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Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

While Marti is away on a business trip to the exciting destination of Omaha, Nebraska (!?), I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands.  Not wanting to sit around the house and wait to lasso a buyer or two, I decided I'd do something productive.

In the process of our getting the house ready for sale, I got rid of the several drain pans I used to change the oil on the Journey, now I have just one.  It's not big enough to hold all 19 quarts of oil in the Journey's Cat 350 diesel engine.

So in a moment of brilliance (believe me, they're not too common) I decided to make a short overnight road trip, stay at a Flying J, then head over and have the oil changed at a nearby Speedco Truck Center, then back to Flying J to fill up on diesel and propane before heading home.

I had a nice, slow trip down Interstate 95 with thousands of commuters at speeds rivaling a tortoise, but I didn't care, I'm retired now and have all the time in the world.  Still got aggravated at the backups, I see I have to work on relaxed mental attitude part.

I pulled into the Flying J, had a nice meal at their Denny's restaurant and then went back to the Journey to watch some History channel on the satellite TV.  I don't watch too much of the History channel when Marti is home, she finds it boring and her snoring makes it hard to hear the TV.

Fired up the DirecTV box and tuned in to a whole lot of nothing.  I played with the box a while, used up all my tricks and finally had to call DirecTV technical service.  I was afraid I'd get a person like "Peggy" on those credit card commercials, but no, I got some really nice lady in the far away place called Pennsylvania, and she actually spoke the King's English better than I do.  A few tests later, it was determined that our DirecTV box has bit the bullet and she would send me out a brand new one, no charge (I pay a couple of bucks extra a month for warranty service), but it would arrive in three to four business days.

Well no TV, but I still have a DVD player, so on went Dances with Wolves.  I watched half of it before I nodded off.

I got up today and looked out the window to see if the Flying J fuel pumps were busy.  If they were not busy, I'd fuel up first, then head down the street to the Speedco, if they were busy I'd do it after the oil change.  Their price on diesel fuel is very good and the propane price is even better.

There was all this yellow tape around their fuel pumps.  Sorry it's not the best picture, I forgot Photography 101- don't take pictures into the sun.

I walked out and up to a Flying J manager standing outside the store and asked what was going on.  He said they had a major power failure and the whole place was closed until they could get it fixed.  No wonder he was looking a little stressed out, I can just imagine how disappointed he was that I couldn't spend a few dollars (yeah, right!) filling up the Journey's fuel tank.

On to plan "B", get the oil changed at Speedco.  I'm a firm believer in using the filters that you buy at your engine dealer.  There can never be any question if you have (very rare)  an engine failure due to a filter problem.  I have an extended warranty on the Journey and I wouldn't want a denial of a claim over it.

I was guided into the Speedco and over a pit in the floor, where the tech would work underneath the Journey.  Driving in over that pit gave me a little pucker factor.  Good thing I wasn't scheduled for a colonoscopy today. 

I asked the tech if he would put in my Cat oil filter instead of one of their brand and he said sure.  I went into the office to get the service ticket written up with the service writer.  She asked me if I was a member of  FMCA because they give members a discount.  I am so she said it would be given me when I paid the bill.  Cool!  

Three techs jumped on the Journey and had everything completed in about 15 minutes.  I went in to the office to pay the bill and a little more fun started.  With their computer software, there is no provision to deduct the cost of a customer supplied oil filter.  Oops.  A few minutes of discussion with the cashier and then the manager resulted in having to charge me for a filter.  Then, in another rare flash of brilliance, I asked the manager if, by any chance, they had a Cat oil filter for my engine in stock.  A quick check showed they had three, so they gave me one.  I'll put it in stock for the next oil change.

I paid the bill, and then the service writer asked the cashier if he'd included my FMCA discount.  You guessed it, he didn't.  He didn't know, this is his first week on the job and I thought it was already noted on the paperwork the service writer gave the cashier.

And of course, their software isn't able to give a refund on a missed discount.  It would have been about $5 or $6 bucks, not enough to cry over, but the service writer said to remind her the next time I come in and she'll give me two discounts.  Seeing that the Journey's maintenance schedule calls for oil changes every 11,000 miles or a year, which ever comes first, we'll probably (hopefully!) be on the road fulltime and on the other side of the country, I doubt we'll take advantage of that discount.

Now I'm just chillin' in the truck parking area, comfortable with the generator running, some nice tunes on the radio and the air conditioner keeping me cool.  I'll wait 'till later and check on the Flying J to see if the electricity has been restored.  I might even overnight there again, after all, I'm retired and still have to finish the rest of Dances with Wolves.
Plans don't always work out the way you intended, but life is retired life is good! :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.


  1. now you are on a roll!..what a fun post!..even if all it was about was an oil change and fuel fill up!..retirement agrees with you!..although you may be a wee bit of trouble for mentioning someone's 'snoring'..better have another diet coke!..before she cuts you off your drink of choice..cheers my friend..enjoy your day!!

  2. I must admit, our oil changes aren't near as exciting as yours. But I do have a questions - why were you out there with commuters in the first place? We really do try to avoid driving during those times of day.

  3. That is pretty good making an oil change interesting. since all my oil changes have been at my dealer, it lacks that flare:)

    I also have never sat at a flying J and watched movies. I am beginning to think I have lived a sheltered life!

  4. Jim & Sandie,

    As for my driving with all those commuters, remeber I said my flashes of brilliance are rare! :c)

  5. I-95 ... UGH! Won't be missing it when we finally get going full time. We lucked out heading south to NC in April; but got caught in the usual traffic nastiness of I-95 on the way back. Thanks for a fun oil change read ... had to read parts of it to hubby so he could chuckle along with me.

  6. Dances with Wolves is one of my favourites also, but I only watch it when I am "Home Alone" Brenda says she has seen it too many times. I am not sure that is possible but oh well.

    Your comment last night led me to believe that you think I am actually working here at Dogpound North. Not the proper assumption I have the hay taken off on a shares basis so I am only a supervisory presence. I took this retirement thing pretty seriously. :)

  7. Boy Paul, you will do almost anything to get out of yard work ;o)) But don't you think hanging around in Flying J parking lots for a couple day is just a bit much!!

    Hope you finally get some diesel and get home to nab that buyer!!!

  8. Yep...retired life sure is grand!

  9. Congratulations on being the first person every to make getting an oil change interesting.

    Did they ever get the gas pumps back on or are you still at Flying J???

  10. We recently stopped for diesel at a Pilot in Indiana only to find all of the diesel pumps roped off. . . not a good sight to see when you're in need of diesel. :-(

  11. Wow! Believe it or not, I'm at a loss of words. Should I mention living without TV, Flying J missing a chance for a fillup or the oil change. I'm glad you're retired. You'll find that you'll wonder how you had time to work. Being retired is very, very difficult.

  12. You need to sell your house fast if two nights in a Flying J is your idea of fun! :)

  13. Tell Marti that Omaha has the very best zoo ever! If she doesn't have time to go see it, maybe you can go once you get on the road.