A Four Hour Lunch

 Posted by at 2:15 am  Nick's Blog
Jan 182011

We did a lot of research before we ever left our hometown in Arizona to become fulltime RVers, and one of the things that came out of that research was our decision to join the Passport America discount camping club. Our membership has served us well in our 12+ years on the road. In fact, we recently upgraded to a lifetime membership, just so we won’t have to hassle with renewals every year. Some RVers complain that some of the Passport America campgrounds have too many restrictions on when you can stay, but if you read the campground listings in the directory, and work within the system, it can save you a lot of money. 

Several times over the years, as we have crisscrossed the country, we have stopped in Long Beach, Mississippi to visit with the staff at Passport America, but it has been a while since we’ve done so. Yesterday seemed like a good time to remedy that situation.

We have known Tiffany Ingram, the office manager here, ever since she was a kid learning the ropes of the business world, and yesterday Tiffany invited us to lunch. We had a nice time talking about our respective businesses, the RV industry in general, and life here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Terry and I really like and respect Tiffany, and we chatted so long that by the time we realized it, our luncheon meeting had stretched to almost four hours! We felt bad for taking up so much of Tiffany’s time, but she assured us that since it was a holiday, it was a slow day in the office, and she enjoyed the time away. I’m not sure Tiffany was being entirely truthful with us, because in all of the time we have stopped in over the years, I have never seen them not having a busy day!  

Back at the office, Tiffany gave us a tour of the facilities. Most of one entire wall was stacked with boxes of camping directories waiting to be sent to renewing and new members.

Boxes of books

The mail room is a busy place; every day they ship off dozens of packets to new members. Tiffany asked us to drop off a few hundred sample copies of the Gypsy Journal so they can put them in the packets, introducing us to potential new subscribers.

Mail room

In their Information Technology room, several computer whiz kids were busy working on projects that the company has developed to take advantage of new technology.

Tech room

Among those projects are the free apps for iPhones, iPads, and Droid phones that provide the entire camping directory in electronic format. I have the apps on both my iPad and Droid Incredible, but not being a computer geek, I wasn’t aware of just how useful they can be in helping us find participating campgrounds wherever we are traveling. So Tiffany and one of the techies spent some time giving me a quick tutorial. Do you notice how comfortable they are with all this high tech stuff, and how confused I look? How do young people get so smart, and old farts like me stay so dumb?

Droid class 2

Terry’s cousin Carolyn Henley and her husband Mel are fulltime RVers, and are staying in a campground in Gulfport, just a couple of miles from Long beach. Once we left Passport America, we drove over to visit with them, and had a good time talking about RVing, our mutual travels, genealogy, and a dozen other different topics, as they came to mind. Mel and Carolyn spent a lot of time picking our brains before they became fulltimers a couple of years ago, as part of their research into the lifestyle, and it is gratifying to Terry and me to see how easily and comfortably they have transitioned into being gypsies.   

Today we’re going to do some exploring along the coast, maybe drive over to Gautier to the Thousand Trails headquarters, and I wouldn’t be too surprised if we found a place for fresh seafood somewhere along the way.

Thought For The Day – The future isn’t what it used to be.

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Nick Russell

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

  7 Responses to “A Four Hour Lunch”

  1. Hey Nick, so here I am, haven’t even gotten out of my bathrobe, and I’m downloading Passport America’s app to my brand new iPod Touch. Thanks!

  2. Most of the time Passport America is good. Unfortunately I have to report that several months ago I renewed my membership and was told I would have my new camping directory and membership card in 6 weeks. I’m still waiting…

  3. We too like Passport and have stayed in their parks several times. Mostly good experiences, a few not so good, but the same can hold true in any group.

  4. When we travel PA is our first choice if one is close enough. Even if it means stopping sooner than we might it makes us slow down and “smell the roses”. Having the apps on droid phone is a big helpl.

  5. We have had the same experience as Terry M with Passport America. More than once, I have had to call them a second time to complain that we never received our directory. And once we renewed in November and they sent us a two-year-old directory! Maybe they ran out?

    But the parks are mostly fine. It is a good investment.

  6. We started fulltiming in a Class B so quickly learned to use Passport America’s website instead of hauling that big directory. Now that we have a Class A we still prefer to use their website because the data is more up to date. They sure have saved us a lot of money.

  7. Nick,
    We have used PA and enjoy the parks. As for the directory we just use the online version, less weight in the 5’ver and is easy to use.

    I tried to find the lifetime membership on the PA website but couldn’t. Do you know if it is only offered at different times of the year?

    Stay Safe

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