Sunday, June 21, 2020

First week back

As I write this we are just 24 hours away from hitting the road, so stay tuned for more posts as we wander. Not many pictures this time time but we should have some in the next one.

We left with the intent of getting thru Phoenix traffic at around 10 am and taking rt 87 to Payson. When we got a little north of Phoenix we started seeing signs that 87 was closed due to wildfires. We weren’t in a rush so we diverted to the West side of town and onto I 17.

We have made reservations for the first 3 weeks and so found ourselves at the Meteor Crater RV park which is West of Winslow. Quite a nice CG with full hookups and far enough off I40 that there was no traffic noise.
The clear plastic to the right blocked the faucet.
After we’d set up we discovered that the cold water faucet in the bathroom wasn’t working. The hot was OK, and all the cold water in the rest of the rig, but not in the bathroom!

After multiple attempts to fix it we finally just bought a new one, then I decided to delve deep into the guts of the old one and found a piece of plastic in one of the passages of the thing. Best guess is that a piece of the wrapper for the last new filter we put in was inside the new filter and was drawn thru all the piping into that one faucet!
The rim of Meteor Crater

An idea of how big the crater is.
We moved on with our lives and went to visit the Meteor Crater. This is really impressive, over a mile in diameter and 500 feet deep. It was created when a large meteor crashed into the earth at 26,000 miles and hour.
Standing on the corner. A MAJOR tourist attraction.
We naturally explored Winslow, visiting the “Standing on the Corner” statues and the La Posada Railway Hotel built in the 1920’s for the passenger trade. The place had been left derelict then restored and it is really worth a visit. Later in the day I was chatting with my Cousin Liz in England and found she had been right here experiencing the same things 16 years ago.

La Posada

Wonderful interiors of the hotel.
Lots of places are still closed but we found a brewery that was open and had lunch there. Later on we talked it over and decided that it maybe wasn’t the smartest thing we might have done because it was very crowded and there was no social distancing going on. The staff weren’t wearing masks or gloves (Except the chefs) and I personally didn’t see anyone cleaning tables. If we go somewhere similar in future we will probably turn around and leave.

The beer was excellent but later on we reconsidered how comfortable we felt there.
The Elks Lodge was open and doing good things, plus keeping to the guidelines. After a tour of the Lodge and the exchange of Lodge pins we had a nice dinner and a few drinks before returning to the rig.
Of course this is all on the old Route 66

We explored some of the abandoned roadside attractions

We took a picnic lunch with us when we went to Flagstaff and Walnut Canyon, where there are cliff dwellings in the canyon walls. We got out of the car and actually hiked a while there.
Walnut Canyon is very deep

Cliff dwellings in the canyon

Barbara said it was like a cliff dwelling high rise
There is a drive from there through Sunset Crater Volcano Park up to the Wupatki Pueblo Park. The crater was a little bland, although the lava field is dramatic. The Pueblos though were really worth visiting, they were built 1500 years ago, with views across the plateau and the red rocks stood out in the bright sun. A raven watched us from a pinion tree making me think about the native spirits here.
One of the pueblos

I felt like his spirit was watching us

This huge pueblo had 100 rooms and 2 ball courts
So what have we learned in this first week back on the road?
First the national parks are open, at least in this area. The visitor centers are closed and as a result they are not charging for admission.

Some places are open as usual but some are not. They don’t seem to have updated their websites so it’s better to call ahead and ask if they are open. We went to the Flagstaff Elks only to find it had reopened then closed down again.

We also learned to look at places before we go in to find out if we feel comfortable with the Covid prevention steps inside.

So that’s it for now.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Moving on

This has been a difficult couple of months, as everyone on this little planet of ours knows. We have been pretty sheltered here due to the RV Park we stay at being gated, and the positive steps taken by the management, staff and residents. The friends we have made here have stayed strong and we have had carefully controlled gatherings which have provided some variety and companionship for us all.

