August 19, 2016
Last night was the first time I saw my neighbors to the right since they set up on Monday. They seemed to be having trouble with something so I asked if I could do anything to help. I noticed when I came home that their fresh water hook-up was leaking. The guy said he didn't need any help, rather they were trying to figure out whether to leave in a few minutes or wait until the morning. I think he said they were going to Reno which is 550 miles from here. I commented on the size of his trailer (it is 24 feet), and he said they bought it because they're moving from California to Connecticut to be closer to their kids. He figured he'd have to make four round-trip cross-country treks to complete the move. (I did not point out that they could hire a mover which would certainly be less time-consuming, if not less expensive.) The trailer weighs 3,500 pounds, and head-to-toe the Class A and the trailer are 73 feet (almost three times BOB's length). He said that I shouldn't have any problem towing my Jetta because the manufacturers always low-ball the limit. I still think I'll call Coachmen.
Yesterday, I rented a car and drove from Park City past Deer Valley and over the Guardsman Pass into Big Cottonwood Canyon where the Brighton and Solitude ski resorts are. The geology of the valley is staggering with vertical faults and all three flavors of rocks - igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary - in plain view. From there, I went up and down Little Cottonwood Canyon which is home to the Alta and Snowbird ski resorts. On the eight drive, the grade averages over seven percent which makes driving interesting. My destination for lunch was the Foundry Grill at the Sundance Resort, and I drove Utah 92 (the Timpanogos Highway, aka the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway) to get there. While I might have considered driving the Guardsman Pass and the two canyons with BOB, the following review from the "Mountain Directory East & West" cemented my decision to rent a car:
"Narrow switchbacks 12 miles ahead. Not for vehicles over 30' in length." They are not kidding. The road starts out narrow and keeps getting skinnier until they stop painting a centerline and it is barely over one lane wide. The grades are long and steep, and the curves and switchbacks are extremely sharp and narrow. This road is shown as a primary road on some maps. It is not a primary road! The views are memorable but it should be scouted in a smaller vehicle."
The review was completely accurate and I saw the sign. There were places on the road that are too small for SUVs to pass each other at 15 mph. I saw a truck pulling a travel trailer camper past the sign, but he pulled over at a closed campsite and I went by him. The quality of the road varied, and most driving mistakes would be fatal. It was 20 miles and 60 minutes of sheer terror and exhilarating beauty. Riding shotgun would require wearing diapers. I drove in the middle of the road.
The Budget rental office is about seven miles from the RV park. I planned on using Lyft to get there, but the wait was 25 minutes. I called a local taxi service and waited 25 minutes (10 minutes longer than promised) and paid $35 in cash because the driver hadn't download the Square software on his new phone. I don't like to pay cash for anything because I like to have records of my spending, and because I haven't seen a Bank of America in three months (and I hate to pay non-bank fees). The rental car was filthy inside which I only discovered after I drove away. Someone had put almonds in the console and it was full of fragments. There was dirt on the rear seat and front seat floor mats. There was a jumbo plastic soda cup jammed under the passenger's front seat. I told both Expedia and Budget, the latter of whom gave me a 10% discount. That was not the point! Why don't people do their jobs and clean the fucking rental cars?
There was a Lyft driver three minutes from Budget while I was checking out so I requested the ride. I received a notice from the app that my account had been deactivated. I tried to reactivite my Lyft account by using the mobile Customer Support feature. Every time I indicated the purpose of the contact is because my "account is disabled" the form defaulted to the start page. I Googled a phone number for Lyft and I learned that you can only talk to a person at Lyft if you've been killed in accident or murdered by the driver. I hung up the first time, but I was so frustrated that I called again. I told the woman who answered that I was stranded (my emergency) and that my account was deactivated. She said she'd contact customer service and that I'd get an email which would tell me what to do. Her email routed me to the circular reference customer service form.
Budget is in a hotel so I asked the front desk staff for a taxi recommendation. I called the service and was told that I'd have to wait 35 minutes and the charge would be $20: fifty minutes later, I was picked up by a delightful woman who had been delayed by a traffic accident. We talked about beer, the bad drivers in New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, and beer.
