Good Times, Good Neighbors

Yesterday, we were at a Walmart in Bowling Green, KY. We had permission to be there for the weekend from a manager. We are having transmission issues and the soonest we could get in to a campground was Monday, so we set up a tow, had everything scheduled, and were preparing to hunker down for an uneventful weekend in the back lot of Walmart.

Well that all changed. At 3pm, a different manager knocked on the door and told me we had to leave in 30 minutes because he had trucks coming in and they were going to be dropping trailers where we were parked. I told him we had permission to be there, he said no one told him that and he didn’t care. I told him the transmission didn’t work and I could not get a tow in 30 minutes. He again repeated that I needed to leave.

I called Tiffany, who was inside shopping and told her what was going on. She dropped everything and came outside. I called the campground and basically begged for a space on Thursday. The woman I talked to was so helpful, she told me she’d move some things around and find a space for me.

Then I called Progressive, who we have roadside assistance with, and everything fell apart. I was originally told that because we had exhausted all options and found a mechanic who would come to us, they would tow us 30 miles instead of our covered 15. This time when I called, I spoke to a manager and he told me they would only cover $350 and we would have to come up with the rest. I argued, but he didn’t relent. He said he’d call tow companies and find someone who could come tow us, but we’d have to cover the distance. I told him to call and figure something out.

At this time, Tiffany decided to call AAA, who we also have coverage with. They were much more helpful. They sent a truck out, and about an hour and half later, it arrived. But it was much to small. Someone had told the driver that our RV was only 12 feet, not 33 feet. I swore a bit, but he was helpful and told us he’d call and figure something out. They called a different company with a bigger truck, and we hoped that they would come get us out of Walmart before those supposed “30 minute trailers” were arriving.

AAA was no help this time. The woman Tiffany talked to said that she was leaving in a few minutes and we’d have to call back in the morning. She didn’t want to help at all, and for some reason thought that us going through all this tomorrow would be just fine. I wish we had her name.

So Tiffany found the number for the tow company that the driver who had arrived told us about. I called them, told them what was going on, what we had, and where we were going. He gave me another company to call and said they worked with AAA, so they’d be able to help. I was grateful and hung up.

I called the referred company and told them our plight. He was sympathetic, but said we needed to go through AAA. I told him I’d call AAA and have them contact him, because we needed to get the hell out of there. So another call to AAA.

This time, it went well. I talked to a woman, told the story again, said we needed to get out of there ASAP. Instead of giving me a reference number and having me call back, she put me on hold, talked to the dispatcher, then told me everything that was going on. While I was on the phone with her, the tow company called me. I put her on hold, picked up the other line and spoke to that driver. He told me he needed more information about our RV. I gave him everything, he said he’d get a quote from AAA and they’d talk to me.

Back to the AAA call, the woman was helpful. I told her what the tow driver had said, she gave me the name and direct line to the dispatcher who was handling the call for service and told me to check with him in a couple minutes. Fortunately, he called back right away, but there was more bad news.

At this point it was about 8pm and dark out. The tow truck driver didn’t want to bring an RV into a RV park after dark because of trees and such. I said that was fine, but we needed to get out of there as soon as possible in the morning. The dispatcher told me he’d set it up and everything was fine.

I called Walmart to tell them what was going on. I spoke to the same manager who had told me to leave and told him we had a truck coming in the morning but we had had so many issues getting out of there. He said that was fine as long as we were gone in the morning before the trucks arrived.

We tried to sleep. It didn’t go well. I kept in contact with the campground to tell them we were now not going to make it Friday night. Sleep came poorly and we were up at 7am.

7:50, the tow truck drivers called to say they were loading up the truck and heading out. They were about 40 miles away. 9:15, they arrived. By 9:30, we were out of there. Those trucks that were supposed to be there in thirty minutes? Well they did not arrive before we left. I assume either there were no trucks and the manager was just being an ass, or they were never going to arrive in thirty minutes. Either way, he was full of crap.

We left for the campground, I was in the tailing vehicle, watching in apprehension as our home was towed down a highway at 45 miles an hour. There were bumps, there were bruises, but nothing broke. I told the driver our plight, told him I just needed to bitch and he chuckled and said that was fine.

We got to the campground and I called the manager, who I had been speaking with, and told her we were there. She said she was on her way in a golf cart. She pulled in front of us and escorted us to our site. The tow truck driver couldn’t back in to our site though, so he said he was going to pull in front of it and see if the RV would drive in reverse. If it didn’t, he’d figure something out.

There was an audience, everyone was watching us. We were a bit worried that it would be a spectacle. I got out, talked to the manager, and she was great. Really helpful. I went to the RV, we unhooked it, and I got in. I started it up. Put it in reverse, and it went just fine. Backed into the site with help from our new neighbors and perfectly got it lined up. It was great.

I got out, hugged Tiffany and she told me I did great. I thanked everyone that had helped. I went to our neighbors, there were eight or ten of them sitting next to our site chatting, and they asked how we were and that they were worried when we didn’t show up last night. They were so nice and friendly, didn’t comment on our 30 year old rig, and seemed genuinely concerned about us making it there safely. It was comforting.

I went to hook up the power, sewer, and water. Sewer and power were fine. I went to hook up the fresh water hose, and I was about five feet too short. I went back to the crowd next door and asked if anyone could possibly loan us a ten foot hose until we could get a new one. A gentleman said he might have one, he went to his RV, came back with one and started chatting about Louisville. His wife came over and said we didn’t need to return it and we could have it for $5. I said I might have $5, we don’t usually have much cash on us, and she said $2 or $3 was fine, whenever we got around to it. I thanked her again and hooked up.

Our neighbors told us they were going to quiet down to let us get some sleep since we were obviously exhausted. We chatted a bit, went inside and tried to relax. It didn’t last, we were wired with adrenaline, so we went to inspect the facilities. On our way, a woman came up to us and said they were talking about us and we had been through so much to not worry about the hose and we could keep it. I was relieved since I was trying to figure out how we could find $5 cash, but they told us it was no big deal and we’d been through a lot.

Finally, we went back inside after checking out the bathrooms (They are great, by the way). We took showers and on our way back to our RV, a neighbor asked us about our RV. I walked over to talk to him and found out he was from Wisconsin too. He had heard I was and we chatted a bit about Wisconsin, RVs, traveling, and food. I didn’t think to ask him if he had an outside TV and we could watch the Packers game tomorrow, but I might wander over there later and see if he does. It would be nice to watch a game with other Wisconsinites.

So now, we are relaxing, or trying to. We have a place to stay for two weeks. We have food, and we have good, helpful neighbors. I can’t say enough how great it was to have these people here who are concerned about some strangers. They’ve talked to us every time we are outside, asking about the transmission, talking about how they travel and giving us insight and opinions.

Now its time to chill. Maybe we’ll watch a movie. The cellular connection sucks here, but we have movies we can watch offline. Tomorrow, I’ll call the mechanic and see if he can come Monday. Since the RV moved backwards, its probably not a dead transmission, I’m hoping its just a dirty filter, so hopefully its an easy fix and cheap. We’ll know more later. For now, its time to decompress, enjoy the scenery of southern Kentucky, and probably hang out more with our neighbors.

Things are looking up.

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