Typical weather in Arizona in June
We have never intended spending summers here in Casa Grande where the temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees after May. Quite when we would leave is controlled by the spread and retreat of the virus.
Something to keep me busy.
Our major problem has been that our South Dakota Drivers Licenses were due to be renewed this year. Barbara's in April and mine in June. We contacted the SD Public Safety Office (who issue drivers licenses in SD) in March before Barbara's was due to renew simply because the weather would not be suitable for a trip up there. We intended to get there before mine was due. She was granted a 90 day extension which would avoid her having to resit the driving test.

When the virus came along we wouldn't be able to get there in time for either license, but when we called again they extended them for another year. This excellent service from such agencies is why we base ourselves in South Dakota!

With that problem resolved we could look at our summer plans for 2020.

Our intent had been to leave here April 1st attend the Escapade Rally in Wyoming and make a slow trip up to Rapid City for the drivers licenses. Next to head East to Upstate New York to explore the Finger Lakes area, finishing the summer in Maine for the Lobster Festival in Rockport MN.

All of that now needed to be reviewed and a projected date for departure fixed.
Off to Blue Beacon to get the rig washed.
We have the RV in storage at the park and the monthly rental for that runs from the 12th. We want to get the rig set up on a campsite with power and water for a couple of days before we leave to charge the batteries fully, get the fridge running and to flush and fill the water tank.

The State of Arizona was opening campgrounds and restaurants, June 12th looks promising for a move. If we set the rig up for 2 days on a camp site that would give us June 15th as the day we drove away.

We have (Of Course!) some maintenance items on the rig. The dash AC wasn't cooling properly, the engine is due for an oil change, the top slide seals need replacing, there has been a water leak thru the rear AC in heavy rain, the awning over the entry door has a strap for pulling it out that had broken and finally the TV antenna hasn't worked since the local cable company messed up all the coax cables last winter.

Matt and Carol had some work done at a place in Phoenix D&R Family RV and were happy with what was done. In the RV world a good company can be hard to find and word of mouth is especially valuable. We called them and they told us that they could do all the internal work but not the AC and oil change, They did however recommend the place across the street from them, Fair Auto, who they used themselves.

Over the next 2 weeks we had all the items resolved. It turned out that the AC mounting bolts were loose so D&R checked BOTH AC's and tightened them up. They also tried the TV antenna and surprisingly it worked fine! We must have tried it in an area with no signal (Duhh!). So not only was everything done but at a much lower cost than we had feared.

We set a date of June 15th to leave and plotted a rough route to South Dakota thru Utah and Wyoming. After SD we have an itch to go back to see our friends Sheri and David in Beloit Wisconsin and there are some friends along the way who have invited us to stop by.

Normally we don't make reservations but with the pandemic we decided we would. We decided Show Low Arizona would be nice for a first stop (20 degrees cooler up there) and looked at Thousand Trails who have an affiliated resort there. 

HA! Good luck there! The website said call the customer service number which we did. After 30 minutes on hold we gave up. I called the park direct and they had 2 vacancies but if I booked by phone I'd have to pay. If I did it thru the TT site or customer service it would be free. No luck with either of them so I went to the Good Sam website and found a vacancy in Winslow  Arizona. We made that reservation and we can go see the Meteor Crater there too. Next we decided that we'd like to see more of Monument Valley Utah and made a reservation in Blanding.

Barbara realized the following week was July 4th and reservations can be tough to get that week so another reservation in Vernal Utah was made. Wow look at us planning things! Seems very weird.

So we have to start moving stuff back into the rig and prep the house for being empty until November. Being in the house has seemed completely natural, from the second we moved in it has been as if we have lived here all our lives. But when we got the rig set up on a vacant spot and got the AC and fridge running, slides opened it felt just like home too! That seems like the best of both worlds!

Naturally there are things that need to be done, a minor water leak, tightening up the tow bar on the back of the rig, draining and flushing the water tank etc. Plus restocking the kitchen, moving clothes, tools and all the stuff we took out in March. So much to do!
Oh yes! Getting to eat at a restaurant at last!

We sneaked in a dinner out at our favorite restaurant in Casa Grande: Bedillons. We both chose Prime Rib medium rare and crab soup to start. It's funny how we both look at the menu separately yet end up ordering the same thing!
I nearly forgot to take a picture of the food it has been so long!

