A Stop Near Gulf Shores, AL

Summerdale, AL

We left Holiday Cove RV Resort in Cortez, FL on New Year’s Day and drove north a hundred miles to Hudson, FL to have our small kitchen window repaired at Suncoast Designers.  Suncoast does a great job cleaning and re-sealing dual pane windows, but there are a couple of areas in the process where improvement is needed.  One area is communication with the customer as to the process.  An example is that there is no information on what time they would begin working on your coach.   The office hours are listed as 7 am to 3 pm and during our first visit someone came to us at about 7:15.  On Tuesday morning there was a loud pounding on our door at 6:30 am by a worker with paperwork!  Someone then came at about 7:15 and removed the window.  With the early start and just one little window to fix we thought they would complete the job during the morning.  When 2:30 came with no sign of our window, we went to the office to be sure they hadn’t forgotten about us.  We were assured that they worked until all jobs to be completed that day were finished and, sure enough, they came and re-installed the window at about 3:30.  They also re-caulked the five windows that leaked after the November repairs.

As we reported in a previous post, Suncoast did a great job on cleaning and re-sealing all our windows in November.  But we later found numerous spots where damage was done during the re-installation process, and we found that five windows leaked during a downpour while in Cortez.   Looking back on our experience we think part of the problem was that Suncoast overbooked work for the week of our visit.  They estimate that repairing more than seven windows will take 4+ days so we made our appointment for a Monday and planned to stay there all week.  They did not work on our coach on Monday.  All thirteen windows were removed on Tuesday.  On Wednesday we spoke with another customer and found that the parking area was scheduled to be re-graveled on Friday so all coaches had to be gone by then.  We inquired at the office and were informed the information was accurate but they were sure our work would be completed by the end of the day on Thursday.  We could remain in the lot Thursday night but had to be gone by 7:00 Friday morning.  Great, our reservation in Cortez was to begin on Saturday!  Fortunately, our spot at Holiday Cove was unoccupied so we were able to arrive a day early.  Again, a little communication would be helpful!

We now think that two things contributed to the poor reinstallation process.  The first is that they were in a hurry to get all jobs completed by the end of the day Thursday.  The second is that we didn’t remain in the coach during the process to look over their shoulder.  We shouldn’t have to do this but apparently it was necessary.  On our return visit this week we went into the office and suggested someone with authority might want to take advantage of our visit and eyeball the damage.  One of the managers came to the coach that afternoon and appeared to be very embarrassed by the poor work.   He also stated that they were changing some procedures and that someone from the office would inspect each coach at the completion of the project before payment was made.

So we left pleased with the overall repairs and will live with the areas of damage, most of which no one but us would notice (Suncoast offered to pay for any repairs).  We would use Suncoast again but would be sure to supervise anyone working in the coach.  John did this during our second visit and feels they did a good job.

We left Hudson on Wednesday morning a bit later than planned after waiting out some rain showers.  Our next stop was Summerdale, AL for a brief visit to the nearby Gulf Shores beaches.  Summerdale is 440 miles from Hudson,  double the 200 miles we usually  travel in one day.  But since there was nothing in between that we wanted to see, we decided to just make the long drive.  Leaving Hudson we took US-19 north for about 180 miles.  The road is a beautiful four lane highway that goes through a few small towns.  But for the most part it goes through empty forest and swamp with very little traffic.  Just east of Tallahassee we turned on to I-10 and began our journey west.

Related image

A few miles after entering Alabama we turned south on Baldwin Beach Express for about ten miles to Emmaus RV Park.  This is a very nice little RV park with about thirty paved back-in sites at a Passport America rate.

Site 108

Our plan was to stay here for two nights, giving us a full day to drive down and explore the beach area.  But with heavy rain scheduled for Friday we decided to extend our stay for the day and wait to continue our travels on the sunny day predicted for Saturday.

Thursday was a beautiful day so we drove twenty miles south to Gulf Shores.  The road along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico is filled with a mix of older small beach houses, newer multilevel rental units, and new high rise condos.  The beach houses are all well-maintained and painted in a variety of colors.

The beaches here are beautiful, with very white, fine sand.  This time of year they are almost empty, but during the season they are filled with vacationers from as far away as Atlanta.

