RV park owner laments crowding, rookie RVers

By Andy Zipser
Owner, Walnut Hills Campground and RV park
cover storyHere it is, mid-March as I write this, and Memorial Day weekend is all but booked up. Small is beautiful: Of the handful of sites we still have available, none is longer than 30 feet and all are back-ins. Of course, when the phone rings it’s from someone with a 36-foot motorhome or 40-foot fifth-wheel. No one wants to back in. Everyone wants a full hook-up, even when we offer them the possibility of reserving a honey wagon pump-out at $15 a pop – but the full hook-ups were the first to go. Two months out, and we’re turning away business. 

You’re probably thinking that for a campground owner, that’s a nice problem to have. Let me assure you it’s not.

Andy in his KOA garb, now gone along with the KOA franchise.

Sure, it’s great to have reservation money rolling in, especially after the fallow months of December, January and February. And it’s reassuring to know we won’t be penalized for dropping our KOA franchise, with any loss of KOA-driven business offset by our reputation and Good Sam affiliation. But wall-to-wall campers diminish the overall experience for everyone, stress out our staff, and discourage those campers who have been coming to our park for years and all of a sudden find themselves squeezed out because they waited too long to make a reservation.

“We’ve been trying to get in there for the past two years and decided to really call ahead this time,” a caller seeking Memorial Day reservations told me on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m sorry, I replied – you’re already so very late to the table. . . .

DON’T GET ME WRONG: On May 29, all kinds of sites will open up, as they will every Monday except July 2 and September 3. But weekends generally, and holiday weekends especially, can be problematic. As Chuck Woodbury and others have noted many times, the era when they could simply roll into a campground without advance notice and score a spot for the night is pretty much over. Gone with it, too, is a simpler, less hectic age of spontaneity, an age when the romance of the road still plucked at the heart strings. Now it’s all about planning and booking and frustrated wheedling: “But I always stay with you when we’re passing through your area,” as if we have a hidden reservoir of sites available only to the faithful.

But there’s another, perhaps bigger problem: A lot of those RVers filling up the pipeline are … well … new. They don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t know their equipment, and when you get right down to it, they don’t know how to camp. Which is to say, they don’t know campground etiquette, they don’t know how to relate to other campers and they most certainly don’t know a campground’s “rules of the road.”

Walnut Hills Campground

Start with the guy – or gal – driving into our park. Most will never have steered anything larger than a minivan – until the day they get behind the wheel of an F-350 towing a 40-foot fifth wheel. No additional training required! No special license needed! How much harder can it be to haul a 16,000-pound Big Horn than a carload of groceries? Except, of course, when it comes to backing up. Or navigating one of our narrow one-way roads on a hill, with tire tracks scoring the grassy uphill side of the curve. We’ve lost fences, had our trees clipped – in one memorable instance had a motorcoach drop off the side of a culvert.

Toy haulers are the worst, their novice drivers oblivious to the amount of overhang behind the rear axle. One such driver camping with us last year was so gun-shy – after hitting one of our trees on a too-wide turn – that he dispatched his teenage son and wife with walkie-talkies, fore and aft, to talk him through the park. I quail at thinking that he’s out on our highways, tooling along at a nervous 65 mph or trying to navigate city streets somewhere without a walkie-talkie escort.

BUT IT’S NOT JUST THE DRIVING THAT’S A CHALLENGE. With each passing year we get more and more RVers who have little to no idea of how to make things work. They don’t know how to flip on the breakers at our pedestals – or they flip everything in sight, no matter how explicitly marked, including breakers servicing our driveway lights, aerator pumps and WiFi towers, prompting us to get locks for those individual switches.

They don’t know about their unit’s internal GFCI outlets and how to reset them. They don’t know how to operate their propane space heaters, fail to heed our warnings to disconnect water hoses at night when the temperature is plunging into the teens and 20s, are clueless about turning off their antenna boosters when connecting to our digital cable system.

It’s as though these folks had bought an RV and been promptly showed the door with no more than a handshake and a hearty “good luck!” Yet at least new RV owners have a vested interest in learning what they don’t know; not so the growing legions of RV renters who sally forth with only the vaguest idea of what they need to do. Dump the holding tanks? Sure – and won’t any PVC pipe sticking out of the ground do the job? Which is why we’ve had hapless RV renters sticking their hoses into water valve housings, clean-out valves and anything else that looks remotely like it’ll accept 50 gallons of sewage.

Then there’s the whole intangible business of campground culture and what is or isn’t acceptable behavior. Experienced RVers have their own set of beefs: novice or oblivious campers who walk across others’ sites, play their TVs or music too loudly, ignore their dogs’ constant barking. We try to patrol for those kinds of transgressions and call out the obvious insults to proper decorum, but then there’s another whole universe of offenses that matter more to us than to our campers.

That would include the campers who drive across our grass, oblivious to the ruts their rigs are creating, because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. The campers who disregard our many posted 10 mph signs, barreling along at twice or more that speed despite the abundant presence of ducks, children, folks on bikes and old folks out for a stroll, because 10 mph just seems so slow. The campers who park on an adjacent site simply because “well, there was no one there.” The campers who use their fire rings as trash pits, or who dump their ash trays on the ground, or who stand six feet from our propane station and its prominent “No Smoking” signs while, yes, lighting up a cigarette.

Most of the campers we confront about these missteps are apologetic; sometimes they even mean it. But there’s always the excuses and even straight-out denials: They were tired and not thinking clearly, or they simply didn’t know better, or there’s no way they could have been driving that fast – and of course they had been looking at their speedometers all along. Most of the time we don’t mention that we have two radar guns and usually know what we’re talking about, because that’s not really the issue anyway. The issue simply is that campers need to understand that there is a right way to do things and a wrong way; and while there will always be that small percentage of people who will never care about the distinction, most will. If they’re educated.

So that’s what we end up doing, a lot: educating the waves of new RVers who are washing over campgrounds everywhere. Helping them back into sites when all they want is to have a pull-thru. Showing them how to set their TVs on scan for our cable stations. Explaining yet again that we don’t want them parking on our grass. It’s an exhausting and sometimes stomach-churning business, and often leaves us yearning also for a simpler, more capable and aware age – if one ever existed.

Andy’s family-operated Walnut Hills Campground and RV Park is located in Staunton, Virginia, a short drive off I-81. Learn more at its website. The park receives a five-star rating from the staff of RVtravel.com.

Sign up to receive an email every afternoon of
articles we’ve published in the past 24 hours. No ads
Enter your email address:


Related

114 Thoughts to “RV park owner laments crowding, rookie RVers”

  1. Louisa Born

    We were all newbies before we weren’t. You have to learn from your mistakes. Please try to be patient with folks just learning the camping “rules”.

    It sounds like either the campground owner needs to retire or go on a camping vacation.

    He is correct in that some folks are just rude campers. Those are the ones you put on the no list and not let them back in.

  2. MadMike

    BRAVO AND WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Long overdue that someone called these fools out on their lack of civility and downright buffoonish behavior.

  3. Fred

    I think Andy brings up some very valid points and sounds like a campground owner that needs to retire all in the same article.

