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Old 08-23-2017, 01:39 PM   #1
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Pilot kicked us out just before eclipse

We pulled into the Pilot off I-75 in Niota, TN this past Sunday afternoon. Bought overpriced diesel, some ice cream and then found a great parking spot by an open field at the far back of the parking lot. As it was Sunday, the parking lot was almost empty. We had planned to stay at the Walmart in Athens, TN but the Pilot seemed pretty empty so we stayed and had a quiet overnight.

About 7am, we saw some additional RV's that pulled in overnight and some cars parked on the grass field. About 8am, a Pilot employee knocked on our door and told my wife that we could not watch the eclipse from the Pilot lot and had to move. We took our time pulling out as we were deciding our next move. About an hour later, he came back and knocked again. He again insisted that we had to move, I offered him a $20 to look the other way to no avail. He said our only option was to move to the reserved spots for $13.08 but we could only stay there until 3pm (eclipse was going until about 4pm).

I saw that some RVs had moved to a truck repair facility that shared the parking lot. The Pilot employee said that was not Pilot property but we would have to check with 'crazy Ed' who owned the shop. 'Crazy Ed' was a GREAT guy who said we could park anywhere as long as we didn't block his service bays and refused any payment.

We found a nice spot for our 40' RV, put out the awning for some needed shade, quickly made friends with others who were around and needed shade, and turned the grill on and cooked up burgers until we ran out. It was very hot so some old folks used our RV to cool down in the AC, we had the TV on to show the Science channel, and it turned out to be a big party!

Needless to say, the Pilot lot was quickly overwhelmed by cars, RV's and tractor trailers. It became a zoo and the Pilot employee was no where to be seen. People parked in our original location.

Once again, Pilot/FJ made a bad choice by trying to squash any outsiders instead of seeing that their fuel and concessions sales would go through the roof based on their great location. They could have charged $5 a car, packed them in, and made a hefty profit. RV's spend a lot of money for fuel at these places, they had the chance to earn some goodwill, and they blew it.
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:17 PM   #2
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Should have flashed your Good Sam Pilot RV discount card. Not only would it give you a whooping $.05 discount on their grossly overpriced fuel but maybe would have put the fear of Mr. Good Sam into the employee.

I personally drive past Pilot unless it's a dire emergency. Their fuel is overpriced, the pump islands are typically filthy and they don't really like RV's.
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:21 PM   #3
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....We found a nice spot for our 40' RV, put out the awning for some needed shade, quickly made friends with others who were around and needed shade, and turned the grill on and cooked up burgers until we ran out. It was very hot so some old folks used our RV to cool down in the AC, we had the TV on to show the Science channel, and it turned out to be a big party!......
This is the coolest story ever. Good on you.
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:43 PM   #4
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This is the coolest story ever. Good on you.
I do have to wonder if we got all the facts. Was the awning out, grill going, and party getting ready to commence when the Pilot employee came out? I do hope that the OP got with Crazy Ed before setting up his party.
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:56 PM   #5
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Short-sighted on the part of that location!
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Old 08-23-2017, 03:04 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dennis45 View Post
Should have flashed your Good Sam Pilot RV discount card. Not only would it give you a whooping $.05 discount on their grossly overpriced fuel but maybe would have put the fear of Mr. Good Sam into the employee.

I personally drive past Pilot unless it's a dire emergency. Their fuel is overpriced, the pump islands are typically filthy and they don't really like RV's.
His discount with a GS card is .08

In my over 18 years of Full Time and buying fuel at many Flying J/Pilot I have never ran into a filthy RV Islands at any of them.
Did I say I love the Denny's $4 breakfast in many of them after a fill up?
OH!! On top of the .08 fuel discount I use my CC for another 5%.
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Old 08-23-2017, 03:16 PM   #7
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I do have to wonder if we got all the facts. Was the awning out, grill going, and party getting ready to commence when the Pilot employee came out? I do hope that the OP got with Crazy Ed before setting up his party.
Sorry if you felt my 439 word diatribe was withholding keys facts. If I may, let me expand further:

I was parked in a corner spot adjacent to an open grass field. My slide out was out as my wife was crocheting and had to get to her voluminous supplies that are located in a closet that is not accessible when the slide out is closed. My awning was open extending over the grass area (same side as the slide) and not taking up any precious parking spaces. Grill was NOT going. After he came a-calling the first time, i closed the awning and pulled in the slide. At no point did I commit the cardinal sin and have my levelers down.

In my determination that Crazy Ed was 'GREAT', I implied that I had in fact 'got with' Ed. I have to admit that I did not ask for specific permission to set up a party, but by the time the electric grill was started (using my generator power, not Ed's outlets...), the parking lot had take on a chaotic carnival atmosphere with lawn chairs, telescopes, various improvised and purchased sun shades, with even a confused 18-wheeler cruising on through.

Like any old school woman of Italian descent, my wife had me set up a banquet table, brought out onions, lettuce, tomato, buns to accompany the burgers, whipped up a tomato/cucumber/mozzarella/olive oil salad, heated up some eggplant and asparagus, and gave out cold bottled water to anyone who passed by. We feasted with people we did not know and made some friends along the way. We told old worn out stories to a new audience, talked politics with people who had differing views in a way that highlighted our similarities instead of our differences, explained the intricacies of RV travel, and genuinely had a good time. The crowd was a cross section of America that is not shown on any news channel - peaceful, friendly, open.

