Feb 022012

After reading yesterday’s blog in which I said that we would be leaving Bay View RV Resort in Rockport a day early because we weren’t happy with the poor condition of the campground, the lack of Verizon service, and the noise from the nearby pile driving machine, somebody commented to me that they couldn’t believe I would leave a place where it only cost $10 a day just because I wasn’t having fun. I told him that I’ve divorced women for less reason than that! 🙂

I also had two people make comments that maybe we should just rough it and go without Internet for a few days, asking why we were so spoiled that we felt we had to have Internet all the time. We are not retired, we are working RVers who make our entire living on the road. We require a reliable Internet connection to handle the volumes of e-mail we get every day, to communicate with our customers, and to fulfill many of the orders that come in over the Internet every day.

It was really foggy yesterday morning in Rockport when we left, but once we got a few miles inland the fog cleared up and we ran under clouds most of the day. We had an easy 200 mile drive to Mission, in the Rio Grande Valley, and got settled in at Sleepy Valley Resort by 3 P.M.

As we were coming into Mission we stopped at the Flying J for fuel, and once again, as I do every time we go to one of these truck stops, I asked myself why? When we were at the Tampa RV show a couple weeks ago, Flying J had a booth distributing the latest RV customer convenience cards. I was talking to their rep in the booth and told him what a hassle it was at the different Flying J’s around the country. Either they did not recognize the previous card, or it wouldn’t work in the card readers at the pump, or we didn’t get the promised discount even after using the card. He assured me that their latest whiz bang fancy dancy card would solve all those problems. I was skeptical, but since it was free I went ahead and picked one up. At the first Flying J where we attempted to use it, in Gulfport, Mississippi, it wouldn’t work and Terry had to go inside to have the clerk activate the card, which took several minutes. At the Flying J in Orange, Texas the card readers were out of order at the RV fuel island and Terry still had to go inside to pay and have them activate the pump. Yesterday in Mission, it took four trips inside and out to get our fuel. Yeah, this new card is a real timesaver! For the couple of cents a gallon discount we get (when we get it), it’s just not worth the hassle. I think I stop at Flying J out of habit more than anything else, and it’s a habit that I plan on breaking.

After we got settled into our RV site here at Sleepy Valley, we drove over to Pleasant Valley Resort, a short distance away, where our friends Ron and Brenda Speidel are staying. It sure was good to see them after all this time! We visited for a while under their awning and then went to dinner at a great Chinese buffet they recently discovered. The time went way too fast as we enjoyed good food and good conversation with our dear friends.

We’ve only got a couple of days to spend here in Mission, and a lot of things we would like to cram into that time. So we’re going to be really busy for the next two days. If we had more time we would hang around over the weekend go down to the big kite festival at South Padre Island. But we have to be in Tucson by Tuesday, so we’ll have to put that on our bucket list for another time.

I want to thank everybody who helped get my new book, Big Lake Lynching, off to such a fast start. We sold over 100 copies in the first 24 hours, and the book has already climbed to number 38 in Amazon’s Kindle bookstore under the mysteries – police procedurals category. And thanks to everybody who e-mailed to congratulate me on the new book and to tell me they had already downloaded a copy.

Thought For The Day – Don’t look for the most beautiful girl in the world to love. Look for the girl who can make your world the most beautiful.

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Nick Russell

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  22 Responses to “Settled In At Sleepy Valley”

  1. Flying J’s card is not worth the hassle. And since we got a 5% discount by using American Express, we went to more user–friendly truck stops and service stations. Flying J can go take a flying leap in my book.

    And, employed or not, having a reliable internet connection is just as important as having a good cell phone signal. It has nothing to do with being “spoiled.”

  2. I dropped Flying J years ago for all the reasons you named and several more. they are the most RV user unfriendly fuel station I can think of.

  3. Downloaded and started the new book last night Nick. Anxious to get into it. We are in Restfull Valley, sandwiched between Sleepy and Pleasant. We are on Birch Street, second street in from the west side of Sleepy. We are building our Texas room. Busy, busy, busy.

    Good Luck on the book!


  4. Sorry for your pain Nick! On our way to Mission from Florida in November we stopped at the same 3 Flying J’s for fuel. At all three we swiped our Flying J Card and Visa Card at the pump , pumped our fuel, received our receipt and discount, without having to leave the motor home. Our fuel purchases of $180, $240 and $230 were made without any problems with our “new” Flying J Card.

  5. Downloaded your new book yesterday and can’t wait to read it – Larry said it must have been my birthday because I actually paid for a book! 😉

    Re the internet: several years ago, when the primary way of getting on to the internet was a dial-up line in a campground office, one of the RVing websites I’d been following mentioned something about if you need to stay that connected, then why bother traveling. It’s because of the technology advancements now that have allowed us to travel more, and still be able to take care of our parents’ needs, whether it’s handling their finances or dealing w/VA or other gov’t entities. When we traveled the Maritimes in 2008, we were pleased to find internet cafes at all our stops – we couldn’t have spent that much time out of the US had it not been for that.

