By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Most of us picked up on life’s little niceties when we were young, say in kindergarten. Sharing. Taking turns. Working at developing patience. For the most part, we see it in our fellow RVers — courtesy seems like a general rule among most. But still, there are areas where it seems like some need those little “gentle reminders.”
For those who spend months camped out on government land outside of Quartzsite, Arizona, you already know most of the drill. With thousands of RVers plumped down on four Long Term Visitor Areas, and only a single dump station to serve all, lines leading up to that spot can get pretty long. We used to count the number of rigs lined up, multiply that by five, and know just about how many minutes the last guy in line would have to wait for his turn. All in all, most folks acted fairly sanely, but at times there were little altercations where somebody who just couldn’t stand the wait just had to try and cut the line.
Sometimes, during the big rush of the day, somebody (maybe they were greenhorns) would get the bright idea that this was THE time to try and really flush out his holding tank. Mount that special device, pull hoses, and wishy-washy that blank tank for all they were worth. Instead of taking the typical ten minutes to clear one of the two dump lines, they could take 20 minutes or even more. We often wanted to politely suggest that coming back late in the afternoon was a good time for protracted proctology, but we kept our mouths shut.
Another trick of some (who we hope were merely ignorant) was to either dump with a leaky hose, or heaven forbid, no hose at all. Maybe they’d make a half-hearted attempt to flush away their fecal followings, but in any event, these characters really left something behind to remember them by.
Rolling up to a free dump station in Pendleton, Oregon, one morning, we found yet another calling card of folks that need a little education. Free dump stations, as most know, are a vanishing breed. If you find them, treat them with care and respect — too much of a good thing often gets shut down. But nope, it looks as though for some, free means “disrespect.” Lemme tell you about that.
Years back, when we first started RVing, sanitary concerns and health awareness weren’t what they are today. Us “he man” RVers would roll up, sling hoses, and dump tanks in our bare hands. What, me worry? Eventually awareness arrived, and more and more RVers are embracing the idea of putting on a little protection when they dump tanks. We found that clearly in evidence today: A big pile of discarded rubber gloves, stacking up at this dump station. Yeah, we know, the dump providers didn’t leave a handy garbage can, but what’s so tough about stuffing your used gloves in a plastic bag and taking them with you? A little bit of picking up after ourselves makes for a lot fuzzier feeling in those who manage those free dump stations. Not that we’re advocating leaving your trash when you have to pay to dump your tanks.
Like Mrs. Munger used to tell us in kindergarten, “Please, pick up after yourselves.”