Let me know if you need any more facts...
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Old 08-23-2017, 03:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RVThere View Post
Sorry if you felt my 439 word diatribe was withholding keys facts. If I may, let me expand further:

I was parked in a corner spot adjacent to an open grass field. My slide out was out as my wife was crocheting and had to get to her voluminous supplies that are located in a closet that is not accessible when the slide out is closed. My awning was open extending over the grass area (same side as the slide) and not taking up any precious parking spaces. Grill was NOT going. After he came a-calling the first time, i closed the awning and pulled in the slide. At no point did I commit the cardinal sin and have my levelers down.

In my determination that Crazy Ed was 'GREAT', I implied that I had in fact 'got with' Ed. I have to admit that I did not ask for specific permission to set up a party, but by the time the electric grill was started (using my generator power, not Ed's outlets...), the parking lot had take on a chaotic carnival atmosphere with lawn chairs, telescopes, various improvised and purchased sun shades, with even a confused 18-wheeler cruising on through.

Like any old school woman of Italian descent, my wife had me set up a banquet table, brought out onions, lettuce, tomato, buns to accompany the burgers, whipped up a tomato/cucumber/mozzarella/olive oil salad, heated up some eggplant and asparagus, and gave out cold bottled water to anyone who passed by. We feasted with people we did not know and made some friends along the way. We told old worn out stories to a new audience, talked politics with people who had differing views in a way that highlighted our similarities instead of our differences, explained the intricacies of RV travel, and genuinely had a good time. The crowd was a cross section of America that is not shown on any news channel - peaceful, friendly, open.

Let me know if you need any more facts...
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Old 08-23-2017, 03:37 PM   #9
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Nah, don't need any facts. Just that i've seen too many times, people coming into forums and only stating one side of the story. But then later on, it turns into a whole different ball game when the other side is told.

Based on what you've said, i kinda agree with you. Not totally since you did in fact pretty much set up camp in the company's parking lot. But at the same time, it's sad that the Pilot dude felt determined to run you off since it was a special occasion and you weren't really hurting anything. Not sure why he was so gung ho about it. I'm glad that y'all ended up having a great experience over at Ed's.
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Old 08-23-2017, 05:22 PM   #10
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His discount with a GS card is .08

In my over 18 years of Full Time and buying fuel at many Flying J/Pilot I have never ran into a filthy RV Islands at any of them.
Did I say I love the Denny's $4 breakfast in many of them after a fill up?
OH!! On top of the .08 fuel discount I use my CC for another 5%.
31-years for us but i second your thoughts. the OP "dragged his feet" when asked to leave private property. maybe i can help myself to his driveway and then "drag my feet" when i'm asked to leave. could the Pilot in question handled this differently much as the OP suggested? sure, but when asked to leave the OP should have left. and based on the OP's follow-up post he admits not asking permission to set up a party. seems the OP has boundary issues.

and, using gas buddy, we've found that FJ has very competitive gas prices. FJ is our goto refueling spot. we don't use Pilot truck stops much due to the lack of RV lanes.
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:09 PM   #11
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So the short version of this whole thing is this: Pilot is a place of business that has to provide service to many, many customers. You were trying to freeload an eclipse event on the property they use to operate that business.

You were not mistreated.
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:23 PM   #12
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31-years for us but i second your thoughts. the OP "dragged his feet" when asked to leave private property. maybe i can help myself to his driveway and then "drag my feet" when i'm asked to leave. could the Pilot in question handled this differently much as the OP suggested? sure, but when asked to leave the OP should have left. and based on the OP's follow-up post he admits not asking permission to set up a party. seems the OP has boundary issues.

and, using gas buddy, we've found that FJ has very competitive gas prices. FJ is our goto refueling spot. we don't use Pilot truck stops much due to the lack of RV lanes.
Yeah, it's already been hashed through and proven that Pilot/FlyingJ GAS prices are competitive. The people complaining about their "overpriced fuel" are all diesel consumers.
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Old 08-23-2017, 07:37 PM   #13
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the OP "dragged his feet" when asked to leave private property. maybe i can help myself to his driveway and then "drag my feet" when i'm asked to leave. could the Pilot in question handled this differently much as the OP suggested? sure, but when asked to leave the OP should have left. and based on the OP's follow-up post he admits not asking permission to set up a party. seems the OP has boundary issues.
You can't honestly equate a private home driveway with a Pilot parking lot that regularly allows overnight parking for all kinds of vehicles?? But I have in fact allowed errant RV'ers stay in my driveway when they were on the side of the road looking for a local campground that closed years ago.

If you reread the original post, this time carefully, you will see that we were trying to figure out where to go next. A quick check of Google Maps at the time showed traffic increasing and you can't just park on 40 foot RV anywhere. If Pilot was restricting parking, was the local Walmart doing the same? That's what caused me to, in your words, 'drag my feet'.

Regarding my 'party', where I'm from that is called 'hospitality'. You share what you have with everyone around - whether you know them or not.

You are right that I have 'boundary issues' - no boundaries allow me to engage new people and freely give to those around me.
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