More Travel Trailer Lessons From The Driveway

Next Friday, the saga finally reaches a middle. We have an appointment at Camping World to finish the last of the work needed after our marathon trip last summer: installing a replacement dinette seat – woodwork, apparently, being as rare as a Maltese Falcon in the days of Covid.

That’s right, it still isn’t quite done. We managed to poke and prod at Camping World long enough to get them to install a jury-rigged solution (a dinette bench that mostly fits right, but was for a slightly different model), but now the right part is finally in … 7 months later.

Also, one of the fixes that was supposedly done before … wasn’t done, as I discovered after I brought the trailer back home to the driveway after the first round of work (either that, or the curtain rod simply popped back off the wall on its own, which leads one to question the wisdom of investing so much in such a fragile tin can).

However, it’s progress. In honor of this next step, here’s more of what I’ve learned during our career as travel traileristas.

  1. It’s not SurePower, it’s “shore power.” This was a rather belated lesson. When we started, I kept hearing people talking about “SurePower” and thought that referred to the battery charging up while the trailer was being towed; then I figured out it referred to full electrical hook-ups. “SurePower – that’s a reliable-sounding name,” I thought.

Then today I finally saw it in writing: shore power. As in the campground’s electrical infrastructure is the shore, and your trailer is a boat. I like that, and it makes sense; I remember watching massive RVs coming in and out of the Bay Point Landing campground in Coos Bay and thinking they looked like cargo ships maneuvering to the docks.

So I guess that means that “SurePower” is still available for use in a sci-fi novel about the next step in human/android convergence. Dibs.

2. Patience works … except when it doesn’t. When you’re picking up the trailer after completed servicing, and you’re trying to hook up the trailer to the car and the ball and hitch just won’t quite settle, sometimes you just have to use a little force, or rock it back and forth, or start over and try again. Just be patient and try a variety of methods. And don’t just assume the service techs at Camping World are watching you from the office and making fun of you.

I mean, they probably are, but don’t assume it.

Patience doesn’t necessarily work with service, though. It took months, and an escalating level of irritation, before Camping World came up with a jury-rigged temporary fix for our dinette seat, which, on reflection, they could have come up with a lot earlier.

But then again, Newton’s First Law of Customer Service states “The level of innovation in service is directly proportional to the level of irritation in the customer’s emails, multiplied by a coefficient based on the likelihood of repeat business at a premium price range.”

There’s a reason Darth Vader got things done that Moff Jerjerrod couldn’t get done on his own.

To be fair, it makes sense. The patient customers, you can keep them waiting a bit with a little finesse and courtesy. The angry customers are the ones you want to satisfy ASAP to close the story arc and let them move on to better situations. I get it.

But eventually, everyone’s gonna get impatient.

3. Booking in California? No, you’re not. Apparently if you want to book a California State Parks campground site, you should have thought of that a year ago. Sites are so full already that I think there’s actually a negative capacity – people from last year are retroactively being booted out, which must be quite shocking to them. I’m not implying that you could have booked earlier – camping sites are going faster than they open – but you could have developed the network needed to have a thousand people checking for sites on your behalf.

M worked long hours and found us a few spots later this summer. But let’s just say that it was a lot of work for relaxation. So, again, set your expectations low, and hope that fortune over-delivers. Think creatively. Think outside the box.

And then retroactively marry someone who’s much better at planning than you are. That helps.

Published by dmhallett101

Husband, father, writer, reader, mostly in that order. Staying sane by pretending to be creative by playing with (WordPress) blocks.

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