Nov 292010

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That’s life, and I guess if, in the end, your personal scoreboard shows more wins than losses, it was worth the effort, wasn’t it? Yesterday we did some winning and some losing, but I think we still came out ahead.

After stopping to have our propane tank filled, and paying our bill at the Escapees Sumter Oaks Campground in Bushnell, we left and headed back to the Orlando Thousand Trails preserve, which is actually about eleven miles south of Clermont, Florida. We took the route that George Sharrer suggested, through Webster, and shaved ten miles off the trip, compared to the way we came in a week earlier.

The trip went fine except for one airhead woman who was parked on the shoulder of the road at a fruit stand on State Route 50. As I was coming by, she pulled out onto the highway directly in front of me and made a U-turn and headed westbound. I slammed on my brakes, hit the horn, and managed not to run over her. Terry was following me in the Explorer, and said the lady had a totally perplexed look on her face as she went by, like “What did I do?”

There’s a reason we take the time to secure everything inside our motorhome before we hit the road. In a stop like that, a laptop computer, toaster, or even a hardback could become a deadly missile, inside an RV. Okay, nobody got hurt and I kept the Winnebago on the road, so I guess I won that one. 

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We had hoped to get the same site we had before at the Thousand Trails, but it was already taken, so we got one nearby that wasn’t nearly as level. It took two or three tries, and some 12×12 oak squares under the front wheels to get us parked. We’re still a little low in the front, but not so much as to affect anything. So I guess we lost that one.

A couple of times now our door latch has jammed and not wanted to release so we could open the door.  By shaking the door while we worked the latch, we’ve been able to get it open each time. It happened again yesterday while we were trying to get set up in our RV site. I stepped outside and closed the door, and couldn’t get it to open up again. Fortunately, the driver’s window was open, so I got out my Beanstalk ladder and Terry climbed inside, only to find out that she couldn’t open the door from the inside either! She eventually took the screws out of the lock plate and was able to manipulate the lock mechanism to get it to open.

We tried to figure out what the problem was, a neighbor came over and looked at it, I went online to Winnebago’s website and looked at some diagrams for our coach, and I called my Winnebago guru, Ron Speidel for his input. We were still scratching our heads when a mobile RV tech named Henry Bender came by and offered to help. It took Henry about a half hour to fix the problem, which was a flange inside the lock mechanism that had gotten worn, which allowed the handle to slide past it instead of engaging to move the bolt. Henry bent it into the proper position so it would engage properly, put everything back together, and $40 later our door worked again. So I spent $40, but got a working door. Can we call that a draw?    

We have been Dish Network customers for at least nine years, and our Standard Definition receiver was ancient technology, and worn out even before the burglars threw it on the floor and stomped on it last year. Since then it has given us problems every time we’ve moved. It seems like every time I turn on the TV, both Dish and DirecTV are offering as many as four new receivers, and free installation, to entice new customers to sign on. I called Dish and told them I wanted one of those fancy new HD receivers that will allow me to record shows if I’m busy or watching something else. 

The customer service rep hemmed and hawed, and then said that they would give me a receiver, but that I would have to pay a $95 service fee to have it installed. Huh? Installed? I have an automatic HD antenna on the roof, all I need to do is plug it in and go, right? Apparently not, he said. Only a “technician” can do that.

I told him I wasn’t going to pay $95, and he suggested that I go to Best Buy and purchase the same receiver, which I could plug in myself. Apparently the Best Buy receivers don’t require a “technician” to install them.

I learned a long time ago that if you get to the right person and raise enough hell, you can usually get results. So I asked to speak to a supervisor, who blew me off. I told her no problem, I would happily cancel my service and switch to DirecTV, which would give me free receivers and free installation.

That’s when things changed. She transferred me to a “Customer Loyalty Supervisor” named Tanya, who had no problem giving me an HD receiver with which we can watch two different programs on our two TVs at once, and waived the $95 installation fee. The “technician” is supposed to be here Thursday afternoon to install it. So I won another one. If I remember my grade school math, that’s one loss, two wins, and a draw. Not bad for a Sunday, I guess.

Actually, I lost another one, but you’ll have to read Bad Nick’s new Bad Nick Blog post, titled Voting With My Wallet to find out about that one. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – Living well is the best revenge, but you have to let go of the old to embrace the new.

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Nick Russell

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

  6 Responses to “You Win Some, You Lose Some”

  1. We have had the same experience with Direct TV. Our first experience was when we called them about a receiver and service for RVers. The “technician” wanted to drill a hole in the side of our new 5th wheel !! The second “technician” admitted after an hour he wasn’t trained to work with RVs. The third “technician” after working an hour, went to his truck to get another tool and just drove off ! He had left the receiver on the floor of our living room. We called a local television service person and he installed the receiver.

    We could go on and on how we have had to threaten to end our contract to get our bill lowered ! So when you read the Direct TV ads in RV magazines….be careful !!

  2. We’ve had front door latch problems in our Itasca (made by Winnebago) motorhome. But it’s nearly 10 years old now, so that’s not too bad. Seems Winnebago makes certain parts, usually concealed, out of pot metal which isn’t terribly durable. We had to have our whole lock mechanism replaced. Now it is nearly impossible to use the deadbolt from inside (although we can with a little effort). We have figured a simple way to do it from outside, so we can be reasonably secure.

  3. We just switched from Direct TV to Dish so we could get the free 2 room hi-def dvr about 4 weeks ago and are extremely happy with the hardware and programing. I am not sure how it transmits to the bedroom tv but it does without any hardware. Good luck and if things work out we will see you at the Rally in Arizona.

  4. Nick sounds like you have a TriMark latch. Had the same problem in Urbana IL in 2009.
    However our out side handle broke, but our daughter was inside and able to open it.
    I went to a local Newmar dealer, who had the same latch assembly in stock…$98 plus tax. I had called Tiffin already, same part was about $39 shipped. I had the broken lock assemby with me, so I stopped by a hardware store bought some stainless screws, several different washers, a 3/32″ & 1/8″ cable ferrel and nuts. After about 20 minutes with a Dremel to remove the pin (which is stepped twice) on the actuator, I was able to repair the “sliding” part by using the cable ferrels as bushings for the slide pin. Cost about $9.00. I now have a “new” Tiffin supplied lock on the Phaeton plus we have my “rebuilt” lock and a second new “Tiffin” lock in my parts inventory for about the same price as the “Newmar” TriMark lock. You might check with you bud, Trina @ RV Surplus about availability.

    Once you get a new one, have Terry rebuild your old one, I’m sure she’d love a trip to the hardware store.

  5. Did you have to sign a 2 year contract to get Dish to update for you???

  6. Jake, yes a 2 year contract was required

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