Thursday, June 09, 2011

Monaco Northwest Rally Day 4

The day started as usual with the continental breakfast.  It is more about seeing everyone and planning for the day.  Today we are carpooling to the Monaco RV Headquarters for a tour, followed by a tour of a new facility, Oregon Motorcoach Center.  We decided to drive and invited Bob & Maggie to join us.

Our tour of Monaco was very enlightening.  As with most plant tours, we couldn’t take any pictures.  But we saw a lot of diesel coaches on the assembly line, but they were all on the lower end of the product line, including the new Vesta


It has an art deco look and gets 15 miles per gallon, but it’s not suitable for longer journeys.  They are only building Signatures, Dynasty, and Camelot to order, either from a consumer or a dealer.  They’re building about 8 diesel units a week.  Plus they’re building some towables at the Coberg plant.  All of the other products are being built in Indiana.  Almost all of the coaches we saw were being built with the Navistar engines, but they still have a lot of Cummins engines in stock for the higher end coaches.  The company has about 2000 employees compared to 6000 back in 2009.  But much better than the 50 employees they had during the bankruptcy.  We left the tour with a limited positive feel, but we’re not buying any stock.

After a nice lunch at Red Robin, we made our way to the Oregon Motorcoach Center.  This company was started by some prior Country Coach employees, including former owner Bob Lee.  They started out as a renovation facility, but service needs soon overshadowed that business plan.  All of the coaches we saw being worked on were Country Coaches.  The services we saw included a complete slideout rebuild, engine fixes, window fixes, and other issues.  They have a designer on staff to create new interiors including floors, cabinets, and electronics.  The work we saw was first class, but we suspect it would be very expensive.

After we got back to the RV Resort, we had to get some additional supplies for the bar.  It’s funny how at one rally people drink a lot of whisky, and at the next rally the beverage of choice is scotch & gin.  You just never know.  We had plenty of white zinfandel left, but we had to buy more Merlot.

The theme of the dinner was Italian, with 4 cheese ravioli, and 7 layer lasagna.  There is always to much food, even thought the group is filled with hearty eaters.  Tonight there was 1 pan of lasagna left, and we were able to donate it to a shelter.

It was an interesting day, especially for the gearheads in the group, and I think everyone enjoyed both of the tours.  Oh, and we found a great mobile carpet cleaner/leather cleaner and conditioner that did some magic in our coach, and about 10 other rally attendees.

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