It was wonderful and the steak was one of the best we've ever had. We only ate half of the portion but were completely stuffed afterwards! Neither of us slept well, I suppose we're not used to the rich food but it was worth it! And we got to enjoy the other half a couple of days later.

More of our friends have left for the summer so we were down to 7 at the Elks just before we left. The lodge was quiet but friendly as ever and it was nice to see everyone before we leave.

As I write this we are just 24 hours away from hitting the road, so stay tuned for more posts as we wander. Not many pictures this time time but we should have some in the next one.

See YA!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Shelter in Place

What happened to our plans?

People all across the world must be asking the same question too. A month ago we were looking forward to starting our year on the road and now we are virtual prisoners in our homes/RV’s wondering when we will see this end.

I wish I could tell you. None of us know, not the doctors, politicians. Nobody.

So what the heck can we do?

I can only speak for Barbara and I naturally but our primary intent is not to panic. We don’t intend to stockpile goods or food. To do so would leave others in need and we hope we are more thoughtful than that.

We don’t intend to spread gossip or rumors. Such gossip, based on speculation, and sometimes intentionally malicious, risks harm to people who may act on it without considering the actual facts.

We intend to enjoy ourselves, laugh at jokes, smile at people we meet, partake in activities normally, or online if we can do that. We will have to take into account the safety guidelines being put out by the authorities so gatherings of friends may be limited in numbers. We may still go out but will consider the “Social Spacing” of others.

Those are the things that occur to me at this time, there are probably more, we will no doubt come across more with time. What we don’t intend to do is criticize others who may not go the way we think they should. We all still have freedom of choice.

We were lucky (Again!) in that we bought the park model before this all broke out. We sold some shares from our retirement account to help pay for it and quite fortuitously did so at the highest price in a year! 3 weeks after we sold them they hit their LOWEST price for a year!

We moved in intending to be here for about 3 weeks then to set off in the RV. The RV went into storage. So when we stay in the park model we have already paid for the year’s ground rent and we don’t have to pay the weekly rate for the RV, just the storage fee.

Talk about luck!

The park here has emptied out fast. The Canadians going home before the border closed completely, Northern residents are going to be with family. The migration usually happens at the end of the month so its just a few weeks early, but the place is sure quiet.

Casa Grande isn’t a big place, and is a much busier place in the winter when all the “Snow Birds” are here. With the emergency measures keeping people home its almost deserted. I am constantly wondering why there is no traffic. Seems like the grocery stores are a big attraction however and the shelves have been mostly bare. I hope people come to their senses and stop hoarding. Our friends call and tell us that such and such is available at this or that supermarket do we want some? We do the same.

The park has a nice population, and people have volunteered to make masks for those who want them, for residents that are more at risk there have been people who have helped with groceries etc.

We are in a good position in that the park is a gated community and there is somebody on the gate most of the time, Volunteers again. Due to the reduction in numbers some hours were not covered so I stepped up to help on Monday mornings. Got to put in something.

My art is always there to keep me busy, Various jobs have come up on the park model like some touch up painting, hinge oiling and screw tightening.

As a project I bought a golf cart for $100 and the guy delivered it. Naturally it needs some work but I can work on the cosmetics and I have been taking all the electrical connections apart one by one to clean them and eliminate any corrosion, putting batteries in it and tidying up the ugly paintwork.

Look no batteries


Our RV friends from San Diego, the Shanty Shakers, have introduced us to Zoom. Zoom is an online video conferencing system that lets lots of people get together online. It took a little learning but we found that it’s much better on a computer than on a phone. The phone video jumps around because it only lets you see one video feed at a time and it’s triggered by voice. If several people talk at once it flips from one to another seemingly at random, which gets annoying. On a computer it shows ALL the participants at once on the screen and highlights the person talking. Much better.

We had so much fun with it that we set up one of our own and had our friends Mike and Lynne in Australia and Fred and Judy in North Carolina too. An hour just flew by.
Mike, Lynne, Fred and Judy in Daytona Beach a few years ago.

