After a great time catching up with all my relatives here in Athens, we pulled out of Northgate RV Travel Park a little after 9:30. Our goal was Meridian, MS 230 miles away, but our first stop was a Pilot/Flying J about 20 miles away.
I was looking forward to trying out my new RV Plus Card.
I got a letter about this from the Good Sams people a couple of months ago and thought I’d give it a try, It turns out to be Pilot/Flying J charge card for merchandise, gas, and diesel. Depending on your level of Good Sams membership, you get from 3 to 7 cents a gallon off the CASH price on unleaded, and 5 to 9 cents a gallon off the CASH price on diesel.
If you want to pay manually every month, you get a $1000 credit limit, but if you allow auto-debit from your bank account, you get a $2500 limit.
But the first use of my new card didn’t get off to an auspicious start. What’s supposed to happen is that you swipe your card, enter your code (a 4 digit number that you can choose) and you’re off and running. But after swiping my card, the system stuck on ‘Authorizing Card’ for about 30 seconds and then said “Please See Cashier”.
So inside I went. And found a long line of other upset people. Turns out that Pilot’s TCH network was down, They could still process regular credit cards like VISA, MC, etc., but any of their own cards, like the RV Plus card, and their commercial trucking cards could not be run.
That explains why all the truck fueling lines were stacked up about 4 deep. They said the network had been down for about 15 minutes, but had no idea when it would be back up. About that time I noticed that the guy standing in front of me was parked a couple of spaces over from me at Northgate park in Athens. He was parked in the next lane over of the RV fuel area.
He was holding an RV Plus card so I asked him how it liked it. He said it was great and that this was the first time he’d ever had a problem. He went ahead and used his VISA card, but since I wasn’t really hurting from diesel and wanted to try out my card, I thought I’d just head on down I-65 to the next Pilot about 70 miles away. just north of Birmingham.
This time things worked perfectly, just swiped my card, entered my PIN, and started pumping. The other nice thing about the card is that there are no credit card limits like with VISA, etc.
If you want to sign up, you can go here: RV Plus Card, It doesn’t cost anything to get the card, and there are no additional fees, monthly charges, or anything else. You must be a Good Sams member to sign up for the RV Plus card, but if you’re not, you can sign up for them at the same time.
BTW if you do decide to sign up, and you’re nice enough to enter my code 1060986 in the PROMO CODE box, I’ll get $5 credited to my account. Thanks.
Leaving the Pilot, it was getting hot and sticky so I started up the generator and turned on the house AC’s. Since it was somewhat cloudy it cooled things down pretty quick.
Things went pretty smooth until about 20 miles from the AL/MS border when the grey clouds we’d been seeing in front of us turned black and the bottom fell out. The rain was coming down in sheets and traffic slowed to about 30 mph.
One thing that drives me crazy in situations like this is when people start putting their emergency flashers on and keep driving. First thing is, on most vehicles, if your flashers are on, you no longer have turn signals since they’re usually the same circuit. The other problem is that in rain when you have a number of vehicles in front of you with their flashers on, it all just mixes into a smeared multi-colored blur. It becomes almost impossible to know how many cars are ahead of you, and more importantly, you lose your depth perception. It becomes very hard to tell how far ahead they are.
I was about 50 yards behind a semi and could keep him in view so I just kept moving. Finally getting into MS I thought I’d try to wait it out at the Welcome Center lot, and the semi in front of me had the same idea. But we both ended up just passing through since the lot was full.
Getting back on the Interstate it looked like I could see a little blue sky ahead so I keep going since we only had about another 15 miles or so. And by the time I had turned off the highway toward our RV park, it had really slacked off.
Getting close to our park we were on a nice divided highway, and I ended up stuck in the right lane when I should have been the left, but the heavy traffic behind me kept me from getting over in time to make my turn-off. So finally getting into the left lane, I had to go another 1/2 mile down the road before I came to a crossover that would let me make a U-turn. I already had my turn signal on, and as I approached the turn I moved over to the right so I was now pretty much straddling the center line for about 50 yards. Hey, I’m 65 feet long and making a U-turn.
There was nobody behind me in the right lane, and several behind me on the left. And as I slowed to start making my turn, THEY STARTED PASSING ME INSIDE MY TURN ON MY LEFT!
I came very close to turning in a big yellow school bus, the first vehicle to pass. But what really stunned me was that two tractor trailers followed the bus by me. I could maybe understand the bus driver not realizing what I was doing, but two semi’s as long as I am?
The third vehicle, another semi, held back and let me finish my turn. I know my turn signals were all working because I could see them reflecting in the water on the road.
Finally about 3pm we pulled into Benchmark RV Park, a very nice Passport America park with 50 amp FHU sites for $18 a night. And even better with all the rain, gravel access roads and concrete pads.
The office was closed until 4:30 and since it had started pouring again, we just sat inside with the generator still running and waited out the storm before plugging in.
A little before 5 we headed out to have dinner at Weidmann’s, known as The Oldest Restaurant in Mississippi. It opened in 1870 in the Union Hotel here in Meridian, and moved to its present location in 1923. But you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to learn more because it’s late and I’m tired.
Thought for the Day:
According to the Census Bureau, the average family income of a minimum wage-earner is over $53,000.
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