Nov 172012

Many of you have posted comments or written e-mails in response to my blog about Thousand Trails changing reservations at its campgrounds in Florida this winter, and I promised to keep you updated.

Well, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. (Maybe I should subtitle that “Raise enough hell and eventually somebody will listen.”) At any rate, I got a telephone call from Pat Zamora at Equity Lifestyles’ corporate office in Chicago yesterday, informing me that all reservations that were changed from three weeks to two were being reinstated for their original term. Not just us, but for every customer affected, some 200 Thousand Trails members.

A short time later the company posted the following statement on Facebook: "For those members who recently had their reservations changed or canceled at Orlando, Peace River or Three Flags, please contact our representatives at 800-838-6105 so that your original reservation can be reinstated. We will also be placing calls to members impacted by this issue. Our systems have now been updated to reflect the correct High Use restrictions by individual member contract. While it varies by contract, typically when a park is designated as High Use only two reservations can be in the system at those high use locations. The length of stay under a high use restriction is typically a maximum of 14 days. We apologize for the confusion caused and we hope that you enjoy your upcoming stay with us."

I applaud Thousand Trails and Equity Lifestyles for stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing. Yes, it never should have happened; and yes, it was handled wrong to begin with; however, at least they realized the error of their ways and I’m willing to chalk this one up to a bump in the road and go forward in a positive manner. I appreciate Scott Woolley at the Verde Valley preserve for helping us out with all of this.

That all being said, I know that I stepped on a few toes, both at Thousand Trails and with a few Thousand Trails members on Facebook who felt I was being unreasonable, or that I should just let it pass. I’m sorry, but that’s just not my style, and any of you who know me know that. I refuse to back down when I believe I’m right. Call that stubborn or hardheaded if you will, but while I am happy to support a business or organization that I believe in, at the same time, I won’t just shut up and take it when they are wrong. I know this attitude has cost me some friends and readers over the years, but so be it. As Popeye used to say, I yam what I yam!

Now, on to another subject, when I posted the pictures in yesterday’s blog of Miss Terry interacting with different animals, I forgot this one, which is one of my favorites. At the now defunct Roo Ranch in Deadwood, South Dakota a few years ago, Terry got to hold and cuddle this young joey. I think you can see by the smile on her face that it is a favorite memory of hers, too.

Terry holding Joey

We only have three days left here at Sunshine Key RV Resort before we head back to the mainland on Tuesday. It’s been a wonderfully relaxing vacation away from the permanent vacation that is our life as fulltime RVers. I wish we could have gotten our Sea Eagle kayaks wet, but most days the wind was just too stiff. I also wish we could have gotten some fishing in, but the charter rates are just too far out of our budget. I don’t care about going out in the open ocean after a sailfish, but I would have loved to have spent some time fishing around the flats and under the bridges. Maybe next time. That’s one of the great things about the fulltime RV lifestyle – we can always come back.

Thought For The Day – It is not what you do for your children, but what you teach them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.

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Nick Russell

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  15 Responses to “Thousand Trails Makes It Right”

  1. Good work Nick, and glad you have the stones to stand up for what’s right. These days too many people just bend over and take it. Whether it be from rude neighbors, businesses, or politicians.

  2. Wow! Don’t know how you get that done, but I’m impressed! Never known that outfit to budge an inch.

  3. Kudos Nick. And a nod to TT and ELS for getting their act together. It is the right thing to do. Now go and enjoy your reservations. And when you get to Orlando, get those kayaks in the water. Just watch out for the gators! 🙂

  4. I can tell you how he did it Stew. Like someone else said here don’t mess with a guy who buys his ink by the barrel. Nick has a tremendous amount of influence in the RV community and a wide reach. I think that once the powers that be realized that, there was a collective butt kicking up in Chicago and at Orlando.

  5. Thanks, Nick, for taking a stand with Thousand Trails. Then can be a very high-handed organization. So glad you were our squeaky wheel!

  6. While we enjoy the Keys, we find that it has almost constant strong winds. That’s one of the reasons you will love the T’ville area. We get on shore and off shore breezes but not that constant stiff wind. T’ville is great for water sports. Enjoy your winter in Florida.

  7. I’m glad you were able to help the folks at TT and ELS find the proper response to the situation. Though not a TT member, I know others will benefit from this. But the tenor of this piece made me chuckle when I recalled an old ditty about an epitaph on a grave marker:
    Here lies the body of Dick O’Day.
    He died defending his right of way.
    He thought he was right, dead right,
    And now he is dead, right dead.

  8. It is great that TT straightened out the mess they made, and for the so called friends that dropped you they were not real friends, friends do not do things like that over a matter that needed to be addressed. You are so right about Terry’s picture it is also one of my favorites, she is so lucky that she got to hold the baby Joey. I sure wish I could do something like that. You all have a save trip back to the mainland.

  9. I knew that when you called on Scott for help that things would turn out right. Good old Scott. the RVers friend. He kinda like the Super Hero of the RV world.

  10. Glad you got things straightened out to your satisfaction. Fair is fair, after all. I joined TT this year when they sent an online offer to buy one zone at $500 and get a second zone free. I have gotten membership cards in the mail, but have NEVER seen any type of contract! I stopped at a TT park in Oregon and spoke to a salesperson who was kind enough to explain a lot of things to me, give me a booklet of TT locations and also print a basic, boilerplate contract that may or may not bear some resemblance to my particular membership. I have had no problem making reservations over the phone with TT so far, but have not tried to get any in a “High Use” location. Time will tell. I figured for just $500, that I would get my money out of things in a year. We will see. I do understand that there are hundreds of different types of contracts floating around. Yikes.

  11. Good job Nick. I’ve always been impressed with your pit bull attitude in that when you see a wrong and latch onto it you don’t let go until its right. We would all be better of as people and a nation if more of us were that way.

  12. I’m glad to hear that you got this straightened out. I have been looking into a Thousand Trails membership but it seems everybody I talk to has a different story and a different contract. No 2 are alike. I talked to a sales rep at the RV show in Tampa last year but he left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt like if I didn’t join right that minute he wasn’t interested. Maybe when we get to Arizona this year I will go talk to your guy in Verde Valley, since we’ll be at my daughter’s in Prescott for a while.

  13. I think someone at ELS finally realized what a PR nightmare they were causing. . .Kudos to them for making the right decision. . .and kudos to you for sticking to your guns. . .I would have done the same!

    ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing Blog

  14. You are a one-man consumer advocate for RVers.

  15. the truth will bear all light

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