Saturday, October 29, 2011

The best things in life are free—yes!

Oct. 29—Free is good, as was proven with our visit to the Warner Robins Air Museum at the Robins Air Force Station.

Yesterday we were disappointed with the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Yes, it was nice, but the attraction was overpriced. After spending the evening boondocking at the local Walmart (a good experience and how convenient to get grocery items!), we headed out to the Air Museum, not knowing what to expect. What we found was four buildings filled with aircraft and history, from WWII to Vietnam, in addition to a “yard full” of other aircraft outside—and no admission charge.

The hangars were heated, which was nice, since it was overcast and brisk at 10 a.m. I thought we would be done within two hours. Surprise! We left well after 1 p.m.

Lunch was at an excellent Vietnamese restaurant. We decided it was too late in the day to go to the Andersonville Civil War Memorial, so we found a small RV campsite near Andersonville, where we are spending the night. (No cell phone reception there, however, so this posting will have to wait until we get within Sprint cell range again.)

Not quite free was our tour of the BMW plant in Greer, S.C., two days ago (Oct. 27). Companies are always looking for a way to make a buck (who can blame them?), so the tour cost $7 each. It lasted about 90 minutes.

This plant was nothing like any of the manufacturing plants I had worked in or around during my career in human resources/training. It was immaculate. But what was really amazing was the robotics that the plant uses. Watching the robots lift, turn, and weld the auto frames, you would almost think they were living creatures!

The recession apparently did not hurt the plant, which makes cars for a global market. I believe it employs about 10,000 people. The tour guide said demand has been so great that they are now working six days a week. The business model for BMW is different from that of American car companies. Instead of building on speculation, BMW only builds cars that are already bought and paid for—either by a consumer or by a dealer. The manufacturing plant itself does not incur any risk.

The tour was worth the price of admission.

The old adage says, “The best things in life are free.” I would add, “or almost free.”

We’ll see if Andersonville will be worthwhile tomorrow. I’m told it will be.

Until next time,

Your Reluctant RoVer,

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