Wherever the Road Leads

Mister Coffee and the Pepsis

and YouTube Songs

The other day I washed my small, four-cup coffee carafe then precariously balanced it on the drying rack… on the counter top of a trailer on wheels. When you walk up and down on the floor of a trailer sitting on wheels, it bounces. The camper bounces, you bounce and the drying rack bounces. Humpty Dumpty and my four-cup coffee carafe came tumbling down, never to be put back together again.

At first I thought, that’s okay, I’ll put a heavy duty coffee cup where the carafe should be, under the coffee basket. Well, the carafe has a knob on the top to force open the spring-loaded drain, allowing the coffee to drip. I considered using a fork to hold open the basket drain but realized that I was engineering an absolute disaster that was about to include coffee everywhere and scalded fingers. Plan B was to use the instant coffee that I had stopped short of throwing out, figuring I would never need it again.

I toddled off to a Savannah area Wal-Mart to replace my coffee maker, assuming that a new carafe would be almost as much as a new unit, and it was. However, Wal-Mart was sold out of their own “Mainstays” brand, $8.67, 4-cup coffee makers. How can Wal-Mart be sold out of 4-cup coffee makers? Thanksgiving is over. Christmas is weeks away. How many Savannians are getting a 4-cup, Wal-Mart brand coffee maker for Christmas? But it dawned on me. Northerners. Probably Quebeckers.

This particular Wal-Mart is adjacent to the I-95 southbound off-ramp. I-95 is the main north-south corridor from New England and Eastern Canada on the way to Florida. For the winter. Starting December first. The parking lot always has Travel Trailers, Fifth-wheels or Motor Homes parked in its lot, their owners having spent the night there, or it is a convenient Wal-Mart to stock up, only ninety minutes from Florida. Most couples would leave their full-size coffee maker at home in Canada, stopping off to buy a 4-cup maker that fits perfectly on their RV counter top and costs a fraction of the price they would pay at home in Montreal, plus the insult of 15% point-of-sale tax….combined federal Goods and Services Tax and provincial Quebec Sales Tax. (Thank you Doug, for the correction.)

I did get a 4-cup coffee maker. The last box that wasn’t crushed. A Mister Coffee unit for $18.00. Damn Pepsis.

A French-Canadian is known disparagingly as a ‘Pepsi’ because that is what they have for breakfast. At the diner, they’ll order, “Un Pepsi, un twinKEE and a Montreal Matin (the early morning newspaper… Montreal Morning would be the translation)… tuh go.”

Sure enough, I get back to Lake Harmony RV Park and who is parked in the very first site, closest to the office? A damn Pepsi. I could see the rig from the security gate and I thought, ‘that looks familiar’. Monsieur Laframboise… not his real name but I might change it after he leaves the park… used to store his fifth wheel here. It caught my eye because it’s a shorter model that I thought might work well for me. It was stored next to the Park’s utility barn and I use to pass the rig often.

I drove past his site slowly. Yup! Quebec license plates with their unique state slogan, “Ho-pen da door before I’m broke da glass”. He’s back.

Mister Laframboise did little to endear himself to the park. The last winter he didn’t store it here, he took it home for the winter. By the time he got down here that year, he had driven through significant bad weather that included snow, which included salted roads. He asked if he could wash his rig.

Well, when you’re here for only one night and pay $30, that includes electricity, cable TV, wifi, water, sewer a picnic table and an available fire pit. The Bath House here is immaculate and many over-nighters take a long, hot shower. The park is lit at night and there is a security gate. The owner is still making money on that $30 rate but it is a long way from a get-rich-quick scheme. To add in the cost of 100 gallons of someone else’s water to wash the salt off your rig is really pushing it.

In addition, Mister Laframboise had a site next to the the Lake Harmony lagoon. The Georgia Department of Logs and Frogs gets all over Larry if anything gets into the lake water that shouldn’t be in the lake water… like road salt. Larry told Mister Laframboise, “Sorry, but no.” In typical Pepsi fashion, Mister Laframboise persisted. Larry agreed to letting him wash just the nose of his fifth wheel.

Mister Laframboise had a tiny outdoor grill that he must have bought at Canadian Tire store – or, in Quebec: Pepsi Tire – as I have never seen them before or since. They have a matching  tiny one-gallon, refillable propane tank attached to them. Mister Laframboise wanted his tiny tank refilled. We can certainly do it but we have to charge him $14.75, as if we were filling a regular RV / BBQ grill tank. He balked. I talked the owner into letting me fill it then charge him at $3.14 per gallon for whatever his tank took. The owner agreed.

I have learned through Workamping that every rule is in place because someone took advantage. The owner has his minimum-fill rule because people would come in with a propane tank and want just enough propane to get them through the weekend as they had company coming, or some such story. So, as usual, the many suffer for the few, and the $14.75 minimum fill rule went into place.

Mister Laframboise pulled out the next morning on his way to Florida for a few months. Once he had gone, we learned that he had washed his entire rig, not just the nose, and as if that wasn’t enough damage to the lake, he poured a deep fryer of fat down the embankment. After we gave him a break on the propane. Damn Pepsis.

In an emotional state, I would have barred the guy for life but the owner has experience and common sense. Mister Laframboise is allowed to return. The owner takes his money but applies the old adage, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” Mister Laframboise now gets the site closest to the office where everyone can watch out for his trailer-washing and fat-dumping escapades. Plus, his site is furthest from the Bath House, making a long, hot shower a little more inconvenient so he’ll probably use his own…. giving him more time to drink coffee from MY Mainstays, $9, 4-cup coffee maker.

Damn Pepsis.

 

I have mentioned that this this truck displays the number of tunes on my USB drive attached to the stereo. It’s around 800 songs going back to the early sixties… yes, a half century ago. The songs can be played alphabetically, by genre or as I have it set, random. But it’s not completely random… some tunes are heard many times, others once in a blue moon. Here’s a couple I heard on my Wal-Mart run. A 1989 ‘Oops’ song from Lorrie Morgan – “Dear Me” …

 

and one of the better ‘Road’ songs from Bob Seger – 1998’s “Roll Me Away”…

“Stood alone on a mountain top,
starin’ out at the Great Divide
I could go east, I could go west,
it was all up to me to decide
Just then I saw a young hawk flyin’
and my soul began to rise
And pretty soon
My heart was singin’

Roll, roll me away,
I’m gonna roll me away tonight
Gotta keep rollin, gotta keep ridin’,
keep searchin’ till I find what’s right
And as the sunset faded
I spoke to the faintest first starlight
And I said next time
Next time
We’ll get it right”

 

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Comments

  1. Ian W.  December 1, 2017

    I guess you won’t be visiting ‘la belle province’ any time soon, Gordon!

    reply
    • gordon  December 1, 2017

      Pas de chance.

      Particularly Abitibi, where they charge more for the Montreal Matin! I was surprised to learn that the newspaper ceased publication in 1978 and was folded into La Presse. Thinking about the timeline, I learned the expression from an ex-Montrealer in around 1976. The expression is actually…

      “Un Pepsi, un May Wes’ et un Montreal Matin, tuh go.”…

      …but I don’t remember ever seeing Vachon’s ‘May West’ sandwich in English Canada.

      reply

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