Aug 152013

We have really poor internet here at the Long Beach Thousand Trails. Sometimes we can get on for a few minutes and speeds are reasonable and the next minute you can’t do anything. When I was trying to upload yesterday’s blog, a little after midnight local time, I got knocked offline over and over and it would not post. I was finally successful after 90 frustrating minutes and went to bed.

But for some strange reason, when it finally did it post, it showed up three times! If you’re a subscriber who gets the blog by e-mail, I apologize for the multiple posts.

The problem isn’t just here at the campground. It seems like much of the Long Beach Peninsula has poor to nonexistent wireless data service, though cell calls go through okay. When we got to town Tuesday, I took Terry to a Mexican restaurant she liked the last time we were here and I asked the young woman who waited on us how kids survived here without being able to text. Do they feel underprivileged, or is it a case of not missing something you never had? I know some of the spoiled teenagers who come here from the city on vacation with their parents really go through withdrawal, because yesterday when I took the trash out, a girl of about fourteen was having a major meltdown, asking her mother how she was supposed to live for two weeks if she couldn’t text her friends. I wanted to suggest she read a book, go walk on the beach, or here’s a wild concept, actually have a face to face conversation with somebody!

Even though internet sucks, we’ve got good satellite TV reception, and for added entertainment, we can watch people parking their RVs. That’s always a hoot. I never cease to be amazed when I watch people trying to back an RV into a campsite. Don’t couples ever communicate ahead of time and work out a plan on how to do this relatively simple chore? Or agree on what hand signals they are going to use and practice them?

Over and over I see the wife (usually) standing somewhere behind the rig, maybe within the driver’s field of vision and maybe not, sometimes waving her arms like a windmill and other times barely pointing a finger in the direction she wants the RV to go. Meanwhile, the driver is either sitting still hoping for direction, or else backing up faster than he should be driving forward anywhere in a campground. (Sometimes I suspect that’s really an attempt to run over the person guiding, but I could be wrong.)

This doesn’t have to be a major operation. Terry and I have been complimented many times by people watching us back into tights spots. All it takes is properly positioning the RV before you start to back up, good clear directions that you both understand with arms held out far enough to see, and as my friend Dennis Hill, former owner of the RV Driving School always preached, going slowly. Nobody ever ran over a campground pedestal or their ground guide because they were going too slow.

And by the way, backing up is not some secret that only us guys hold the key too. Dennis’s beautiful and petite wife Carol usually backs their 42 foot Newmar diesel pusher into campsites. If you don’t know how to do it, get yourself some cones or plastic garbage cans, find a big empty parking lot, and practice.

Somebody told me once, when I suggested doing that, that he would feel weird with people watching him. Well, what do you think all of your neighbors at the campground are doing? Sometimes I’m tempted to hold up score cards to rate their performance. And along those lines, no matter how good you are or how much experience you have, or how many times you’ve backed in perfectly on the first try, unexpected things happen now and then. And you can bet that when they do go wrong, everybody in the RV park will be watching!

It rained on and off most of the day yesterday. Not a deluge like they have been having in so much of the country, just a slow, gentle rain. Bruce Miles finished narrating Big Lake Lynching and sent me the last three chapters to review, and once that was done I uploaded the cover my author friend Dale Roberts formatted for the new audiobook and gave ACX the go ahead to begin production. If all goes well, the new book will be available in three or four weeks.

While I was doing that, Terry did some paperwork, baked potato bread and rolls in her Breville toaster oven, made homemade noodles, and homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner. And as always, it was delicious.

More rain is predicted for today, and I’m hoping we didn’t bring the gray, gloomy weather we had been having up in Ocean City south with us. But given my track record, I fear it might be true.

Thought For the Day – You never run out of things that can go wrong.

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Nick Russell

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  5 Responses to “Third Time’s The Charm”

  1. There is a Marina in the small Ontario town of Hilton Beach at the north end of St Joseph Island that has some pretty tricky crosswinds. In is local sport to sit on the porch of the marina office and score docking efforts using Olympic-style cards. Perhaps it should become SOP at RV parks…

    We use the same hand signals that are used at airports for parking aircraft. Works for us.

  2. I vote for score cards.I do the parking and still get some drop open mouths when they watch.

  3. I think that is one of our favorite things to do is watch folks park, some are amazing to watch and then some totally terrify me as well as make us laugh. Funny this subject came up today, we arrived here at Hart’s Ranch in Rapid City SD. Drove to our site, Mike told me where he thought we should be, no problem nailed on the first go as we usually do. We have cabins on our left side and the gentleman and his spouse were watching us, She made a comment about how she did not know how I could possible back Mike in the first attempt. My comment was all he has to do is listen and watch my signals. This is not always the case 🙂

  4. Instead of laughing at folks trying to back into an unfamiliar spot after a long and tiring day of towing, I often offer to help the new arrivals get situated. You would not believe the number of folks who express their thanks and appreciation. I really don’t do much to help them except give them directions and a little bit of encouragement and thumbs up afterwards and those simple things seem to make a lot of difference.

  5. These last few months on the road have found us doing the same type of people watching. My favorite was the guy who pulled forward and backed up in his exact same tracks, seven times while his wife gave direction. He finally accepted his fate and parked crooked. As a female driver, offering to help doesn’t set well with most male drivers … I just smile and wave!!

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