cowpens is regarded as the turning point of the revolution.

We walked the battlefield loop, a pleasant 1 mile trail.
Part of it is along the Green River Rd.

Cowpens Battlefield - Green River Rd
 Further down the Green River Rd is the Historic Scruggs Cabin.
It is inside the park - but built in 1828 - long after the battle fought here.

It is a classic example of an early homesteader homesite.
The Scruggs were busy rabbits and had 11 children.
Imagine 13 people living in this small home!

On Friday Morning we pulled in the slides at 8am and right on schedule,
the Freightliner Tech arrived to go over our work order.
A few minutes later he drove the bus into one of the bays and we walked up to the
customer lounge with the Doodles.

The Gaffney Service Center has a very nice lounge and is dog friendly.

While we waited I was able to get a few hours of work done and before we knew it,
the tech came in to say we were all done and gave the bus a clean bill of health.

The timing was perfect.
It allowed us enough time to get 260 miles down the road and shave off a big chunk
of the drive to Red Bay on Friday - setting us up for an early Saturday arrival
at Tiffin Motorhomes Service Facility.

Tonight we are in Anniston Alabama at the RV Park owned by Dandy RV.
Its very convenient and has long pull-thrus so we do not need to unhook the toad.

Our plan was to get here before dark - and we would have arrived with plenty of
time to spare...  but Friday night Rush hour in Atlanta had a different idea.

A 4 hr trip became 5 1/2 hrs due to the horrendous traffic.
Its crazy..  I remember Atlanta being a nightmare at rush hour almost 40 years ago
when I drove Semis, and nothing has changed!

Well I told Kate when we left Gaffney that we would have to contend with Atlanta and we did!

Its all good though.  No sense getting worked up.
It was a pretty day and our space was waiting for us here in Anniston when we arrived
at 0 Dark 30.

Tomorrow we have an easy 3 hr drive to Red Bay in Saturday traffic.

Along the way I plan to hit a cardlock fueling site to try out my new commercial fuel
card that I will use in Canada at Petro Canada Cardlocks.

More about that in the next post.
Time to chill.


  1. Hated that things didn't work out for us getting together for a day or two but such is life. We had a relaxing couple of nights at at Watsadler in a beautiful site right on the lake. Arrived in our hometown of Hendersonville, NC yesterday and the news that a snow storm is on the way along with frigid temps, UGH!!!! It's going to be cold the entire time we are here.

    So you visited Cowpens Battlefield... my parents own a house they rent out that is just across the road from the main entrance. I looked at the map you posted and it is just barely cut off where their house sits. Standing in their yard you can actually see the park entrance through the trees.

    Chili missed seeing Lucy and Gracie again, he was ready for them!

    Hugs to you both! Safe travels! And we will eventually get together again at some point.

    1. Yep - we were sorry that we did not get to spend some quality time with you on the lake. We really hoped that Freightliner could get us in early but not in the cards this time. Its funny about Cowpens. We stopped at the entrance on the way out to take the obligatory picture of the sign, and I looked across the street and saw a house and thought "what a nice quiet place they have there?

      Snow was forecast for Gaffney too but up the the Asheville area even more. Its a good time to be heading in the other direction. 😎

      Stay warm and safe travels.

  2. Thanks Kate and Greg,
    This is very interesting and well done. I think you're in competition with Radeen and Hayden.
    Keep us in the loop!
    Camp and Lisa

    1. What a nice compliment from Camp and Lisa! So very nice to know they follow our blog. I am sure you are going to miss them, now that you have moved from Beaufort.

    2. We are the landyacht version of Island Spirit

  3. I love your posts, they give us ideas to put on our list of things to visit. Safe travels.

    1. Thanks guys. So many places... so little time. Right?

  4. I so enjoyed the tour of the chassis factory....hope to learn more about the Tiffin factory. Glad the bus got a clean bill of health so far! And thanks for the history lesson about Cowpens. Sometimes I am amazed that the colonists actually won the war....we were certainly at a disadvantage in so many ways. More safe travels to you and Kate and the Doods!

    1. I'm wondering if we will have time to take the tour. Tomorrow morning might be our last chance as it looks like they are going to get us in for service and spit us out quickly. Stay tuned.

  5. These Tiffin Factory tours are enough to make me want to own a Tiffin. WOW that is outstanding service. Thanks for the great tour. I really enjoy these. Then you history tours are also great. Of course what I like the most are the photos of the Kids. I miss my Kids....Uncle Hayden says HI...


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