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Old 09-03-2008, 12:29 PM   #1
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I think gas station designers are conspiring against motor homes.

Gone are the days when you could just pull right up to a gas island that was parallel to the roadway. Remember how gas stations used to be? Usually a maximum of one or two islands with three pumps each. You pulled up, pulled the nozzle out of the SIDE of the pump, flipped the metal switch over the opening and those rotating numbers for the gallons and dollars would click-click-click to zero.

NOW, you have SIX islands, each with only 1 pump, all positioned so that you face the convenience store and see all the high-calorie, high-fructose, high-trans fat goodies that draw me in like a fly to a pile of ... you get the idea.

To make matters worse, they put a row of parking right in front of the store with about 10 feet of clearance to the pumps. I usually end up pulling in when NO ONE is parked in front. By the time my 75 gallons of gas are on board, I have three SUVs with soccer ball stickers, two pickups with rebel flags and a landscape trailer all parked and blocking me in. Hard turn to the right and my back half is taking out a pump. Hard turn to the left and I'll pull a couple of Toro's off the landscape trailer.

Some ˜generous' stations have TWO pumps per island. But as every motor home driver knows, your coach takes up the full lane to gas up. When I pull up to a crowded station, I quickly scan the situation and make my assessment. Profiles are quickly created in my mind determining who will leave the pumps in the shortest amount of time. Double XL guy with a car that looks like it came from the demolition derby? Nah, he's paying cash and stopping for Twinkies and will take too long. Ford F-250 with double gas tanks – no way. Ah, there's a lane with only a small Toyota at the near pump with the far pump clear. I'll get behind her. And wouldn't ya know it, as soon as she's putting the cap on her tank, a bleach-blonde, female version of Hulk Hogan in an Escalade comes flying around the far side and parks at MY pump. I imagine using the Toyota as a battering ram to move that Caddy...

After years of gas-gridlock and near ˜gas-rage', I have learned to swing around and face out so my escape route is always clear.

Now don't even get me started about fuel discount cards. I usually follow this sequence – buy fuel, pull over to side and then go into the store to buy ˜stuff'. Flying J kindly let's you know AFTER you filled up on gas that your discount is ZERO until you spend a small fortune in their store. I had to get my magnifying glass out to see that message on the bottom of my receipt – when a receipt actually prints. My Good Sam/Petro card puts even more hurdles in the way. Pull up to pump. DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING until you make your way the store, wait on a line, give them your discount card and THEN go back to pump your gas. By this time, three other brother motorhomer's are waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for the goof-ball who is trying to save 50 cents on a tank of gas.

So now I've ˜moved up' to the world of diesel and can mingle with the truckers. Where I can skate on a crust of dried fuel, wrestle with an Anaconda-like hose that spews foaming, diesel venom with the force of a fire hydrant. Oh, and realize my discount card is not accepted at the truck islands...
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:29 PM   #2
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I think gas station designers are conspiring against motor homes.

Gone are the days when you could just pull right up to a gas island that was parallel to the roadway. Remember how gas stations used to be? Usually a maximum of one or two islands with three pumps each. You pulled up, pulled the nozzle out of the SIDE of the pump, flipped the metal switch over the opening and those rotating numbers for the gallons and dollars would click-click-click to zero.

NOW, you have SIX islands, each with only 1 pump, all positioned so that you face the convenience store and see all the high-calorie, high-fructose, high-trans fat goodies that draw me in like a fly to a pile of ... you get the idea.

To make matters worse, they put a row of parking right in front of the store with about 10 feet of clearance to the pumps. I usually end up pulling in when NO ONE is parked in front. By the time my 75 gallons of gas are on board, I have three SUVs with soccer ball stickers, two pickups with rebel flags and a landscape trailer all parked and blocking me in. Hard turn to the right and my back half is taking out a pump. Hard turn to the left and I'll pull a couple of Toro's off the landscape trailer.

Some ˜generous' stations have TWO pumps per island. But as every motor home driver knows, your coach takes up the full lane to gas up. When I pull up to a crowded station, I quickly scan the situation and make my assessment. Profiles are quickly created in my mind determining who will leave the pumps in the shortest amount of time. Double XL guy with a car that looks like it came from the demolition derby? Nah, he's paying cash and stopping for Twinkies and will take too long. Ford F-250 with double gas tanks – no way. Ah, there's a lane with only a small Toyota at the near pump with the far pump clear. I'll get behind her. And wouldn't ya know it, as soon as she's putting the cap on her tank, a bleach-blonde, female version of Hulk Hogan in an Escalade comes flying around the far side and parks at MY pump. I imagine using the Toyota as a battering ram to move that Caddy...

After years of gas-gridlock and near ˜gas-rage', I have learned to swing around and face out so my escape route is always clear.

Now don't even get me started about fuel discount cards. I usually follow this sequence – buy fuel, pull over to side and then go into the store to buy ˜stuff'. Flying J kindly let's you know AFTER you filled up on gas that your discount is ZERO until you spend a small fortune in their store. I had to get my magnifying glass out to see that message on the bottom of my receipt – when a receipt actually prints. My Good Sam/Petro card puts even more hurdles in the way. Pull up to pump. DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING until you make your way the store, wait on a line, give them your discount card and THEN go back to pump your gas. By this time, three other brother motorhomer's are waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for the goof-ball who is trying to save 50 cents on a tank of gas.

