Stinky Slinky and Miss Sugar (and me)
For all of ya’all who have been awaiting my next blog with bated breath, you may unbate your respective breaths because I am back. I am back from where I have been, which is The Black Hills of South Dakota, USA.
Miss Sugar and I made reservations at a private campground which shall, as they say, remain nameless. Now when I say “remain nameless” I am not exactly accurate because it is not nameless at all. I am not going to tell you the name in order to protect the innocent. It has a name and Miss Sugar and I know the name and we went there and camped. We ran into some difficulties there, however, some of which I am fixin’ to relate to you, gentle reader(s).
First off, understand that we do not own a camper aka RV trailer or any other kind of RV. What we done was rent one, which was costly. Let us say one can stay at a pretty nice motel for $130 per night, which for three nights is approximately $390. On the other hand, one can pay $300 to rent a trailer, plus a $45 set up fee, plus a $500 deposit, which is approximately $845. Which is a better deal?
I know what you are thinking — it is about the same if you get the security deposit back. That would be true, provided the security deposit is returned, which it was not in our case. Not yet, anyways.
Another difference is that the campground charges too. In our case, the charge was $35 per night. If you are keeping up on the math, that is $115 added to the $845, which is approximately $960. I say approximately because due to circumstances on our trip, I paid the RV park manager another $20 for helping us get in our trailer after one of us, a very attractive person, broke off the key. The resulting circumstances were that we could not get inside of our $960 trailer. Of course we could have just looked at it and enjoyed the view, but we actually desired to sleep, so our choices were to break in or stay at one of those $130 motels. We chose to enlist the assistance of the manager of the RV park, who helped us break in by removing the lock from the door with his power drill, hence the extra $20 expense in the form of a tip. Consequently, we could get in but we could not lock the door ever again. Nor can anyone else unless the folks who rented us the trailer fix the lock and replace the key, which they will do and take it out of our security deposit. We don’t know yet how much that will be, but our $500 is no longer intact.
That might not be so bad, you are thinking. However, you do not know the rest of the story. Part of the rest of the story is that one of us, a pretty big guy with little finesse in things mechanical, despite having hitched up trailers hundreds of times, this time broke off the handle for the jack which raises and lowers the trailer so it can be attached to or unattached from the hitch on the back of the truck hauling the trailer. Our predicament was that I could not unattach our truck from their trailer without the jack operating correctly and it was not operating at all.
Since we needed to either leave our truck with the rental company or self-tattle, the rental company is fully aware of the broken jack handle and has the power to deduct from the deposit the cost of repair of the jack and replacement of the handle.
Now, those of you who have stayed at motels likely have never been required to perform any plumbing tasks at the motel. When one rents a travel trailer with a bathroom, one must not only return it clean without benefit of maid service, but also empty what we shall call sewage. That task is performed by hooking up a sewer hose running from the trailer into a sewage dump or drain, which I done did without pleasure. The seven children who occupied the Class A motorhome parked next to us informed us that they call the sewer hose a “stinky slinky.”
Our rental company expected us to return our sewer hose/stinky slinky with the trailer. We fully intended to do so. But alas, we did not. The stinky slinky is cleverly stored in a hollow bumper and each end is supposed to be capped off. We put our stinky slinky in the bumper and capped each end. Then we drove 300 miles. When we returned the trailer and confessed to breaking the key, breaking the jack and handle, and damaging the lock, we did not confess to losing the stinky slinky because we were unaware that it was no longer in the hollow bumper. The rental person checked out our returned trailer and discovered the loss. No big deal for her. She has a $500 deposit, you will recall. We left without the deposit but still hoping some of it will be returned.
Guess what! We were driving back on Highway 287 when Miss Sugar saw a big hose on the side of the road and claimed it was ours. So I got out, risked my life crossing the highway, and picked up the large hose. Sure enough, it was our stinky slinky. So we drove back and returned it, quite proud of ourselves. Our pride was diminished by the lady’s unenthusiastic reaction. She said, “I still have to charge you for it because someone ran over the hose.” Apparently, dented hoses are unacceptable. Therefore, the deposit will take another hit.
So what have we learned from this camping experience? We had so much fun that we are talking about purchasing our own trailer.
P.S. The manager of the RV park who helped with the lock was wearing a holster on his hip which contained a handgun. He explained that he did not need a concealed carry permit because his pistol was not concealed. Indeed it was not, hence the tip.
P.P.S. He also introduced me to his wife, a lovely woman. He shared with me that this is his 8th wife. It has been done before. You have heard about Henry the 8th.
P.P.P.S. While sitting in his workshop as he worked on the lock by removing parts in order to ensure it would never lock again, he generously brought out a bottle of actual moonshine. He showed me his copper tubing and still. I had never had moonshine before. I learned that it is to be drunk from the bottle and passed back and forth. He seemed pleased to have me as his new friend. He said, “You and me could get into some trouble.” I reckon so. I can get into trouble with or without him.