Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I learned a lot last week reading various comments to your column on securing the “toad.” You might also want to mention tow vehicles. We had our pickup stolen right out of a busy campground. Locked up, no key inside, never found. I never gave it a thought before it happened to me. Now I use a kill switch and a wheel lock. My wife thinks I am a bit paranoid about the whole issue. We were made whole by the insurance company, but you never recover the time, effort and mental strain of being targeted by thieves and having to replace a vehicle. The experience can really put a damper on your travel experience.
--Ripped off in Rockford
Your experience is not uncommon. We are presently camped in Big Bend National Park. We met a couple last week with a beautiful 5th Wheel and a 2013 Ford Dually all decked out for towing. They had found a great deal on the truck with extremely low miles. We got their email so that we could keep in touch. Unfortunately, the first email we received reported they had their truck stolen a couple days later in a San Antonio city parking area. Ford pickups are at the top of the stolen vehicle list in the US, but any vehicle can be a target. Manufacturers are adding techie devices to make it harder to accomplish, but an accomplished thief is hard to deter. I personally do not put any trust in electronic security devices. I have had tow truck drivers open my vehicle without getting out of their cab. If they have some type of scanning device that opens vehicles you can bet the bad guys have them too.
Like I said last week, if you read the comments after this column you will get some varied and great advice from people who have given a lot of thought to holding on to what they have.
The National Parks actually have a lot of crime. The bad guys know that people are traveling and often have their guard down. Common sense and staying alert can save a lot of grief.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink