Edited by Russ and Tiña De Maris
Flip on the 6:00 news every evening and watch it for a half hour. Sad to say, “polarity” is the word of the day. It’s ‘left or right,’ ‘black or white,’ ‘up or down,’ – not much in the way of agreement. Unfortunately, that same situation is worming its way into the RV world. The last couple of weeks have seen plenty of controversy about things that are affecting all of us – and it’s reflected in many of the missives that have been landing in the old ‘electronic mailbox.’ Still, we’re keeping a hopeful attitude. Here’s a sample of your views.
Campground neighbors losing their “neighborliness”
Editor Chuck Woodbury opined on “The rude couple in the campsite next door,” and struck a nerve for plenty.
RJ shares an experience: “We have been to a state park where my neighbor had a 24-hour 7-day-a-week campfire burning–or rather smoldering–the whole time. I have trouble breathing. After the first night which I didn’t sleep very much, I asked him if he wouldn’t burn it when it got real late. It smoldered all night, the trees made the air still and we were packed in like fish in a can. The next day I mentioned it to the park ranger, he said ‘Go talk to the camp host. I’m sure he can help.’ Guess who was the CAMP HOST!”
Not everyone looks at ‘campground smokers’ in the same light. J French writes: “Campfires are normal, often someone has a TV playing and others listen to music. We are all not easily annoyed unless it is a car horn blaring at two a.m. We also do not make a big thing out of secondhand smoke, and no one I have been around acts like a smoke Nazi. If they have a problem they can move 10 feet away. BTW – I am not a smoker.”
EgWilly figures these campground issues are a reflection of life in the world today. “This type of behavior, of not giving a hoot about your neighbors, closely follows the general pattern of society behavior today. Nothing new on this earth. We try and set a good example for others, but some folks don’t see it or care.”
Diane Martin has her own way of dealing with troublesome neighbors. Not that we’re suggesting you try this, but here’s her take: “When I am annoyed by a neighboring camper’s loud TV, radio, etc.–which seems to happen with more frequency lately–I leave a note under their windshield after they have gone to bed at night, saying that I will start allowing my teenagers to play their rap and hip-hop music loudly the next day if the noise isn’t stopped. Actually, I don’t have teenagers, but since they don’t know who left the note, they think it could be anybody nearby. I have done this three times so far, and it has worked perfectly each time.”
Federal budget: A burr under plenty of saddles
We noted in our story, “RV industry cautions against undue budget cuts,” concerns about potential cuts in the federal budget that could affect public land recreation. Plenty of responses here – and plenty of heat.
Rusty Austin fired off, “This is no surprise. Republicans have never hid their desire to eliminate the NPS and the EPA, and sell off all public lands to the highest bidder. If you voted for them, you voted for that. Own it and be proud of your vote. After all the free market will provide RV parks right? As long as you can afford say $100 a night or so.”
We know there’s two sides to the story. Roy Ellithorpe has his own ‘two-bits’ to share: “The only instance where a government run ‘business’ will be cheaper than a private enterprise is if it is subsidized by taxes.”
Others took a more reflective look at the matter. Paul Terry recalled his experiences. “My wife and [I] worked many years as campground hosts/managers. Most Forest Service campgrounds are now operated by private companies. Beyond day-to-day maintenance much needs to be done to protect the capital assets. With budget cuts I fear this will not happen. With more RVs on the road we may find fewer campgrounds to use.”
Pete D also had experience in the field. “I worked for the government all my life. We had a saying, ‘Use it or lose it.’ It was heard as the fiscal year was coming to a close. In other words, if there is money left in the budget you had better spend it or your budget could be cut next year. That brought about much unnecessary spending. A bureaucracy is a living organism whose objective is to live and grow on taxpayer money.”
As to why, Jim had this potent observation: “I worked for a decade for a government agency, and three decades for two of the largest corporations in the U.S. Waste, inefficiency, and corruption existed in all of them. There is a simple reason for this and that is, they all employ humans who are flawed. In my experience, I didn’t see all that much difference.”
Finally, Lee Wenk, brings it back around. “The RVIA rails against budget cuts but still cuts their own quality assurance budgets. Granted, we (RVers) need more campgrounds and these cuts may impact that, but we would need even more campgrounds if our rigs spent less time in the repair shop.”
Are our readers “Cheap”?
In RV Travel Newsletter Issue 786, we discussed how continuing to publish the newsletter was taking some rather creative thinking, and the need for reader support. David McIntyre took issue with the approach: “As I read v-logs and viewed RV videos, I started seeing writers/cameramen asking for donations, or for me to make my Amazon purchases through their link. At first it didn’t bother me much, but now it’s getting more and more prevalent. Online publications, including this one, continue to ask for donations and it’s getting downright annoying. Judging by the comments I’ve read, I’m not the only one put off by these intrusive posts. You make those of us who choose not to send support feel ‘cheap,’ like we’re freeloading. I would much rather see these publications require a subscription. That way, everybody who wants to view the posts will pay a fee for the privilege and the writers will enjoy a steady, reliable income.”
Stepping up to the defense comes Kerry Myers. Responding to David, she wrote: “That approach sounds great in theory, but just doesn’t work. Those subscription-based blogs lose readers because there is so much free information out there. May I suggest just sending in what you think a subscription is worth, then you won’t feel cheap and you have your own subscription.”
The RV road trip is near death
In an editorial by the same name, Chuck wrote about the difficulties he and Gail are facing as they travel down their new road. Crowded campgrounds are making spontaneous RVing more and more difficult. Plenty of suggestions came in.
Gypsy shares her view: “I have RVd for 27 years, full-timing for the last 14 of them. I have not averaged even one night per year at a pay campground, but I have camped in beautiful places. Most of the time I’ve had access to cell phone and Internet services. It CAN be done! Be adventurous! Get solar panels and hit the road. Look for dirt roads on public land. BTW, I’m a 75-year-old woman, traveling alone.”
If boondocking isn’t your cup of tea, Tom has another suggestion. “My wife and I have a different way at looking at these things. We pick where we want to go and the go to www.volunteer.gov [website] and find a place near where we want to go, and then volunteer to help them with their needs. We always negotiate the requirements as to not be doing things we don’t like, and usually find the places to be very satisfactory. I realize that some would object to doing this, but I’m to be 74 this month and there’s a lot of places that we want to see. By putting a ‘little’ into it we get to go where we want, and see what we want, and have fun.”
Where others see a problem, Charles Davis sees opportunity. “Camping spaces are at a premium, time premium for sure, long [lead times] for reservations. I see opportunity where others are touting doom and gloom. Anyone interested in building/buying a campground, big market there for sure. With our population going up and the demand going up for spaces, someone will form another KOA or similar and fill the need. Also independent folks can build and finance campgrounds. Were I a few decades younger I would have an interest in same. We could also push the current administration to expand the National Park Campgrounds since we have more taxpayers now than 100 years ago. Just thinking!”
Thanks to you all for your views.