Our biggest bit of luck has been that we have been full timing for 5 years. We are completely used to being together 24/7. As a result we have become very tolerant of each other and know when to separate for a while to give each other a break. I’m sure a lot of relationships have struggled lately.

Having Barbara as my best friend and companion, THAT is the luckiest thing I have ever had happen.

Stay safe and be patient, we will see you again before too long.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Big changes

That's a dramatic start to our blog BIG CHANGES!!

Well we think things are making a big impact on our lives. See if you agree?

The park we stay at each winter is Sundance 1 RV Resort in Casa Grande AZ It has everything we need and all the facilities to keep us busy. We have made friends with people in the park. It just feels like home when we arrive back around November 1st,

For the last couple of winters we have been looking at "Park Models" for sale.

To go back to basics let us explain the differences between our Motor Home and a Park Model.

The Monaco is classed as a Motor home, it is fully capable of moving along the road under its own power and contains all we need to live comfortably in it whether we are connected to outside power water and sewer or not. 

A "Park Model" (sometimes called a Mobile Home, Trailer or even a Manufactured Home) is a prefabricated dwelling on a frame with wheels and axles underneath. Technically it's a trailer as it has a detachable hitch so it can be towed along, although usually they are moved on the back of a truck.

A Park Model contains all the facilities needed to live such as plumbing, electrical systems, heating and cooling BUT it does not have holding tanks for water, grey and black water. Neither does it have a generator or any 12 volt systems that can run off batteries.

That means that a Park Model always has to be connected to mains electric, water and sewer.

Because technically it's still a trailer it is registered as one for legal purposes. This relieves it from real estate taxes and the owner from being a permanent resident of the state where it is located.

The down side is that in most cases you don't own the land it is on an so have to pay "Ground Rent" on the lot annually. This can and does increase annually. The owner of the park can impose rules about the condition of units and upkeep of lots.

So does the purchase of the unit mean we are giving up travelling?


We still intend to travel. BUT we aren't getting any younger (We both turn 70 this year) and eventually we may decide to either cut down on how much time we spend on the road each year or to take a "Year Off". 

We intend to winter in Casa Grande for the foreseeable future. We have watched the prices of units in the park steadily rise over the past couple of years.

So to us it makes sense to buy now. Another side to this is that during February and March there is a big demand for rental units. This gives us the opportunity to pay most of the annual grand rent by renting out the unit.

UH?? We are going to buy it and not live in it? Well not quite. We will arrive back in the park around November 1st as usual, but if we arrive early (Or late) it doesn't matter, we can move in whenever we want. We can stop by and stay for a week or so and carry on, there is no additional cost to do so.

Then from November until February we can live in it and store the RV in the storage yard on site. If we rent it out for a week or 2 we can get the RV out of storage and go camp at the Elks lodge. For longer periods we can find a spot locally of go down to Mexico if we want. Then we can move back in while we get the RV serviced and the park model cleaned up ready for laying it up for the summer.

The unit also has a BIG air conditioner so if for any reason we can't travel we will still be comfortable despite the 100+ degree weather.

So why not take an annual lease on a camping spot and just park the RV on it? 

Good question!

The Park Model is physically bigger than the RV. 12 feet wide compared to 8 1/2' and 40 ft long v 38'. It also comes with a storage shed containing a washer and dryer and there is a covered car port for parking. The bit we liked on this one is the back yard where I can paint and where we can have great parties with our friends.

Right now we still have 2 cars (The Fiesta law suit still hasn't settled). We can store one under the car port for the summer at no cost to us and put the battery on charge using a solar charger so it will be ready to go whenever we need it. Then for the winter we both have a vehicle, it's cheaper than renting one.

Some other advantages are Storage for stuff we don't need on the road and A PLACE TO HANG MY ARTWORK!

So we have been gathering together enough money to pay for it, thinking about the technicalities of TV, Internet etc and asking our friends who already own here what they do when it's closed up for the summer. We had a yard sale to get rid of stuff we don't use anymore like our bikes that have been rusting on the back of the RV for a year and a half!

So we are ready for the Big step.

Friday, January 24, 2020

The same old Winter Tale

We are as usual spending the winter in Sundance 1 RV Resort in Casa Grande Arizona. The place has grown on us and we have so many friends here.