We stopped for lunch at The Hangout, a large beachfront restaurant with a small patio.  As with the beach,  the place is mobbed during the season, but for our visit the main dining area was empty and a small number of people were enjoying lunch in the warm sunshine on the patio.

A young coed contemplates returning to class for the upcoming semester

While we ate lunch we participated in a trivia contest for patrons on the patio.  One section of the competition was history, so we had a pretty good chance of doing well in the competition.  While most of the questions were pretty easy, two separated the wheat from the chaff.  The first was the name of the British Liner sunk by a German u-boat off the coast of Ireland in 1915.  The other is the name of the explorer and mapmaker whose name became synonymous with the New World.  The results were collected and tabulated and the winner of the competition was announced, “Pam!”  We suspect she had a little help from someone at her table.  The prize for the winner was a new baseball cap!  It turns out the hat was made by a company called Legacy in Hanover, PA, located just a few miles from our home of 25 years!  Small world . . .

On Saturday we’ll pull up the jacks and head to New Orleans for a brief visit.  More on that later . . . .

Oh, we know almost everyone knew the answers to the trivia questions,  but just to confirm your responses the ocean liner sunk by the Germans was the Lusitania and the explorer was Amerigo Vespucci.  But you knew that ! ! !

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38 Responses to A Stop Near Gulf Shores, AL

  1. Lunch on the patio in the 🌞 sunshine and a win.Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

  2. 2brew says:

    So sorry to hear of the Suncoast problems…I closely monitored our work, and still we had some issues, although we think all of them were resolved before we left. Guess we’ll see if we ever get any rain here in southern Florida… safe travels.

  3. pmbweaver says:

    WOW…did you tell that guy arriving at 6:30 that you hadn’t had your Starbucks yet…hehe
    Paul is always looking over their shoulders. Great that they rectified the problem.

    Where you were seated at the Hangout, you would be able to see us on the beach. That is where we always go to enjoy the beach. We really enjoy that area. Next fall we are going to spend a month there.

    Oh yes, I knew the answer to both questions after I read them at the end of the post. lol

    • placestheygo says:

      How nice that you knew exactly where we were! The beaches were beautiful. This was our first time this far west. We’ve stayed near Destin, FL and went to Miramar Beach previously. Amazing beaches there with such deep, squeaky, white sand.

  4. Jim and Barb says:

    Good to hear you got your windows fixed. Of course we knew the answers to those questions!

  5. Sue says:

    You underestimate the intelligence of your readers John! Love to see those white sand beaches, especially when there is no one else there! I’m sure you’re glad to have those windows fixed once and for all so you can get out of town (and by that you know I mean the humid eastern half of the country). Drive safely on your way to Arizona, but don’t dawdle….

  6. I wondered if the speedy job contributed to the quality, too bad one can’t expect both. Sounds like they got on top of it, hopefully all is well now. Hard to believe it was that warm just a couple days ago 🙂 We laughed about staying in Westwego at the state park – since in fact west-we-go is exactly what we did!

  7. I hope you are happy with the second visit. Would love to hear more about your glass window experience.
    Fond memories of those white fine sand. It was just two years ago when we had that violent storm at Gulf Shores. And I hope that you are only getting the tail end of that storm that we are hearing about on the news.
    Have fun in NOLA.

    • placestheygo says:

      John will discuss our window reseal with Steve I’m sure. We still have one window that leaks! We had one day of rain (Friday) so we stay put in Summerdale. It was very windy and there was a lot of traffic for our drive to Bayou Segnette SP. No train problems though…thank goodness:)

  8. Gay says:

    Glad repairs were made and you are on your way. I do love those white sandy beaches on the gulf. Safe travels!

  9. geogypsy2u says:

    Between your repairs and Jodee and Bill I’m thinking there’s some bad joojoo in the SE. Except then I look at that beach and the young co-ed in short sleeves and wish I was there.

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, we both have had some bad luck. Let’s hope we leave it behind as we both head west! The east coast beaches are beautiful. Too bad they don’t come with less humid and bugs!!