So now I've ˜moved up' to the world of diesel and can mingle with the truckers. Where I can skate on a crust of dried fuel, wrestle with an Anaconda-like hose that spews foaming, diesel venom with the force of a fire hydrant. Oh, and realize my discount card is not accepted at the truck islands...
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:37 PM   #3
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Old 09-03-2008, 01:03 PM   #4
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LOL.

Boy, isn't THAT the truth.

We have one station near us that is always $.15-.20 cheaper than the Pilot truck stop but I have to make the GS perform like a pole vaulter to get up to the diesel island...and have to back in from about 200 ft away since I can't come in from the main driveway access. By the time I back up to the front pump, my rear cap is almost in the "raised" planter that separates the station from the main road.

Some MORON designed this place!

"Most" diesel pumps at stations are designed to accomodate diesel "pick-ups" and not MH's so I generally "suck-it-up" and go to Pilot.

I used to think it was California but glad to see Jersey is just as stupid.
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Old 09-03-2008, 02:56 PM   #5
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RVThere,

You hit the nail on the head! I'm glad we're not alone in our search for a maneuverable gas station!


Keep up the observances. You have a gift for storytelling. I enjoy your posts.

Lori-
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:28 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RVThere:
I think gas station designers are conspiring against motor homes....... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

As an RVer for many years I enjoyed your message very much. I am always searching out locations where I can pull away from the pump with out unhooking my car.

I have also owned/operated a fuel and convenience store for more than 40 years and I would like to address some of your points.

The pumps that had mechanical meters that went click,click,click did not work well when temperatures get below 0. I can tell you that on many occasions I was out a 5 AM with a can of WD40 trying to get the meters to work. Thankfully the electronic age brought forth meters that would work as cold as it gets in my state.

People today demand to be able to insert their credit card into a pump, fuel and go, with out going inside, forced the industry to combine their fuel products into 1 dispenser per fueling spot.

I remodeled my station a few years ago and separated the gasoline and diesel islands for several reasons I will not go into here. Being an RVer I positioned all my islands parallel to the front door so anyone with a big rig pulling a car or trailer could pull away safely. I soon found out why fuel islands are facing the store windows. It is not to force the customer to look inside but to enable the clerk to be able to see out and identify vehicles that attempt to fuel and drive off with out paying. We have had a lot of "drive offs" with no ability to identify the thief. Those stations that have vehicles facing the building have video cameras that can record the license numbers of all their fuel customers. My entrances and exits are clear and I have no place to install a camera that will do the job. Remember that the people that purchased homes they can't afford also have toys & vehicles they can't afford the fuel for also.

On the issue of diesel fuel we must remember that it is the truck customers that enable a fuel location to be able to provide a good fueling facility. Those big high flow hoses on both sides enable a truck to purchase 300 gallons in the least amount of time to enable the truck to get back on the road and clear the island for the next customer. I installed 1 pump with a smaller hose and nozzle.

Our supplier BP gives a 5% rebate on their propriety credit card on both gas and diesel. No purchase is required in the store. I am feeling these industry disc programs will eventually disappear as they are being subsidized by the cash customer and that is really not fair. Do to the price of fuel we may have to go to separate pricing for cash and for credit card.

This post may be a little long but I wanted to assure the RV group that industry planners try to balance the needs of their customers with the needs of the operators. In our state most of the facilities are not owned by the refiners. They are independently owned.

Don
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:10 PM   #7
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Don,

Thanks for the education. Next time we venture out to the Wisconsin Dells, we'll take a ride up to Weyauwega, WI to personally inspect the pumps and see if they pass muster!

Remember that NJ is one of only TWO states that has OUTLAWED self service gas so we don't worry about drive offs here. Plus the traffic is so bad that you can catch up with the offender on foot within a quarter mile!
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:49 AM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RVThere:
Don,

Thanks for the education. Next time we venture out to the Wisconsin Dells, we'll take a ride up to Weyauwega, WI to personally inspect the pumps and see if they pass muster! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Tom & Katharine;

I would feel honored to have you visit us. I have a spot in front of our garage with a 50 Amp plug, water, and Cable TV. Several IRV2 folks have stopped to see me for a couple of days. We have a street construction project scheduled for next year in front of our place. Our access will be limited for a while. The good thing is a planned clean out adjacent to the parking spot where I can drain the waste water. Stay in touch and PM me when you are in Wis and we will go from there.

I notice you don't have any Winnebago Karma. If you would like some please ask and you shall receive.

Don
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:18 AM   #9
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As a relative newbee, I don't even know what Winnebago karma is. So if you can provide, I'll take some please.

Thanks again. Our next few trips will head south but Go Kart World in the Dells always beckons...
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Old 09-06-2008, 05:22 AM   #10
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RVThere:
As a relative newbee, I don't even know what Winnebago karma is. So if you can provide, I'll take some please.

Thanks again.... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

You now have your Karma

Don
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Old 09-06-2008, 01:01 PM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by RVThere:
...I have learned to swing around and face out so my escape route is always clear... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

ALWAYS do this. I have found that, no matter what vehicle I am in, some fool can't drive (or doesn't care) and blocks me in. Also, as a woman who often travels alone, I try to have an "escape" route at all times. Something I have taught my daughters.
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