This time every year the park is filling up after the Christmas Holidays. By February 1st it will be filled to capacity.

Things really get going about this time and we are both busy every day doing a wide variety of activities. I paint 4 days a week with various groups around the town. Barbara is part of the Elks Lodge Ladies Auxiliary knitting hats for newborns and attending meetings organizing fundraisers. We are playing darts 2 nights a week, having dinner with friends at the Elks Lodge, working together putting on art classes. 
The Shanty Shaker Crew doing Happy Hour
Our friends from the Shanty Shakers RV club are in Quartzite AZ for the big annual RV show/market, we just drove up there to see them for the day. It was a 375 mile round trip! Great to see everyone though.
Garth and Judy who hosted the Rally in Prescott last year
We started weight Watchers again to get back into shape for the spring and the RV needs those maintenance items taken care of that we put off all summer. 
Matt and Carol newly minted Full Timers!!
As a result the time just flies by. 

We are putting plans together for the rest of the year. We have to go to South Dakota to renew our Drivers Licenses. The Escapees have their rally in Wyoming in June. We really want to go back to the North East and visit the Finger Lakes in NY. Of course we HAVE to go to Maine and eat lots of Lobsters!! Between Wyoming and Maine there are a lot of places to see as well and we hope to drop by and see David and Sheri.

So although this is a short post it is an exciting one for us, so stay tuned for more big news soon!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Hanging on the telephone

Here's the long and stressful story of how I lost my phone and the terrible experience of trying to get a new one!

I mean how hard can it be right?

On the way back from UK before Christmas we were between flights at Atlanta and I decided to charge my phone in the waiting area. Somewhere between there and getting off the plane in Phoenix the phone vanished.

I called the airport and the airline but they hadn't had it handed in. We had one of Barbara's old phones so we re-activated that with a new SIMM and my number. Of course it didn't have all the apps I wanted and I spent some time reinstalling them.

That phone is several years old and used to be a T Mobile phone that we brought over to ATT. The T Mobile software caused a few hiccups and makes it slow but it can't be removed apparently.

After 3 weeks the airlines and airports stop looking for things and if its found after that it goes into the lost property auction. Time for a new phone.

We've had both Verizon and ATT in the past. Both have given us such poor customer service that we've switched back and forward and been to T Mobile too. Lately ATT have been pretty good with fair customer service as opposed to Verizon whose customer "Service" left us with no internet for over a month last time we were with them (A whole different story).

As we were currently with ATT I went to the store. A lady who claimed to be the manager came to help. I explained that I'd lost my phone and the one I had was slow, so I wanted a new one. I'd paid off what I still owed on the lost one the night before, so I could start fresh.

She looked at my phone and started giving me a lecture about how it was a T Mobile phone and the were numerous apps open and no wonder it was slow. I was a little taken aback because all I wanted was a new phone. She started telling me I could get a better contract and more data, but if I got a jetpack I would only have 10 gigs and I couldn't do this that and the other. On top of that I hadn't paid off the phone, just put money into the account. I still had to pay off the phone.

All I went for was a new phone on my existing plan! Finally I walked out and went home to call Customer Retention. They are the ultimate people to call and we have had quite impressive service from them in the past. You have to ask specifically for them and they have lots of power to make customers happy and keep them as ATT customers.

This time I got a guy who apologized profusely for the store managers attitude and proceeded to tell us he could give us a great deal with 2 brand new phones, a jetpack for internet connections and unlimited data. If I would wait on hold for a few minutes he'd get all the information.

While I was on hold the call got cut off. I waited 20 minutes hoping he'd call me back but he didn't, so I called in again. 

Understand here that every time you call you have to wait between 30 and 40 minutes before you get to talk to somebody. After another 40 minutes I got back to Customer Retention and to a gentleman who described himself as the supervisor of the section.

I had to go over the whole thing again and described the deal the previous gentleman was setting up with unlimited data and a jetpack. 

That whole thing was impossible, there was no such plan, we could only get 10 gig of data on a jetpack. We could get a new plan with 2 phones.