    Are there too few campgrounds? Absolutely.
    Do the RV dealerships send new owners out into the world without the proper training? Certainly.
    Should there be a special RV driver’s license? Probably.
    Are there new AND experienced owners that violate proper campground etiquette? EVERY DAY!

    I appreciate those conversations.

    As for his lack of pull-through sites, tight spaces, narrow roads, lack of tree trimming, and at capacity days, I have no sympathy for Andy. Those are his problems to deal with. He needs to adapt to the market which is larger units that require wider roads and maybe a little tree trimming. Why is he complaining about a cramped campground? It sounds like his own spaces are too close together. Why is he complaining about being booked up? That is his own management issue to address. It sounds as if he is blaming RV’ers (his customers) for a big portion of his problems.

    And Andy, there is nothing wrong with people using walkie-talkies to assist a driver. Those are called “Spotters” and we do it all the time. It is actually a best practice recommended by many RV sites.

  4. Sharon N.

    Reading all the comments, I’m really disturbed by the number of people who feel it is the duty of someone else to teach them how to use their RVs and what proper RVing etiquette consists of. I suspect these are the “special people”, the ones to whom the rules do not apply. If you are one of those people, do us all a favor and find a different way to travel.
    If you are someone who sincerely wants to learn the ropes, take classes, watch well-made videos, talk with experts, and read, read, read. Do that before plunking down money on an RV. One of the commenters mentioned the Escapees RV Club, and their classes. They are excellent. There are other great sources of information as well. This weekly newsletter that Chuck puts together offers lots of good suggestions. If you start this process well ahead of the time you plan to start out on the road, you’ll really be ahead of the game. Of course, as many people here have pointed out, once you do get your RV, practice at home all the things you’ll have to know once you’re ready to go RVing.
    Above all, please be respectful and considerate. Campground owners and other campers will really appreciate that!

  5. ted

    First of all, I have been a full time RVer for the past eight years, no home , only my 2010 Sunseeker 2300. Having spent the better part of eight years (and still learning) about my RV, I have never taken for granted that I know too much. Before I began full time RVing, I attended many RV shows and read RV travel.com as much as I could, I finally realized I just might be ready for my very first RV and settled on my present RV. Before I turned the key and drove away into the sunset, I had the mechanic run through all the systems (oh yes, I recorded the conversations) not just once but at least three times. He tried to explain transfer switches, fresh water tank, the black and gray tanks, the generator, the battery disconnect switch (it cost me two marine batteries) the tires covers (too late, dry rot set in and I was required to buy new tires).
    I have had good luck at my current campground in Glen Allen, Virginia. Here we look out for our neighbors., try to remind campers to leash their dogs (written in rules given out to campers) and not hang their clothes on a clothesline. Yes, we have a lot of dogs who do their thing. We have small bags at various spots in the campground so they will be able to pickup the poop. Kids are the worst offenders when they walk their dogs. We have 240 sites available for all types of RVs and to say the least its crowded but we make do. Finally, it makes a difference when the managment and its staff do their job making our stay enjoyable. Otherwise I have no complaints

  6. Deb Kainauskas

    I am a new RVer. I just came back from my second overnighter. Yes, we needed help backing in. The camp we stayed in for one night was filled with experienced seasonal Rvers. One had their dog poop next to our site and didn’t pick it up. Another’s dog barked all morning. One guy revved his motorcycle at 9am for 10 minutes. Please don’t blame the rookies for all the problems

    1. Les

      Deb, you are so right, dogs and their owners are becoming a real problem total disregard for other campers, along with the large cost that campground owners incur something has to be done, all campgrounds should have pet free areas to alleviate some of the dog problems caused by irresponsible pet owners.

      1. nick

        great idea, put dog owners together, away from the non-owners

    2. Electrojake

      Dog owners & tobacco addicts. They’re absolutely fine… but not in a crowded public place like a busy campground.

      1. LabradoodleMom

        I’m sure I will not change your mind, but we travel with our 2 labradoodles who do not bark incessantly and are very well mannered in any crowded place such as a busy campground. We go for numerous walks and a fenced in off leash dog area is great for getting some exercise, tired puppies make great camping neighbors. We have never once not picked up our dog waste and find ourselves picking up others just so we maintain the right to camp with our dogs. It is very rare that we run into dogs that are a nuisance, other campers and their kids, well that is another story.

        1. Electrojake

          This could be the start of a difficult discussion between a Left-leaning good citizen and a Right leaning good citizen. A discussion that history shows is un-resolvable.
          One thing we both can agree on is that a small percentage of bad campers ruin it for all the rest of us.
          And thank you for being a good pet owner.

  7. brent

    Andy, very good insight on the situations you face. If we ever get back that way I would love to stay at your park (we are way out west). People who can’t drive still believe they are good drivers, so sometimes helping out is difficult.
    (just an observation: my 5th wheel toyhauler has less overhang than a regular 5th wheel.)
    Love your thought process, and thanks Chuck for getting him to write, even though it may be just to the choir!

  8. Mary Ihla

    My husband and I are newbies. We purchased our 2002 Class C three years ago, but we didn’t camp with it the first year. That was our learning time. A guy at the dealership went through the operation of our rig, and not only did I ask hundreds of questions, but I took videos of it all. He said I was the first one who had ever done that. We also relied on my son-in-law, an experienced camper, for answers to some of our questions and to give us tips. The neighbor across the street has also been helpful. Before we ever ventured out, I did extensive research online, which led me to this newsletter. I still depend on the online community to provide answers to any issue that comes up or to get tips on how to make our RV living more enjoyable. We don’t do much roaming, just driving back and forth from Minneapolis to Fort Worth. We stay in a small park that’s crowded with full-time residents, but it’s cheap and close to family members and the golf course. This place is like a community where everyone looks out for each other and helps their neighbor. I’ve seen so many negative comments about long-term park residents, but my limited experience has been that the ones who spend only one or two nights in the park are the ones who play loud music all night, let their dogs bark non-stop, and have no regard for their neighbors.

  9. JMCherry

    Go to You Tube and you learn a lot. I learned to drive my 43’ MH watching the Lazy Days RV Sales out of Florida. Looks for the 45 minute video. Also, if you live in TX, anything that weighs over 26,001 lbs., you have to have a non-commercial class B license. Whether it’s a MH, or a combination of truck/trailer/5th wheel, or you are pulling two trailers. Read chapter 14 of the TX DPS book. Go get your permit and then you have 90 days to take your driving test. No one tells you you have to have this license and insurance doesn’t have to cover you if you are not properly licensed to drive your RVs.

  10. Joel Vinson

    The one thing I know is that RV dealers don’t give a dang about what they sell you, what you’ve overloaded your truck with, or show how to use what you drove off with. We don’t run into that many newbies, but I try to help everyone I can. Our frustration is our local campgrounds are on the Redneck Riviera (FL., AL., MS. coast) and are FLOODED with snowbirds. The times of practically having parks to yourself ARE OVER. If we’re spontaneous, we’re out of luck, most of the time. I’m getting a quiet generator to try and change some of that. We don’t have too many issues with campers. However, the people that will get my goat the quickest are the speeders. I won’t tolerate someone that doesn’t have any regard for playing children, or people having fun. In saying that, I teach my child to treat all vehicles as though they don’t see you. Over the years we have meet alot of really cool Canadians, Europeans, Yankees, left coasters and good ole’ Southern folks. Alot of people are tired of flights, nasty hotels, and disease ridden cruise ships. In closing, if you talk to me about traveling and RVing, I’ll talk to you right back. Y’all have a great day and I’ll see you on the road????

