Thursday, October 27, 2011

My RV husband has a terrible gas problem

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
Maybe you can shed some light on my husbands gas problem. He is obsessed with buying the cheapest gas available and twice now our motor home has run out of gas because he thinks it’s going to be cheaper around the next bend. He has three or four websites he is always checking for gas price postings and they are never accurate when we reach the supposedly cheapest stations. It ruins our travel time, preoccupies our leisure time, and in the end doesn’t save us any, or little, money. Please help me get his head screwed back on straight so I can relieve his gas symptoms and move us on to more enjoyable adventures.
--Gas Pressure in Peoria

Dear Gas Pressure:
This is a common symptom among RVer’s. The truth of the matter is that the websites your husband is monitoring are not accurate. They are supposedly based on the latest credit card data collected from each station, but there is lag time and even in this day of instant internet data collection this pricing is old and stale. What it will often show your husband is the cheapest station. As gas fluctuates in price the cheapest station is often still the cheapest station. You can make your husband aware that he is not saving money by letting his tanks go empty. Besides the danger and inconvenience of running out of gas he is also at risk of his fuel pump clogging up. This can be an expensive fix as the pumps are most often in the tank. If life were fair we could all buy gasoline futures at the pump. When we were happy with the price we could buy a thousand gallons at that price just like any other commodity. One way to help elevate his gas pressure would be to invest in some energy stocks. At least when gas prices go up so will these investments. Most pay a hefty dividend. If you buy enough oil stock you can buy your husband a ten-gallon, Texan sized, cowboy hat and he can pretend he’s a Getty trust fund baby while he fills his tank. Playing out this fantasy could solve your problem and put you on track for those more enjoyable adventures you are dreaming about.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

RV Travel Dot Calm

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My wife wants to work this fall for in a work camper program she has heard about at their Kentucky distribution plant. We are living full-time in our travel trailer and usually are much further south during the months of November and December. We don’t need the money, but she thinks it would be fun to try it. I’ve already put my 30 years in and have no desire to “have fun” working in a semi-cold section of the country for several weeks. I am trying to be open minded about the whole thing, but I’m picturing myself fishing for pompano in November and my wife is picturing herself fishing for Christmas orders in Kentucky. Please help me make it to the Gulf.
--Trying to be Dot Calm in Indiana

Dear Dot:
The definition of retired is not a narrow definition. It can be whatever you make it. Work Camping jobs are springing up everywhere. “The Boomers are coming.” It used to be campground hosting was the only work camp job. That is all changing. There are a lot of companies with their eyes on the Amazon experiment. You can expect to see more companies offering the same temp jobs to this same demographic in the future. Hopefully at that time one of those companies is within the warm vicinity of pampano fishing. That way you can drop your wife off at work on the way to the surf. As for now you two need to work this out. Working for Amazon is not all fun and games. Your wife will find it to be a very demanding schedule. You should encourage her to google a few recent articles about Amazon plant working conditions so that she has a better understanding of what she is signing on for. If after careful consideration you both agree to let her give it a shot you will find that Amazon will offer you several free camping options and a carrot and stick bonus option to entice your wife to stay the full season. So you could leave Kentucky after Christmas with some extra cash. If your wife finds this adventure is not all it’s cracked up to be, you could be pompano fishing before you know it and she has checked distribution center off her bucket list. My last Amazon order of motor home wheel covers arrived looking like chrome cowboy hats. Have your wife check their stacking procedure for me will ya?
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Camping Scammers

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
While traveling north this past spring from Florida, we stopped at a Camping World store in Grand Rapids, MI to buy a few things for the motorhome. While my husband was purchasing a new toilet and plumbing fittings, I signed up to win a brand new truck. While driving just outside Glacier National Park in August, my phone rang. It was a guy telling me I won the truck. I gave the phone to my husband who was given the same impression. As my always suspicious husband drilled the guy with questions, he soon found out we were one of only five people to have a key that might start the truck. If our key didn't start the truck we would be assured of at least two other prizes that ranged from a trip to Disney World, to a flat screen TV. The caller said he was trying to wrap the contest up by the end of August and would like us to come in and try our key as soon as possible. Again, my suspicious husband went online and found out the contest is still ongoing and involves sales people from an RV Park in Michigan trying to sell memberships. I want to call Camping World and ask them if they think so little of their customer base that they will lend us out to dishonest sharks like these. My husband tells me to forget it. He has seen this going on in the RV world for twenty years and says you just have to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. I still want to give someone a piece of my mind. Let me know what you think.
--No Truck in Traverse City

Dear No Truck:
It can be upsetting. I have seen campground membership and time share plans take a lot of unsuspecting people's good money over the years. The industry has a real black eye and from my perspective not a well regulated transaction. It wouldn't hurt to call Camping World and let them know your experience. It may control what they allow in the future. I know there are company stores and franchised stores, which might make a difference on what they can peddle to the public. I have had nothing but good service from Camping World stores over the years and would be surprised if they were not as upset as you over this matter. You might also want to contact your state raffle licensing board and report the behavior. I was once told I won a cherry pie at a cake walk. Before they explained to me that there was a tie, I had already eaten the pie. The same thing might work with a truck. If you get involved with any high pressure sales, always say, "I'll be back." Every high pressure salesperson knows that there is no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny, no Tooth Fairy and no "Be Back."
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Barking up the wrong RV

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I love dogs. Cats aren't bad either. But lately while camping I find I am having problems dealing with barking dogs. It might be my age. The noise never used to annoy me. Recently I was parked next to a couple who had two little barkers. They were quiet while the couple were in camp, but as soon as they left the dogs would begin to bark and not stop until they returned. Thinking they didn't realize that the dogs barked while they were gone, I mentioned it to them. They jumped right down my throat in defense of their pets and refused to believe that the dogs would bark that much. I just moved on. It is one of the things I like about RV living, I can vote with my wheels. I thought I handled this situation very diplomatically but as it turned out they took my information as an assault. Should I just keep my mouth shut and move on or handle these situations differently?
--Barking up the wrong tree in Tallahassee

Dear Barking:
If you have read enough of my blog, you already know I too have a problem keeping my mouth shut. I know many people feel that the campground host or other authority should be the one to deal with these problems. Oftentimes, that is not an option. Perhaps the manager is not comfortable with a confrontation, there is absentee campground management, or a host of other reasons. (Pun intended). Sometimes it gives the grievance more weight than you feel it needs by involving some official action and you think a friendly conversation could solve the situation more easily. You will find there are different folks with different strokes. You just happened onto combative with a combative attitude to your pet peeve. In most cases, if handled in a polite manner, you would have received an apology. Most times a dog's bark is worse than his owner's bite, but obviously not in your case. Better luck next time. Remember, 99.9% of campground neighbors you deal with will be the total opposite of those you have dealt with in this instance.

--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink

##RVT818; ##RVT902