I called a halt to everything, we already have a plan with 40 gig and a tablet for a hotspot, All I want is a new phone to replace the old one I lost.

He launched into another rant about phones with 100 gig, and what did I want all the data for anyway?

I explained we live full time in an RV and use the service for internet as well as phone service. If we had more data we would stream some TV too. He went into another rant telling us we couldn't share to other devices on this plan, it would not be covered under the data with the phone, we'd have to pay extra for that on another plan.

All I wanted was another phone. I told him I'd go to Verizon as I wasn't happy with the treatment I was getting. He said threateningly "So you want me to cut off your service RIGHT NOW?" 

Of course if I let him do that we would lose our phone numbers! I said I'd take care of that myself and hung up.

We drove down to the local Verizon store, but only after a friend with a Verizon plan checked if we could get a signal at our campsite. Verizon is notorious in our park for having complete dead zones. You can't even get a signal to dial 911 in some places. Luckily we were seeing 3 bars on her phone.

At the store we got an enthusiastic young man who told us that we could get 2 new phones for $1 a month, A jetpack for our internet needs, a tablet we could also use for internet and unlimited data. I mentioned the park we were in and the poor signal, he said we could try it and if it was bad we could get a free signal booster which would fix things. They transferred our apps to the new phones but the old T Mobile phone I had couldn't transfer anything.

The jetpack would be $50 and we'd then own it outright. We signed up for all that and asked for a receipt. Everything got packed up. On our way out I remembered he didn't give us a receipt, so we went back in and he gave us a one sheet receipt. We left with the 2 phones, a jetpack and a tablet.

Back in the park we were getting 3 bars on the phones but trying to put apps on mine was taking for ever. I started up the jetpack but it was only getting 1 bar. I called customer service and got to wait 40 minutes to talk to somebody. Apparently I needed to talk to a technician and went back on hold, I got cut off before I talked to him! Another 40 minutes on hold than they had me open the jetpack, remove and reinstall the SIMM then remove and reinstall the battery, reset the device and some other stuff.

Finally they said "Sorry the signal isn't strong enough where you are, nothing we can do". I asked about the signal booster (We've had a booster before, so I know what they are). Then they told me that their device isn't actually a signal booster but actually picks up another wifi signal and redirects it thru their jetpack to provide service. I asked if they would be paying for the other wifi service? "No".

The rep then said I could take everything back and we'd get our money back as we'd had everything less than 14 days.

Back at the store the original guy wasn't there but the manager and another rep (who kept floating in and out of the conversation) announced that we'd have to pay $35 per device as a restocking fee. I pointed to my receipt which only listed a restocking fee on the jetpack. He told me it was a 2 sheet receipt and sheet 2 listed the other devices as having the restocking fee. As we only got ONE sheet I asked how we were supposed to know that? He printed the second sheet but I made him sign it as received separately from the original sheet and had Barbara witness it. I didn't like the way things were headed. Then the other guy floated back in and said we'd have to pay $175 early cancellation fee on the 2 separate contracts that were taken out on the jetpack and the tablet!

I was furious by this time. There was nothing on the receipt about 2 year separate contracts and we didn't even want the tablet. We thought we had bought the jetpack and the tablet was free! Verizon customer service had told us we'd get our money back and not that there would be early cancellation fees. We'd had the phones for 5 days (Over Christmas) and hadn't made a single call on them!

He said he'd call customer service. To my delight they have no direct connection and we all sat round on speaker for 40 minutes before we got thru! Then they had to put us on hold and we got cut off again!! Another 40 minutes and we finally got thru, but he took the phone off speaker so I couldn't hear the other half of the conversation. He hung up and said they had waived the early cancellation fees but not the restocking fee. I had him write that on our original receipt and sign it with Barbara as a witness.

The other guy came floating back and started looking at the phones and tablet and muttering about "Stains on the equipment". I blew my top again. We'd had the things 5 days, never made a call and been charged $35 each as a restocking fee, How in the heck did he have cause to claim stains on the equipment? The first guy hurriedly told him to be quiet, but he immediately said he was going to cut off the service and we'd lose our phone numbers.