    1. Rob

      Interesting comment “disease Ridden Cruise Ships” We are campers with a 5th wheel and have been using our RV for 3 years. I also have a Class A license so pulling my RV isn’t a problem. We just have come back from a non RV trip on a cruise ship and also stayed in hotels. I honestly don’t want to travel again where I stay in hotels and especially a cruise ship. Both of us got really sick 2 days into the cruise. The only tough part going forward camping is finding decent places to camp in the years to come. Towing a 5th wheel costs lots of fuel and campsites being crowded are also getting expensive. Thinking of maybe buying a smaller motorhome or a truck camper that can be parked in smaller spaces or boondocking.

  11. Mainer

    We have a 30′ trailer and leave it at a FL campground during the summer while up north. The cost of a vehicle large enough to tow our rig is not within the budget.
    Many of the comments/complaints written here are all-to-familiar to us. At the top of the list are dog owners who allow barking without attempting to quiet them. Most of the objectionable things we experience can be laid at the feet of the owners, who we feel are money-grubbers who do not want enforce the rules or employ sorely-needed hosts.

  12. Karen Pfundtner

    Being an RVer all my life, and a camp host the last six, I would say excessive speed in the campground is my biggest gripe. My best Camp Host story is when an irate camper came barreling into my campsite reciting off a full shopping list of groceries. He was expecting the park to reimburse him for everything that was in his cooler! Why? Because it was one of *our raccoons* that had gotten into his cooler in ate all their food!! All campers, upon registration, we’re given a slip of paper and told verbal warnings, plus signs up on all outbuildings, that the coons were unusually aggressive this year. It is mainly because of availability of food from careless campers. When I asked him why he didn’t put his cooler away in his car, as instructed. His response was: “well we left it up on the picnic table and covered it with a quilt”!!!! Oh Vey!

  13. Brad

    One overlooked issue is how very user-friendly most of our human-machine interactions have become. Remember choke levers? We now have ABS and plug-and-play hardware. Our son (BS in Computer Science) says that if you have to read the operators manual for anything, it is poorly designed. RVs aren’t there yet.

    1. Harry

      Good comment! This is one of the challenges our sons, daughters, and grand-kids are faced with. In many cases, they have not learned how to effectively communicate.

      1. Rob

        Being an IT person and knowing my way around technology, the electronics on some of the new rigs are insane. Like when you visit a store and the computers are down and the person can’t figure out your change or even serve you because the system is down. Something happens on the computer board of the new rigs and you can’t get anything to work. I have an in great shape 1993 5th wheel and love the simplicity of it.

  14. DANNY

    This is why there should be a recreational vehicle specific driver’s license, very similar to the commercial driver’s license for professional tractor trailer drivers. There should be extensive training, and testing. For many people, as the article says, have ever driven anything larger than a minivan when they go out and buy these big long wide units. And another very good idea when someone comes into a campsite the owners if not themselves then a person well-versed should be hired to escort these people back to their space and assist those people into backing into their space and walk them through their appropriate hook up. Granted that would cost a little more money for the site operators, but still far less then a full size rig breaking pipes and maybe even falling into a septic tank while driving that straight line that they should never be on between two points!

    1. Bill Patterson

      i agree that if you buy anything over 24 feet you have to get a “RV” license and prove you know how to drive it and back it up. Especially if it is a trailer. Also if you are pulling a car you need to understand how all that works and that you can not back up. We bought a class C 28′ and did many small trips to learn the feel of driving it before we went on an 8000 mile trip across the country. We pulled a small jeep. Had no problems except the cost of gas! We educated our selves on the mechanics, tires (TPMS) and the emergency situations that might happen. Some people are just plain lazy or arrogant to think they need to educate them selves. Hope it gets better as we have many future trips.

  15. Lee

    All good points here. Newbies are usually OK folks if they just have common sense. You can be new at Rving but also know how to behave like adults. We are work camping this winter and enjoy helping newbies. We have seen quite a few and most are very polite. Of course, most are you 50 plus in age so they have better manners at that age.

  16. rvgrandma

    I like the article. Having been a workamper for years, I have seen most all. One park I worked we had underground irrigation so people did not have to worry about water hitting their rigs. Problem: people, usually big MH, would cut the corner running over the grass breaking the irrigation even though we warned them. Every week the maintenance guy was fixing broken lines.

    Another park many times people would drop their sewer hose down the pipe where the shutoff faucet was even though the sewer was painted and we told them that when checking in. Horrible job for grounds to clean out the sewer.

    Have seen people drive off with their power and/or water still hooked up – again usually MH. And majority of these people were experienced RVers, not newbies.

    You hand out park rules when they check-in, review them with them, but some think they are meant for others, not them. There are also those office workers that just hand you paperwork expecting you to read it. Majority of parks offer free wi-fi. They come complain when it won’t work. They do not realize that if it is free there is no legal obligation to provide it but most parks will do their best to help them. Many times I have found it is the settings on their computer.

    We had to stop working 5 years ago due to my husband’s illness, so we have been in our current park 4 years. 3/4 of the residents are long term. And just like overnighters, there are those who think the park rules to not apply to them. Worse yet, the management does not enforce the rules.

    When we came to where we are, my husband could no longer drive so I had my first drive. I was trying to back it up but the guy next to us who has a MH offered and I accepted. I didn’t want to be one of those we all sit in our chairs for our daily entertainment watching them try to park. 5th wheels seem to be the ones people have the hardest time. RV dealers teaching you? A lady in the park bought a new 5th wheel. The manager of the dealership delivered it. He could not back it in. After a 1/2 hour of trying he finally let the lady do it since she at one time was a truck driver.

    Be courteous, be thoughtful of your neighbors, live the golden rule which also applies to the park property, follow the park rules, and expect there will be problems at times. If you are not sure which is the drinking water or sewer drain – go the office and ask. This will make it better for everyone.

    As in everything, there are good and bad RVers. Andy brought up a lot of good points and problems. So have others.

  17. Bob Warfel

    My wife and I have only been camping for 38 years. The campground etiquette has gotten bad with people leaving their dogs run lose or they bark all the time. We have had people sit 2′ from our camper get drunk and be loud till 3 in the morning, and that was during the week. This is why I like to boon-dock.

  18. Stewbie

    I guess I’m in the senior category of RV people although my new one is arriving next month. Andy is spot on target with “practice at home.” I believe it was Caesar Augustus that wrote “experience is the best teacher”, but where you get that experience is critical. Furthermore, learning is incremental. It’s not a one time reading of ‘RV for Dummies’ and suddenly you’re a knowledgeable professional, any more than reading about Elon Musk will make you qualified to fly his space ship to Mars. If you take your rig on the road and haven’t filled, emptied, AND cleaned you tanks at least 10 times, ASK for help. Lots of RV people are willing to help you, but don’t treat us to your ignorance (or laziness) because you’re too busy to have even practiced doing it a couple times with clean water.

