May 172009

You’ve heard me say many times that our plans are set in Jell-O, and so it was yesterday. We fired up the bus, checked our tire pressures on our PressurePro tire monitor, emptied our holding tank at the dump station at the Meade, Kansas city park, filled up with fresh water, and pulled out about 10 a.m.

I had told Terry we’d have a short driving day, stopping either at the Elks lodge in Pratt, Kansas, a distance of about 95 miles, or maybe we’d turn north at Pratt and go up to Russell, on Interstate 70, which would have made it a 185 mile day.

On May 4, 2007 an EF5 tornado tore through the small town of Greensburg, destroying 95% of the community and killing eleven people. The National Weather Service estimated the winds from the tornado reached 205 mph. Today the hardworking citizens of Greensburg are rebuilding their community, and implementing “green” technology to save energy and help protect the environment.

Here is a link to photos of the town after the tornado hit, but on our drive through on U.S. 54, there was little evidence of the disaster. We wanted to stop and check things out off the main highway, but it was a cold, dreary day and I had a trucker climbing up my bumper, so we kept on moving.

By the time we reached Pratt, my fuel gauge was down below my comfort level, so I passed the turnoff to U.S. Highway 281, which would have taken us to Russell. We stopped at the Paso Junction Sinclair truck stop, where I bought fuel, and we decided to just continue on east on U.S. 54.

We passed through Wichita, where we have some folks who keep inviting us to stop for dinner, but we wanted to get to the Kansas City area to see Terry’s cousin Carolyn, who has been having some vision problems and may eventually need surgery. (I think Carolyn’s eye problems started after we visited last summer, and she saw me in my tighty whitey Fruit of the Looms. I guess if you rub your eyes that hard, it’s bound to do some damage!)

In Wichita we got onto Interstate 35 and drove north through the Flint Hills, arriving in the Kansas City area right at 5 p.m. I was afraid we’d get caught up in rush hour traffic, but on this Saturday afternoon, traffic was light. We pulled into the Grandview, Missouri Elks Lodge just as they were hosting a wedding reception in one side of the building, and holding the monthly mouse races in the other side. We’ve stayed at some friendly Elks lodges over the years, but I think this place tops them all. Everybody in the huge crowd seemed to take a moment to say hello and welcome us. We would have liked to have visited more, but we were pretty worn out, having covered 375 miles, a lot more than originally planned when we left Meade!

Back in the bus, I logged onto the internet to check e-mail and to check my bank account, as I do every day. I’m glad I did, because I discovered that the Sinclair struck stop in Pratt hit my debit card for three separate charges, two for $236.14 and one more for 256.98 (the actual amount of my fuel purchase), for a total of $729.08!

I immediately called my bank’s fraud line and reported the problem, and after checking the transaction record online, they stopped payment on the two bogus charges. Folks, check your records often, you never know what somebody is up to!

We have never had a problem in making online transactions, but several times when we have handed our cards to a clerk someplace, as I did yesterday, this has happened. It may be just dumb human error or it may be fraud, but whatever it is, I don’t want to be a victim.

Thought For The Day – Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber and not the toy.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  6 Responses to “Don’t Be A Victim!”

  1. Sorry to hear about your credit card fraud. This is one reason that we do not stop at Truck stops. We will stop at smaller stations where they use pumps with a card reader, and a lot of times they have a better price. We did fill up at a station that required a card inside and Kathleen stood inside with card in hand till Jon filled up, this also was a smaller station. We totally refuse to stop at a truck stop for fuel.

  2. Hello Nick, was this a credit card or a debit card that you used. My debit card transactions show up immediately in my bank account, but my credit card transactions don’t show up till several days later.
    Thanks. Bill

  3. Bill,
    I should have clarified, it was a debit card.

  4. Hi there… I live in Greensburg – hope you can stop next time… until then, check out for all the fabulous things happening in Greensburg!

  5. Nick,
    I’m disappointed in you for not stopping. From the highway, the remains are very few, but if you drive into the town south of the highway, one quickly learns that they have done a great job of cleaning up the trash and wrecked homes. To see block after block of empty lots with a slight depression where the basements were is an eye opener. It will take a long time for Greensburg to recover, if ever. I do commend them for making it a “green” rebuilding effort.


  6. We’ll be doing our “Get Away, Stay Connected” seminar at the Escapades Rally in Sedalia. One of the things we stress is the ability to check your bank account frequently when traveling.
    We have had the same double-dip charges reversed a couple of times.

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