I grabbed all the stuff and left the store. We went to T Mobile and a very pleasant young lady soon had our numbers ported from the Verizon phones to 2 identical phones on T Mobile that were free! We didn't get a jetpack but each phone was good for 20 gig and we'd get free Netflixs which wouldn't use up any data and we could stream TV or YouTube free too. We could share the data with our Roku on the TV. Better yet this would all cost $90 a month as opposed to $180 from ATT or Verizon.

We went back to Verizon and gave them all the stuff back and told them to stop our service. The "Floating guy" came back and told us we'd lose our phone numbers. He looked quite downfallen when we said we'd already ported them over to T Mobile!

The T Mobile phones got 5 bars of 4G signal and really fast internet. After all the hassle with the other 2 companies it was finally over!

Except 2 days later I got an e-mail from Verizon saying my bill was ready and I owed them $650!!

Another 40 minutes on hold, I was told I owed $41 for the previous months service and $600 for the 2 phones we'd retained!! I pointed out that they'd charged me $35 each to restock the phones so how could I have retained them??  Plus we only had the phones 5 days and hadn't made a single call so how could we have a previous months bill? I was to be put on hold again, but only after I got the persons name and gave them my phone number with a promise they would call me back if we got cut off. 

Finally they came back on again and acknowledged there was no previous months bill. They would put a hold on the $600 so a debt collection agency wouldn't come after us for the money (!!!!!) but until the phones got checked into their warehouse they wouldn't show up as returned, Once they did get checked in the $600 would go away.

Talk about a nightmare. All I set out to do was get a new phone on my existing plan, We ended up going thru 3 different companies in 5 days, 8 different devices, hours on hold, cut off 3 or 4 times, irate to the point of speechlessness. I just can't comprehend how these companies can call what they have "Customer Service".

Hopefully Verizon will actually finally get the phones to their warehouse and leave us alone. They were bad when we had service with them many years ago and from my experience they are even worse now. ATT are a close 2nd for bad service in my experience.

Update 1/24/20

I had hoped this was all settled and done but 2 weeks later I got TWO bills from Verizon. One for over $400 and one for over $600!!

I called their collections department as they were marked "PAST DUE".

The operator looked up the account and said she didn't understand why we had received those bills as their records showed we only owed 20 CENTS and the account was closed.

After a brief hold she came back and said they were waiving the 20 cents. I asked for that in writing but they couldn't do that, Instead they sent we a vaguely worded e-mail to the effect that the account was now closed.

Update 5/25/20

Bet you thought this was over and everything was going better right?


We continued receiving bills and threats of debt collection agencies every month after the last update. Every month I'd call the customer service number and be on hold for 40 minutes. Once thru I'd have to go thru all the security stuff and then explain the problem all over again. Then I'd be transferred to accounts and be on hold another 20 plus minutes. First time I was told that although the agent had sent the correction up the chain the next level supervisor had denied it. They all talked again and said they'd correct it.

Next month same thing but this time they said that until I returned the phones I couldn't be credited for the mistake. I asked them how they had charged me a restocking fee if I still had the phones? More apologies and "Fix it by next month"

Next month it was beyond them how the account had not been corrected! The operator called his manager who apologized and swore he would call me personally the following day to tell me it was corrected. There was of course no call!

Next month yes they saw that conversation on the record but as far as they were aware the problem had been corrected. I asked why then they had sent me another bill marked "Past Due" and with the threat of the collection agency? I was told to ignore the bill but I asked again for a written statement to show I didn't owe them anything. I again got an e-mail which vaguely stated that my balance was zero.

So now 6 months after the start of this I didn't get a bill!

On Facebook I saw a Verizon advertising post about how good their service was, When I looked at the comments 90% of them were about just how bad the customer service was. I added details of my nightmare. The following day I went back to the post. Mine and all the other bad comments has been deleted!! Well done Verizon!!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

2019 summary

Our 2019 travels

This year we stayed on the West Coast and explored Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. We finished the year up by seeing some of Arizona that we haven't previously been to. Another good year and the first full summer we have spent in the new Monaco coach.