  19. Linda

    We are just starting out with high hopes of finding guidance and support .My husband and I are hoping for a wonderful trip to Co.Thank you all in advance for all the input hoping we don’t make any big mistakes as we take our first trip.

  20. Peter

    We have stayed at Walnut Hills a couple of times recently and have put it on our list Best Campgrounds. We will continue to stay there if we can get in. We have taken a few trips to Alaska and cross country across the US in the past 8 or 10 years. We usually do not make reservations as we like to go when and where we want to at that mommentt. This past Summer was the first time we were ever turned away from a campground. In Canada we almost always were accommodated even if it was only a space on a piece of grass. Provincial Parks near population centers are usually full on weekends but some do have overflow lots for dry camping.

  21. Erin

    As a “newbie” RVer, I am a little saddened by this article. How are we supposed to learn how to RV if we don’t get out there and do it? The only way to become an experienced RVer is after years of learning…right? On top of that, this article is lamenting the rising popularity of RVing. But the other option seems much worse. We could be witnessing the slow (or rapid) decline in popularity of RVing, which would leave RV owners in a much worse place. To me, this article seems like a complaint about growing pains, and although I can see why growth be uncomfortable for RV owners or experienced RVers from time to time, I’m not sure I am on board with the overall message.

    1. Scott

      Take the time at your home with the RV, Learn how to set ut up at home, learn how to back it up in an empty parking lot, learn how much space it takes to make 90 degree turns, learn all of the electronic stuff at home, learn how to full and empty the water at home, learn how to deal with the gray and black tanks at home, learn how to use hand signals with person guiding you back into a tight place. There are so many thing you can do while at home so you learning curve while out camping will be much less and you will have more time to experience the camping time

      1. Morag

        Agreed and been there done that and still doing it !
        We are avid researchers, readers, communicate with other experienced RVers. We also have joined several RV clubs and have learned a lot from the fellow club members. We are going full time next year and will also boondock.
        I am a little concerned with some of the content of this article in regards to new RV’ers and their practical knowledge base and experience. We have to learn just like the old timers did. When we are old timers, we can pass along our knowledge with others. That’s what life is all about is it not?

    2. Lizzy

      Escapees offers Bootcamp for newbies as do other organizations. The driving courses alone will pay for themselves in no time. Conferences and conventions frequently have Maintenance courses to learn about your rig.
      Think “Pack it in Pack it Out” leave every campsite cleaner than when you parked your rig. When you go to a campground, be respectful of others and the park or natural setting in the area and you’ll make lots of friends. Making noise or letting kids run wild that extends beyond your campsite gets in the way of others’ enjoyment.

    3. Julie

      Totally agree with you. It sounds as if this campground owner is a bit grumpy. Well, I’ll be one less person trying to get into their campground. I’ll go where I (and all others) are welcomed.

      1. robert

        julie,
        i don’t think that the campground owner was being grumpy. i think he was just exasperated at the almost complete loss of what we used to call common sense and, worse, the ability or willingness to follow the rules.

        1. Electrojake

          Julie, you are exactly right!
          Good point.

    4. Kris

      I’m a newbie too. I would be horrified at myself for looking like an idiot in front of strangers, or for disturbing others by driving too fast or having my music too loud. So I think it’s a good reminder for all newbies that we gotta learn to take instruction from others and practice, practice, practice. I KNOW I’m doing it all wrong, so when my more experienced RVers correct me, I’m so grateful (I hate looking stupid!)

  22. Tina D.

    Maybe learn to deal with reality and not expect the world to accomodate YOU Marc M. I believe YOU would whine the loudest as nd possibly know the least. Can I get an Amen.

  23. jrw

    I have been pulling since the 1970s. I have noticed an attitude change for the worse in many newbies. I also have noted their children often run wild with no supervision and it is evident some parenting skills were lost on many. We never hitch the 5er June/July/August any longer. I hope to get 5 more years in before it is just no longer worth going. The last 5 years snowbirding in the east has become tough. I’m looking forward to higher fuel prices, interest rate hikes, and anything that impacts the cost of new RVs. CGs should start increasing the cost per night to equal or even exceed hotel costs as the number of sites is not growing.

    1. Carol

      They are increasing prices for spaces. A lot of we seniors like to camp but can’t afford $100 a night. We are not well-to-do retirees. My favorite KOA was $55 a night in 2008. It is now $80-$119 a night.

  24. Marmot

    Really well written article, and, amazingly, no misuse of quotation marks. We don’t seem to have many of the named problems at the central Texas RV park where I spend the winter. It’s a beautiful, relaxing place with polite campers.

  25. Stephen Mulcare

    Interesting article . In my experience as a host I would like to add “seasoned” campers and rv’ers to the mix. The ones who have been coming to a park for years yet can’t seem to remember or follow the rules. While some parks are not good venues for tents and pop ups the same holds true for trailers , toy haulers and motorhome. People insist on fudging with respect to the length of their unit and when they don’t fit it’s not their fault.

  26. Drew

    I’m really impressed with the number of comments. I think almost every one of them rings some truth. I just want all of you to know that I’m happy to help out anyone at almost any time if they get into a bind and I think that’s the way we should conduct ourselves…I think to an extent we are all good custodians and ambassadors of the rv’ing and camping lifestyles. I believe Andy is a caring campground owner and makes an honest attempt at keeping his place orderly and serviceable. Like most places I’ll bet he could use extra help, especially on busy holidays…lets be the help he needs and be good stewards of the hobby we all love. You’d be surprised how good that can make you feel.

    1. Linda

      I second that Drew. Most everyone we have come across in Campgrounds/RV Parks have been more than willing to help and offer sage advice when we were newbies. We choose to pass that knowledge along now as well. You will meet very interesting people along the way when you do.

    2. Thanks, Drew for your thoughtful comment.

  27. Denise

    I, myself and hubby are campground hosts. Our biggest concern comes, when were “FULL”. That actually means, we are full! We do encourage our campers, to ask, even when a “Full” sign is clearly posted, but sometimes sites, do open up and then we accommodate. But if you do ask? Please understand us, when we say “I’m sorry we are full”. Don’t beg us to do anything more, but to offer our campers alternative places to go. Please take “no” and our advice and move on. We can’t offer more, than what we have! Take no gracefully and accept it. We have to also. Accommodation is our job, but when we say “Full”, were full

  28. Quint

    Sounds like it’s time for Andy to retire!

    1. Quint. Disagree. We need more owners like him. I applaud him for writing honestly about what he sees in his campground.

      1. Carol

        I agree Chuck.

    2. Denise

      Sorry you feel this way, Quint. I agree with Andy. People who don’t get their way? Are the worst.

