Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Great and the Not So Good

2012 Mar 15

When we left Big Lagoon, we decided to travel back, eastward on 98. The reason being that there is a Camping World in Gulf Breeze, FL. All our time in state parks had left Raymond with a craving for ESPN, in all its many incarnations. Since I had bought a portable satellite dish online before we ever left Pittsburgh, we needed to purchase a receiver and sign up for service and the lady at Camping World assured me she had several receivers in stock and that there was an 800 number to call for "pay as you go" service for RVers.

Camping World is a dangerous place for us. Of course, Camping World online, is even worse! Before we left Pittsburgh, I purchased, online, the portable Winegard Satellite Dish, as well as a water filter. Neither of these were sensible purchases. Live and learn. Also, when we picked up our motor home at Sirpilla RV in Canton, Ohio, they sent us through their Camping World store with Jason, the young man who did our walk through. At that time we purchased a bunch of things like a sewer hose, water hose, and vent covers. Other things, too, but at the moment I can't remember them. I did draw the line at purchasing "RV toilet paper", though. WTH?

We thought that we would put the vent covers on ourselves before taking to the road. HUH! After Raymond's ruptured Achilles tendon in August, neither of us wanted to think about climbing onto the roof of the RV. So, the vent covers have been riding around in the storage area all this time. While we were at Camping World, I wanted to have them installed. It seemed like $60 worth spending. Raymond was not convinced. He was afraid we'd end up being stuck there for hours and he was anxious to get to a campsite, so we could set up the satellite and receiver, get on the phone and order service. He was having some serious sports withdrawal. We were actually getting into the motor home to leave, when the service department employee came out to say that they would do it immediately, and it would only take about 45 minutes. Raymond finally agreed.

We didn't have any idea where we were going at that point. I mean, ultimately, we were headed to Arkansas, but those reservations aren't until much later in March. This was all taking place on Thursday, March 8. So, while we waited for the vents to be installed, I used our Find a Campground app, and All Stays Camp and RV app. All that lead to us driving into the Gulf Islands National Seashore, also along 98, when we left Camping World.

At Gulf Islands, we signed up for our senior discount pass for National Parks. What an amazing deal! For $10, we got a card, good for lifetime admission into Federal Parks for up to three people in one vehicle. It also offers "some discounts". More about that later. The woman who signed us up for the Pass, also called the Fort Pickens Campground to inquire about vacancies for us. The Ranger told her he had a couple "first come first served" available, but that unless there were cancellations, he had nothing for the weekend. Off we drove to Fort Pickens.

The Fort Pickens Ranger was very nice. He could give us two nights, but we would have to return on Saturday AM to see if there was any weekend availability. Now comes, the really good part. The camping fee is $20 per night. But with our Senior Pass, we get a 50% discount! How amazing is that! And the Fort Pickens Campground has a camp store, firewood, some food, beer, supplies and an ATM, in addition to the best camp sites we'd seen so far! The absolute widest, most level, really far from your neighbor, campsites! I hadn't seen the trails yet, and I was already planning another trip to Fort Pickens to spend the maximum amount of time they allow!

After settling in a bit, Greyla and I went for a trail walk to the Pensacola Bay, while Raymond set up the satellite dish and receiver. Since we weren't sure that dogs were allowed on the stretch of beach, Greyla and I settled ourselves on a sandy ridge, looking down on the Bay. It was mid afternoon and there were lots of ducks and water birds to watch. And the afternoon sun was perfect. Too bad I didn't take my camera. (I'm going to have to get better at describing, if I continue to leave the camera behind!)

When we got back to the motor home, Raymond was not a happy camper. Seems he had been running into roadblocks each time he attempted to call the 800 number to subscribe to service. He had the receiver hooked up in what he was sure was the appropriate manner. The dish was outside, pointing toward the southern sky, as its directions instructed. "The" 800 number had somehow morphed into several different numbers. There was one on the receiver box, but a different one inside the box. There were others, still different, on various paper work in the box. And that doesn't even begin to cover the 800 numbers on the box the dish itself came in. All he wanted to do was watch ESPN! Frustration levels were extremely high.

Raymond asked me to call the number from the receiver box. I was not happy about this request. See, R and I have only two areas with very specific divisions of labor. My area includes anything that requires Verizon. That would include Internet service, and cell phone stuff and the occasional computer glitch. Raymond's area is TV. He usually handles anything regarding TV service, or programming channels, or playing with antennas, cable, or speakers. It's a division that has served us well up till now.  However, sensing his frustration, I agreed to try to help. BIG MISTAKE!!! Know your limitations. I will spare you all the gruesome details, except say that after a couple of hours on the phone we had matching frustration levels, were snapping at each other, had never managed to speak to an actual human, and were no closer to having ESPN available. We did speak with the folks at Camping World who assured us that " all you have to do is call that number to activate service".

This was on Thursday. As evening fell, we put everything back in boxes and used our antenna so that R could watch "Person of Interest" on the local CBS affiliate. If everything had been left up to me, I would've thrown the dish and receiver at the TV and solved the issue in what Raymond would call a "very Balkovecian" manner. But since TV stuff is not really my area, I did not.

to be continued...

1 comment:

  1. We loved staying at the Fort Pickens park and especially enjoyed the fishing pier at the end of the road. . .on Tuesday, the Blue Angels do their flyovers. . .so be prepared!