When I returned to BOB I repeated the form submission process with my iPad Pro and my PC laptop only to get the same result. I decided to use different words in the form and that worked. Apparently, if your account has been deactivated, the form IS a circular reference because they want you to fuck off and go away. This was my email exchange with Lyft:
Me: "My account has been disabled. I have tried to use this form from three different devices, but every time I attempt to use it, it reverts to the first page. Call me and explain to me how my AMEX was hacked through Lyft (twice)."
Lyft (Rae): Hi Sioban (sic),
Sorry to hear about this! I know how inconvenient this must be. Not to worry though, we can get this sorted out and get your account restored. As a security precaution, we will need to verify and confirm that you are the owner of the credit card, before we can make any changes. To verify, please send a picture of your photo ID that clearly shows your full legal name and address, as well as a photo of the credit card on your account showing your full name, expiration date, and only the last 4 digits showing. Please be sure to conceal the other details of your credit card, as that is sensitive information which needs to be secure. Please attach the aforementioned photos in your email response.
Me: One: you misspelled my name. Great attention to detail.
Two: are you fucking kidding me? Why don't I just give you my SSN, too?
Lyft (Rae): Hi Siobhan,
Thank you for reaching out about this. After investigating the issue with our risk team, we were unable to reopen your account.
Me: Please delete my account. Thank you for punishing me for being the victim of credit card theft.
Lyft (GENERIC): Your request (17944226) has been updated. To add additional comments, reply to this email.
In July, my AMEX was hacked twice and all the charges were to Lyft. I've previously had credit cards stolen electronically, but I'm not sure that I've ever had a stolen credit card used with a vendor in my profile (usually, the stolen cards are used to buy first class seats on Air Uganda). I didn't think anything about my relationship with Lyft regarding the stolen credit card because my transactions would prove that I was not close to any city Lyft services during the fraud. After yesterday, I have a new perspective: one, Lyft engages in non-face-to-face transactions like all online providers; two, while a bill-pay zip code and the CSV code verify the card, the purchaser and the receiver of the product or service don't have to be related (e.g. a parent's card could be used by a child); therefore, the vendor takes an inherent risk that the approved card is being using by someone whom the payer has approved.
Last year, I contested a charge from Amazon my AMEX. It was a rare event, but I had ordered something Amazon took weeks to fulfill (I'm a Prime member and I place >100 orders per year). In reviewing my order history I didn't see the purchase so I contested it. Amazon contracted me and said I bought XYZ and if I don't confirm the purchase with AMEX my account will be terminated. Draconian, yes, but it made me dig further into my history, and I confirmed the order. Lyft NEVER contacted me about the fraudulent charges or the cancellation of my card. Yesterday, when they required photos of my driver's license and the (cancelled credit card which I've shredded) to prove my identity, I'd had enough. One, I'm not going to give Lyft another data point to steal (maybe a Lyft insider stole my credit card?), and, two, the fucking credit on file isn't valid and I don't have it! I am such a BIG fan of disruptors, but these guys don't deserve to survive. Whoever stole my card and used it for BIG, EXPENSIVE rides on Lyft has done it before and is still doing it: it's called an algorithm, folks, so figure it out. In the meantime, FUCK OFF!
Yesterday, a recruiter from an insurance company called me before 07:00 MDT. I was up, and had been awake for two hours, but I didn't want to talk to someone I didn't know. I assumed the call was SPAM so I was rude to the caller: "Who is this? From what company? This is my cell phone. Please don't ever call me again." It was a recruiter from an insurance company in RI. I learned this from an email from her. I replied to apologize for my rudeness explaining the SPAM call and emails I have been receiving. I removed my resume from three job boards after realizing that they are too low-end for me and to avoid similar calls in the future.
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Siobhan M. Knox
In May 2016, I bought a five ton, 25’ long Class C motorhome because I like to drive, I like to travel, and it’s more fun and less expensive than living in a hotel. No prior RV experience was required, and I had none: perfect. I’m writing a book about my adventures which will come to an end when I get a job. The dogs will be sad.