    3. ken

      I applaud Andy for his comments, and learned alot from reading his about campground issues from an owner’s perspective.
      I need only think about my neighbors who drive 40 mph down my residential street (25mph limit) before slowing to 15 when coming to their street.
      Speed limits, like campground rules, are for the other folks to follow, not them.

  29. Paul Goldberg

    Handling the rig is one issue that can be dealt with through training and experience. I know that after 18 years some object is likely to jump into my path even with my wife as ground guide.

    Dealing with campground etiquette is something that has to have started with toilet training. We took our kids and grandkids on an RV camping trip, their families were in rental rigs. When we got to the first campground I sat everyone down for an “etiquette talk” We never had an issue after that in 2 weeks or impinging on another camper’s enjoyment of their camping stay. We sure witnessed others not quite so courteous, but just told the youngsters that because others are disrespectful there is no reason for them to be.

    We still travel without reservations. Try to be off the road on weekends even if it means shifting from one Walmart to another, and seldom have trouble getting a spot when we want. We are ready to dry camp for up to 5 days easily if need be. There are many resources that are not commercial campgrounds where we can stay for a night or a week.

    If demand keeps growing as the industry pumps out RVs eventually the world of commercial campgrounds will respond with new facilities. It can be a profitable business

  30. Terry

    We had rented a pop up camper once, where taken thru the steps to use it… arrived at the camping area Where the people around us not only didn’t offer suggestions, much less assistance, while we struggled in the dusk—then dark— they pulled up chairs, lit a fire, got beers and pointed & laughed …. don’t worry, we remembered your faces for years, and when a few of you came into our ER/UC for help bc you were a newbie at first aid … but we didn’t laugh, point, ignore, pull up a chair or grab a beer

    1. Leonard Szymkowiak

      Did you ever go think to get familiar with your camper before you needed to use it?

      1. Lee Ensminger

        Well, Leonard, it was a rental. So I’m pretty sure they didn’t let him take it home for a week to try and figure everything out at his leisure. Yes, if he owned it, that would be a different story, but that wasn’t the case here, was it?

        1. Electrojake

          Hmm…
          Good thing it wasn’t an aircraft they rented, eh?

          1. Louisa

            Again, the smugness of some “seasoned “ campers astounds me! Electrojake, you were probably in the pointing and laughing group.

    2. Carol

      We weren’t exactly new,but really appreciated the camper next to us turned on their outside flood light. We did not ask for this kindness, but it was much appreciated… We arrived late and a storm coming made the sky dark early. Even with Sturgis SD motor cycle week,folks were curtious and helpful.

  31. Karen Bazinet

    My biggest complaint is people who back in to a pull in site and the campground that doesn’t enforce the pull in. When you pull in wrong you put your door facing our door. Your now sitting on our side with all your family and pets. When you have to buy an extra long sewer line to run under your rv to get to the hookup it tells me you do this all the time. Be respectful of others.

    1. Terry

      There is no requirement that rig must face a certain way … and some camps are set up so every other site must run their utilities under the rig…. just bc a site CAN be pulled thru isn’t an indication it CANNOT be backed into …..unless the camp rules say so …. best use of own camp space is important when spaces are so tiny.

    2. Rick

      Everyplace we have stayed with always had power/sewer on the drivers side….which dictates how you position your rig

    3. Guy

      I agree. there are sometimes when our “Picture Window”, front windshield makes for a nice view, we will pull in to take advantage of it. When we pull in, we run a couple of strings across the road so we can pull our sewer and electric lines over to the hook ups. The issue is being respectful of your neighbors, and I rarely find rude or disrespectful “neighbors” while camping. We generally make new friends.

  32. Jim Bagby

    I started in the 50’s with a tent , Made rookie mistakes with it, Tent Camper next. But i went to a parking lot & practiced backing into the lines Over & over
    Then 18 foot trailer. & yes i ripped off the TV antenna with a low limb in a cemetery.
    I have left the steps down several times.
    My 5th wheel I hated, I got blocked in several times in Restaurant parking lots. Have had to park a block away & walk. I guess i have made all the stupid mistakes that i know better. I have been stuck in the snow the mud & sand. I am 80 now & still at it I hope when i goof up I hope people think I’m a newbe.

  33. watchingwolf

    This was a joy to read. I have been camping since my first job with the YMCA, over nights for youth groups. On my own into the mountains and deserts. All through the years since 1960 camping has been my choice of joy, education and spirit. Now days it is to the off grid most of the time. Disperse camping appears to be the last frontier for getting away from the discourtesy of people who behave as though their joy is acceptable to all others in the campgrounds or RV parks, etc. It is well worth the money to purchase the additional equipment to be away from those who think your campsite is a pathway, that everyone enjoys their music and the devil with you if you don’t. There are those who do not prepare for their trips and think that fellow campers should give aid of food, water, fuel, etc. In the old days I gave freely, now because of the numbers of people camping without goods or money, my sharing has become limited. Just wanted to say thank you for the article. Outdoor Education courses should be a must.

  34. Sam

    I think Andy’s frustration is very understandable. This article was written to voice complaints. I’m sure he could write another article to voice the things he’s happy with, but that’s not the purpose of this article. There are many things that new rvers need to learn and most people are happy to tolerate that and help them. It’s when they demonstrate lack of basic common sense or respect for other’s possessions or rights, that things get frustrating. No one in his business should have to babysit.

  35. Tim Amrstrong

    Liked the article. I teach RV Driving and try my best to cover most that is mentioned here. One thought I have always had is why do the dealers not offer the schooling (more than a short test drive) when they sell a unit? I work with a dealer in Lewisville and they are quick to tell people about the schools offered. Only 14 states currently require a license for large units. Perhaps more should follow this lead.

  36. peggy coffey

    We took a full year of research and reading about RVs, before we bought our class A. We had been tenters and pop up owners before we bought it, so I guess we had a head start on others. But we have seen both clueless owners and moron campground owners. We were traveling to Florida from Arizona this winter and pulled into a lovely campground. We were escorted to our site and got the usual explanation of electrical, sewer and water. The next day, husband notices our black tank would not drain and started backing up. The office sent the maintenance person who was clueless. He called a plumber who looked at it and said we had hooked up to the main water shut off valve. The sewer connection had a rock over the opening. The office had no idea about the shut off valve. Hope they never have to use it.

  37. Julie

    I haven’t read any other comments here so it may be that someone else has said somethig, but myself, as a new RV owner with lots to learn found this article very negative and condesending. All of us, in any job, have to deal with new people who don’t know as much as we do. It is called experience and is meant to be shared and I am absolutely sure someone complained about you at one time about your lack of knowledge when you were new at something.

    I must say, as good as it may be, I won’t be putting this park on my list of places to stay, which I am sure is fine with Andy.

    1. CaptainBC

      I’m sure that if an RV’er trying to pull into the spot next to you and took out the front of your legally parked toad, you would be ranting about it a lot more than this park owner who has to spend time and money repairing damage on a regular basis. I don’t see him as condescending at all.

    2. SkiSwami

      HE’s right, and I’m a novice. Don’t be so sensitive. I appreciate the “How to’s” and did not find it condescending at all. Sometimes the truth hurts a bit.