  10. Sherry says:

    Beaches look so lovely. Just the right amount of people!! Thanks for the detail on where you stayed and how far you drove. I’m taking noyes and plotting your trip wirh envy although I’m more of an East coast ‘you can swim in them’ beach lover than most of your readers apparently. I don’t find humidity a problem in the winter and avoid places where it is in summer. Thanks for rhe answers, I actually did get them right. Tell that coed to wear that cap backwards of course.

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, Sherry, I can see where you would enjoy the east coast better, especially Florida with all the kayaking rivers and those beautiful fresh water springs for swimming. You and David do enjoy the beach:)

  11. montanaclarks says:

    Just the right amount of people to visit the beach! One of these days I am going to get my husband back down there so he can see those beaches!

    • placestheygo says:

      The beaches were very empty, Janna. I think it was the fact that the temps were only in the 60’s. But the sun was very warm. Oh, just show Michael photos and then you won’t have the humid and bugs:)

  12. Ha ha! Did you end up letting the other players know that a history teacher was part of the winning table?!?!?!

    Sugar sand beaches are so lovely! Especially when they are empty!

  13. Love that drive along the coast. My brother lives in Mobile and was a wonderful tour guide for us last year. We couldn’t stop in New Orleans because of RV issues, so maybe next time. I’ll be looking forward to that post.

  14. whatastreel says:

    Looking forward to your impressions of New Orleans. We were just talking about the rebuild since Hurricane Katrina on this trip because if we had had more time we would have gone there to visit. Apparently crime is still an issue as it was before but many neighborhoods are “tonier” and some neighborhoods have lost their uniqueness. Probably doesn’t matter much in tourist areas.

  15. Maxxtrails says:

    Glad to hear you got the windows repaired, fingers crossed they are done right this time! We loved that area of Alabama and are looking forward to returning there one day. I am looking forward to hearing about your time in New Orleans as well. Safe travels 🙂

  16. Laurel says:

    Sounds like your experience with the window repairs will result in a better performance from the company for others. Glad you got that taken care of! We’re always happy when repairs (personal and otherwise) are scratched off of our list. :-)) We’ve really enjoyed our visits to Gulf Shores—love those sugar sand beaches! The biking is really fun at Gulf State Park, too, should you ever be coerced into heading back south again. Haha, so fun that you won the trivia game (why does that not surprise me??).

    • placestheygo says:

      We’ve put off the window cleaning for quite awhile. I am glad to have it behind us. I’m sure there are lots of things to do in the Gulf Shores area. I’m pretty sure be won’t be back to try it out. I’ll have to read about it in your post:)

  17. Gerri Jones says:

    So glad you were able to get your windows fixed. Unfortunately I guess you have to keep an eye on things when having work done. We are heading to Hohenwald, Tn because the windows in our new Oliver are leaking. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on things and follow up.
    Love Summerdale (Gulf Shores) area! Love those white sandy (clean) beaches!!

  18. Debbie L says:

    Oh my, you missed so many Florida State Parks on your way out of Florida! But we understand the need to move on….Florida is a bit tricky during the “snowbird” season, but we’ve figured it out since this is technically our home state! We have four state park stays this leg of our warm winter wanderings. And dry! We’re in drought land right now.
    We hoped to spend a month in the Gulf Shores area. But we discovered too many openings here in Florida so it’ll just be a week or three. It’s so sad, we planned to be with RV friends. Reached out to sync our schedules only to learn the husband had just passed away. Life is so precious!
    Sorry to hear about the continuing window issues. Nothing any more annoying than paying for work and then having to repair the repair! Sadly, that’s our culture today it seems. Aren’t we blessed to have handymen for husbands?

    • placestheygo says:

      Debbie, we didn’t “skip” any parks in FL. We aren’t big Fl fans and aren’t really interested in any other areas. We enjoy our time in Cortez and have spent time in Ft. Myers several times and Key West. But we were anxious to get away from the humidity, heat, and bugs:) Florida doesn’t call to me. We only returned because of the windows. Glad you are enjoying FL:) Many, many people love it there. We (I) am not one of them:)

      • Debbie L says:

        I understand! We just aren’t bothered by the humidity and we came hear for the heat. The bugs haven’t been bad at all – probably too cold!
        We understand haste to get out of a state!!! Lol
        You did have such a picture perfect day for your daughter’s wedding! Glad it all worked out.

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