    Enjoy your whirlwind stop and safe travels when you hit the road.


  6. Wish there was time to get together with you guys. Haven’t seen you since Hannibal, MO.
    Downloaded your new book. Loved the first one and can’t wait to read the new one.
    Enjoy your visit to the Valley. We know how much you love it here. LOL
    Safe travels my friend.

  7. We became very irritated with the Fly’J’s long ago and decided it wasn’t worth the aggravation to stop there. A small amount of money saved when stopping there, but we found other places more user friendly and sometimes even cheaper. Yes, definitely put the Kite function on South Padre on your Bucket List. We so enjoyed that a few years ago.

  8. I am glad you value a Verizon connection and report on it in your blogs. I also have an internet based business and need to have access Monday thru Friday. We won’t hit the road full time until May or June, but it sure will be important when we do. I have an icon on my laptop for the Verizon coverage map and I dutifully check if our destination is in the coverage area.

  9. We had the same crummy experience at FlyingJ where our card was not accepted without walking into the store. So we (actually I !!! – there is no wrath like that of a woman who has to walk into the store) accosted the guy in the FlyingJ booth in the Big Tent at Quartzsite with our COMPLAINTS. He said, Thanks so much for the complaint. The new FlyingJ/Pilot plan is to have RV’s use the truck lanes, swipe the FlyingJ/Pilot card, pump, then pay at the store. Some cards have limits so the one time walk into the store resolves that. Haven’t tried that yet but are looking forward to seeing if this works. We were assured it would as the guy in the booth said he did it the same day as we had the problems and he swiped – pumped – paid with no problem.

  10. The last time I filled up at a large truck stop, I finished fueling, pulled forward, and went in to pay my bill. You were required to pay inside if you wanted to charge more than $100. When I returned to my motorhome, my driver side windshield had been shot twice with a pellet gun. When I went inside to report it, the clerk said “It happens all the time. The truckers just don’t like you motorhome people.” I had to drive back to the factory to get it replaced. As a result, I fill up where the big 18 wheelers don’t get their diesel. May cost a little bit more but you don’t have to put up with the hassle.

  11. I tried to find your new book, but had no luck. Will keep trying.

  12. Your new book has the most unique opening I have ever read!! The strange thing is – it works. I am enjoying the book and hubby just finished Big Lake so I’ll have to read Lynching fast so he can have a turn. FUN!!

  13. Bought your newest book yesterday. Stayed up until 2 am reading. Can’t wait to get back to it now that I’m up again. Will post a very positive review to the Amazon site late today and send the link to my friend who’s a retired cop and likes mysteries.

  14. My Pilot/Flying J card works like Barbara and Toms. Go to the truck pumps, swipe the FJ card, tell it you want tractor fuel, get fuel with 3 cent discount, go inside and pay. I believe this does not work at the RV pumps but I’m not sure. I have applied for a new card with a 6 cent discount.


  15. We use the Flying J/Pilot card with no problem. We just updated to the new card that is good at both stations. Yes we had problems off and on but no big deal for us. Mike downloaded your new book, I am on chapter three and it seems it is going to be as good as your first. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple of days.
    Be safe traveling, we have had heavy fog early in the morning the past few days.

  16. I have no problem using Fyling J/Pilot card on the truck side. Insert card and it starts pump. Pull forward and go inside and pay. If you use the RV pump you are supposed to insert Credit Card first then Flying J Card after filling. There were some real problems during the change over, right after being purchased by Pilot but now all stations seem to be fixed. We are full timers so use only Flying J or Pilot. Nick, I used the station in the Edinburg in December that you blogged about with no problem on truck side.

  17. Nick- You are in Mission and we are a few miles north of Harlingen and it
    just RAINED here for a few minutes. When are you leaving?? Just kidding,
    they really need the rain here.
    Have a safe trip to Arizona
    It’s raining again!!

  18. Jerry, you need to identify that location. That’s not bad service, that is a dangerous location. If it “happens all the time” at that location there’s a problem with a customer who is a regular to that spot or an employee.

  19. It was a large truck stop on the south side of the Interstate on the east side of Amarillo. It happened a couple of years ago and I just don’t remember the name. But, due to my experiences at that truck stop, I don’t use truck stops anymore. I called the sheriff and reported it but they said they could not investigate it since it happened on private property. The cashier said they were also shooting at motorhomes on the Interstate.

  20. We’re in Harlingen also, please stay….we need the rain. Pete and I will visit Amazon tomorrow and get your book. I wish you could have come for the kite festival and we could have hooked up with you. We just rejoined Escapees to prepare for our full time adventure.

  21. We stopped using Flying J several years ago also, due to the poor design of the rv pumps. What idiot thought it was a good idea to put the fuel pumps, dump and propane fill station all in the same area? Then you had to pull toward the front of the store, try to avoid people in cars backing out and make a turn to get back to the road. There are lots of other places to stop that are rv friendly.

  22. Called for 84 and clear here today in the park beside Nick’s location …it rained twice!

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