  38. Eric Eltinge

    Often times I stay at a Best Western motel for the same price as a private campground. They permit dogs and include breakfast. Just use the motorhome in transit. CA state beach parks already booked up. You’ll have 25% of the nation’s homeless and still no Wall illegal aliens as guests. We have 65,000 marijuana farms in CA. San Francisco spends $30 million a year removing needles and feces from the streets. Your best bets are military and Good Sam 10/10/10 campgrounds. Be careful where you camp!

  39. Tom

    Why don’t campground owners save some spots for week or longer sites. Would not 7 or 11 days fees be better than 3 day weekend fees. If not full booking the open the sites up several days before weekend.

  40. Ken

    We all pick what occupation we want to follow. If you pick being an RV Park owner, you’re going to have to deal with the problems. That’s just a fact of life.

    Now on the other side, can you imagine the RV’r who tries to hook up to the blue painted water spigot 3 feet from the sewer dump and the electrical box and gets no water. When he finally gets the office to send someone out to fix the problem, he’s told that that is the irrigation spigot, the potable water spigot is the one painted red and at the end of the picnic table 20 feet away, nowhere near the other utilities. Stupid camper, why didn’t you know that?

    Or the worn out 50 amp socket that tests OK, but has too little spring pressure left to make good contact and so the plug overheats which is obviously the campers fault.

    Or the sewer pipe that backs up if more than one camper is dumping his tanks at a time. Or the potable water supply that drops to 15 psi every morning when people are taking showers. Or the campground that only takes cash. Or the campground that offers cable tv and during the discussion you advise that you won’t need cable because you’ll use your dish. And yet they still put you in a site that has one of the few trees in the whole park. When you call to change spots, after setting everything up, they say “yeah, a lot of people complain about that spot and satellite service.”

    You see, the problems are on both sides. Everyone needs to work together.

    1. Ken,
      You’re right about all you say, in general. But how can you put a responsible campground owner like Andy in the same class as the ones you describe? He’s one of the good guys and does not deserve to be included in your list of bad owners. That’s very unfair of you.

  41. Rusty

    Not all new to the world of rving are idiots. Just as many “experienced and experts” make silly errors. Stop blaming new rvers for camp grd miscues. Last Summer while staying at Steamboat Springs, Co we watched an “experienced and all knowing “ 5th wheel owner backing up into a camp site. After backing over sewer pipe, hitting elec post, pulling forward again and again to straighten out his 5th wheel he finally managed to park the rig with one side of tires on grass while the other tires rested on the gravel. Yes sir rving issues aren’t only for new rvers. By the way, this jerk refused assistance from numerous people in helping him..

  42. Rod

    Camping, RVing, Getting Away…it all seems so simple and yet, as with everything in life has its complexities. EVERYONE was a newbie at some point.

    It is understood (perhaps not?) everyone does not possess the same level of insight, aptitude, or common sense that the rest of us have been gifted with.

    What this article and most commenting shows is a cultural shift to arrogance. I see it everywhere, from scuba diving to ordering a coffee and everywhere in between. How dare you not know what a latte is. How dare you not be able to back your trailer into a site without assistance! How dare you use a hand held radio to assist you in managing your navigation in an RV park! How dare you pull into the wrong site because you didn’t understand the numbers were running left to right! How dare you make an air-headed mistake! Lighten up! Be helpful instead of judgmental! Yes, people have different levels of competencies and we love to be disgusted. Otherwise you would chill out and pay attention to the things that really matter like kindness.

    It is all so old…as old as the funky, torn and crushed cowboy hats that people still think are cool.

  43. Robbie

    We’ve been on the road for 12 years as full timers. We’ve seen all of the above, twice. Skills, courtesy and attitude of other campers are our major complaints. RV parks are expensive too. Our solution 12 years ago was to pay the extra cost for equipment to live off the grid and stay as far away from RV parks and cities as possible. We’re happy.

  44. Lydia

    I hosted at a USFS campground east of Everett, WA one summer and I experienced many of the things you discussed! Being a “low rent” campground I saw it ALL the summer of 2015! Big rigs trying to fit in a space intended for a minivan and a tent, rude rowdy out of control people, out of control dogs, and rental RVs filled with very polite Europeans on their grand tours of North America.

  45. rvmeister

    I appreciate this article in that it provides a perspective of a campground owner and the joys and challenges they face operating a RV campground. But it also shows the overall “growing pains” of a recreational industry and the influx of the huge boomer generation retiring and looking for a fun and adventurous retirement hobby. I agree with tighter industry regulation and required training and certification for RV owners. I do believe that will come with time.

    Yet as a 40-something RV’er for the last 6 years however, I am growing increasingly concerned with RVtravel’s negative and divise tone of articles creating this “us against them” of us “seasoned” RV’ers dealing with all of these newbie RV’ers spoiling RV’ing. I am sure the Depression-era generation complained at some point how all of these “baby boomers” were ruining something they treasured that “once was good and now isn’t” years ago. Every generation does this.

    With the media hyping up and diving Americans politically, I don’t think we need another area of our lives where we get worked up and frustrated with “that other group.” RVTravel I think you should unify the RV community -not give more ammunition for your readers to get pissed off at all the folks flooding and ruining our beloved pastime. Although I think there was a time to lament what once was and call it out, I think it’s time to move to a more constructive tone and approach.

    The Good Sam nature you all talk about is where us experienced RV’ers show Good Sam patience and kindness with both the humble and arrogant new RV’ers because like we know their mistakes will be their teachers in the end -not us. Let’s all have grace and mercy for each other.

    And remember….there is alot of BLM land where you can go to be away from the people craziness. The “hotel” crammed RV park experience is not the only way to enjoy RV’ing.

    1. Gilly

      I believe you missed the point. Take it to heart, so we can all enjoy the pleasures and memories of camping, be it a tent, trailer, fifth wheel or oversized motorhome.
      Just remember, if you were the owner, how would you feel, re-act, to your campground being “disrespected”? RV travel or the owner are not trying to divide and conquer, just educate. Right or wrong, agree or disagree, it’s the USA.
      You simply missed the point!
      RV Travel, keep sharing all the stories and insight. I’m new and I’m educating myself so I can minimize my “I’m sorry or didn’t know”. Thanks!

    2. squeakytiki

      I’ve noticed (and commented on) this tone as well. It’s a little discouraging to newer RV owners, that’s for sure. From a few of the comments here I gather we’re not the only ones to notice.

  46. Terri n Joe

    Great article … have only been camping in our TT since 2013 but was very happy that DH knew quite a bit from a few years with a fifth wheel & then a truck camper. He knew so many of these things that I would have had no idea. I like to read & there is plenty of newbie info sites that I spent days on (trying to prevent the near divorce every time he backed our TT in during the first 2 years). Although far from expert we both find ourselves helping someone with something probably every other trip out & require help ourselves probably every 10th trip out now (but don’t ask us about the TV…we are camping & have only turned that thing on 4 times for special football games since we got TT 5 years ago – & we camp monthly somewhere here in FL)

    So many of these issues must cost the campground owner some cash in the long run so it might be a great idea to inquire how long someone has been camping when making the reservation & be able to provide some preview info about how to negotiate the campground with an electronically (or in person) signed acknowledgement that allows the campground to charge for the damage caused if there has been forewarning in the preview documents. You can only educate those that want it (so many people just know EVERYTHING) & we want more campgrounds out here so we need to step up as a community & support our hosts….

  47. Bob Godfrey

    I believe I caught a message in this excellent article and from the comments section as well and that is about responsibility. No one else is responsible for your behavior or education but you. You, as the purchaser need to learn as much about your vehicle as possible. You, as part of the RV world, need to learn what constitutes good behavior in a campground and what is courteous behavior as well. You, as a driver of one of these very large rigs, need to learn what is safe and what is not, but the overall message is that it is a person’s responsibility and no one else’s, something we seem to like to do in our society these days is to find someone to blame when, in reality, it would be ourselves.

    1. Scott Gitlin

      Your comment is the key – very simple.

    2. Terry

      Well, true, but there are those little things… I didn’t know there was an extra tiny compartment in my Chry 200, … but the Canadian border patrol agent did … we get comfy doing things over and over… which is why people go back to the same places over and over . But we tend to slip in memory/skills for that which we do not often/regularly or have never, used.

  48. Deb Adams

    We are new RVers in the past 2 years (but campers for many years) with a small travel trailer (23′). There’s definitely a learning curve to backing in, but my husband has gotten good at it with some sign language from me standing behind. We’ve noticed a lot of the people who seem to not know how to drive or how to be courteous campers are in rental RVs. Since we’re new, I can’t say for sure, but I bet the RV rental business has ballooned in recent years. Thus there are many people who have no clue what they’re doing.

    1. Terry

      Yep, esp the idiots on the road who cut you off with only 2 feet in between the rig and their tin can … then hit the brakes …. well, 10000# vs. tin can—- you lose baby, and likely not just your car….we left 5 car lengths space for a reason

  49. Karen Carter

    RVSAFETY.com

    Great training my husband and I received last year at this week course. I wish three years back when we bought our airstream we would have had this course. Our first years on the road would have been less stressful. We rented for years prior to purchase but many different types of rigs. And they all have certain things to learn rig specific. Educate yourself. RVsafety.com has a time for weighing rigs, a driving and backing portion and classes over a wide variety of topic. It is a small group of passionate people who care about teaching safety in our rigs. I will be back next year to soak more in and learn more and hopefully be a better neighbor to others for it.

  50. John Goodell

    LOL! I always thought it was nice to escorted by golf cart to my site in an unfamiliar RV park, but I guess this explains why Captain Obvious takes the time when we get there to explain “this is your water”, “this is your electric”, and …. “this is your sewer”! I always let them talk and thought to myself “well… duh”! So there’s a purpose to their method!
    Working in the service industry you will meet all kinds of people. Experts and novices, know-it-alls and those who want to learn and are willing to listen. Every once in a while Captain Obvious will throw in something peculiar to the campground or something you never knew before, so listen carefully!

    1. Terry

      Every camp we’ve been to has provided written rules, lists/maps of amenities, etc. absolutely no excuse to walk/drive/run/bike through Ir encroach upon another site unless it’s to run away from your burning rig…..I give leeway when you are setting up/taking down —-so you can use your site space to the max — but if you have to use my routinely in order to empty, fill, get into your storage —that’s where the line is drawn. To the woman who decided our picnic table top was the place fir her dog ‘s ass to sit on, and get on our bench, despite being 15” inside our site & immed next to our rig … you crossed the line big time—- help you husband set up, leave the dog inside, use your own table… we don’t care… just stay on your site. Including your dig’s anal glands —-

  51. Theo Matthias

    The line connecting the RV Dealer’s parking lot exit and the entrance to the RV campground can be all too direct when viewed by an RV owner who has abdicated responsibility for their own education.

    To me, this seems a bit stunning since there are so many sources of education and opportunities for experimentation and reinforcement. YouTube is chock full of videos to help the novice owner understand their rig and lean how to operate it. There are terrific tutorials on everything from backing up a TT into a space to dumping the tanks. Further, there are usually large parking lots available for folks to practice key maneuvers when backing in and positioning a trailer BEFORE they even enter a campground.

    However, etiquette isn’t so easy to learn or observe. It takes education, but also depends on a person’s awareness of social conventions and an abiding respect for others. Unfortunately, in today’s climate, this must seem to be an uphill battle at times.

    Kudos to Andy Zipser and his family for his excellent dedication to customer service in a changing world. I doubt that even in the best of times he and his family ever had it “easy” in their mission; I can truly imagine how much they have had to endure as the popularity of RVing has skyrocketed! Keep up the amazing service, Walnut Hills.

    1. Terry

      Missing a few key issues, though… the most obvious one: each park has its own layout, nuances, and maneuvering issues. Being newer to backing/hauling a TT, one has a learning curve despite practice in a parking lot! Given enough time, space, and proper approach to backing into a site, it can be done. Having the host guide the move, it can be done more quickly which frees up the road faster and lowers one’s chance of angina … Learning a techniques in a new way /Angie/obstacles every time you go to a new camp/campsite takes time. That’s why they call it ‘novice to expert’! And, ‘with age comes wisdom ‘ … the longer you drive it, the more you know about ‘adapting to the situation’. Just watch any newer 18-wheeler driver… Having a camp that doesn’t squeeze you in like sardines is a big factor, as well.

  52. Booneyrat

    We have been camping and occasionally full timing for the last 40 years.I have seen American culture decline to the point that greed and ignorance has taken precedence over common sense,in all aspects since the late 1960’s. Gone are the days of real “Good Sam” members helping out their fellow camper.And gone are the days when most RV dealers would actually explain the art of living in and using your newly acquired RV properly.Now it’s fast buck Charley out to get rich off any unsuspecting “rookie” camper.I am sure many of you have seen,or experienced this phenomenon. To the few sane RV’ers left out there,good luck and god speed. As for KOA’s…we gave up on those long ago.

  53. PeteD

    We waver back and forth whether or not to give up and sell the RV. We loved the spontaneous lifestyle we had just a few years back. That is gone now. We never plan anything a year in advance. I tried that once a couple years ago and lost most of my reservation money when something unforeseen came up. It is getting difficult if not impossible to get into a Florida State Park on a week day in the off season.

  54. Lisa

    Everyone is a rookie at one time. If an RVCampground owner let’s things like that get on his nerves,he may be in wrong business.

    1. Larry

      I agree. He’s in the wrong business

      1. Terry

        Well, maybe just a bit jaded , and misses the point that as the owner of any business, one always has less skilled customers…life works that way . Just ask any hardware store I’ve ever needed help from (not in my experience or my repertoire of non-novice skills, yet!).. but he makes several great points. And the blame is on both sides. The difference is, the campers are not the owners so frequently become the victims ( I hate that word, so let’s ssy the unwilling recipients) if camosvtgst do not enforce their own rules, have enough staff to do so… his key statement , basically we do the best we can…. but then hire another worker/camp worker , or at least have a Dropbox where campers can let you know the name/site/rig info that is not following the rules or is creating unsafe/dufficult for everyone else. Camping in any manner, has a learning curve to it… I’ve been camping since I was 3, had the great fortune to learn from my father both in his skills from the Army and his ability to critical think and learn by doing… there were glitches, but nothing major. Some of those skills became my skills, over the years of being able to help him more and more as I aged and grew taller. But that was tenting… new skills and knowledge opps abound with RVing…would greatly help to have a printed manual to review….

      2. Yeah, right Larry! We should be lucky that there are people like Andy who care about their parks, who do a superb job maintaining them and taking care of the visitors. So maybe Andy should get into another industry and leave all those RV park owners who don’t give a damn about their visitors beyond their money to provide the often dumpy, overpriced places where we stay? Larry, I suggest you meet Andy, talk to him, and then maybe you’ll be qualified to say he’s in the wrong business. You don’t know squat about him; you might just want to keep your opinion to yourself until you know what you’re talking about.

    2. Captn John

      Maybe he is used to the way things were not so long ago when RVers were courteous and had a clue. Attitudes of many newbies have changed and many know it all.

    3. Everyone is a rookie, yes, but not all rookies are created equal, nor do all rookies understand that they need to do some studying about how the RVs work as well as campground etiquette before they go out and inconvenience others at the campgrounds and RV parks.

  55. MoJo Pare

    Thank You Andy for an honest perspective on today’s camping reality. After camping on a remote piece of private lakefront property for the past 30 years, we bought a new 26 ft. camping trailer and ventured out to see more of this great country. The equipment turned out to be far less than expected of a new unit, Camping World a real disappointment re: service and some of the campgrounds that had open spots proudly announced that there was even room to open your awning.
    Sad to say, it was not the happy, friendly carefree camping of earlier memories and times. Sold our unit before the year was up.

  56. Tommy Molnar

    This was from a perspective I’d not given any thought to. I mean, I know there are clueless and/or rookie RV’ers (after all, I was one once) out there but I didn’t know to what extent. Great article.

  57. John Snell

    Like it or not Mr zipser is in the service industry. He should be happy to educate people who are “rookies” at RV camping. My wife and I were new at one time nd were not embarrassed about asking for help. Other campers were happy and more than willing to help. Maybe he should advertise for veteran campers only. If nothing else , to reduce his stress level for his own health.

      1. Nina S.

        Agreed! His complaints were accurate enough but he comes across as a soured and burned-out business owner who should consider getting out of it. He sounds far too aggravated at his novice paying customers who contribute to keeping him in business. I am not a novice camper but I was at one time and now willingly assist those who are still learning. If he is so bitter toward newbies, he should advertise as such and see how long he remains in business. If campers have such difficulties navigating his property and parking, perhaps the lanes are too narrow and the sites too crowded? I am disappointed that an article with such negativity was published on this site

        1. tiddly wink

          Nina—I have read all of the posted comments, nodding my head at times, shaking my head at others….but your comment enraged me enough that I am forced to respond. You say that you are “disappointed that an article with such negativity was published on this site”. Really? If THIS seems negative to you, put yourself in Andy’s place. Walk a mile in his shoes. Not likely that his lanes are too narrow. Not likely that the sites are too crowded. More likely that the offending persons either lack the skills to navigate OR they are just plain ignorant. Sure, assisting “newbies” is a noble and honorable thing to do. And personally, I am always more than willing to help. But there are a whole lot of people out there who do not WANT help or who believe that they do not require help/guidance. Those folks are the ones Andy is dealing with. Arrogance and ignorance is not limited to a specific experience level! It knows no boundaries yet affects us, one and all. Please save your disappointment for the next time you are in a campground, see these things happen, and do nothing but complain. Then, you can be disappointed in your own response.

  58. Rich

    Thanks for the info. We’re new at this with a 31 ft. class A and want to learn all we can. We’ve already planned a 25 day trip out west starting May 21 and have made most of our reservations.

  59. Susan F

    Spot on article! The question is who has the responsibility of educating the new RV owner (or renter)? With little regulation across the industry it is clear that dealers are not, nor is any state that doesn’t require a special classification license to drive/tow a rig. Sure, a dealer gives you a walk-through when you take possession,but it is not standardized and often results in incorrect/inadequate information. I speak from the experience of 3 separate purchases in this regard. We were fortunate to have a friend with a conscience, who owned a dealership for many years, to educate us when we decided to join this wonderful lifestyle. As much as we all dislike being regulated, in this arena it is sorely needed. States need to step up and require driver training for both towable and driveable rigs. Dealers need to be regulated to meet standard requirements for educating purchasers at least about the basics such as holding tank use & care, electric systems, propane use, etc. As far as campground good behavior, that’s a tough one because it involves an individuals’ perception of what constitutes that. Like Jeff posting above, we try to help and educate, but are cautious in the event we are met with a hostile response.
    You and your fellow owners have my sympathy and support!

    1. Terry

      Dealers yes, rep giving a few tries at backing while on their lot…….
      ridiculous to try to regulate hauling a trailer …. if we wanted a CDL, we’d move to CA & purchase a 40ft rig…. we don’t, we didn’t

  60. Bill Tucker

    Great article Andy. My wife and I see these kinds of things all the time. Good luck to you and your business and keep up the excellent job your doing. Next time we are passing through your area from Canada, we look forward to spending some time at Walnut Hills. Cheers.

  61. Jeff

    My Wife and I have been RVing for more than 15 years now and we really understand about your dilemma!

    As of this comment, we have reservations for 2 trips coming up this summer and have to start looking for one more reservation for the FALL in November in Florida. It was tough getting reservations this year and we started planning about 6 months out.

    Then you look at the places you have been before along similar routes and know the RV Parks to stay at and the ones you’ve stayed at, but now steer well clear of!

    In this article being around new campers for us is sometimes a pleasure and we enjoy helping people out, (sometimes). I say that because there have been times when Newbies don’t want your help and won’t ask for it, but you watch in AWE and Amazement as they attempt to hook up their RV’s and just cringe!

    Our recent trip to de-winterize our 5th wheel took us 50 miles from home for a quick shakedown to make sure everything was still working. Found a nice park in Vicksburg, MS. Everything worked out well, except this was one of those parks that reminds you to have extra’s along. An Extra Length of Sewer Pipe is necessary at this park, since all the utilities are at the very rear of each site. It obviously was an older park designed probably back in the 60’s or 70’s, when RV’s weren’t that big.

    To get back to the story here, as we spent the weekend at this location, I noticed allot of newbies and one in particular who drove off with their TV Antenna still extended! (Wonder how far he got before he hit and overhead wire or tree and tore it off the RV. I tried to warn him, but he was already heading out on the highway! Never ceases to amaze me!

    Anyway, we do our best to help educate people when we are out and about.

    1. julia

      Hi Jeff, do you have a suggestion for a goof RV Park near Disney World for September? We are new at this and have an ultralite. We will start our first journey end of Aprl into May etc going from Tenn across to Nevada and then up to Seattle, Canada and then So Dakota, etc back to home. thanks for any imput. I have enjoyed reading this information.

      1. Julia Shore

        good not goof!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.